March 10, 2010

Maine trekkies to have dream wedding

AVERY YALE

— By KAMILA

click image to enlarge

The pair visit a Starship Enterprise replica in Las Vegas.

Courtesy photo

click image to enlarge

Brad Siegel and Kate Erwin, shown here Thursday at Sullie’s Tavern in Waterboro, met at a “Star Trek” convention in 2006. Now they’re getting married on a replica bridge of the Starship Enterprise. It’s part of an exhibit on display at a Philadelphia museum.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Staff Writer

Few guys can claim the backing of Starfleet officers when they stand at the altar, but Brad Siegel of Lyman is not your typical groom.

Siegel and his fiancee, Kate Erwin, will tie the knot Sept. 13 at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute in the ultimate ''Star Trek''-themed wedding. The ceremony will be held on a replica of the Starship Enterprise bridge, which is part of a traveling exhibition that will be at the museum until Sept. 20.

Initially, the couple, who moved to Maine in December, hoped to marry at a ''Star Trek'' replica in Las Vegas. But while they were making wedding plans, the attraction was demolished.

Resigned to planning a traditional wedding, Siegel, 53, and Erwin, 34, happened to learn that the Franklin Institute, which is near Erwin's hometown of Phoenixville, Pa., was holding a contest to let one couple host their wedding inside the exhibit.

Siegel and Erwin entered, along with 15 other couples, and on July 21, the results of the public online vote, which followed the selection of the top three by a celebrity panel, revealed that the Mainers had won.

They were ecstatic and quickly began planning their big day.

''Everything we wanted to do in Las Vegas at the original 'Star Trek' exhibit, we can do in Kate's hometown,'' Siegel said.

The couple met in 2006 in Chicago at -- you guessed it -- a ''Star Trek'' convention. The day they met just happened to be the 40th anniversary of the debut of the original ''Star Trek'' TV series, and both had come to the event alone.

Their love of ''Star Trek'' helped bring them together, but Erwin pointed out that they had an age difference to contend with, and ''we had a lot of stuff not in common.''

That includes their ''Star Trek'' allegiance. Erwin is a fan of ''Star Trek: The Next Generation,'' which began airing in the late 1980s. Siegel is devoted to the original series, which aired in the late 1960s.

''When I first met him,'' Erwin recalled, ''I thought, 'This guy might be too uptight for me.' I'm kind of wild, and I have crazy friends. But I was wrong.''

The fact that they've been together for three years confirms that her initial fears were unfounded.

Siegel popped the question at another ''Star Trek'' convention, in Secaucus, N.J., in March 2008.

He arranged with the producers to host a fake door prize drawing between acts. The first seat number drawn was Erwin's. When she was called up to the stage to accept her prize, she was asked to pick another seat number, which just happened to match Siegel's.

The crowd, suspecting a rigged contest, began to boo. But when Siegel got to the stage, the announcer asked whether he had something he wanted to say.

''I got down on my knee,'' Siegel said, ''and all those boos turned to oohs and aahs and flashbulbs going off.''

Now, with the wedding just days away, most of the arrangements have been made, including a cake that George Takei, who played Sulu in the original series, helped the couple select.

Friends dressed as Klingons will provide security at the party for 70 guests. The reception will be held in the Franklin Institute's planetarium under a starlit sky. Music from the various TV series and films will be incorporated into the festivities, and the menu will feature ''Star Trek'' lingo.

Siegel, who works for WGME-TV, and his four groomsmen plan to dress in ''Next Generation'' Starfleet uniforms that were made in London and furnished by Fabulous Formals in Sanford. That's the shop where Erwin, who works for the Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham, bought her crimson gown and had it altered to suit her taste. Her bridesmaids will wear black.

With invitations that read ''costumes encouraged,'' Siegel and Erwin are hoping their guests will get creative.

''There is one group of aliens in 'Star Trek' that doesn't wear clothes to weddings, but we're hoping we don't get any of those,'' Siegel said.

Should any guests decide to come in their birthday suits, Siegel and Erwin will be glad for the Klingon security. Regardless of what their guests may wear, they're hoping the futuristic ceremony will prepare them to ''live long and prosper.''

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

akamila@pressherald.com

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