Natural beginnings in Otisfield

Photo by Michele Stapleton Photography
When Brittany Sasser and Jimmy Butcher were married on Aug. 11, 2012, they were surrounded by friends and family – and birch trees, which symbolize new beginnings.

Brittany Sasser and Jimmy Butcher

August 11, 2012 | Otisfield


Story Ardeana Hamlin

Photographs by Michele Stapleton Photography


Birch trees, which symbolize new beginnings, were very much in evidence when Brittany Sasser and Jimmy Butcher exchanged vows on Aug. 11, 2012, at Sassafras Springs, her family’s home on Pleasant Lake in Otisfield.

Sun sifted through birch leaves in delicate veils of gold that day and witnessed the love and joy that abounded as two young people — and two families — were united in an outdoor ceremony conducted by one of Jimmy’s cousins.

“The forecast was for pouring rain, but as I was coming down the aisle, the sun came out,” Brittany said. “I wanted to get married by the lake; I pictured us and our family among the trees and the leaves.”

Their journey toward becoming a couple began in 2008 when they worked at The Investment Fund for Foundations in Cambridge, Mass. During their courtship, she and Jimmy went to Red Sox games and hung out at Figs, dining on pizza.

“We fell in love in Boston,” Brittany said.

She knew fairly early in the relationship that Jimmy was the one.

“Seeing him with my family, how well he fit [into it]” was one of the many things that clinched it for her, she said.

In January 2012, Brittany and Jimmy moved to Boulder, Colo. The marriage proposal came the following month.

“We love to snowshoe,” Brittany said. “Jimmy is quite athletic. We were snowshoeing in the mountains, I was struggling through waist deep snow and when I turned around, there was a ring. I am so lucky to have found someone who fits in so well at Sassafras Springs and with my family.”

That night, the newly engaged couple started planning their wedding. They both knew they wanted the wedding to take place outside at Sassafras Springs surrounded by friends and family.

“We never test-tasted food samples, we never tried out wedding venues, and we listened to our wedding band online,” she said. “Our focus was on having everyone together. What we hold dear [are] our huge family groups,” Brittany said.

Brittany designed the wedding invitations and had them printed by “I enjoy craft projects, and we had a simple theme of birch with blue and orange,” she said. ”We were much more interested in the details of having a great party with our friends and family. We didn’t even do reply cards. We had our RSVPs done online on We just had the simple invitation on recycled paper in an envelope.”

As the day of the wedding unfolded, Brittany’s family members busied themselves in the garage making seating tags cut from small birch logs. Each one bore a guest’s name, and on the reverse side was written the table number where that person was assigned to sit for the reception. Each birch round, enough for 175 people, had a hole drilled in it and a ribbon strung through it, which Brittany and Jimmy now hang on their Christmas tree as ornaments.

In the kitchen, Brittany, her mother and the bridesmaids made the wedding “cake,” a triple-tiered confection of Rice Krispie Treats, since neither she nor Jimmy like cake.

Watkin’s Flowers of Casco provided the flowers for the wedding as well as the perennials for Brittany’s mother’s garden, which served as the backdrop for the wedding ceremony. The florist’s selection of flowers for the wedding was based on what was already in the garden, predominantly orange daylilies.

Brittany’s simple white wedding dress was purchased at J. Crew. Her veil was fashioned by her mother from her maternal grandmother’s shawl, and her “something blue” was a sapphire ring given by her father to her mother in honor of Brittany’s birth and a necklace with her paternal grandmother’s wedding rings on it, items that were a deeply personal and tangible connection to her family.

Except for the the dress, “everything else on me had a family connection,” Brittany said.

Brittany wore her hair in a French braid for the wedding, and as a special touch that linked bride and attendants together, each woman or girl had a small section of hair fashioned into a braid.

The wedding afternoon featured cold drinks on ice in canoes and in coolers in the yard, then moved to the meadow for cocktail hour. From there the party moved to the barn, designed by Brittany’s brother and constructed by Ken Bartow, a longtime family friend, and owner of Bartow Construction in Otisfield, for a buffet and barbecue.

“It wasn’t super-formal food,” Brittany said, “But it was delicious.”

Guests of all ages enjoyed dancing in the barn and a barbecue catered by Lake Region Caterers of Naples.

The honeymoon was delayed until this past winter when the couple went on a skiing trip to Vail.

“When I was little, and we would be driving up to Sassafras Springs for the weekend, I would holler out of the ‘way back’ seat of the Suburban, ‘Are we at Maine yet?’” Brittany said. “Sassafras Springs is our own slice of heaven on the edge of the lake among the birch trees.”


The details:

  • Ceremony and reception venue: Sassafras Springs, Otisfield (private home on Pleasant Lake)

  • Bride’s gown: J.Crew Wedding

  • Bridesmaids’ gowns: J.Crew Factory

  • Menswear: Suit and Shirt from Brooks Brothers; Flip flops from Rainbows

  • Engagement ring: Bedrosian Jewelry, Boston

  • Wedding bands: Christine Marguerite Designs, Boulder, Colo.

  • Flowers: Watkins Flowers, Casco

  • Catering: Lake Region Caterers, Naples

  • Cake: Homemade Rice Krispie Treat Cake made by bride, mother of the bride and bridesmaids

  • Bride’s jewelry: Bride’s earrings: Ippolita; Bride’s necklace: Paternal grandmother’s wedding rings; Bride’s bracelet: Kate Spade

  • Bridesmaid jewelry: Earrings and bracelet from Kate Spade

  • Hair and makeup: City Girl Hair Design Studio, North Windham

  • Veil: Made by mother of the bride from maternal grandmother’s shawl.

  • Portable toilets: G.A. Downing

  • Invitations/paper goods: Designed by bride, printed by

  • Band: Search Party, Boston

  • Hotel: Poland Spring Resort, Poland Spring

  • Guest transportation to and from Poland Spring Resort: Northeast Charter & Tour, Lewiston

  • Bug control: Whitney Tree Service, New Gloucester

  • Favors: Maine Balsam Fir Pillows, West Paris

  • Honeymoon: Vail, Colo.

  • Other special items: Homemade “tag board” for seating. Family members surprised the bride with nametags for each guest (with table number on opposite side) made out of slices of birch tree.


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