My first York Harbor Reading Room wedding was this past fall, and it’s my new favorite Maine wedding venue for photos. It’s just such a gorgeous setting, with the Reading Room perched high on the cliff overlooking pretty York Harbor. The space inside is intimate and full of character, with a sweet nautical theme.
I asked Liesl and Ryan to share a little about the planning process and their relationship.
How did you choose your wedding venue, the York Harbor Reading Room?
Liesl saw the York Harbor Reading Room from afar while walking along the York, Maine cliff walk several years ago. She thought it was a beautiful building in a breathtaking ocean setting and was intrigued by it. After she and Ryan got engaged, Liesl brought Ryan to see the Reading Room. It was the first wedding venue they toured and they fell in love with it. It felt like such a unique and magical spot for a wedding with the model ships hanging from the ceiling and the dramatic ocean views.
How did you meet?
When Ryan was doing his residency at Cornell in NYC, Liesl came into the clinic one day to see one of the attending doctors. As luck would have it, Ryan was assigned to do Liesl’s initial consult. Trying to find a connection, Liesl asked if Ryan knew her friend, Anne, who was also a resident at Cornell. Ryan got excited and told Liesl that he knew Anne very well – “She’s like a little sister to me.” Ryan later asked Anne about Liesl and indicated he was interested in her. Separately, Liesl said the same thing to Anne about Ryan.
Weeks turned into months without Ryan and Liesl seeing each other. Eventually their paths crossed again when Liesl was out with Anne one night. Ryan happened to text Anne and asked if she wanted to meet up. Anne agreed and invited him to the restaurant where she and Liesl were spending the evening. That night, Ryan learned of Liesl’s upcoming birthday. Ryan contacted her on her birthday and invited her out for a belated birthday drink He took her out to Felice, a tiny candlelit Italian restaurant, and the rest is history.
Describe your wedding decor/theme and how you chose it
Since our reception was at the York Harbor Reading Room, we incorporated books / love stories into the décor. We had letters spelling “LOVE” made out of old books, stacks of old books with flowers tucked in them, signs referring to “happily ever after”, love story books open with book marks instructing guests to take their escort cards, etc. We also incorporated a bit of an ocean theme given the coastal location of the wedding — we had mussel shells in the flower vases, sand dollars at each place setting and a big glass bottle that people could put their messages into. With these two themes, we wanted to create the feel of a seaside love story.
Why did you choose Kate to photograph your wedding?
Out of all our wedding details, we were both the most selective about choosing a wedding photographer. We knew our wedding day would be a blur, so we wanted to make sure that we had perfect photos to capture the day. We literally spent dozens of hours researching photographers all over the country! We got a little carried away with our research, but our effort paid off.
While researching photographers, Kate’s photos really stood out because of the way she uses light, brings out the beauty in people and incorporates her surroundings into her photos. She also does a fantastic job of capturing beautiful moments. Not many photographers are capable of these things!
What was one of your favorite moments from your wedding day?
Seeing the church filled up with all of our favorite people was a very touching moment for both of us. We had so much fun getting married – we had no idea it would be such a blast!
Did any of your vendors go above and beyond for you?
Bella Bridal (Amesbury, MA) – The ladies at Bella Bridal boutique were warm, inviting and patient through the whole process of selecting, buying and getting fitted for my wedding dress. The Bella Bridal experience was pleasant in every way and I got so much individualized attention.
Lettering By Liz (Boston, MA) – I love calligraphy and decided to incorporated it into our wedding day as much as possible. Liz created our escort cards as well as various signs that we used at our venue. We had beautifully written signs next to the basket of pashminas that we had available for guests, the blueberry jam favors, the guest sign in book, etc. Liz’s signs really made our favors, etc. stand out.
Jenny’s Wedding Cakes (Amesbury, MA) – Jen is really fun to work with and her cakes taste AMAZING. She has really unique flavors and she is so artistic. Jen has an incredible gift for creating delicate, life-like sugar flowers. She created flowers for our cake and we saved one of them as a keepsake because they were so beautiful. Her cakes are perfect inside and out!
Milkfed Press (Northern California) – Victoria of Milkfed Press is just phenomenal. She has wonderful ideas and is very detail-oriented; she creates beautiful letterpress at reasonable prices and she runs her business really well. Everything about working with Victoria was smooth as butter.
Do you have any tips to share with other couples?
Always cut the hanger straps out of your wedding dress! Mine kept coming out over the course of the day and nobody told me – they are very distracting in our wedding video.
Thank you Liesl and Ryan for trusting me to document your beautiful York Harbor Reading Room wedding, and special thanks to the amazing and wonderful Whitney Fox of Emilie Inc who stepped in last minute to help out after my second shooter had a family emergency. Several of the photos above are by Whitney.
Ceremony First Parish Congregational Church in York, Maine ~ Reception York Harbor Reading Room ~ Coordinator Mary Mace at York Harbor Reading Room ~ DJ Scott Arrington, Murphy Hill Talent ~ Stationery Milkfed Press ~ Cake Jenny's Wedding Cakes ~ Florist Kate Martin, Beautiful Days ~ Hair & Makeup Envy Salon & A Matter of Face ~ Videographer Jaime Wood, NH Images ~ Calligraphy Lettering By Liz ~ Bride's Dress Bella Bridal