Upland Sportsmans Club Wedding Photos
Mikayla & Thomas
For whatever reason, I tend to attract a lot of super chill, relaxed couples. Admittedly, I wouldn't have it any other way but when I found out midway through Mikayla and Thomas' wedding reception back in August — long after their ceremony had come and gone — that they had actually forgotten to bring the rings to their church ceremony and just kind of rolled with the punches and posed with decoy rings in the moment, I couldn't help but laugh.
It was so brand to how not worried they were all day long that it somehow seemed fitting. And their day was absolutely perfect because of, not in spite of, the little imperfections.
Mikayla and Thomas said "I do" at St. Joseph's Parish in Kingston, Massachusetts and held their reception at Upland Sportsmans Club in Plympton, Massachusetts and it was easily one of the most casual and go-with-the-flow weddings I've shot this year. And I mean that in the very best of ways as that's exactly what this couple was going for, what they got and what I know they'll remember and cherish for a lifetime.
My coverage of Mikayla and Thomas' wedding day started with a brief sliver of groom prep and I'm always glad when it does as it allows me a chance to catch up with the groom, document some easy final preparation photos for him and, more importantly, see how he and his guys are feeling on the big day.
For Thomas and his groomsmen, this meant lots of joking around, alcohol and carefree hanging out. I could tell, within minutes that this groom wasn't stressed and it really set a nice tone for the day itself. The bride wasn't much different.
Mikayla and her girls were finishing their preparations when I arrived at the super cute and charming little inn they were staying at. I could tell the bride was in good spirits as she was laughing and joking around in the makeup chair and the entire time she was running around trying to make sure we didn't forget anything.
And even though we may have left the rings themselves at the bridal prep location, thankfully I captured some nice detail shots of them before we left.
As much fun as Mikayla's bridal prep was, it was nice to take a moment to be serious with the bride as, right before we left, I asked her to take a minute for herself to think about this day and what it meant for her. It was the one moment where I really saw the gravity of the day and the emotions of it hit Mikayla but I could tell it mattered a lot to her.
Once we wiped away the tears, though, it was time to head to the church and get this bride hitched. And what a ceremony it was.
Mikayla and Thomas were married in a traditional religious ceremony at St. Joseph's Parish in Kingston, Massachusetts. I've shot a lot of church weddings recently but this one really stood out, in no small part because the building itself was beautiful.
I was in love with the architecture inside this building and the lighting was really a photographer's dream. As for the ceremony itself, Mikayla and Thomas told me early on in our working together that they didn't love being the centers of attention but I think they were so lost in the moment at the top of the altar that they didn't even notice all the eyes on them as they said 'I do."
What I loved the most about Mikayla and Thomas' ceremony was how it was never played too seriously. When the priest accidentally had them share their first kiss too early, they just laughed it off. When they realized they had forgotten the wedding rings, they didn't panic. They just chuckled and went with the program.
That was, in large part, how we approached their formal photos after leaving the church and arriving to their reception venue the Upland Sportsmans Club in Plympton, Massachusetts.
First, we took care of wedding party and family photos. Then, once we were able to get just the bride and groom alone, we could treat things a little — but not too much — seriously.
Of all the fun things I got to document on Thomas and Mikayla's wedding day, their bride and groom formals were easily my favorite. For one, Mikayla told me when we first met that Thomas wasn't a fan of having his photo taken and anytime I hear that, I take it as a challenge to capture authentic photos that feel true to the nature of the camera shy groom.
For two, the lighting in this random collection of trees in the back of the Upland Sportsmans Club was absolute perfection. Seriously. How stunning is this bride and groom?
With bride and groom portraits finished, it was time to head inside for Mikayla and Thomas' wedding reception. I use the term 'inside' somewhat loosely here as the Upland Sportsman Club is more of an open air covered campsite. But on a warm summer day like Mikayla and Thomas had, you welcome any bit of breeze you can get.
What I loved about this venue for this bride and groom is it fit their idea of a rustic wedding perfectly and their decor and details worked perfectly with the overall vibe of the room and the day as a whole.
As challenging as this year has been in terms of lighting conditions both outside (It's seemingly rained at every other wedding I've shot in 2023) and inside (It feels like I've shot every reception in a dark, wood-panelled room this year), I was excited for the challenge the Upland Sportsmans Club offered for Mikayla and Thomas' reception.
Photographing in this weirdly-constructed space wasn't easy but when I got it right, it was even more rewarding and, thankfully, I feel like I got it right when it counted most: Mikayla and Thomas' first dance.
I loved this little moment between the bride and groom and not just because the lighting looked great whether I went with off camera speedlights or the natural lighting of the space itself. I just loved watching Thomas and Mikayla as they soaked every second of this first dance in and it set an amazing tone for the rest of the evening.
Right after their first dance, Thomas and Mikayla went right into parent dances and I'm glad they did as this was a really touching thing to see. Not only did Mikayla share a split father-daughter dance with her father and stepfather but the emotions of the moment were all over her face with each of them. You could tell how much this moment meant to her.
And Thomas and his mom? I mean, how cute does she look in his arms here? Talk about a sweet moment.
Almost from the MOMENT Thomas and Mikayla's parent dances were over, the tone for their reception shifted dramatically. With the formalities all but done, the bride and groom followed the lead of most of their guests and let out a relaxed sigh as they settled into what I can only call a party vibe for the rest of the night.
I loved seeing this for Mikayla and Thomas. You could sense that any little stress about this day was gone from the time their respective best man, maid of honor and matron of honor gave speeches in their honor and the rest of the night was primarily focused on the bride and groom spending as much time as possible with as many people as they could see before the reception ended.
And speaking of those toasts, all three were perfect. Not only were they funny but they were touching and I could tell how happy the bride and groom were to have their closest friends standing up in their honor.
Following their toasts, Mikayla and Thomas' reception had but one formality left: An informal cake cutting. From there, the night was about one thing and one thing only: Partying.
My one worry during Mikayla and Thomas' wedding reception was my time might end before the bride and groom had finished hanging out with their friends and family members. Thankfully, that wasn't the case as once Mikayla decided it was time to dance, she wasted no time dragging her hubby onto the dance floor with her and I captured a handful of my favorite images of the whole day when they started letting loose together.
As I started the long process of breaking down all my equipment and headed out from Mikayla and Thomas' wedding reception, I couldn't help but think about how much I love working with relaxed couples. In many ways, they make for the best wedding days as I know neither they, nor I, have to stress about anything and can just focus on the task at hand.
I genuinely think that's why I walked away from Mikayla and Thomas' wedding feeling so good about all the shots we captured and all the amazing moments they had together. Things felt real. They felt authentic.
I can think of no better compliment for a bride and groom or a more promising sign of their future together so, thank you Mikayla and Thomas for a truly awesome wedding day and best of luck as you start this new and exciting chapter of your lives together.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair: Hannah Kelly Stylist; Bride's Make-up: Marissa Mancini; Bride's Dress: Beloved: Unconditionally Yours By Casablanca Bridal; Groom's Suit: Men's Warehouse; Florist: Wareham Florist; Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph's Parish, Kingston, Massachusetts; Reception Venue: Upland Sportsmans Club, Plympton, Massachusetts; DJ: Music on Wheels; Caterer: Tasteful Adventures.