Valley Country Club Wedding Photos
Rachel & Mitchell
Valley Country Club, Warwick, Rhode Island (Ceremony & Reception)
October 13th, 2023
I won't go as far as to say this is a scientifically-proven theory but, in my experience, the silliest and most fun brides and grooms in the lead-up to a wedding day are the ones who, somehow, have the most beautiful and romantic weddings.
This is a trend I first noticed early on in my wedding career and now, 13 years later, it still holds true. That's why moments after Rachel, Mitchell and I finished their engagement session last fall at Roger Williams Park, I was already counting the days for them to walk down the aisle this year.
And it didn't take long for me to find out just how special this day would be as Rachel herself got teary-eyed the minute she put her wedding dress on and it just kept getting better and better from there.
Rachel and Mitchell said “I do” back in October at Valley Country Club in Warwick, Rhode Island and it was one of the sweetest, most beautiful weddings I shot this year. Which tracks because, this couple? They're the very definition of those words.
I could tell moments after arriving at Valley Country Club that we were in for a special day as, in a rare feat for the 2023 wedding season … the sun was out.
But not only was the sun out, it was a beautiful day and it was a day MADE for a wedding. I got the sense Rachel felt this way too as she arrived full of excitement and was having a lot of fun with her side of an enormous wedding party as we got down to brass tacks and got her ready to get dressed and start her big day.
The one thing I did not anticipate during the end of Rachel's bridal prep session was seeing her lose it emotionally but once she put her dress on, the reality of the day hit her and it was absolutely adorable to see how much this fantasy, soon to be reality, meant to her.
I remember telling Rachel to take every moment in as we got her ready to head down to her first look with Mitchell and I knew she did just that because I could see it on her face every second for the rest of the night.
And that first look? Well, it's hard to ask for more from a bride and groom seeing each other before their ceremony.
Rachel and Mitchell are the kind of couple who feed off each other's energy and it was amazing to see just how much they each brightened the other up the minute they saw them on the greens at Valley Country Club.
I almost didn't want to interrupt this sweet moment between the soon-to-be newlyweds but time waits for no man and we were on a strict schedule to try to get as many of their family and wedding party photos done before guests started arriving.
Thankfully, as daunting as Rachel and Mitchell's formal photo list was — they had 21 total people in their wedding party counting each other — I don't think I could have asked for a better hour-long session for these two as the lighting was perfect and we flew through their photos.
Perhaps most importantly, Rachel and Mitchell never seemed to get sick of the combinations of photos we took. I think they were just thrilled to share as many moments as possible with the people closest to them.
Me? I just wanted the bride and groom alone to myself.
But can you blame me? I knew from previous experience that working with Rachel and Mitchell is a great time and I'm so glad we were able to capture some basic bride and groom portraits before tucking the bride away prior to the ceremony.
I haven't had a ton of time with nice lighting this wedding season so I'll take every second of it I can get.
Speaking of nice lighting, I don't think Rachel and Mitchell could have asked for a better scene for their wedding ceremony than the one we had ...
I knew Rachel and Mitchell's wedding ceremony was going to be special the moment I saw the two of them walk down the aisle and the genuine joy on their faces. What I didn't know was that their ceremony was going to start right at the picture perfect time for sunset.
And as much as I would have LOVED to be doing more bride and groom portraits during this peak golden hour period, I honestly wouldn't change a thing about Rachel and Mitchell's ceremony because it was perfect.
From the cute little looks they stole from one another to Mitchell's fun little moment where he pulled out the scorecard from their mini golf first date with one another, Rachel and Mitchell's ceremony was beautiful, adorable and oh so sweet.
With their ceremony in the books, it was officially the most stressful time of Rachel and Mitchell's wedding day for me. Why? Well, I wanted as much time for their post-ceremony bride and groom formals as I could get. The setting sun had other ideas.
Thankfully, with the help of my amazing second photographer Danielle, and a bride and groom who were used to my posing cues and trusted me no matter how ridiculous my request, we were able to breeze through Rachel and Mitchell's portraits before losing the light.
And those last few shots? Man. Talk about an incredible sunset and an amazing tone to cap the first half of their wedding day off on.
One of the only downsides of not having a ton of excess time on Rachel and Mitchell's wedding day was I had to rely on my second shooter to capture most of the details of their day. Still, I loved the shots I managed to get in between doing two or three other things.
More importantly, I loved how amazing Rachel and Mitchell made the ballroom at Valley Country Club look with their red, white and amber color scheme. It felt like fall in the very best way in that room and I knew we were in for a special night once the party started.
Two weeks before Rachel and Mitchell's big day, I asked them about their reception and what they had hoped to see on their special night and one of the only concerns I had was their first dance as the pair decided they didn't want to do a full song.
Thanks to my shrewd negotiating skills, I managed to convince them to give me two minutes for their first dance and, honestly, I'm convinced that in the moment I could have had them out there for an hour because they were LOCKED IN to this moment.
Set to “It Don't Exist” by Bayside, Rachel and Mitchell's first dance was absolutely perfect both with the song choice and the way they looked at one another as they swayed in each other's arm. I know this was a highlight of their night for me but also for them and a moment they won't soon forget.
One of the reasons I was looking so forward to Rachel and Mitchell's wedding day is I absolutely love Valley Country Club. I can't prove this but I think this venue was built specifically to compliment my wedding photography style and it sure looked like it on this mid October evening.
No matter what big moment Rachel and Mitchell had planned, the ballroom at Valley Country Club made it look amazing, especially with the gorgeous twinkle lights and amber uplighting in the background.
Rachel and Mitchell kept their reception pretty low key and easygoing, with just one parent dance, three total toasts and a cake cutting but every moment had a purpose and every moment really drove home how much the people in that room love this bride and groom.
As much fun as everything up to this point in Rachel and Mitchell's wedding day was, I knew the thing they were looking most forward to was the party and I was NOT disappointed once the dance floor opened and their friends and family members let their hair down and prepared to boogey.
Do people still use the word boogey? Honestly, I'm not sure but I do know it was the perfect word to describe this wild and crazy fun night.
It seemed like every single place I looked during my hour or so documenting Rachel and Mitchell's open dance floor was jam-packed with people letting loose and just vibing and I loved that so much, both for them and as the guy tasked with capturing it all.
And, as is seemingly always the case in all the best wedding receptions, the bride and groom at the center of this wedding day were also smack dab in the center of the celebration. Rachel and Mitchell made the most out of every moment of their big night and if you told me there was a more excited couple that danced the night away in 2023 at Valley Country Club, I'd ask you to show your proof.
As my time with Rachel and Mitchell came to an end, I headed into the hallway at Valley Country Club and slowly but methodically packed my gear up. I took my time doing so as I was having a great time but, more importantly, it was so nice and sweet to see folks come in and out of the ballroom openly bragging about how much fun they were having.
I think that says a lot about this wedding but, more importantly, it says a lot about this bride and groom.
Rachel and Mitchell had one of the most joyous weddings I shot in 2023 and it was an honor not only to be there but to document it for them to cherish forever. So thank you Rachel and Mitchell for a beautiful wedding that not only met but exceeded my expectations and I wish you all the best on this amazingly fun and new 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: BL Beauty; Bride's Dress: Tulle Bridal; Groom's Suit: Men's Wearhouse; Florist: In Bloom Florist / Quality Fruitland; Ceremony & Reception Venue: Valley Country Club, Warwick, Rhode Island; DJ: Music Express; Cake: Sin Desserts.