A Decade of Love
Allyson and Quinn’s seaside wedding is the culmination of 10 years of romance
By Abigail Worthing | Photos by Samantha Clemmer Photography
For Allyson and Quinn, falling in love was the most natural thing in the world. The couple met in middle school in their hometown of York, Maine, but didn’t begin dating until their senior year of high school. From the beginning, the two knew they were a good match, becoming not only a couple, but best friends. “We’ve always made sense, without even knowing how much at the time,” Allyson Johnson-Parulis says of their relationship.
When asked when the couple knew that the other was “the one”, they responded that they never had a specific moment where they knew they wanted to be together forever because they had known from the beginning. “I wish we had a cute, made for the movies answer, but really we just grew together in such a natural way that it felt right,” Allyson says. “There is no one else we’d want to spend our lives with. We’re each other’s best friends. With time we felt more and more like
we were each other’s person.”
When it came to the proposal, Quinn chose a quiet night at home to pop the question. Quinn knew that Allyson was not one for big, romantic gestures, so he surprised her when she came home from a late night at work. “It was our moment. I got home from work super late, and he surprised me by completely catching me off guard,” Allyson says of that night. “He tried to get our cat involved by placing the ring on his collar. It was a bit of a mess and he sprung the question, so I laughed, but I also said yes! To us, it was perfect and also hilarious, and since we value laughter and humor in our relationship, it suited us just fine.”
Having both grown up in York, the couple decided to hold their ceremony and reception at local standout, Dockside Restaurant. “We just always knew there would be something very sentimental to having our wedding where we first met. We grew up around the ocean and knew that if we were able to, being within a stone’s throw would be the ideal scenario,” says Allyson of choosing their location.
“When we first starting dating, we would go for walks along the Fisherman’s Walk, which you can see from the venue. This brought us another sense of novelty.” When thinking about the wedding, the
couple’s families had an “all hands on deck” approach to the planning process. The
couple says that having family involved made not only the day better but made the planning period more enjoyable.
“I know that the ‘big day’ is about the couple, but I found it all the more poignant
because it felt like a celebration of both of us coming together, but also a celebration of
the people we love and hold close to us,” Allyson says.
The recurring theme behind the design choices made by the couple for their wedding was centered around flowers, with floral designs on both invitations and save the dates. Allyson chose floral arrangements and bouquets that felt both wild and overgrown, which she felt was indicative of the couple’s personality. “More than anything, I wanted anyone who was attending and ate the lemon cake, saw the wild array of flowers or heard our song selections to be able to say, ‘that was definitely Ally and Quinn’s wedding.’”
On their wedding day, the couple got ready separately - Quinn and groomsmen at his parents’ house, and Allyson and attendants at her parents’ house. The bride’s hairdresser, Julie Dupuis, arrived early to aid the bridal party in preparations, but Allyson says it wasn't’t until the flowers arrived that it began to feel like their wedding day.
“The flowers were something out of a dream,” Allyson says of the arrangements. “Seeing all of the bridesmaids and my mom get pieces of greenery or little white roses to put in their hair started to complete this image I’d had in my head since the very beginning.”
The bride rode to the ceremony with her grandparents and younger sister, who served as her junior bridesmaid, while her brides- maids and maid of honor drove over together. The bridal party waited in the guest house at the Dockside as the guests arrived and were seated. When it was time for the ceremony to begin, the group slowly walked down the aisle to “Fare Thee Well,” from the film Inside Llewyn Davis
(one of Allyson’s favorite films) and the bride walked down the aisle with her father to “All My Days” by Alexi Murdoch.
Looking out over the ocean, Allyson and Quinn exchanged vows that they had written themselves that reflected their longevity, as they were married two days after their tenth anniversary.
“Before we knew it, we were pronounced husband and wife,” Allyson says. “Quite frankly, after 10 years together, I don’t know that we were prepared for the excitement that ran through us with that. It was surreal and gorgeous and put us in great spirits for the reception.”
While Allyson feels that it can be hard to plan something unique for a wedding, the couple chose to do a guest book that would have a lasting impact on their home; a wooden tabletop with the couple’s initials burned into it, made by the bride’s father. “Our guest book will turn into a table at our next home,” Allyson says of the memento. “It’s a piece that we’ll have forever as a reminder of a very special and happy day.”
The couple shared their first dance to the sweet and sentimental “I Can’t Help Falling in Love,” by Elvis Presley. They elected to have a shared mother/son, father/daughter dance, choosing “The Wind” by Cat Stevens for this special moment. For the reception, the couple wanted to focus on their love of music and movies. Allyson says that their DJ, Robert Wilson, was instrumental in taking her eclectic tastes and turning them into a cohesive play list. The couple chose a wide variety of songs, some ranging as far back as the 1930s with picks like “As Time Goes By.”
“Movies are another art form that we both cherish, so we purposefully chose songs that are either on our favorite movie soundtracks or backdrops to our favorite scenes,” Allyson says of their song choices. “It was a way to make the day more ‘us’.”
The couple also wanted to enhance their guests’ experiences by choosing songs special to their loved ones, including Prince for Quinn’s father and an Eddie Vedder song for Allyson’s parents.
“Throughout the day, any time a song came on, most likely we could pinpoint a memory to it,” Allyson says.
After toasts to the couple, dinner catered by the Dockside was served, followed by the ceremonial cutting of the cake. The cake, created by Nothing Bakes Like A Parrott, was lemon with a lemon butter icing, adorned with garnishes of fruit and greenery.
The wedding was a daytime affair, so guests stayed and danced until the very last song. The couple spent time saying farewell to their friends and families but spent the last part of their day together. Alone with the photographers, the couple spent time posing in a series of relaxed photographs outside the Dockside, basking in the beauty of the day. “We spent our last minutes taking photos by the ocean we were married in front of,” Allyson says. “Alone after a long and love-filled day.”
In Allyson’s Words
I’m so glad that
... it was such a family and friends affair. Our “guest book” which is a wooden tabletop with our initials burnt into it. It was built by my dad. My mom put together favors. My sister/maid of honor and one of my bridesmaids worked on setting up the seating chart. It felt like a collaborative process and one where Quinn and I were able to fully reap the benefits of the day because it was built on the work and love of the people we hold closest to us.
One of my favorite moments was
... our vows. For people who aren't’t exactly those who choose the spotlight, our vows were daunting because we aren't’t keen on such open sentimentality and we brought as much humor
to them as we were able. However, the day was perfect. Following a week of rain, we got the one beautiful day — the skies were clear, and we were right on York Harbor — and made this private moment (even though in front of a crowd) all the more special.
I didn't realize
... how crucial the flow would be. Thank goodness for those in my life who did, and handled things as Quinn and I bopped around.
... there is nothing I would have changed. Maybe I would have seated some people differently or closer to the stage, but seating is impossible. More than anything and more than we already had, I just wish I had been able to give more time to everyone who came.
I really liked
...that we got photos at the end of the day. We looked maybe a little more disheveled and a touch worse for the wear than we did at the start of the day, but the happiness on our faces is apparent.
My advice to other brides is
... trust your vendors. It seems like such an obvious idea but so many of us are reliant on sources such as Pinterest when in reality, it’s difficult to replicate those images in real life. Our DJ and florist, our officiant and the sales associate I worked with in finding my dress were instrumental because they could read between the lines of what I was trying to convey and worked with me. Have an open mind and don’t p ay to celebrate and if you worry too much the day will be over even quicker than it already is.
Photographer: Samantha Clemmer Photography
Venue/Caterer: Dockside Restaurant
Florist: York Flower Shop
Robert Wilson, Dionne Entertainment
Officiant: Jennifer Lewis
Wedding Cake: Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott
Julie Dupuis, Old Orchard Beach
York Nails, York