North of Ordinary
Abby & Dane

This couple erased the Mason-Dixon Line in their South-meets-North Maine destination wedding.

By Mimi Pinette
Photography by Mark McCall Photography

Abby Smith had a good feeling that Dane Honhart was “the one” on their very first date. The couple had met at an event at Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, Tennessee. Dane was a newly minted alum and Abby was just starting out in her first year.

“In addition to the obvious chemistry, it was impossible to ignore how much we had in common,” Abby says. In fact, probably the one single thing that divides this couple is physical. Dane is 15 inches taller than Abby.

Dane joined Abby and her family on their annual trek to Abby’s grandmother’s house in Orono, Maine, from their home in Virginia for the holidays in 2009. “It was a picture-perfect Christmas,” Dane remembers. “There was snow on the ground, the air was cold and crisp, and a Christmas tree was stuffed to the boughs with gifts.” It was when they headed upstairs to put away their gifts that Dane got down on his knee and proposed.

“I actually don’t remember a single word he said because my internal monologue was running so loudly screaming ‘Yes! Yes! Say yes!’” Abby says. And while Dane was professing his love, the couple’s new puppy, Digby, ripped a nightlight out of the wall and started chomping on the lightbulb. Dane literally had to say “hold on a moment” while he took the lightbulb away from Digby, then returned to bended knee to finish the proposal.

When it came time to pick a spot for the wedding, Maine was an obvious choice. “Abby’s family is from Maine and all of her aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews either still live in Maine or are in the New England area,” Dane says. “Abby has spent every summer and Christmas vacation in Maine—so it was easy to see that Maine was the right fit.” Dane’s family often visited Maine while he was growing up in an Army family that lived all over the U.S. and Canada, so the state had special memories for him, too.

“Maine in the summertime is absolutely gorgeous,” Abby says. “We are very outdoorsy people and were thrilled at the opportunity to celebrate our marriage with a coastal wedding.”

The couple also found that planning a wedding from afar had definite advantages. “We couldn’t possibly have visited every vendor, so we made decisions based solely on recommendations from family and friends who live in the area,” Abby says. “In fact, we didn’t even visit The Lookout Inn, where we held the reception, or the chapel before our wedding weekend.”

And what a weekend it was! Dane’s family hosted a lobster bake on Friday night and on Saturday, before the wedding, the couple invited friends and family to a southern pulled-pork picnic on the ocean by the inn. Abby’s mom brought the goods all the way from Abby’s favorite BBQ joint in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. The ceremony and reception took place on Saturday afternoon and lasted well into the evening. On Sunday, the whole family went back to Abby’s grandmother’s house in Orono and played Wiffle ball in the yard, swam in the Stillwater River, and feasted on Pat’s Pizza—a family favorite.

“Food is incredibly important in my family,” Abby says. “It’s a way of reconnecting through all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We plan meals together, we cook together, we eat together, and we do the dishes together.” And serving local food at the wedding was also important—especially to Abby’s mom, Rita Smith, who is a dietician. Their menu included Maine-grown red potatoes and salad greens, grass-fed beef, and Atlantic halibut caught by local fishermen.

The couple spent just as much time planning their ceremony as they did the menu. The intimate wedding of 60 people gathered at the Beth Eden Chapel in Brooklin for a rustic and beautiful ceremony. There were no vaulted ceilings with frescos depicting cherubs and Bible scenes, no ornate pillars etched in gold, no grand pulpit, and no thunderous pipe organ. There were, however, a raised platform and a simple cross made out of two birch branches.

“We were both raised in the Catholic Church, so many of the religious traditions were important to us,” Abby says. “But at the same time, we wanted all of our guests to feel welcome regardless of their faith, so we worked really hard on developing a ceremony that was uniquely us.”

Choosing their photographer was much easier. “I was looking through a couple of wedding magazines, picking out photographic styles that I liked, and virtually every photo that I picked happened to be taken by Mark McCall,” Dane says.

McCall took Abby and Dane aside a few times throughout their wedding day to take photos away from the crowd. “He took some great ones immediately following the ceremony on a little road alongside the chapel,” Abby says. Both Abby’s and Dane’s big smiles, cradled by their dimples, were the perfect punctuation to their day.

“I think Abby and I laughed our way through most of the day,” Dane says. Including at the ceremony when Abby missed her cue to say her vows. “My absolute favorite memories were during the ceremony,” she says. “With all of us laughing together I really felt like we were surrounded by our loved ones.”                                      

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

I’m so glad that . . . we kept our wedding small and planned a weekend event. I really felt like I got to relax and enjoy myself with our guests.

One of my favorite moments was . . . our first kiss as husband and wife. Our family and friends were cheering so loudly that it was echoing throughout the small chapel. We couldn't even hear the music that was meant to cue us to start walking down the aisle.

I wish . . . we could do it all over again. We had so much fun!

My advice to other brides is . . . to keep it simple. Know what's important to you and then delegate the rest. The only person who will care about the small stuff is you, and you'll be too busy to notice anyway.