When brides visualize their wedding day, more and more are pulling away from the traditional church ceremony and leaning toward a picturesque, outdoor affair.

There are beaches, fields and gardens that enable Mother Nature to lend a bit of her own beauty to the decor.

For Becky and Paul Laird of Greene, that’s exactly what they envisioned for their wedding day.

“We wanted something romantic and unique, but also a lot of fun,” said the bride. “It was all about our love, our families and joining them together to celebrate our day and uniting us all as one family.”

Brimming with imagination, Becky and Paul put together an enchanting, yet laid back October wedding at the Moose Lake Ranch in Otisfield, surrounded by an array of vibrant fall leaves and a serene lake. Even the sign at the gate promoted the wedding: “Best Day Ever.”

Robust fall colors of burgundy, gold and orange decorated the arbor that Paul made for the late-afternoon wedding as well as other decor surrounding the lodge. Burgundy-colored candles were scattered throughout with colorful leaves and berries as accents. Ornately decorated pumpkins were carved with the bride’s and groom’s names and wedding date.

“What really looked nice and unique was the addition of pink,” said Becky. “I had my bridesmaids pick out their dresses and that is what they wanted. It really gave a touch of romance to the already-fall colors. And adding pink roses to my bouquet pulled it all together, creating a great accent to the burgundy calla lilies and orange mums.”

The wedding was quite a family friendly affair from beginning to end.

Two uncles played the banjo and harmonica setting the festive mood as the bride walked down the aisle with her dad, and another uncle presided over the ceremony.

The highlight of the romantic ritual came when Becky read vows to her daughter-to-be, Bella.

“I asked her to come up with us,” said a tearful bride. “Got on my knees and told her how much I loved her and would love her forever and gave her a ring like I had given her father.”

“I don’t think there was a dry eye anywhere,” said Paul. “Especially when Bella threw her arms around Becky. The mood lightened when my 2-year-old son hollered ‘yeah’ and started clapping.”

After they read each other their vows and the ceremony was over, those in attendance were surrounded by Becky and Paul’s creative touches.

“We had centerpieces in clear green vases that matched the arbor,” explained the bride. “Most everything was sunflowers, mums, leaves, cat ‘o nine tails and berries. Hay bales were scattered and everyone was able to sit and mingle where they wanted to.”

A canoe was filled with beverages and the menu was tastefully displayed on an old window pane. And to add a touch of fun, a cheese box was filled with koozies with the message: “The hunt is over.”

“Then we all sat down to a pig roast,” said Paul. “Also on the menu were quiches, seafood chowder, assorted salads and French fries with all the fixings.”

To commemorate the day, “We had a framed print of birch trees and everyone stamped their fingerprints as leaves,” said Becky. “There was also a fine marker to add their names.”

The couple and their guests danced the night away and topped it off with s’mores by a roaring bonfire.

“It was all about just having fun and uniting our two families,” explained Becky. “And by doing the wedding ourselves with the help of family, we saved money, but it was so much more than that. It made the day more personal, meaning so much more to us.”

“And because we asked family to help we are all so much closer,” added Paul. “We built the dance floor and when Becky emailed people a long list of dishes to be made, within 20 minutes the menu was complete. Now our moms are the best of friends and my dad just fell in love with Becky. He even wore a suit, which he’s never done before.”

The gorgeous day with its brilliant fall colors sincerely altered October 19 as the most memorable day of this young couple’s life.

“I just wish we could do it all over again,” Paul said as he kissed his bride.

Becky agreed.

“Just like the sign said, it really was the best day ever!”

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