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.
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.
We asked our friends at The Bar Association to help us help you better understand the Maine liquor license laws as they relate to weddings. They addressed some key questions below that relate to having liquor at your wedding. You want to be very careful about providing and serving alcohol for your wedding festivities (including the rehearsal dinner and after-parties). Please read the Q& A below, provided by The Bar Association, to help you manage your liability because nothing ruins a wedding faster than a big, huge, messy liability issue.
Q: French’s Point: What is a Class 1 Liquor License? And why does a caterer need one?
A: The Bar Association: A Class 1 Liquor License is something that allows caterers (for food and/or beverage), like The Bar Association, the ability to purchase and sell alcohol to our clients. With this license, we are able to accommodate most of our client’s budgetary needs. For example, a couple that is looking to keep costs low and wants to have an open bar for their cocktail hour but then turns it over to a cash bar for the remainder of the reception is able to do so with our company due to this license. Other bar catering companies without a license are not able to purchase the alcohol AND not able to sell it.
Bar catering companies without a license are not able to purchase the alcohol AND not able to sell it.
Q: FP: Why can’t a couple just get a licensed bartender to provide service for their events?
A: TBA: Something that has come up in conversation time and time again from clients, wedding planners, venues, etc. is, “well, can’t we just get a licensed bartender?”
The answer is “No.” Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “licensed bartender” in the State of Maine. Licenses are issued to the entity, not the person. No bartender is licensed on their own. The license comes and goes with the business that carries it.
Therefore, a bartender hired for “service-only” whom, as discussed, cannot be licensed (but can be insured), leaves any venue they are working at exposed to increased liability.
Anyone claiming to be a “licensed and insured bartender” that works off-premise, can only be licensed and insured if they are serving the alcohol they have provided or brought on site AND this alcohol has been purchased with a license issued by the State of Maine.
There is no such thing as a “licensed bartender” in the State of Maine.
Q: FP: So, what the bottom line?
A: TBA: So, the bottom line is this: since our business has a Class One Liquor License, our employees have to be Serve Safe TIPS certified and they have to be W-2 employees (nothing under the table). In addition, we cover our employees with both a Workmen’s Compensation policy, Event Liability Insurance policy, and additional Venue Liability Insurance, providing extra coverage specific for compensating the venue, which is something that surpasses any non-licensed service.
Here at French’s Point, we allow couples to purchase their own alcohol and hire a bartending service to serve it. To do so, you must obtain host liquor liability insurance for $1,000,000 of coverage, which can be done online at The Event Helper(if it is not offered through your caterer). For the safety of your guests and to protect you from liability, you need to hire a professional bartending service for your event or engage your caterer to provide bartending service. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask us!
French’s Point Estate is thrilled to continue our series of blog posts spotlighting amazing Maine wedding vendors that help to make weddings at our waterfront wedding venue not only successful but truly the embodiment of the experience our clients strive to craft for their family and friends. This series will showcase some of the best providers from our vibrant, talented, dedicated wedding industry community we are so proud to be a part of here in Maine and New England. This group of professional wedding vendors understands and adheres to our guiding principles for the service we endeavor to provide our clients: Be Responsive, Be Kind, Provide Excellent Customer Service, Provide the Very Best Product/Service. Because of these wonderful people, the celebrations here are French’s Point Estate are the stuff of which dreams are made!
Jessica of Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott, is one of the most talented pastry chefs in my region. Her desserts are beautiful confections, artfully displayed and they taste like heaven! Jessica is also one of the strongest female business owners I have come to know as well. Her business has grown and evolved tremendously since I met her when she first embarked on this journey. If you are seeking a wedding day confection artist, consider my friend Jessica and her edible art!
How long have you been operating your business?
We have been creating wedding cakes, desserts, and specialty cakes for 8 years
How would you describe your products and service?
We specialize in wedding cakes, dessert tablescapes and spreads, specialty cakes, shaped cakes, and everything in between. We are a small, family-oriented business where the bakers meet with the clients.
Can you accommodate food allergies?
Yes, we can accommodate most all food allergies – nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan
What’s the average cost per person for your product?
It depends on the item or items (either it be wedding cake or dessert tables) pricing can be anywhere between $3.50 – $15 per person.
Describe your range of design style.
We love to be able to accommodate all styles and design preferences but flourish with designs inspired by our beautiful coastal location incorporating anything classic, nautical feels, vintage, and barn inspired. But we always love anything with pretty flowers, bright colors, and a touch of whimsy. It is dessert, it should be fun.
This fall I was blessed to be surrounded by some very special people at an event I co-hosted at one of my favorite wedding venues, William Allen Farm in Pownal, Maine owned by Heidi and Al Curry. The event was an opportunity for the members of the Maine Wedding Cooperative (MWC) to come together to enjoy a harvest dinner produced by some of Maine’s most talented, hardworking, kind and generous souls in the wedding industry. The Maine Wedding Cooperative is currently made up of the members of the Maine Wedding Venue Cooperative and the Maine Wedding Planner Cooperative. I founded both entities last year in a collaborative effort to strengthen our Maine wedding vendor community and help promote excellent customer service, professionalism, and camaraderie among our peers, in an effort to provide a better experience for couples getting married in Maine.
During this year’s Harvest Dinner event, I reconnected with some wonderful industry friends for the first time in many months after a very busy season. I was so grateful for the time they spent with me and the rest of our beautiful community.
The sponsor team produced a beautiful celebration! This event was a gift of love and gratitude from the incredible team of sponsors from my community for whom I could not be more grateful or adore any more:
I am feeling blessed and energized as I head into the “off-season.” Thank you to all my friends who took the time to attend. Thank you to the many amazing people who helped this event come together in more ways than I ever dreamed. If ever any one needs the very best wedding team, just talk to me.
-Jessika Brooks-Brewer, French’s Point Owner and Founder of the Maine Wedding Cooperative
French’s Point Estate is thrilled to continue our series of blog posts spotlighting amazing Maine wedding vendors that help to make weddings at our waterfront wedding venue not only successful but truly the embodiment of the experience our clients strive to craft for their family and friends. This series will showcase some of the best providers from our vibrant, talented, dedicated wedding industry community we are so proud to be a part of here in Maine and New England. This group of professional wedding vendors understands and adheres to our guiding principles for the service we endeavor to provide our clients: Be Responsive, Be Kind, Provide Excellent Customer Service, Provide the Very Best Product/Service. Because of these wonderful people, the celebrations here are French’s Point Estate is the stuff of which dreams are made!
The team from The Bar Association is one of my favorite “go-to” bar service providers in Maine. They provide trained professional bartenders with all required permits. They are fully licensed and insured in the State of Maine, ensuring your event goes off without a hitch…legally. Their goal is to provide exceptional service to their clients and their clients’ guests by serving custom cocktails, craft beer and specialized wine selections. They don’t just pour drinks, they provide a customized bar package that reflects their client’s vision of their perfect evening. The Bar Association offers a huge array of bar service styles that are personally suited to meet your needs and budget. The knowledgeable and friendly staff serve with the enjoyment, safety and well-being of your guests in mind. With over 50 years of experience in the hospitality and customer service realms, they are well equipped to provide an outstanding experience. The Bar Association will manage all of your bar service needs, so this aspect of your celebration will be effortless, seamless and fun! I am pleased to introduce you to my friends at The Bar Association.
How long have you been operating your business?
The Bar Association has been in operation for three years.
Please describe your services.
The Bar Association is first and foremost interested in sharing the talent and gifts that Maine artisans have to offer its fellow Mainers and folks “from away.” We bring local quality and integrity to our catered bartending service and enjoy learning about the incredible things created by or brought to our attention by our Maine friends and most especially enjoy sharing these gifts with our clients.
We specialize in Maine beers, a thoughtful wine selection, and custom hand-crafted cocktails, and we aim to add a personal, unique, and memorable atmosphere to any social event. In addition to using high-quality ingredients, we provide a staff of charming and professional bartenders and a creatively rustic aesthetic.
Do you help your clients create signature cocktails?
Yes, we do help our clients with creating signature cocktails. It is actually the most treasured part of working with our clients. There is nothing more rewarding than making something personal and unique for our clients, as it is typically their wedding day, which is a unique, special, and memorable union. That’s how we feel about signature cocktails, it’s a union. We take the theme of our clients’ wedding, their personalities, and their likes and dislikes, and do our best to make a signature cocktail that is exceptional and particular to their shared “fingerprint.”
If so, what is your favorite cocktail to date?
We created something we penned the “Lavenderby” for one of our weddings last year. The Lavenderby was a concoction that starts with lavender and honey made into a simple syrup. Other ingredients include lemon juice, grapefruit juice, bourbon, thyme and lavender flowers. We also enjoy toying with recipes to create our own twist on the more well-known drinks. For example, the French 76, for this one, we opted to use gin as the base, instead of vodka and added pink peppercorns to our simple syrup. It makes it unique to us AND our clients!
How many hours of open bar service do you feel is reasonable and safe to provide at a wedding event?
We often recommend five hours of service as a reasonable and safe amount of time for weddings. We have found time and time again, that if the service is longer than five hours, things start to unravel.
Can you provide customized bar packages?
We specialize in providing customized bar packages. We want to make sure our clients’ day is unique to them, so we do our very best to create the best package that matches their unique needs, wants, desires and capabilities. We typically start out by sharing our standard brochure with our clients, this helps them understand our basic price points and services offered. Because we have a Class 1 Liquor License, which not all bar services do, we are able to make every event customizable for them. We are able to incorporate full open bars and/or full cash bars into the event, whatever helps the client make their budget. Some clients want an open bar for the first hour and a cash bar for the remainder of the event, because of our license, we are able to do that for them.
Planning a wedding is like picking players for an epic game of dodge ball. Did you know that couples will engage six to 18 wedding vendors for their wedding? So, if you are planning a wedding in Maine, you will need to find on average 12 providers for your event. Some of these services are:
Ceremony & Reception Entertainment
Here are the key steps to follow to draft a kick @#% wedding vendor team:
Discuss and define your priorities for your wedding with your intended. My advice is to sit down with a bottle of wine, an open mind, and a stack of index cards. Create two sets of cards with a vendor from the list above written on each card. Independently, rate the vendor categories in order of importance. Place the index cards in order of highest to lowest priority on the table or floor (depending on how much wine you consume during this process). Then share them with your love and discuss. The items that you mutually rank the highest would have the greatest value. These items become your top priority. The remaining items get a value that is determined based on a mutual agreement of priority. Once you have determined your game plan, you can move on to step two.
Do you have Boosters/Sponsors?
Before you are able to start looking for your wedding vendors, do your homework and determine your budget. Typically, there are two budget numbers to identify:
What are you able to spend (your maximum available)?
What are you comfortable spending (what you feel is an acceptable value for the service)?
Likely you and your sweetheart may not agree on both of these numbers, but it’s important that you find common ground. Talk with your partner and look at your finances and discuss what resources you are able and willing to invest in this celebration. If family will be contributing, find out what elements they will pay for and how much they are willing to spend. Occasionally we have had an over-eager family member say “I will pay for the flowers” until they come to understand that, unlike their intimate 80-guest wedding, you plan to have 10 wedding attendants and 250 guests at your event and need bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces for all. Ultimately, this will help you save time by ruling out vendors that are not within your means.
Talk to your family and friends about their own wedding planning experiences. Their wealth of knowledge may help you avoid some pitfalls along the way as you choose your vendors for your event.
Hire a wedding planner that understands your budget and priorities who can refer trusted and experienced professionals. I can’t express how helpful this is!
Talk to your wedding venue. In many cases, the venue has a preferred vendor list filled with qualified professionals whom they trust. Just be sure to ask if you are required to use these vendors or if there are any other restrictions from the venue about the vendors your hire.
So, what players have you picked for your wedding day team? If you need help finding wedding vendors, check out our list of preferred wedding vendors who we have worked with and trust or contact us. We’re always happy to help!