As today is Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share the most romantic story I know… the story of how my husband surprised me with a private island wedding.
Just before we left Florida to embark on our second season as Innkeepers at the Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse in Maine, Mark proposed. Being a professional singer his entire life, Mark expresses himself often through songs and song lyrics. This special event was no different.
On his last gig before we were scheduled to leave, he brought me on stage and surprised me (and 250 close friends and random fans) by dropping to one knee and asking me to marry him. Of course, I accepted.
The Island Wedding Planning
Being a newly engaged girl, I didn’t waste any time to start looking at wedding dresses and venues and talking about dates. I spent most of the road trip to Maine that year pinning away on my newest “Wedding” Pinterest Board – everything from beach weddings to exotic honeymoons. The new board was filled with dresses, and shoes, and hairstyles. I tossed ideas to Mark on when and where he thought we might exchange our vows. He was noncommital and vague to my suggestions, but I did not think too much about it.
Little did I know… my island wedding was already planned.
Life on the island has taught us one thing with certainty… Mother Nature is in charge. Not us.
On the morning of June 5, 2016 we woke up and started our day in typical “Innkeeping” fashion – by making a big breakfast for our guests. All guests were checking out that morning and we were to have a night off.
Four of our closest friends were in town vacationing in Boothbay Harbor and I was under the belief that we were meeting them on the mainland for a late lunch.
Around 10:30 that morning, as we were saying good-bye to our guests, we receive communication that there is a big storm coming in and all boats need to be secured in the harbor by midday. This isn’t an unusual situation for us and we have had to move the boats into the harbor many times in the past. The only issue I could see was that if we went off island to see our friends, we would not be able to return to the lighthouse that night.
However, Mark becomes extremely agitated at this news and I see him outside on the phone pacing. He finally comes back inside and I suggest that we just take the dogs in with us and secure the boat and stay on the mainland overnight.
He finally says, “You don’t understand!” To which I reply, “Clearly.”
And he drops the bomb, “We are supposed to get married here today.”
I very eloquently replied “WHAT?”
He goes on to tell me that “Everyone is on the mainland and this has been planned for months.”
I try to calmly process this and nicely explain that I have a couple of issues with this plan. First of all, I have nothing to wear. While this wasn’t going to be my first wedding, I still hadn’t envisioned myself walking down the aisle in a pair of khaki pants and blue shirt with the Cuckolds’ logo on it. He waves my concern aside and tells me “That’s been handled. What else?”
Then I go on to tell him my biggest issue, which is that my son would not be present for this island wedding. Dylan was 19 at that time and we had tried to arrange for him to travel to Maine with our friends, but his work and school schedule had prevented it. Mark goes on to tell me that Dylan has been a part of the planning that we have his blessing. He told me Dylan was going to call me in a few hours and I would see that Dylan was okay with us proceeding.
Mark then heads out the door to meet the boat which was pulling up at the dock. I remember standing there in the kitchen by myself and trying to process the whole thing… also trying to remember the last time I had shaved my legs or washed my hair. I was mentally going through my very limited Maine wardrobe to think if there was anything in there I could wear, as I had no idea what “That’s been handled” meant. Finally I grab my jacket and follow Mark down to the dock, where our four friends are climbing off the boat. After greetings, hugs, and laughter… I invite everyone to move on up to the house. They tell me that first I need to check out the boat, because there is a surprise on it for me.
The Surprises Keep Coming
As I climb on the boat, my first thought is that I’m going to discover a beautiful wedding dress hanging there. Instead I found something much better than any wedding gown ever created.
Dylan stands up.
As you can imagine, the tears began flowing. I think that was the first moment that it hit me this was REAL. We were getting married.
That wasn’t the end of the surprises, though. The boat went back for another load. A few minutes later, Mark’s entire family walked in – Mom, Dad, sisters, brother, and brother in law. That boat trip also transported over other wedding essentials – a beautiful custom bouquet designed by Mark with local florist, a small cake, chilled champagne, and an absolutely perfect island wedding dress.
Mark really HAD been planning this for months. He had coordinated with our onshore captain, Captain Leslie. She had pumped me for my thoughts and ideas for our future wedding and I had shared my Pinterest page with her. She then found a style of dress that she had seen me pin repeatedly. Mark told her to order it in two sizes… just to be sure it fit! She had also managed to find some gorgeous shoes and even some decorations for my hair.
The girls all whisked me upstairs with some bottles of champagne and began to help me get ready. Remember, there was a big storm coming… so the island wedding preparations had to be quick.
At one o’clock that afternoon, escorted down the aisle by my son, to the sounds of a strumming guitar (provided by my brother-in-law), Mark and I became husband and wife. Our dear friend, Captain Leslie, performed the ceremony.
With no time to waste, we cut the cake, had champagne toast, and began to evacuate the island. The celebration continued on the mainland.
Almost two years later, I am still in awe of Mark for pulling off this private island wedding surprise. I am blessed to be married to this special man and lucky to spend all my days with him. Our lives are full of love and adventure.
Do you have a great wedding story? Did you have an island wedding? A most romantic memory? Please take a minute and share it with me and my readers.