A Maine Love Story: Sarah and Mark

Story by Brian Swartz

Photography by Stacey Hedman Photography

A ride “on the good old school bus,” a reception held in a transformed barn, and a missing suit replaced via Maine and New Jersey: Of such memories are a Maine wedding made.

Sarah Wellman and Mark Allegrini held their wedding in Winterport on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. She hails from Winterport, he from Guilford, Conn., and they might never have met except for the expert match making of a dear friend.

Sarah’s co-worker at the Retail Industry Leaders Association in Washington, D.C., Giorgia, informed Sarah that “I’ve got the perfect guy for you” and later “asked if she could set us up on a blind date,” Sarah recalled.

The date went well. “On our way home in the Metro, we exchanged [phone] numbers,” Mark said.

They dated almost for two years, and Mark proposed on New Year’s Eve 2010. He presented Sarah with an exquisite emerald cut sapphire ring with two princess cut diamonds inset on the side.

Sarah and Mark immediately started planning a Maine wedding. Because “September is one of the most beautiful months in Maine,” and 9-10-11 fell on a Saturday, “we picked that date,” Sarah said.

They wanted their wedding “to be more relaxed, low key,” with their guests feeling comfortable and having “a good time,” she said. Many guests had never been to Maine. “We wanted to make sure they had a good Maine experience,” Sarah said. “We tried to incorporate ‘Maine’ into our wedding.”

Sarah never doubted where the ceremony would take place. “I had always wanted to get married in the [Union] Meetinghouse on Main Street” in Winterport,” she said.

Sarah’s father, Galen, owns Streamside Golf Course on Route 139 in Winterport. As Sarah and Mark discussed reception sites, he told them, “It’s probably a crazy idea, but what about the barn?” The circa 1800′s barn needed a lot of work, but Galen spent the summer putting up new siding and even hung a chandelier Sarah purchased at Marden’s. “I think most people thought we were a little crazy, but with a lot of hard work and a little creativity, the result was amazing,” Sarah said.

Sarah and Mark planned their wedding “with a lot of help from our families,” she recalled. While Galen wove his magic inside the Streamside barn, Sarah’s mom, Debbie, and aunt, Evelyn, picked raspberries and strawberries and made jam that filled “50 little jars apiece of each flavor,” Sarah said. Wedding guests received the jam jars as gifts from the newlyweds. Sarah designed beer koozies with the phrase, “She said Ayuh” as a nod to her Maine roots.

And Sarah and Mark received a big assist from the West Coast. When Mark and his sister, Christine, were growing up, Christine had a good friend, Jacin Fitzgerald, who now owns Lovely Little Details in San Francisco. Jacin offered “to help set up on the day of the wedding and organized the [reception] decorating,” Mark said. “She did an incredible job.”

The sun rose to perfect weather on Sept. 10. The bridal party stayed Friday night at the Winterport Inn and ordered lunch from the Winterport House of Pizza on Saturday. Behind the scenes, however, Mark scrambled to avert a disaster.

“I forgot my suit in Washington,” he explained, adding that he discovered the oversight on Friday night before the rehearsal dinner. He hurried to Macy’s in Bangor and found “my size pants,” but no matching jacket. Help lay only a short distance away.

“One of my groomsmen, Benoit, his girlfriend Anna was flying up from New York City,” Mark said. “She got a jacket that was the right size at a Macy’s in New Jersey and brought it with her” to Bangor International Airport.

The bridal party walked to the Union Meetinghouse for the 3:30 p.m. wedding, which was officiated by Mark’s friend, Bryan Blake. Five attendants apiece waited on Sarah and Mark; among her bridesmaids were Mark’s sister Christine, and Sarah’s sister, Kelly Anderson.

The ceremony lasted 15-20 minutes before the newlyweds ventured onto the meetinghouse’s terraced lawn to greet guests and take photos. Then many guests boarded a rented yellow-and-black school bus that took them to Streamside Golf Course and later that night back to their motels. “Everyone went on the good old school bus,” Sarah said. “We were really concerned with all our guests from out of town … that everyone got home safely.”

Even the bridal party took the bus to Streamside, where the newlyweds “took more pictures out on the golf course,” Sarah recalled. Before Galen officially opened the barn at 6 p.m., the newlyweds walked through it first. “The transformation was incredible,” Sarah recalled. “My dad and Jacin had worked incredibly hard at getting it all together.

“I just started crying, it was more beautiful than I had even imagined,” she said. ” Having all your friends and family work so hard to make this day a reality was a wonderful gift. It all hit me at that moment.”

The buffet included steak and lobster and Dysart’s pies (apple, blueberry, pecan, raspberry, tollhouse) and whoopie pies. The bride and groom cut a coconut cake made by Sarah’s grandmother, Dottie Havey “Mammie”. The caterer served Maine-brewed beers and a signature cocktail named Blueberry Buck made from fresh Maine blueberries. The bridal party and many guests played lawn games before dancing the night away — at least until 11:30 p.m., when “we cut it off,” Sarah said. “We could have gone all night.”

After honeymooning in Bermuda for two weeks, Sarah and Mark returned to Washington, D.C. They moved to Boston in April 2012.

The details:

  • Event design, day-of coordination, reception flowers and centerpieces and reception paper design: Jacin Fitzgerald, Lovely Little Details
  • Ceremony venue: Winterport Union Meeting House
  • Reception venue: Streamside Golf Course, Winterport
  • Bride’s Gown: Paloma Blanca
  • Bridesmaid dresses: j.crew
  • Grooms/groomsmen attire: Tommy Hilfiger purchased at Macy’s
  • Rings: Harstans Jewelers, Guilford, CT
  • Bridal Party Bouquets, Boutonnieres and Ceremony Florals: Island Flowers, Verona Island
  • Catering: Maine Coast Catering, Rockport
  • Cake and desserts: Coconut cake cut by bride and groom made by bride’s grandmother. Pies and whoopie pies by Dysarts, Bangor
  • Rentals: Wallace Tent and Event Rentals, Ellsworth
  • Dance floor: Granville Rental, Holden
  • Invitations: Designed and printed by bride, supplies purchased at Paper Source, Save the date vintage look postcards by Beyond Design on Etsy
  • Hair and Makeup: The L Factor Salon, Brewer
  • Photographer: Stacey Hedman
  • Transportation: Luce Transportation, Union
  • Rentals: Wallace Tent & Party Rental
  • Favors: Homemade raspberry and strawberry jam made by bride’s mom and aunt
  • Honeymoon: Bermuda, private residence courtesy of grooms uncle
  • Bridal party accommodations: Winterport Inn
  • Hotel: Comfort Inn Oceans Edge, Belfast