About Our Wedding
Married 04.28.12 in
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
(3rd oldest city in the US)
Ceremony: St. John's Episcopal Church, Portsmouth NH
Reception: Kittery Point Yacht Club, New Castle NH
Bride: Cindy Ann Blaney, 48
Groom: Matthew John Fessenden, 42
(A first marriage for both of us!)
Matt is a lobster fisherman. His boat, f/v Gretchen D. is on Sagamore Creek in Portsmouth. He fishes in the harbor of the Piscataqua River - which has one of the fastest currents in North America and is home of the Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard - the oldest continually running yard in the US. My father worked at the Navy Yard until his death in 1975. Matt and I did not live together before we were married. Our engagement was 4 months and Matt did most of the wedding planning as the first quarter of each year is a busy time for my work.
We chose St. John's because Matt and his family are members. Perched on a hill near the waterfront, St. John's steeple and weather vane are often photographed. It's the oldest brick church in New Hampshire. We were married by Rev. G. Richard Seiner, PhD., (he prefers the moniker: Father Dick) whom Matt befriended decades ago through monthly volunteering at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen.
A surprise for my guests that did not read the program was that my landlord, Gregory Ciccolo, a professional tenor accompanied organist Abbey Hallberg Siegfried, PhD. on a pipe organ handcrafted for St. John's by Orgues Letourneau, Ltd of Quebec. Our guests were in awe and looking up to the balcony to see what and where Panis Angelicus was coming from. The organ was designed to blend with the architecture of this historic church and has 2,425 gleaming pipes and Abbey involved every pipe with her accomplished music. The trompe de l'oeil of bas-reliefs that adorn the walls and ceilings in St. John's date back to 1848. We've attended services nearly every Sunday since we became engaged - we share the only pew with views of the river with Matt's parents.
My sister Heidy was my Maid of Honor. She and her husband surprised us at our rehearsal with a wedding gift of two Adirondack apples trees which were on the altar during our ceremony: a first for St. John's and an honor to make history in such a history-rich church. Lovely in their pink blossoms, they were planted on the grounds of St. John's. During communion at St John's, the bell is rung as the celebrant blesses the wine and the bread. The bell ringer for our ceremony was a woman named Patience (how fitting!). A few weeks before our ceremony Patience took us up to the bell tower so we could view Portsmouth from the incredible vantage point of the steeple. Paul Revere recast this bell which is a war prize, taken during the Battle of Louisburg.
During the "seated" portions of our ceremony Matt and I sat in the chairs in the main sanctuary of the altar, (behind the curved rail): a special treat as these chairs are reserved for clergy or other dignitaries: recently the Bishop and in 1789 George Washington when he attended services here. I felt like Clara with her Nutcracker Prince sitting on that altar, looking at our families and friends gathered to share in the blessing of our marriage in this beautiful, historic church.
Only our photographer, Cathy Case, Father Dick and the Best Man knew about our plans to arrive at the reception by lobster boat. Clearly this was weather permitting! We were so grateful for a sunny Saturday with blue skies, temps in the 50's and strong winds. Getting the Cameron ready for our steam was a joint effort: April 28th is pretty early in the season to get your pleasure boat out of dry dock, on it's mooring and ready for an important cruise! Four days before the wedding we painted the bottom of the Cameron, Matt's friend, David Borden's restored lobster boat with David. I asked Matt's niece to paint the banner that we placed over the stern, telling her it was for us to hang on the rail at the yacht club. The Borden's surprised us with champagne and glasses - something we overlooked in the planning and they adorned the Cameron with blossoms and streamers. It looked so pretty! I'd never seen it in the water until our wedding day.
As we walked down the docks at Prescott Park/Strawberry Banke to board the Cameron, the Coast Guard saw us. They came right over and congratulated us. Matt opened the champagne and the cork bounced off their pontoon! Then they escorted us to the dock at the reception. Our guests surprised us with cannon blasts on our arrival and then formed an arch for us to walk under.
A treat for us all, the final span of the Memorial Bridge was tugged past the reception on it's way to a scrap metal yard. Our guests posed on the deck of the yacht club to watch this historic passage while the famous red Moran Tugs tooted and whistled! It was icing on the cake!
I, (Cindy Fessenden, the bride) created this wordpress page to provide a few of my favorite photographs and details of our wedding to accompany my submission to Real Weddings.