How Can I Help: Rehearsal Dinner and Welcome Reception

Tips for planning the rehearsal dinner and welcome reception | Mikhail Glabets Lifestyle Photography

Almost every wedding that takes place at French’s Point is a family affair for our clients. Often times parents and other family and friends participate in the wedding planning at various points in the process. Many hands make light work, right? With such a momentous occasion to look forward to, it is very common for family to offer their assistance as wedding plans are being made. We find that many mothers of the bride and mothers of the groom, in particular, really want to help. However, they don’t know exactly what they can do to help the happy couple with their plans, without overstepping the bounds of “helpful.” In this How Can I Help blog series, we will offer some ideas about how you can help your son or daughter and their partner with the planning. In our last post in this series, we offered ways you can assist with the Venue Search. This time, we will discuss how you can provide support relative to the rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal Dinner and/or Welcome Reception?

Here are a few options to consider for wedding-related events that usually take place the day before a wedding:

  1. Ceremony Rehearsal – Typically takes an hour for the wedding couple, the wedding party and officiant to walk through the ceremony planned for the following day. It is important to keep the wedding rehearsal limited to the people involved in the ceremony to ensure questions are addressed and you can make it to the rehearsal dinner on time.
  2. Rehearsal Dinner – Can be open to just the wedding party and family participating in the wedding ceremony for an intimate affair or can be open to the whole guest list. This event typically takes place around dinner-time the night before the wedding.
  3. Welcome Reception – Typically open to the entire guest list. Allows an open arrival time over the course of 2 – 3 hours. These events often have a bar available and hors d’oeuvres or bite-sized sweet treats and take place sometime between 6 – 10 p.m. Make sure you understand the Maine laws around serving alcohol.

Questions to Ask Before Planning the Pre-Wedding Festivities

Before you begin making plans, we suggest you have a candid conversation with the future married couple and ask them about their vision of the wedding rehearsal dinner and/or welcome reception. Because traditionally the parents of the bride are the major contributors to the wedding day, it has historically been the case that the parents of the groom contribute toward the expense of the events around the rehearsal dinner. But these traditions have changed and are different for each family and circumstance. So, identifying who wishes and is able to contribute toward the cost of these events and who wishes to be in charge of planning the event is an important place to begin before planning this event.

Here are the questions you need to ask:

  • What will it look like?
  • Who will plan it?
  • Who will pay for it?
  • What is the budget?

Once these questions of have been answered, you can now begin the planning process.

Possible Pre-Wedding Day Timeline

We have had a number of clients opt to have the ceremony rehearsal at 5 p.m., and then host an intimate Rehearsal Dinner lobster bake, BBQ, or wood fired pizza party from 6 – 8 p.m. followed by a welcome cocktail reception for the entire guest list from 8 – 10 p.m. where desserts are served. I think this is my favorite combination of experiences. It gives the family and wedding party some quality time together to celebrate before they additional guests are welcomed to the weekend wedding festivities.

You can opt to host these events here at French’s Point, or you can host them at one of the alternative event locations in the area. Regardless of where you have the rehearsal dinner or welcome reception, you will want to talk about the plans with the happy couple to make sure the event is customized in a way that reflects who they are and the tone they want to set for the wedding weekend.

Featured photo by Mikhail Glabets Lifestyle Photography.

Best Coastal Maine Wedding Venue 2017

best all around coastal Maine wedding venue and best coastal Maine wedding venue for large weddings

We have some great news to share! We have earned two great honors from the folks from the wedding blog Borrowed & Blue (Maine). We won “Best All-around Wedding Venue” and also “Best Venue for Large Weddings!” We are in the very best of company, check out the other winners!

The Best of B&B 2017 award is the equivalent of a Michelin star in the wedding world: it identifies only the most talented, well-respected vendors in all of Coastal Maine.

The winners were chosen by Maine Wedding Vendors, our beloved peers. I could not be more touched. Congratulations to all the Borrowed & Blue award winners here in Maine. If you were not already aware, Maine is blessed with a vibrant, talented, hard-working, dedicated community of professional vendors who help us make dreams come true, every single weekend.

How Can I Help: Venue Search

Blog Series for Mothers of the Bride/Groom | Haven Photography

Almost every wedding that takes place at French’s Point is a family affair for our clients. Often times parents and other family and friends participate in the wedding planning at various points in the process. Many hands make light work, right? With such a momentous occasion to look forward to, it is very common for family to offer their assistance as wedding plans are being made. We find that many mothers of the bride and mothers of the groom, in particular, really want to help. However, they don’t know exactly what they can do to help the happy couple with their plans, without overstepping the bounds of “helpful.” In this How Can I Help blog series, we will offer some ideas about how you can help your son or daughter and their partner with the planning.

How Can I Help: Venue Search

If it’s the case that the parents of either the bride or the groom live closer to Maine than the couple getting married, it may be far simpler for them to talk with and tour the wedding venues in that region than it would be for the couple getting married. In many cases, we find that the couple are busy, working professionals who cannot always get time away from work for a long trip. In some instances, their parents are in a better position to travel or have less distance to travel, making them the ideal helper for this often-daunting job. Is this the case for your son or daughter’s wedding? If so, you can help!

Criteria and Priorities

To start this process, my recommendation is for you to have a conversation with the happy couple about their vision for their event and ask the following key questions:

  1. What geographical region are you interested in?
  2. What dates are you considering?
  3. What do you envision as the setting for your celebration (e.g., farm, bar, resort, oceanfront estate, restaurant, hotel, tent?)
  4. What are your priorities (e.g. food, beverage, setting, design, flowers, photography)
  5. How many guests do you envision?
  6. Where are guests traveling from?
  7. What is the wedding budget and who is contributing?

Once you have had this initial conversation, you can begin your research. Start by searching online and reading reviews for venues that meet these criteria. A good Google search for venues in Maine would be: “Maine wedding venues” or “waterfront wedding venues in Maine” or “wedding venues in Maine that can accommodate 300 people.” If you know people in the area, ask friends for personal recommendations. Now that you’ve narrowed your search down to possible venues that meet their criteria, start reaching out to each one asking about available dates, policies, and pricing information.

Once you have compiled this information, have another conversation with the wedding couple, and ask them to make a short list of venues for you to tour in person.

The Tour

Rather than picking a venue for them, you may instead want to give them an objective review of each venue. Consider creating a list of things that you want to see or experience at each venue. Here are just a few ideas we have for what could be on your venue tour checklist:

  • How kind/friendly/helpful was the staff?
  • How responsive was the staff to my questions?
  • How clean was the venue?
  • How many different options are there for ceremony site and reception?
  • Do they have indoor options in case of inclement weather?
  • Is the venue wheelchair accessible?
  • How far away is the nearest lodging?
  • Do they host more than one celebration in a day/weekend?
  • How much customization is allowed? Or, do you have to use their Preferred Vendors?

The idea is that you want to be reviewing each venue based on an objective list of criteria rather than which one you think is the best. It’s fine to offer that information, but remember, you’re on a fact-finding mission and it’s your job to bring those facts back to the wedding couple. Once the short list of favorites has been defined by the couple, determine if the couple would like to tour themselves or if they are ready to proceed with a reservation.

This venue scouting process can take weeks or even months, particularly for couples that do not live near the region in which they are planning to wed. If you are able to pitch in to help with the venue search, this can be very beneficial to the couple because expediting this process can allow them the benefit of having more dates to choose from at their top choice venue. Helping with the venue search will also allow you the opportunity to really understand what lies ahead at the venue they select and to have established a rapport with the venue staff.

Featured image by Haven Photography.

Great Maine Florist: Kate Parker Designs

Of all of the decorative pieces you will feature at your wedding, flowers are perhaps one that will draw your guest’s eye the most. They will walk away from your wedding with a mental image of every flower, from the bouquet you held walking down the aisle to the centerpieces on the tables during the reception.  Hiring a truly great florist can mean turning even the simplest arrangement of wildflowers into a breathtaking display.  Someone who’s been on our radar for a while in this department is Kate Parker Designs.  Kate’s ability to make a floral arrangement not only beautiful but representative of her clients personalities is what draws couples to her work year after year.

Check out some of Kate’s work below and access the full range and contact her to design your dream wedding at

Bohemian Wedding Style

bohemian maine wedding florals

Hipster Wedding Style

hipster wedding floral arrangement

hipster flower arrangement

hipster wedding floral arrangement

Prepster Chic Wedding Style

peony maine coastal wedding flower design

bouquet for preppy maine style wedding

flower arrangement preppy nautical wedding

Vintage Style Wedding

vintage wedding floral design

flower arrangement for vintage wedding

flower arrangement for maine vintage wedding

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

Real Wedding Rewind: Daphne and Justin

After a great meeting with all of our Maine wedding industry friends earlier this week, we are so excited to kick off our 2013 season. In our discussions about what is working and what we want from this next year we were reminded of some of our favorite weddings.

Working with Daphne and Justin was incredibly rewarding. What a gracious and beautiful couple. These are the couples that make it worth all the hard work. I’m reminding myself of that as things start to get busy!

Photographer: Kim Chapman Dionne
Flowers: Island Flowers
Band: The Bob Charest Band
Cake: Sweet Sensations
Planner: French’s Point
Makeup: From This Day Forward

2013 Maine Wedding Summit

Maine Wedding Venue | Maine Destination Wedding

With spring beginning to bloom, the hundreds of small businesses that support the wedding industry in Maine are getting ready to shake off the winter frost and kickstart the next wedding season.

French’s Point is hosting the 2013 Maine Wedding Summit to do just that. We wanted to bring all of our favorite wedding vendors together to talk about the past season and get the inside scoop on what we can all do to make Maine weddings better than ever. We will be discussing trends, what’s new and changing in national style and how they pertain to our weddings this season, and how we can bring more weddings to our gorgeous state.

The Maine Wedding Summit will be held on April 23rd at French’s Point. For more information- contact Jessika Brooks Brewer.

Real Wedding Rewind : Tina & Rajiv

Too often, weddings can seem stressful, expensive and tough on your relationships. You might start to wonder – what’s the point?

We want to remind all of the brides who are feeling stressed by the details of their upcoming weddings to remember what the end result will be. Your family, friends and the love of your life in one place to celebrate.

We wanted to feature this wedding from last summer as a simple reminder. HAVE FUN!

VENUE: French’s Point •  FLOWERS: Island Flowers •  Jazz Band: Hot Club of Portland •  Hair: Dish

PHOTOGRAPHER:  Kim Chapman , Lisa 2nd shooter

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Planning Your Maine Wedding : Part V: Wedding Flow and Set-up


The last installment in our five-part series is crucial to the overall success of your wedding. You’ve finalized your budget, chosen vendors, planned your ceremony and organized a timeline for your wedding day. You have all the pieces that you’ll need. The last step will be to arrange all the chosen elements in a way that serves your vision of your ideal day. With the perfect flow, you will have peace of mind, and your guests will move seamlessly through the events of the wedding without feeling delayed or rushed.

The set-up of your wedding is like the architectural drawing for a new home. We start by asking the same questions as an architect.  Where do you spend the most time? Are you an entertainer who needs a large kitchen? Do you work from home and need a spacious office? We need to know where you want to spend your time and energy during your big day. Your priorities will lead the flow from space to space.

Here are 4 of the most common options based on what is most important to many FP couples.

For the Socialites

You love to mingle and you want your guests to get to know each other. This is one of the few times that your friends and family will be in the same place at the same time. What an opportunity to mix your interesting and diverse group of friends! Just imagine; your uncle telling embarrassing stories to your college friends, your families chatting about something other than the wedding colors or the bachelorette party. This is the perfect time to start building relationships that will last the rest of your lives.

For couples who want to focus on the social aspect of the wedding, we suggest a brief ceremony at our gazebo and a scenic walk to the cocktail hour. We can host an extended cocktail hour that allows your guests the freedom to mingle with ease and explore the property. We will serve passed hors d’oeuvres and have an open bar which allows people to mix company easily.  Stations dinner service will extend the social atmosphere beyond the cocktail hour throughout dinner. With open seating at varied table options, guests are not anchored to an assigned seat or constrained by dozens of tables.

For the Foodies

You celebrate life by celebrating spectacular food. Many families honor marriage with extravagant dinners, as a delicious rite of passage. Birthdays and holidays are often remembered by the smells and tastes that came out of the kitchen.

We want to facilitate this celebration with a meal that will be unforgettable. This comes down the details of planning and set-up. Our chef is not just a master of taste, but she strives to create a magical experience. During the cocktail hour, we recommend ample stationary food presentations that will draw guests in with impressive displays to delight the eyes. Variety in presentation is offered as well, with tray passed hors d oeuvres. The food becomes a part of the experience and will be a fantastic conversation starter.

Formal plated, multi-course meals will leave guests satiated and impressed. The focus on family and intimate conversation will also give more significance to the speeches and toasts that are often missed during a less structured meal.

For the Celebratory

You want an unforgettable and meaningful ceremony. For couples with strong beliefs and a commitment to the rich traditions of marriage, we offer a variety of ceremonial setting options.

The gazebo is our most popular location, with a gorgeous backdrop for memorable photography and video. But the most obvious choice isn’t always the best option for everyone. People who have fallen in love with the Maine coastline want to host their ceremony on the front lawn with an unobscured view of the ocean. Couples who choose a traditional Jewish wedding also prefer the lawn as a picturesque place to set up our gorgeous Chuppah.

The lower level terrace is our recommended space to host your ceremony if you are accommodating family members with disabilities or those with limited mobility. The transition from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception is much smoother. This is also a great option for weddings with children. The subsequent stages of the event flow quite easily post ceremony in this location.

For Music Lovers

You want to celebrate with great music and lots of dancing. Many couples want to celebrate by throwing the dance party of the year. They want their friends to relax and have a good time. Their focus is on the amazing band setting the soundtrack to the rest of their life.

The key to a great party is keeping the energy up and starting it on time. We move people through a short ceremony, light cocktail hour, and dinner as smoothly as possible. We suggest a 2 course seated meal to save time during dinner. Speeches and toasts are presented with a preset first course. A delicious meal ends with an arranged cake cutting and leads people naturally to the reception. Having arranged seating saves a surprising amount of time as it avoids guests having to make tedious decisions on where, and next to whom, to sit.

We are equipped with everything needed to create an amazing musical experience for your guests. We can host live bands, DJ’s, intimate rock bands, retro styled swing or big band jazz ensembles. We can create the perfect environment for people to get up and let loose. We want this to be an experience of a lifetime for you and your guests.

Just remember, this is your day. Decide what is most important to you, whether it’s the dancing, the ceremony, the conversations or the food. We will make it flow smoothly for an unforgettable experience & great memories.

Planning Your Maine Wedding : Part I : Nailing Down The Budget
Planning Your Maine Wedding : Part II : Vendor Selection
Planning Your Maine Wedding : Part III : The Ceremony
Planning Your Maine Wedding : Part IV : Timeline Management