Jen and Chris make their home in Ohio, where they live with their giant tortoises (we’re talking around 70 lbs folks!) Sherman, Matilda and Valentine. They chose to marry in Maine (where Jen’s family has vacationed every summer for many years) after visiting the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Jen recalls, “We fell in love with the Botanical Gardens on a visit last year when the weather was dreary and heavy fog was everywhere. There wasn’t a single person in the gardens that day and we loved every minute of it. We just decided to get lost hiking in the rain and see where we turned up. It was a perfect rainy day in one of the most beautiful places on earth! Our wedding is just an excuse to bring our friends and loved ones to our favorite place! (And to have an open bar while doing so!).”
As you may be able to already tell, these two have a strong sense of adventure and humor to boot! We shared countless laughs together. Jen kindly took the time to share some wonderful tales of their love story….enjoy! (Thanks Jen!!!)
The Meeting: “Chris and I met at the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and started dating November 23, 2010. (Jen’s grandparents actually met at a USO event in the exact same building back when it was a train station during WWII!) Chris worked with the live animal collections and I teach school children who come to the museum on field trips. We just started chatting in the offices and soon started to hang out outside of work. I shared all of my favorite hobbies and interests with Chris – kayaking, travel, gardening, history, spending time outdoors and my basset hound Byron. And he shared all of his favorite hobbies and interests with me – caving, reptiles, travel, hiking, camping, science and MMA. We agreed to disagree on the reptiles and MMA, however, now he is my awesome kayaking buddy and I am his tolerable caving companion.” (Note the tortoises’ gear below….a kayaking paddle and some caving gear 🙂
The Proposal: “Chris came up with the idea that we should go to see the Moonbow in Cumberland Falls, Kentucky for our anniversary. I booked a cabin and we were going to spend a long weekend hiking during the day and trying to see a rainbow at night over the Falls. (Side note – this is the only place outside of Africa where a rainbow can be seen at night.) When we showed up, we realized there was a religious revival going on for the youth of a local church, and we were booked right in the center of it all. We escaped by hiking during the day, and at night, we went to the Moonbow as planned. It was cold and we had headlamps to find our way around the falls since nighttime and giant waterfalls do not go well together. After Chris ran us back and forth from the top of the falls to the bottom and back again, I asked if we could go inside and warm up since the Moonbow was not showing up. He said ‘no’ and kept running us to different ledges and overlooks for another two hours. Finally when we stopped on one of the overlooks, I took a moment to fix my headlamp when I thought that Chris was kneeling down to tie his boot. I asked if he could fix my lamp when he pulled out the ring and proposed. I was so surprised that I didn’t even remember to answer! (Which he teased me about to no end afterwards.) Turns out he had been carrying around his great grandmother’s ring since early that morning. We had been hiking up and down hills, climbing on boulders and crossing streams for 7-8 miles and it was in his pocket the whole time!”
We took full advantage of all the varied gardens throughout the property at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Frank, our lovely golf cart chauffeur, zoomed us around to different locations (even over the crazy terrain!) throughout portrait time (Thank you Frank!!!) Here’s a peek at some of our favorite spots.Jen and Chris infused their day with lots of personality and playfulness. Their close friend and officiant, Grant, kicked things off Princess Bride Style, “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… ” Yes, it made for lots of smiles and belly laughter!
Jen and Chris also opted for unity ceremony featuring their favorite happy hour cocktail…the rum and coke. They each added one of the vital ingredients, and the bevvie was given a quick blessing (a squeeze of lime) by their officiant.
Jen’s father took a quick moment (and a few quick sips) during the recessional to make sure that the rum and coke didn’t get watered down 🙂
The reception was full of fun toasts (including the recitation of “Come Together” by Jen’s father). Their cake (which was cut by an impressive sword) featured Ordovician fossils, to honor an archeological dig that Jen works at every year.
Congratulations Jen and Chris! It was an honor (and a whole heap of fun) to be part of your day! xo
Venue: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens / Event Coordination: Courtney Locke of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens / Officiant: Grant Smiley/ Cake: Mae’s Cafe and Bakery / Catering: Sarah’s Cafe / Floral Design: Boothbay Region Greenhouses / Entertainment: DJ Michael of M.R.K. Entertainment
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Wedding Photographer