Honorable Mention: Though it missed out on the top-10, I love this image from Joe & Jean's June wedding at Colt State Park. I love it so much, in fact, that I have it framed on the wall in the my living room with a few more of my favorite pictures from this year.

The Top 10 of 2015

Man, what a year 2015 was. 

In the past 12 months, I've shot 28 weddings in all. Eleven were my own while 17 were as a second shooter and in all of those weddings, in all of those ceremonies, receptions and editing sessions, I never got sick of shooting weddings. 

Sure, not every day was glorious, such as the wedding I shot in the freezing cold backdrop of a tropical storm back in October or the oppressive heat of more than a couple big days in August, but by and large each day was a pleasure and each shoot a new chance to explore and grow as a photographer. 

And though I took approximately 100,000 images (give or take), narrowing it down to my favorite 50 or so was fairly easily. But getting it down to a top 10? Man. That was difficult.

So as we wrap up this year, allow me to present my top 10 favorite wedding images of the year 2015. 

If you don't see your wedding on the list or don't like you're placement, don't be offended. This is in no way a reflection of the weddings themselves, the couples themselves or the wedding photos themselves. 

These are just my personal favorite top 10 images and each one of these holds a special place in my heart. So, please enjoy!

!0. Hand and Hand

Taken: Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at the Publick House in Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Sometimes a wedding day can just go perfect. That was the case on Mike and Emma's big day back in November.

Every single part of their wedding timeline went off without a hitch. From the first look to the formals to the ceremony and ultimately the reception, there wasn't a moment that went off track or anything less than perfect.

And that's why I love this photo of their first dance.

Captured as all of their 150 or so guests looked on, Mike and Emma danced to a sweet number and as I scanned their faces, I could see how much they were in the moment. 

This photo perfectly represents that moment to me. You can see in their eyes how happy they are. You can see in their smiles how much they're taking in every second of this big dance.

To me, nothing means more than that. That's what wedding photography is all about, capturing those brief moments of perfection.

9. The Road to Forever

Taken: Sunday, September 6th, 2015 on Brown's Corner Road in West Greenwich, Rhode Island

It takes a lot to make a quality wedding photo happen. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes things can go wrong.

Back in the summer, long before her actual wedding day, I remember sitting down with Jen to talk about what type of photographs she envisioned for her big day and the shot we talked about most was a simple one: A photograph of her and her husband Rob in the middle of Brown's Corner Road on the road to the reception venue at the University of Rhode Island's Alton Jones Campus.

Now, in theory, this should have been an easy photograph. Take two people, plop them in the middle of a winding road, snap some pictures and bam. Done. Right?  Wrong.

In our planning phase, we never really factored in how much traffic that little road would get or how sunny it would be at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  Nevertheless, I love this photograph. I love the colors of the filters applied. I love the way Rob is holding her tight. I love the unseen chaos behind us. 

I love this photograph for all it represents and all it means to this couple and to their day as a whole. This is one I'll remember for a long time.

8. Hold on to this moment

Taken: Sunday, September 6th, 2015 at the University of Rhode Island Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich, Rhode Island

Now I know it's a little unfair to take TWO images from one wedding for my year-in-review top-10 package but I'm going to anyway because I just adore this photo.

It's one thing to take a nice picture of a beautiful first dance. Anyone can do that, really. What takes a little bit of skills is to keep track of your bride and groom throughout the entire wedding reception and be ready when the moment strikes and they think they're alone.

In the photograph above, I caught Rob and Jen sharing an incredibly tender and private moment together. Well, as private a moment as you can have in a reception with 75-100 people in attendance.

I love this photograph because this isn't from a first dance or some other standard wedding reception playlist. No, this is just Rob and Jen sharing a dance together to a slow song. In this moment, there was no pressure to perform for these two. Nearly everyone else was dancing and partying away, oblivious to what was going on in this small space.

I love this photo because, in this moment, you can see the love two people have for each other and the way that, for an instant, they were the only people on Earth, the only people who mattered.

This, to me, is what love is. A tender moment, a private second, an instant that they'll cherish for a lifetime.

7. Smile for the camera

Taken: Friday, May 22nd, 2015 in Warwick, Rhode Island

The best part of reflecting back on a year is, quite simply, just how long a year is. 

When I shot Laura and Kevin's wedding back in May and the Warwick Country Club, I was only on my third wedding of the year and excited to try out a lot of different things.

One of my main goals for 2015 was to get better at posed bridal portraits and the above picture was one of my first real attempts of the year as Laura was an amazing bride who was completely receptive to any and all of my ideas and allowed me a few minutes before we headed to the ceremony location to experiment with different poses and positions.

Oddly enough, this was my favorite photo of that session and my favorite bridal portrait of the year for a completely different reason. 

See, this photo came about in between shots and, as Laura's bridesmaids stood behind us and made her chuckle, I caught a genuine and 100 percent authetic smile from her. 

I really love this photograph. Not only did I love Laura's look on her big day, as well as her breaktaking flowers, but I loved how carefree she and Kevin were and this photo, whenever I look at it, makes me smile as much as she did in this moment. 

6. Ready for the next chapter

Taken: Friday, May 15th, 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island

About a week before Laura's big day, I shot what was without a doubt one of my most anticipated weddings of 2015 when I got to photograph Keirys and Jhair's wedding at Holy Ghost Church in Providence. 

But, before we got to that ceremony, we got to participate in the ritual called bridal prep. Normally, this is one of the toughest parts of the day for a photographer as your nerves are wound tight hoping you start the day on the right foot and all you can think about is the schedule and all the work you have to do to get everything right all day.

And that's why I love this photograph of Keirys as she had her makeup artists help her put on her veil for the first time.

Now, I took a TON of photos of Keirys' and Jhair's wedding but this one really stood out to me from the moment I photographed it. It was a subtle thing that caught my eye: I loved the way the hair piece looked atop her head and loved how she had her eyes closed so her makeup artist could check out her eyeshadow. 

But, looked at on it's own, this photo says a lot about what lie ahead for Keirys in the hours that were coming quickly. 

For a second, she got to focus on one little obstacle--her veil--and that's really what wedding days are all about. Taking a second to get to the next part of the day. I adored this photo the moment I took it and will likely love it for a long time to come.

5. Light of my life

Taken: Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at Allen Hill Farm in Brooklyn, Connecticut

When I was debating which images to include in this package, I really wanted to shy away from photos I took as a second shooter as part of my one of my side jobs but, honestly, there was no way I couldn't include this one. 

Erin and Lee had a fun wedding in Brooklyn, Connecticut back in June but what I will always remember from their big day are three things. One, they had amazing bacon wrapped scallops ... my favorite wedding appetizer. Two, their day was one of the hottest wedding days I had in 2015. And, three, they really took advantage of their rustic barn setting for their reception.

And that's why I love the photo above. To me, a good reception venue is one that reflects the personality of the couple getting married and though I didn't know Erin and Lee when I shot their wedding, looking at their reception site told me a lot about that.

More importantly, as a second photographer, I was afforded the luxury of being able to shoot creatively and I can't tell you how nice that is sometimes.

The above photo came during their first dance and, man, did I love the lighting and the colors this barn provided for this moment. 

It takes what is otherwise an OK photo and, in my opinion, turns it into something much, much more.

4. All eyes on love

Taken: Sunday, September 20th, 2015 at the Galilee Beach Club in Narragansett, Rhode Island

One of the best parts about being a wedding photographer is that, inevitably, those closest to you will ask if you'll shoot their big day.

For Jason and Lisa, I really couldn't have asked for a better day. Their beautiful September wedding was right on the beach down in Narragansett and was a perfectly overcast day for the ceremony and reception and then brilliantly sunny for the post-wedding formal photos, giving me ample opportunity to take dozens of memorable photos. 

In fact, if I had to choose just one wedding album I loved the most this year, it would probably have been their album as the lighting was top notch all day and the emotions came across in every photo.

But, by far, my favorite moment of their day was in the photo above. 

It's a simple moment really, the post-ceremony kiss but for Jason and Lisa, this one really summed up their love and the special feeling of their big day.

I love everything about this photo, from the crowd looking on to the colors to the way they kissed like seasoned pros. 

This was one that I knew I would love the moment I took it. And this is one I'll cherish for a long time.

3. A leap of faith

Taken: Sunday, September 13th, 2015 at the Oceancliff Hotel in Newport, Rhode Island

     No one wants to see it rain on a wedding day. 

No matter how much time, money or effort you put into your wedding, the one thing you can't predict and/or plan for is the weather and on a beautiful Sunday in September, that's what at Shawn and Lauren had to deal with.

     The photo above, on its own, is a cool picture and a cool perspective on the traditional 'down the aisle' ceremony shot. But it's the story behind the photo that makes it one I'll cherish for a long time. Because, after an entire day of rough weather and occasional downpours, I was absolutely convinced this poor couple's plans to get married at one of Rhode Island's most incredible venues (The Oceancliff Hotel) was about to go up in smoke.

     So, why do I love this photo so much? Because weddings are, in a way, a leap of faith and faith got this couple through the worst of it.

     See, a few hours before this photo was taken, the weather was terrible. But the groom, a fun gentleman who doesn't rattle easily, told me point blank he wasn't worried.

     Even when the rain came down in droves 20 minutes before the time we scheduled their first look, he wasn't worried. Even when the clouds opened up in spurts during their formal photo session on the rocks in Newport, he wasn't worried.

     And, it turns out, that faith was justified.

     The weather held. It shouldn't have but it held.

     And this photo right here? This was one of the last photos taken before the rain gave way to an almost perfect sunny afternoon. In the middle of their outdoor ceremony. The ceremony that often looked like it would be cancelled.

     So, much like you can never predict how your life is going to go when you're on the verge of getting married and that commitment requires taking a leap of faith, sometimes you just have to trust that your positive attitude and, maybe, a little divine intervention will find a way to save your plans.

     To me, this photo perfectly represents that message and it warms my heart that such a simple snapshot can mean so much.

2. Wrapped up in you

Taken: Friday, August 7th, 2015 at the Kinney Bungalow at Sunset Farm in Narragansett, Rhode Island

Not all weddings go according to plan, however.

About a month before Shawn and Lauren's big day, I had the pleasure of photographing Justin and Nicole's beautiful August wedding down in Narragansett and all the signs of the day pointed toward a beautiful sunset. I mean, seriously. It was incredibly hot, humid and sunny and those three ingredients almost always translate to a beautiful and colorful transition into the evening.

Unfortunately, though, as much as we tried, we couldn't move mountains ... literally ... to make Justin and Nicole's dream sunset formals come true. But what we did do was even better. 

See, while the sun may not have helped us much, what it did do was give us an excuse to go outside for some more photographs and this led directly to my second favorite photo of the year. It's a simple pose, really, Nicole just put her arms around Justin's back.

But while the main photographer was busy photographing the straight-on approach of this photograph, I was fortunate enough to have time to look for different, more creative angles, and came across this. 

I LOVE this angle and I LOVE this photograph. The colors, the details, it's all beautiful to me. 

More importantly, I love the way you can't really make out the bride and groom. This photo could speak volumes to countless couples out there as it does to me. It could say a lot about the true reason people get married. It literally says a thousand words. To me, there's few better reasons to be a photographer in the first place.

1. Sealed with a kiss

Taken: Saturday, August 15th, 2015 at the Venus de Milo in Swansea, Massachusetts

Anyone who has seen my website this year is familiar with this photograph. This is, to me, one of the best wedding photos I've ever taken in my career and ... if I'm being honest ... one of my favorite photos ever.

At first glance, this photograph may not strike you as anything special. On the surface, all I did was tell the groom Rich to dip his beautiful bride Jaime and asked Jaime to hold her flowers out. Simple right? Nope.

This photo is a chance encounter and what happens when experience and confident finally meets luck and timing.

I've been trying to get a photo similar to this for a few years now but, each time, something went wrong. Either the bride and groom didn't want to pose, their flowers weren't colorful or their backdrop wasn't condusive to the picture but on this fateful August afternoon, it finally all came together as I envisioned it in my head.

Why do I love this photograph? Well, to me, this is the photograph that tells you exactly why I shoot weddings.

Jaime and Rich were a couple of friends of mine that I casually knew before shooting their wedding and through the process of working with them, I got to know them much better.

More importantly, becuase I did know them, I knew how much time I had before I lost their focus during formal wedding photos and knew that I had a limited amount of time to make something memorable.

That limited amount of time turned into roughly 14 minutes when all was said and done and, in this instant, I shut the logic and scheduling portion of my brain off and just went to work.

We shot about 150 photos in all but I knew the moment I saw this photo that this was the one. I LOVE everything about this photo, from the angle of the dip to the colors in the air and the colors of the flowers.

I love the way Rich and Jaime are kissing but are softly out of focus enough to draw your eyes to the other aspects of this photo. 

I love what this photo means to this couple and what it means to me.

In short, I love everything about this photo and, without question, this will be one that stands firmly in my portfolio for a very, very long time.

In a long line of memorable wedding photos I took during 2015, this one is the winner. 

Here's hoping 2016 brings some new challengers to compete with it. If so, I know I'll be in for one heck of a year.

So, that's it. What did you think? Do you love the list? Disagree with it? Want to nominate another photo for consideration? Sound back below!

And, as always, thanks for supporting my photography. It means more than you'll ever know. See you in 2016!

Paul J. Spetrini is a Rhode Island wedding photographer.

© 2020 Paul J. Spetrini Photography. All rights reserved.

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