Fall Weekend Wedding Itinerary

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 saltwater 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

Wedding Day Woes – 5 Things That Take More Time Than You Think

Our dear friend, Maria Northcott, the owner of A Sweet Start, travels the State of Maine as the most wonderful wedding officiate. She provides her couples with meaningful, customized, worry-free wedding ceremonies, that are full of love! We adore collaborating with Maria. She is a pro with a huge heart for her clients and the team of wedding vendors that bring their celebrations to life, and it really shows.

Maria and I recently created a list of 5 Things That Take More Time Than You Think On Your Wedding Day. Ask your wedding planner to include these surprisingly time-consuming elements in your wedding day timeline to ensure the festivities flow with ease. Allowing time for them in your day and avoiding the surprise is essential to make sure the day runs smoothly.

Click Here to View the Article:

5 Things That Take More Time Than You Think

Featured Textile Partner: Molly Hutchins of On Board Fabrics

There is nothing more important to me than family. But right after family, comes the priority of partnering with and supporting small, family-owned businesses in Maine that help us ensure our guests enjoy the best of what the state has to offer. When we renovated the Retreat House this past winter, we teamed up with some of my favorite Maine makers. I wanted to share these special people with you because without them, the Retreat House project would not have been successful.

Did you know that both homes at French’s Point offer custom bed linens & textiles, proudly made in Maine?

In 2014, when we updated bedroom suites located inside the Farm House, we partnered with our friend Molly Hutchins of On Board Fabrics to make the perfect duvet covers, pillow shams and decorative pillow shams for our beds. There are 14 beds in the Farm House, so this was a fairly sizable undertaking, even in the offseason. I got to know Molly thought that process and I can tell you with complete honesty, she is a pro. She can troubleshoot, problem solve and calculate so fast, that my poor little layman’s mind simply can’t keep up. We loved the bedding so much that when it came time to update the rooms in the Retreat House, I went straight to Molly (in the offseason of course).

Molly made two sets of pillow shams for the eight guest rooms. She made decorative pillows too. Molly made the beautiful velvet curtains in the top floor apartment, and suites 1, 2, and 3. We are talking hundreds of yards of velvet here, which I learned can be hard to work with. Molly also covered all the cushions for the built-in benches and church pews on the main and lower levels of the Retreat House. She also made gray cushions for the new lounge furniture my father made on the upper level of the Retreat House terrace and the East Overlook Terrace at the Farm House. Now guests can find a comfortable seat to take in the views inside AND outside! With her help, we chose very neutral and soothing fabrics that tied beautifully with the architectural elements of the homes. And they are gorgeous, and the craftsmanship is unparalleled.

Molly, her husband Glan, and their employee Melissa all tackled this big project with dedication and zeal that I am quite confident can only be found here on the coast of Maine. You can visit On Board Fabrics website, or follow Molly on Facebook. She’s a hoot! On Board Fabrics barn is located on Route 27 leading to Boothbay, at 660 Boothbay Rd. Edgecomb, Maine. Tell Molly that Jesse sent you!

Photography Courtesy of Rachael Anderson Photography

The Retreat House Top-Level Apartment: The Brooks Family Nest

As we do almost every winter, the season was spent completing a number of major maintenance and repair projects to keep our beautiful buildings and grounds in top working order. We also completed a major renovation to the bedroom suites on the second and third floors of the Retreat House.

The Top Level Apartment

We updated and refurbished the Top-Level Apartment in the Retreat House to offer it as a cozy nest to guests, with an impressive view of the bay. My parents, Bob and Bonnie made this apartment home for eight years. They hosted many a family dinner, had slumber parties with their grandchildren in the large closets under the eaves of the roofline that they dubbed the “Hobbit Holes” and rested their weary heads after long days of love poured into the property. They loved the gentle breezes, the sound of the rain on the roof and the incredible sunrises and sunsets. My mother lovingly refers to this space as “The Nest”. I think this name is quite appropriate. This winter, they moved just down the road to the Beach Rose Cottage located next to the Farm House with my sweet Grandmama, making way for guests to enjoy this charming apartment.

The privacy that this space offers will give our bridal parties a place to gather, relax and prepare on the wedding day with an open concept kitchen, dining and living space and a waterfront fireplace parlor with a beautiful deck with broad ocean views which is perfect to enjoy a wedding day brunch and watch as the setting below comes to life for your wedding. Just inside from the balcony, the parlor has beautiful natural light and is the perfect place for your hair and make-up artists to set up shop on your wedding day. In the parlor is a tiny sink which was my grandfather, Edgar’s. He loved antiques and saw the beauty in the forgotten. It is a sweet little detail in this space. There are two large, elegant king bedroom suites on this floor as well with sitting areas, beautiful bathrooms and private balconies looking to the east and west. You are going to love the cozy setting, gorgeous views and soothing privacy that the top floor offers you and your nearest and dearest!

We will share the details of the other Retreat House Suites & enhancements in upcoming posts. We hope you love them as much as we do.

Sail Cloth Tent

Our brand-new sail cloth tent is up and gleaming in the spring sunshine today… pennants waving in the breeze. I can see many happy celebrations enjoyed in the shade of this beauty. Thank you to our friends at Wallace Events for ensuring that our tent is always clean and secure and our guests are comfortable.

The Retreat House Suite 3: The Gay Bean Dion Suite

As we do almost every winter, this season was spent completing a number of major maintenance and repair projects to keep our beautiful buildings and grounds in top working order. We also completed a major renovation to the bedroom suites on the second and third floors of the Retreat House. I have shared with you the details of the newly refurbished Top Level Apartment in the Retreat House, Suite 1 and Suite 2, both located on the second floor, in recent posts.

The second level of the Retreat House now offers four newly renovated suites with en suite bathrooms and six total bedrooms on this floor. All of the rooms on the top, second-level and main floor of the Retreat House have been dedicated to family members and dear friends that played a key role in our stewardship of this property. Suite 3- The Gay Bean Dion Suite is our largest suite with a massive ocean view deck with hammock, hammock chairs, cafe table and chairs to take in the views. The room also offers a sitting area and an en suite bathroom with tub/shower unit.

When we first opened the Retreat House in 2006, I had connected with a childhood friend that had grown up here on the point with my father in the summer times. Her name is Gay Bean Dion. She became a very dear friend and worked very hard to help get the Retreat House up and running. My children know her as “Nanny Gay”. She just recently moved to Rhode Island to be closer to family and we miss her (and her cookies). I dedicated the room to her because she was such a good friend and like a mother to me in some ways. The views from this room really are remarkable, just like Gay. This room is special to me because I lived in it for a time with my wee little girl, Bailey. She learned to walk in this room. Her swinging cradle made by my father used to hang next to my bed and the breeze blowing in from the ocean rocked her to sleep on summer nights.

We will share the details of the other Retreat House Suites  & enhancements in upcoming posts. We hope you love them as much as we do.