One of the best ways to make your Maine wedding fabulous is to use lighting and decor! It’s simply the best and easiest way to add ambiance and atmosphere to your wedding. Glamorous draping, a sparkling chandelier, warm cafe lights or even marquee lighting can literally transform a space.Read More
This is a super busy time of year for me. As some of you may know, I founded the Maine Wedding Network and produced my first wedding vendor networking event back in 2013. For those of you who don’t know, as the Maine Wedding Network I gather wedding professionals work in here in Maine together for networking, workshops, discussion groups and social events in the “off-season” (November to April).Read More
Are you getting married in Maine? Are you looking to hire as many Maine-based wedding vendors as you can? Well, let me be the first to say "Yay!" and "Thank you!" It's so wonderful when out-of-state couples choose to work with local vendors. We have some of the most experienced wedding pros who provide exceptional quality products and service. You may think of Maine as a sweet, down-to-earth, casual State (and we are all of those things, too), but we're also sophisticated, savvy, talented wedding professionals. So, with that in mind, let me introduce you to some of Maine's best wedding invitation and wedding stationery providers. I'm also including providers of wedding signage and handlettering/calligraphy, since many of these vendors provide multiple products.
Custom Wedding Invitations + Wedding Signage
These vendors provide custom wedding invitation suites including save-the-date cards, thank you cards, place cards or escort cards, ceremony programs, vow books, dinner menus, bar menus, custom maps, and anything else you can think of!
Wedding Calligraphy + Hand Lettering
Many of the custom wedding invitation designers above can also do hand lettering and calligraphy, but the providers below specialize in the art form.
Many of you might not know that I've been blogging for six years! I started my blog the same time I became a professional wedding officiant, back in 2011. Since then I've covered so many different topics like: wedding ceremony timeline, make sure to eat on wedding day, how to calm your nerves, where to wear your engagement ring during the ceremony, wedding vendor pricing, 10 tips for the best wedding processional, and so, so much more. I even wrote a blog post about the best Maine wedding resources to help you plan your wedding.Read More
I'm delighted to introduce you all to my fellow wedding officiant and friendor, Erika Hewitt, who is a Unitarian Universalist minister here in Maine. Erika and I share a similar passion for wedding officiating and often refer couples to one another when we're booked. In this post, Erika talks about a phenomenon which is sometimes called "ghosting." Read on to learn more.
Just Say No
As a wedding officiant, I’m in the relationship business in more ways than the most obvious one. I don’t just lead the celebration of your relationship; I also want to create a relationship of trust and collaboration with you, as a couple — even if we never have more than an introductory conversation.
When I meet with a couple so they can learn about me, two things happen: I feel a thrill of “I like you! I hope you choose me” and I pencil in their date on my calendar so that other couples can’t hire me out from under them.
Fortunately, many couples get back to me with the happy news that they’re hiring me. Sometimes, though, couples disappear for months, leaving their phantom wedding date on my calendar, and me wondering whether they’ve found another officiant… or whether they forgot to hire me (believe it or not, this actually happens!).
"We have big hearts and thick skin."
I speak on behalf of all wedding officiants when I say that we hope you hire us — but we hope even more that you’ll find an officiant you feel excited about. We have big hearts and thick skin; it’s okay to email us and let us know we’re off the hook because you clicked with someone else. We won’t feel insulted if you write a short note saying, “Thanks for your time, but we’re going in another direction.” In fact, it saves us the awkward step of reaching out to you to ask, “I’ve been saving your wedding date for three months. Should I keep holding it?”
From the officiant to the florist, from the lighting pros to the band, all of us in the wedding world will go out of our way to make you feel valued, respected, and understood as you plan your perfect day. Paradoxically, one way you can reflect that back to us is to just say no — instead of disappearing — when you decide that we’re not the one for you.
Rev. Erika Hewitt
Are you going to have a wedding cake at your Maine wedding? Many people are opting for a table of desserts with pies, cupcakes, cookies or other sweets, but nothing beats a traditional and gorgeous wedding cake. Maine hosts some of the best bakeries making the most delicious sweet treats for your wedding. Check out this list of Maine bakeries making wedding cakes and more!
25 Maine wedding cake companies
Pure Elegance Cakes Based in Old Orchard Beach
Let Them Eat Cake Based in Kennebunk
Pie in the Sky Bakery Based in Cape Neddick
Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott Based in South Portland
Love Kupcakes Based in Portland
Bam Bam Bakery Based in Portland
East End Cupcakes Based in Portland
Two Fat Cats Bakery Based in Portland
Foley's Cakes Based in Portland
Cookie Jar Pastry Shop Based in Cape Elizabeth
Cake Elizabeth Based in Cape Elizabeth
European Bakery Based in Falmouth
Ice It! Bakery Based in Yarmouth
Bear Brook Bakery Based in New Gloucester
Cakes for All Seasons Based in Parsonsfield
Ahima Custom Cakes Based in Auburn
Mae's Cafe Based in Bath
Starlight Custom Cakes Based in Boothbay Harbor
Barn Door Baking Company Based in Damariscotta
3 Dogs Cafe Based in Rockport (they made my wedding cake!)
Camden Cake Lady Based in Camden
The Bankery Based in Skowhegan
Heavenly Delights Bakery Based in Vassalboro
Mainely Wedding Cakes Based in Lisbon Falls
Autumn Nomad Based in Jackson, NH
These bakeries either come recommended by wedding professionals I trust or I have had first-hand experience with them. I've listed them as their "Based in" location but many of them travel all over the State of Maine.
How do you know if you need a Day of Wedding Coordinator? Take this little test. If you answer yes to most of the questions below then you need a Day of Wedding Coordinator.
- You enjoy doing DIY projects for your wedding
- You’re wicked organized
- You have already or are going to design the look of your wedding
- You don’t want people bugging you with questions on your wedding day
- You’re on a tight budget
I'm so fortunate to be part of the Maine wedding community and specifically the Maine wedding officiant community. We are a diverse group providing a wide range of services. Whenever one of us is booked we try to refer that couple to another officiant. In that spirit, I've put together a list of Maine wedding officiants I know and trust. I will say this, though, I have never seen these officiants actually perform a ceremony and for the most part I'm don't know their process for working with their clients. These are folks I know personally and really like (or come highly recommended by other vendors I trust), which is what my recommendation is based on.
The best Maine wedding officiants
Rev. Erika Hewitt Erika
Swoon Union Michelle
Gateway Celebrations Vivianna
A Sweet Start (that's me!)
Rev. Twinkle Marie Manning Moosehead Lake Region
Why I'm recommending my competitors
I know you might think I'm crazy putting together a list of my "competitors" on my blog, but it makes sense when you understand how strongly I believe in you finding the right officiant. I know that I'm the right officiant for some people and not for others. And that's totally ok. I'd rather help you find the right officiant for your wedding than try to convince you with some icky sales pitch to hire me. It's so important that the person who stands up there with you on wedding day is someone you feel comfortable with, who you genuinely like and who deserves and has earned your trust. Take your time finding the right person, do your homework and meet with your top choice. A good officiant and a beautifully crafted ceremony will set the tone for your wedding day so make your selection carefully!
Good luck and happy wedding!
These were questions posed to me for an interview I did with another wedding professional. I'll post a link to that interview when it goes live, but in the meantime, enjoy the answers to these questions. I hope it helps you get to know me and my unique process a little better.
Tell us a little bit about yourself as an individual.
I’m originally from New Hampshire and moved to Maine in 2007 (by way of Utah, California and British Columbia). I’ve always been a “people person” and have worked in hospitality, retail, and nonprofits for years. I have three adorable kitties and consider myself a crazy cat lady. My cats even have their own Instagram account! My husband and I moved to Bath (from Damariscotta) in 2014 into a sweet little cape on the New Meadows River. I love Maine so much! I love Maine almost as much as I love weddings!
How and when did A Sweet Start begin?
I've got married in 2006, which is what started my career in the wedding industry. After planning my own wedding I just knew I wanted to work in weddings. I wasn’t really sure what that would look like, so I just kept it in the back of my mind for a couple of years. When I took the certification course to become a notary public, it was like the planets were finally aligned! The instructor explained during the course that, in Maine, notaries are authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. I’m now going into my fifth season!
What would you say is your main responsibility as an officiant?
My main responsibility is to help my clients mark this significant moment in their lives with a heartfelt ceremony that reflects the couple, their personalities, and their love. I do this by guiding them through the process of envisioning the ceremony from start to finish. Many of my couples know they want a unique ceremony that reflects their relationship, but they don’t always know how to go about it. That’s where my experience is really important. I can help them pull in readings or songs or other interjections that are meaningful to them. I can guide them through the process of writing their own vows. I can offer them advice on music, the flow, the pairing of attendants. All of that. And finally, my responsibility is to manage the entire ceremony on wedding day so that they can let go, relax, and be totally present in the moment.
Can you take us through the typical process for creating a couple’s ceremony?
Sure! The process of creating a completely unique and totally customized Super Sweet Wedding Ceremony requires collaboration from the couple. It starts about three months in advance of their wedding. I send them a link to a Dropbox folder filled with all kinds of goodies: sample ceremonies, readings, elements to add into the ceremony, and other information to help them start picturing their ceremony. I ask them to pick out the bits of pieces from the sample ceremonies they like (maybe the introduction from this one, or the ring exchange from that one). I also email each of them a list of questions to help them reflect upon their relationship. Questions like why are they choosing to marry each other, what does marriage mean to them, the qualities they find endearing in each other, and a few other questions. I weave their responses into the ceremony to make it completely custom and really personalized. I’ll write a completely unique ceremony for each couple so no two are ever alike.
We’ll go back and forth with the ceremony until it’s perfect. I like to have the final copy a month before wedding day, because that’s when we meet again to start planning the rehearsal.
By using this process, there’s a genuine warmth that comes from our working on this ceremony for a few months, and it feels like I’ve known them for years. I’m talking about their love and their marriage and their relationship but using their own words. It’s really magical and meaningful.
Which of your packages are the most popular?
I have three packages (Super Sweet Wedding, Sweet + Simple Wedding, and Sweet Wedding Elopement) and my Super Sweet Wedding is the most popular. It includes a fully customized ceremony, unlimited guest list, and unlimited attendants. All my weddings, except the elopements, include a rehearsal.
Can people specify ceremony details such as music, readings, and vows?
Absolutely! I actively encourage it! This is their ceremony so I want it to be a reflection of who they are. All of the things you just mentioned (music, readings, vows) are a great way to personalize a ceremony. I have samples and blog posts with inspiration and ideas, so I’m all about encouraging them to add in these kinds of elements.
How long does your average ceremony last?
It all depends on the couple, but I really encourage my couples to not make it too short. I think anything less than 20 minutes is too short. You just don’t get enough time to digest what’s happening. It goes so fast anyway, it’s nice to slow it down a bit. Add in some elements. Add in some other voices. Let there be a nice flow to it so it’s not just me talking for 10 minutes and then it’s over. Like I said, this is a pivotal moment in their lives and it’s worth savoring. That being said, I also think a really long ceremony can loose its significance. If there are too many readings or songs or interjections, it’s hard to make each one meaningful. I think the sweet spot, including processional, is about 30 minutes.
There’s a trend right now to have a wicked short ceremony and then just have a great party. While I’m all for fun parties, I try to remind my couples that the ceremony is what really matters. Pledging your love and devotion to one another in front of all the most important people in your life is what matters. I wrote a blog post about ideal ceremony length!
Do you take care of the marriage license?
Absolutely! As a notary that’s my responsibility. The couple is responsible for getting the license from the city, but I get it at the rehearsal and am responsible for it until I deliver it to the town office after the wedding. I also advise my couples on how to get married in Maine; how file the intention to marry document at the town office; and how to obtain the marriage license after the ceremony.
How far are you willing to travel?
How far in advance should clients contact you?
They should contact me as far in advance as possible, because I take a limited number of weddings and book up each summer. But I’ve taken weddings (based on my availability of course) as close as three or four months before. In order to have time to go through the customization process they need to book me at least three months in advance. Anything less than that and I’m not going to be able to offer them a fully customized ceremony. For elopements they can contact me the day before, so that’s a different process.
How many weddings do you perform per year?
From 2011 to 2015 I was only taking 10 weddings a summer since I was still working a full time job. Now that I’m fully self-employed, I take 20 weddings a year. I limit the number of weddings I take to one per weekend. My entire being – heart and soul – is involved in each wedding I take, and I find that one a weekend works the best for me. You can read all about how I prepare for each wedding.
Do you recommend other wedding vendors?
Definitely! I love doing this (if the couple doesn't have a wedding planner). I now know so many talented wedding vendors I can even make personalized recommendations to my clients. For example, if they tell me a particular style of photography they like, I can give them names of a few photographers with a similar style. Our industry thrives on vendor-to-vendor referrals, so I’m always happy when my couples ask for recommendations.
What is your biggest challenge when officiating a wedding?
My biggest challenge is making sure the site coordinator or wedding planner understands that I work with my couples on every detail of the ceremony from pre-processional to recessional, and because of that I organize and manage the rehearsal. I now know that a lot of officiants don’t do this, but I love it and it’s one of the services I provide my clients. I always appreciate the support of the planner or coordinator and having them there makes everything run more smoothly on wedding day. But asking for their trust while I run the rehearsal is sometimes my biggest challenge.
What is most rewarding for you/what has been your proudest accomplishment?
Bringing an idea of a business from imagination into reality. Creating and growing a successful business is definitely my greatest accomplishment. Working with creative, interesting and engaged clients and collaborating with them to craft wedding ceremonies that have meaning and will be remembered for years to come, that’s rewarding!
What one tip would you offer for a successful ceremony?
Make it all about YOU! Find ways to personalize your ceremony to make it meaningful and engaging. Sure, do the research to see what’s out there, but always come back to the question “Does this reflect who we are?” If the answer is no, keep working at it.
And remember, your wedding ceremony is a magical moment that marks a major shift if your life. Make sure you find an officiant you connect with and one who can hold the gravity and significance of that moment with a joyous heart!
How do clients find you and stay connected with you? Do you advertise, attend bridal shows, or use social media?
I love social media! I’m on all the big platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. I write a blog with advice and inspiration. I send out a monthly email newsletter with all sorts of great information. I’m also listed in a bunch of wedding directories. But I don’t really attend wedding shows. I find that my clients are mostly active online so I make myself available through electronic means. I’ve totally embraced digital media and use it to communicate who I am and what makes me awesome to work with!