Lauren and Aaron met online (they’re actually one of several online dating success stories featured on STG!), and Lauren says she knew by the second date that she wanted to meet Aaron under the chuppah… 😉
…And when it came to deciding how they would celebrate that eventual meeting under the chuppah, they knew they didn’t want a traditional wedding with bridal parties or first dance formalities. All they truly wanted was simply to marry one another with the people they love close by their sides.
I love it when couples make their weddings a representation of who they are and feel free to remove anything that just doesn’t fit them, and Lauren & Aaron’s Big Day is exactly that — a wedding that reflects who they are and what they wanted, which was a truly intimate outdoor ceremony on the water, followed by a small ‘dinner party style’ reception at a local restaurant.
From the farmhouse they rented in Southern Maine that housed their closest friends for a week,to the intimate ceremony on a peninsula jutting out into the foggy Atlantic, and the cosy dinner in downtown Portland, Maine where they could turn in their chairs to talk to anyone in attendance, their entire wedding was an intimate, homely, warm affair.
And since their wedding was held in a public park (Kettle Cove), they knew that they needed a simple chuppah that they could transport, put up, and take down easily. They ended up purchasing four tall birch branches and using Aaron’s tallit for the top of the chuppah. Aaron is great at engineering solutions and mechanical design, so he created a tension-free system using twine, the tallit, and four small hooks in each of the birch branches to create the chuppah of their dreams. Who said Jewish boys are no good at DIY?! (Oh, and if you want to build your own chuppah for your wedding, there’s a lovely tutorial on the blog, right over here).
Lauren and Aaron joke that their wedding theme was a “wedding-themed dinner party.” They knew that they wanted to be able to spend quality time with their families and closest friends, and wanted their ceremony to incorporate the beauty and experience of the outdoors, with a cosy reception with great food where they could spend time appreciating their family and guests.
All the pretty and emotion has been captured perfectly by Sarah V. Martinez. Enjoy!
How we met
Lauren, the Bride: Aaron and I met via a dating website and exchanged a few witty emails before meeting in person at a coffee shop called ‘The Thinking Cup’, right off of the Boston Common. After coffee and tea, I asked Aaron if he was hungry, to which he replied “of course,” and we walked through the Common to a pizza shop on Charles St. The rest is history…
Choosing to get married in a beautiful outdoor space in Maine
We got married in a small park called Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. We knew that we wanted to get married in a beautiful outdoor space and have taken many wonderful trips to different points in Maine throughout our relationship. When we had our first phone meeting with our photographer, Sarah V. Martinez, she actually suggested Kettle Cove as a site in Maine where she enjoyed photographing.
I visited Kettle Cove one day with my best friend who lives in South Portland, and was wowed by the natural beauty there, reported back to Aaron, and we made our decision! We held our reception at Five Fifty-Five Bistro in Portland, Maine.
A wedding-themed dinner party
Aaron and I joke that our wedding theme was “wedding-themed dinner party.” Overall, we knew that we wanted to be able to spend quality time with our families and closest friends, wanted our the ceremony to incorporate the beauty and experience of the outdoors, and wanted a cosy reception with great food where we could spend time appreciating our family and guests. We planned everything ourselves, with the help of three great Sara(h)s (our photographer, restaurant coordinator, and DJ’s all coincidentally were named Sara or Sarah!). We deferred certain formalities like selecting wedding colours or having bridesmaids and groomsmen.
We love our wedding invitation! We used Paperless Post to generate a simple, classic letterpress invitation that gave a nod to our love of nature, and ended up working perfectly with the vibe of the wedding day.
It featured two little bright green groves of trees overarching our information. It wasn’t a traditional formal wedding invitation, but it felt totally in line with our style. We also edited the invitation language to reflect that our wedding was a celebration that we were hosting together with our families.
Hair + Make-up
I went to Bei Capelli and I had a low up-do in a classic style to keep my hair out of my face. The make-up was simple and as natural as possible.
Modern Trousseau dress
I purchased my Modern Trousseau dress at a place in Watertown, MA which sells samples of wedding gowns, and then had it tailored. I didn’t have a strong vision of what I wanted in a wedding gown ahead of time, which made the search a bit more challenging. I tried on a number of gowns in different styles, and ultimately gravitated towards those that had a fit-and-flare style to them. In the end, I found a beautiful dress that was an champagne and blush colour that felt the most like my style. I liked that it wasn’t the traditional white, and it was also comfortable to wear, without being cumbersome or too heavy to move around in at Kettle Cove or on the dance floor.
A rhinestone bracelet from Aaron’s late grandma
I purchased my rhinestone earrings at a store called Sorrelli that is based in Kutztown, Pennsylvania near where I grew up. Sorrelli jewellery is sold in different department stores and on the internet as well, and it’s always colourful, creatively designed, and eye-catching. I also wore a rhinestone bracelet that belonged to Aaron’s late grandmother to keep her in our thoughts on our wedding day. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to wear a veil, but ultimately did, which made for some great photos at the ceremony as the coastal breezes picked up!
I took a pretty utilitarian view on my bridal shoes, since I knew that they’d mostly be hidden by my dress and knew that I would be walking down the aisle in a grassy park for the ceremony. I chose a low wedge, ivory open toed shoe by Nina that I wore for most of the day since they were easy to walk in. For the dancing, I switched over to gold sparkly TOMS which were super comfortable, festive, and designed to boogie.
The handsome groom
Aaron purchased his navy wool suite at a local store called Miltons, where he has been going for many years. It was tailored there and fit great. His tie was a cool simple stripe that complemented his navy suit, which he purchased at Bloomingdales. He wore some great wingtip shoes that he’s had for many years.
No bridesmaids or groomsmen
We did not select any bridesmaid or groomsmen parties as our wedding was so small (about 50 people); so in a sense, everyone was the wedding party!
Since our wedding was held in a public park, we knew that we needed a simple chuppah that we could transport, put up, and take down easily. We ended up purchasing four tall birch branches and using Aaron’s tallit for the top of the chuppah. Aaron is great at engineering solutions and mechanical design, so he created an awesome tension-free system using twine, the tallit, and four small hooks in each of the birch branches to create our chuppah. It worked out perfectly.
Before the wedding ceremony, we gathered our immediate family and closest friends at a beautiful farmhouse 30 minutes north of Portland in Brunswick, Maine. Our friends also stayed over in the farmhouse before and after the wedding. We got ready for the wedding there, and did our “first look” under a beautiful old willow tree on the property. After the first look, we circled up in a family huddle with our family and got to express our gratitude for their love and support.
Next, my brother-in-law, who is a professor of religion, led us all through the ketubah signing ceremony outside of the farmhouse and spoke about the historical significance of the ketubah as well. Aaron and I wrote our ketubah together, and it was made by a woman in Israel who does beautiful paper cuts. Our wedding ceremony was also led by one of Aaron’s close friends, who is a judaic studies scholar, and officiated by a friend of the family who is a lawyer in Maine.
Our music choices
We asked a local Maine musician named Alan Wilson to play guitar for our ceremony, and our processional/recessional songs were by the guitarist Leo Kottke, The Crow River Waltz and Monopoly). Aaron and I found Leo Kottke’s music through a bit of internet research, but the light, jubilant tone of it felt right for the event and setting.
Aaron’s father, sister, and close friend gave speeches at our rehearsal dinner; my father, sister, and Aaron’s best friend gave speeches at our wedding reception. Everyone’s talks were so thoughtful, touching, warm, and personal – I tear up just thinking about them. The theme of my dad’s speech was gratefulness, and Aaron and I were truly grateful for every single person at our wedding and everyone’s reflections and kind words in their speeches. We were able to capture the majority of the speeches on a GoPro, so it’s been really nice to be able to re-watch them from time to time.
My bouquet was so gorgeous – Fiddleheads Florist in Cape Elizabeth, Maine did an incredible job, and mixed different bold autumn colours (maroons, dark pinks, chocolate, oranges) and used two of my favourite flowers/plants (dahlias and lamb ears). Before we left the farmhouse at the end of the wedding weekend to drive home to Boston, Aaron and I went up to the edge of the backyard and I tossed my bouquet into the fields behind us.
Five Fifty-Five Bistro set out small arrangements of table flowers out for our reception, which were tiny glass vases of various colourful springs of flower – they were so sweet and delicate.
Our fabulous photographer
We found Sarah V. Martinez via an internet search (Sarah V. Wild and Free), and really liked that she was excited about documenting outdoor, adventurous weddings. We got to speak with her more by phone and felt like she really understood what type of wedding were hoping for. Sarah and her husband Oscar did a fabulous job of capturing photos of our wedding day and helping us to plan everything out. Sarah truly loves her line of work, and was so kind, organized, and pleasant to work with; I can’t speak more highly of her. We filmed our wedding speeches with a GoPro, but elected not to videotape the wedding or reception.
Our reception was a memorable sit-down dinner at Five Fifty-Five Bistro, a restaurant in Portland, Maine. The food was INCREDIBLE – it was artistically presented and absolutely delicious, with great flavours and local ingredients. The event coordinator, Sarah, helped us to pick out an amazing menu, set up the restaurant to accommodate our 50 guests, and made it so that the event run seamlessly and we could enjoy the celebration. We had a small wedding cake with berries that was made by Portland Patisserie for the wedding.
DJ Riobamba was kind enough to DJ our small dance party, and had everyone grooving on the dance floor until the end of the night.
He played a list focused on funk, classic R&B, and motown music since that is our favorite type of music to dance to. We didn’t have any first dance or dances with our parents, but I asked that the first song to play was Love Train by the O’Jays since my dad and I used to sing it together around the house when I was growing up and I feel like it’s a good crowd-mobilising tune.
Maine Maple Syrup
We gave everyone a container of Maine Maple Syrup to take home with them. We’re still using some of the surplus for our weekend waffles, and can confirm that it is delicious.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
I would encourage couples to feel empowered to make their wedding day exactly what they want it to be and prioritise the day around what they value the most so that it can be the most meaningful experience possible.
Lauren & Aaron’s little white book
Photographer — I am Sarah V
Event Coordinator — Sarah of Five Fifty-Five Bistro
Ceremony — Kettle Cove park
Reception — Five Fifty-Five Bistro
Flowers — bouquet by Fiddleheads Florist, small arrangements of table flowers by Five Fifty-Five Bistro
Hair + Makeup — Bei Capelli
Bride’s Dress — Modern Trousseau
Bride’s Shoes — Nina and TOMS
Bride’s Jewellery — rhinestone earrings from Sorrelli, rhinestone bracelet by groom’s late grandmother
Groom’s Attire — navy wool suite from Miltons and striped tied from Bloomingdales
DJ — DJ Riobamba
Guitarist — Alan Wilson
Cake — Portland Patisserie
Invitations — Paperless Post
Airstream rental — Vintage Maine Vacations
Favours — container of Maine Maple Syrup
Chuppah — made by the groom