ceremony: Eastern Promenade
officiant: groom's father
reception: The Portland Co., Portland Yacht Services
caterer: friend, Ben Ramsdell
flowers: Broadturn Farm
ceremony musician: friend, Matt Paul
reception musicians: Chas Lester, LQH Trio
cake: groom's sister
hair, make-up: Bei Capelli
transportation: Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad
gown: After Six, Madeleine's Daughter
invitations: Jon Ferland, brother-in-law of the bride
honeymoon: Manchester, VT, and St. Lucia in January
I don't even know where to begin with this one! This is BIG! Exciting! One of our own got married!!
Jackie has been our writer for Love & Lobster for more than two years. Researching and sharing insight on wedding trends and fun local finds, she's been educating all of you on how to plan the best possible Maine wedding. So when it came time for Jackie to plan her own nuptials to sweetheart Nick, she was, well, a pro! She chronicled her planning process on Love & Lobster each month (and will be writing a wrap-up post of her own on Monday!), candidly noting both the good and the sometimes overwhelming aspects of organizing such a celebration. But that's not all! Not only Jackie is a beloved member of our staff (outside of her full-time reporting job for the Bangor Daily News, of course), she's the twin sister of our photographer and image manager, Denise! The last eight months of planning have been a part of all of our regular conversations, and as October crept closer and closer we just couldn't wait for this wedding!
With Denise as the matron of honor, I was beyond touched to be asked to take the photos since Denise couldn't do both! Megan came, too, and goodness, did we all have a wonderful day. As I sat down to write this blog post, it felt most fitting to have Denise share her impressions of the day along with our photographs from their wedding day and our post-wedding non-rainy day portrait session. We love you all and are so, so happy for your families. Congratulations!
My twin sister Jackie just got married! She and (now hubby) Nick have been busy planning their wedding amongst other big life changes including buying a new house and adopting a dog. As her matron of honor, I've watched as they first started to look at locations, choose vendors, and decide on details to include for their big day. Some people asked me how excited I was to be photographing my own sister's wedding. Um, not at all because I finally get to be IN a wedding! I can have a glass of wine and wear a dress! No shooting for me this time. Emilie and Megan were signed up early on to document the day and I was thrilled.
I have to say, I'm glad I got married BEFORE I was a wedding photographer. There are just so many different decor, scheduling, and setup choices that can affect the feel and flow of your wedding. It's a fine line couples have to walk to have a celebration where everything important has been thought of and planned for, but left room for spontaneity and being in the moment. I am thrilled to say that all of Jackie and Nick's planning paid off and with the help of family and good friends, their wedding had exactly that feeling. Many of us (including the bride and groom) got up early that morning and headed to the Portland Company to fluff poms (my mom, Marcia, is now an expert, and there will be a ceremonial burning/laying to rest in Casco Bay of these soon), hang lights, fold napkins (my brother, Jacob, brought his skills from old catering days), arrange flowers (Nick's mom, Denise, should consider doing this professionally), and setup the table details (shout out Ruth! Kelly! Dylan!). We are also lucky enough to have friends who are talented chefs (Ben Ramsdell!), musicians (Matt Paul! Chas Lester!), and just plain awesome helpers (Meg Gipson, Erin Masterson, Nick Viti, Jen McNamee!) who brought their A games and even got to get down and dance with us at the end of the night.
And talk about lucking out with the weather for the ceremony. When we ladies arrived to the site via train on the Eastern Prom it was gray and windy but dry. Our friend, Matt, was welcoming guests to the site by singing and playing guitar. Nick's father, Greg, began the ceremony and while I was tearing up, the rain was holding off. After they were pronounced husband and wife Nick and Jackie processed down the aisle, had some hugs and kisses, and then Nick put his jacket on her shoulders, being a true gentleman. Good thing he did because just a few minutes later we all felt a couple drops and then...it poured. I mean let loose with rain. We abandoned the plan to do formals on the prom and loaded back up on the train, which thankfully hadn't left yet to shuttle guests back to cocktail hour. Safely back at the Portland Co., we did some rather nontraditional formals in the big room not being used for the reception (we'll call it industrial chic) and then all tucked into the smaller room for the reception. My father, Bud, welcomed everyone and did a perfectly balanced toast that was both sweet and a little embarrassing for Jackie. My husband, Jon, was the best man and is also a musician, so we opted to do a little musical ditty as our joint toast which I think was also sweet and a little embarrassing for both Nick and Jackie. We had a great meal of gourmet soup, salad, and sandwiches followed by homemade baklava from Nick's mom and an adorable cake his sister, Gina, made. After a little post-meal lull and sweet toast/serenade by Nick's father, we all got out on the dance floor and somehow it went from about 9pm to 1am in no time! Another talented friend and DJ, Matt Clark, made an a-mazing playlist for after the band finished up that kept us all on our feet. It was so fun to let loose and relax with my sister, new brother-in-law, and family and friends. This wedding truly brought us all together in a combined effort to make it a special day for Nick and Jackie, and we all felt proud to have been able to do it with them. So I apologize for the many shout outs, but everyone really played a part.
Most importantly though, I got to watch my sister marry a man she is head over heels for, and who I know will make her very happy, because he already has. He makes her tea before bed, she gets up early to let the dog out so he can sleep. They are great together. They made their wedding a beautiful celebration of them as a couple. It wasn't over the top, it wasn't bare bones, it was simple and beautiful. That simplicity put the focus right where it belonged, on celebrating the happiness they've found together.
I love you both so much! XOXO
How they met, in Jackie's words:
I’d had a feeling that Nick was about to propose.
We’d been living together for two years, first in a cramped apartment in Portland’s West End, then in a cute one-bedroom across the Fore River with water views and a bathroom painted an unnatural shade of orange that can only be described as “Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.” It was in that apartment that I began to imagine spending my life with Nick, and for the first time contemplated marriage with a stir of excitement instead of the rush of panic I’d felt through most of my 20s when I thought about walking down the aisle.
Last Valentine’s Day, we headed out for a romantic dinner at Fore Street, one of Portland’s most talked-about restaurants. We ate mussels and drank wine, high on the splurge and warmed by the fire crackling in the hearth. The mood was right, we were dressed up all fancy and it was Valentine’s Day — a fitting setting for a guy to get down on one knee.
BUT, Nick knew I was no fan of the restaurant proposal. We’d covered the topic in previous discussions about getting engaged. Along with “I don’t need a diamond” and “I’d rather talk about marriage first than be surprised, thank you very much,” I’d told him a public proposal was just not my thing. While a man broadcasting his love for the entire world (or at least the entire restaurant dining room) to witness makes some women swoon, I knew I’d feel self-conscious. All that attention at such a private moment would freak me out and I’d wind up thinking “Oh that lady at the corner table is not ordering breadsticks as my man is professing his undying love,” instead of actually enjoying the moment.
We ordered dessert, then paid the bill and hopped into Nick’s old Ford truck. That car is rusted, unreliable and will not pass inspection this winter without an act of God, but I’ll always have a soft spot for it. I was sitting in its passenger seat when Nick and I made plans for our very first date more than three years ago. He gave me a ride home at the end of our shifts at the restaurant where we both worked, and we made plans to watch “Boondock Saints” the following night. I was going for a slightly aloof and mysterious air as we said goodnight, but the truck’s sticky passenger door wouldn’t open. “How do I, uh, get out?” I asked. “Oh…just give it a push? Like that? Riiiight, there she goes, ok, yep, g’night.” Smooth.
Nick drove us up to the Eastern Promenade overlooking Casco Bay and stopped the truck. I knew something was up at this point, not only because it was an unscheduled detour, but also because Nick executed a roughly 10-point parking job to position the truck juuust so for the best view. We got out, he laid a blanket out on the truck bed for me to sit on and broke out two wine glasses.
Then he got down on one knee, looked me in the eyes, and…said what I’m sure were some incredibly romantic things that I admit I only vaguely remember now. I recall him holding my hands, speaking to me without a trace of the nerves I’d expected him to have. I, on the other hand, experienced most of the proposal in slow-mo, with a soundtrack of “This is happening. This is happening! This is HAPP-EN-ING!” playing on repeat in my head. I did manage to blurt out a “Yes!” and hold my hand steady enough for him to slip on the pearl engagement ring.