Many couples ask me about possible locations for waterfront weddings here in Maine. Of course, many people choosing to get married in Maine want a waterfront wedding because we have it all: lakes, ponds, rivers, and beaches. There's something special about waterfront weddings; an expanse and openness to the setting. And who wouldn't love the crashing surf as a backdrop for their wedding ceremony?! So, if you're looking for a waterfront venue for your wedding, this post is for you.Read More
There are so many things to do in Maine and especially in and around the population center of Portland, Maine. I live just outside Portland and go in quite often. It's one of my favorite cities (and I'm totally a country girl), because it's walkable, friendly and has some of the world's best restaurants! When friends come to visit, I give them this list of fun and interesting things to do in and around Portland. Feel free to share it on your wedding website or with your guests "from away."
Portland Museum of Art So I haven’t personally been yet but I hear great things about it and its cafe.
Bard Coffee One of the best coffee shops in all of Maine! The owners Bob and Carmen are two of the kindest people you'll ever meet.
Gelato Fiasco Italian ice cream at it's best made right here in Maine. A delicious treat
Hunt & Alpine Club Amazing cocktails, Instagram-worthy Scandanavian small plates bursting with flavor; try the popcorn and deviled eggs
Holy Donut You CANNOT leave Portland without eating at least one (who are we kidding - JUST ONE?) of these donuts
Victoria Mansion I haven’t been yet but it’s supposed to be really cool
Maine Craft Distilling They have a tasting room near Coffee By Design (also really good coffee) on Diamond Street; very hip, urban local distillery (they also have a tasting room in Freeport near LL Bean)
Eastern Promenade There's a lovely park right in Portland with beautiful views of Casco Bay and a little gazebo where weddings take place; while you’re on the East End of Portland, get some fries at Duck Fat!
Back Cove trail This is a nice, flat walking path along the Back Bay gives you a different perspective of Portland
Eventide Oyster Co. The best place for oysters evah!
Soakology A luxurious foot soak and tea house, ahhhh!
Bayside Bowl While I haven't yet had the chance to bowl here, I LOVE bowling and this should be a blast!
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum Old Timey Portland charm
Rising Tide Brewery They've got a tasting room and a great selection of craft brewed beer.
Portland Farmers Market A year-round farmers market with over 40 farmers
Scratch Bakery Try the Earl Grey Ginger tea and any of their amazing scones!
Willard Beach It's walking distance from Scratch and it’s a dog beach with really beautiful views of Casco Bay
Portland Head Light Portland’s own lighthouse. Yes, you can get married there!
I wrote this blog post about the best rehearsal dinner locations in Portland, which lists a bunch of great restaurants. I also and Maine honeymoon ideas but it might give you some other cool ideas of things to do and see while you’re here.
I am Maine wedding officiant and the author of this blog. I collaborate with my clients to craft original and deeply personalized wedding ceremonies. You can read more about my services here and here. I hope this post was useful and that you've found the wedding venue of your dreams here in Maine!
My sister texted me tonight saying she's going to a bridal shower and has no clue what to get the bride and wondered if I had any ideas. Because I'm in the wedding industry I totally should have ideas and lots of them, right? Well, I was a little embarrassed to admit that I didn't have a blog post that could help her, but I promised that soon I would. So, here it is!
Super Adorbs Apron
I know it's super sexist to say that now that she's becoming a wife she needs an apron, but I'll tell you a little secret: I didn't cook until I was married. I mean, I knew how to make scrambled eggs and miso soup but I mostly ate take out from the Whole Foods deli because I didn't know how to cook. So I would have LOVED an apron as a bridal shower gift! Check out this cute and colorful apron.
Colorful Nautical Notecards
These sweet nautical notecards are perfect for a bride getting married in Maine! I would freakin' love a set of these and would totally use them. The handwritten note is coming back in style (thank god) and you might even get one of these as a thank you note if you give her this sweet gift!
I need one of these soooo badly! This is the perfect give because it's the kind of thing that your friend might not buy herself but she probably totally needs. My necklaces are a knotted mess and my earrings are all over the place. I would LOVE to get this sweet copper jewelry stand.
Framable Botanical Prints
I adore these! Every since seeing Alicia Florrick's wall of framed botanical and bird prints I've wanted to do the same thing in my living room. I think they would look so pretty framed and laid out in a grid. Maybe get two sets so she can really make a statement. Would your bride friend like these beautiful botanical prints?
Otter Tape Dispenser
Ergmagahd! Apparently I'm just putting together a list of things I want because I MUST have this otter tape dispenser. He's so dang cute, just look at that face! Another little story...this year for our anniversary I got my husband a card that said "We're meant for each otter!" Cute, right? I know, and so is this adorable otter tape dispenser. I promise you, your friend doesn't already have one. ;)
Everyone Needs Gold Bowls
Ok, yeah, this post is totally just a list of things I want. LOL! But, c'mon, who wouldn't want these awesome gold bowls? They even have matching gold mugs, but I think I like the bowls even better. If she doesn't want to eat ice cream out of them, then maybe she can use them for her hair ties or rings or keys or nuts or candies or...whatever.
Mrs. Wine Tote
And, because she's becoming a Mrs. this little canvas wine tote would be a perfect bridal shower gift! And a wine tote is yet another useful item that people don't usually buy for themselves. And, you can totally put a bottle of champagne in it and tell her it's to bring to the bridal suite on wedding day! What a thoughtful gift. Give her this miss to mrs. wine tote and she'll know you really "get" her.
Little Retro Nightgown
It's traditional to get the bride some lingerie for her bridal shower, so why not get her something cute she can wear on her honeymoon. This cute little nightgown could fit most figures and is super flattering and totally sweet. C'mon, it's not like you're getting her leopard print g-strings.
Studs are The Hoops
Is she into jewelry? Studs are making a comeback, so maybe get her this charming set of pastel-y colored earrings. Every time she wears them she'll think of you. And if you're wondering what to get *me* for Christmas, I'd love these!
You Need More Sleep
You didn't think I'd make it through a whole post about gift ideas without throwing in something with cats on it, did you? Maybe you don't know me well enough yet. I'm a proud, crazy cat lady to two sweet cats, Felix and Bean. They even have their own Instagram account where you can see the life they live in Maine. So, yeah, I, like, really love cats! Hey, maybe your friend does to! Get her this funny cat advice book.
I truly, honestly love every item in this post. I'm also part of the ModCloth affiliate program and the links on this page are affiliate links.
have you seen my boards on pinterest? someone told me the other day that they love the images i pin, you might, too! i try to choose only high resolution images that are creative and beautiful or inspirational and useful. have fun!
Are you thinking of honeymooning in Maine? What a great idea! If you are getting married here why not stay on for another week and enjoy your honeymoon in the great state of Maine? If you got married somewhere else, why not take a trip to maine for your honeymoon and take advantage of all the state has to offer, which is a lot!? We have it all: mountains, lakes, rivers, beaches, islands, cool cities, quaint towns, farms, gardens, boutique shops and FOOD! I love Maine, can you tell!?
Here are some awesome ideas for your Maine honeymoon:
Maine Huts & Trails is a nonprofit organization that manages a system of 4 backcountry lodges and more than 50 miles of trails in Western Maine. They offer off-the-grid hut-to-hut adventures coupled with comfortable and friendly accommodations. My husband and I snowshoed into one of the huts for an overnight and it was incredible! The lodges are comfy and cozy in winter, and I can only imagine how great the hiking would be in summer.
Maine Wine Trail consists of 23 wineries across maine. The wineries produce grape and fruit wines, distilled spirits, meads and fortified wines. You can get a passport and when you've visited at least 6 or 12 wineries they'll give you a gift.
Maine Beer Trail consists of 25 breweries across maine. You'll find a wide variety of breweries and brew pubs as your criss-cross the state. How fun does that sound? Just like the wine trail, you can also get a passport stamped for prizes as you visit the pubs. Don't miss the Liberal Cup in Hallowell, we love that place!
Maine Art Museum Trail is a "collaboration of seven leading art museums offering more than 53,000 works of art, from ancient to contemporary, in a dazzling array of collections." If art is your thing, this is a must-see. Even if you don't want to do the whole trail, this will give you a list of the best art museums in Maine.
Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a "92-mile-long ribbon of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams winding through the heart of northern Maine's vast commercial forests." Take a week and canoe or kayak down the waterway camping as you go. You may want to hire a Maine Wilderness Guide for the trip, I would!
Maine Lighthouse Trail would be a self-guided visit to as many of the Maine lighthouses as you could during your honeymoon. There are more than 60 lighthouses along the shores of the Maine coast, some as old as 200 years. If you're here in September there's an Open Lighthouse Day where many of the lighthouses that are not normally open to the public welcome visitors.
Maine Restaurant Week is a week in March every year where some of the best restaurants in the state offer wicked deals on fabulous dinner. Search the website by city, price, dietary restriction or name and "celebrate the culinary talents" of Maine's finest restaurants. Many hotels offer deals at the same time so if you're getting married in March, don't miss this week!
Acadia National Park Carriage Roads are 45 miles of rustic carriage roads that wind their way through the hills of the national park. The roads are broken stone and are popular with walkers, runners, bikers, and carriage riders. I found out about these by watching a video by Martha Stewart as she rode in a carriage along the trail.
Schooner J. & E. Riggin is an 89 foot long legendary schooner built in 1927 that sails the waters off the coast of Rockland. As if a week's sail on this gorgeous vessel isn't enough, the ship's co-captain happens to be one of Maine's best chefs (and a dear friend of mine). Annie Mahle is a well known cookbook author, blogger, and frequent topic in publications in Maine and elsewhere. Her food alone would be worth the trip. By the way, please, please charter the schooner for your wedding and hire me as your officiant!
it's probably the number one honeymoon destination in north america: niagara falls. i'm lucky enough to have visited the falls for the second time this past weekend. here are my recommendations for your visit, whether it be a honeymoon, a weekend getaway, or if you want to get married there!
stay in niagara-on-the-lake (NOTL), ontario. it's only about 20 minutes from the town of niagara falls and it's much, much cuter. niagara falls is really tacky and run down. if you're into casinos, flashing neon lights, and cheap hotels then you may want to stay right in niagara falls, but my recommendation would be to stay at the pillar and post resort hotel in NOTL or one of the adorable bed and breakfasts in the town. the downtown of NOTL is movie-set perfect. it's so quaint but almost too perfect, if you know what i mean. the shops range from gift stores to higher end boutiques. there are a bunch of restaurants and the prince of wales hotel is right on the main street.
take a day trip to the falls. if we had had the time, i would have enjoyed walking from the us falls around to the canadian falls. they're both dramatic and very different. the cool thing about the canadian falls is you can get within feet of the river going over the lip and it's intense!
have a great trip!
take a wine tasting tour. this is wine country and the wines are surprisingly good! we visited inniskillin (awesome tour!) and colaneri estate winery but there are 130 wineries in the region so have fun. if you're in canada for more than 48 hours you can bring back four bottles of wine per person without having to pay a duty. do it! we got a bottle of the shiraz/cabernet at inniskillin and it was awesome! we also splurged on a bottle of the cabernet sauvignon amaroso, wow!
I asked my friend, Jane, some questions about Antigua (pronounced an-TEE-guh) as a honeymoon destination. Here are her answers:
Why would you recommend Antigua as a honeymoon destination?
Antigua is a great choice for couples are looking for a tropical, romantic destination that’s truly special and unique. The island is ringed by beautiful beaches, has a rugged interior with a small rainforest and lots of fabulous places to explore. At only 108 square miles it’s easy and fun to get around. Think small boutique hotels, interesting restaurants, and funky beach bars surrounded by clear turquoise sea. If you are looking for a fun, dreamy location for your honeymoon, Antigua may be just right for you. It’s easy to get to from the US and is a creative alternative to the usual Caribbean honeymoon locales.
What are your favorite resorts/hotels on the island?
One of the things I love about Antigua is that it isn’t really Americanized and that is really evident in the resorts. You are sure to find one that fits your individual style. Here are 3 of my favs:
Looking for the classic Caribbean feel with a luxurious twist? It doesn’t get any better than Hermitage Bay. Individual cottages with private plunge pools nestled on the hillside overlook the crystal clear water of the bay. Their own organic gardens provide fresh produce for the exceptional cuisine. Quiet, serene, and beautiful – have them pack a special picnic lunch and take you by boat to a private beach for the day, enjoy a latte as the sun rises, and fall asleep listening to the sound of the tree frogs.
If your taste is modern and sleek, check out Sugar Ridge. Located on the western side of the island this hotel features panoramic views of palm lined beaches and the Caribbean Sea with St Kitts and Nevis in the distance. It also boasts fabulous restaurants and an exceptional spa and gym. The sugar shuttle – a classic open top Range Rover – takes guests to the nearby beaches. The beaches in this area are just stunning and the guests at Sugar Ridge get to sample them all. The setting is magical for sunset cocktails.
Carlisle Bay is contemporary luxury on the beach at its best. Cool vibe, European elegance, fine wines, and all on one of Antigua‘s most spectacular bays. Yoga, tennis, a private screening room, and three outstanding restaurants make Carlisle Bay special. Have a private romantic dinner on the jetty or kayak through the stunning mangroves for a once in a lifetime experience.
What's the weather like there during "wedding season" (May - September)?
It’s beautiful! Unlike Maine you can pretty much count on nice, sunny days with some tropical downpours here and there. June to September is hurricane season – while it’s unlikely a hurricane would be an issue, I’d recommend trip insurance. And, since its off season for the Caribbean it’s usually cheaper and less crowded!
How do you know so much about Antigua?
I heart the Caribbean! My husband and I have been lucky enough to visit most of the Caribbean but we kept coming back to Antigua. Our first visit was the winter of '96 after the hurricane (Luis, I think) in the fall of '95. We arrived to an island that was still devastated – houses destroyed, power lines down and things flung all over the island. But the island was still gorgeous and the beaches were wonderful. Early every morning at the resort the goats would be drinking out of the pool and the staff would be chasing them away. In the evening, cows would often be roaming across the front lawn, and an American cowboy from Oklahoma, (Big Mike, according to his belt buckle) would go round them up.
We fell in love with Antigua that trip. Among the destruction you could still see the beauty that Antigua really is. Cades Reef had major damage, but you could see new growth. My all-time favourite Caribbean afternoon ever was spent on Turners Beach that trip – the bar was really just a tent with a cooler. We sat on that beach looking at Montserrat wishing we could stay could stay forever. But, it really was the people of Antigua that were the best. They were friendly, welcoming, and warm despite all the hardships the hurricane caused. Always willing to help us explore their home.
We still tell the story of our first trip to Antigua to friends, laugh about the goats and the cows, and thank our lucky stars that we were so fortunate to have found a place so full of grace and beauty. We are now very fortunate to have a small place there, and we sneak away every chance we get. And you know what? We fall in love with it over and over again.
What are some good resources for learning more about the island?
Some of my favorite websites:
Information about the island and what’s going on:
Get out on the water and enjoy!
www.fishantigua.com – Mikie is the best for a day of deep sea fishing.
www.adventureantigua.com – great small boat charter for island circumnavigation, eco tours, and classic Caribbean sailing trips
a few years ago my husband and i traveled to costa rica for an april get-a-way. we wanted to stay somewhere private (a.k.a. quiet) but with close proximity to a town. we chose el pequeno gecko verde in samara on the guanacaste peninsula and were not disappointed. this "hotel" is a cluster of bungalows tucked into a tropical valley. it's owners, pierre and nathalie, are french ex-pats who take great pride in their little slice of heaven. they were just wonderful and helped us plan activities, order pizza, and make dinner reservations. speaking of food there's a dynamite french restaurant just down the street from the hotel called the samara pacific lodge, if you go, it's a MUST.
samara it's a cool little surfer town with a moratorium on building (due to water issues). there are no highrise hotels or massive beach-front retreats. there IS an amazing, wide beach with placid water during the low tide and rockin' surf at high tide. for a small town there are many great dining options as well as beach-front bars, where as long as you're drinking you can stay as long as you like, nice! really, it's got everything you need including a couple surf schools. yes, we took lessons, and no, i'm not ever doing it again.
we loved our trip and we highly recommend samara. it just may be the perfect place for your honeymoon, and with winter approaching, it's a good time to research warm-weather locations.
one caveat about samara: you'll need a rental car to get just about anywhere, but there are cool places to go up and down the coast.