Glitter and Gold
Keirstin & Tyler
High school sweethearts Keirstin and Tyler had a sparkling winter wedding with rustic Maine details.
By Melanie Brooks
Photography by Hailey Tash Photography
These lovebirds met when they were both 12-year-old middle school students in Washington County, Maine. They had never spoken before when one of their mutual friends asked Keirstin Barker if she would “go out” with Tyler Varney. “Obviously I said yes,” she says. “It was very much the typical sixth grade thing.” For two years the couple talked on the phone for hours every night. They were each other’s best friend.

But when Tyler entered Washington Academy in East Machias as a freshman, he broke it off with Keirstin, who was in eighth grade. The couple were on and off throughout high school until Keirstin entered her senior year. “He told me all of his feelings for me,” she says. “I had always loved this man since I was 12 years old. He had my heart all of those years and nothing has changed.”

Tyler proposed to Keirstin on the day of her senior prom—May 10, 2014. The couple were with some friends getting photos taken before the event. It was freezing outside, and the photographer was setting the group up for some shots. That’s when Tyler got down on one knee and proposed. “I was in total shock,” Keirstin says. “The photographer caught the whole thing on camera!”

The couple began planning a rustic winter wedding from their home in Machias. They decided on a December wedding, leaving only five months to plan. “I had lots of help with the planning,” Keirstin says. “My mom and the wedding planners from Berry Vines Floral made it possible to pull everything together so quickly!”

The first big decision the couple made was on the venue. “The first time we visited Morgan Hill Event Center, I knew this was where I needed to have our wedding,” Keirstin says. The exposed beams and huge stone fireplace were two of the couple’s favorite aspects of the venue.

On the big day Keirstin and Tyler made the two hour trek from Machias to Hermon. Once they arrived at Morgan Hill, the bridal party immediately started doing hair, makeup, and nails. “Of course, this took hours!” Keirstin says. The girls got into their dresses and headed outside in the frigid air for some amazing photos. The beautiful sparkly dresses twinkled against the white snow.

Keirstin and Tyler decided to have a “first look” session with photographer Hailey Tash. “I think that doing the “first look” before the ceremony definitely calmed our nerves a little bit,” Keirstin says. “We were able to enjoy a moment together more than I think I would have in front of about 180 people!”

The ceremony and reception both took place inside the Morgan Hill Event Center. For the ceremony, the aisles were lined with birch stumps topped with glowing candles. Strung lights hung from above and added to the golden light. Keirstin’s uncle and cousin sang the John Legend song, “All of Me” during their intimate ceremony for family and friends.

As the guests made their way into the main event room they grabbed their wedding favors from the Christmas trees that were lit up for the event. The couple gave tree ring Christmas ornaments that were imprinted with the same design that graced their wedding invitations—pinecones and fir branches.
The three wedding cakes were decorated with pinecones, fir boughs, and cinnamon sticks. The tables were set in a similar fashion, keeping the rustic Maine theme continuing throughout the space.  

In Keirstin's Words
We asked the bride more about the big day. Here's what Keirstin says . . .

I’m so glad that…we had a videographer. We were really on the fence whether or not to do it, and I am so happy we did! It was so worth it!

One of my favorite moments was...our first look.

I wish...we had cut the cake right after dinner. Lots of our older guests didn’t get to have any cake because we had waited a while after dinner to cut it and serve.

I really liked…how the DJ kept the dancing fun. He mixed it up and everyone was dancing all night!

My advice to other couples is…not to stress out! I can’t say that enough. I told myself the entire time that I was planning the wedding that I would not get stressed. I wanted to be able to enjoy the planning process and the wedding day itself. You are going to be the only person to notice the little things that may go wrong, so have fun and enjoy. It goes by fast, so don’t waste time stressing.

Maine Vendors
Photographer: Hailey Tash Photography
Videographer: Media Northeast
Wedding Planner & Florist: Deborah Sternbergh and Amy Wagner of Berry Vines Floral, Machias
Ceremony & Reception Venue: 
Morgan Hill Event Center, Hermon
Florist: Berry Vines Floral, Machias
Wedding Gown: Henry’s Bridal, Bangor
Bridesmaids’ Attire: House of Brides, Bangor
Groom’s Attire: Macy’s, Bangor
Rings: Designs by Aaron, Machias
Nails: Natural Nails, Bangor
Cake: Lehann Squared, Machias
Photo Booth: Photo Booths of Maine, Bangor
Entertainment: Doug Fulsom of Premier Limousine and DJ, Brewer
Transportation: Down East Limousine, Machias