Former Lewiston resident weds at Mystic Congregational Church in Connecticut’s famous seaport town

By Linda Galway • Special Sections Editor

Pachabel’s “Canon in D” flowed from the string orchestra as Troy Baillargeon stood at the front of the church, barely breathing; the bridesmaids walked slowly toward him. His chin began to quiver, tears threatening to spill from his eyes, when she appeared in the doorway and a calmness seemed to wash over him. Just seeing his beautiful bride made everything all right; his composure returned.

Of course, by that time, nearly all the guests had tissues in hand and were blotting tears away. So begins the story of the wedding of Troy and Kim, whose ceremony took place September 13 in the beautiful seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut – home to neither the bride nor the groom.



The courtship

Troy, who graduated from Lewiston High School in 1998, first met Kim Wright of Simsbury, Conn., while they were both students at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. “I was actually dating her best friend, so we ended up hanging out together a lot, and we became very good friends; we could tell each other everything,” he recalled.

Soon the first romance dwindled because of Troy’s ever-increasing feelings for Kim, and once he told her how he felt, they became inseparable from that moment on. The engagement the following year, however, did not go exactly as planned. On a weekend in November 2002 that Troy and Kim expected to be in Lewiston for the baptism of Troy’s second cousin – the same weekend Troy intended to propose – a severe accident involving his sister Amanda found both Kim and Troy waiting for hours in the Emergency Room at a Boston hospital. After Amanda’s condition stabilized, they continued on to Maine; in the meantime, a cousin stepped in to pick up the ring at a local jeweler’s so Troy could follow through with the proposal.

“My parents (Leo and Gail Baillargeon of Lewiston) had purchased a set of bride and groom Beanie Babies; the ring came in a rose box. I placed the bears on my bed with the box in between,” he said. When Kim came into the room, “she picked up the rose and was not quite sure what it was, so I got on one knee, opened the box and asked her to marry me.”

Although Troy and Kim’s happiness was dimmed by Amanda’s condition, their engagement, she later told them, gave her the will to live and to recover so she could dance at her brother’s wedding.



Where to wed?

Traditionally, the wedding ceremony takes place in the hometown of the bride and at the church of her choice; however, more and more modern couples are opting to have their weddings at a place with special meaning to both of them.

“We both love the ocean,” said Troy, who spent a couple of summers working on a lobster boat, “and when Kim and her mother found this place, we all went to look at it and loved its beauty. It was the perfect place for us to get married.”

Planning a wedding from away does have certain logistical issues to contend with, but with the advent of the Internet and the ability to access web sites, it’s becoming more feasible.

“Do everything way in advance, don’t wait until the last minute,” advised Troy. He and Kim had all their plans in place by April, “and it was pretty easy sailing after that.” The only thing they needed to do after April was send out invitations and re-confirm everything they had already booked.

To assist the guests who would be staying overnight, Kim and Troy also sent out a “save-the-date” notice several months in advance, letting prospective guests know where they could book rooms, including all of the contact information they would need. Troy’s father blocked off 30 rooms for family and friends from Maine – all of which were scooped up quickly.

Troy and Kim carried the nautical theme into other areas of their wedding – including their “save-the-date” notice, the invitations and the wedding cake. At a shower hosted by his parents a couple of months before the wedding, the entire buffet table served as a backdrop for the event. It emphasized several levels with fishnet accents and a lighthouse scene with seashell candles spread throughout the scrumptious dishes.

The guest tables featured multiple centerpieces with an ocean scene comprised of beach sand, sea shells and a lighthouse inside a glass vase. Favors were sea-scented hand gel for the ladies and boxes of specialty chocolates for the gents; the children received sand pails filled with goodies such as animal crackers and other beachy snacks. The cake, baked and decorated by Troy’s father, sported turquoise water, a brown-sugar beach, coffee-flavored jelly bean rocks and a hill upon which a lighthouse sat.

The wedding day

Every bride dreams of a picture-perfect, sunny day for her wedding, but even a cloudy, close-to-rainy day couldn’t dim the beauty of this wedding in Mystic. Entering the 150-year-old church was like taking a step back in time. A beautiful arch decorated with greens, tulle netting and wisteria created an impressive entrance arbor. Simple, white, straight-backed pews with mahogany trim flanked the center aisle. Light glowed from candlelabra wall sconces, reflecting off the soft ivory walls. Calla lily bouquets, created by the bridgroom’s father, stood sentinel on either side of the center pulpit.

Several songs and readings brought the closeness of family to light, and there was a definitely Irish theme to this wedding. Kim’s brother Jeff wrote and read an essay titled “How Far We Have Come,” reflecting on the past and the beginning of the couple’s life together, concluding with a traditional Irish blessing:

May God be with you and bless you,

May you see your children’s children,

May you be poor in misfortune,

rich in blessings.

May you know nothing but happiness

From this day forward.

Pastor Doretta Colburn urged the couple to “keep steady and true in your love for each other, and remember what brought you to this moment.” Then, speaking barely above a whisper, she prompted them through their vows, so the only voices heard were those of the bride and groom, strong and true.

Another Irish tradition took place after the vows and during the traditional kiss by the couple. A bell rang out, and the pastor told the couple, “When you are angry, ring this bell, and it will remind you of this kiss.”

Pass the tissues, please.

The recessional and beyond

In true Celtic form, the couple left the church to the sounds of bagpipe music, allowing everyone time to wipe away the sentimental tears and put on a smile. A reception, the likes of which few of us had ever experienced, took place about a mile away at The Inn at Mystic, high on a bluff overlooking Mystic harbor. As guests approached the inn and went through the receiving line, the bagpiper continued to play wonderful Celtic tunes, setting the tone for what would prove to be a special event.

While the bridal party and important relatives took part in an extensive photo-session, guests were treated to hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, fruits and cheeses, beverages of all sorts and an opportunity to mix and mingle for a couple of hours. Adjacent to and down a flight of stairs from a covered porch stood an enormous tent with large round tables covered in crisp, white linens. Chandeliers hung from the ridge-pole, and a gazebo at the far end provided the dance floor.

The dinner meal began with lobster filled crepes and continued with tossed salad with raspberries, almonds and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing; an entree of filet mignon and baked stuffed jumbo shrimp with crabmeat stuffing, wrapped with bacon; seasonal vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. Just when you thought you couldn’t eat another morsel, out came the wedding cake and the dessert buffet, featuring pastries, New York cheesecake with choice of toppings, a variety of fruit and chocolate dipped strawberries.

Dancing had begun by this time. The guests were more than happy to fill the floor, and Amanda did, indeed, dance at her brother’s wedding.

George and Diane Gendron of Lewiston arrived the day before to spend time sightseeing in Mystic as well as enjoying family time with their Lewiston relatives. Diane, Gail Baillargeon’s cousin, called the entire event “very classy and beautiful, so elegant.”

“To me,” added her husband George, “everything was very well done. I thought the ceremony was special, with everyone giving their speeches.”

Diane’s sister Debbie Carrier of Lewiston called the ocean setting “very romantic.” She and her husband Bob, along with her mother, Mary Jane Gervais, all spent time sightseeing in the area the day before and morning of the wedding, turning the weekend into an extended family event.

Reflections

Both Troy and Kim were enchanted with the location they chose for their wedding. Although the scenery was beautiful and the preparation, service and presentation at the Inn at Mystic were above par, the best part of the day, they said, was the ceremony itself.

“Growing up in a Catholic family, I was a little worried as to how they would react to a non-Catholic wedding,” said Troy, who needn’t have worried at all. “It was just unbelievable; the Rev. Doretta Colburn spent a lot of time with Kim and me to get to know us so she could make the ceremony as personal as possible.”

Everything from the simplicity of the church to the flowers his father used to enhance the building made the old historic church elegant, they said.

“Having one of my bridesmaids sing and my brother write his own speech made, for us, an unforgettable ceremony,” added Kim. “We also loved the bag-piper leading us out as husband and wife; it just capped of an incredible ceremony.”

Their wedding cake was “absolutely gorgeous,” they said, and well above their expectations. Despite everything that proved to be just what they wanted, Kim and Troy said they would have done “a little more research” on their DJ. “We settled on the first DJ company we looked at,” he said. “Although they did play the type of music to keep people on the dance floor, they never played any songs from the song list we provided.”

In retrospect, the only element they would have included would have been a trumpet for Kim’s entrance to the Trumpet Voluntary. “That would have made for an even better experience,” she said. “Other than that, we do believe we would not have added anything else or left anything out.”

Make it special

Planning a wedding is both a lot of work and a lot of fun, but the important thing is to make this exciting time special and meaningful to the couple. Whether the wedding is elaborate or simple, details that have a personal flair will create a distinctive memory for all the guests. For Troy and Kim, the ocean provided the perfect setting for their momentous day, the bagpiper gave a nod to her heritage, and the Inn at Mystic gave both families an opportunity to blend as one.


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