Friday, November 2, 2012

Groom with a View | Part I

THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES featuring the planning of the September, 2013 wedding of our own Meghan Carey, Vera Wang Fine Papers Art Director, and Sean Wilkinson, co-founder of a design and branding firm in Portland, Maine. When we learned Sean had created a mood board for the wedding, we knew we had to share their story through the lens of this creative groom-to-be. And so we give you Groom with a View Part I: Camp Hiawatha.

"Hi. My name is Sean and I’ve been getting a lot of flack for being a groom-to-be who beat his fiancee to the mood board...but let me explain.

I’m a designer, typographer, creative director, and generally a fan of curating my visual surroundings. As a Principal at Might and Main, I work on identities, print, and interactive design for clients the likes of Portland Museum of Art to Jim Beam. The mood board, a work-in-progress, guides our visual thinking.

As the art director for Vera Wang Fine Papers, Meghan designs high-end, luxurious wedding invitations. She’s also incredibly savvy and fashionable, with a flair for impeccable outfits and unexpected typographic layouts. Naturally, we’d have to get married.

Meghan and I met in the spring of 2010. When we eventually started talking about our wedding, we both agreed we wanted to throw a 3-day party and make a weekend of the event for the 150 to 200 guests we expected to invite. When friends suggested local summer camps as potential venues to accommodate so many guests, the idea of a ‘late summer retreat’ on a lake began to take shape.

I like how Meghan puts it: “A Roosevelt-era gentlemen’s summer retreat, not Wet Hot American Summer.” 

We found our perfect venue in Porter, Maine. Founded in the early 1990’s as Camp Hiawatha, a classic Maine summer camp for girls, it was renamed Maine Teen Camp in 1984 when it became a camp for boys and girls.

Maine Teen Camp had it all: a pretty setting, a U-dock, a grand dining hall with a huge stone fireplace, a wrap-around porch overlooking the pond, cabins to house everyone, a bonfire ring with stadium-style wooden benches, and an indoor-outdoor stage. There were only two things we needed to address. One, the name didn’t exactly evoke a Roosevelt-era gentlemen’s summer retreat. Two, the 1900’s charm had been largely lost in the process of making the place a modern camp for teens.

But we had solutions. First, we would invoke the name of Camp Hiawatha again and design a new vintage-inspired camp identity. Second, we’d need a mood board and a commitment to some serious thrifting to stock up on early 20th-century ephemera we’d find in the dusty recesses of antique stores up and down the coast of Maine. Our design assignment: transform the entire camp with vintage signage, fixtures and vignettes. Hence the mood board you see here.

Taking inspiration from a range of eras, Part Campobello, part Camp Ivanhoe, the general feel is that of the 1900’s rusticators who made Maine their summer playground. Luxury and craftsmanship in the face of the potential (but highly unlikely) adversity of the brutal Maine woods. Cigars and cognac at the ready.

I grew up camping across the state of Maine, in no small part due to my Boy Scout affiliation (and affinity for the olden days of scouting, with an emphasis on camp craft and ‘roughing it’). Meghan spent childhood summers at her family’s modest ‘camp,’ a 1957 Streamline trailer parked next to a pond in Western Maine. This aesthetic feels comfortable to us: a tribute to our pasts, backdrop to a really fun weekend of swimming, tennis, dancing, bonfires, staying up too late, and laughing until it hurts. Oh, and ‘roughing it.’ "

Next installment: Meghan and Sean’s Engagement Party.

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