Valley Country Club Wedding
Michael & Lori
There are a lot of reasons why I love being a wedding photographer but one of the most underrated is the connections I make simply by being in the wedding industry. Case in point: How I met Michael and Lori.
At a bridal expo last September, I was placed right next to a live band that would be performing all afternoon and, as any photographer who exhibits at bridal shows will tell you, being stuck next to the music can be a giant obstacle to communicating with potential couples at a bridal show.
Thankfully, the live band in question was called Mic Drop and, while I didn't know it at the time, two of their three members would be walking down the aisle themselves nine months later.
It didn't take long for my friendly banter with Michael and Lori at the expo to lead to a booking and I'm so glad they chose me because their wedding day was one of the liveliest, most fun events I've been lucky enough to shoot.
Turns out when the bride and groom are incredible musicians, you get an incredible reception. Who knew?
My time with Michael and Lori started as many weddings do, with a traditional bridal prep session at the soon-to-be-newlyweds home.
I could tell from the start just how big a role music would play in this wedding as Mike and Lori's home was full of instruments and musical decorations giving it a really fun and interesting theme.
And speaking of themes, Lori really nailed the color theme for her dress and those of her bridesmaids. What a beautiful arrangement.
Lori's bridal prep was about as fun as I imagined it would be but, even so, with as many bridesmaids as she has I couldn't help but be a bit worried about timing.
Thankfully, this bride has been to enough weddings as a performer to plan ahead and leave plenty of time to hit all the key notes of the day and that made for a (mostly) stress free period as we left her house and headed to Valley Country Club to get ready for the ceremony.
As soon as we got to Valley Country Club, Lori was go-go-go and wasted no time slipping into her dress, taking a few portraits and waiting for her cue to walk down the aisle.
And who can blame her? With the sun shining, a rare sight this spring in New England, it was a beautiful day to get married.
As for her groom-to-be? Well, his face when he saw her for the first time said it all really.
Mike and Lori had a beautiful ceremony centered entirely on their love story -- the two met when Mike was performing and Lori came up to sing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey -- and their feelings for each other were evident by the way they looked at one another.
By the time Mike and Lori were officially husband and wife, I couldn't wait to pull them aside and take their formal photos. And while their family and wedding party photos were a blast to shoot, the pictures I waited all afternoon for were their bride and groom portraits.
It was worth the wait.
Though we didn't have much room to move around Valley Country Club as the newlyweds wanted to get to the end of their cocktail hour, we didn't really need it. Mike and Lori posed beautifully for all the photos I wanted and I knew my favorite shots of their wedding would come at the tail end of the evening.
Before we got to that point, however, we had one of the moments of their wedding that made their day unlike any other. Instead of a first dance, this bride and groom decided to have a first duet together.
Mike and Lori chose to perform a cover of the acoustic version of "From This Valley" by the Civil Wars. And what a performance it was.
Talk about setting the tone for the rest of the night.
As important as music was for Mike and Lori's wedding, the underlying theme that loomed largely over the entire day and night was family.
And whether it was Lori's maid of honor's speech or Mike's daughter talking about how much the bride meant to her -- not to mention Mike's sister's surprise custom song for the two -- Mike and Lori's family members made sure to take the time during their reception to show how much they cared for each other.
You can't blame Lori if she got a little emotional during these moments. She wasn't the only one.
After dinner, Mike and Lori shared dances with their mother and father, respectively, and it was clear how much those moments meant to the four of them as they danced under the beautiful chandelier in one of my favorite reception rooms in all of Rhode Island.
The reason I mention the beauty of the room is simple. Mike and Lori chose, fairly late, to add uplighting to their reception package and boy am I glad they did.
Valley Country Club has some of the best lighting I've ever seen and that, coupled with their low ceilings and white walls, is a gift for a photographer like myself.
Add in that the music was performed by friends of Mike and Lori and you can see why the reception was easily my favorite part of this wedding day.
I mean, seriously, this party never stopped.
You could tell how much fun everyone on the dance floor, and in the live band, were having as the night went on and people started to let loose.
Now, I'm not a guy who likes to interfere in a wedding day but I don't think I would have been doing my job if I didn't convince Mike and Lori to dance at least once during their wedding reception and though it came late in the night, and they couldn't help but grab the mic while they were doing it, Mike and Lori's "first dance" was a definite highlight for sure.
Which brings us to the end of the night.
From the moment Mike, Lori and I started discussing their wedding, all they could talk about was how much they were looking forward to closing the night out and performing for all their friends and family members.
While you think a bride and groom would want ONE night off from the job they normally do, it's way different when you LOVE what you do.
And the minute Mike and Lori hit the stage with their Mic Drop bandmate Sarah, I could feel this was the moment the entire night was building up to.
And, trust me, they freaking killed it.
It's not often that a live band has the most fun of everyone at a wedding but, then again, it's not often that the live band are also the ones getting married and by the time Mike and Lori's night came to an end, I could tell the pair made memories they'll never forget.
I absolutely adored this couple and love how they had a vision for their big day, stuck to that vision and knocked it out of the park.
And while this might not be the last time Mike, Lori and I are all together at a wedding -- it's very possible we end up all booked together for a future couple -- I know no wedding will compare to that beautiful May night they sang under the lights of Valley Country Club and become husband and wife.
So congratulations Mike and Lori. I have no doubt this is just the start of a beautiful life together for the two of you and look forward to seeing what the future holds ... one note at a time.
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair and Make-up: Arianna Alessandro; Bride's Dress: Alexandra's Boutique; Groom's Suit: The Groom Store by Franklin Rogers; Florist: Jo-Ann Gabriele, Gabriele's Creations; Ceremony & Reception Location: Valley Country Club, Warwick, Rhode Island; Officiant: Millissa Youssef; Live Band: Batteries Not Included; Cupcakes: Lauren Brasili, Bella Confections; Ceremony String Quartet: La Bella Musica; Bridal Party Makeup: Angela Mangano.
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
Austin & Arielle
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Ceremony) & Pawtucket Country Club
Date: March 23rd, 2019
Kim & David
The Acoaxet Chapel & Bittersweet Farm,
Date: February 16th, 2019
Gunnar & Aileen
McGoverns on the Water,
Fall River, Massachusetts
Date: December 16th, 2018
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