Sweet by the Sea
Kelly & Wyatt

These Merrimack College grads wanted to share their love for southern Maine, and each other, on the beach.

By Maddy Glover
Photography by Emilie Inc. Photography

In the spring of 2003, Kelly Laprade, a sophomore sports medicine major at Merrimack College, was assigned as student athletic trainer to the men’s lacrosse team. Kelly, a member of the women’s soccer team, attended all of the men’s lacrosse games and practices. Wyatt Brown, a junior on the team, hadn’t required medical attention all season and didn’t officially meet Kelly until an end-of-season party.

“We spent the entire night talking, but it just felt so simple, honest, and right,” Kelly says, adding that Wyatt had admitted to her that night he had always been quite aware of who she was—both on and off the field.

“Wyatt was a finance major so it was unlikely that we were going to end up in class together,” Kelly says. “Still, it’s amazing to think that we made it through two years at such a small college without even crossing paths.”

The couple became inseparable and continued their relationship past graduation. After maintaining a long distance relationship while Kelly was attending graduate school to become a nurse practitioner in Massachusetts and Wyatt was working as a carpenter in Maine, they realized they were meant to be together for the long haul. Kelly joined Wyatt in Maine in 2008.

Kelly and Wyatt had talked about getting married, but the actual proposal in December 2007 took Kelly completely by surprise. “Although we always talked about it, it just never seemed like it was going to happen anytime soon,” she says. “He suggested that we head into Boston to use up a gift certificate he had for the Top of the Hub Restaurant at the Prudential Center.” Sitting by a window overlooking Boston’s night sky, Kelly happily accepted Wyatt’s proposal.

“I have a very special person in my life, someone I love spending time and laughing with, someone who will comfort and support me in tough times, and, most importantly, someone who accepts and appreciates me for who I am,” Kelly says.

It was an easy decision to make it a Maine wedding. “We really wanted to get married in a place that was special to us,” Kelly says. “Wyatt and I had both spent time growing up in Maine. He attended elementary school in Freeport and I spent summers on Drakes Island.”

Kelly had picked out Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth as a wedding reception venue even before the couple got engaged. “I remember sailing off the coast of Cape Elizabeth with my family when I was younger, seeing the Inn by the Sea along the shore, and stating, ‘That’s where I am going to get married!’” Luckily, Wyatt loved it, too.

With a gorgeous ocean view, the couple started planning a beach wedding, paying attention to even the littlest details. “We were our own wedding planners, which gave us the ultimate opportunity to make this experience everything we ever wanted,” Kelly says. “Every detail of the day reflected who we are.”

The couple made starfish place cards for their guests and spent countless hours creating their favors, which were glass viewing boxes that held sand, shells, and sea glass found on Maine beaches. Kelly gave her bridesmaids L.L. Bean tote bags filled with personalized notes, wine, beach towels, and flip-flops to match their dresses.

A reggae-beat-infused cocktail hour with beverage-of-choice tropical rum punch added to the beach feel. The theme continued all the way to the couple’s honeymoon—which Kelly describes as being nonnegotiable—on the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora, French Polynesia.

“Initially, we were fascinated with the idea of a destination wedding where we would be surrounded by warm breezes, white sandy beaches, and turquoise water,” Kelly says. “But after thinking about it, we really just wanted a place we could easily go back to visit year after year.”  

In Her Words
We asked the bride more about their special day. Here’s what Kelly says . . .

I wish . . . that I could do it all over again every year.

One of my favorite moments was . . . seeing how emotional Wyatt was as I walked down the aisle at our ceremony.

I didn’t realize . . . that after months of planning, celebrating an amazing wedding day, and going on an incredible honeymoon that I would find myself wondering, “Now what?”

I really liked . . . being able to celebrate the beginning of our life together with so many of our close friends and family.

My advice to other brides is . . . to take the time to enjoy each other on your wedding day.