• Emily Bienek

Caitlin + Paul | Portland, Maine Surprise Wedding |



Caitlin and Paul decided to get married, but without all of the wedding fuss. Mid-house renovation, why funnel money into a party that can be done in other, equally as emotional and celebratory ways? I am really in love with their process: here's what happened.


Paul gathered all of the family into their home that they had literally just finished moving into; he told them it was for a surprise proposal. He set up a long table with napkins, a cute table cloth, and even wrote place cards in his own hand-writing to not tip anyone off. Family was gathered in the living room, and I was with Paul and Caitlin at their friend's house getting ready. I followed Paul to his home, and in the front door. He promptly announced "this isn't a proposal - surprise! We're getting married!" Or something to that effect, maybe not those exact words ;)


You can see the shock on their parent's faces mixed in with joy and happiness. Caitlin's parents both met her in the car that arrived a few minutes later and walked her down the aisle into their back yard. Their friends married them in this odd little grecian thing that was left over by the previous owners and it is literally magical. Why can't every home have one of those set-ups in the back yard?


There were tears, there was anxiety, there was lots of beer and wine and laughter. There was even a toddler meltdown. Throughout the evening, I heard a few utterances of mixed feelings. The most wonderful things about an elopement or a city hall wedding or a surprise wedding are the same things that are really tough for different generations, or different cultures, or simply different personalities to really grasp. I see this all the time as a wedding photographer. Sometimes a couple's wedding is miserable because of all of the family expectations: a miserable wedding that costs 10-50 thousand dollars. I think that those sorts of horror stories are what lead some couples to invest their money into their future instead of an event that includes a lot of box-checking for the sake of checking the box. I can't underscore enough how much I respect and cherish this wedding and the couple's goals behind it: gather with the people they love the most, exchange vows, eat a ton of pasta, show the realtor father-in-law the new, energy efficient heating system in the basement.


Gold. This wedding was gold. I may be tearing up just writing about it.


All of the family members out there, thank you for being supportive and for loving your own no matter the choices they make about their wedding or whether to even have one. You're awesome for that.


Scroll down and click through the galleries to catch some surprise, to see the glimmer of elation in Paul's mom's eyes (she wanted to elope years ago but couldn't because times weren't so easy on eloping couples back then), and even the eerily similar scrunchy laugh that Paul and his grandpa share. It's wicked contagious.


Share some love for these two in the comments!








Caitlin + Paul

@cpizz05 @pdslaw

Jewelry: @springersjewelers

Baker: @scratchbakingco

Catering: @othersidedeli






Elusive Photography is a wedding photographer serving Maine, Boston, and Florida. We also do destination weddings and elopements! Check out our portfolio to see more.


Maine Wedding Photographer | Maine Elopement Photographer | Maine Wedding Venue | Maine Elopement | Florida Wedding Photographer | Florida Elopement Photographer | Key West Wedding Photographer | Miami Wedding Photographer | Palm Beach Wedding Photographer | Key West Wedding | Destination Wedding | Destination Elopement | Boston Wedding Photographer | Boston Wedding

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Elusive Photography

A boutique newborn photographer in Maine, and wedding photographer in Maine and Florida.

20 Brookside Dr. Falmouth, ME 04105 (appointment only)

contact@elusive.photography   |||   513.965.1264

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