Are you getting tired of seeing all of these fabulous camp weddings yet? Don’t worry, we aren’t either. Camp weddings are not only one of the trendiest venues these days, but truly showcase everything that we love about this great state of Maine. You simply cannot go wrong with having your ceremony outdoors, overlooking the sparkling water of a picturesque lake, or maybe, nestled into the great woods, surrounded by the sweet smell of pines and the people you love most. For Hannah and Zak’s special day, we had the lovely opportunity to explore both of these experiences, as they took advantage of every aspect of the outdoors that Camp Kieve had to offer.
These two charming individuals met nearly seven years ago in Oakland, California, shortly after Hannah moved to San Francisco to attend graduate school. Though the change in scenery, Hannah was determined to continue her passion of working in and exploring the outdoors, and quickly became connected with Bay Area Wilderness Training. Bay Area Wilderness Training not only operates as a non-profit organization that provides outdoor opportunities for undeserved youth, but represents the very beginning of Hannah and Zak’s joyous and tender relationship.
Depending on which one of these two you ask, their first encounter with one another actually happened many months apart. Trust me, you’ll get a chuckle out of this one! When Hannah first heard of the Bay Area Wilderness Training from a friend, she quickly went online to learn more about the organization, blissfully unaware of what (or should I say who!) she would she discover.
“I went online to look up more info about BAWT and, being a bio and obituary lover (sounds strange but I just love reading about what people love and how they’ve spent their lives), I read all the staff bios on the BAWT site,” Hannah recalled. “Zak was working as a program director and when I came across his bio and photo, I was instantly smitten. In the photo, I think he was wearing a backpack, he’d clearly been outdoors for awhile, his hair was all messy, and he had a flower tucked behind his ear. His bio said that he grew up building forts, fishing with his Dad, had hiked the Appalachian Trail, and was a NOLS and Outward Bound Instructor.”
“The bio had me at the flower behind his ear and the Appalachian Trail. So, the embarrassing part is that I then went on to Google him and look him up on Facebook. When I saw his photo on Facebook, his picture was with a beautiful blond woman in a wedding dress and I quickly realized I had developed a cyber crush on a married man. Fortunately, with a little more sleuthing, I was able to figure out that it was his sister Erin! I showed my friends his pictures, we looked through all his Facebook pictures and determined that he was indeed my dream man. I started volunteering at BAWT (not just because of my bio crush!), but I didn’t see him there for a couple of months and had pretty much forgotten about him and how I’d been secretly hoping to bump into him there. Then, one night, in February of 2011, Zak came to a volunteer night and I saw him sitting at a table with a few other people. I instantly knew it was him and got so nervous. I went downstairs and started sorting outdoor gear wondering if we would meet. He eventually came downstairs and introduced himself and we talked about his work, my thesis, hiking the Appalachian Trail and just hit it off right away. I remember knowing all of these things about him (like the fact that he had hiked the A.T.) and knowing it was going to come up and that I’d have to act surprised or like I was learning something about him for the first time. I was relieved that his personality fit the image I had created since all I really knew was that we had a lot in common but no idea if we would actually click! I felt like I had met my perfect match.”
I can’t say I have ever heard a better, more humorous first encounter than this one! Hannah truly shouldn’t have had a worry in the world however, as Zak’s memory from this day is just as sweet and charming as hers.
This sweet story never fails to touch my heart. Talk about hitting it off! Hannah and Zak’s undenying chemistry was just a glimpse into what lay ahead for these two. This initial spark of love stuck with Hannah and Zak for weeks after their first meeting, as they began to email, text, and keep in touch any way possible. Not long after, Hannah and Zak met again (this time by choice!) to venture on a night hike into the Tennessee Valley in California.
“Our first date was a night hike under a nearly full moon after a month of e-mailing and texting each other,” Hannah recalled. “Zak had brought tea and a blanket and we hiked to the beach where we laid on the blanket and talked for hours. We covered everything from childhood stories, to work, to the Appalachian Trail, and I even confessed to having stalked him online for months. Our first date turned into an all nighter!”
If this first date isn’t charming enough already, the proposal will surely knock you off your feet. After a few years of adventures and explorations together, Hannah and Zak had quickly come to realize the special bond and love they shared. A proposal seemed nothing short of destined, something they both felt was meant to be.
“Zak put together a compilation of photos and video from the past three years and created a video montage which he put to one of our favorite songs,” explained Hannah. “We were in Telluride, Colorado for a bluegrass festival with my uncle and cousins and he asked me to go on a night hike. He had set up a huge screen in an aspen grove and took me to that spot. He asked me to come check out a raccoon family he had seen and as I rounded the hill, I saw the screen and the two camp chairs set up and knew a proposal was about to happen. I cried within 5 seconds once he pressed play. He never actually said’ “Will you marry me?” but he said a lot of really nice things that I can’t remember because I was so excited and nervous.”
From here, Hannah and Zak came to AFA with a specific vision in mind – a memorable wedding weekend that was relaxing, playful, and meaningful. Maine was an easy choice for their wedding location, as many of Hannah and Zak’s friends lived on the east coast, and of course, for the undeniable beauty the state had to offer. Selecting Camp Kieve as their venue of choice also seemed just a bit too perfect. The numerous lodging options, everything from traditional rooms to cabins and bunkhouses, were available to house all of their guests, while the beautiful landscape served as the perfect backdrop for a weekend filled with games, exploring, and countless outdoor activities. And one of my favorite things that Hannah and Zak had planned? Choosing their wedding date based on the moon cycle! The night of their wedding was just before a full moon, corresponding perfectly with the moon on the day they met, as well as on their first date.
Said Hannah, “As we started to work out details and ask friends for creative contributions, our theme became flowers, seeds, mountains, and the moon. We had wildflowers that were grown by an old friend of Zak’s who owns a blueberry and wildflower farm, one of our good friends contributed Seedles packs (colorful wildflower seed balls) which we incorporated into our seating assignments at the reception, another friend made Maine wildflower magnets from clay as parting gifts, we used photos of the highest peaks we have been climbing for the table names, and fruit and vegetable tattoos for the ceremony. It all seemed kind of random, and no one probably noticed a “theme” but it came together in a way that we loved.”
Hannah and Zak’s vision truly came to life for their entire wedding weekend, as they enjoyed everything from stand up paddle boarding and slip-and-slide kickball with their guests to stargazing by a campfire under the cool nighttime air. Thanks to the fabulous talents of Jennifer Moher, we are beyond excited to share this intimate camp experience will all of you.
This girl is fearless. Try and tell me you’ve ever seen seen a Bride do something as cool as this! Hannah truly embodies a sense of strength and courage, and we just adore how she translated this into a such a playful spirit throughout her wedding weekend. Not only did she sport this fabulous tattoo for the day, but stunned her guests in a classic A La Robe dress and trendy brown boots.
Though it surely would have been a lively sight, Zak opted out of tucking a flower behind his ear to match that first bio photo Hannah discovered many years ago. Instead, his vest was adorned with this simply elegant boutonniere from Calico Floriculture and Design. Zak’s favorite part of his outfit was surprisingly not his sharp vest or beautifully colored blue pants, but his full moon decorated socks sourced from The Sock Shack in Portland, Maine.
Such sweet love! It was fond smiles and giggles from these two throughout the entire day, but it was these precious moments shared together where they truly glowed. The day’s adventure had just begun for Hannah and Zak, and it was surely one filled with new and memorable experiences!
Why not hop into a boat before the ceremony and take a ride around the lake? Love!
“Planning the ceremony was incredibly meaningful for us,” recalled Hannah and Zak. “We got married at the camp’s outdoor chapel in the woods, which was simply a sloped hill with wooden benches set into the ground, facing the lake. We had framed photos of family and friends who couldn’t be there or that have passed away hanging on the trees.”
This heartwarming ceremony began with such a special entrance from these two. Perfectly showcasing their unique and charming personalities, Hannah and and Zak entered the ceremony from opposite sides, allowing them to come together as one at the beautifully adorned arbor.
Hannah and Zak’s ceremony gave me the feels, and as you can imagine, had me tearing up along with everyone else who was present as well. These photos speak volumes for how personal, intimate, and special this ceremony truly was. And the most magical part was that it lasted over an hour! If you ask me, ceremonies these days have gotten shorter and shorter, so being able to witness such a thoughtful and unique ceremony was a breath of fresh air.
“The ceremony was part Quaker with friends and family speaking, playing music and reading,” Hannah explained. “As Zak was saying his vows, two loons began calling loudly as they swam toward each other. That was a magical moment. I had absolutely no idea just how meaningful the ceremony would be until I was in the midst of it, surrounded by so much love and support.”
Look at the love! After a tender fist kiss, birdseed was thrown by guests to signal the end of the ceremony and the beginning of a fabulous celebration.
While guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres delivered by Stone Cove Catering, Hannah and Zak slipped away for another spin around the lake (can these two get any more fun?!) and to spend a few moments alone following the ceremony.
“One unique thing about us is that we actually started couples counseling three months after we met because we knew we had a special connection and wanted to build a solid foundation of communication and trust,” recalled Hannah. “We are both pretty laid back and have a great love for adventure and living an “unconventional” lifestyle. We prioritize our relationships with friends and family and doing meaningful work (both work work and volunteer work) that will positively impact others and specifically support efforts to connect more people to their natural environment as both a public health strategy and to develop a conservation ethic. This is, after all, what initially brought us together.”
The celebration carried on while guests eagerly awaited Hannah and Zak’s return. When dinner time rolled around, guests enjoyed a camp style meal complete with round table seating in the beautifully decorated Pasquaney Hall.
The view from Hannah and Zak’s table was quite the dream. With custom pinstripe runners sourced from our in-house inventory, coupled with both red kerosene and silver lanterns, as well as delicate arrangements of wildflowers, the tables glowed under the candlelight as guests filled their bellies with a delicious assortment of food. The pop of red linen against the hemstitch napkins on Hannah and Zak’s sweetheart table pulled the whole look together, creating an organic camp feel that was exactly what they had envisioned.
Time for some real fun! It looks like someone lost a bet during dinner.. Hannah, did you have something to do with this?!
Can’t forget out favorite part – dessert! I’m not sure if the delicious cake from Nothing Bakes Like A Parrot or this stunning handmade backdrop is more fabulous here! Both were undoubtedly some of guest’s favorites things of the night.
Hannah and Zak danced the night away with their closest friends and loved ones by their side, even contra-dancing to tunes from Sassafras Stomp and Play Something Good. The excitement in that room was truly infectious – I think I even caught myself dancing a time or two! The party continued late into the evening, as guests headed outside to enjoy the nighttime air and share their final moments together before retiring to their cabins and preparing for a farewell brunch the following morning.
Hannah and Zak – you two are the absolute dream! We love you dearly and can never thank you enough for allowing us to be such a special part of your day. I hope your adventurous spirits and love for life continue to guide you through this world together as an unwavering team. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute we spent with you and miss you very much! Wishing you continued happiness and countless years filled with love. Xoxo
We would also love to thank the following vendors for assisting us in creating such a memorable day.
** Videography: Burlap Events (You’ll have a blast watching Hannah and Zak’s full wedding video! http://www.burlapvideos.com/p591114736/e6014c6a1) ** Hair and Make Up: Zahra Angelina ** Event Rentals: One Stop Event Rentals and A Family Affair of Maine ** Invitation Design: Pink Balloon Paper ** Catering: Rehearsal Dinner: Fox On The Run Saturday Lunch: Savory Maine Dining and Provisions ** Wedding Favors: Seedles, Live Maine Camp Mugs, Handmade Maine Clay Wildflower Magnets, and Maine Truffles **