Oscar Brann says he and Jessica Collins have been a couple for 13 years, and engaged for the last 11. And throughout that time, Jessica has asked a certain question many times.
“When are we going to get married?”
Brann said he always had a good answer — an answer that Collins, also an avid angler, understood.
“I’d go, ‘Well, we’re going fishing this weekend. We can’t do that,’” Brann said.
For 11 years, that excuse worked. But this year, with an annual fishing vacation to Moosehead Lake with three other couples looming, Collins made Brann a deal he couldn’t refuse.
“She said, ‘Let’s just get married on Moosehead,’” Brann said. “I was still reluctant. But when she told me it was a leap year on [Feb.] 29 and that I wouldn’t have to buy her anything for our anniversary [except for] every four years, I kind of grabbed onto that.”
And that’s how the Skowhegan couple ended up tying the knot on Saturday, out on the ice of Moosehead Lake. Officiating was their friend, Joe Grant, who was in on the secret. The other couples didn’t know what they were about to witness.
“I put our wedding rings in my fishing tackle box. So as we were all fishing out there, I looked at the girls and said, ‘Geez, look what I found in my tackle box,’” Brann said.
Their fishing friends — Collins calls them their “chosen family” — didn’t immediately realize what Brann was saying.
“So I had to tell ’em: ‘We’re gonna have a wedding, right here, right now,” he said.
Collins said she’d long thought that the “muss and fuss” that some couples put into weddings made little sense, and she said she didn’t want any part of an event like that.
“What some people spend on a wedding is like what we paid for our house, for god’s sakes,” she said. “We’ve been together for 13 years. At this point, [a wedding] is just a matter of paperwork.”
Paperwork … and fishing.
And make no mistake, Collins had her priorities in order, with fishing atop the list. Before they sprung the surprise on their friends, all the holes were drilled and all the traps were set up.
John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their...
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