A Rustic, Nautical Wedding at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

rn                    Having grown up in Maine, Whitney Thornton (27 and a food and nutrition director) and Mathew Thornton (27 and a civil engineer)

rn Having grown up in Maine, Whitney Thornton (27 and a food and nutrition director) and Mathew Thornton (27 and a civil engineer) could think of no place more beautiful than their home state to celebrate their fall nuptials. The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine, offered a picturesque setting, with its breathtaking views of the Kennebec River and acres of lush greenery. Paying tribute to the locale through the decor and menu were a given for the pair and a nautical, rustic theme was chosen for the day. A palette of bright royal blue, ivory and red hues served as a nod to traditional nautical flags and made an appearance in everything from the flowers to the mason jar escort cards and even the wedding cake. Seashells, driftwood and netting were incorporated throughout, adding a playful beach-inspired twist to the decor, while a menu packed with fresh seafood and Maine classics like whoopie pies showcased local flavors. The Time Pilots, a local band, kept the dance floor packed, and a photo booth stocked with silly props kept guests entertained when they needed to rest their dancing feet. Toward the end of the evening Whitney and Mathew surprised guests with a food truck dishing out late-night snacks like fried dough, wings, poutine, tacos and more—much to everyone's delight. A tip from Whitney: “Don't stress about the little things, especially since most people won't even notice, and really take it all in. Everyone told Mathew and me that the day would go by so fast, so try to enjoy it. Many times we stood back and looked, and cherished seeing our friends and family all together.”

When Mathew popped the question, simply asking Whitney to marry him wouldn’t do. He planned an elaborate proposal at the couple’s family home on Moosehead Lake in northern Maine, getting both of their families in on the secret. That morning, Whitney’s sister took her to a restaurant to take photos to give to their parents for Christmas. On the way back to the house she blindfolded Whitney and led her down to the dock. “I sat on the end of the dock looking out at Mount Kineo and a computer was in front of me,” Whitney says. “I watched a short video of my best friends saying how much they loved me and wished they could all be there. I got up and turned around to see almost all of my best friends and family members, as well as Mathew’s family, standing on the dock holding pictures of us.” She walked through their families and friends to find Mathew down on one knee. “I said yes and a barbecue and cake cutting followed,” Whitney says. “It was a pure dream.”
Whitney had eight bridesmaids by her side at the altar. She chose a strapless royal blue cocktail dress with a sweetheart neckline from Henry’s Bridal Boutique in Bangor, Maine, for all the girls to wear, which tied into the day’s nautical theme. When it came to the accessories, Whitney asked her bridesmaids to choose their own shoes and jewelry, which allowed the girls to show off a little of their own personalities and styles.
Vintage Trolley Ceremony Transportation
Classic Gray Men's Wearhouse Suits
A traditional ballroom wasn’t going to cut it for Whitney and Mathew’s September wedding. The native Mainers wanted a location with character and New England flair, and the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine, offered just that. The venue offered the couple and their guests stunning views of the water, and Whitney and Mathew were able to hire their own caterer. “When I interned in culinary school with Lurie Palino from SeaCoast Catering and Lobster Bakes, I knew I wanted her to do our wedding,” Whitney says.
With the ceremony location boasting beautiful views of the water, Whitney and Mathew kept the decor to a minimum to avoid taking away from the natural scenery. Ivory rose petals were scattered along the aisle, and alternating rows displayed blue mason jars filled with baby’s breath and wine-colored lilies.
Handmade Wooden Arrow Signpost
Birch Branch Wedding Arch
Ivory Rose and Pink Peony Bouquet
Watershed Floral took the reins on all the couple’s floral needs, creating eye-catching arrangements of bright blooms for both the centerpieces and bouquets. To tie the decor into the nautical theme, the designers also made nonfloral arrangements of driftwood, netting and seashells for several tables.
The wedding’s decor was nautically inspired, with Whitney and Mathew drawing on a classic seafaring color scheme of royal blue, ivory and red to infuse their venue with energy and life. Maine’s rocky coast was translated into seashell-themed table names, driftwood and seashell centerpieces and fresh bunches of ivory and blue hydrangeas. “Having grown up in Maine—me in Bangor and Mathew in Newport—we just knew we had to be married here,” Whitney says.
Rowboat Beer Cooler
With a waterfront venue on Maine’s rocky coastline, a rustic, nautical theme was a given for Whitney and Mathew’s September affair. From the centerpieces to the escort cards and even the menu, each detail played tribute to the wedding’s seaside locale. For the escort cards, the couple had special mason jar drinking glasses made with the outline of the state of Maine stamped on each one alongside the expression “LoveME.” The names of each guest and their seating arrangement were handwritten on vintage gift tags with a compass motif and attached to the glasses.
Thumbprint Tree of Life Guest Book
Dessert was just as enticing as dinner, with Whitney and Mathew offering a spread of decadent treats. Classic Maine whoopie pies, cake pops, cupcakes and traditional wedding cake were served, followed by a few late-night snacks like fried dough, french fries, wings, poutine, tacos and more.
Cocktail hour and dinner were highlights, featuring many classic Maine dishes and flavors. In addition to a raw bar stocked with fresh jumbo shrimp and oysters displayed in a rowboat, guests nibbled on inspired appetizers like chicken satay, bruschetta on edible spoons, vegetable egg rolls and more during cocktail hour. Singer Isaiah Bennett provided just the right amount of ambiance for the laid-back affair, and guests enjoyed beautiful views of the water while sipping on signature cocktails and playing lawn games like corn hole. Whitney and Mathew skipped the traditional sit-down dinner or buffet, opting instead for a series of stations that allowed guests to mix and mingle. A made-to-order pasta station, a beef tenderloin carving station and a lobster station were huge hits with the couple’s families and friends.