Darling Deer Isle
Kelli & Jay
Kelli and Jay's nautical wedding on Little Deer Isle fulfilled a childhood dream.
By Melanie Brooks
Photography by Audra Photography
Little Deer Isle holds a special place in Kelli Hutchinson's heart. Her parents grew up on the quaint Maine island and still have a home there. They were married on the front lawn of her grandparent's house, and it had always been her dream to get married in that same spot. Little did she know that her dreams would become a reality.

Kelli, who grew up in New Jersey, met Jay Kim, from Millinocket, Maine, at the University of Maine. Mutual friends introduced the couple, and Kelli instantly knew he was "the one." They quickly became inseparable. After graduation the couple moved to Portland, buying their first home together in Yarmouth in 2010.

It was on a weekend trip to Deer Isle to visit Kelli's parents that Jay decided to propose. "When we were standing on my parents' deck overlooking the beautiful ocean view, Jay said, 'I have something for you. I have a gift that has been in my family for many years and I want to give it to you, at a place that has been in your family for many years.' He then got down on one knee to propose," Kelli says. Jay had taken his grandmother's engagement stone and designed Kelli a gorgeous ring. They returned to southern Maine to a wonderful dinner and drinks prepared by friends. "It was one of the most special moments of our lives!" Kelli says.

When the couple started thinking about wedding venues, they wanted to create a relaxed environment, one where the guests felt like they were at home. "Little Deer Isle is such a special place, and to be able to share one of the most important moments of my life there would be unforgettable," Kelli says.

Getting married on her grandparent's lawn wasn't a reality, as Kelli's grandparents passed away a few years ago and the house was sold. The couple decided upon Harbor Farm, a private residence that is now available for special events. The venue is located on the same road as her grandparent's house. "Nothing could have been more special," Kelli says. "Even though I wasn't able to get married on my grandparents' front lawn, we were able to have our wedding right down the road at an absolutely gorgeous venue."

Kelli and Jay always dreamed of having an outside wedding, right by the water. "We wanted the wedding to be a mix of formal and informal, nautical and romantic," Kelli says. Amber Small from Sweetest Thing Weddings created a color palette using Kelli's picks of pink, gray, and ivory, and added a pop of navy blue, giving the event a nautical feel without being too literal.

Since Jay's parents are originally from South Korea, the couple incorporated his families' culture by wearing traditional Korean wedding outfits to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. "The colors are very vibrant and each attachment has a meaning," Kelli says. "We loved being able to honor his heritage and enjoy those memories with both of our families."

Kelli and Jay's traditional ceremony was held under an arbor that Jay had built. The couple decided to incorporate a sand ceremony. Kelli gathered sand from her parents' shoreline and Jay collected sand from his parents' lakeshore in Millinocket. Their mothers poured the sand into one glass jar, followed by Kelli and Jay, to symbolize the unity of their two families.

It was important to Kelli and Jay that their grandparents were present during their big day. "It was so special to have Jay's grandfather with us, sitting in the front row," Kelli says. The diamond in Kelli's engagement ring symbolized his grandmother, and Kelli had charms made from photos of her grandparents that she tied to her bouquet. "As I was walking down the aisle with my dad, and eagle circled over the arbor, flying low and slowly, as if it was looking at us and our guests. Then it tipped its wings and flew off. I can't help but think that our grandparents were there, sending us their best wishes."

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

I'm so glad that…it was a perfect night for everyone to let loose and enjoy themselves. The music was great, the company was great, and everyone danced the night away.

I really liked...how everything was planned out with the objective for convenience and comfort. It really allowed our guests to have a great time without worrying about transportation or the atmosphere being too stuffy and formal.

My advice is…take the time to walk around and look at the details!

Maine Vendors
Photography: Audra Photography
Wedding Planner & Florist: Sweetest Thing Weddings
Ceremony & Reception: Harbor Farm Weddings, Little Deer Isle
Catering: Over the Hill Farm/Swamp Yankee BBQ, Whitefield
Wedding Gown: Andrea's Bridal, Portland
Grooms Attire: Classic Tuxedo, South Portland
Bridesmaids' Attire: Andrea's Bridal, Portland
Rings: Day's Jewelers, South Portland
Hair, Makeup, & Nails: The L Factor, Brewer
Wedding Cake: Patty Cakes Design, Surry
Reception Tent: Wallace Tent & Party Rentals, Ellsworth
Entertainment: Time Pilots, Portland
Transportation: Cyr Bus Lines, Old Town