Lisa + Mark: Family First at a Second Wedding

Lisa and Mark Bowdler were friends for years before Lisa found herself in need of electrical work at her new house. She called Mark, an electrical contractor, to take on the project. And the rest, as they say, is history.

A second marriage for both, the couple dated for eight years before deciding to tie the knot. Lisa calls Mark “a big teddy bear.” He adores his family, and that’s how Lisa knew he was right for her. “[It is] one of best qualities you can find in anyone.”

Photo by Rhonda Farnham

They talked about getting married for a few months before shopping around for rings and ordering one in Lisa’s size. The jeweler told the couple the ring wouldn’t arrive before Christmas, which was fine, Lisa says, but “it would have been nice to tell everyone on Christmas Eve.” Their families had been celebrating the holiday together for six years; Lisa’s two kids, her siblings and their families, her parents, and Mark’s dad. After the annual Yankee Swap, Mark handed Lisa one last gift… and then retreated to the other side of the room. “It was funny; I think he was nervous with my entire family being there.” When she opened the box containing the engagement ring, “everyone cheered and cried.”

As they began planning for their wedding, Mark and Lisa had very clear goals. They wanted to celebrate with their parents and Lisa’s children. “That was all that mattered,” Lisa says. Mark’s mother has Alzheimer’s, and she had been living at the South Portland Nursing Home for five years. “There was no way we could take her out of her surroundings to celebrate anywhere else,” Lisa explains. So they brought the ceremony to her. Lisa had a co-worker who was a notary and had always wanted to perform a wedding. The couple hired photographer Rhonda Farnham, who ended up running the show. “We didn’t plan on throwing the bouquet or dancing together but Rhonda orchestrated the whole thing, it was more than we expected! She was so great, it wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for her.” After the ceremony, the family had lunch at Lisa and Mark’s house. A big party took place over the summer for all the friends and family who weren’t in attendance at the nursing home celebration.

Photo by Rhonda Farnham

Looking to the future, Lisa, 49, and Mark, 56, remain focused on the joys of family. Their favorite activity is spending time at their camp in Nobleboro, swimming, kayaking and inviting friends and relatives up to visit. “That’s what it’s all about!” Lisa says. And she doesn’t imagine things changing any time soon. “I am so looking forward to grandchildren,” she says. “Having your own children is amazing—I can’t imagine how it must feel, being a grandparent. Mark never had children of his own, so this will be extremely special for him.”

Photo by Rhonda Farnham

As the family grows, Lisa imagines Mark and herself spending summers at the camp and winters in San Diego, enjoying the comforts of companionship. “The best thing about sharing your life with someone is the partnership,” Lisa says. “You always have someone there to support you in every way.”

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