You never know when an invitation to spend time with a dear friend will turn into a life-changing day leading to lifelong love.

When this bride’s best friend, now maid of honor, called her one morning just days before their college graduation, she could have said “no” to her friend’s last-minute effort to encourage her to join the day’s festivities. She hesitated, but eventually agreed to get ready quickly and drove to meet her friend’s boyfriend, now husband, at his friend’s home to take the Block Island ferry and meet her friend who was already on the island. With little time to waste, she got ready hastily, not thinking that she’d fall in love that day. Upon arriving, she was greeted by her friend’s boyfriend and was then introduced to his friends; one of whom she had never met and had no idea the impact he was about to make on her life.  

When Nicolle was introduced to Matthew, he immediately asked if there was anything he could do or provide to make her comfortable, including a sweatshirt of his so that she wouldn’t be cold on the ferry. During the trip and throughout the day, they began getting to know one another, though it was difficult amidst the music and people. The two broke away from the crowd and found a quiet spot along the water, where their conversation flowed seamlessly. They began sharing intimate details about their families, past hardships, and hopes for the future. Both recognized that their conversation wasn’t typical for two people who had just met hours before; but they felt a special, instantaneous connection.

Eventually, the two rejoined the masses and traveled back to the mainland before parting ways that evening. Of course, Matthew let Nicolle keep his sweatshirt for the night, providing the perfect excuse for seeing her again soon. Since then, the two fell in love quickly and have not gone a day without speaking to one another. However, they endured many obstacles over the years that have put their love and partnership to the test.

That same summer, Nicolle moved to Boston, Massachusetts to begin a two-year graduate program at Northeastern University. Despite living over an hour away, Matthew journeyed to the city via train nearly every weekend just to see her. Following Nicolle’s graduation, the two set their sights on moving in together. While the pandemic delayed many of their plans, they were fortunate enough to move in together and have since experienced changes, successes, and challenges as they continued to discover themselves and one another throughout adulthood.

The bride-to-be noted that throughout early adulthood, she struggled with her identity, determining long-term goals, and the pressures that come along with getting older. She is very career-driven and even obtained another master’s degree in business from Bryant University while working two jobs – one of which being her freelance work with Grace Ormonde Wedding Style. She also loves being with her friends, fashion, sports, music, snowboarding, and being on the go as she is wildly active. Matthew, on the other hand, is her opposite, preferring nights in, going with the flow, and is excited for parenthood one day. He loves being with family, video games, sports, and great food. While their differences served as a refreshing and necessary balance within the relationship, they began to wonder whether they had grown into different people over the years. The couple realized that they had.

Before Matthew proposed, they assessed whether the two equally amazing people they’d grown to be were as compatible as the twenty-two-year-olds they were when they met. This required a great deal of reflection, cooperation, and compromise. While it wasn’t always easy, the couple agrees that this reflection is crucial for all couples, and fortunately, it led to their realization that despite the changes and growth, two things remained: love and partnership. The two recognized that there wasn’t a problem they couldn’t solve together, as the love they have for one another is so great. This led to finding solutions for and with one another, coming through stronger and more in love than before. Matthew once said, “I’d choose hard with you over easy with anyone else”, and in agreement, it was an easy “yes” for Nicolle when he proposed as he is undoubtedly her person.

For their engagement photos, Nicolle had a vision that would honor her affinity for city glamour and that would also shine a light on the couple’s favorite activity – eating and drinking at incredible restaurants. Fortunately, Nicolle was connected through a childhood friend to photographer Michaela Hession, of Michaela Hession Photography, who brought her vision to life and exceeded the couple’s expectations.

Prior to the shoot, Nicolle had her hair and make-up done by the talented Caitlin Oliveira, of Caitlin Mae Beauty, to look her absolute best. Nicolle was also her own stylist for the shoot, aiming for romantic and minimalistic chic looks. She first paired a romantic, feminine white mini-dress with an oversized bow in the back and puffed sleeves with classic white pumps and the Pearl Arch Earrings from Senia New York. For a second look, reflecting on her passion for challenging gender norms and supporting the LGBTQ+ community, she paired a powerful and chic oversized white satin blazer with the same heels and earrings for the evening.

Matthew and Nicolle explored the city of Providence with Hession, who guided them with humor, excitement, and unmatched energy. Matthew, known to not be one for taking photos, remarked how comfortable Hession made him feel and how she added to the magic of their shoot. The trio journeyed from the Rhode Island State House to Westminster, Dorrance, and Weybosset streets, all of which are well-known to the local couple. They stumbled into the Beatrice Hotel’s gorgeous Bellini bar and rooftop patio, enjoying some drinks and laughter with Hession that turned their relationship with the extraordinary photographer into a friendship. As seen by the incredible photographs, Providence provided touches of romance, glamor, and impeccable architectural landscape that made for the perfect backdrop. The couple loved how effortlessly Hession captured the beauty of this historic coastal city, as well as the beauty of their love, friendship, and fun-loving nature. Then, to truly make it their own, they concluded the shoot at one of the couple’s favorite restaurants, Tortilla Flats, to end a night that they continue to cherish.

While the couple continues to plan their wedding, they also continue to navigate their next steps as a couple with the love that has held them so closely together. Nicolle says that Matthew is her very best friend, and Matthew shares that she has been his ultimate support and the person who has assisted him in becoming the best version of himself. Both feel fortunate to have these photos to look back on, which they believe embody the type of unconditional love that endures all, especially when paired with friendship, compromise, and mutual effort. When asked, Nicolle is “beyond grateful” that she soon gets to call the stranger who gave her his sweatshirt at their graduation festivities her husband. She also made it clear that despite living together, the sweatshirt Matthew gave her that day has since remained “hers.”