Do I Have to Assign Seating at my Wedding?

You might not know this, but before French’s Point owner, Jessika Brooks Brewer, took on the stewardship of this incredible waterfront wedding venue, she was a wedding planner. Her long years of experience means she’s pretty much seen it all. In this post, she’s going to highlight the pros and cons of using seating charts, escort cards or open seating to help your guests find their seats at your French’s Point wedding reception. She’ll also offer tips for using each one, so you can make an informed decision that not only works with the flow of your wedding but reflects your creativity and decor.

Escort Cards

Escort cards are the most common reception seating choice.

Typically, escort cards are arranged on a table or board alphabetically by the last name to guide guests or “escort” them to their assigned table. Once at the table, the specific seats can be unassigned, or there can be a preset place card designating the guest’s specific seat at the table.

Pros: Escort cards allow you to get super creative (think tiny jars of strawberry jam for a summer wedding, or fresh peaches or figs for a fall fete) with the guests’ names and table numbers of them. They can double duty as wedding favors, too! Escort cards also take very little time for your guests to locate, which moves the seating process along swiftly; a good option if you have a large guest list.

Cons: Escort cards can be time-consuming to make, especially if you are into DIY wedding projects! In our experience, they’re also often left behind by guests after a wedding, which can feel like a waste of your time, energy, and money. (Unless of course, you make the escort card edible, like a Clementine orange, or chocolate bar or drinkable, like a mini-champagne bottle!)

Tips: Arrange the escort cards alphabetically (by last name then first name) in advance of your arrival well in advance of your wedding day. Compare this layout to your seating chart one last time to be sure they match up and that no one has been left off the list!

Seating Chart

Seating charts are the most formal of seating designation options.

A seating chart is a large board that lists all of the tables and which guest is sitting at which table. We’ve seen creative seating charts on elegant mirrors, antique windows, and even a map of Maine! Our friend El, from El’s Cards makes gorgeous custom watercolor seating charts.

Pros: Unlike escort cards, a seating chart is only one sign (or two if you have a large number of guests) that you or your wedding planner need to design and execute. This can provide a more cost-effective alternative to escort cards. It also allows you maximum control over social orchestration of the day to ensure guests mingle, meet new people and enjoy the company of the people at their table.

Cons: Once you’ve designed and printed the chart, changes may result in either completely redoing the chart. If a guest cannot attend after sending in their RSVP and after you’ve created your masterpiece seating chart, you either have to re-do the sign or leave open seats. Also, long lines of guests can form at seating charts, while each person is looking for their table, which can slow the seating process down.

Tips: If you go this route, consider providing more than one chart to speed up the seating process and eliminate long lines. Also, arrange names on the chart by the last name then first alphabetically, rather than by table number. If you go this route with your seating, be sure to have a full name for each of your guests.

Open Seating

Open seating plans are the most casual way to offer seating to your guests.

Open seating at your wedding is just like it sounds: you provide tables and your guests can choose any seat they like.

Pros: This seating style tends to set the most relaxed tone because guests who know each other will naturally sit together. It also requires less planning on your part!

Cons: This seating style often results in some tables with no guests seated at them and some tables with more than the ideal number of guests seated at it, as guests define where they wish to sit and sometimes pull up extra chairs from other tables. With this seating style, you have to limit your meal style options to buffet/stations, or family-style dishes for guests to choose from at the table. A seated meal of this style can be costly due to additional waste and cost because the caterer has to prepare more food than needed.

Tips: If you choose this seating style for your event, opt for buffet or stations meal format. It furthers the causal vibe and reduces the cost at the same time.

In the end, the choice is really yours for your special day! Which seating option do you think you’ll choose? Leave your response in the comment below. Have more questions about your French’s Point wedding, give us a call (207) 567-3650 or shoot us an email!

Featured photo by Cuppa Photography.

Vendor Spotlight: Emily Elizabeth Events

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!

Emily Hricko, from Emily Elizabeth Events, is a one-of-a-kind wedding planner. Her creativity and designers-eye make her the perfect planner for couples who want a unique and unexpected wedding. She describes her style as artful and sophisticated, which you can clearly see in the photos below. Not only is Emily immensely talented as a designer, she’s extremely organized and never seems to get flustered. Her calm and confidence will mean that you’ll be relaxed on the wedding day. You’ll get to enjoy all the hard work you’ve put into the collaborative process of planning your wedding with one of Maine’s most wonderful wedding planners!

How long have you been operating your business?

Emily Elizabeth Events has been planning and designing weddings and parties since 2012. What began as a part-time passion project and has grown into a full-time endeavor.

How would you describe your services?

I offer full planning and design for eight to ten weddings a year. I work very closely with my couples and it’s always a collaboration – each one a personalized and unique celebration of the two people getting married.

How would you describe your style?

My style is all understated elegance and simple beauty. I try to achieve the right balance between classic and unexpected in all of the events I produce. I appreciate sophistication with personality – elegance with a little whimsy or eclectic touches.

How would you describe your ideal client?

My ideal clients are people who enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. They’re thoughtful, sweet people who appreciate the good things in life.

What is your favorite moment on wedding day?

The dancing – seeing the couple happily enjoying the evening and each other, surrounded by all of their friends and family.

What’s your favorite day trip in Maine?

A day spent in the midcoast, with activities like the beach, shopping, art gallery meandering, window shopping, and cocktails or dinner at a local restaurant.

Emily Elizabeth Events
Emily Hricko
Portland, ME
(207) 577-7456
ehricko@gmail.com
emilyelizabethevents.com

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Featured photo by Jamie Mercurio Photography

How Can I Help: Farewell Brunch

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 the 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 a prior post in this series, we offered ways you can assist with the Venue Search and also thoughts on how you can assist with a Rehearsal Dinner or Welcome Reception. This time, we will discuss how you can provide support regarding the farewell brunch.

What is a Farewell Brunch?

A farewell brunch is a great way to have some relaxed, low-key time with friends and family after the wedding reception. It’s a wonderful opportunity to thank everyone for attending the wedding before bidding them farewell. Only 27% of our clients opted to host a farewell brunch in 2016, making it the least commonly included of festivity of the weekend wedding at French’s Point. There is certainly no expectation that you should host this event as part of a wedding celebration schedule, but if you and the happy couple decide that this event should be included on the weekend wedding itinerary, there are a few things to keep in mind while planning this event.

5 Things to Think About While Planning a Farewell Brunch

#1 Mind the Guest List 

Sure, it can be tempting to invite the whole wedding party, but the truth is after hours (or days) of mingling and hosting, the wedding couple might need to catch their breath and want to relax the next day. Talk to the couple and be sure you understand their desires around this event. Perhaps you keep this event small and include only the immediate family and wedding party as a way to thank your nearest and dearest for making the wedding possible. Also, keep in mind that not all of your guests will be able to attend the farewell brunch. Many will need to hit the road to catch flights or make the drive back home. If you invite all of your guests to attend, expect 75% or fewer to attend, unless this event was included on formal invitations with an RSVP required.

#2 Consider the Time

As mentioned, some of your guests will want to get up and get on the road the day after the wedding, so consider a drop-by event that accommodates the early risers as well as the slow-to-roll guests. We find 8 a.m. to noon is a good timeframe for this style of event. Guests can come grab a bite and a cup of coffee, say goodbye and head home. If you would prefer a more formal brunch with a full meal, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. tends to be an ideal time for this event. If you opt for this route, be sure to include this event on your wedding website and weekend itinerary. Some host locations, and even caterers, will require a headcount for an event of this nature, so this style of event may require an invitation.

#3 Set the Menu

When planning, many couples can’t imagine being hungry the day after a wedding feast but trust us, the newlyweds and their guests will wake up the next morning feeling famished from all the dancing and energy they have exerted on the big day! So really think through the brunch menu. After a night of drinking, be sure to include good sources of protein (eggs, yogurt, and of course BACON!) and hydration (through juice, fruit and certainly COFFEE!). For a drop-by event, we suggest portable menu items like delicious breakfast sandwiches, fruit and yogurt parfait cups to-go, and serve juice and coffee in disposable cups so they can take it for the road. We have had Urban Sugar bring their donut truck to serve hot, fresh donuts for a quick but delicious brunch. They were a huge hit! For a full brunch, consider either a simple buffet of quiche, cut fruit, yogurt and bagels. For a full menu for a more formal event serve eggs benedict, waffles, or blueberry pancakes, sausage, bacon, steel-cut oatmeal with brown sugar, pastry, muffins, juice, coffee, and mimosas and bellinis! Certainly, either route you opt for with the brunch, no one will go home hungry.

#4 Location, location, location

You can host a farewell brunch open to the whole guest list right here at French’s Point! Or consider hosting it at a restaurant located in one of the local hotels where many of the wedding guests will stay. Both of these alternatives are convenient for the guests and easy for you. A drop-by brunch can also be hosted at Beach Rose Farm or one of the larger rental cottages. Just be sure to consider the parking limitations and be mindful of the guest count restrictions at these settings. Always check with the property owner first to get permission.

#5 Keep It Simple

Above all else, we suggest you do not worry about decor, or concern yourself by offering a fancy meal. Keep it simple, remember these tips, and have a great time!

Click here for more in our How Can I Help series. Featured photo by Emilie Inc.

Resource Guide for French’s Point Couples 2017

Here at French’s Point, our main goal is to make sure you have the wedding of your dreams. This isn’t just something we say, we actively work to ensure that you have everything you need to organize and produce a wedding celebration that your guests will enjoy and that ultimately reflects who you are as a couple. To that end, we’ve created this detailed resource guide with 25 pages packed with useful area resources for your enjoyment and information.

25 Pages of Midcoast Maine Resources

In our Resource Guide for French’s Point Couples, you’ll find the following.

  • Restaurants
  • Family entertainment
  • Schooner and sailing adventures
  • State Parks
  • Golf courses
  • Ferry services
  • Art galleries and museums
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Beer and wine tasting rooms
  • Nature centers
  • Lighthouses
  • Outdoor recreational activities like: biking, canoeing, and kayaking
  • Other recreational activities like: zip lining, climbing, whitewater rafting, and yoga
  • Fishing
  • Horse stables and carriage rides
  • Spas and salons
  • Airports
  • Transportation services like: limos, busses, taxis and rental cars
  • Hospitals
  • Moorings and yacht clubs
  • Farmers’ Markets and grocery stores

We’ve tried to anticipate all of your needs and have gathered all of that information into a downloadable resource guide. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to make your French’s Point wedding amazing!

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