Trademarked “Vacationland,” Maine is also a hidden gem for couples looking to celebrate their special wedding weekend. “Maine is unspoiled in many ways, with more open space, less people and a more relaxed way of life, so it makes a beautiful and restful location for a wedding destination,” says Meagan Gilpatrick, owner and creative director of Main Seasons Events. “The natural landscape here is extraordinary, with the ocean, lakes and mountains all within several hours drive of each other.” Gilpatrick should know, as she is a wedding planner and designer in the area who has served mostly out-of-state clients for the past 13 years.
From mountaintop settings upon which to say “I do,” to walks along beaches, couples and guests alike will discover what Gilpatrick and her clients already appreciate. Maine has 5,000 miles of coastline, 6,000 lakes, thousands of miles of rivers and millions of acres of forest. Split into eight regions, brides and grooms will be able to find a location that truly fits them. There’s cosmopolitan Portland for city seekers (see sidebar), small fishing villages for maritime historians, coastal islands for explorers and even the tip of the Appalachian Trail for excursionists.
“Maine offers countless options for a unique wedding experience,” says Steve Lyons, director of marketing for the Maine Office of Tourism. “It can be for adventuresome couples who like the outdoors. We also have several resorts for great indoor wedding options.” The state also boasts a plethora of quaint inns and bed and breakfasts.
Adventure-seekers may want to elevate their guests to mountaintops such as Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, or Mount Katahdin, which sits in the Highlands region. For beach-loving couples, the ocean view from Samoset Resort may work as it sits above Penobscot Bay, offering the mid-coast region experience.
Couples should decide what fits them best to guide them toward the right Maine location for their special day. “Whatever people want, they can find,” says Lyons. Whether a couple desires a mountain view or a coastline setting, Maine vendors are available to provide the right local touch; the state is home to “caterers, event designers, planners, floral designers, musicians, photographers, and film makers—all devoted and passionate about what they do,” says Gilpatrick.
For couples planning to wed in Maine, that local touch can be as wild as a ceremony on a windjammer or as sweet as a blueberry pie served as dessert. Food, like Maine’s official state treat of whoopie pies, also reflects an authentic experience. Many Maine wedding receptions feature freshly caught lobster, locally sourced vegetables, local oysters, and especially those iconic blueberries.
Rustic yet chic barn weddings are a popular setting for Maine weddings. The Red Barn at Outlook Farm in southern Maine offers a spacious location for weddings and events for up to 220 guests. “With breathtaking views of our traditional Scottish links style golf course, two massive stone fireplaces and a 4,000-square-foot ballroom with natural post and beam woodworking, The Red Barn at Outlook Farm is the perfect unique setting for your next memorable event,” says Katie Clark, event coordinator for the venue.
For before-and-after wedding festivities, guests should leave enough time to explore the state. Maine’s hiking trails, islands and coastal villages offer plenty of activities, sights and memories. Although the state may be known as a vacation spot, its variety lets those seeking a destination wedding celebrate their uniqueness in a special way.
Written by Laura Kanzler
Published in Southern New England Wedding Destination 2013 edition.
Maine hosts a variety of wedding getaway options. Here are a few worth visiting:
Norris St. Greenville
A WEEKEND IN PORTLAND
If you’re lucky enough to plan or attend a wedding near Portland, here’s a sample itinerary for out-of-town guests.
1. Arrive in Portland and head to Eventide Oyster Bar for local seafood.
2. If it’s the first Friday of the month, the city’s artists and galleries open their doors for First Friday Art Walk.
3. Sit back after your walk around town at Nova Res Bier Cafe and sample beers from all over the world.
1. Before the wedding take a stroll along the Eastern Promenade Trail.
2. Drive southeast to Fort Williams Park and the Portland Head Lighthouse for a bit of history.
3. Pick up a last minute gift or discover that special item for your home at Portland Architectural Salvage.
1. Start the morning with brunch at Duckfat and enjoy their famously rich fries.
2. For sports fans, catch a Portland Seadogs baseball game.
3. Foodies should take a tour with Maine Foodie Tours; jaunts include chocolate, breweries, or even a progressive island dinner tour.