Bella Figura Real Wedding: Chelsea + Noah

We are so excited because today’s real wedding photos are absolutely stunning — Casco Bay in Maine provided a gorgeous backdrop as the location for these two to tie the knot. The couple chose our stylish Tara design by Ben Whitla in our champagne and downy inks for their letterpress invitations, and you will soon see why this was the perfect choice. Brides to be, take note: Chelsea has some wonderful advice for those of you who are planning a wedding!

Balloons, and vintage letterpress wedding invitations are perfect together.

Can you share with us a bit about your wedding and your inspiration for the event?

Noah and I met when we were 16 and we kissed on our first date, on a ferry boat in Casco Bay just off of Portland, Maine. We knew we wanted to get married somewhere in Casco Bay, but it was hard to chose a venue. We had gone through two places already when I ended up having lunch at an old island inn exactly one year before our wedding day. It seemed like kismet and we were so excited about the feel of the place, but the inn was sold a few months later and the transition to new ownership was unnerving, so we made the tough choice to try to find another venue.

I’m so glad we did. We ended up getting married on the little private island that we passed during our first kiss, exactly 11 years later, to the day! (And no, we haven’t been together all those 11 years!) We had been warned that the venue was a bit rough around the edges, and it certainly was, but in all the right ways for us. We wanted something relaxed and familiar. The building where I got ready and started my walk down the aisle reminded me of our family cottage.  And like many of the islands we both grew up exploring, House Island has an old fort on it, so guests got to take a tour and explore it while we took our post-ceremony photos.

For some reason, the very first thing I imagined when we got engaged was a big yellow balloon and things um, “ballooned” from there. We used a lot of jumbo balloons in the tent, but I carried a giant yellow one instead of flowers–I think it made things feel less formal. It certainly felt joyful to me, and I liked having something to hold onto (I used French ribbon to make it more wedding-y). Noah and I both wanted something low-key and participatory for our guests, so that was the feeling that ruled the day and played out in variety of ways. The venue certainly helped set the tone.

How did you choose your invitation design & ink colors?

The yellow balloon inspired the main color, and we went with the light gray and linen paper as those matched the weathered feel of our island wedding. You can see how perfectly the invites fit with the surroundings! I liked this design because it struck the right balance of a vintage feel with the modern day without being too formal, which I think is appropriate for us!

Tara letterpress wedding invitations are the perfect combination of vintage and modern

What surprised you most about your wedding?

Number one, how quickly it was over! Time did not seem to adhere to the laws of physics that day! It would stand still and then speed up! Another big surprise was that the boat carrying Noah and the majority of our wedding guests broke down halfway between Portland and the island. You could see the boat smoking and drifting! The captain had to put out an SOS call and our guests were picked up by lobster boats and water taxis! I think it was a bonding experience for everyone. I’m just glad that Noah’s 92-year-old grandmother has such a good sense of humor! Noah picked her up and passed her over the ocean to a lobsterman. If that isn’t a Maine wedding I don’t know what is. No one told me what was happening at the time–my girlfriends did a good job of distracting me–but it caused the ceremony to be an hour off schedule. And that was fine! People got to have some cocktails first and we were treated to magnificent sunshine that we wouldn’t have had during the ceremony if things had gone as planned.

What was your favorite moment?

The whole thing was amazing. Looking at Noah when we were getting married it seemed like we were 16 again. But maybe the most emotional thing, the most uniting thing for everyone there, was when my dad played guitar and sang a song he had written for us (without us knowing!), backed up in four-part harmony by my grandmother, two aunts, and a cousin. Everyone was in tears, but tried to sing along. It’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.

Favorite design element of your big day?

I had two–one from each side!

My brother Zane created finger bowls for the guests (we were eating lobster–very necessary!), which we used as the party favor. Zane hand-threw each piece (130!) on his potter’s wheel and they were so beautiful that people fought over them! It’s been really fun to see the different ways friends and family use them in their houses–as salt pigs, as earring containers, as soap dishes. I love that it’s something people will keep.

We also used pages from DeLorme’s Maine Atlas and Gazetteer as placemats on the tables. The pages added just the right amount of color and and the paper was appropriate for the messy job of cracking lobsters. It was also very fitting, not just because the Atlas is a Maine icon, but because Noah’s dad started DeLorme in the 70s. The Atlas was his first product–he used to sell them out of the back of his van and sleep on top of them every night!

Our Tara letterpress wedding invitations are simplistic and unique.

What advice do you have for couples currently planning a wedding?

Talk about what makes you nervous, or what you might be worrying about and see if there are ways you can take some pressure off of yourselves. We found that some traditional elements of weddings were producing anxiety! I was flummoxed by choosing bridesmaids and delegating tasks, so we realized early on that we’d just use the symmetry of our families: my brother stood with Noah and Noah’s sister stood with me. Noah also felt uneasy about “being in the spotlight” so we decided to whisper our vows to each other. It was very romantic, but it also meant that we didn’t have the pressure of writing the perfect thing or trying to remember what to say. In the end Noah used a crib sheet even just to whisper to me–so cute! And what I said made him laugh uproariously–but no one knows why except me and him!

Also: Keep in mind that you may be visiting a venue at a different time of year than when you get married. We saw our venue in the summer when the grass was nice and green. By early September it was toast! You really have to let go of the idea that you’ve planned for everything.

Thank you Chelsea and Noah. We wish you all the best!

Want your wedding to be the next Bella Figura Real Wedding? Click here for more information!


photographer: Kristin Teig | venue/food: House Island | wedding dress: Modern Trousseau | hair and makeup: Fabu Salon & Spa | grooms’ suit: J.Crew | fingerprinted wedding bands: fabuluster | whoopie pies and cake: Two Fat Cats | flowers: | placemats: DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer | The Island Romance, late-night party boat: Casco Bay Lines