By Michelle White
We are so incredibly thrilled to be this year’s Real Maine Wedding of the Year couple. What an honor to work with these awesome people in our own community. We are still dealing with the aftershock.
When I first heard about the contest I was in college. I have been stalking this contest for years. I have a love for wedding planning and design. I am that girl who dreams up her wedding day on Pinterest with multiple secret wedding boards. What I didn’t know was who I would share it with, until I met Justin.
I had recently graduated from the University of New Hampshire, when I met Justin. I was a waitress at a local restaurant for the summer and waited on Justin’s table. He came in with mutual friends of ours. I always secretly wondered who he was. We happened to be at another restaurant in October 2012, with friends, and he confidently walked over and sat down next to me. We hit it off, exchanged numbers, and went on our first date that week! We talked so long on our first date that Justin’s truck battery died and I had to jump his truck with my tiny car. I decided to see him again and again. I knew something was special about Justin when I met him. I remember going out to breakfast with his mom, and saying, “He is the one.” My married friends always told me, “You just know when you find the one.” I thought they were being cliché, but it was SO true for us. We just knew.
Justin and I didn’t do much the first few months of dating, as he was sick a lot. I ended up making him a lot of chicken noodle soup, and hoping he’d feel better. He finally went to the doctor and after many tests he received his lung cancer diagnosis on February 18, 2014. I will never forget the feeling that took over as I drove home from work that day. I thought, “I finally found the man I love, and he could die.” A scary thought for all of us. Though, I never thought to end the relationship. I truly feel that we met and fell in love when we did for a reason. If there is something we have learned together, it’s that everything happens for a reason, even though that reason may not be clear. We were meant to be doing this together.
Justin began clinical trials through Dana Farber and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I continued to apply to graduate schools while working. Finally, I was accepted into the University of New Hampshire’s graduate program. We moved in with Justin’s parents so I could be with Justin through multiple surgeries and medical side effects when he needed someone. Justin is still on clinical trials and doing very well. We are so lucky to have the best hospitals and health care right here in New England!
Driving to Boston often leads to a day full of tests for Justin and anxiety for us all. However, Justin and I traveled down to Boston several times for Red Sox Games. We enjoyed having some really fun times in a place that had a negative feeling for us. So when Justin decided to propose this past July, he knew that Fenway Park would be the place to do it! Justin will explain that he had second thoughts about the plan when he saw how many people were watching! It was a love-filled day for us, and some of my friends were able to surprise me at the game as well. He did a fabulous job planning the proposal, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Due to the start of my career, we had originally planned for a wedding in the summer of 2017. Planning and financials seemed to be better as we looked ahead. I had peeked at the contest right after getting engaged, and didn’t see a 2016 wedding yet. I just happened to look on February 1st, and there it was—our dream wedding right in front of us. Justin and I were elated that this contest was in York, a town we love and have so many ties to. Living in Wells, we are in York often. Dinner dates, beach walks with the dog, ice cream dates, and shopping are fun times we share together in York. What a blessing to be married in a place that is home to us!
We can’t thank our voters enough. Our supporters made posters, asked people we didn’t know to vote, and plastered social media with their pleads. The hard work and love we have shared together has not gone unnoticed.
On the day of the Freeport Wedding Show, Justin was definitely the anxious one out of the two of us. I was definitely the calm one. It was really great to spend some time with the other beautiful couples, and have our family there to support us. When our names were called, I felt like I was being proposed to all over again. I couldn’t help but break down crying in Justin’s arms. “WE DID IT!” I said in his ear, as I blacked-out in that moment. What a rush!
It was lovely to meet some of the vendors involved with our big day, take a picture in the photo booth, and then finally sit down with Christine and Melanie from Real Maine Weddings and Amber, our awesome wedding planner from Sweetest Thing Weddings, for our initial meeting. Planning started that day! We just enjoyed every minute. I can’t wait for this journey to October 21st. We are over the moon excited and we are forever grateful for this opportunity. Thank you times a million to everyone involved. We can’t wait to be Mr. and Mrs. Perry!