A few years ago Marianne and Billy met one summer evening at a house party on 513 Spring Street in Newport, Rhode Island. No one at the party that night could have ever guessed that from that yard a love, so very strong and deep, would grow. Since beautiful and historic Newport will forever hold a very special place in their hearts, the couple choose to have a destination wedding in the lovely city that brought them together, with their ceremony taking place at the wonderful Newport Art Museum and the reception was at the stunning Ocean Cliff Resort.
The day before the wedding the forecast called for extremely cold temperatures and lots of wind. All our previously planned locations for the family formals were to be outside by the water, so my assistant, Sarah, and I went down to Rhode Island three hours early to scope out new locations that would ensure that the bridal party wouldn’t turn into popsicles. Once we found the perfect spot that would allow us to take outdoor shots but that also had an indoor location that would allow people to stay warm while they were waiting for their turn, Sarah and I went on to the yard where the couple met since we were doing the big reveal there. The two of us cleaned up every bit of trash and litter in the back yard so that it would be as picturesque a location as possible. After that we headed out to the Ocean Cliff Resort. Upon knocking on the door we were greeted by a room chock full of smiling faces in various states of readiness. All of Marianne’s 11 bridesmaids as well as her make-up artist, her mother, the flower girl, and a few other friends were getting ready in the room. Marianne had everything set aside for me in advance to shoot. In all the hub-bub that was going on in the room, there was no way to capture her incredible Maggie Sottero wedding dress inside the suite. So Sarah and I carefully took the dress outside. When doing a transfer like this, you always want to keep the dress in the dress bag and you want to wipe down any surface the dress is going to be near. I bring a satin hanger to put the dress on, to avoid having the plastic hanger that most dresses come on detracting from the beautiful dress. Once we had the dress taken care of we had to get a shot of her “something blue”, a pair of exquisite Badgley Mischka Pumps. I had a great deal of shoe envy that day!
Meanwhile Shawn, my fabu second shooter, was with Billy and his best man…at 513 Spring Street…in the cold. Billy was just so excited that he got to the big reveal location, the house where they met, well over an hour before we arrived with his beautiful bride. But somehow that just didn’t matter to Billy. His heart was filled with warmth and joy at the thought getting to see her in all her splendor. The smile on his face when he saw her says it all. After we got a few shots in the yard we moved around front to the house’s iconic red door. Marianne was sad to see that the porch was covered in trash bins. She said, “Oh well, I guess we don’t have to do the shot there.” I said, “You want the shot? We’ll make it happen. Give me 2 minutes!!!” Shawn, Sarah, and I turned into trash hauling machines, and sure enough we were able to get a lovely set of shots on the porch in minutes. Then it was off to the Newport Art Museum for the ceremony. The on-site coordinator Christine was exceptionally helpful! I honestly felt like she was a member of the Fucci’s Photos team!
After the ceremony we took a few more formal shots on the staircase in the Art Museum where they were originally going to get married. The woodwork made for a fantastic backdrop and Christine opened up the third floor balcony for me to take shots of the whole bridal party from above for a great aerial view. Then it was off to the reception. They had hand made winter themed place cards and centerpieces with live colorful beta fish, as well as Christmas trees adorned with white and gold lights around the edges of the ballroom. It perfectly coordinated with the holiday season, without being over the top. Once the couple entered the room, they turned the adorable-ness (yes I just invented that word) up several notches. The rest of the night I don’t think they ever left eachother’s side for more than 30 seconds. Billy’s friends would try to pry him away, but every time it was to no avail. He’d be right there dancing with Marianne once more in a matter of moments. The same was true for Marianne and her bridesmaids. The love and devotion they had for one another was so very strong and so beautiful, I felt honored to be there to bear witness to it. You could just see in their eyes how much they really, truly, cherish one another.
After the parent dances everyone really let loose, and things got a little bit crazy on the dance floor. Marianne’s sister broke out some old school break dancing moves, which frankly was quite an accomplishment in a bridesmaids dress! Then not to be outdone, one of Billy’s friends whipped out a flip and a hand stand. After that was the bouquet toss, or rather I should call it the battle royale! Two of Marianne’s sisters duked it out all the way to the floor, and then across it! I can only imagine what their boyfriends must have been thinking seeing that. Boys, you better get a ring soon or you are in trouble!
We finished off the night with a wonderful shoot outside the dramatically lit Ocean Cliff Resort which looked for all the world to me like a castle. What a place to get married! On their way out to Shawn and I, Billy gave Marianne his tuxedo jacket to stay warm. It was just too sweet! As long as these two are together, they will always be warm, because their love for each other could melt any frosty New England weather.
- Billy’s gifts to his groomsmen were cufflinks he specially picked out for each person to match their personality, and included the Patriots, the Celtics, the Bruins, R2D2, golf clubs, a rubiks cube, dice, fishing reel, and lacrosse sticks. Billy opted for a traditional silver set with his initials engraved.
- Shawn got an amazing reaction shot of Billy watching Marianne dancing with her dad and Sarah of one of the littlest guests laughing at the speeches. Having more than one shooter allows you to still get shots of the action while others can cover great moments like these that often get overlooked in the background.
- When planning a wedding during the fall and winter months, always have an option for family formals that will not freeze your family and bridal party. Even if you have the most beautiful background in the world, if people are looking miserable because they are cold it won’t make for a great picture.
- Billy and Marianne had one of their good friends officiate their wedding. I always love it when couples do this, as it adds a level of intimacy to the ceremony. It also can lead to some hilarity, as was the case with Marianne and Billy’s. After Marianne came down the aisle and all the guests were standing, the officiant never said to the wedding guests, please take your seats, so everyone stood for the whole ceremony. So if you are having a friend officiate your wedding, be sure to give them explicit directions as to what you want them to do since it is likely the first time they are marrying a couple.
- If you liked the cute figurines Marianne decorated the cake table with, they are called Precious Moments figurines.