Life in Maine: Turner Farm Barn Supper

Because I'm the luckiest person in the world, I was given two tickets to the Turner Farm Barn Supper out on North Haven Island here in Maine. On a windy day, my husband and I took the Equinox Island Transit out of Rockland Harbor out to the island. Although it was a choppy crossing, John Morin, the Captain did a great job of keeping us all safe. Upon our arrival at the barn we were greeted with a lemongrass vodka collins and the night just got better from there. 

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I have been a wedding DJ for over 40 years. You could say that I have seen a few weddings in my life. Last weekend I experienced a wedding officiant that was second to none. Her name is Maria Northcott. In all my years I have never been so moved by a wedding ceremony. Right from the beginning, Maria captured your attention and guided all that were present on a journey. She involves everyone attending the wedding and invites them to participate in the couple’s magical day. In her voice she pours out her soul with such feelings and excitement. At times you could hear a pin drop and then the next moment the entire gathering in laughter. It takes a special person to achieve that goal. You can tell she is excited to be part of this couple’s wedding day in every word she speaks.
If you’re looking for someone to officiate your ceremony look no further, you have found the best in the business. Her name is Maria Northcott!
I look forward to working with her again.

Dan Giroux, MC/DJ
Dan Giroux Entertainment Services

Bowdoin Chapel real Maine wedding

I love outdoor weddings, but being inside the Bowdoin Chapel on a Saturday in July brought a smile to my face. The walls of the Chapel are covered in colorful, elaborate paintings; the high ceilings and stained glass windows make it feel grand; the blue velvet seat cushions and the long pews evoke British royalty. In a word I was awed by its beauty and charm. And that's just the venue! The wedding couple, Rachel and Harrison chose me as their officiant, and I am truly honored they did. I encouraged them to be present on their wedding day, and to their credit they took my advice. The calm, love, and sweetness they expressed set the tone for their wedding day, which was a relaxed, comfortable and joyous day! What a festive occasion in a gorgeous location!

All photos below by me, A Sweet Start.

Why you should get married in Maine

Thanks to Chelsea, from the awesome wedding blog Tidewater and Tulle, for interviewing me and asking me all about what make Maine such a great place to get married. I met Chelsea on social media because we're both crazy cat ladies and both love weddings. When she came to Maine on a press tour I made sure to pop down to the beautiful Inn by the Sea to finally meet her in person. We walked down to sweet Crescent Beach just down the boardwalk from the Inn to do this impromptu interview.

I wish I could do every interview barefoot on a beach! 

Chebeague Island real Maine wedding

Weddings on an island are magical. First of all there's the ferry ride which just builds the excitement and anticipation of what's to come. And then there's the "we're all in this together" vibe because you're essentially stuck on an island together. And then there's the breathtaking views and historic charm. Whatever *it* is, getting married on an island in Maine truly is one of the most special and amazing adventures! 

Callie and Harrison chose Chebeague Island for their June wedding. On the lawn of the Chebeague Island Inn, and after almost ten years of life already together, they finally became husband and wife. I got a little choked up when they exchanged rings. The strength of the love between them was palpable. Such a happy day! Although these photos are from my iPhone, I think you can grasp the stunning beauty of their wedding day.

I want to say a special shout out to the staff at the Chebeague Island Inn. Caitlin, Jessica, Tina, Matt and everyone who works there treats their clients and all wedding vendors with a level of kindness and professionalism that makes you feel welcome, comfortable, confident and supported. Thank you! 

All photos below by me, A Sweet Start

Great bridal shower gift ideas

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.

Bake, Rattle, and Roll 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! 

Sea My Guest Notecard Set

Jewelry Organizer-Thingy

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

Wrangle Your Bangles 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

Seed What I Mean? Print Set - 9.75 x 8.25

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. ;)

Alma Otter Tape Dispenser

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.  

Gold Crush Bowl Set

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. 

Hugs and Mrs. Wine Tote

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. 

Love Story of My Life Nightgown

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! 

Hello, Retro Earring Set

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

You Need More Sleep: Advice from Cats

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. 


OMG... where to start. I guess that I will start with that everyone at my wedding came up to me and said that Maria from A Sweet Start was the best officiant they had ever heard. It was truly magical. Maria had people laughing, crying, singing, and in complete awe. I had other vendors come up to me and say in all of their years of working, they have never seen an officiant as amazing as her. My DJ, who has been working for 30 years said my wedding ceremony was the best he had ever seen. I can not tell you how important she was to our wedding. Maria set the tone for the rest of the night. It truly was magical and I will never forget it.


Kingsley Pines camp wedding

This real Maine wedding was very different from most of the weddings I officiate, because I got to spend the night in one of the lakeside cabins on Friday night after the rehearsal! My favorite wedding coordinator in the world, Wendy Caron of Dragonfly Services Day Of Wedding Coordinator, and I were invited to participate in the wedding weekend activities. Not only was it super fun but it allowed us to get to know the family, friends and bridal party really well, which made wedding day an incredibly heartfelt and festive affair! Cheers to Amy and Dan! 

All photos by me, A Sweet Start

The love-filled wedding of Barbara + Liz

On a chilly spring day in Boothbay Harbor, Maine at the gorgeous Spruce Point Inn Resort and Spa, Liz and Barbara said "I do!" The ladies chose me to be their officiant and together we wrote a meaningful ceremony that reflected their relationship. During the ceremony, I could actually feel the love and energy that surrounded them; it was magical! 

Here are a few iPhone photos I took on their wedding day. 

Check out some other photos I took at the Spruce Point Inn.