Emily and Ilya celebrate an intimate wedding weekend on Southport Island
Story by Abigail Worthing | Photography by Dory Diaz Photography
When Emily and Ilya Degtev decided on a locale for their wedding weekend, traveling to Maine to be near the water was an easy decision. “Maine is a very special place to me,” said Emily. “My dad grew up in Maine, and we have a house in Pine Point that we have been going to since I was a kid.”
Emily and Ilya met in their home state of Massachusetts. Emily is a native of Newton, and although Ilya was born in Russia, he grew up in Boston. For their first date, the couple had drinks at Saloon in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
From the beginning, Emily knew that Ilya was “the one.”
“It was really all of the little things,” said Emily of her now-husband Ilya. “He is such a caring, supportive guy who always wants to make me happy.” Throughout their courtship, Ilya and Emily found that they were always happy to be in each other’s company no matter what they were doing. The couple enjoyed exploring the area together and taking adventures to see new things. As Emily says, it didn’t matter to her if they were going for hikes, sitting on the couch, or just spending time with each other’s friends. She was always happy to simply be in the company of Ilya.
“I just knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him,” said Emily.
On the night Ilya proposed, he planned an evening filled with nostalgia for the two to enjoy before finally popping the question. It was the Friday before Emily’s birthday when Ilya took her to one of her favorite restaurants in Beacon Hill to celebrate. 75 Chestnut was in the same neighborhood that the two had first lived together as a couple before moving to Cambridge. During dinner, Ilya surprised Emily with a trip to Miami for the weekend. “It was a shock because it is very hard to surprise me,” said Emily. “Of course, I thought that was the big gift and the exciting moment for the night.” Little did Emily know, there was another big surprise in store for her that evening. After dinner, the two took a stroll to see the old apartment they had shared.
“I thought that it was a little odd,” said Emily fondly of the memory. “But also extremely romantic.”
On the stroll, the couple held hands, enjoying the evening and reminiscing. Ilya then pulled Emily over to a spot outside their former apartment that he knew was Emily’s favorite place in Boston. It was there that Ilya got down on one knee. “I honestly don’t remember anything he said at all because I was so excited,” said Emily of the proposal. “Knowing him, it was very sweet.”
For their wedding, the couple chose a classic Maine wedding venue, Newagen Seaside Inn. Located in Southport, Newagen is nestled right on the coast with a stunning view of the ocean and most sides of the property. Emily and Ilya were especially fond of the venue because they could host all their guests on the property. “It was just a fun, private weekend for our friends and family to spend time together,” said Emily. The couple decided they didn’t want to stick to a “theme” for their big day. The most important thing, they agreed, was to have a fun weekend for their family, surrounded by love. “Knowing people would be coming to Maine for the first time, we wanted our friends and family to be able to experience some of the things we love about Maine as well,” said Emily of her wedding weekend. Maine has had a special place in Emily’s heart since childhood, but throughout their relationship, Maine became a special place with Ilya as well. Early in their relationship, Emily brought Ilya on a trip to Maine to give him a tour of all of her favorite places and have him experience the place she loved so dearly. “I showed him all of the local spots, like the Old Orchard Beach bars and arcades, the bingo halls, and where we could get the best lobster snacks,” said Emily. “Once we started to plan, we knew that we wanted to get married in Maine.”
When it came to planning the wedding, Emily counted on Ilya and her parents to help bring the wedding to fruition. The couple wanted to ensure that their guests had an experience that they would remember for a lifetime, so they took great care to add touches that would create a unique event.
To welcome their guests into town, Emily and Ilya arranged for their guests to enjoy a harbor cruise so that everyone could enjoy the views their chosen locale afforded. On the first evening of the wedding weekend, there was a welcome dinner for their guests, during which Ilya’s family shared some of the traditions of their Russian heritage. The guests and happy couple spent their evening around the fire pit, laughing and eating s'mores to finish out the evening.
On the morning of the wedding, the bride, her mother, and the bridal party got ready together, eventually helping her into her gown she purchased at Kleinfeld’s, a joyful beginning to what would be a happy day. At the Newagen Seaside Inn, Emily and Ilya exchanged their vows on the property overlooking the scenic coastline. “My happy place is definitely by the water,” said Emily.
In a poignant touch, Emily’s brother David officiated the ceremony. Emily notes that having her brother announce them as husband and wife and kissing her new husband was one of her favorite moments of the day. To surprise their guests, Emily and Ilya arranged for a local farmer to bring two alpacas to visit with the guests during cocktail hour, a treat that caused much laughter amongst the guests and resulted in unique and fun photos.
The reception took place on the lawn, overlooking the grounds of the Newagen Seaside Inn. For dinner at the reception, the couple wanted to keep with the theme of allowing their guests to have an authentic “Maine” experience and chose to treat their guests to a lobster bake. “The lobster bake was delicious,” said Emily of their dinner. “We wanted to give our guests a real Maine experience and keep things more casual, so that was the perfect dinner for us.”
The couple was grateful to have had a weekend filled with laughter and joy, surrounded by those they loved the most. Both Emily and Ilya look back fondly at a day filled with their favorite things about Maine. “Maine has always reminded me of spending time with family and the fun trips I’ve taken there with friends,” said Emily. “We truly had a fun and loving weekend.”
Photographer: Dory Diaz Photography
Venue/Caterer: Newgen Seaside Inn
Florist: Pretty Flowers
Hair and makeup: Bei Capelli
Cake: Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott