Photography by Cait Bourgault Photography
Jenna Howard and Andrew Cotter both grew up in Maine. A chance meeting on the dance floor at their friends’ wedding spurred a connection that was nurtured and grew through adventures and experiences across the state they both love.
Andrew decided to ask Jenna to marry him during a trip through Maritime Canada. The couple planned a road trip through Nova Scotia, fly fishing and exploring nature along the way, until they reached the very northern tip of Cape Breton. Andrew proposed as they were standing in a beautiful cove during a solar eclipse. “Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and spectacular cliffs, it felt like the edge of the world,” Jenna says.
Conveniently there was one tiny cabin without electricity open that night in the hills over that cove that the couple retreated to. “We shared Champagne and called our families to tell them the news,” Jenna says. “I had no idea about the proposal. When Andrew got down on one knee and showed me his Grandmother’s ring, I started to cry.”
Andrew and Jenna started looking for a wedding venue that would match their adventurous, outdoorsy spirits. They fell in love with The Kawanhee Inn in Weld, Maine. “We wanted to bring our guests on the kind of Maine weekend Adventure that we love to take, the way we fell in love,” Jenna says. The 1920’s wilderness lodge was classically beautiful, as were the surroundings. “We didn’t need much more!”
Jenna and Andrew loved the idea of getting married in a small Western Maine town. “Our whole family and close friends hiked Tumbledown Mountain together a few days before the wedding,” Jenna says. “Local vendors pulled out all the stops to make our day special.”
The weekend kicked off with a Rehearsal Dinner in the backyard of the Weld Historical Society. “The local community helped us hold a beautiful gathering,” Jenna says. “We strung lights in the trees and set up a long table in the back yard. Thanks to the Historical Society, our guests were welcome to explore the entire property, including a home preserved from the 1800s and the town’s old schoolhouse. It was so special!”
The forecast for the weekend was spectacular–80 degrees and sunny. “Our guests got to spend the last days of summer in Maine, swimming, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and fly fishing,” Jenna says. “Being together like this was a dream.”
Jenna and Andrew finished some last minute prep before getting ready for their ceremony in separate cabins. Jenna relished in the company of the women who meant most to her that morning. “Walking to the Lodge with the women who support and love me is a moment from the day I’ll never forget,” she says. She watched from afar as Andrew got in place, and her father held back tears as they waited to walk down the aisle.
“Our friend Kaitlyn performed the most beautiful, moving, emotional, and lovely ceremony,” Jenna says. “She carved out a moment for us to look at every guest, thanking them without words for their role in our lives.” They read the vows they had prepared for each other, and accidentally kissed before they were supposed to!
After a delicious dinner and touching toasts, their friend Oscar lit up the dance floor with music. Since Jenna and Andrew met on the dance floor of their friend’s wedding, it was wonderful to be dancing together at their own. “We danced the night away under strings of lights,” Jenna says. “Everyone told us you don’t remember the day because it’s such a blur…but we remember all of it!”
In Jenna’s Words
I’m so glad that…we were able to take our friends and family on the kind of Maine adventure off the beaten path that we love.
One of my favorite moments was…walking down the aisle and seeing Andrew for the first time. We didn’t have a First Look because we wanted to do it the old fashioned way.
I didn’t realize…how much I would need my friend Annie, a Maine native who now runs a fantastic wedding dress shop in Portland, Oregon. She helped right before the wedding to get my dress all ready and get me into it.
I really liked…the old school wristlet bustle that Jaqueline at Hem & Veil sewed for me. It was wonderful for dancing and walking around.
My advice to other brides is…give everyone you love a small task–nothing overwhelming–so everyone knows how to help on the wedding day.