A Summer Camp Wedding on Mink Lake in Ontario
Sleeping bag. Pillow. Playing cards. Flashlight. Bug spray. Is this the packing list for summer camp or a wedding? For Adrian Ohmer and Darren DeWittâ€™s friends and family, the answer was both. When the Ann Arbor, Michiganâ€“based couple announced that theyâ€™d be saying â€śI doâ€ť on August 12, 2017, at Camp Smitty, a nearly-100-year-old summer camp on Mink Lake in Ontario, they made it clear: What the festivities might lack in five-star amenities, they would more than make up for in good old-fashioned fun. Mink Lake is where Darren, a singer and merchandiser at a vintage shop, spent his childhood summers. But itâ€™s 90 miles north of Ottawa, in what some might call the middle of nowhereâ€”and even Adrian, a financier and part-time law professor, had his doubts. â€śI worried it would be too much of a schlep for everyone,â€ť he says. It took a year for Darren to persuade himâ€”then a year of planningâ€”but they were both ultimately charmed by the idea of doing something â€śso different and so memorable,â€ť Adrian says. The result was a gloriously rustic retro-styled event: Camp A.D.
Keep reading to see more of Adrian and Darren's special celebration, as photographed by Kate Headley.
Adrian and Darren dubbed the weekendâ€™s events Camp A.D. after their initials. Upon arrival, guests were welcomed with custom T-shirts and assigned bunks by â€ścamp counselorsâ€ť (a.k.a. the wedding party).
The grooms gathered their 130 guests, all in matching T-shirts, for a quintessential camp photo.
In lieu of a formal rehearsal dinner, the couple hosted a spaghetti supper and an â€™80s-themed dance party in the main hall. Darren wore a wedding dress, channeling Shelby from Steel Magnolias.
Everyone spent the day relaxing by the lake, canoeing, swimming, and sunbathing on the dock.
The couple got ready together in their cabin. Darren recalls, â€śWhen Adrian was helping me with my cuff links, I looked at him and thought, Weâ€™ll be there to help each other from this day forward.â€ť
Adrian splurged on Harrys of London loafers, which he knew heâ€™d wear after the wedding. Darren, of course, wore red Gucci loafers to match the rest of his ensemble.
Adrian (in a navy blazer and pink pants) and Darren (in a floral Gucci ensemble) took portraits around the camp grounds. Camp Smitty is run by the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa; proceeds from the weekendâ€™s rental supported local kids.
For his look, Darren was inspired by the Unskilled Worker, an Instagram account he follows. "When I saw her first 'Gucci Boy,' I did a deep dive into the wonderful world of Alessandro Michele and his inspired work at Gucci," he explains. "I was drawn to his floral pieces, and felt it would embody a flamboyant, vibrant outdoor setting."
Over the course of the weekend's festivities, the drinks were abundantâ€”but the fancy packaging was not! Cocktails were served in red solo cups, while wine was poured from a box.
At 6:30 p.m. on the wedding day, the group gathered on wooden benches, in front of a colorful totem pole.
During the ceremony, a choir of opera-singer friends sang â€śChapel of Love,â€ť speakers read excerpts from Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges (the landmark civil-rights cases that paved the way for interracial and same-sex marriages).
Adrian and Darren walked hand-in-hand down the aisle, led by the camp choir singing â€śGoing to the Chapel.â€ť Once at the altar, the grooms exchanged handwritten vows. Adrian wrote his six weeks before, while Darren penned his that morning.
The couple in all their newly married bliss!
Adrian and Darren found linens printed with historic letters (like one from Thomas Jefferson) and gave them to their attendants.
And while the buffet dinner, cooked by the campâ€™s chef, Jessie, was no-fuss (think chicken served on cafeteria trays), nobody seemed to miss a thing.
The night ended in classic camp style with a talent show, bonfire, and stargazing. â€śThe Perseid meteor shower was at its peak that night,â€ť says Darren. â€śIt was magical.â€ť But then again, so was â€śseeing a diverse set of peopleâ€”race, gender, sexual orientationâ€”in one place, happy and enjoying their time in the countryside.â€ť