Romance In the Orchard
Samantha & Joseph

Two families unite to create do-it-yourself magic in New Gloucester

Story by Reuben Bell III
Photography by Brittney Fairfield Photography

When Samantha Gifford met Joseph Parent at a high school homecoming football game, she thought he might be someone special. “From the beginning, I knew he was different than all the other boys” says Samantha. “He seemed to get the big picture in life and was an old soul.” After 5 years of long distance dating during college (Joe at Plymouth State University and Samantha at the University of Rhode Island), and a lengthy road trip they both knew they were meant to be together.

Joe proposed to Samantha during a camping trip on a particularly rainy weekend in the spring of 2017. Samantha remembers “We decided to go up to North Conway and go hiking and camping. South Moat Mountain was our destination and luckily the weather cleared formost of our hike. When we reached the top, I wanted to get a photo at the highest point so Joe followed me. When I turned around to find him, he was on one knee. He completely caught me off guard—I had no idea. Apparently he had been storing the ring in his backpack all weekend!”

The couple chose Thompson’s Orchard, New Gloucester, Maine for their wedding and reception. They were looking for something rustic and bohemian, and the orchard really fit the bill. Samantha and Joe knew from the beginning that they wanted to handle many of the aspects of their wedding themselves, with the help of family and friends. “So many of our friends and family helped and made it what it was. Joe made our birch arbor and his mother, Jackie, made the macramé backdrop.” Other DIY elements included antique spools that Samantha and Joe refinished and used for stools and tables, the hand crafted bar and signage that Joe made out of repurposed pallets, and homemade whoopie pies and cake made by Samantha’s Aunt Betty, of Betty-ReeZ WhoopieZ. 

The most special party of the day for Samantha came just before the ceremony. “Joe and I met for a first look to share a handwritten letter to each other. We were able to have that special moment alone before anyone else saw us. That was my favorite part. It was very emotional but I’m so glad we did that before we were in front of everyone at the altar. Then we kissed goodbye and I knew the next time I would see him would be walking down the aisle.” The personalized ceremony by Officiant Vivianna Adams followed, with the orchard’s gazebo and apple trees in the background. The reception, catered by a family friend, concluded with sparklers and Chinese sky lanterns—the perfect end to the festivities. “We really could not have done it without all the help from our friends, family and amazing vendors,” says Samantha, “They made it all possible! I wish I could relive this day. It was perfect and one hundred percent ‘us’, better than I could have ever dreamed.”


In Samanthan's Words

I’m so glad that… we stayed true to ourselves 
and made it exactly what we wanted.

One of my favorite moments was… the first look and sharing a written letter to

each other. It was a quiet private moment we had together before being around everyone else.

I didn’t realize… how much planning and little details go into a wedding, even a DIY wedding. It was worth the extra thought.

I wish… I could relive this day over and over again. It was our kind of perfect.

I really liked… that the rain held off! We had classic Maine weather; rain in the morning, followed by clouds, sun, a sun shower, and then a rainbow with some cold temps. Always have an extra layer just in case! It all added to the uniqueness of our special day.

My advice to other brides is… Stay true to who you are and don’t let anyone sway your decisions. If you want crazy colors, then do it if it makes you happy. There are no rules, it’s your day. Be present during your wedding day, don’t stress about the little things the day of. Things are probably not all going to go to plan but that’s okay. The most important thing is that you are marrying the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with. Plain and simple. All the other stuff is extra and should be fun.

Maine Vendors

Photographer: Brittney Fairfield Photography

Venue: Thompson’s Orchard, New Gloucester

Officiant: Vivianna Adams, Gateway Celebrations, Sebago

Hair: Missy Hall / The Hair Barn, Bath

Makeup: Brianna Rothman, Cumberland Center

Wedding Cake: Betty ReeZ WhoopieZ, Freeport

Tenting: Olson’s Tent Rental, Bethel

Rental Equipment: One Stop Event Rentals, South Portland

Wedding Gown: Designer Melissan Sweet at David’s Bridal

Groom/Groomsmen Attire: Macy’s