Acadia National Park Wedding | Lesbian Wedding Maine | Destination LGBTQ Wedding Acadia
Their Acadia National Park wedding involved barefoot vows, bonfires, a bouncy house, and other things not starting with the letter “b.”
(Seriously, the entire weekend was a BLAST.)
It was an awesome wedding to photograph, but just as much fun was their day-after wedding adventure session on one of my favorite mountains in Acadia.
Enjoy this same-sex wedding adventure atop an uncrowded Acadia lookout.
Photos by Acadia National Park wedding photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings
Meeting the Brides in Maine
I met Erin & Jenn while photographing their friend’s wedding in Florida, years ago. Needless to say we all immediately hit it off. Erin is one of the funniest people I know, and to this day the 3 of us still exchange texts.
These two brides are hysterical, and I think these nontraditional destination wedding photos show that. Their personalities and zany expressions are kind of hard to miss, really. And while most people assume that a destination wedding will be on a tropical island, these two left the tropical mini-nation of Florida and headed to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine.
What I love most is that their core group of friends have kept in touch for years and decades, despite the fact that most of them are no longer Florida residents. So it should come as no surprise that when Jenn and Erin announced they were having a destination Acadia National Park wedding, everyone joined forces, traveled up over 1,500 miles with 24 hours of driving, and set up camp. Literally. (This is where it pays to have friends who run campgrounds in Maine!)
Now when you think of Florida, you probably think of everything that’s the opposite of Maine. While Florida is hot, tropical, and flat, Maine is mountainous, colder, and full of rocky outcroppings with 0 alligators.
So, it should come as no surprise that Jenn and Erin—neither of whom are originally from Florida but fell in love with each other there—wanted the fun of a camping wedding but with the beauty of Acadia National Park.
A Campground Wedding
While most were not roughing it, it was a close-knit group of us who glamped in the cold cabins at the end of camping season. I was right next to the brides and my assistant, and others were around the main field. There are non-traditional wedding venues, and then there are campground weddings. I love them, because I love camping and s’mores. And truthfully, I am probably not the best fit for a formal black-tie wedding in a ballroom, but if you’re having a summer camp or camping wedding, then I’m the photographer for the job! Jenn and Erin knew that, and I knew they were awesome people I would hang out with any time.
Where we were glamping, it was super easy to walk back and forth to different cabins—including the “hospitality cabin,” which had snacks and drinks during the day. So darn adorable.
Because our group spent 4 days together, we really did become a little family. I truly love photographing weekend weddings, because I get to know the guests better, and in turn get more amazing photos.
Exploring Acadia National Park
Don’t let this happen to you!
One thing that is all too common when having weddings is going to a beautiful location and not being able to explore it. Whether you’re having a multi-day Indian wedding or a destination wedding, couples often have so much to do to prepare, then so much to pack up afterwards while being exhausted from a week/end of constant go-go-go. In fact, the majority of couples I’ve worked with and met never get to leave their resorts, or never get to fully explore their destinations.
That is a fact that makes me extremely sad, because you schlepped all the way there. Explore it!
This is why adventure sessions are so awesome. Nearly every time I do one—whether it’s in Hawaii, or Mexico, or in Acadia NP where I came often when growing up—my couples comment that I showed them a location, island, or park in a way they’d never seen before, or sometimes at all. I drive my couples to all different locations after personally scouting out great hikes, views, and spots around the world.
This was the case with Jenn & Erin’s destination wedding in Acadia NP! Though we did have 4 days of celebrations—including a bar meet ‘n’ greet, a sunset cruise, the wedding day, and the adventure session—these 2 brides got to see very little of the park. More on that later.
The Maine Event
These 2 brides opted to stay in a small part of the words in the Mt. Desert Island/Acadia NP vicinity, so they could have a private gathering with family and friends. And yes, they did a barefoot ceremony!
Jenn got a 4-piece wedding dress (yes, you read that correctly), while Erin opted for a custom suit with Irish accents.
One of my former brides officiated, which is fitting since she is now a minister. It can be difficult to find LGBTQ ministers, so the fact that one of their best friends is one was the icing on the cake.
Their ceremony was short and sweet, and gave way to a bubble-centric introduction back in the main camp. After some goofy family photos (I mean, really), we visited some of their awesome DIY wedding spots: A hammock nook, an outside living room, and a vintage truck.
But…you know I’d been spying that modified bouncy house/jump pad all weekend long, and it didn’t take much to convince them to get on it. I was laughing pretty hard.
When it comes down to it, I think most adults want to be kids again. So when I said I absolutely needed volunteers so I could frame a shot of them on the giant trampoline, half the guests scrambled on. Everyone was falling and laughing, and one of the brides had her entire family jumping with her. How awesome.
Dinner, toasts, dancing with funky lights and hula hoops, a few creative shots, and then…we spun fire! This is why having a second shooter or assistant really helps. With my special supplies and some bold brides, we got this spinning fire/steel wool photo.
There was also pie, and a lot of whipped cream. Not exactly your traditional wedding cake, and not exactly your traditional Acadia wedding. But hey, Maine is known for being a little zany, and this is why I love photographing weddings here!
LGBTQ Acadia National Park Wedding Photos
Enter Jenn & Erin’s adventure session up one of my Acadia hikes! While most people take photos on the water, the beautiful fall hikes in Acadia National Park are beauty as far as the eye can see. Plus, since Maine is one of the friendliest states for LGBTQ weddings and couples, it was congratulations everywhere versus stares that can be all too common in some locations. (P.S. Maine was one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage in 2012. That was before almost everyone else, but that’s just barely over a decade ago. Crazy.)
No matter who you are or how you identify, as long as you have solid footing and a love for the outdoors, Acadia National Park is amazing for an adventure elopement, wedding photos, engagement, proposal, anniversary shoot, or vacation. I came often as a kid, and remember taking my little brother on his first big hikes here.
To celebrate their Acadia wedding in this beautiful corner of the U.S., we decided a hike with a view was in order. My assistant and I drove these two to our spot, and hiked up gear as well as their wedding attire. I even found a photo my assistant snagged of me hiking up the wedding dress with my gear!
It was the perfect day for fall wedding photos in the Northeast, so we did their adventure session on one of my favorite trails. After all, it was a destination wedding, and we had to show off as much of the scenery with these brides as possible!
I had an amazing time, truly. These kinds of weddings really are what I live for, whether it’s an Acadia elopement or a small weekend wedding celebration. Did I mention the sunset boat ride with the crew?
Or the keg inside the wedding dress? Or the wedding dress prank?! I mean, I hope you have time to enlarge the photos and enjoy!
If you’re having an Acadia National Park wedding, just know it will be amazing–and definitely make the time to explore the park with and without guests, and to get images that will remind you of your Maine adventures for decades to come~