Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

March 17 is a widely celebrated holiday honoring Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. History speaks of his travels across Ireland, establishing monasteries and schools, and legends speak of a curse he placed on all venomous snakes in Ireland, forcing them to drown in the ocean.

After his death on March 17, AD 461, the day became a Catholic holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. It has since become a holiday celebrated all over the world, by not only the Irish but those who wish to be Irish for the day, donning Shamrocks and the color green.

What better way to celebrate the Irish holiday than with a feast of corned beef and cabbage! Check out this recipe from a French’s Point preferred vendor, Eileen Bartlett of Creative Catering and bring a bit of Irish to your dinner table!

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

From the kitchen of Eileen Bartlett at Creative Catering

Ingredients you will need:

  • One 3-4 -pound corned beef brisket (uncooked), in brine water to cover the brisket
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns sprinkling of allspice
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Large head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cut into thick wedges
  • Whole peeled carrots
  • New potatoes (I prefer whole smaller red ones, but you can also peel regular potatoes
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Steps to follow:

  1. Place the corned beef in a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid; add the water, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice, and cloves.
  2. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
  3. Cover and transfer pan to the oven, and braise until very tender, about 3 hours and 45 minutes.
  4. Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and cover tightly with foil to keep warm.
  5. Add the cabbage, carrots and potatoes to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. I always put the cabbage on top, because I like to keep it a little under cooked.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a large platter. Slice the corned beef across the grain of the meat into thin slices. Lay the slices over the cabbage and surround it with the potatoes.
  7. Ladle some of the hot cooking liquid over the corned beef and season with pepper.
  8. Serve immediately with mustard or horseradish sauce.

Enjoy! From all of us at French’s Point: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Featured photo courtesy of Unsplash by Irene Dávila

Craft Beer in Your Maine Wedding

When you think of Maine you probably think of lobsters, moose, pine trees, and weddings. What you might not think of is beer. Well, we’re here to introduce you to the thriving and growing Maine beer industry and to offer up some seasonal brews that might be a great addition to your Maine wedding.

With more than 70 brewers, Maine beer is really hopping!

There are so many wonderful ways to customize your Maine wedding, and picking out a special beer or two to serve is one of them. Serving brews that reflect the time of year is a great way to add some uniqueness to your Maine wedding.

Seasonal Beer Options for Your Maine Wedding

  • Spring: a lager or pilsner which is a lighter, easy-drinking beer is perfect for a spring wedding
  • Summer: tropical-inspired shandies or a refreshing wheat ale is perfect for the warmer months
  • Fall: a crisp seasonal-inspired ale or dark brown ale sets the tone for an autumn wedding
  • Winter: barrel aged ales and thick stouts are perfect for warming up during the colder months

Above all else, you should have offerings that reflect you! If you’re not sure what’s available, just ask your bar service provider for advice on local offerings.

Our favorite Maine Craft Breweries

Visit the Maine Brewer’s Guild to see a list of all the brewers here in Maine. The Guild also hosts many events throughout the year.  If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during one of their events, definitely check it out!

Featured image by Joanna Thyer Photography.

5 Tips for Planning a Spring Wedding

Outdoor weddings can be absolutely gorgeous, especially in Maine, where we are blessed to experience the four seasons, each with their own charm and beauty. Spring weddings, combined with the smell of fresh flowers and signs of new life, set the perfect stage to begin a new chapter of your life. Spring is considered “off-season” in Maine and is the perfect time for those who want to avoid the crowded summer wedding season. An off-season wedding sometimes means you’ll have your choice of the best of the best wedding vendors Maine has to offer. With the right planning and the following planning tips, you can set the foundation for a comfortable and charming wedding experience for your guests to talk about for years to come!

1. Be prepared to experience 4 seasons on your wedding day

Regardless of the season and location of your Maine wedding, you should always have a backup plan in the event of inclement weather. Maine weather can change with the blink of an eye and will inevitably change many times on your wedding day. In spring in Maine, it may be cool and breezy during the ceremony and a light rain might roll in before the sky opens up for a sunny, warm evening. Be prepared to work with your hairstylist for options that will brave the breeze, and offer your guests lap blankets or umbrellas for unexpected weather. Incorporate layers or fun cool weather accessories like shawls or capelets for your wedding party to keep them comfortable during your vows. You can also add patio heaters to the ceremony and cocktail hour locations for added comfort. Expect and plan for the changes and it will make for an incredibly memorable and magical day.

Be prepared to work with your hair stylist for options that will brave the breeze.

2. Ceremony Location

Even on the best spring day, the ground will still be soft from the melting of snow and the spring rain that brings the flowers we love so much. We always encourage couples getting married at French’s Point in the spring season to use the gazebo or the oceanfront cobblestone terrace for their wedding ceremony to avoid high heels sinking into the grass. Of course, if your heart is set on having your ceremony on the waterfront lawn, many bridal and shoe shops carry the small clear discs that attach to your high heels, which allow you to walk in the shoes you love without worrying about sinking. Or have your bridesmaids stand on fabric runners or tile, which creates a very cool look for your ceremony and protects them from sinking during your vows. Another option is to ditch the heels altogether and opt for personalized rain boots or sneakers for your wedding party. In addition to comfort, you will give them a great memory of your big day to enjoy for years to come.

Ditch the heels altogether and opt for personalized rain boots or sneakers for your wedding party!

3. Seasonal Everything

From flowers and food to favors, spring is a great season in which to be married. Be sure to take advantage of locally sourced flowers – think lilies, tulips and lilacs – for your big day. Have bouquets of locally sourced, seasonal flowers adorn the dinner tables; pair seasonal vegetables with grilled chicken for dinner; and offer mini lemon tarts for dessert for a truly inspired spring wedding. Or have a Garden Party-themed reception and decorate with planters and wagons and allow your guests to take them home as favors. You can also use seed packets for seating assignments for guests to plant in their gardens at home as a way to remember your special day. Keep in mind the natural beauty that abounds in spring and just add personal touches to your décor to enhance what’s already there.

4. Bold Colors

Spring is the perfect time to get out of the dreariness of winter and add some color to your celebration. Be bold and deck your bridesmaids out in the brightest yellows, greens and blues with matching ties and socks on the groomsmen or use a traditional palette of pastels, with each special bridesmaid in a different hue. Either way, you cannot go wrong incorporating some color into your day.

5. Lighting

While the days are warm, the night will fall fast. If you want your guests to enjoy the outdoors as long as possible, be sure your location has adequate lighting on an outside terrace with seating or create an area yourself with lounge furniture and bring in lighting specialists to set up some twinkle lights to brighten up the area. Guests will love the chance to mingle outside under the glow of warm light. You could also provide a fire pit that will double as warmth and ambiance and throw in some s’mores supplies for your guests to enjoy!

Couples who embrace the season and the unpredictable weather will benefit from creating a truly unique wedding. Contact us for a tour or to reserve French’s Point for your spring Maine wedding.

Featured photo by Cuppa Photography

Best Coastal Maine Wedding Venue 2017

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

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 http://www.kateparkerdesigns.com.

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