Down East 2013 ©
In Maine you can have a perfect wedding no matter what the mercury says. For the couples Chris Bond and Deb Dawson, and Matthew Faulkner and Alice Grant, that meant a joint ceremony along the Appalachian Trail in the middle of February. Down jackets and snowshoes replaced formalwear, and a slow walk down the aisle was eschewed for twenty miles of cross-country skiing through Baxter State Park with fifty pounds of luggage in single-digit weather. What better way, the couples thought, to show their devotion than by battling Maine’s extreme winter to say, “I do”?
Daicey Pond, located in the shadow of Katahdin, holds a special place in the hearts of the two couples. They traveled here together for years, and Grant had made the point to come to Baxter nearly every year since high school. Being winter-weather people, who happened to get engaged at the same time, the couples decided to hold a joint ceremony. “When you think of a wedding, you think of a cathedral or a church. Well, we went to a beautiful cathedral, but it was on a pond with Mount Katahdin in the background, and there was no one around for miles,” says Bond, who married Dawson after being together for two years.
“Frequently we thought about just giving up,” Bond says while laughing about that initial trek. “When you see another hill to schlep up you remember that none of us are triathletes. We’re just some middle class, regular people.” Despite losing a ski pole, ditching the skis for snowshoes, and even falling into the frozen pond, the couples made it, and had their perfect ceremony.
On hand to make the journey were five close friends. Conveniently one friend works as a photographer, and another is a notary public. There was no DJ in the group, but an iPod and a set of small speakers complemented the nine-person champagne and whoopee pie reception in a rental cabin on the edge of the pond.
With Katahdin setting the stage, the two couples stood on the frozen pond, each bride with dried flowers in hand, while the notary led the ceremony. Clouds rolled in, and for the rest of the proceedings snowflakes fell, doing their best to make the brides’ blue and purple down jackets into two white wedding dresses. “The snowflakes were like wedding rice or confetti on our shoulders,” Grant says. Or, according to Faulkner, in the less eloquent but equally appropriate words from one of the guests: “When the snow hit, it was like getting run over by a dump truck full of awesome.”