A Lush Wooded Island Wedding
in Bar Harbor, Maine

Real Weddings
same-sex wedding attire ideas

Photo: Corbin Gurkin

Josh and Rick met in 2002 at a mutual friend's birthday dinner in Washington, D.C. "I thought Rick was a stylish dresser and liked his sharp sense of humor," says Josh, 40, the owner of a health-care design firm. "So I started playing footsies with him under the table." ("He wasn't very subtle about it," says Rick, 45, a management consultant.) Fast-forward eight years to March 2010, when same-sex marriage was legalized in D.C., where the pair reside. "The day it was announced, Rick emailed me asking me to marry him," says Josh. "My reply was 'Yes, YES, and YES!' " So on a snowy January morning, they and a handful of family members gathered at a local courthouse for a civil ceremony. "It was lovely," says Josh, "but we still wanted the experience of a wedding."

The couple threw themselves into planning a summer celebration. "Someone told us Mount Desert Island, in Maine, is an unspoiled version of Nantucket," says Josh. "We visited, and everything clicked." Since they couldn't be there to oversee the planning, they enlisted Meagan Gilpatrick of Maine Seasons Events to help with the logistics.

The pair didn't need any help, however, picking out their respective wedding looks. "We wanted our attire to be coordinated but not identical—kind of like us!" says Josh. Their boutonnieres were crafted out of native plants like white pine needles, sphagnum moss, and white heather.

natural greenery boutonniere ideas
mount desert island bridge

Photos: Corbin Gurkin

A curved footbridge in Somesville is one of the most photographed places on Mount Desert Island. "The first time we visited the island, we went to the Thuya Garden and were inspired to make ferns one of our wedding themes," says Josh.

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same-sex wedding ceremony ideas
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Photos: Corbin Gurkin

On the sunny afternoon of July 30, 2011, Josh, Rick, and their 100 guests gathered in Bar Harbor, a village on the east side of the island, for the 4 p.m. ceremony at St. Saviour's Episcopal Church. "It was important to both of us to be married in our faith," says Josh. "We wanted it to be more of a church service than a wedding production." Decked out in outfits by Jacadi Paris, Josh's niece and nephew, Elena and Charlie, served as flower girl and ring bearer. The moment the ceremony ended, their leashed yellow Labrador, Catalina, bounded up the aisle, pulling the newlyweds out the church doors. "It was as if she couldn't wait for us to begin the next phase of our lives together," says Josh.

mount desert island signs

Photo: Corbin Gurkin

After the recessional, everyone hopped on a trolley for a scenic ride through Acadia National Park. "It was a way to show our guests one of the most beautiful spots in the country," he says. Their destination: the Asticou Inn, a wood-shingled grande dame of a hotel nestled between the forest and the sea at the southern end of the park. There, guests found tents bursting with local trees, moss, and ferns. "We wanted it to feel like an enchanted forest," says Josh. White birch trees hung with twinkling lights were strategically positioned to hide the reception tent's poles.

During the cocktail hour, guests sampled local microbrews and a smorgasbord of oysters, clams, and lobster claws displayed in an ice-filled wooden boat. Then it was time to move on to the reception tent for a dinner of lobster bisque, filet mignon, and seared scallops.

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delphiniums, hydrangeas, roses, ferns, and moss centerpieces
fern wedding theme Photos: Corbin Gurkin

Reception tables were topped with arrangements of delphiniums, hydrangeas, roses, ferns, and mosses. "Alda Stich, our floral designer, grew a lot of it herself," says Josh. Another design detail, lobster-trap buoys, are a beloved sight in coastal Maine.

Lobster-trap buoys
fern wedding cake

Photos: Corbin Gurkin

Along with a buttercream cake covered in ferns, guests were served a selection of petits fours, profiteroles, mini tarts, pies, crumbles, and panna cotta for dessert. Rick and Josh's first dance? "Mama" Cass Elliot's "Make Your Own Kind of Music," performed by the band Retrospecticus. "The lyrics reflect our journey to our wedding day," says Josh. Soon the rest of the guests joined in—four generations of family and friends rocking out to everything from funk ("Rick is all about the horns—he's a former trumpet player," says Josh) to Lady Gaga.

But perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end of the evening, when a spectacular fireworks show lit up the harbor. "Boaters sounded their horns, Josh and I hugged, everyone looked up at the sky and embraced their loved ones," says Rick. "It was a fitting reminder to hold on tight, keep it simple, and never lose your sense of awe."

wedding tent natural decor ideas

Photo: Corbin Gurkin

Ceremony venue: St. Saviour's Episcopal Church || Reception venue & catering: The Asticou Inn || Event planning: Maine Seasons Events || Grooms' suits: Ralph Lauren || Grooms' shirts & ties: Charvet, available at Bergdorf Goodman || Flowers: Alda Stich and Bo Atkinson, 207- 342-5796 || Stationery: Gus & Ruby Letterpress || Reception music: Retrospecticus || Cake: Affectionate Confections, 207-561-0383 || Tents & rentals: Wallace Tent & Party Rentals || Fireworks: Central Maine Pyrotechnics || Transportation: Oli's Trolley || Photography: Corbin Gurkin Photography

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