The Woodlands Country Club Wedding | Ben + Abby

by | Aug 13, 2018

bride and groom covered with brides vail

Ben and Abby spent a lot of time planning this perfect wedding at St. Lukes’s Cathedral in Portland, Maine. The reception followed at the Woodlands Country Club in Falmouth, Maine.

The Woodlands Country Club

The Woodlands Country Club wedding was everything this couple ever dreamed of, and everything leading up to it was perfect.

Abby cherished her time at the Regency Hotel and Spa in the beautiful heart of downtown Portland. This time with her girls was filled with laughter and tears of joy.

Abby’s mother was also involved but spent a lot of time admiring her daughter’s beauty and living in the moment as her daughter embarks on her journey and adventure with Ben.

This day was nothing short of amazing and breathtaking. Please read Abby and Ben’s story below.

Wedding invitation on whicker table in church

bride and groom kissing in front of trolley, bridal party watching from the inside

How They Met-Told by Abby

“Ben and I met while working together one summer at Skillin’s Greenhouse in Cumberland, Maine. I was in high school, and Ben was going to Clark University in Worcester Mass.

When he returned home to Gray, Maine for the summer, we spent most of our summer days working together. I think the actual moment when we first met was in Skillin’s break room where he shook my hand in a very awkward fashion.”


Our flirting continued through the summer when he took extra water breaks, which he used as an excuse to come up to the register where I was working to chat and get water out of the water cooler. We all had walkie-talkies which we used to communicate with each other throughout the greenhouse.

Ben used to call me on my radio while he was watering and tell me jokes. He called them ‘greenhouse giggles’ because they were all plant-based puns. They always made me laugh more than I liked to admit, and I would make fun of him for his ‘corny’-ness and blame his delirium on the heat inside of the greenhouse.

When he came home for the holidays that year we met up again at a work Christmas party. I remember feeling particularly brave and said ‘we should hang out sometime over your break!’ The rest is history

Bride on a balcony overlooking golf course

Told By Ben

Skillins Greenhouse

I had been working a summer before Abby at Skillins Greenhouses- a small, family-run greenhouse company in one of the nearby towns. It had been sort of an ongoing joke between my best friend (Tyler, who also worked there, and I) to see who the boss would hire for new girls to work at the registers.

So as soon as I came back from my first year at college in the spring, there was this new girl working! At first, all I thought was that she seemed pretty cool; we had a few lunch breaks taken together, but as the summer wore on I started to wonder if there was something more….

Fast forward to December of that year. We were at a Christmas party one of the other employees was hosting. Abby was there, and I don’t know how it all happened but we laughed and laughed and laughed. Had an incredible time. At some lady’s Christmas party….

So as we were about to leave, Abby said (and I now know that she only said it to be polite) “we should hang out sometime!” And BOOM, I could not have been a happier guy.

Winter Date

So my winter break had really just started, and being the ever-so-suave gentleman had the romantic idea of meeting at Dunkin Donuts…

really it was an excuse for me to see Abby and to give her a Christmas card I had made. We ended up staying a while there.

After we finished our teas (I distinctly remember it was awful tasting green tea), we left it awkwardly off at “we should hang out again…” and so it began!

Movie Date

My next big move was a movie.. It was an awful Seth Rogan movie, I would never watch it again in a million years, but for some reason, I had determined that during the movie was when I would make the move to kiss her….

Being a shy guy around girls this was a daunting task.

Should I do it at the beginning?

Where should we sit?

Will people be watching?

Should I wait till the end?

They were all thoughts going through my head… I sweated it out for a solid hour plus of the movie, so I still can’t tell you much about what it was about. As we neared the end, I thought to myself “Schaeffer, let’s do this”… and leaned over… 

but NO! I COULDN’T! What were you thinking? This is ridiculous! I can’t just kiss her like this randomly! Said myself to me.

So I awkwardly mid-kiss changed my mind and sat back in my seat, much to Abby’s horror and confusion. She called me out too,

“What was that?!”

My answer was then a kiss….

and a prompt sit back down in my seat.

Well, I thought. At least she didn’t run out of the movie theater…

Love is everything in between

We had a bunch of other non-official, sufficiently awkward in-between “is this a date or is this not I don’t really know” cups of coffee and excursions which led up to me leaving for school in January for the second semester….

I can still feel that sense of excitement when I was sitting in Spanish class, the day after getting back to a city I hated when Abby texted me. (something random about a fundraiser she was doing, but still..)

‘BINGO” I thought to myself,

“We might be onto something here!”

And so we began texting each other back and forth throughout the day, random updates on strange encounters we had at school, at practice, or any of my escapades in Worcester.

This lasted up to my spring break when we then saw each other again for… YUP a cup of coffee….

May 2013

Fast forward to May of 2013 and I was back working at Skillin’s again, and Abby and I doing our usual adventures and getting coffees and such here and there, until the 27th.

We sat down on a scenic bench overlooking a frog pond and fountain, surrounded by spring flowers and warm sunshine when she asked (ever so  bluntly) “ok so what is this…”

I recalled squirming quite a bit in my seat, hemming, and hawing until I said something like “well we do all of the things a boyfriend/girlfriend does, so… I guess it’s official?” Smooth, Schaeffer, real smooth. But she’s still with me, one month in so I wasn’t too bad I guess.

Groom sitting in chair, black and white

What Attracted Abby

“There is one particular story that comes to mind when I read this question. It was a really rainy day at the greenhouse, and that meant there were very few customers.

Trying to impress our boss by not standing around doing nothing on this particularly slow day, we decided to ‘deadhead’ the geraniums together in one of the greenhouses.

At first, we were all business. We tried light conversation, but the deafening sound of the rain hitting the greenhouse’s plastic roof made for a lot of confusion and laughter as we tried to figure out what the other was trying to say.

I’m not sure who threw the first one, but it soon turned into an all-out geranium clippings war.

We were laughing hysterically, ducking behind tables, and throwing at each other the entire contents of our dead geranium clippings buckets.

We had a lot of cleaning to do after that, and I’m pretty sure we swept the entire greenhouse that day just to make sure we hid all of the evidence.

I remember feeling like I had never laughed that hard before with someone. That day I knew Ben was someone special.”

Ben is…

“Ben is the nicest, most genuine, and most amazing man I know.

He takes care of me in so many ways, protects me, and supports me in everything I do. He’s truly my biggest fan and motivates me to be a better person every day.

I think those are the things that attract me to him the most.”

Bride and groom kissing near the ocean with sun beam in the left     Bride and groom dancing near the ocean

What attracted Ben

“Her laugh, sense of humor, and eyes! She hates when I tell her that last one…

I do distinctly remember, though, thinking that Abby was not afraid to call a spade a spade whenever I saw her, and I found that funny.

But also, whenever I was with her, even in the early days at the greenhouse, I noticed in myself a certain lightness of heart (which sure, sounds strange for a then 20-year-old to feel but I’m an old soul…).”

How Ben Proposed

bride coming out as a wife, hand on hip, holding flowers outside of the church

Ben’s proposal story is pretty funny…..

It was the middle of December, just before Christmas.

His plan was to propose to me in the greenhouse at Skillin’s.

Every year around Christmas time, the greenhouse is filled with string lights, poinsettias, and Christmas cactus. It is truly a romantic setting.

However, when we got there, The roof had just gotten damaged and all of the plants had been moved out so they wouldn’t get damaged by the cold. No lights, no plants, no Christmas season proposal magic in the greenhouse.

Ben had to quickly think of plan B, and although I had no idea about any of this, I could tell something was up when I saw the look of genuine disappointment on his face as we walked into the cold, empty greenhouse.

I remember leaving thinking ‘WOW I THINK BEN IS GOING TO PROPOSE TO ME HOLY CRAP!’


This stop at the greenhouse was on our way to Boston, where we were spending the night celebrating the Christmas season.

We spent the rest of the day walking around, listening to people playing holiday music in the street, getting espressos and cannolis in the North End, and then when it got dark, decided to walk down to the Christmas tree by Quincy Market.

I remember thinking in my head, ‘ OMG is Ben going to propose to me in front of all of these people????’

It was honestly the perfect hallmark moment proposal mood, the lights glowing and music playing. We ended up walking down to Boston Harbor and taking a seat on a bench by the water.

I could see Ben looking around frantically to check for crowds, and then he got down to tie his shoe. He then pulled the ring out of his pocket and said he already knew the answer but will I marry him?

Of course, I said yes because here are!

Ben’s Side of the Proposal

True to form I was nervous as all hell. I had planned to propose at the greenhouse, but we were already going down to Boston that day to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.

I made up an excuse about wanting to look at some plants or something very suspicious, and when we walked in and I went to go inside the particular greenhouse that the owner kept open and illuminated with Christmas lights…

it was closed! Boarded up! This can’t be, I thought. Why would he close it!??

“Hey, Ben! Sorry, I shoulda told you earlier, we had to close that greenhouse up because of the tear in the roof” I could hear him holler.

Damn it, Terry, how could you!!!

Sweat ran down my body in spite of the 20 degrees outside. OK, time for plan B I thought. And out of the greenhouse, we went.

Abby knew something was wrong too, which I found hilarious. When we got in the car she said “Wooo I need some water I feel really dizzy or something….”

Trip to Boston

Once in Boston, I made sure the ring was in my pocket.

Now, this worried me too! What if I drop it? What if there is a hole….

So I kept putting one hand in my coat pocket to make sure it was still there!

We ended up walking around Fanuel Hall…. It was packed. I nervously started to reconsider the idea of proposing in Boston.

So many people, and these Bostonians, would cheer. Or yell. Or take pictures, or swear at me, who knows.

I frantically looked around. Christmas lights everywhere, and so many people… until I spotted a small bench, right near the water, with a sole tree illuminated by lights.

There was nobody around it. I motioned for her to join me, and as I reached the edge of the dock we were on, I made an attempt to tie my shoe but produced the ring instead.

“Abby, I think I already know the answer… but will you marry me?”

We were on Cloud Nine the rest of the night.

What do you look forward to the most in your marriage?


brideand groom on trolley embracing each other, black and white

bride feeding the groom cake at reception

Told by Abby

“No matter what life throws at us, good or bad, we ALWAYS count on each other to get through it.

We have seen each other at our best and worst times, and I think that is what really builds a strong relationship.

I look forward to spending the rest of my life with the man I love most in the world.

I look forward to learning from each other and growing older together as we navigate through life and all it has to offer.

And I look forward to feeling him climb into bed next to me at 4 am every morning when he gets home from work, and kissing him goodbye every morning when I’m leaving for school or work and he is still sleeping.

Told by Ben

Sure, we had fun in the early days, going to the beach, getting coffee, laughing, and joking.

Then, the only concern was what beach to go to. We would then stagger our lunch breaks to have time during the day together, and which coffee shop to visit next.

Life’s up’s and Downs

But now, even as I look back on the years I see that the true beauty and awe of our relationship is when the road is not as smooth.

For example,

When she was in Virginia for school and relying on Skype to see each other.

The time I went to the police academy.

When we were trying to buy a house.

When I work nights and weird hours and don’t often come home on time.

Nightly when our dog is chewing on every item in the house and needs a 4-mile walk.

When there are dishes in the sink, bills to be paid and homework to be done.

Yet amidst all the chaos, the good times, and the bad, I take so much comfort and solace knowing that one thing is for sure, one thing is forever and one thing fuels us both for what life throws at us; our love for each other.

groom dipping bride for a kiss on the balcony overlooking got course.

The Woodlands Country Club Wedding

This couple was nothing short of a perfect pair. My journey with them was full of laughter and excitement. Every time I looked at them together it was always pure love on their faces as if they were the only couple in the room. This is the way love should be.

Bride and groom walking away from the church

Let me tell your love story from the perspective of a Portland Maine wedding photographer.

bride and groom kissing under brides vail




Catherine Gross

Catherine Gross


My name is Catherine and I specialize in wedding photography and videography in Maine and the rest of New England. From the rugged New England coast to the scenic interior views of lakes and mountains, I will be there with you every step of the way to capture all the special moments.

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  1. April Hughes

    What a beautiful wedding!!! Amazing photos!! Your talent is astonishing.

    • Catherine

      You are so sweet. Thank you!


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Catherine Gross
Bold, personable, and whimsical are three words that adequately describe the works of art captured behind the lenses of New England wedding photographer Catherine J. Gross. Every interaction, session, and experience holds an element of uniqueness, as Catherine captures the moment before her with a keen understanding that every moment or person in life is unique and special.

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