Lost and Found
Erin & Eric

When Erin and Eric first met at a local restaurant, they didn’t get so far as to exchange numbers—heck, they didn’t even exchange names!

Photography by Russell Caron Wedding Photography  

When Eric Erland caught sight of Erin Ovalle walking into 310 Restaurant, a Traverse City, Michigan, hot spot, from his apartment, he grabbed his buddies and made a beeline for the restaurant. (Let’s face it—Erin’s gorgeous blond hair is hard to miss.) Erin, who was new in town thanks to a job at the local NBC affiliate, noticed Eric, too. The duo spent the next couple of hours checking each other out from afar.

When Eric’s friends headed for the men’s room, he seized the opportunity to strike up a conversation and walked over. The two traded small talk, including places of employment, but didn’t make proper introductions. Shortly after, Eric left with his friends. Erin didn’t even catch his name.

That Monday at work, Erin told her coworkers about this cute elementary school teacher she met over the weekend. She couldn’t get him out of her mind. And even though Traverse City, Michigan, is a small community, she didn’t bump into him again.

Thanks to her boss, whose wife, it turned out, worked at the same school as Eric, the couple was reunited. Erin’s boss spotted who he thought was the “cute elementary school teacher” during a visit to the school and asked for his email. Erin sent him a message and he instantly responded, asking her out on a date.

Erin and Eric tried to make it work long distance, after Erin took a job in Florida. But it was actually a tragedy that brought the two together in the end.

Erin got a call from her father, telling her he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had six months to live. She took a job in Portland, Maine and moved to be closer to her parents.

“After my dad’s passing, Eric flew out to be with me during the funeral, and we knew we couldn’t be apart any longer,” she says. After the school year was over, Eric found a job and moved to Maine, too.

Erin describes Eric’s proposal as “sneaky and perfect.” Eric collaborated with Erin’s boss and coworkers at the television news station where she worked. Her boss sent her to interview a doctor outside one of her favorite local restaurants, The Corner Room. When she got there, there was no doctor—only Eric walking towards her with an engagement ring.

“My cameraman was in on it, too, and taped the whole thing,” Erin says. “It made the morning news.”

Even though Erin is from Massachusetts and Eric is from Michigan, the couple could think of no better place to be married than in their chosen hometown of Portland, Maine. “Both Eric and I have embraced living on the coast, and we planned a rehearsal dinner and wedding to reflect who we were as a couple,” Erin says.

Since both of their families live out of state, creating an authentic Maine experience was a must. They hosted their rehearsal dinner at the Inn on Peaks Island, complete with a Maine menu of clam chowder, baked haddock, Shipyard beer, and wine from Cellardoor Winery. “It was a perfect start to a unique weekend,” Erin says. The couple put a lot of time and effort into planning their rehearsal dinner, which was a gathering of about 50 of their closest friends and family members.

“Our wedding day was so overwhelming at times. It meant so much to be able to look back on our rehearsal and remember how intentional we were able to be with each person there,” Erin says.

Eric and Erin planned a traditional religious wedding ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Luke’s and a nontraditional wedding reception at Grace Restaurant. “The cathedral appealed to us because it was not only a beautiful historic venue, but it was downtown in the heart of Portland,” Erin says. “It was important for both of us to be married in a church and the architecture, character, and pastor were a perfect match for what we had in mind.”

The sound of bagpipes echoed off the cathedral walls as the guests took their seats that unseasonably hot Saturday in May 2011. “The bagpipes added a level of intensity and excitement leading up to the ceremony,” Erin says. During the second reading, one of the groomsmen fainted. “After that ordeal, Eric immediately took off his suit jacket thinking he was next,” Erin says. Luckily, no one else required medical attention. “We’ll talk about that ordeal for the rest of our lives!”

After the ceremony, the newly-married couple and their wedding party were whisked away aboard one of All Aboard Trolley’s white trolleys to their reception at Grace. The couple picked this unique venue knowing the once-church-now-restaurant would really wow their out of town guests. They were right.

Instead of a sit down dinner with a traditional tiered wedding cake for dessert, Eric and Erin opted for a cocktail style reception with scrumptious sliders, cake lollipops, chocolate covered Oreos, and a candy bar. Sabin Beckwith, events coordinator at the Grace, helped the couple create exactly what they wanted. “We loved every second of the wedding planning process,” Erin says. “Eric was a hands-on groom and I was a very relaxed bride.”

The wedding party spent the remainder of the night gettin’ down on the dance floor, despite the heat, to the tunes of The Jay Biddy Band. The couple spent their honeymoon in Destin, Florida, where they spent time early on in their relationship. “We hadn’t been back in almost four years, so it was a perfect opportunity to see old friends, dine at our favorite restaurants, and relax on beautiful beaches.”

In Her Words
We asked the bride more about their special day. Here’s what Erin says . . .

I’m so glad that . . . in lieu of traditional favors, Eric and I gave out bookmarks from the American Cancer Society. We made a donation there in honor of my father, Tom, who passed away from bone cancer two years ago.

One of my favorite moments was . . . getting ready with my closest girlfriends and mom at Akari. They provided mimosas, music, munchies, and great service. It was so relaxing and special to have all morning and afternoon with women who mean so much to me.

I really liked . . . our vows. There is something very romantic and meaningful about saying traditional vows that millions of people have promised over the years.