Fall Weekend Wedding Itinerary

Here in Maine, Fall wedding celebrations have become increasingly common, and now rival the summer season for the most sought-after wedding dates. We’re seeing the same trends here at French’s Point. Our seaside location makes us the perfect spot to take in the crisp salt air and brilliant fall foliage that autumn in Maine offers.

According to The Knot, the traditionally popular month of June still attracts a sizeable 13% of annual US wedding celebrations with its lush, vibrant florals and beautiful weather and comfortable temperatures. But the Month of October now comes in third, hosting 12% of all weddings annually with it bright foliage and lovely weather. November is also rising in popularity here at French’s Point for the same reason.

It’s easy to see why so many couples choose a fall event. Steaming mugs of hot apple cider, cozy conversations by the bonfire, impromptu games of flag football, and hay wagon rides evoke their favorite and memorable fall experiences. A long, fall weekend makes for a relaxed, unhurried celebration. It’s no wonder couples are choosing to get married in Maine at this time of year.

Sample Fall Maine Wedding Weekend Itinerary

Here’s one sample itinerary that will keep your guests well-fed, comfortably cozy, and thoroughly entertained while they enjoy all the quintessential elements of fall in New England:

Thursday

  • 12:00 p.m. Get your marriage license from the Stockton Springs town office between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. to make it official! The Town Office is not open on Friday.
  • 1:00 p.m. Check in to French’s Point! Settle into your room and soak in the salt air and scenery.
  • 6:00 p.m. Fire up the barbecue grill and enjoy burgers and brats and sample fall-inspired local beers like Marshall Wharf Brewing Company’s Danny McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout, Geary’s Autumn Ale and Shipyard Pumpkinhead with your family and friends as they roll into town to join you for the weekend.
  • 8:00 p.m. Cuddle up fireside and reconnect around one of the many fire pits at the estate. Enjoy the warm, gooey delight of s’mores fresh off the fire.

Friday

  • 7:00 a.m. Start the day off with a morning yoga session for the wedding party and family lead by a local instructor in the sun-filled Conservatory at The Retreat House where you can take in the foliage views of the bay.
  • 8:00 a.m. Enjoy a breakfast of freshly baked apple spice muffins and hearty oatmeal awaiting you in the parlor at The Farm House.
  • 10:00a.m. Choose your own Maine adventure! Excursions to the top of the tallest bridge observatory in the Northeast at Penobscot Narrows Observatory for spectacular leaf-peeping with tours of the nearby Fort Knox historic site.  Enjoy a tour of one of the many local wineries and breweries. Explore a pumpkin patch or pick-your-own apple farms.
  • 3:00 p.m. Ceremony rehearsal. Gather your wedding party, family and anyone else participating in the ceremony for a rehearsal at your chosen setting to work out the jitters so everyone can relax on the big day.
  • 4:00 p.m. Sip Autumn-inspired cocktails on the terrace and enjoy sunset hayrides through the fields and orchard with your guests.
  • 6:00 p.m. Host a family-style harvest dinner on long farm tables, with wood-fired cuisine, prepared by your chosen catering partner in the Retreat House Dining Room in front of the fireplace.
  • 8:00 p.m. Cap off the night with hot toddies and warm apple cider enjoyed in front of the fireplace in The Retreat House Lounge.
  • 10:00 p.m. Get some rest! Tomorrow is going to be a big day.

Saturday

  • 7:00 a.m. Rise and shine, it’s your wedding day! Take a walk through the trails in the Sandy Point State Park and enjoy the beautiful foliage and smell of saltwater and pine.
  • 8:00 a.m. Enjoy a cup of coffee, freshly baked quiche, and fruit with your family at The Farm at French’s Point before you freshen up.
  • 9:00 a.m. Your wedding vendor team arrives to begin preparations at The Retreat at French’s Point.
  • 10:00 a.m. Pampering time begins for you and your wedding party with hair and make-up sessions with your chosen provider in the Top Level Apartment Parlor of the Retreat House. Sit back and enjoy the hours leading up to your ceremony surrounded by the ones you love.
  • 12:00 p.m. Wedding party lunch delivered with curried pumpkin soup and apple salads. The groom’s party and family can enjoy a casual lunch on the barbecue lawn after enjoying some healthy competition with a game of flag football on the recreation lawn at The Farm.
  • 2:00 p.m. The groom’s party arrives at the Recreation Room at The Retreat to work out those nerves with a game of pool or darts, or watch the game of the TV. Don’t forget those wedding rings! Bridal party gets dressed and has pre-ceremony photos taken on the balcony overlooking the estate.
  • 3:00 p.m. A bluegrass band sets the mood as guests arrive by trolley to mingle and enjoy hot mulled cider on the terrace.
  • 3:30 p.m. The ceremony bell rings out over the bay and calls your guests to the ceremony location of your choosing: the Gazebo, the Oceanfront Lawn, Lower Level Terrace or East Overlook Terrace. Offer locally made wraps to keep them cozy while you say your vows.
  • 4:00 p.m. Congrats to the happy couple! Take your first photos as husband and wife, with your wedding party and family. Your guests will mix and mingle while they enjoy cocktail hour with delicious drinks and hors d’oeuvres on the terrace, take a stroll on the bluff path, take in the commanding view of the foliage on the shores of the bay from our signature Grand Daddy Adirondack chairs, or play a rousing game of cornhole on the oceanfront lawn.
  • Before the dinner reception begins, gather your guests and snap some group photos on the cobblestone terrace. This is a beautiful record of the guests who were able to join you for your big day.
  • 5:00 p.m. Guests are ushered inside the beautiful and cozy Retreat House Dining Room or the Sailcloth Tent Structure for the reception with tables set with all the details you imagined.
  • Catch the beautiful sunset with your new spouse and photographer. We offer a variety of locations to capture this splendid light of the setting sun and rising Harvest Moon.
  • 5:20 p.m. Before dinner, introductions of the family and wedding party followed by speeches. Cheers to the happy couple!
  • 5:40 p.m.  Dinner is served! Enjoy unique fare chosen by you, provided by your wedding catering partner of choice.
  • 6:30 p.m.  Official cake cutting. Enjoy your first dance as a married couple. It’s time to boogie!
  • 7:00 p.m. Cake and coffee are served.
  • 9:55 p.m. Enjoy one last dance with your sweetie for the perfect ending to a magical day!
  • 10:00 p.m. Move the party to The Retreat House to enjoy an unplugged after party with a laid-back vibe.  Fuel the fun with delicious late-night wood-fired pizza with fall flavors like roasted butternut squash and ricotta, and spicy sausage and apple. Snuggle in front of the fire as you recount the adventures of the day.
  • 12:00 a.m. Bid your guests farewell and retreat to your beautiful suite with your new spouse to reflect and celebrate this magical day. Vendors begin preparing for the next day’s celebrations.

Sunday

  • 8:00 a.m.  Enjoy your first cup of coffee as a married couple as you enjoy the sunrise over the bay from your private balcony. The caterer arrives to prepare for the farewell brunch.
  • 9:00 a.m- 11a.m. Your guests can stop by The Retreat Dining Room one last time to say goodbye and enjoy a farewell brunch before heading home. Enjoy a beautiful, hearty buffet for a more formal affair, or offer portable food and coffee-to-go so guests can get on the road after they bid you farewell.
  • 12:00 p.m. Sit in the Grand Daddy Adirondack chairs on the Bluff Path one last time to soak it all in.
  • 1:00 p.m. Check-out time. Pack up your gifts, snap one last picture to immortalize the experience, and hit the road. It’s time for your next adventure!

*Due to the Coast Guard sound ordinance and zoning restrictions, all amplified music must cease at 10:00 p.m and exterior lights extinguish at midnight.

Featured Photo by Chris Bennett Photography

Important Caterer and Vendor Factors

At French’s Point, we’re dedicated to helping you and your spouse have the most amazing wedding venue experience possible. Our wedding venues are designed to offer the perfect Maine beach wedding, with waterfront locations and beautiful views.

We’re also happy to work with you on areas like caterers and other vendors – we even have a full directory of preferred vendors for you to browse. Let’s go over some of the important factors to think about as you consider various caterers and other vendors.

Various Cost Options

You will have a few different cost options available, including all-inclusive catering services or less involved options. You might prefer a menu to choose items from, or you might want to go with a more buffet-style kind of thing. These and a number of other important factors will go into determining your costs, so you should have a basic budget for this area set as you start your search.

What Level of Effort Do You Want to Put In?

Somewhat related to the area above is simply how much time and effort you want to put into catering. An all-inclusive service will cost more, but will also leave you completely free of any concerns in that area – no more research to do or calls to make. Less involved services may cost less, but will also require you to do more planning. This is a balance only you can strike perfectly based on your situation and budget.

Do You Want to Personalize?

Many catering options come with pre-set menus or food options, but some others will allow you to personalize more significantly. Of course, as we noted above, this might be more expensive.

Multiple Vendors

If you bring in your own outside caterer, particularly if it’s one not on our preferred list of vendors, remember that you might have to deal with multiple vendors. Not all caterers handle things like tables, linens, barware and other elements – if that’s the case with the one you choose, you’ll also have to coordinate these things separately.

For more on important factors to consider when hiring caterers or other vendors, or to learn more about any of our beautiful Maine wedding locations, speak to the pros at French’s Point today.

How to Avoid Wedding Budget Creep

In French’s Point’s Wedding Budget Series, I’ve spent some time discussing how important it is for couples to discuss their finances as they relate to their wedding early in the planning process and about their priorities for the celebration and the amount of money they have to make it all happen. This is all critical to creating a realistic budget and one you can stick to throughout the process. Few things in life are as emotionally charged as a wedding. But, making money decisions from an emotional place without a plan can result in surprises and disappointment. Here are a few tips to help you stick to your wedding budget:

#1 Put Your Heads (and Hearts) Together

Take the time to sit down early in the planning and define very clearly to one another your list of priorities for your wedding. What’s worth splurging on and what’s not so worth a splurge? Most brides and grooms find they have similar lists, but there is often variation in where each element is placed on the list. The bride, for example, might think food and beverage service is number one in importance, while the groom might think food and beverage is third and the venue is number one. Whatever the similarities or differences, come together on how to order your top three. And then gather up the remaining categories and organize them in order of importance (You’ll probably find these fall into place fairly quickly after the top three are agreed upon.)

#2 Yours, Mine, Ours

Now that you know where your priorities lie and what your joint vision is, determine what sources of money will be available to cover the expenses for the wedding. Sometimes couples are funding their wedding themselves. Other times, other family members or special folks are chipping in on specific items or toward a part of the whole cost. You need to have conversations with these people if you can identify the total pool of resources available to you.

#3 Ideal Versus Actual

Now, I suggest you devise two budget numbers — how much you’d like to spend and how much if push came to shove you could afford to spend. The latter figure should be avoided as much as possible – the preference budget should be what you stick to. But it’s also good to have that absolute cap figure in your planning should you start to rationalize higher prices for perks you come across that you really like. What you don’t want to do is shop around first, fall in love with services that don’t fit within your budget, and then try and figure out how to afford it all. That’s letting your emotions take charge of your wallet, which any money manager will tell you spells trouble.

#4 Hire a Wedding Planner

One of the many skills a wedding planner offers is the ability to help you create and manage a wedding budget. This is an invaluable tool and the cost of the wedding planner is money wisely spent. Once you have completed steps 1-3, its time to bring in the professional to really answer your questions and set a plan into place. Wedding Planners know the cost of services for the vendors which they recommend or can obtain that information for you.

Maine Wedding Money Series II: How to talk honestly about the budget
Maine Wedding Money Series I: How to stretch your money in Maine

Including Pets In Your Maine Wedding

You invite all of your nearest and dearest to celebrate your wedding festivities, have you considered including your four-legged pet friends as well?

We are pet-friendly at French’s Point and would love for you to bring them along to be a part of your Maine wedding! Dogs are always a welcomed addition to the big day, and many times they play an important role in the wedding party: carrying a sign or acting as an usher or ring bearer.

Things to Think About When Including Your Pets

  1. First of all, make sure your venue allows pets – French’s Point allows well-behaved pets that are current on their immunizations, are crated when left alone in our lodgings and have a handler.
  2. Then consider how you want your pet to participate in your ceremony. Do you want him to have a central role? As in walking down the aisle as a flower-bearer? Or do you want her in the audience with another family?
  3. Once you’ve figured out what role you want your pet to play, you need to find someone to be in charge of him. This person will walk him where he needs to go, hold onto his leash during the ceremony, and, most importantly, take him elsewhere to discretely do his business if nature calls. Keep in mind that a guest who acts as your pet-wrangler won’t be able to really relax and enjoy your wedding, so consider hiring a pet sitter.

When deciding whether to include a pet, you and your partner should be honest about the risks. Dogs bark, cats can cower or hiss, pigs snort, and as I’ve already mentioned, any pet could make a mess at the worst, possible time.

Still, with a little planning and some practice, a well-behaved pet can make a memorable and adorable addition to the ceremony. And for plenty of pet-lovers, it’s not a question of whether or not to include your best friend in your wedding, it’s simply a matter of how best to make it happen!

“For plenty of pet-lovers, it’s not a question of whether or not to include your best friend in your wedding, it’s simply a matter of how best to make it happen!” – French’s Point

Check out some of our past canine guests below.

Featured photo by Cuppa Photography.

9 Things To Do After You’re Engaged

Maybe you’re newly engaged, or perhaps you expect your special someone might pop the question any time. Here’s what to do after you say “Yes!”

1) You’re Engaged, Soak It In

Take the time to soak in the moment and revel in the love and joy of this special moment. This is the only time you’re going to experience being engaged, so savor every second.

2) Share The News

Make the time to share the big news about your engagement with your nearest and dearest over a phone call, FaceTime or Skype. To avoid hurt feelings, don’t share the news on your social streams until you’ve told those closest to you.

3) Get Engagement Ring Insurance

Get insurance for that beautiful engagement ring.

4) Set Priorities

Sit down with your beloved over coffee or cocktails and discuss the vision of your wedding experience. Determine your mutual priorities before you start scheduling tours or making plans. Place the things you agree on at the top of the list and come to an agreement of the placement of the other items on the list. You will be so glad you did.  

5) Define a Wedding Budget

Talk with the members of your tribe that may be contributing financially to the celebration and define the level of investment you are comfortable making in this experience. This will allow you to shop more effectively for wedding day partners and save you lots of time as you go.

6) Draft Your Guest List

To know if your venue will work within your budget, you will need a solid guest list first. Do this before you begin your venue search.

7) Set the Date

Identify your availability, preferred season, and dates to celebrate.

8) Book Your Venue

Once you have considered your options and confirmed they are within budget, it’s time to reserve your venue.

9) Hire a Wedding Planner!

Hire an experienced wedding professional to bring your wedding vendor team together and bring your vision to life.

Featured photo by Cuppa Photography.

A Sweet Summer Wedding in June

Carolyn & TJ

Saturday, June 10, 2017

As we begin to shift our focus to the year ahead and another wedding season of hosting beautiful milestone celebrations for our guests here at French’s Point, we can’t help but reminisce on some of the beautiful weekends and guests we hosted here on the shores of Penobscot Bay this past season.

The early-summer wedding of Carolyn and TJ remains a highlight of the summer for our tiny team. This elegant wedding included a guests list of kind, loving and thoughtful family and friends that traveled from near and far to celebrate with the happy couple. The weather that day could not have been more blessed.

In short, it was the ideal summer day for a wedding; perfectly suited to this wonderful duo. Carolyn and TJ, with help from their wedding planner, Kristin, at Beehive Creative worked to ensure the details of the event came together seamlessly and with the help of Trillium Catering, guests were well fed, always had a drink in hand, and a smile on their face. I recall being struck by the laughter and revelry which floated on the breeze along with the sweet smell of beach rose.

“I recall being struck by the laughter and revelry which floated on the breeze along with the sweet smell of beach rose.” – Jessika Brooks-Brewer

We are excited to see what the future brings this wonderful couple and were beyond honored to host and serve them here at French’s Point where they got their start in life as a married couple.

Carolyn & TJ’s Vendor Team:

  • Bar Services: Trillium Catering
  • Catering: Trillium Catering
  • Ceremony and Cocktail Music: Unknown
  • Ceremony Venue: French’s Point Waterfront Gazebo
  • Design and Styling: N/A
  • Dessert: Trillium Catering
  • Dinner and Dancing Entertainment: Double Platinum Celebrations
  • DJ: DJ Chris – Double Platinum Celebrations
  • Month of Coordinator: Beehive Creative
  • Favors: N/A
  • Fireworks: N/A
  • Floral Design: Broadturn Farm
  • Hair: Glow Salon – Kim
  • Makeup: Glow Salon – Katie
  • Officiant: Kat Logan – Friend of the Couple
  • Photo Booth: Maine to Boston Photo Booth Rental
  • Photography: Ramble Free Photo Co. – Hannah
  • Reception Venue: French’s Point Sailcloth Tent
  • Rentals: One Stop Event Rentals and  French’s Point
  • Transportation: Bo Mar Transportation and Field of Greens (Limo)
  • Videography: N/A