Fall Weekend Wedding Itinerary

Real French's Point oceanfront Maine wedding | Chris Bennett Photography

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 salt water 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

French’s Point Event Venue Map

French's Point Maine coastal wedding and event venue

Almost every visitor to French’s Point remarks that “There is so much more here than I expected!” and “The website is great but is just doesn’t capture all that is here!” We have some beautiful photos on our Gallery page to help acquaint you with our special waterfront event venue, thanks to the work of our incredibly hard-working photographer friends. We also have some breathtaking videos on the Video page to help you get a sense of our immense seaside estate on Penobscot Bay here in Midcoast Maine. And now we have a great new map graphic that also highlights some of the wonderful features that make our venue so special for gatherings, weddings, and family time.

Ocean, Ocean, and more Ocean

You can see the ocean borders the property on three sides, which makes for stunning panoramic views of the bay from both of our buildings.

Farm House

On the East side of The Farm spread, we have a beautiful private beach area with a massive stone bonfire pit right on the shore; two tree-swings overlooking the cove, perfect for relaxing swinging; and a wonderful East side terrace with a cozy fire pit.  At the top of the hill sits The Farm house with incredible views all around.  The house has 12 guest rooms with en suite bathrooms, a fully appointed kitchen, fireplace parlor, and a lower level recreation room. Behind the farmhouse out the parlor sliding doors is the BBQ lawn with picnic tables and grills, perfect for an afternoon cookout.  Behind the BBQ lawn is the West side terrace with a gas fire pit and beautiful sunset views overlooking the orchard, garden, gazebo, the recreation lawn with croquet, horse shoes, badminton, volleyball, bocce ball, corn hole, and new for 2018, giant Jenga!  Beyond this rec lawn is 106 acres of wooded Sandy Point State Park preserve with 1 ½ miles of walking trails..

“There is so much more here than I expected!”

Retreat House

At the tip of the peninsula, The Retreat House sits with a commanding 280-degree view of the bay. The beautifully landscaped gardens punctuate the views and gathering areas like the cobblestone terrace, the ceremony gazebo and promenade and the oceanfront lawn. The Family Tree Garden offers some of the best photo opportunities on the property, particularly at sunset.  Below the Family Tree is our gorgeous custom sailcloth tent structure on a full floor set along the edge of the bluff.  The beach path leads to the gorgeous oak trees that lead to the shore and stunning sunset views.

This property was made for relaxing days spent with loved ones making memories that will last a lifetime and fill your heart.  Come explore the estate for yourself and let us know what you think. Contact us for a private tour of our estate.

French's Point Maine coastal wedding and event venue

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French’s Point Review: Marc & Victoria

wedding with tent maine

French’s Point is lucky enough to have been awarded WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice venue in 2014! We are beyond thrilled at the honor, and have only our beautiful brides and grooms to thank. In this new blog series, we’ll be posting some of the reviews from both WeddingWire as well as The Knot to give future couples a sense of what we at French’s Point can offer for your upcoming celebration.

Wedding Date: June 21, 2014
Reviewed on: The Knot

From the Bride: When Marc and I set about finding a location for our wedding ceremony and reception we knew we wanted waterfront and we wanted to be in Maine, preferably not far from where we live, which is on Mount Desert Island. One of my bridesmaids recommended we tour French’s Point. So we called and they gave us the bridal suite for a night!

We didn’t know what to expect, and when you drive up to the Estate we were filled with anticipation. The Point is breathtaking. It is a family run business and Jessika’s mother is in charge of the gardening. The grounds are lovingly cared for by her. On our actual wedding day it was the summer solstice and the lilacs and wild roses were in flower. As soon as you walked onto the property the air was filled with their perfume. It is a scent that will always take me back to our wedding day. 

As soon as you walked onto the property the air was filled with the perfume [of lilacs and wild roses].

Marc and I rented Beach Rose farm, and we had all our immediate family and wedding party stay there. This was the perfect choice for us as we run a vacation rental business. So it just made sense for us to rent the farm, and other cottages on the point. We wanted people to feel like it was a wedding within a holiday, and it was great to have everyone enjoy their trip to Maine without rushing. 

Our rehearsal dinner was on the beach and we had a traditional Maine lobster bake. The caters were the same people that do all of the catering for the weddings at French’s Point and it was delicious. There are several fire pits, grills, gorgeous overlooks over the water, swings etc. There is not one area that makes French’s Point special, every part is given the same thought and care. And they keep improving. 

We planned our wedding for two years and in that time, they made many improvements and renovations, adding a new sail cloth tent, renovating rooms at the farm, adding gardens etc.

However, above all, it is Jessika and her trusty team, Christina and Sarah that make this place special and stand out from the rest. After planning a wedding I know how stressful it can be, and how important it is to have a good relationship with your vendors. The most frustrating thing can be is not hearing back from someone promptly. I never had this problem with French’s Point. Everyone listens and gives great advice. And on the day they are calming and sensitive to every need and know how to keep the day on track. 

I can’t say enough good things about the FP family. If you are dithering between here and somewhere else, look no further. You have found the ultimate private, secluded, romantic spot on earth. 

Cutting Your Wedding Guest List Gracefully

maine coastal wedding

CA Smith Photography

Your Maine wedding is going to be beautiful, and you want to share it with everyone! Finalizing the guest list is one of the most daunting tasks for brides. The thought of cutting someone from “the list” seems ruthless. But reality will eventually set in. You simply can’t host everyone you’ve ever met (for one reason or another) and trimming that list is a necessary (yet overwhelming) task.

Get out your sharpie – here are a few tips for making this a smooth and successful process.

Set aside time to do this with only your fiancé
Make this a private priority when first starting to plan. Set aside a few hours alone with your fiancé to plan the list (a bottle of wine always helps!). This is a decision for the two of you to make together. When families and friends get involved at the beginning, the list often grows out of control. Be firm and clear with family or friends that this is a personal process, not a political one, and any additions can be discussed after you have trimmed it to the necessary size. Start with a small list and allow for additions later. This will save you a lot of time and stress. It is your wedding. Invite the people that you care about most, not that you feel obligated to invite.

Organize your list
Go over your list and categorize each guest as “A” or “B”. The “A” guests are absolutely must invite guests, your closest friends and family. The “B” list is for those remaining guests. There should be only a few “A”’s and lots of “B”’s to start. Don’t put too much thought into it. Trust your instincts. Your guests will never see this list.

Get Picky
Take your “B” list and start ask yourself this series of questions. It should help you cross off names with confidence.

  • How close are you to this person?
  • When was the last time you saw or spoke to them?
  • Are you only inviting them because they invited you to their wedding?
  • Would you be offended if you didn’t get an invite to their wedding?
  • Would having them there make your wedding better?
  • Are you planning on seeing this person again in the future?
  • Are they part of your high school/college/sorority group but not a close friend?

Once you get over the list a few times the process should become easier.

Make your wedding adult-only
If your list is overflowing with large families and second cousins, consider making your wedding an 18+ event. Most guests with children are familiar with this arrangement and very understanding. If there are problems, consider offering childcare services at a nearby alternative location. This may seem like an extra expense, but will save you money in the long run.

Encourage your single friends to come sans guest
Many of your single friends will be relieved that they don’t have to worry about finding a date. Let them know that all your, and your fiance’s, friends will be there without dates. They won’t need to sit on the side lines during the dancing. Without being too obvious, seat your single friends together during dinner and encourage mixing and mingling. Maybe you’ll be doing a toast at your no-longer-single friends wedding in the future!

For younger guests who are not in serious relationship you can apply the Rule of Three…. 1) The couple must be dating for more than 6 months at the time of invitations, 2)must be engaged, and 3)must be older than 21 years of age. They must meet 2 of the 3 criteria to make the list!

Easy Explanation…
If you feel compelled to do so, you can always explain to the few who question your guest list that the venue has space limitations you have to work within. We are happy to help justify the decision.

In the end, trust your instincts and be confident in your decision. Don’t feel bad about cutting people off your list that you don’t have a strong connection with. Your business associates, distant relatives, and high school friends will be happy that you are getting married. But they are not likely assuming they will attend your celebration. As excited as many will be for your impending nuptials, they may also be a bit relieved not to attend due to the cost of gifts, accommodations, and travel. And remember that an oversized guest list quickly drains your budget, time and your energy. A smaller guest list will allow you to have the wedding you envision, surrounded by the people you care about the most, with time and resources to share with them all.

Real Maine Wedding: Jessica and Ray

Jessica and Ray may have come from families with different cultural backgrounds, but the love and affection these two families share for each other crosses all borders, and communicates across all languages. It is a universal language that we all know, whether we were born in the East, or born in the West — the language of kinship. The joy, exuberance, and happiness, that enveloped the room was felt by all who were honored to share in this special day. Jessica and Ray, thank you for inviting me to experience a little piece of the heaven that you both enjoy together. May all of your days be blessed, and may you look back on these images throughout the years and be reminded of what is feels like to be loved.

Jessica and Raymond

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Event Planner:  Sarah Ripley, French’s Point
Stationer/Invitations:  Gus and Ruby
Hair Services:  Lisa Nichols Salon
Makeup Services: From this Day Forward- Cynthia Clayton
Wedding Gown Seamstress: Sandi McKeen
Transportation:  Country Coach Charters
Officiate:  Captain Ken Barnes
Ceremony & Cocktail Ensemble: Maine Bella Musica
Photography: Nadra Photography
Videography: Media Northeast
Floral & Design: Flora Fauna
Dinner & Dancing Entertainment:  DJ Jaceman
Dessert: Sweet Sensations
Bride and Groom Preparation Meal Delivery: The Good Kettle

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Tips for Being a Great Wedding Guest

You may not be a part of the wedding party, or a vendor working at the event, but you’ve still got major responsibilities as a wedding guest. This is a big day for someone in your family or a friend and you want to make sure you hit your mark and make it the greatest day of their life. Here are a few helpful tips to be the greatest wedding guest.

Don’t Wait to RSVP

If you know whether you can attend when you receive your RSVP – fill it out and return it as soon as you can. If you are waiting to finalize travel plans or other logistics, let the couple know so they aren’t waiting anxiously for your reply. They will be able to plan for the correct number of people with caterers, cake makers and other vendors and need an accurate head count. Everyone has lost an RSVP in a giant pile of mail – don’t let it happen to you!

Know where you need to be and when

It would be great if every guest was invited to each part of the wedding: the bachelor/bachelorette party, the arrival brunch, rehearsal dinner, pre-wedding golf match, etc. but it is likely that some guests will not be invited to smaller family gatherings. If you are unsure of where you are supposed to be and when you should arrive, ask a family member of the couple. They will likely be able to get you the answers you need.

Don’t assume you can bring a guest or kids

Weddings can be expensive, especially when every one of the couple’s single friends invites a plus one. Check and double check your invitation to see if you are able to bring a guest. You will likely see a … and Guest” on the address of your invitation.

Respect the couple’s plans

A lot of planning went in to seating arrangements, reception ideas and other carefully coordinated details. Before you grab a chair and pull it up to a different table, or decide to skip the ceremony and show up for cocktails, consider the delicate plans that went into the day and try your best to be an easy guest. The couple (and wedding coordinator) will greatly thank you.

Real Maine Wedding: Morgan and Andrew

Morgan and Andrew

Saturday, July 7th, 2012


maine wedding location

Real Maine Wedding: Sarah and Tad

A Gorgeous Maine Coastal Wedding: Sarah & Tad

Saturday, October 13th, 2012


Event Planner:  Sarah Ripley, French’s Point
Stationer/Invitations:  DIY
Hair Services:  Salon 83
Makeup Services: From This Day Forward- Cynthia Clayton
Transportation:  Country Coach Charters
Officiate:  Fr. Paul O’Brien from St. Francis of Assisi Church
Ceremony Music: St. Francis of Assisi church in Belfast
Photography: Kristina O’Brien
Floral & Design: Island Flowers
Dinner & Dancing Entertainment:  The Waiters
Dessert: Let Them Eat Cake
Bridal Party Preparation Meal Delivery: The Good Kettle

Wedding Vendor Advice Series: Red Flags When Choosing Your Vendors

Over the past few months we’ve been highlighting the red flags that you should be looking out for when you’re hiring wedding vendors. We’ve seen the good, bad and ugly of weddings– and there is an ugly! Our experience as a destination wedding venue has afforded us the wherewithal to avoid problems before they begin. The brides we work with are typically located outside Maine. They rely on us to find the best vendors for their wedding, and we welcome this responsibility as a privilege. We put all of our vendors through a rigorous vetting process, not just once, but on a yearly basis.

For many brides, choosing a photographer, florist, band or cake purveyor means pouring over websites and intensely studying product images and online testimonials. However, a vendor is more than just a pretty website and newsletter. Vendors are people with incredible talents. While vendors have the ability to make your wedding a stunning event to remember, poor communication and human error of a vendor’s part can cause major issues.

Part I : They don’t call you back within 24 hours

Part II : They Aren’t a Team Player

Part III : They Don’t Have Insurance

Part IV : They Won’t Negotiate a Good Contract

Part V : They Make a Bad First Impression