Where are you both from and how did you meet?
I’m from Rhode Island and Brian is from Connecticut but has lived in RI since college. We met through mutual friends.
How long were you together before you were engaged? How did you get engaged?
We were together for more than five years before we were engaged. We had recently bought a house on a lovely rural road with a rock formation that resembles a giant turtle, which I think is neat. We went on a walk (I almost bailed because I am enrolled in online graduate courses and was stressing about finishing a paper or something else boring that day—but I’m glad I went 🙂 ) I was telling him the whole plot of the film August Rush as we walked because it had played on TV that morning and it’s so heartwarming, and realized he had fallen behind as I was babbling. I turned around to see where he went and he was on one knee by the turtle rock!
What were you favorite and least favorite parts of planning?
Favorite was discovering the best food vendors ever and then collaborating with friends and family to bring DIY ideas to life and pull it all off. Least favorite was making the guest list.
Tell us about the DIY projects!
We could not have done this without the help of family and friends! It was certainly a labor of love. Below is a list of all the DIY elements:
- Arbor for ceremony built by groom, decorated with florals and a deer skull (from Brian)
- Sandwich board for dinner menu and bar menu—frames made by Brian, custom lettering by our friend Julia
- Corn hole game made by Brian, painted with antlers/flowers by my mom
- Mailbox for cards painted with antlers/flowers by my mom
- Photo “booth” (pallet chevron backdrop) made by Brian, decorated with paper pinwheels from Etsy
- Bar repurposed from our friends’ wedding earlier that summer, decorated with more pinwheels and antlers
- Ball jars for the centerpieces, some of which were Brian’s late grandmother’s and the rest borrowed from another friend’s wedding decor
- A variety of favorite desserts made by Brian’s mom, tiered doughnut display made by Brian store pies
How did you come across Erin for your photographer?
I’m also a photographer (part-time) and in addition to photographing kids/families (IG @jaimemarlandphotography), I often second shoot for Erin’s weddings. Erin’s work is amazing, so it was a no-brainer to have her as our “friend-tographer!”
What drew you to Camp Hoffman?
Camp Hoffman had the rustic, casual vibe we were looking for, as well as the option of booking overnight so people could stay over. It also happens to be eight minutes from our house. As soon as we got engaged, it was really the only place I wanted to check out (the other similar place I had always had in mind was no longer booking weddings). As soon as we looked at it, we picked an available date and signed right away. They only do a limited number each year, so I wanted to be sure we got on their books immediately. Dan, the camp caretaker, was amazing to work with. And yes, I was a Girl Scout! Ironically, I was a terrible one, haha! I loved the activities and friends and earning badges and going on trips, but I also liked to cause trouble, dumb things like taking the canoes out further than we were allowed or waking people up in the middle of the night with pranks (you know that one where you shine two flashlights in someone’s face and yell “beep beep!!” Sorry, Michaela). I might have driven my leaders up the wall, but I had so much fun and remember it fondly, including those times camping at Hoffman.
Jaime, what was going through your mind when you were walking down the aisle?
“Please don’t trip.” And how handsome Brian looked up there, with our sweet dog Hannah by his side.
Tell us about Hannah.
She’s a Golden Retriever and she was three at the time. She’s honestly the best dog ever. She’s so sweet and laid back and just hung around all day visiting with people. We always knew we wanted her to be part of our day and the other great part about the camp was that they she was allowed to be a part of it.
What was your first dance song?
Bruce Springsteen’s “When You Need Me”—Brian’s a big classic Springsteen fan
Did you run into any issues while planning or on the day of the wedding?
Not really—from shooting weddings for so long, I’ve seen it all, so I sort of knew what to watch out for, all the bases to cover, timing for things etc. to be sure I had planned for it all. And, fortunately, nothing out of the ordinary happened to throw it off.
If you had to narrow it down, what would you say were each of your favorite moments from that day?
- Our intimate ceremony (immediate family only) earlier in the day in a pine clearing in the middle of the woods with the most amazing arbor I’ve ever seen (it was built by Brian—decorated with florals and a deer skull from his hunt). I sent Amy at Forbes Flowers some Pinterest inspiration and let her know what varieties my friend was using for the centerpieces and bouquet and she knocked it out of the park. Better than anything I’ve seen on Pinterest! And the chevron photo backdrop, also inspired by Pinterest, but the one Brian made us also turned out better than anything I found online. He’s a carpenter and made it from reclaimed wood from job he was working on.
- The flowers. I’m obsessed with dahlias and when my (other) friend Erin pulled up with all the flowers she had arranged with dahlias and other florals from her sister’s amazing farm, the Dahlia Shed, she popped the back of her truck open and I think my jaw hit the ground. A year before, I had asked if she minded just “popping some flowers in Ball jars” and they went above and beyond
- Our first dance, when Hannah jumped up and joined in.
- The food! We wanted a variety of locally sourced, delicious food that would appeal to everyone. It was all so good. I really wish Black Sheep Barbecue had a restaurant, because I think it was the best brisket I ever had.
- And simply celebrating with friends and family!
- Oh, and the nighttime campfire. About twenty-five of us were in a big circle around it and our friends had brought a speaker for late night music and Oasis’ “Wonderwall” came on and we all just started belting it out. It was a great end to an amazing day!
Do you have any advice for recently engaged couples?
It’s your wedding, do it how YOU want. Tradition and formality is nice, but if you want to stray from formula and reinvent things, go for it. I see people on wedding planning social media groups worrying about things like, “I want to paint my nails a dark color, but I’m supposed to do light because I’m the bride, right?” Just do what makes you happy! (For the record, I did dark 😉 Essie Wicked is my go to color, wedding or not, regardless of season!
We kept a basic timeline for cocktail hour/dinner/dancing, but we threw most of the formalities out the window—we had our private ceremony and for the reception, we did our first dance and parent dances but skipped all the rest. I just wanted people to move about, relax and have fun.
I also thought our year and a half engagement worked out really well. It left plenty of time for planning, so I didn’t feel much pressure to hurry up and decide things, I could check things off the list at a reasonable pace—and it helped with spreading out the expenses.
Photography: Erin McGinn Photography // Engagement ring, bride’s wedding bands and turquoise ring : Anna Sheffield // Groom’s Wedding Band: Handmade by the groom from a found deer antler // Ceremony & Reception: Camp Hoffman // Officiant: Mike Egan of Heavenly Weddings // Hair & Makeup: Jane Sincere of Salon Prov // Bride’s Dress: Wtoo by Watters (style Heaton), BHLDN // Cocktail Hour Catering: Brown Paper Bounty charcuterie spread and Ninigret Oyster Farm oysters // Dinner Catering: Black Sheep Barbecue // Desserts: Allie’s Donuts, Girl Scout cookies and baked goods from the mother of the groom // Centerpieces and Bouquet: Arranged by friend of the couple, Erin, with dahlias and other flowers sourced from the Dahlia Shed // Arbor and Corsages: Forbes Flowers [note: now closed] with more dahlias and other flowers from Mystical Gardens Flower Farm // Reception music: Jay McGlinsey of Jay’s Music Service // Signage: hand lettered and illustrated by friend of the bride, Julia // Seed Packet Favors: handmade seed packets with custom stamp from Etsy, seeds from URI co-op // Coozie Favors: SipSipHooray on Etsy // Invitations: Minted