A South-Meets-East Coast Nautical Maine Wedding

Matt and Josh

Jodi & Kurt Photography

A Southerner and a Yankee walk into a bar. So began Matthew Mills and Joshua White's relationship, but it quickly became clear that their connection was no joke. After just two weeks, the Washington, D.C.-based duo—Tennessee-born Matt works at a law firm, Maryland-bred Josh for the Department of the Treasury—were a couple, even adopting a dog together.

Seven years later, the pair invited 14 friends for a week in a rental house on Cape Cod, a region where Josh's family vacationed when he was a kid, for Josh's birthday. One evening Matt surprised him with a proposal, and their guests—including relatives who had come for dinner—with an engagement party. Fifteen months later, on October 11, 2014, the boys were back on the shore, this time at the Newagen Seaside Inn in Maine, to exchange vows in front of 108 loved ones.

The wedding was a coastal affair, with a serene blue-and-white palette and a rehearsal dinner at a classic waterfront joint. But it also had a South-meets-East Coast theme, with everything from the foliage on the chuppah to the welcome bags honoring the grooms' upbringing. After a civil service that incorporated Jewish, Christian, and secular texts came cocktails and appetizers (including biscuits and Benton's country ham, cured in Matt's hometown). Then everyone stepped into a tent for a meal of roasted squash soup, fried green tomato caprese salad, and a surf and turf of smoked beef brisket and lobster rolls. Next came a dessert buffet of the grooms' favorite childhood treats, including black-and-white cookies for Josh and a hummingbird cake for Matt. The pair's first dance was to "Fools Rush In," made famous by Elvis Presley, which fit the speed of their romance and the event's theme (the King lived in Memphis).

The dance floor stayed packed until around 10 p.m., when the band asked everyone to gather on the lawn, where the unsuspecting crowd was rewarded with fireworks over the ocean. "We wanted to end the wedding with something our guests would never forget," says Josh. They accomplished that, and—much as on the night they met—once again made sparks fly.

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The Invitations

Anchor and Safety Throw Ring Accents
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The letterpressed suite, mailed using vintage stamps, included a postcard reproduction of a 1920s illustration of the venue as its RSVP card.

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Welcome to Maine

Anchor and Safety Throw Ring Accents
Jodi & Kurt Photography

Almost all guests traveled from out of state—some even journeyed as far as Alaska, Israel, and Australia—for the destination wedding. Upon arrival, each received a box with water, blueberry-flavored salt water taffy (an homage to Maine), a MoonPie (made in Tennessee), Cape Cod potato chips, a personal note from the couple, a custom guide book for the weekend, and a hand-drawn map of Southport Island created by Laura Hooper.

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Shalom Y'all!

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"Shalom,Y'all" signs welcomed guests in a nod to Josh's Jewish heritage and Matt's Southern roots.

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The Wedding Party

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Groomsmen, "groomsmaids," and flower girls wore shades of blue, a color the pair chose to "convey a sense of calm," says Josh. As for the grooms, they sported ensembles from My.Suit.

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Festive Socks

Anchor and Safety Throw Ring Accents
Jodi & Kurt Photography

Josh accessorized with lobster-covered J.Crew socks. "They were a gift from my mom, since the wedding was in Maine and all," he notes.

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An Adorned Ceremony Structure

The Cedar Room
Jodi & Kurt Photography

Watershed Floral decorated the birch branch chuppah with magnolia leaves, hydrangeas, blackberry branches, and eucalyptus.

07 of 13

Cities Far and Wide

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Many of the guests' resident cities were represented on the couple's wayfinder sign that was painted by the couple's calligrapher, Laura Hooper.

08 of 13

Double Duty Escort Cards

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Avid gardeners, the couple added calligraphed tags to seed packets, which doubled as escort cards and favors.

09 of 13

The Tent Setup

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Fourteen farm tables filled the tent, each set with centerpieces arranged in mercury glass vases, mint julep cups, and bud vases under glass cloches. Mostly in shades of blue and green, they included hydrangeas, dahlias, magnolia leaves, thistle, blackberry branches, African violets, and other assorted potted plants.

"Three sides of the tent offered water views and the fourth overlooked the resort," event planner and designer Amber Karson of Karson Butler Events explains. "There was gorgeousness all around! And as Matt and Josh entertain all the time, they wanted the reception to feel like an amazing, elegant dinner party. So the tent was designed to reflect that goal."

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The Place Settings

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Guests' nicknames were written on a strip of linen and wrapped around a patterned napkin topped with a blue eryngium stem.

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A Dance Floor Decal

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Jodi & Kurt Photography

Coordinates of the venue and a compass rose were applied to the dance floor.

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Sweets Galore

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A dessert spread of childhood favorites, including red velvet whoopie pies, meant no waiting for the cake to be cut and more time for dancing.

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Jodi & Kurt Photography

Location, catering, and desserts, Newagen Seaside Inn
Event planning and design, Karson Butler Events
Flowers, Watershed Floral
Photography, Jodi and Kurt Photography
Officiant, Sally Bullard of A Maine Wedding
Stationery, Cheree Berry Paper for Minted
Day-of paper goods, calligraphy, and wooden signage, Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Cake, European Bakery, Inc.
Music, Ripcord
Rentals, La Tavola Fine Linen; One Stop Event Rentals; Sperry Tents Seacoast
Grooms' suits and groomsmen's jackets, My.Suit
Josh's bow tie and Matt's tie, Robert Talbott
Josh's shirt and suspenders, Brooks Brothers
Josh's and Matt's shoes, Allen Edmonds
Josh's watch and Matt's cuff links, Cartier
Josh's cuff links, Thomas Pink
Matt's custom shirt, Wm. Fox & Co
Hair, Fred Hawck of Wicked Salon
Groomsmaids' makeup, Sadie Barrera of Wicked Salon
Groomsmen's pants and flower-girl dresses and cardigans, J.Crew
Groomsmaids' dresses, Bhld
Wedding rings, Blue Nile
Outdoor lighting, The Event Light Pros
Fireworks, Central Maine Pyrotechnics
Nautical compass decal, Zapoart
Seed packets, Botanical Interests
Black-and-white cookies and hamentashen, Sweets Melissa & Sons

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