On June 20, 2012 at exactly 7:09 p.m. the summer solstice occurred marking that date as the longest day of the year and the official start of summer in the northern hemisphere.

The summer solstice is celebrated throughout the world with festivals and rituals that vary from culture to culture. Most of the celebrations of the summer solstice have a theme of religion or festivity, but for Alicia and Alan Sadler the theme was love. Their outdoor wedding took place at the exact time of the summer solstice and was witnessed by 75 of their closest friends and family.

The ceremony was held inside a heart-shaped garden constructed by the groom with the assistance of Aaron Timm, the bride’s brother. “We were fortunate to have a beautiful, romantic, relaxed and refined country wedding at our home,” said Alicia Sadler. “The garden was in full bloom with all of the early summer flowers. It was a perfect summer eve.”

The Sadlers’ immediate family participated in the ceremony, preceding the bride and groom on the grassy, flower-lined path to the garden surrounded by white light-draped trees and to the sound of the voice and guitar of Britta Anderson of Harrison singing, “Down to the River to Pray.”

The bride and groom then walked to the heart garden hand in hand to “Marry Me” by Train and performed by family friend Bradford Chafin of Rumford. The recessional song was “Fields of Gold” by Sting.

The wedding ceremony was prepared and performed by Jennifer Felt of Bryant Pond, a close friend of the couple. The words of the ceremony and responses were printed on paper fans with wooden handles made by the Sadlers and given to the guests.

Of particular note, during the ceremony, recalled Alicia Sadler, “Our three children each had a special role. Our daughter, Ellex Loper, then 16, read a poem by e e cummings entitled ‘I Carry Your Heart With Me.’ Our oldest son, Kieran Sadler, also 16 at the time, played a beautiful hymn ‘Africa’ on the viola. And our youngest son, Kelton Loper, then 14, led the responsive reading ‘The Way.’ Our children’s participation in the ceremony was one of the most important details of the whole event and still has the most meaning to us.”

Though some items, such as a large, white tent had to be rented, and bamboo plates and utensils purchased, the couple and family spent more time than money to create a truly unique and non-traditional ambiance. The round tables were covered in white linen and overlaid with antique, flowered tablecloths and topped with floral bouquets from the couple’s gardens. Each table was arranged with a theme that gave guests an insight into the Sadlers’ lives, such as stacks of their favorite books, a tiny ski from Alan Sadler’s childhood and soccer details, the favorite sports of the bride and groom.

Each table also had a little gold box with items of trivia about the couple, quotes and sayings about love and marriage and a guest book in which the Sadlers invited guests to share advice on marriage or where they should travel together. “We encouraged our guests to pass the book around and answer as many questions as they liked,” said Alicia Sadler. “Those responses have become treasures to us.”

Though ice-filled buckets of lemonade and different flavors of sun tea in repurposed wine bottles were available, the champagne toast was done in hand painted glasses depicting all the flowers in the Sadlers’ gardens. The glasses were also favors for the guests to take home.

The reception meal was pizza made by Pizza by Fire, a wood-fired artisan pizza business as well as appetizers, salads and breads. In lieu of the traditional wedding cake, the bride chose to serve mini cheesecakes with strawberries. Cheesecake is the couple’s favorite type of cake.

“We were committed to creating a distinctive and glorious ceremony and reception at our home, in our yard and garden that celebrated the spirit of our love,” said Alicia Sadler.

The Sadlers feel that the blessing given to them on their wedding day at the height of the summer solstice has become a reality:

“May your home be filled with laughter and the warm embrace of a summer day. May you find peacefulness and beauty, challenge and satisfaction, humor and insight, healing and renewal, love and wisdom, as in a quiet heart. May you always feel that what you have is enough.”

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