Have you ever seen a Fourth of July wedding scene more beautiful than this?

photography by michelle turner

Sarah and Brandon
We met on Semester at Sea, a student cruise ship owned by the University of Virginia that is converted into a floating campus. I was in school in Florida and he was in school in Colorado. We traveled all over Europe for a summer semester 5 years ago. Brandon proposed to me at the finish line of the Ford Ironman Triathlon in Lake Placid, New York in July of last year. It was quite a surprise and the crowd LOVED it!

A mere year later, on the Fourth of July, Brandon and Sarah were married at the beautiful Retreat at French’s Point in Stockton Springs, Maine. Their fab photographer, Michelle Turner is sharing some of her gorgeous shots from the day!

See the whole gallery here!

from Sarah … I grew up walking around this whimsical seaside estate as a child when it was a summer retreat owned by a religious organization. I used to walk the beach and grounds with my family. I was so excited to hear that the Brooks family had bought it and converted it into a wedding venue. They did a beautiful job!

Brandon and I wanted to incorporate just a bit of a nautical feel to our wedding. I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to have a very “themey” wedding but that a few touches would be able to give the wedding a festive New England feel. We chose the 4th of July because it’s one of my favorite holidays. We also knew that it would be a festive time for our guests, most of whom were coming from out of town for the long weekend and were first time visitors to Maine. My father had a heart transplant two years ago so this was a monumental and extra-emotional day for all of us to celebrate as well.

We fell in love with Michelle Turner when we first saw her blog and were lucky to meet with her last summer to see some of her albums and work in person. Neither of us love posing for pictures so we knew that her documentary style photography was perfect for us. We wanted to incorporate a croquet set from a local antique market that we found so Michelle took some fun photos with us playing on the lawn and it really worked well with our 4th of July lawn wedding. She was so fun and her style is very unique. I will always remember her walking straight into the river up to her waist in order to get the perfect shot of us. We couldn’t be happier with the way the photos really captured the special moments of the day.

See Michelle’s blog feature of Sarah and Brandon’s wedding here!

Our thanks to Michelle Turner for sharing these g o r g e o u s images with us today!

More of Sarah and Brandon’s story …
Growing up in a house built in 1770 in Maine, I developed a love of local history and all old things, especially glass bottles. You see these in the windows of cottages up and down the Maine coast. My parents and I ventured out to the antique stores and markets last summer to see what we could find. My father discovered that he loved searching for the bottles and even attended a few auctions in order to collect 150 over the course of the year. We decided to collect the ocean colored bottles in keeping with our semi-nautical summer theme. We ordered supplies from letterseals.com to make old fashioned wax seals to affix to the bottles. Brandon experimented with colors and made all of the M seals. We had a mixture of navy blue, white and silver seals, depending on the color of the bottle. I found paper that had that sepia tone coloring and printed a note to put inside to thank our guests and explain the significance of the bottles. Some of my bridesmaids and friends helped to put the final touches on the bottles by attaching the name tags with ribbons and assembling and packing them. It truly became a fabulous DIY affair!

Our floral design ~ When I sent my dress picture and other ideas to Judy at Flora Fauna, she knew exactly where to go to incorporate some nautical touches without going over the top. She came up with two different table designs, one with blue and yellow flowers in square vases wrapped with rope and the other using a lantern and local driftwood and rocks. Brandon loves yellow so we also wanted to incorporate yellow into our colors.  We used navy table cloths which really made the centerpieces pop with color. My mom made me a toss bouquet of peonies from her garden. She had frozen them weeks before, in order to preserve them so that they would be ready for the wedding day. I threw this bouquet and Brandon threw my garter off of the porch on the roof of The Retreat. We loved it!

Our huppah ~ My father built the huppah using birch trees that grew on the land where I grew up. Not only did he cut every single piece …  he also designed and right-sized it to fit perfectly outside the gazebo at our venue. Judy designed the flowers to accentuate the structure without covering the beautiful birch pieces. We covered it with gold covered lace that belonged to my great aunt.

My dad also cut birch circles that we used to hold table numbers and signs. We affixed the M wax seals to them as well. Each table was named after places that we have traveled together with a short explanation at the bottom of the sign as to why it was significant in our lives. Some of the names were God’s Pocket, a special beach on Cranberry Island, Maine (my family has been summering there since my dad was a child), M.V. explorer, the name of the ship that Brandon and I met on and Budapest, a place we have traveled together, as well as where Brandon’s ancestors are from.

Jewish traditions ~We ordered our beautiful ketubah from Amy Fagen on ketubah.com. Brandon’s grandparents gave us a pewter kiddush cup. Our mothers poured wine from two different crystal containers into the cup to symbolize the joining of our two families. We bought the blue glass to break at the end of the ceremony from Gallery Judaica in Los Angeles. It’s made by a company called Shardz. They specialize in transforming the broken glass into something for the home such as a mezuzuh or a picture frame. We held the rings in a ceramic ring bowl made by Paloma’s Nest. It says love in Hebrew. We had family read the Sheva Brachot, the seven blessings in our ceremony. Brandon and I wrote letters to each other and read them aloud in lieu of traditional vows. The officiant was our friend Cantor Steve Puzarne from California. We had our rings made by Claude Joaillier in Santa Monica, CA.

Photography: Michelle Turner Photography
Cinematography: Media Northeast (Josh Swan)
Floral & Event Design: Flora Fauna Weddings
Event Planning: Jessika Brooks (The Retreat at French’s Point)

Wedding Venue: The Retreat at French’s Point
Invitations: William Arthur, custom design
Hair: Revival Salon {thanks for the holiday help!}
Makeup: Laurel Wiley {LA artist in rural Maine!}