Personalized weddings rule the day

Today’s newly engaged couples often set off on a frenetic pace to nail down the “best” venue, band, caterer, photographer, dress, and tux for their upcoming wedding.

Mackie Hill, owner and event designer of Simply Unforgettable Events by Mackie, believes couples can take a gentler approach and enjoy a more meaningful wedding.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race (for a unique wedding)
Hill believes that it’s important for couples to brainstorm ideas that would create the “perfect wedding” for them. To do this they should work with well-established vendors who are interested in making the day personal, not a reproduction of another wedding. “By personalizing that day and making it distinctive to them, no one can ever take it away,” she said.

When she examines the wedding’s details, she looks at the overall picture and each element “to create what I think my bride has imagined. You can never underestimate the possibilities, but you also have to learn how to navigate and negotiate the system of vendors, timelines, and money.”

Different Strokes for Different Folks
Vendors assisting couples at their wedding venues are used to unusual requests.

“We have no cookie cutter weddings here,” said Niki Palmer, operations and sales manager at the Black Point Inn at Prouts Neck in Scarborough. One couple recently had a “Time Travel Theme”, where each table represented a different century with artifacts, such as old binoculars and books.

Kelly Couture, manager of The Landing at Pine Point in Scarborough, remembers the “fun and intrigue” of a hand-held Mardi Gras masks that were given to wedding reception guests.

Brian Doherty, food and beverage director at the Lucerne Inn in Dedham, said he has seen weddings with bagpipers, butterflies and doves being released, tabletop arrangements with lighthouse and Acadia National Park themes, such as wedding guests being seated at the Jordan Pond House table.

Doherty added that Lucerne Inn often includes a “remembrance table out front to honor and include a recently deceased family member.”

Man’s Best Friend… a Chicken?
Including the family pet is another great way to personalize a wedding.

Palmer recalls one “well behaved” chicken that walked down the aisle with two rings attached to its leg. “We are seeing more pets being incorporated into weddings as ring bearers,” she said. “We had a female yellow lab carry the bride’s ring while a male black lab carried the groom’s ring.”

But before including your best friend, make sure the festivities aren’t going to stress her out. At the very least, consider having your photographer create a few photos of you with your pet either before or after the ceremony. And if Fluffy is joining the Big Day, assign one person to make sure she’s cared for.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Bernie Littlefield of BEL Portraits in Winterport has photographed many island weddings. One of his favorite photographs is of a groom — a lobsterman by trade — and his groomsmen, all in their tuxedo attire, standing on a damp wharf with stacked lobster traps in the background.

Professional photographers will be able to help couples integrate the unique touches of their day into photos for the final album. Some photographers offer video clips to show at the reception while others can offer added-value “photobooth” set-ups for fun candid shots.

And many couples are choosing to use photographic mats as guest books.

Melissa Brady, director of sales at the Harraseeket Inn, in Freeport, noted “I never looked at my guest book again, but I would have displayed [a] photo [in the mat].”

Let Them Eat Cake (and more)
A decade ago, a young teenage girl who lived in Dedham told Carmen Montes of Montes International Catering in Bangor that “you’ll do my wedding when I grow up.” Although the teenager moved out-of-state, went to college and now works in Virginia, she kept her word.  Montes and her husband are catering her wedding at a waterfront property in Bernard to the man who was her boyfriend since her teenage years.

Entrees include: Espresso-crusted beef tenderloin; salmon and haddock braid; and French cut pork chop.  However, the cru de grace will be the four-tiered fondant covered cake with nautical theme and edible sea glass. The cake will sport different flavors for each tier: carrot cake with walnuts and raisins; Montes’ signature raspberry buttercream in white cake; Maine wild blueberry with lemon mousse; and spice cake with honey ginger butter cream. Party favors will be mini homemade whoopie pies.

Doherty noted that the Lucerne Inn is finding it popular to accent its cake table with cupcake towers, mini eclairs, mini tartlets and pinafores.

Destination: Location, Location, Location
Sometimes just picking the perfect location easily makes a perfect wedding.
Whether it’s a luxurious ballroom, a scenic veranda, or an intimate event, Maine venues have something to fit every wedding style and theme said Deb Jordan, director of sales for the Bar Harbor Regency and Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina in Bar Harbor.

Towns like Bar Harbor, Castine, Camden, Portland, and Boothbay Harbor resonate with ocean loving brides, while central and northern Maine brides relish the “back to nature” surroundings. But no matter the preference, location is key to a personalized wedding.

By Elizabeth Webster

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