Reception before the wedding

For Greg and Roxanne Simpson, of Minot, each had been married before when they tied the knot in 1998. They both had adult children and extended family and wanted to create something unique and romantic.

“Neither of us is especially traditional so a June wedding at a church and a hall seemed a lot of work and a lot of money,” said Greg. “Roxie came up with the idea of a New Year’s Eve ceremony with the reception first, followed by the actual vows at the stroke of midnight.”

Simpson explained that at their first weddings they didn’t have a chance to really mingle with their guests. This time, they would have wine and hors d’oeuvres starting at about 8 p.m. and mill around in their street clothes and then retire to put on their wedding finery at around 11:30 p.m. for the midnight nuptials.

The Simpsons found the perfect spot for their second marriage: the Wolf Cove Inn in Poland.

“It is the perfect, classic country inn, quietly situated on the edge of the water and just the right size,” said Simpson. “It has plenty of party space and guest rooms for family.”

When the wedding night finally arrived it was 4 below zero with a howling wind, but 75 guests made it to the event.

“A friend played the piano, the kids ran around, we even cut the cake well before the ceremony and we mingled with everyone,” said Simpson. “At the appointed time we descended the stairs, said our vows at midnight, and then toasted the New Year and our new life.”

In a matter of minutes after the ceremony and having been partying until midnight, the guests began to leave in droves.

“In no time, everyone was gone except for family staying at the inn,” said Greg. “It was a wonderful way to start our new life together even though the festivities were all done in reverse.”

Maine wedding features surprise visit from Star Wars character

By Dan Marois, Feature Writer

Bob and Jess LeBlanc now live in Newburyport, Mass., but they started their married life in May 2005, at St. Joseph’s Church in Bridgton followed by a reception at the nearby Shawnee Peak resort.

The pre-wedding rituals were all in place; the couple had talked with the priest on a number of occasions. He often took notes of their discussions together. It was clear that he wanted to have facts and tidbits of information for the ceremony.

“Now he got the facts straight at the rehearsal,” said Bob. “However, once the service started it appeared he improvised. He spoke of how Jess and I had known each other for well over 13 years (it was actually five years) and had been engaged for over three years (it was less than a year and a half). He also decided to rearrange the seating by placing Jessica’s bridesmaids across the church from her, leaving my groomsmen and me to help her with her gown.”

After the ceremony and traditional taking of photographs, the couple proceeded to the reception that was in full party mode.

“We were announced and took our seats at the head table while the usual traditions were being prepared. My best man made his toast and Jess got up to visit folks while I stayed at the head table talking to friends. After a while, her matron of honor quickly ushered her back to the head table and my best man hurried over to distract me.”

It was in the next moment that the couple discovered a Star Wars Imperial stormtrooper in full costume walking up the stairs to the restaurant.

The Star Wars connection is significant. Bob and Jess are big Star Wars fans. Their marriage took place two days after Star Wars Episode III was released.

“On our way up to Maine for our wedding, we stopped in Newington, N.H. to see the midnight opening of the movie,” said Bob. And now, a full-suited stormtrooper was making an appearance at his wedding reception.

For the wedding couple, the surprise was welcome. “The bride’s matron of honor thought that I hired him for Jess and my best man thought Jess had hired him for me,” said Bob. The couple was intrigued by the character’s appearance but they didn’t exactly know how it came about.

In time, the couple realized that an aunt and her boyfriend saw the fully costumed stormtrooper in front of the local movie theater promoting the movie’s opening. They pulled him aside and paid him $100 to crash the reception and surprise the newlyweds.

“He spent a half an hour mingling and taking pictures with everyone from grandmothers to infants,” said Jess. “He even signed our guestbook.”

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