October 15, 2016
We’re never getting over this autumn-inspired wedding nor this couple’s awe-inspiring love story.
How did you two meet?
Katie: we met at Rhode Island College in 2008, but our stories may differ a bit…I had noticed Joe while attending a wind ensemble concert in the fall of 2007, as he was playing the upright bass and was hard to miss! I had spoken to a few people about this handsome bassist, but otherwise kept it to myself as I was fairly shy then. This story might have begun earlier if I had been playing in any ensembles at the time, as I play oboe, but I was a nervous freshman. One day in March I was at the dining hall with suite-mates and friends, and saw Joe looking for a table in the crowded dining hall. A fellow musician at the table invited him over to join us, and I turned about 20 shades of red and didn’t make eye contact because I was nervous and mortified! After about 2 hours talking at the table, and nearly missing my next class we hit it off. Like the true gentleman he is, he walked me to class and managed to get my number with the smooth line of “last name is Bentley…like the car.” We had our first date a week later at his family’s cabin on the Pawtuxet River and have been together since!
Joe: This is one of my favorite stories! So back in March 2008, I was working at the Rhode Island College scene shop. I usually walked around campus covered in grease and wood shavings from the job, so I was not exactly looking my best. Well, one day, right before spring break, I was standing in the dining hall on lunch break, scouting for a spot to sit in the crowded cafeteria when one of my friends from the Music Department called me over. It was like the parting of the Red Sea, everyone at the table moved over for me so I could sit with them. I felt special, like I was some kind of celebrity! Little did I know, that Katie had somehow spotted me, and just to bust her up a bit they decided to pull my seat up right next to her. Of course Katie was so nervous she couldn’t even say hello to me. Being ever-oblivious to the super cute but quiet girl to my left, all I could think was that I must have been too dirty and gross for her to want to talk to me. Well, eventually, everyone at the table left, and she opened up a bit. We talked for hours. She was wearing a black sweater with blue flecks in it, and she had very pretty Dolce & Gabbana glasses that made her look even more out of my league than I initially thought!
How did you get engaged?
Katie: We were together about seven years before we got engaged. Two years of that time was spent long distance as Joe was pursuing his Master’s Degree in Double Bass Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London. We were both young and in school for a while, which led to us taking a little longer than most to get engaged, but it made the moment that much more special when it happened. We have had an annual tradition of waking up before dawn on New Year’s Day to watch the first sunrise of the new year at Narragansett Beach, which is where we got engaged in 2015. It was so cold that morning, and there was no one around on the beach as we were walking and trying to stay warm. Midway through our walk, and as the sun was rising up over the sea – Joe proposed. Narragansett Beach has become a very special place for us for many reasons, and it was so perfect that we got engaged there.
What were you favorite and least favorite parts of planning?
Katie: I am a notorious planner, and I enjoyed every moment of it to be honest. Joe is more of the “go with the flow” type, which made it easy to plan and collaborate together. I think we both agree that the most difficult part was narrowing down our guest list as we both have large families and many friends that we would have loved to have there with us. However, our favorite part was tasting the food and cake for the reception and choosing our music for the day as that was something we felt very passionate about.
Did you have a theme in mind from the start?
Katie: We had discussed themes in a general sense, but really knew that we wanted to go for an autumn theme that was both rustic and elegant. While we incorporated burlap, wood, and other natural materials we also made sure to balance it out with classic themes such as the vintage car we rode in, the centerpieces, and the jewelry that Katie and the bridesmaids wore. I had dreamed of a fall wedding for a while – it’s hard not to love the fall season in Rhode Island with all of the bright colored leaves and the crispness in the air. I have always loved the contrast of bright oranges, reds, and yellows against a deep plum color. When I had mentioned what I was looking for to Jay of Golden Gate Florists (who is a flower wizard by the way!!!), he immediately came up with the exact floral arrangements I had had in mind all along – including antique hydrangeas, roses, calla lilies, and fiddleheads.
How did you come across Gumula Photography?
We heard amazing raves about Heidi from our wonderful event planner at Rhodes, Jessica Krasner. She had shown us some of Heidi’s work and we were immediately drawn to her aesthetic and knack for capturing candid and spontaneous moments as well as the elegance of Rhodes. We loved her online portfolios, and once we met her in person we knew she was the person who was meant to photograph our wedding. Heidi is amazing, and such a sweetheart! She even got into a canoe and paddled across the Pawtuxet River at the Bentley family cabin to take some of our engagement photos – she truly is a trooper!
What drew you to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet?
We both really loved the old world charm of Rhodes, and really considered it to be a hidden gem of Rhode Island. We’re very proud of being born and raised in Rhode Island and wanted to have our reception at a location that was historic. The floor plan was perfect for dancing and the stage was a great way to showcase our live band, Niki Luparelli and the Gold Diggers. Space was very important to us as we didn’t want our guests to feel crammed in and stuffy. We also had heard wonderful things about the catering at Rhodes, which proved to be even better than we had hoped for!
Tell us about the vintage car.
Katie: It’s a 1977 Ford Thunderbird that was kindly loaned to us for the entire day by a neighbor of my father. Originally we were going to use an antique car owned by my father, but it was in the shop and thankfully we were able to use the Thunderbird! (Believe it or not, Katie is a bit of a classic car lover and motorhead). My father drove me and my Maid of Honor to the ceremony in the 1977 Thunderbird, and drove us to the reception and later to the Dean Hotel which is where we began our mini-honeymoon. It was the perfect car to get chauffeured around in!
Katie, tell us about the first look with your parents.
I did a first look with my father and stepfather, which was a very special and sweet moment for sure. I am very blessed to have a multitude of parents and stepparents in my life, and I wanted to make sure I honored my father and stepfather accordingly as they’ve been such wonderful and strong figures in my life. My mother had passed away from ALS a few months before the wedding, but her photo was attached to the base of my bouquet so she could be with me the whole day through. My stepmother and I had a first look moment in my childhood bedroom as I was putting on my dress and veil and getting ready to leave for the church. I wanted to make sure I had those quiet and memorable moments with each of my parents on the day of the wedding. I wouldn’t be here without them!
Joe, can you describe what it was like when you first saw Katie walking down the aisle ?
Joe: I honestly don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling. I remember standing at the front of the church, my heart pounding in my chest, time somehow both standing still and whizzing by. I have never been that nervous before in my life, and that’s not an exaggeration. More nervous than any concert I’ve ever performed in, for any audience. When she rounded the corner and I saw her beautiful smiling face, it was all I could do to keep from completely losing it. She just looked… perfect. She looked like the woman I fell in love with, but somehow even more than that. She didn’t just look more beautiful than I imagined, but she looked more like her than I even thought she would. That memory will stick with me forever.
What was your first dance song?
“You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson. An all time favorite of ours, and one that really captured our quirky and silly sides.
Can you tell me more about the (Portuguese, I believe?) dancers you had at your reception?
You’re right they were Portuguese dancers! My dad had surprised us with those dancers – we had no idea at all! The dancers are from Cranston Portuguese Club, and did an incredible job! There are Portuguese roots on Katie’s side of the family, although Joe is now an honorary Portuguese man, so it was very fitting that there would be folkloric dancers at our wedding!
Did I see that you both became a part of the band at one point, also?
Katie: Yes! The band is actually a band that Joe plays with regularly, so of course he had to take a solo or two on bass! Katie joined in on tambourine only because there was no oboe on stage, which is her instrument of choice. It was so fun to get up there and perform alongside the band for a little while and show off a bit of our musical sides. Katie’s dad even sang a couple of Elvis tunes accompanied by the band which was great as well!
Joe: Yeah, I’m the bass player for Niki Luparelli and the Gold Diggers! One of my only “dreams” I had for my own wedding was that I wanted my friends to be the music, so it only made sense that I had Niki and company play at the wedding. We spoke about it before, and decided that I’d join the band for a song, which happened to be Billy Edd Wheeler & Jerry Lieber’s tune Jackson, made famous by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.
Was there a vendor that you were particularly impressed with that day?
Katie: Oh wow, it’s really hard for us to choose! We were impressed by everyone equally and that’s the truth. The staff at Rhodes made everything run so smoothly, and if there were any hiccups along the way we certainly didn’t know about them! Jay and his florists from Golden Gate were incredible as well, and it meant a lot to us that they actually stayed throughout the ceremony. Heidi and her second photographer were also a pleasure to work with and were so good about capturing photographs and moments throughout the day without us even knowing half of the time. Everything was such a smooth and calm operation, and we were both extremely impressed by all of the vendors who helped us to make that day as special as it was!
If you had to narrow it down, what would you say were each of your favorite moments from that day?
Katie: One of my favorite moments of the day was getting ready with my bridesmaids and enjoying some quiet and reflective moments with them before we headed out to the church. My mother, who had passed away that March, was there when I had found my wedding dress months before, and she bought the dress for me as one of her many gifts in the time she was here with us. Putting on my dress and veil on the wedding day was so special to me as I remembered her, and that moment when she had initially seen me try on the dress months before. It made me feel even more that she was with me on that day.
Joe: The whole thing. From beginning to end, the day was just perfect.
Do you have any advice for recently engaged couples?
Katie: Enjoy the process, as cliche as it sounds. It goes by so quickly and then the wedding day goes by even faster. Enjoy each other, learn from each other and be sure to communicate and compromise. Understand that you will not always please everyone, or meet everyone’s expectations and that is okay – it is most important for you and your partner to be happy, content, and feel that the day is yours because it is.
Joe: Take your time, and do NOT rush the planning. While you yourself might be organized enough to be able to plan a wedding in nine months, you’re also working with other people and vendors who sometimes book up over a year in advance. If you want to have the wedding you really want, you need to give it enough time to make it happen. Also, and this is the hardest part, you won’t be able to invite everyone. The chances are good that you will inevitably step on someone’s toes, or accidentally hurt someone’s feelings by not being able to invite them. Follow good etiquette, invite everyone you realistically can invite, and then do what is best and most feasible for you both. Lastly… have fun! The day is yours!
Photographer: Gumula Photography // Ceremony space: Knotty Oak Baptist Church // Ceremony Music: La Bella Musica // Reception space: Rhodes on the Pawtuxet // Hair & Makeup: B. Lovely Beauty Studio // Bride’s dress: Casablanca Bridal, purchased at Spark Bridal // Bride’s veil: Spark Bridal // Bridesmaids’ dresses: David’s Bridal // Groom’s & Groomsmen’s suits: Men’s Wearhouse // Catering and Cake: Russell Morin Catering // Flowers: Golden Gate Studios // Reception music: Niki Luparelli and the Gold Diggers // Portuguese Folk Dancers: Cranston Portuguese Club