Emma and Graham and high school sweethearts, meeting in their hometown of Hallowell, Maine. Their relationship blossomed during their junior year while on a school trip to rebuild houses after Hurricane Katrina.
Graham decided to ask Emma to marry him during a trip to Puerto Rico for their fifth anniversary. He proposed on the beach at sunset—how romantic!
The couple, who live in Houston, Texas, decided to head back to Maine for their big day. “We met in Maine and a lot of our family lives in Maine or New England,” Emma says. “We wanted a venue where we could have complete control and that meant something to us, so we chose Graham’s family lake house on Sebago Lake.”
They created a celebration around the theme of a vintage afternoon tea party. They added a lot of personalized touches to their wedding. Graham wore a kit and they had a bagpiper for the ceremony—a nod to both Emma and Graham’s Scottish heritage. Graham made the ceremony arbor himself from birch trees cut from Emma’s grandmother’s backyard!
“We collected vintage porcelain tea cups, wrote our names and wedding date on them, and used them for the champagne toast,” Emma says. “Our guests took them home as wedding favors.”
On the morning of the wedding, Emma relaxed and got ready with her bridesmaids. Graham stayed with his groomsmen and close friends in a nearby lake house. They met photographer Julie K. Gray for a ‘first look’ on the beach. “This was a great idea and the photos turned out beautifully!” Emma says. “It was so nice to have a moment alone together before heading over to the venue.”
Graham’s father officiated the ceremony. “The wedding was small, with only 50 guests, so the ceremony felt very intimate and special,” Emma says. The couple had a lunch reception, catered by Graham’s groomsman, Tristian, a professional chef. “Tristian and his mother created the menu and produced a buffet of afternoon tea-style food, which consisted of tea sandwiches, scones, salads, and soup.”
Champagne was served during the cake cutting, and everyone enjoyed dessert and toasts on the porch. The couple played some of their favorite tunes and while there was no official dance floor, guests insisted Emma and Graham have a first dance as husband and wife. They swayed to Etta James’ “At Last” while guests joined in. “This was totally impromptu and one of my favorite memories from the day!” Emma says.
The evening ended with guests gathered around the fire pit. Emma and Graham left their party and headed to the Westin Harborview in Portland for the night. “We ended the night with a piece of our wedding cake and a bottle of champagne in bed,” Emma says.
In Her Words
We asked the bride more about the big day. Here’s what Emma said…
I wish…we could do it again!
I didn’t realize…how many little things that we were worried about turned out to be totally fine.
I’m glad that…we did a ‘first look’ before the ceremony. It was so nice to see each other and get excited for the day together.
I really liked…the food and the cake!
My advice to other couples is
…pick the things that are most important to you about your day and don’t compromise on them.