Maine Event Planner Blog

Outdoor Ceremony Sites Near Portland, Maine

Many people who choose to get married in Maine have two things in mind for what they want: outdoor and ocean-side. While it may be easy to search for reception venues that have these qualities, it can be difficult to find off-site ceremony locations with gorgeous ocean views. We’ve done the hard work for you and come up with a list of ceremony sites that overlook the Atlantic – all within a 15-minute drive from Portland. We have even pulled blog posts from photographer friends and planners alike who have worked at these locations. 

Cape Elizabeth

Fort William’s Park and Portland Head Light – This park boasts one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world – Portland Head Light. With four locations for ceremonies scattered around the park, this beautiful spot has a lot to offer.

See contact information and the Reservation Application here.

Kettle Cove Beach – This inlet cove is nestled right next to the larger Crescent Beach State Park. With a grassy area that juts out over rocky slopes and quiet, wooded trails leading to additional beach areas, Kettle Cove is an ideal spot for intimate Maine weddings.

Check out the blog of one of our photographer friends, Leah Fisher, who shot an intimate ceremony at Kettle Cove beach.

Portland

Eastern Prom – Head over to the Eastern Prom to get gorgeous ocean-front views of passing schooners and the Casco Bay Islands, all while staying within city limits. Check out ceremony sites at Fort Allen Park and East End Beach. Another highlight is that these spots are just minutes from oceanside reception venues like Ocean Gateway.

South Portland

Spring Point Lighthouse – Just across the bridge from downtown Portland, Spring Point Light boasts beautiful views of Bug Lighthouse and access to sandy Willard Beach. Check out this blog post from another one of our photographer friends, Sarah Morrill, for inspiration. 

We could write a blog post about all the beautiful outdoor spots to get married in Maine so long that it would turn into a novel. If you’re looking to get married in the area, reach out to us so we can brainstorm!

Maine makes for one beautiful back drop. Photo by Closer North

Parents at Weddings

Is it a coincidence that both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day fall during our Maine Wedding Season? We think not, as there is no better time to celebrate Mom and Dad! As any bride or groom knows, a lot goes into the dreaming, planning and prepping of a wedding. Parents play an essential role in supporting, helping, and loving during the process. 

Of course, weddings are one of the most special days of a bride or groom’s life – but seeing their child get happily married may be one of the most special days of a parents’ life too. The moments when parents and children come together to honor this transition are often some of the most touching moments of the day. From walking the bride down the aisle, to parent dances, and heartwarming toasts, parents help to make the day special. 

A Father’s first glance. Photo by Closer North
Tearing up the dance floor with Dad. Photo by Jessie Dineen
Saying yes to the dress with Mom. Photo by Kari Herer

4 Fresh Wedding Reception Ideas

Weddings don’t need to follow a script! There’s a million different ways that you can make a wedding your own. From personalized touches to moments that make your wedding feel uniquely yours, take the step to do something different. It can be overwhelming to decide where to begin with customizing your wedding, so we’ve put together a quick list of cute ideas we love. 

Get Cozy by the Fire

If people need a breath of fresh air after tearing it up on the dancefloor, setting up a fire outside creates a cozy nook for people to chat. As summer evenings can get chilly in Maine, mismatched, eclectic blankets make guests feel right at home. A S’mores station doubles as extra dessert and a fun campfire activity!

Change up your Centerpieces

Gone are the days where you have to have full bouquets as centerpieces. There are plenty of other centerpiece options that can supplement or replace florals. Antique glass bottles show off a vintage vibe and can be repurposed afterwards. Getting married in Maine provides plenty of options for creative centerpieces, like shells and unique rocks. 

Sparkler Sendoff

Your wedding is your day to shine – so why not literally shine under an arch of glowing sparklers? Lighting up sparklers is fun for guest of all ages and is an affordable way to make your day extra special. You can even try in the same colors as your reception or specialty heart-shaped sparklers. The timing of sparkler send-off can be tricky, so if you are working with a planner or coordinator, talk to them about organizing this. 

Game Time

One way to give guests who may need a little break from the dance floor an alternate activity is by providing games. If you have a nicely lit outdoor area, yard games like corn hole and croquette are often fan-favorites. Or try setting out card games like Uno out on cocktail tables to give guests a quiet activity before returning to the party. 

Sparks are flying! Photo by Brendan Bullock

Preliminary Wedding Check List

A lot goes into planning the planning your dream wedding. It can be a little daunting, and sometimes people don’t know where to begin. As life-long planners (by trade and personality), we are big proponents of checklists to stay organized.

Our advice is to start with the big picture and then get to all those special details, which is why we devised the perfect preliminary wedding checklist to get you started. 

  • Consult a calendar

Weekends tend to fill up quickly! If you are set on a certain time of year, check out a calendar to get a sense of which weekends might be a good fit for you.

  • Location, location, location!

Do you want to get married in your hometown? Your favorite vacation spot? A place special to you and your partner? Having a location in mind helps to narrow the venue search. 

  • Get inspired!

Pinterest and vendor blogs are a great way to start dreaming up your desired design. You can even check out the blogs of planners and photographers in your area to find inspiration and start thinking about vendors. 

  • Think about a budget

Money matters – but you can make magic happen with any budget. It is important to be clear with expectations about how much you can spend and what this will mean for your wedding. Make a budget early, so you don’t commit to something you that isn’t the right financial fit.

  • Talk about size

Discuss the size of your wedding with your partner. Do you want something big, small, or somewhere in between? Make sure to factor your budget and the location of the wedding into this conversation. Settling on a general size makes drafting the guest list a bit easier. 

  • Reach out to planners

Need some guidance? Try reaching out to planners in your preferred location to see if they could be a good fit for you. Even if you think it isn’t in the budget, you might be surprised at the services they offer within your price point.  

  • Have fun!

Don’t forget that weddings are meant to be a celebration of you and your partner – a love filled party with all of your closest friends and family! 

Happy planning! 
Photo by Jamie Mecurio

What should I ask a wedding planner?

Planning a wedding can be exciting, fun, and a little overwhelming at times. Finding the right planner helps to streamline the process and take away additional stressors. We want to help you ask the right questions, align your expectations, and get to the fun part!

You’ve already met your perfect match… and now it’s time to find your perfect wedding planner match too!

Are you available on our wedding date?

            If you have a date in mind, and especially if you have already booked a venue for a specific date, we recommend that you start by asking about availability. If the planner you are interested in is already booked, at least you will know from the start.

Pro tip: Favorite planner already booked? Asked if they have any recommendations for other planners in the area.

What is the average cost of a wedding?

            Figuring out your budget is one of the first steps to making the wedding planning process fun, realistic, and stress-free. Thus, being on the same page about budget with your wedding planner is key. Some planners work primarily within specific budgets and may not have experience or vendor relationships within your price range. 

Our advice: check out this handy toolfor crafting your wedding budget and then discuss it with your potential planner. 

What sort of services do you offer?

            There is no one size fits all when it comes to your needs from a wedding planner. Ask about different packages, what they include, and what is their specialty?  Are they designers or logistical planners? If your specific needs are different than any of their pre-crafted packages, ask if they can tailor something specifically to your desires and price range.

Do you work with a team?

            If you plan to bring in different vendors, such as a caterer or florist, having a wedding planner who works as a member of a larger team to create a cohesive event is essential. Working as a team of vendors can stem from having existing relationships with top vendors in the area, or a general mentality of wanting to work collaboratively.

Our advice: if you have already decided on a caterer or venue, ask them if they have any planners they adore working with.

What will you do to make our special day more relaxing and fun?

            There are many great upsides to having a wedding planner, but one of the best things about having a wedding planner is that it allows you and your family to enjoy your big day. Ask a planner about how they can make your wedding stress-free and care-free. If you have specific concerns or stressors, ask a planner about how they might handle them.

How can you help us pull off our vision?

            This day is all about you! If you have a vision, inspiration, or dream design, the right planner will help you pull this off. Do they have experience with this kind of design? Do they have any fun ideas that build off of yours? You want to feel confident that your dream wedding can come to life. 

How many people from your staff will be at our wedding? How long will they be there?

            This question is essential to make sure that your expectations are in line with what a planner is offering. Will they be the first person to arrive at the venue and the last to leave? See how a planner handles set-up, clean-up and everything in between. 

Do you have any references?

            Still not totally sure? It is important to feel confident about your selection of a wedding planner and to be sure that you are getting the services that you are paying for. If you need a little more information about a future planner, ask if they have any references you can check out. 

Check out their reviews!

One of the best ways to see how other couples feel about the potential planner for hire is what they have to say. 

Experience matters! Ask a wedding planner about their references. 
Photo of Kristina Slocum of Purple Orchid, Events

Save the Date! Make sure the planner you are interested in is available on your wedding date.
Photo by Jamie Mercurio.
Team work makes the dream work! The Purple Orchid, Events team will turn your dream into a reality.

Honeymooning in Maine

So, are you getting married in Maine? Or, you want to honeymoon in Maine- what’s better than spending time in this beautiful state? With gourmet food, relaxing seaside hamlets, and breathtaking views, there is no better place to unwind and celebrate. 

With a coastline longer than California’s, we couldn’t pick just one honeymoon local, so we’ve written up our top three favorites. Get ready to plan the perfect Maine honeymoon, anniversary trip, or spontaneous couples adventure!

Relax and Indulge Outside the City

What is more romantic than a spa weekend outside of Bon Appetit’s2018 Restaurant City of the Year? Switch between exploring the harborside city filled with maritime history and boutique shopping and relaxing in the beach towns just minutes from downtown. 

For a luxury option, we recommend Cape Elizabeth’s Inn by the Sea, with spa packages and beach front access. Just fifteen minutes from Portland, this resort feels a world away and provides the perfect space to sit back and unwind in between trips into Portland. 

For those looking into get in on the action of the city, Portland’s Press Hotelis a boutique hotel with rich history and connections to the city’s artist community. If that isn’t enough to convince you, this spot is also environmentally friendly and LEED certified and their restaurant, Union, serves up some of the best avocado toast in town. 

For both avid foodies and those looking for affordable eats, Portland is the place for you. Indulge at the legendary Fore Streetand take a trip around the world with the innovative Japanese cuisine at Pai Men Miyake.  During the hot summer months, taking the ferry to Peaks Island is a must – and wouldn’t be complete without fueling up for the day at Tandem Coffee(we’re partial to the iced coffee and cinnamon rolls). 

Downeast Date Night in Camden 

For those looking to explore the natural beauty of Maine’s extensive coast, Camden is the ideal launching pad. Complete with gorgeous ocean views, a quaint downtown, and accessible hiking, Camden is the complete package. Gorgeous and romantic, without being dull, Camden is one of our top spots for a honeymoon trip. 

We recommend the Samoset Resort, particularly for those who love to golf, or check out Camden’s newest boutique hotel, 16 Bayview.During the day, walk down the main drag and enjoy views of the Atlantic, dotted with sailboats, and the antique homes that dot the coast line. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, Mount Battie is located just up the road from Camden’s Main Street. A short hike with rewarding views, Mount Battie is the perfect way to spend an afternoon away from the beach. Personally, we like the celebrate summiting with an oversized ice cream at the Gifford’s Stand in Camden afterwards.

Once you’ve had your fair share of lobster rolls, check out the affordable and satisfying Thai fare at Long Grain.This eatery is a favorite among locals and draws in pad thai enthusiasts from around the state.  

Romantic Road Trip

One of the best parts of Maine are the hidden gems – often untouched coves best found when meandering up the coast line. For those looking to explore and see the all the state has to offer, a road trip with your loved one is a great way to get to know Maine. 

Although there are too many quaint towns to list, we love Deere Isle and the surrounding islands – connected by breathtaking bridges, for those looking to kayak, hike, and peruse hand-crafted pottery. Removed from the main drag, Deere Isle is a peaceful spot almost entirely inhabited by locals who have lived there for generations. Check out El El Frijolesand make sure to sample the lobster tacos.  

The best spot to end a road trip in Maine is, hands down, Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. From camping to charming bed and breakfasts, you can’t go wrong in this area. Be one of the first people in the United States to see the sunrise by climbing (or driving) up Cadillac Mountain first thing in the morning. Check out the Beehive Trail for a fun loop complete with scrambling up ladders and boulders. Our favorite part about hiking in Acadia? The hikes are manageable, but the views are breathtaking. 

With a budding micro-brewing economy, a road trip throughout Maine means you are never too far from a brewery. Check out this handy toolto find nearby breweries and even map out the best route to hit all your favorites. Cheers to love and Maine!

Love & Lobster! 
Photo by Brendan Bullock

Best Friend Goals at Weddings

Weddings are a special day for many people. Of course, for the couple and their families. But also for the friends that support and cherish the couple. Weddings don’t only celebrate romantic love and commitment, they also about enjoying the love between best friends. During this past wedding season, we got to work with many of the best friends who helped make wedding days so special, and we want to celebrate them!

Best friend officiating your wedding.
Always there to lift each other up… 
Photo by Kari Herer

…and are ready to jump to their friend’s side. 

Photo by Kari Herer
Always there to make the best memories…
Photo by Cait Bourgault

…and save those memories for a lifetime. 

Photo by Cait Bourgault

We love seeing the pervasive joy between couples, families, and friends. How would you want your best friend to be involved in your wedding? We love hearing your stories and unique ideas for sharing the day with your BFF. 

Special thanks to Kari Hererand Cait Bourgaultfor capturing these moments. 

Kids at Weddings

There are many things that tug at our heart strings during weddings, from the first moment a couple locks eyes on each other, to the parent dancing and toasts, we often find ourselves soaring with happiness for our clients. There is one thing that never fails to both make our hearts sing and make us laugh – and that’s kids at weddings. You are sure to find tons of sentimental moments with kids: we’ve seen flower girls tossing petals, kiddos tearing up the dance floor, and future stand-up comedians putting on a show. We love it all and can’t wait to share a few of our favorite kid moments from the 2018 wedding season. 

Being this cute is exhausting!
Photo by Jamie Mercurio

Future professional wedding photographers!

Photo by Kari Herer

Photo by Cait Bourgault

Photo by Jessie Dineen

Photo by Jessie Dineen

What’s the sweetest moment you’ve seen with a kid at a wedding? We want to hear your stories!

Special thanks to the lovely photographers we get to work with for capturing these shots.

sneak peek: Bridget + Ryan

Bridget and Ryan tied the knot overlooking Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine in mid-August. Though it threatened to rain for most of the day, the stormy weather held off until nightfall and the couple, their family, and friends were able to enjoy a gorgeous outdoor ceremony followed by a tented reception.

Groom and groomsmen’s personalities shining through.

Rose and gold details, accented by natural greenery, were showcased throughout.

Congratulations Bridget and Ryan!

More to come!

 

VENDORS:

Wedding Planner: Kristina Slocum of Purple Orchid Event Planning

Venue: Viewpoint Hotel

Photographer: Cait Bourgault Photography
Flowers: Little River Flower Farm
Rentals: Sperry TentPeak EventsA Family AffairHeartwood Essentials
Cake:  Nothing Bakes Like a Parot
Makeup: Beauty Muse
Hair: Lindsay Griffen
Catering: Liberty Lane Catering
Videographer: Daniel Olivares
Band: Big City
Ceremony music: Opus Trio

Camp Wedding: Ben + Cambria

This fun-loving couple made their wedding into a whole weekend affair at their lake-side venue, Kingsley Pines, on Sebago Lake. After yoga classes, fun on inflatable lake floats, food trucks, and more, the weekend culminated in a Sunday ceremony and reception. 

 

Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour by the lake complete with a bluegrass band and a portable bar in an airstream trailer.

Guests enjoyed dinner on farm tables with views of the lake. To keep the fun going, friends and family were given scratch tickets to win money for charity.

After a round of toasts that made us both laugh and cry, guests moved into the barn for a live band and one final surprise…

A firework show on Sebago Lake kept the party going before guests danced the night away in the barn!

Congratulations Ben and Cambria!

VENDORS:

Maine Wedding Planner: Purple Orchid, Events

Venue: Kingsley Pines

Caterer: Bread and Butter

Bar Truck: Destination Catering

Photographer: Kari Herer

Ceremony Band: Muddy Marsh Ramblers

Reception Band: Groove Authority

Florist: Snell Family Farm

Fireworks: Central Maine Pyrotechnics

Lighting: Lighting Event Pros