Updated: Feb 4, 2019
Alright, first things first, is this sign legit or what? I mean, I do have the pleasure of documenting things that not everyone wants documented when they realize what they've done. Luckily, you can trust me to not reveal anything scandalous in the final gallery :)
Megan and Nate contacted me online, and then I went to meet up with them at their parents house . . . and her mom and dad . . . and his mom via FaceTime. I'll admit, I was a bit intimidated. We went outside and walked down the street to visit the venue, a beautiful, lakeside lot filled with pine trees and a needle covered forest floor beneath. They mentioned fitting 200 family members into the space (to which my insides responded with shock while my face said "ok, no biggie") but that was short lived because the wood-soled loafers that I had ingeniously decided to wear into a snow-covered forest took me on a traction-less ride down the hill, basically crashing into Megan who had enough sense to wear boots. Everyone laughed. (I'm not from Maine, that's my excuse - but I've learned!)
From then on, after chatting about dumb decisions, big families, family sentiment, first responder inside-knowledge, and the no-shoes in the house ideology, I knew that this family was going to be one that lived close to my heart well beyond the fall wedding.
Megan and Nate are both firefighters and they're as active and outdoorsy as you can get. For their winter engagement session, we went out onto the frozen lake. For the post-wedding session, Megan already knew she wanted to water-ski in her dress. Much of their outdoors-iness centers around the lake, one where Megan's grandparents met decades before, where they still host Sunday lunch get-togethers, and where many of the family members live (which is why they could get away with blocking off the road). Not only is the place beautiful, but starting a new half-century of family tradition that's growing directly out of the last half-century of tradition is just such a beautiful thing.
Check out their decoration images, which the entire family spent time and energy to perfect, and admire the attention to detail and the vast area that they had to cover!
When it came time for the ceremony, the wedding party made its way down the steep edge of the lake, with family filling in various docks, some spare canoes, stepped pieces of land, and the entire hillside (some of us were even in the water on the shore). After the wedding party made its way down, the crowd stood looking backwards, waiting for Megan and her dad to descend. When tensions were just about at their peak, Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" played and Megan's mom turned and gave me this look of fire. If you can't read mom looks, this says "I know what's happening" at which point she turned to see her daughter water-skiing behind her father's boat. Megan literally water-skii'd into her wedding with a veil, a white shower cap, a garter, and a white bikini. She landed, ran up the hill, got into her dress (her hair and makeup un-impacted) and then walked down to her wedding surrounded by a shocked, laughing, crying, stunned, and totally in love group of family and friends. Look into the crowd for the best grandparent reactions and for a photo of her husband proclaiming "WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!" No one but her dad and the vendors knew, and it was still the show of a lifetime for us.