I should perhaps have renamed the month of May as "the month of Migis" as I was lucky enough to have not one, not two, but three weddings with three equally fabulous couples at Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake. Not only is Migis the best wedding venue in the whole of Maine, it's also less than one mile from our home in Maine so it's one of my very favorite places to photograph at!
I started my day at the secluded Ledges cabin with Sabrina and the girls:
You might be wondering why Migis is the best wedding venue in the whole of Maine, I think Sabrina summed it up best when she said,
"Last night [the rehearsal dinner] was just the best night ever. I didn't want to have one of those 'squeeze everything into 5 hours and spend all my time introducing people' kind of weddings. Last night we were sitting around the bonfire with s'mores and I could see my work friends talking to Mark's school friends and it was the best feeling ever. We have 2 days and nights in this fabulous place surrounded by all of the people we're closest to and it's amazing!"
Sabrina and Mark had thoughtful welcome gifts for all of their guests waiting for them in their cabins. If you haven't been lucky enough to visit Migis then you might hear the word "cabin" and think drafty/rustic camp type accomodation but you couldn't be further from the truth! The cabins and cottages and rooms at Migis Lodge are beautifully appointed with roaring fireplaces (not to mention your daily delivery of firewood by your firewood steward), modern bathrooms with soaking tubs, private decks and porches and more.
Sabrina and Mark are just a great couple and although they're super relaxed and jokey around each other they're also secretly quite romantic and very thoughtful. They each arranged to have a message inscribed on each other's wedding ring but it would be a secret until the wedding ceremony. Mark had "You are my happiness" engraved on Sabrina's wedding ring and Sabrina had "You're the one" engraved on Mark's.
Audrey started her day in Cliffside with Mark and the guys. Beers and help with ties, thoughtful gifts from Mark for each of his groomsmen and of course there's always time for a group selfie:
Sabrina and Mark exchanged cards with each other:
Sabrina's sister Samantha did the make up of ALL of the bridesmaids. I usually advise against friends or family members doing make up unless they just happen to be a full-time make up artist used to the time pressures at weddings but Samantha made everyone look amazing! Hair was by the always fabulous Lena of Hair That Moves.
When it was time for Sabrina to get into her wedding dress she was helped by her other two sisters Savanna and Jamie. Remember - if you have a dress with teeny tiny buttons you'll need to allow 20-30 minutes to get dressed and it can also be super helpful to have a crochet hook on hand as you'll likely not be a speedy as your alterations lady who spends all day fastening teeny tiny buttons.
Sabrina is super close to her parents and she shared stories about how along with her sisters she'd put on all sorts of fashion shows for her father Frank who had endless patience. Sabrina scheduled time for a "first look" with Frank and it was one of the most emotional moments of the day:
Sabrina and Mark wisely chose to do a first look and see each other before their ceremony so they could take all of the formal pictures and then enjoy thoroughly enjoy themselves at cocktail hour with their friends and family.
Occasionally a guest will say, "But isn't it bad luck to see each other before the wedding?!?" but the truth is that the whole "can't see each other thing" comes from ye olden days when most marriages were arranged and the groom wasn't to see the bride in case he didn't like the look of her and ran off. So many wedding "traditions" stem from this time - like how the bride carries a bouquet because most people didn't bathe that often and so the perfume of the flowers would help to disguise this fact!
Having photographed hundreds of weddings I feel fairly confident saying that the emotion that happens during a wedding ceremony comes from the fact you're standing up in front of all of your closest friends and family to say these huge vows to each other, not because it's the first time he sees you in your wedding dress! You can find out more about the "first look" along with quote from real live couples in this blog post "Should we do a first look?"
But back to Sabrina and Mark...loving their expressions and also how their parents snuck out onto the top deck of Cliffside to watch:
We then had time for relaxed couples pictures before we were joined by Sabrina and Mark's super fun wedding party:
Sabrina? Seriously?!? I should also mention that the beautiful pale green bridesmaid dresses were from one of my favorite bridal/bridemaid stores - Flair on Newbury St in Boston. And the stunning flowers with the most beautiful color palette were by Migis Lodge's own florist Marcia.
Sabrina with her youngest cousins:
When you're having an outdoor ceremony on a hot or windy day you don't know exactly how you'll look after the ceremony so another advantage of doing all of the family pictures prior to the wedding is that hair and make up are fresh and everyone looks fabulous! Relaxed yet mantel-worthy family pictures:
As we were finishing up the family pictures guests were slowly leaving their cabins and making their way to Petunia lawn for the wedding ceremony. They were invited to pick up one of these adorable flags to wave as Sabrina and Mark made their way down the aisle.
At Migis lodge you get to arrive in style on the beautiful Tykona II, an antique Chris Craft boat.
I'll let the wedding ceremony pictures speak for themselves suffice to say it was a beautiful (and emotional!) ceremony perfectly orchestrated by Captain Ken Barnes (my top pick for a Maine wedding officiant if you're looking for one!)
Sabrina and Mark wanted an "unplugged" ceremony where guests are asked to put their cell phones and cameras away and be fully present in the moment. It also means you can see a sea of happy smiling faces vs. a sea of cell phones! Captain Barnes made the announcement but asked Sabrina and Mark to turn for one picture before all of the phone and cameras were put away.
And then the ceremony was underway. I was happy to be working alongside Karen and Eric of Promessa films again.
The newlyweds then went for a short boat ride, waved off by their wedding party and families:
Once back on dry land cocktail hour was well underway, with a boatload (literally!) of oysters and other delicious hors d'oeuvres by Chef John and the team:
Another of the thoughtful touches throughout - cigars and matches to enjoy later:
I love, love, loved these alternatives to the usual escort cards, each guest had a perfect succulent plant to take home, all of the beautiful calligraphy was by The Apothecary Bee (etsy).
I thought this was an amazing idea. Next to this custom mailbox was a stand of vintage Maine postcards. Guests were invited to write a message or piece of advice on a postcard and place it in the mailbox. Sabrina's mom Sandy will be mailing the cards to Sabrina and Mark throughout their first year of marriage:
Some of the reception details awaiting guests in the Migis dining room, adored the centerpieces by Marcia:
Sabrina & Mark's grand entrance complete with surprise confetti guns set off by their wedding party:
Amusing yet very emotional toasts:
We managed to convince Mark to come outside for 30 seconds of twilight pictures, I think it was worth it ;)
The dancefloor was then well and truly opened and Jeff Ezrin of White Label DJs was AMAZING. I've been a huge fan of the White Label guys for a while and this was the second time I've worked with Jeff. If you're looking for a DJ who REALLY knows how to play and mix music then you should check them out.
Sabrina & Mark - I hope getting to see these pictures makes up for your post-honeymoon blues now you're back from Hawaii! I'll have your full gallery with hundreds more pictures ready for viewing tomorrow! Thank you for choosing me as your Migis Lodge wedding photographer, I've had so much fun getting to know you both but I still need to meet Henry the dog!