frequently asked questions

why are you more expensive than some other maine wedding officiants? 

as an officiant, it is my responsiblity to help you through the process of creating your wedding ceremony from start to finish. i can spend up to 20 hours on one wedding including consulation meetings, emails, writing the ceremony, practicing the ceremony, creating the rehearsal schedule, facilitating the rehersal, performing the wedding, and filing the marriage license. this doesn't even include the bookkeeping, record keeping, filing, office-y kind of stuff or the time i spend on a sweet start business that isn't directly related to your wedding. i do a whole lot more than just show up the day of the wedding and read a script!

what makes you different than other wedding officiants? 

i love weddings! i LOVE weddings! weddings are my passion. i spend much of my free time devouring wedding blogs, reading articles about weddings, researching wedding trends, and networking with wedding vendors. i'm hooked up with other wedding professionals through twitter, facebook, linkedin, and pinterest. this means i understand what's current in the industry and i have many sources to which i can go for information. i also write a wedding blog that has content related to weddings in maine as well as weddings in general. 

do you support marriage equality?

YES! i am so proud that maine legalized gay marriage. i believe that love is love. period. 

how do you work with couples who don't live in maine?

it's easy: skype! actually, we do most of our communication through email. i try to be very responsive to emails, because it drives me crazy when you contact a vendor and they don't get back in touch with you. i schedule a pre-wedding consultation about a month before the wedding and we usually do that by skype or the phone. it's happened where i haven't actually met a couple until their wedding rehearsal but it works!

do you have sample ceremonies and readings? 

you bet! once you book your wedding with me, i send you some sample ceremonies that i think might match your style. i also have sample readings and love poems. if you need it i even have ideas for interesting elements to add to your ceremony. my blog is another good source of information. i have posts about the wedding ceremony timeline, love poems, wedding do's and don'ts, vows, and even first dance songs. i try to bring you new and interesting information all the time. 

what are you like?

(okay, so no one has actually ever asked me this, but i bet someone has wanted to)

first of all you can see me in this video, which will help you hear what i sound like and how i talk. then you can check out the about me category on my blog. another option would be to read the testimonials about me. and if you still want to know more, contact me and we can set up a short skype meet-n-greet. 

what happens at the wedding rehearsal? 

i typically run the entire rehearsal or do it together with the wedding planner if there is one. i come prepared with an outline of the ceremony from the processional through the recessional. i typically start by introducing myself and making sure i know who eveyrone is (i literally take attendance!). i describe the ceremony and how the rehearsal will run. i put everyone in their places and we slowly walk through the ceremony once to get a feel for timing. then we'll run through the ceremony again in real time, to make sure we have the processional timed to the music, etc. they last about an hour. 

things i'm loving

i haven't done one of these posts in a while and there are so many cool things i want to share with you. what are you loving right now? 

wimp | this is an awesome website/app. they post 5 videos a day that are family-friendly and on a broad range of topics. some fun, some inspirational, some educational, all awesome!

sequins | awesome pinterest board from {this is glamorous}, her blog is great, too!

luksin designs | a maine fashion designer (and personal friend) using quality fabrics. i have one of her tanks and i love it!

fun. | lead singer looks like guy pearce and sings like an angel. their songs are power anthems! oh, and they support marriage equality

lobster | even though summer is over and that's typically when everyone is eating lobster, i crave it year-round. the lobster fishermen had a tough year so the more i eat the more i'm helping them. cool. 

eyes open photography e-course | okay, full disclosure: i'm a guest contributor in the course, but i also think it's really cool and if you're interested in being a better, more creative photographer SIGN UP NOW!

swimming | i don't have a link for this one, but i've started swimming at our local community center and i now remember how much i love it!

say yes to the dress | cannot. stop. watching.

concord grapes | our local cooperative is carrying the most delicious organic concord grapes and i've been eating them until my lips are sore. they are SO damn good. 

get to know me

since many of my clients are from out of state, i'm always thinking of ways to make it easier for them to get to know me. i saw someone i follow on twitter do this and it inspired me to create my own list. 

  1. i have four sisters, one brother, three nieces, five nephews, and the best parents anyone could ever ask for!
  2. i have jumped out of an airplane...twice.
  3. i think i am fluent in spanish, i just can't remember how to speak it.
  4. my parents founded stonyfield farm in 1983.
  5. i was married twice in the same year to the same man.
  6. i've milked a cow, slaughtered a chicken, and watched a dog being spayed.
  7. i have over 100 pairs of shoes!
  8. i left home at 18, moved to utah, got engaged, then moved back (unmarried).
  9. in elementary school i collected porsche match-box cars and wrote a biography for english class on ferdinand porsche.
  10. i'm terrified of handling pet rabbits and they know it.
  11. i'm addicted to house hunting and often peruse the mls listings.
  12. i've traveled to: spain, england, the netherlands, argentina, panama, honduras, costa rica, mexico, russia, cuba, st. martin, finland, and sweden. i've lived in canada.
  13. i've met mikhail gorbachev.
  14. i once lost 12 pounds in two weeks.
  15. i'm more in love with my husband now than the day i married him.
  16. i met my husband at club med in cancun.
  17. i still can't believe i have a masters degree.
  18. some day i want to live in hawaii.
  19. when i was a kid i wanted to be an olympic gymnast and a marine biologist.
  20. i love tobiko, sesame seeds, and wheat berries because they all "pop" in your mouth.
  21. when i was a kid i used to get one piece of bubblicious gum a month.
  22. for a while our whole family only ate with chopsticks.
  23. i don't sing well, but i love to sing. i'm a terrible dancer, but i love dancing.
  24. i have danced on the bar at the mars bar in san francisco, the sand dollar in stinson beach, and the asti in santa cruz.
  25. a police officer once told me i was going 55 mph in a 65 mph zone, and i corrected him.


vlog: meet a sweet start

here's my first go at a vlog post. this was so much fun to do, i'll definitely be doing more in the future! 

in this 3 minute video i introduce myself and talk a little bit about how i got started in the wedding industry and specifically as a maine wedding officiant. i was a little nervous and i say "um" a LOT! anyway, i hope you like it, let me know what you think.


Meet Maria Northcott of A Sweet Start from a sweet start on Vimeo.


2013 maine bridal shows

mark your calendars now for the 2013 winter/spring maine bridal and wedding shows. here are just a few.

23rd annual portland bridal show | january 5 – 6, 2013 | 11am-3pm | holiday inn by the bay, portland, maine

22nd annual bangor bridal show | january 12 – 13 2013 | saturday 6-9 pm | sunday 11-3 pm | spectacular event center, bangor, maine

21st annual augusta bridal show | january 20, 2013 | 11 am-3 pm | augusta armory, augusta, maine

auburn bridal show | march 3, 2013 | 11 am - 3 pm | hilton garden inn, auburn riverwatch, auburn, maine

freeport bridal show | march 24, 2013 | 11 am - 3 pm | hilton garden inn, freeport, maine

northern maine bridal expo | february 16, 2013 | crow's nest event center, presque isle, maine