CEO Corner: Jessika Brooks on Coastal Accommodations

Published August 18th, 2011

When couples marrying at French’s Point inquire about accommodations, I always urge them to consider the full spectrum of hotels, inns, B&Bs and house rentals in our area. The range of options allows the bride and groom to avoid large room buy-out or guarantees required by resorts which tie up needed funds during a time when you need them most and also offers their guests options that will work best for their needs and preferences. While many brides and grooms-to-be enjoy our onsite Beach Rose Farm at French’s Point with immediate family, their extended guest list typically browses a wide range of options for lodging that best suits their individual needs, preferred style, the desired length of stay, and budget.

Thanks to French’s Point’s history as a beachside retreat community, a collection of cottages dot the shoreline within easy walking distance of our estate and each other. In all, couples can accommodate approximately 100 of their guests within a short walk of the point by taking advantage of these charming house rentals, which sleep anywhere from four to eighteen. One of these waterfront hideaways brought my family to the Point almost a century ago, and the cottage remains home to my fondest memories of childhood summers.

For guests curious to explore the nearby seaside towns of Belfast and Searsport, a mix of luxury, economy, privately owned properties, and familiar chain options are available. Take the Belfast Bay Inn & Suites, an eight-room boutique hotel I can’t praise enough for its style, comfort and top-notch management.

Many of our couples take advantage of this variety in style and price point to host their guests close by and create a family reunion or vacation atmosphere for their wedding. Friends and loved ones can easily hop over to the point — we’re happy to arrange for a luxury bus or trolley — to attend a welcome cocktail party, rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch in addition to the ceremony and reception. We often see couples and their guests stay for a long weekend or even a week, using the French’s Point as a home base for a Midcoast vacation experience which so many of our clients are seeking to create for their guests… we call this “ Vacationland Effect”. Guests are so often eager to explore the coast’s historic downtowns, boutique shopping and natural wonders that multiple nights make for an ideal, unhurried exploration. Many of our clients find that they have an unexpectedly high rate of guest attendance for their celebration. I always caution them to assume only 10% of their guest list will not attend (no matter how far the guests are traveling)as our clients (local and destination alike)track about that amount from event to event.  It is important to keep in mind regarding budget especially. We attribute this high attendance to the fact that guests jump at the opportunity to turn the trip to Maine to attend the wedding celebration into a multi-day vacation.

Some brides and grooms choose to stay in nearby Camden or Belfast, hosting a rehearsal dinner and farewell luncheon in town and host their wedding ceremony and reception at French’s Point, preserving their guest’s experience here for the wow factor they are seeking for this portion of their event. The 32-room Inn at Ocean’s Edge in nearby Lincolnville is a great resort-style option, while the Windward House attracts visitors year-round with its B&B feel and environmentally friendly approach. Guests can shop for hand-painted pottery and souvenirs on Main Street then stroll the village green before heading to the point to see their loved ones exchange vows.

Whether couples seek a weeklong destination event or a streamlined single-day experience, we ensure their guests are just as comfortable kicking up their heels at the reception as they are when they lay down their heads post celebration.