Cathy & Scott’s Cozy and Simply Sweet Schooner Wedding


schooner olad wedding

Cathy and Scott’s love for one another and their guests absolutely shone in their very cozy no-frills celebration aboard the Schooner Olad against a beautiful backdrop of sun, sky and sea. Here’s Samantha Marie Photography to tell you more about this wonderful day:

Cathy and Scott are two of the most genuinely nice people you’ll ever meet. They met in a somewhat non-traditional way, and that non traditional theme carried through to their wedding upon a schooner. They invited only their closest friends and family and had an American Sign Language interpreter on board with them to interpret for their many Deaf guests. It was beautifully moving to see them say their personalized vows as their interpreter signed alongside them. After their vows on the Schooner Olad, the schooner sailed to a local island where the ship’s crew prepared a perfectly Maine dinner of lobster, chicken, a giant whoopie pie and blueberry pie. At the end of the night, the bride + groom sailed back to Camden Harbor at sunset with their guests.

schooner olad wedding

schooner olad wedding

schooner olad wedding

schooner olad wedding

schooner olad wedding

The lovely Cathy is of course best suited to tell you all about their very special day so I’m handing you over to her right now — be sure not to miss their cute love story which is coming in a bit!

Scott is a scientist. He works at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor in Maine. He works with colonies of mice and helps develop strains that people can order to do specific experiments on. I am a teacher for the Deaf and hard of hearing. I work with children birth through age five and their families. I LOVE my job!!! 🙂 The kids are amazing and I get to meet incredible people all over the state.

schooner olad wedding

Scott and I originally met online, which seems to be more and more common these days. But our meeting is a little unusual because he was living in Illinois, and I was living in Maine. And we didn’t meet on a dating site. Instead, we met in the online game World of Warcraft. We were both gamers and wound up in the same guild and started chatting together within the game at first. We then graduated to chatting via internet chat programs like Teamspeak and Skype, then eventually wound up just calling each other every single night. He liked me right away, and kept saying that he wanted to meet me, but I was very leery: He was so far away, in a state I’d never even been to, and I felt like attempting to have a relationship with some stranger I met in a videogame was completely insane. But he was very persistent, without being pushy, and I eventually agreed to meet him in person, about a year after meeting him online. I was still very uncomfortable with having him come to Maine, or else meeting him at his home, so we agreed instead to meet in Chicago which was several hours from where he lived, and therefore neutral territory.

I cannot begin to tell you how TERRIFIED I was of meeting him! It was probably stupid of me, but I didn’t think my nerves could handle meeting in public, so I agreed to meet him at a hotel room we reserved. I didn’t tell any of my friends because I figured they would stop me from going, because of all of the stories you hear about meeting crazy people from the internet. So there I was, all alone, in a hotel in the middle of Chicago, waiting for this strange guy, whom I had spent the last year of my life talking to every single night, and trying not to lose my mind. I paced. I brushed my teeth like six times. I turned the AC up, I turned it down again… Finally my phone rang, and it was Scott telling me he was in the elevator and on his way up. I ran to the hotel room door and opened it and stared down the hallway towards the elevators in horror. I figured either he would turn out to be an axe murderer, or else he would hate me on sight and run away.

But, for some reason, as soon as the elevator doors opened and he stepped out, I just knew that everything would be okay. He waved at me and walked towards me with this huge, sweet smile, and instantly, all of my tension and fears melted away, and everything was wonderful. We spent an amazing four days together, and both cried when it was time to say goodbye. After that, we visited over the next year and a half until he finished College, and then moved to Maine. We got engaged a year later, the first weekend we moved into our very first house together. He took me out on our back deck and pointed out a shooting star. When I turned back around, he was down on one knee and proposed. Our wedding was a little over a year later.

schooner olad wedding

As for the wedding, I have always been very non-traditional, and the thought of those wedding factory stores where people buy their gowns and matching bridesmaid dresses gives me the heebie jeebies! Imagining trying to figure out seating at a traditional reception and the headaches associated with that, always made me think that I didn’t want a wedding at all. But after talking to Scott, I came to realize that neither of us felt at all required to follow any traditional standards when it came to a wedding, and that we could do anything we wanted!!! So I allowed myself to dream about what a “perfect” wedding would be to me. I love Maine so much and especially the summers here. The seashore is so gorgeous, and the ocean fills me with joy. So I thought, why not get married on a boat? For most couples, numbers of guests and cost would have been prohibitive, but we didn’t need a large ship as my parents had passed away recently, and Scott’s parents couldn’t make it to Maine (they were the caregivers for the elderly grandparents). Also, I’ve always been the type to have a few very close friends, rather than a ton of acquaintances. So we could easily charter a smaller ship that was affordable.

schooner olad wedding

Due to limited seating on the boat, the guest list was short and simple to compile. We had 22 spots total. Scott and myself, Samantha Marie, our photographer, who was the FIRST call I made after we reserved the date. I had been admiring her pictures online for several years and knew without a doubt that she was exactly the right person to document our unusual wedding. She is offbeat and so full of love and joy for her clients, I knew she would make us feel special and comfortable. The second call I made was to an amazing sign language interpreter because about half our wedding party was going to be Deaf. (Due to my job, I have a lot of Deaf friends). I was very fortunate and both Sam and Sarah Tanner our amazing interpreter agreed to the date, and we were able to create a simple guest list from that point forth. All of the guests were friends. No family members of either myself or Scott attended. About half of them were Deaf, and all of the hearing people knew at least some sign language, and most of them were fairly fluent. The ages ranged from 2 weeks old, to 74 years old, which considering that we only invited 18 people outside of the interpreter and photographer, is quite cool!

schooner olad wedding

So I started doing research online, and I found the Schooner Olad, out of Camden, Maine. Here is the website for it: http://www.maineschooners.com/
I immediately fell in love with the idea of actually getting to get married on this incredibly beautiful ship!!! So I contacted the captain: Aaron Lincoln, and we immediately connected on the phone. He was so warm and eager to make our special day whatever we wanted it to be. He was happy to tailor it to suit us! He was so relaxed and open about all of my thoughts, I knew I had found the right match. Plus, as the captain of the ship, he himself would be able to officiate and wed us! So we worked out all of the details over the next several months.

schooner olad wedding

The biggest question that Scott had from day one was: “Can I wear shorts?” He’s a casual guy, and doesn’t feel comfortable all dressed up. As I mentioned, I care a whole lot more about it being OUR wedding and us being happy and comfortable on our special day, than about any tradition or what anyone might think. So my response was: “Of course, honey!” And pretty much everything flowed from that point forward. I decided that I wanted a simple white dress, but not a traditional wedding gown. For one, our reception was on an island that is a state park, and as we had no way of knowing if any boats would have already docked there, by the time we arrived, there was a real possibility that all of us and our guests would need to climb down a ladder to get to a smaller boat to travel to the island. So I wanted something practical. After looking at a lot of local stores, I finally found the perfect dress online on ebay, and ordered a super cute pair of white and pearl flip flops to go with it from Etsy.

schooner olad wedding

Due to limited seating on the boat, the guest list was short and simple to compile. We had 22 spots total. Scott and myself, Samantha Marie, our photographer, who was the FIRST call I made after we reserved the date. I had been admiring her pictures online for several years and knew without a doubt that she was exactly the right person to document our unusual wedding. She is offbeat and so full of love and joy for her clients, I knew she would make us feel special and comfortable. The second call I made was to an amazing sign language interpreter because about half our wedding party was going to be Deaf. (Due to my job, I have a lot of Deaf friends). I was very fortunate and both Sam and Sarah Tanner our amazing interpreter agreed to the date, and we were able to create a simple guest list from that point forth. All of the guests were friends. No family members of either myself or Scott attended. About half of them were Deaf, and all of the hearing people knew at least some sign language, and most of them were fairly fluent. The ages ranged from 2 weeks old, to 74 years old, which considering that we only invited 18 people outside of the interpreter and photographer, is quite cool!

schooner olad wedding

schooner olad wedding

schooner olad wedding

Our wedding invitations asked people to do two things: 1. DO NOT DRESS UP! We asked people to come wearing comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes that they felt okay about climbing a ladder and/or around a rocky island in. 2. DO NOT PURCHASE ANY GIFTS. We asked people to not spend money on gifts for us and we did not register anywhere. We felt that we had everything we needed, and people’s presence with us on our special day was gift enough. We really wanted this day to be a relaxing day of fun without people having to worry about what to wear, or what to buy us. Neither of those things had anything to do with our wedding day. The day was about sharing our love and happiness with the people dearest to us.

The second question Scott asked when we first started to plan our event, was: “Do I have to memorize the wedding vows? I’m afraid I’ll forget them.” I told him that the day wasn’t about putting on a show. It was about declaring our love for each other with our loved ones there to witness it and nobody would care whether we read them or recited them. So we each wrote our own vows and read them.

schooner olad wedding

The day of our wedding was so beautiful and I was so incredibly excited about getting to be on the gorgeous schooner Olad. The ship was even more incredibly beautiful than I had imagined, and getting to walk down the gangplank and be the first aboard, was such an amazing experience! I felt like a queen! It was so much fun to see everyone follow us aboard and settle into comfy spots for our sail. The trip started by taking us out of Camden Harbor and to the Camden lighthouse. The Captain moored the ship there, and Scott and I stood at the prow of the boat as Aaron led us through the ceremony. Near the end of the ceremony, I read something I had written about my Mother who had passed away the previous year and how I knew that she was watching us on our special day. Each guest was given a blackeyed Susan flower in honor of my Mother whose name was Susan, and we all set them afloat in the ocean to honor her. That was a very important part of our ceremony for me.

schooner olad wedding

One of the most fun parts after the ceremony was over and we had kissed, was that the Captain gave Scott and me our first task as a married couple: We were to raise the main sail on the ship. Because of the way the mast and sail work, two people have to pull it up simultaneously, but one person’s rope is very light and easy to pull, while the other person’s is very heavy and difficult. So both individuals have to communicate in order to make it work. It was so much for to work together to raise the incredibly beautiful sail and finally see it flying free on the mast way above us!

schooner olad wedding

We then sailed to Warren Island which is a Maine State Park and got off. Our reception was as relaxed an informal as the rest of our wedding: There were picnic benches set up under a tent and an assortment of appetizers. No assigned seating and nothing fancy! While we ate and chatted Aaron and his crew prepared us an old fashioned lobster dinner: They used large pots and added armfuls of seaweed to them to help it steam and flavor the water. SO yummy! And our wedding “cake” was a traditional giant Maine Whoopie Pie made by the Captain’s own father! 🙂

schooner olad wedding

We had a wonderful time and enjoyed the food, the rocky beach, and just chatting and having fun. Then we all got back on the ship and sailed through the twilight back to port, watching the stars come out as we went.

It was an absolutely perfect day, and I can’t imagine any venue I’d have liked better. I can’t say enough about how absolutely incredible the Captain Aaron Lincoln and all of his crew were. They took care of absolutely everything and made the day even more special than I could have dreamed. Also, Samantha was everything I had hoped for: She captured every moment while never being obtrusive or getting in the way. She was creative and gave us lots of suggestions, and also listened to everything we thought of for pictures. And our interpreter Sarah Tanner was amazing!

schooner olad wedding

I figure that, ten years from now, ours is the wedding everyone will remember. And nobody will care that I didn’t have something borrowed or blue, and that Scott wore shorts or that we read our vows. They will remember the love and joy and laughter of our magical day aboard the schooner. 🙂

Oh and my advice:  It’s YOUR day. Don’t worry about following traditions that don’t feel meaningful to you, or pleasing other people. This is your chance to dream and get creative: Make your special day whatever YOU want it to be!

schooner olad wedding

Huge thanks, Samantha for sending your gorgeous photos my way, and congratulations Cathy and Scott! Here’s to a lifetime of married bliss. 🙂

Photographer: Samantha White with Samantha Marie Photography
Venue: The Schooner Olad out of Camden, ME. And Warren Island
Caterer: High Mountain Hall & The crew of the Schooner Olad.
Hair: Charity McCue.
Florist: Lily, Lupine and Fern
Sign Language Interpreter: Sarah Tanner

Image submission via Two Bright Lights

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