Merry Christmas from our French’s Point family to yours! May this day bring you peace, joy and a reason to celebrate!
Merry Christmas from our French’s Point family to yours! May this day bring you peace, joy and a reason to celebrate!
“I took one look at you
That’s all I meant to do
And my heart stood still.”
– Lorenz Hart “My Heart Stood Still”
Somehow, in the blink of an eye, ten years of marriage has come to pass between my soul mate and me. Life has been so busy with four small (but growing) children, lots of family, perpetual changes and busy careers in family businesses. We don’t take the time we should to pause and honor of these milestones. I often feel too busy to breathe in these moments, let alone be still in them and soak them in. Well, this year, we decided we needed to do just that. We are learning, after all. We knew we could not take that honeymoon we have been putting off all this time. But we carved out a beautiful afternoon and made some memories together. Thank you to our talented friends for helping us feel the love and see the magic that remains and grows with each passing day: Greta Tucker Photography, Flora Fauna, Jessica Candage, Blush Bridal.
1:00PM Check in to French’s Point! Settle into your cozy room and take a deep breath. An incredible winter wedding weekend lies ahead.
2:00PM Kick off the camaraderie and memory-making with a snowman making contest, some epic sledding down the West slope behind the farm or a horse drawn sleigh ride around the estate.
4:00PM Gather your wedding party, family and everyone participating in the ceremony for a rehearsal at your chosen setting to work out the jitters so everyone can relax on the big day. Choose from a cozy setting inside the conservatory with broad views of the bay or a refreshing location at the Gazebo for a ceremony no one will soon forget!
4:30PM Meet at the bar at The Retreat for a cocktail to kick off the festivities as guests arrive for your rehearsal dinner. Enjoy the sunset from inside the warm Retreat.
5:30PM Enjoy a delicious rehearsal dinner in the conservatory.
7:00PM Cuddle up fireside around the fire pit on the cobblestone terrace in cozy blanket and reconnect with family and friends gooey delight of s’mores fresh off the fire.
10:00PM Get some rest! Tomorrow is going to be a big day.
8:00AM Rise and shine, it’s your wedding day! Snowshoe the trails and along the shore in Sandy Point State Park or enjoy a morning yoga session for the wedding party and family lead by a local instructor inside the morning sun-filled Conservatory.
9:00AM Enjoy a cup of hot coffee, freshly baked blueberry muffins, quiche, and fruit with your family at The Farm before you freshen up.
11:00AM Your wedding vendor team arrives to begin preparation at The Retreat. Pampering time begins for you and your wedding party with hair and make-up sessions with your chosen provider. Sit back and enjoy the hours leading up to your ceremony in your cozy and private top floor apartment in The Retreat.
12:00PM Wedding party lunch delivered with popovers, chicken salad, and mimosas of course!
1:00PM The grooms party enjoys the game on the TV in the Recreation Room at The Farm while they begin preparing and dressing for the festivities. Don’t forget those wedding rings!
2:00PM Time to put on your gown! The Bridal Party and has pre-ceremony photos taken on the balcony overlooking the snowy picturesque estate. Don’t forget your wrap!
The groom’s party arrives to relax in the Recreation Room at The Retreat and enjoys the distraction of a game of poker while waiting for pre-ceremony photos at The Retreat.
3:30PM The ceremony bell rings out over the bay and calls your guests to the ceremony location of your choosing:
The moment you’ve been waiting for is here! Your ceremony will commence with that storied stroll toward your beloved through the gentle Northeast snowfall.
4:00PM Congratulations to the happy couple! Take your first photos as husband and wife, with your wedding party and family. Head outside to catch the beautiful sunset reflecting off of the glossy ice-filled bay of the Penobscot with your new spouse and photographer. We offer endless locations to capture this splendid light.
5:00PM Before the dinner reception begins, gather your guests in the foyer and snap some group photos from the balcony. This is a beautiful record of the guests who were able to join you for your big day.
5:15PM Guests are ushered into the beautiful Retreat House Dining Room appointed with beautiful farm tables with cascading winter greens set for family style service. All the winter wonderland details you imagined for the reception start to come to life as guests find their seats.
5:30PM Before dinner, introductions of the family and wedding party followed by speeches. Cheers to the happy couple!
5:45PM Dinner is served! Enjoy unique fare chosen by you, provided by your wedding catering partner of choice.
6:15PM Official cake cutting. Enjoy your first dance as a married couple in the Conservatory. It’s time to boogie!
6:45PM Cake is served alongside a warm hot cocoa bar!
9:50PM One last call from the bar. Enjoy one last dance with your sweetie for the perfect ending to a magical day!
10:00PM The Unplugged After party begins with a laid-back vibe while guest remove their shoes and relax by the fireplace in the Lounge. Fuel the fun with delicious late-night treats with the arrival of a vintage food truck serving sausage subs, pizza, or warm cookies and milk!
12:00PM Retreat to your beautiful suite with your new spouse to reflect and celebrate this magical experience.
8:00AM The caterer arrives to prepare for the farewell brunch. Begin your first day as husband and wife!
9:00AM 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, or offer portable food and warm coffee to-go so guests can get on the road after they bid you farewell.
1:00PM Check out time. Pack up your gifts, snap one last picture with the snowy backdrop 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 when guests not occupying lodging at the estate must depart.
Photographers Featured: C.A. Smith Photography, Emilie Inc. and Michelle Stapleton Photography
Today is a surreal day for me. Today marks the 25th anniversary since my big sister passed away at the tender age of 20 on January 13, 1992. I was 13 when she left us. It was a horrific shock to lose her and our family has never really been the same since that awful day. Her absence has left a gaping hole in the hearts of all who loved her. After the many years I have had to contemplate this, I have come to the conclusion that it is because she was such a beautiful soul and no one expected her light to go out so soon.
Crystal was my big sister. She was 7 years my senior. She was my keeper. I followed in her footsteps for the 13 years she was on this earth with me. Of course, I idolized her… she was beautiful, hard-working (a trait she took from both my parents) and graceful. She was a calming force in my life, patient, giving, kind and loving. She was a small-town beauty with a bright future ahead of her. She won the Central Maine Egg Festival Egg Queen title in 1988 in costume as Charlie Chaplin. I will never forget her beautiful blue ball gown in the parade that year and the beautiful smile on her face. I am proud to say we share the same smile… our mama gave it to usJ. Crystal and I both had our photographs in the newspaper that week: Crystal in her beautiful gown wearing her crown and me kissing my massive frog because we won the frog-jumping contest at the festival. There could not be a more appropriate analogy of how different my sister and I were. But I could not have loved her any more than I did.
Crystal loved the arts. She was in theatre, she was an accomplished dancer, she loved to cook and dreamt of traveling the world. Crystal was brilliant in many ways. She graduated from Maine Central Institute in 1989 as class Salutatorian and was attending Cornell University to become an engineer.
I have tried to honor her legacy in the 25 years since, by trying to be my best. I want her to be proud of me, of the life I have built, the daughter I am to our parents, the mother I have become, and what we have done in tribute to her at French’s Point. I know she can see this. I can see beautiful bits of the love my sister and I shared between my own two little girls (with an age gap of 6 years between them). My oldest daughter’s personality is very similar to my sister’s personality with her quiet demeanor, kind heart, and mother-hen nature. The beauty of it takes my breath away some times. It’s a magical reminder of just how close Crystal really is, even though I cannot see her. I know she is here. I still feel her after all these years.
In large part, our family took on the endeavor to be the stewards of French’s Point because she loved this place so much. So many of our memories of her are rooted here. Together we grew up as children, running through the fields at French’s Point, picking blueberries, having adventures, and giving life to dreams. Crystal went to summer camp with our cousins at French’s Point (then the Hersey Retreat) when it was owned by the church. From her time spent here, came big dreams of someday getting married at French’s Point. She shared this vision with me sitting on the deck one day and I remember it like it was yesterday. The way she described her dream, I could envision it myself in beautiful detail.
Over the past 15 years, my loving parents have made a tiny piece of the 100+ acre Sandy Point State Park, right next to French’s Point, into the most beautiful memorial overlook in honor of Crystal. The State dubbed it “Crystal-Lynn Cove” in Sandy Point State Park. There is a beautiful bench to take in a clear view of sunsets that have unparalleled beauty. We played hide-and-seek in these woods and along the shore that is now a preserve in tribute to her. I slip away to this place often to be closer to her. Working and living here at French’s Point allows me to be closer to her and the memories we made and the dreams we began together.
Today we honor Crystals’s life, and we will do so each day we live out her dreams here at French’s Point.
Photos below by Spring Smith Photography.
The obvious; the beautiful private oceanfront setting with un-paralleled views and impressive gardens.
The unique; the numerous benefits of an experienced event coordination company to our “destination” clientele.
The personal; the intimate tone of the family-owned and operated estates and the way they make our guests feel at “home” while they are with us… that this is their estate for the time they enjoy here.
The crucial; the amazing group of vendors we have the privilege of working with when we produce celebrations.
As general manager, CEO, owner and chief bottle washer, I know the truth about what makes us shine…. our staff & service. We are so fortunate to work with and employ some of the most dedicated, thoughtful, hard-working individuals in Maine. We have team members who have been here with since our beginning (over 10 years ago now). And every year, we attract several new remarkable members to our team. We find there is great respect among our team for each member. That is something I am so very proud of, and grateful for.
We are in all honestly, a bit like family in a few ways. First and foremost, we actually employ several family members from three different families- 3 Higgins women and 4 Ripley women in addition to the Brooks-Brewer ownership team of 3. Additionally, wedding events are great fun to host, but they are also hard work and require trust and devotion from our team members to produce the flawless outcome we strive for. We work long hours and many of us spend more time at FP than we do at home with our own families, myself included. So we truly care for one another like you would family.
As owner, the very best part of an event for me, is the end. And not for the obvious reason. Just because guests are departing, we still have hours of work ahead of us. No, I enjoy the conclusion of the event because as guests move through our doors at the end of their day with us, they give a blush-inducing number of compliments that make the long hours & sweat-equity investment worth it. We hear how beautiful the estate is, and how amazing the grounds are, and how delicious the food & drinks were. We hear that “this is the best wedding I have ever been too”. But the thing that makes me most proud are the compliments given to our staff. “The service was perfection”, “Your staff are amazing, so friendly and thoughtful” “They anticipated my every need”. “Sarah & Christina had all the details at hand so I didn’t worry at all”. “Eric and the service staff took such good care of my grandparents”.
“Every time I turned around Scott and Kaila were there with a fresh cocktail.” “Erin and the bar servers were awesome!” “My seating plan changed and but before I could worry, Megan had made the adjustments to the seats so my guests never even knew”. I could go on because those words are emblazed on my very soul. The hand-written letters and remarks made from our departing guests multiply each year, which is confirmation that we are doing things the right way and continue to grow and improve at every opportunity we enjoy. The common theme from these remarks is the staff has created a memorable and enjoyable experience for those guests during their time with us. We have the unique privilege of sharing a very special time with our clients, meeting their closest friends and family, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Each of our FP team members understands the significance of this.
Each of them gives a part of themselves to create the flawless experience we strive for. For this, I could not be more grateful.