A Stunning Wedding Celebration at a Family’s Lakefront Retreat in Northern Maine

Family Camp | Lake Onawa

A Stunning Wedding Celebration at a Family’s Lakefront Retreat in Northern Maine

The ceremony at Chris’ great-grandparents’ camp on Lake Onawa near the 100-Mile Wilderness incorporated tradition’s from Jess’ hometown in Yorkshire, England.

Photography by Jamie Mercurio Photography

Jess and Chris first locked eyes on a London dance floor in 2013. “We knew pretty quickly that we were a great match—we both value our independence but have awesome adventures together, and we love spending time outdoors,” says Jess. Chris, who was working in Houston, Texas, at the time, would fly home to London every month for date night.

“We wanted there to be plenty of delicious food and free-flowing drinks, and for everyone to leave with amazing memories of having fun on the lake that is so special to us.”


Ever since they started dating, Chris and Jess would visit his great-grandparents’ place on Lake Onawa. Usually, the pair spends the first few days of the trip re-exploring their old haunts, swimming to a nearby island, checking on the beaver dam upstream, and hiking up Borestone Mountain. During their trip in 2017, the first few days were cool and foggy—perfect for hiking—and Jess couldn’t understand why Chris wanted to spend so much time inside, playing Scrabble. On the third day the clouds finally broke, and the couple set out for a hike. When they reached the top of the mountain, Chris proposed with a ring that was “very precariously” zipped into a pocket in his running shorts. After Jess said yes, they spent the rest of the day celebrating in their old row boat with a bottle of Champagne.

“Our guests ate wood-fired lobster and danced under old family canoes, one of which was first used by Chris’ great-grandparents on their honeymoon.”


A Love Worth Flying For

The Cake
Jess’s parents had always dreamt that their only daughter would have a traditional English wedding, and while it took some convincing to get them on board with a stateside celebration, they finally agreed. However, they would not compromise on the wedding cake, which had to be an English fruitcake served with Wensleydale cheese, as is the tradition in Yorkshire, England, where Jess grew up. The cake was ordered from a baker in Yorkshire, and Jess’s father, Julian, created a special suitcase to safely fly the cake to Maine for the on August 7, 2019 celebration.

The Lake
Neighbors on the lake pitched in to make the day special. It was very hot, and after the ceremony, the bridal party walked down to the docks to find neighbors waiting with cold towels, pontoon boats and magnums of Champagne on ice. Chris’s cousin Dave took the newlyweds for a ride in his seaplane. To cool off, the bridal party skinny dipped in the lake; the bridesmaids showed up at the reception with their dresses on backwards and the groomsmen with their shirts inside out.


Accessories: Annoushka Ducas

Bridesmaid Dresses: Ghost London

Cake: Amanda Earl Cake Design

Catering: Applecroft Catering

Flowers: Marigold Floral

Gown: Jenny Packham

Hair & Makeup: K. Hilton Hair Artistry

Officiant(s): Jesse Elzinga (Chris’s brother-in-law) and Julian Campbell (Jess’s dad)

Photographer: Jamie Mercurio Photography

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