Maggie’s good friend from high school happened to be roommates at Middlebury College with Connor. When they needed another roommate for the summer, Maggie answered the call.
It was the summer of 2007 and Maggie was a sophomore at the University of Richmond. When her friend asked her if she wanted to spend the summer living and working in Newport, Rhode Island, she agreed. “I saw this as a fun opportunity to meet new people,” she says. “Connor and I were introduced in late May and began dating almost immediately.” They lived and worked together all summer long before beginning a long-distance relationship that fall.
Even though the couple went ring shopping a year before he proposed, it was still a surprise to Maggie. The couple was staying at Connor’s family condo in Vermont a week before Thanksgiving. “We woke up early on Saturday morning to walk our dog to the nearby lake,” Maggie says. “It was clear and sunny but freezing cold, so we bundled up in sweatpants and winter coats and brought mugs of coffee with us.” No one was on the beach next to the lake, so Maggie and Connor enjoyed a few peaceful minutes before Connor got down on one knee to propose. “We had been together for so long and talked about marriage so often, so the actual moment felt pretty surreal.”
The couple wanted a low-key but beautiful summer wedding. Maggie grew up in Yarmouth and the couple loved the idea of having their guests experience Portland and Casco Bay. The Chebeague Island Inn was a natural choice, as it is owned and operated by the family of one of their groomsmen—the same friend who introduced them nearly a decade earlier. “Most of our guests rented houses or booked rooms at the inn, and many stayed on the island for several days leading up to the wedding,” Maggie says. “It was an opportunity for everyone to escape their busy lives and spend time together in a really relaxed way.”
Maggie and Connor had a huge wedding party—seven bridesmaids, 11 groomsmen, three ushers, and three ceremony readers. “It seemed crazy, but it made us so happy to have each one of them involved in the day,” Maggie says. “Our closest friends are such a big part of our relationship.”
The wedding day started out with a brunch Maggie hosted for her bridesmaids and sisters-in-law while Connor and the guys hung out at a house nearby. The women got ready together before an island school bus took the bridal party to a barn by the water where Maggie and Connor had their “first look.” After some photos, Maggie and Connor joined their wedding party at the Chebeague Island Inn bar while their guests arrived for their ceremony.
After a short ceremony and extended cocktail hour, guests enjoyed dinner and dancing. “Our band was amazing and all of our guests danced into the night,” Maggie says. At the end of the night the couple was surprised with an incredible fireworks display over Casco Bay, which was followed by late nigh snacks and a campfire.
In Her Words
We asked the bride more about the big day. Here’s what Maggie said…
I wish…I had let myself relax sooner. I cared so much about the experience for my guests that I was preoccupied by details in the days leading up to the event. Once I knew everyone had arrived and the setup was complete, I took a deep breath and enjoyed it.
I didn’t realize…how special it would feel to be surrounded by the most important people from all parts of our lives. It made me endlessly happy to see photos of friends and family members meeting each other for the first time, even though many of them had heard of each other before.
One of my favorite moments was…the ceremony. Connor and I did a “first look” to have a private moment beforehand, which calmed my nerves after so much build up. Once our ceremony began, we were able to reflect on the real purpose for us being there. Our siblings stood with us, Connor’s brother-in-law officiated, and my sisters-in-law were the readers, so everything that was said was personal and heartfelt. I didn’t expect to be emotional, but there were moments when I was really moved by the love and support of everyone who attended. After nine years, we knew that each guest played a role in getting us to that point in our relationship. And everyone partied!
I’m glad that…I followed my instincts. It is so easy to get wrapped up in trends or try to replicate amazing ideas from other brides, but it can become overwhelming and inauthentic. Everything I chose—form the dress to the menu to the accessories—was something I loved right away. We tried not to second-guess ourselves too much, and it turned out just as we envisioned.
My advice to other couples is
…focus on the things you enjoy about the wedding, and, when possible, delegate the boring stuff. The last thing you want is to feel like everything is a chore because you are bogged down with logistics. Also, do your research before deciding on vendors! If you find good people who are great at what they do, you can rely on their advice and experience, which will make your life much easier.
Hair & Makeup: Akari