Sweet beginnings in Newry

Kate Hallowell & Sam Powell, September 22, 2012, Sunday River

Story: Dale McGarrigle
Photography: Kate Crabtree Photography

Their wedding on a sunny fall day in the resort town of Newry completed a decade-long odyssey for Kate Hallowell and Sam Powell.

The couple first met in 2003 at Erskine Academy in China, where junior Kate and senior Sam were heavily involved in sports.

The two started at different colleges, but both ended up at the University of New England in 2008, with Kate in the dental hygiene program and Sam in the physical therapy program.

After Kate graduated with her bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene in 2009, she headed west to Colorado, while Sam worked on his doctorate in physical therapy at UNE.

“I moved to Colorado to ski and be on my own,” Kate said. “Sam and I have been together since I was 17 so it was important to be on my own for a bit. But being in a state across the country from him really opened my eyes to the fact I could survive without him, but I didn’t want to.”

Sam felt the same. On the day of his doctoral hooding ceremony in late May 2011, he proposed.

Sam invited both sets of parents and Kate’s sister Erin (who would be her maid of honor) for dinner at the Sea Dog in Portland. He got down on one knee and proposed. “Fortunately, she said yes,” said the understated Sam.

Kate recalls things more expansively.

“He knows how important family is to me and knew it was special to share such an amazing time with our families present,” she said. “Sam is such a selfless person that he took a day that was about him and his accomplishments and made it about us. He made a little speech when asking me to marry him. The line I remember the most was him saying ‘You have always been my number one supporter and I can’t imagine life without you.’ It was just such a strong sentence that I won’t forget. When he got down on one knee, all I could say was ‘ARE YOU SERIOUS?!’ Everyone still laughs about how all I could do was repeat that over and over.”

The couple took their time before tying the knot.

“We didn’t see the rush to get married,” Kate said. ”It was very important to the both of us to accomplish our career goals and to establish ourselves individually before becoming a ‘we.’ We needed to be able to be self-sufficient. Now to share it together makes it even sweeter.”

The two resumed a life together when Sam joined her in Colorado Springs.

“We needed to see more of the country,” Kate said. “[We] were able to rock climb in Moah, Utah, and ski all over Colorado.”

But they knew they wanted to wed in Maine.

“The big thing was having the wedding in Maine, because that’s where most of our families live,” Kate said. “We needed to find a spot where everyone would have a place to stay.”

Fortunately, the two skiers had the perfect spot: Sunday River, where they had skied while at UNE. The Jordan Grand Resort Hotel became their base of operations.

They agreed on a vintage feel for the wedding and it was reflected in many ways.

“The colors of the wedding had that antique feel,” she said. “The flowers made the wedding so beautiful, and the vases were amazing. We also wanted the feel to be low-key but very elegant. One of my best friends, Kaleigh Sloan, helped me. … She had cookies made up as escort cards with the guest’s name and table number. … We also had tags on each napkin with a fork and spoon stamp that was color coded to the meal choice for the wait staff — little touches that made the wedding feel personal.”

Kate and Sam made a weekend of the event. On Friday afternoon, the girls enjoyed a spa party at Island Indulgences in Rumford. At the Friday rehearsal dinner put on by Sam’s family, his dad read a poem which he had written, while Sam’s twin brother Ben put together a slide show. The night culminated with an outdoor pool party. On Sunday, there was a brunch for all the guests who spent the night.

They got just the right weather for their wedding day. “It was cloudy in the morning (great for pictures) and sunny in the afternoon,” Kate said. “Just perfect weather.”

As with any wedding, there were little glitches. Kate’s family had her grandmother’s pearls restrung, but were forgotten while packing for the weekend. The wedding party expected Kate’s dad to pick up all the men’s tuxedos in Portland, but he didn’t know that and only picked up his own. That left Sam taking the first half of the photos in Ben’s suit.

But mostly, the day was full of love and joy.

The ceremony, performed at Our Lady of the Snows Church in Bethel, was appropriate for the skiers.

“Deacon Dennis Mailhot, gave a beautiful sermon with amazing words,” Kate said. “It was a very personal services where we tried to include all the people in our lives.”

The reception, at Sunday River’s Sliders Restaurant, had many touches that echoed the fun-loving couple.

“We had a photobooth which was so fun — a lot of great props,” the bride said. “We had a dessert table with pies, whoopies pies and our cake. Sam made our cake topper out of copper wire and he made a bride and groom skier. We also had a s’mores bar where people could make whatever s’more they wanted (we had just about every candy/topping you could think of). The toothbrushes with our name and date were my favorite, so fun! We had baby pictures of me on the restroom door for the ladies and baby pictures of Sam for the men.”

They had one more vintage touch in reserve — Kate’s dad’s 1960s Spider convertible, which was their getaway car. After the weekend at Sunday River, they headed to Jamaica for their honeymoon.

Now the couple is living in Kate’s hometown of Jefferson, but they are looking at a house in Damariscotta. Kate is working as a full-time dental hygienist in Brunswick, while Sam is employed as a full-time doctor of physical therapy in Rockland.

“Our wedding took my breath away because of the people involved,” Kate summarized. “Sam and I are so blessed to have our amazing family and friends. It was a magical time in our lives. Sam is the most important person in my life and I’m so blessed.”

The Details:

  • Ceremony venue: Our Lady of the Snows Church, Bethel
  • Reception venue: Sliders Restaurant at Sunday River
  • Bride’s gown: Purchased in Denver, Colorado
  • Bridesmaids gowns: Purchased in Denver, Colorado
  • Groom and groomsmen attire: Men’s Wearhouse. BLACK by Vera Wang Two-Button Gray Super 120s Notch Lapel.
  • Wedding bands: Custom designed from the same jeweler in downtown colorado springs, colorado
  • Flowers: Tessa Deering
  • Catering: Sunday River
  • Cake: Dessert table by Marta’s Bakery in Waterford. Whoopie pies from Moody’s Dinner in Waldoboro.
  • Other jewelry: Real crystal droplet earrings borrowed from a friend. Bride’s pearl necklace was her late grandmother’s pearls that were passed down.
  • Invitations/paper goods: CJ Kard in Colorado.
  • Transportation: Vintage 1968 spyder convertible.
  • Favors: Toothbrushes with the couple’s names and wedding date on the handle.
  • Travel agent: AAA Travel Agency
  • Honeymoon: Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Escort cards: Cookies labeled with guest name and table number. Each table was named after different ski trails at Sunday River. Once the guest arrived at the table there was a burlap tag with their name and a spoon and fork stamp. The stamp color was also the code for what meal they ordered for the wait staff.
  • Sliders features an amazing deck and we had a bride/groom themed corn hole game for our guests that needed a break from dancing.