Abby & Dustin’s Maine Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

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Maine wedding ceremonyAbby & Dustin’s Maine outdoor wedding ceremony took place in July of 2013.

Abby:  Electrical engineer by day, bartender by night, horse fanatic around the clock.

Dustin:  The one guy who can handle Abby (and that’s a testament straight from Abby’s father).

Abby and Dustin were planning some logistics regarding their wedding ceremony when Abby asked Dustin: “Where do you want to stand?”. Dustin’s response: “Next to you”.  Ahhhhh.  Quick wit at it’s best.

The ceremony took place in the morning under an arbor on the lawn where Abby grew up (with an impressive view I might add).  Abby actually wrote the entire ceremony herself and included a hand ceremony.  About two weeks before the wedding, she decided it was “Too much, too much!”, and sent a revised copy which was significantly shorter, and absolutely perfect. The girl knows what she wants!

Abby and Dustin sent along a couple of photos to share.  Credit goes to Heather Sparrow Photography. Heather did a spectacular job of capturing the love between them, and their personalities really shine through. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Gray – And a sincere thanks for allowing me to be a part of such a special milestone.



Maine wedding ceremony

4/14/13 – One Plus One Makes a Family

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On April 14th, I married Shelly and Belinda in a semi-casual ceremony at the home of Shelly’s parents.  Though it is not wedding related, I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with Shelly’s parents.  Together, they built custom kitchen cabinetry out of wood cut on their own land. Shelly’s mom designed and Shelly’s dad crafted.  Gorgeous, functional and amazing…Much like their marriage.  Without a doubt, the commitment they display has trickled down to their children.

Maine wedding

Now, I always enjoy the pleasure of sipping wine and champagne.  Okay, so I wasn’t really sipping.  Whatever!  It’s a wedding!  Eating strawberries, whipped cream and to-die-for cake are a few of my favorite things as well.

But best of all…Getting to hang out a bit with the brides and their family and friends.  What a crew.  They’re warm, loving, tolerant, accepting, full of zest, multi-talented (from keyboards to cabinets, they have it covered) , and they put fun right up their at the top of their priority list.  Now those are my kind of people!

Maine wedding

When I arrived, I was almost overwhelmed at the positive energy within this group.  They tease each other warmly, show affection without reservation and laugh without hesitation.

Shelly and Belinda have a wonderful son named Cameron, who was as big a part of the day as Shelly and Belinda themselves.

Cameron had made it clear that the three of them were getting married right from the get-go when they filed their marriage intentions.  So we incorporated a vow from Shelly and Belinda to Cameron to honor his place in their family.  Cameron himself was given the honor of pronouncing them all as a family at the end of the ceremony, a job he carried out flawlessly.

Maine wedding ceremony


The joy over this marriage didn’t end there.  All of those present were clearly elated to be gathered for such a special occasion.  Shelly sent me a few photos and the moment I opened the one of the entire group, I again felt that same positive energy just oozing from the photo.  I am loving the big smiles all around…Evidence of a truly happy moment.

During a toast to the newlyweds, Shelly’s mother expressed a simple wish: Peace and harmony.

Congratulations to Shelly, Belinda, Cam and the rest of the group.  Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of such a fun filled afternoon!

Maine wedding ceremony

 (Look at all those great smiles!!!!!!!)

3/25/13 – Red Sox Fans Unite!

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Red Sox Fans Marry in Maine

Photo Credit:  Bonnie Harrison Photography

When I look back upon the weddings I’ve performed, one in particular stands out.  Far out.

Marty and Jerry planned a May 2011 wedding at a gorgeous waterfront “cottage” on Barters Island.  Cottage it was not, but here in Maine we use that term to describe any residence located close enough to the ocean to smell salt water.  The gently sloping lawn leading to the water and the grounds around the cottage were beautiful.  I’m still not certain that I didn’t see it on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens.  The atmosphere was relaxed and offered the much sought after feel of Maine’s slower pace of life.

Before I go further, I should provide a bit of background.  I did my meet and greet with Marty and Jerry at Marty’s office, after she was off the clock, of course!  They finished each others sentences, gazed adoringly at one another, engaged in affectionate teasing, and laughed.  A lot.  The chemistry between them was magnificent.

While they were dating, Jerry had gone out of state for schooling in the marine industry.  Over the course of that year, they saw eachother only once or twice.  Upon Jerry’s return, life moved forward and they began planning their wedding, which by the way was a green wedding – kudos to them, right?!

So, back to the cottage.  Chairs facing the water were set up for the guests, a simple white wooden arbor in place.  You’ll notice the arbor has a compass on its front.  The compass is a meaningful symbol to Jerry and Marty because as Jerry said: “Marty is my compass, she is always guiding me in the right direction”.  Don’t you just love Jerry already?

Katie Daggett, a local musician, entertained guests while they waited for the wedding party to arrive.  I led the guys to the arbor and into their places and we waited for Marty to arrive, escorted down the aisle by her step-dad.  Marty’s brother was her “Gentleman of Honor”.

You might have guessed already that Marty and Jerry march to the beat of their own drum (and a fine drum I might add – honestly, they are exceptionally great people).  So, Marty had no intention of walking down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus or Canon in D Major.  Instead, she privately arranged for Katie to play a song near and dear to her heart during her entrance.  The song was kept secret from all.

As Marty and her step-father appeared and began their descent down the hill where Marty was to meet her groom, Katie began playing the most fabulous and soft rendition of Sweet Caroline.  Yes, the Mister and Misses are Red Sox fans.  There wasn’t one face on that lawn without a great big, wide grin.

Now, you don’t have to know a thing about baseball to know what you’re supposed to do in the northeast when Sweet Caroline is being played…Even if it’s during a wedding ceremony.

So, as Marty stood before me and Katie plucked the chorus, the bride, the groom, the men standing up with them, their parents, all the guests (and yes, even their officiant) all chimed in as if on cue to supplement the chorus with:  “Bum Bum Bum!” and “So good, so good, so good!”

You just can’t plan a moment like this.  A goosebumps on your arms, all over body tingle, hair standing up on the back of your neck, lump in your throat moment.

And as for Marty and Jerry?  Life continues to move forward.  Forward in the kind of way that I’m willing to bet that somewhere around their house at this very moment, you’d find a tiny pastel pink Red Sox hat.  And likely a matching jersey, too.

2/16/13 – Mark and Nikki

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Maine elopement

I absolutely love the opportunity to step outside of the norm, so I was very excited when Mark and Nikki asked me to perform their outside wedding last weekend.

We are fortunate here in Maine to have seasons which change the look and feel of the landscape every few months.  Why shouldn’t we take advantage of that?  I also appreciate winter fashion, and it was refreshing to see a bride dressed in a white coat and boots instead of a white dress and heels.  So New England, so winter, so casually classy! Maine elopement ceremonies

The weather stations predicted a “dusting” of snow for that morning.  Of course, anyone who has spent a winter or two in Maine knows that a “dusting” isn’t always as innocent as it sounds.  In a perfect world, a dusting would drop just enough fresh snow to cover the old, with no accumulation on the roadways.  In which case, Mark and Nikki would be able to count on a spectacular backdrop for wedding photos.

Lo and behold, we were given precisely the dusting I had hoped for Nikki and Mark.  Mother Nature also raised the temperature to an enjoyable thirty-something.  Now, thirty-something may seem cold to some, but in my opinion, it’s perfect.  With temps in the thirties, you have rosy cheeks without shivering, and nature in its purest form (and the lack of black flies?  BIG bonus!!!!!).  It’s the best of both worlds, truly.

So, the wedding was to take place in Hallowell at Vaughan Woods (or Hobbit Land as the locals know it) on the bridge below the falls of Cascade Pond and over Vaughan Brook.  I could attempt to describe what a gorgeous place this is, but the photos do it far more justice.Maine wedding ceremony

I should mention that Mark and Nikki arranged this ceremony quietly and kept their plans a secret from all but their closest family which turned out to include ten people.  And what a fun ten they were!  The group met at the trailhead and made the short trek along the path to the bridge.

Mark and Nikki took the liberty not only to write their own vows, but their entire ceremony.  The opening words were wonderful and I can’t help but share them below.

The plan to marry is a tough secret to keep and so immediately following the ceremony, there was a bit of buzz about revealing to extended family and friends that the knot had been tied.

On the walk out of the woods, we noticed a tree to the right of the trail with a large red heart painted on it.  Because it was facing the opposite direction on the way in, we all missed it.  But on the way out, there it was, blatant and obviously calling for Mark and Nikki to stand alongside it for photos.Maine marriage officiant

The day was filled with much love, laughter, excitement and playfulness.  You just can’t ask for more.

Love is the reason we are here.  In marriage we not only say, “I love you today”, but also, “I promise to love you for all of our tomorrows.” 

Congratulations and best of luck to Mark and Nikki.  May you enjoy many more tomorrows.

Maine marriage



Jessica Parker at Delightfully Inspired Photography in Portland takes credit for these wonderful photos.  







12/12/12 – Todd & Dulcey

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Hallowell Maine wedding

 (Photography credit:  Kara Waller)

It is always a pleasure to perform a wedding in Hallowell, where I was raised.  So I was thrilled when Todd and Dulcey asked me to officiate at their Hallowell Maine wedding in June at a restaurant called Joyce’s on Water Street.  If you’ve never visited, Hallowell is a personable little city (yes, it’s a city and not a town) with tons of historic charm and colorful residents.

Todd and Dulcey were a couple a long time in the making.  They didn’t start dating until quite some time after they met.  Turns out, the two were smitten with eachother after their first and very brief encounter.  Shortly before the wedding, I overheard Todd tell a friend he wished he had met Dulcey twenty years sooner.  Fast forward to June…

Joyce’s features a large patio which overlooks the Kennebec River.  Todd and Dulcey opted to hold their ceremony and reception here.  Guests witnessed the ceremony from their tables and were allowed access throughout the entire restaurant, though the patio was reserved for wedding guests only.

A fence and gate on the Water Street side made for the perfect entryway for the bridal party’s entrance directly onto the patio and straight down the aisle.  Pre-ceremony photos of the bridal party lining up on Hallowell’s quaint and picturesque Water Street are a must!

Local musician Dana Kelley strummed an original song as Dulcey made her entrance, escorted by her two sons.

In addition to exchanging vows and rings, the couple also exchanged self expressions during the ceremony.  When it was Dulcey’s turn to read hers, she reached down into the bustline of her dress to retrieve the words she had written.  It was quite unexpected.  Not every bride could pull off a move like that.  But Dulcey certainly did and it was hilarious.

Hallowell Maine wedding ceremony

Post-ceremony photos were taken with the river as a backdrop.  Though the weather forecast threatened rain on this day, it held off.  Mother Nature seems to have a knack for knowing when to be kind.  Todd and Dulcey honeymooned in the Bahamas.  Despite my pleadings, I didn’t get to go.  They came back with fabulous tans…Except for that one little spot which remained white on their left ring fingers.

Hallowell Maine wedding

12/7/12 – The lucky first!

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In an earlier post, I committed to performing the first Maine same sex marriage booked at no charge.  Needless to say, I was delighted when the subject of rates came up last night during a phone conversation and I was able to advise Melissa and Kristin that their ceremony was complimentary as they were the first couple to book.

Melissa must have thought only the ceremony was complimentary, as she asked what the mileage charge would be.  I told her mileage was also complimentary and then she asked whether I would need overnight accommodations.  I think she might have been a bit skeptical by the time I told her no overnight was needed either.  Free is free ladies!

So…Melissa and Kristin are planning a small and relaxed ceremony on the coast of Rockport on July 27th of 2013.  And they are traveling all the way from Forth Worth, Texas.  They decided a December 29th wedding was not necessary and they could wait until July when it was warmer.  As I sit here wearing three layers of clothing with my space heater turned up on high, I fully understand their reasoning.

Be sure to check back in July for updates and details on their ceremony.  Perhaps they will even pose for a photo to add to the blog.  🙂

Congrats to Melissa and Kristin!  I am looking forward to meeting you both and crossing fingers for the best weather that Maine has to offer on your day!

12/6/12 – Maine sets a date

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A date is set for Maine same sex marriage!

Town offices are able to issue Maine same sex marriage licenses as of December 29, 2012.  Because the 29th falls on a Saturday, some municipalities are generously opening their doors specifically to issue marriage licenses for couples who wish to file their intentions on the very first day.  So far, I am aware of some town offices planning to open from 9am to noon and others who plan to open at midnight.  Please call your town/city clerk to inquire about special hours for this occassion.  

Be sure to bring the following items with you when filing your intentions:

1)  Photo ID’s

2)  Official/attested document which ended your last marriage if applicable (divorce decree or death certificate)

3)  $40 filing fee (best to bring in cash as not all town offices accept credit or debit cards)


Augusta:  12/29/12 – Open from 9am – noon

Gardiner: 12/29/12 – Open from 9am – noon

Portland:  12/29/12 – Open from 12:01am – 3:01am


11/7/12 – Yes On #1 – What it Means

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Like many of my fellow Mainers, I am very pleased with the results of last night’s election as they pertain to Question #1.

The wording on the ballot asked voters if they wanted to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. 54% of voters were in support, making Maine the first state in history to approve same sex marriage by popular vote.

What this changes for me: Honestly, not a whole lot. I have been performing commitment ceremonies for same sex couples for over a dozen years. The process of meeting with couples, writing the script and performing the ceremony won’t change. What will change is that there will be marriage certificates needing notarization, witnessing, and delivery to the issuing town office. So, the process changes from a commitment ceremony to a legal marriage which includes a bit of extra paperwork and responsibility. Simply put, very soon I will be offering the exact same service to same sex couples as I offer to opposite sex couples. I like that!

Of course, there will always be a place for commitment ceremonies for same and opposite sex couples who choose not to enter into a legal marriage. However, I suspect the demand for those will decrease.

What this changes for you: If you are part of a same sex couple, you will now be able to marry legally in Maine, just as any other couple has the right to do.  It changes nothing for opposite sex couples.

When these changes will take place: December 29, 2012.  On this date, town offices in Maine can begin issuing Maine marriage licenses to same sex couples.  The 29th happens to fall on a Saturday when town offices are typically closed, but please visit my blog titled “Maine sets a date” for exceptions.  See the FAQ’s page for information about obtaining a marriage license in Maine.

In celebration of such a significant event, I will be offering my services at no charge to the first same sex couple who books their wedding. ***Update 12/7/12:  The first couple has booked their wedding!  Melissa and Kristin are traveling from Fort Worth, TX to marry on the coast of Maine in Rockport on July 27th of 2013.***

11/6/12 – Election Day

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I cannot think of a better topic for the very first blog on this very new (and still under construction) website than one which is so near and dear to my heart.  When election time comes around, I proudly remember my grandfather, Roger H. Gagne, a soldier in the United States Army who was taken as a Prisoner of War during WWII.  This brave young man endured horrendous conditions and experienced unspeakable acts of cruelty at the hands of his captors.  Finally freed after three and a half years he was sent home, here to the United States of America.

In honor of my grandfather and so many others like him, I vote.

People, please…Take a little time to do your research before you enter the voting booth today. Know both sides of the issues.  Pay close attention to the way questions are worded.  Don’t just draw a line next to a name because you recognize it, know someone who knows the candidate, because there’s an R or D beside it or because they introduced themselves and shook your hand on your way into the building. Like politics or not, our service members gave life and limb for us to have this right. The best way to honor those sacrifices is to be there, cast an educated vote, and rock that cool little sticker they give you with American pride!

Now, it is fitting that I should also address the issue of same sex marriage.  As Americans, we are fortunate to have the freedom to vote any way we choose.

I have been performing same sex commitment ceremonies just as long as I have been performing legal marriages.  Would I like to be able to give each and every couple the same piece of paper when the ceremony is over?  You betcha.

My grandfather didn’t fight for the rights and freedoms of some American citizens.  He fought for the rights of all American citizens.

Do it for our service members, do it for the future generations, do it for yourself, do it for your country.  Get educated and vote.