Couples planning recently legalized same-sex marriages no strangers to Bangor Bridal Show

Posted Jan. 13, 2013, at 7:48 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 13, 2013, at 10:26 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Grooms Alex Carson and Matthew Wilbur of Glenburn are not getting married until next fall but said Sunday as they strolled through the Bangor Bridal Show that it’s never too early to start wedding plans.

“We decided to have a lot of planning so it’s debt free without having to skimp,” Carson said. “We still haven’t decided on a venue yet.”

“And we haven’t decided on a cake,” Wilbur piped in.

“There is a lot to do,” Carson said.

The couple have been together for more than eight years and said they had originally planned to go to New Hampshire to get married. Now that same-sex marriages are allowed in Maine, they are planning a wedding along the state’s beautiful coastline.

“This worked out perfectly,” Wilbur said.

The Bangor Bridal Show, hosted by Maine Wedding Association at the Spectacular Event Center, is the second show so far this year. Others are planned for Augusta on Jan. 20, Auburn on March 3 and Freeport on March 24.

Joan Montgomery of Otis, who has owned the Maine Wedding Association for the last 13 years, said same-sex couples have always been at her shows in Bangor that started in 2007.

“They have been coming here for six years,” she said Sunday. “Now they’re planning a wedding instead of a celebration. It’s new for the state, but it’s not new for us.”

Thousands of prospective brides and grooms filtered through the two rooms of vendors who offered everything from wedding venues, food, photography, hair styling, tuxedo rentals and, of course, dresses upon dresses.

Bride Casey McAvoy and her fiance Tyler Libbey, both of Bangor, said they are prepared for their July wedding, but have a few loose ends to tie up, which is why they went to the show.

“We still need the cake and a tent,” Libbey said.

McAvoy, who has a 2-year-old daughter named McKenna, said her man got down on one knee and asked if he could join her family.

“He said, ‘How fortunate I am not to be marrying one person, but two,’” she said with a smile on her face, looking into his eyes.

Libbey responded by saying, “show her the ring” and when McAvoy revealed a diamond-studded band that caught the light, she said jokingly, “That is why I said, ‘Yes.’”

The two-day show had a good crowd, said Sue McKay, who owns Meadowbrook Reception Center in Eddington along with her husband Chuck.

“We offer the whole nine yards,” she said “We do an all-inclusive wedding package … that includes the officiant, DJ, cake, photography [and other amenities].”

Over the last five years, the center has hosted about 30 annual weddings and some same-sex couple union celebrations, McKay said, adding that half a dozen same-sex couples approached their table at the show.

Now that the new state law has passed, same-sex couples are coming out of the woodwork, said Josh West, area manager for Classic Weddings Group, a business located on Hogan Road that offers tuxedo rentals, photography, videography, invitations and DJ services.

“People are less nervous to come out to a show and say they’re planning a service,” he said. “Now it’s a wedding.”


An earlier version of this story contained an error. Sue McKay, one of the vendors at the Bridal Show, owns Meadowbrook Reception Center in Eddington, not Meadowbrook Recreation Center.