A.Fogarty Photography

The moment is finally here. You’re walking down the aisle… as your sweetheart beams, you steal a glance at your wedding guests. As your sweetheart beams, you steal a glance at your wedding guests. They’re smiling too, but you can barely tell because their faces are obscured by a sea of smart phones and cameras. As the ceremony gets under way, your loved ones bow their heads, their eyes fixed on tiny LCD screens as they tweet your wedding and post pictures to Facebook.

These friends and family members may have RSVPed “yes” to your special day, but are they really there?

Meet the “unplugged wedding,” brides’ and grooms’ response to digital overload. Couples are (politely) asking guests to ditch the devices and be fully present, especially during the most intimate moments of the day.

For some couples, especially those who haven’t hired a professional photographer, all the picture snapping can be fun for your guests and give you a fuller record of the day. But consider the benefits of asking your guests to unplug:

  • Your friends and family will remember your wedding by how they felt, rather than by the photos they took while distanced by a viewfinder. You’ll remember the emotion in their faces, instead of distracted expressions illuminated by glowing screens.
  • You’ll likely be more satisfied with your professional photos. Your photographer won’t have to worry about snap-happy guests blocking the aisle, getting in the way during special moments or marring the light with camera flashes and red beams.
  • You won’t have to worry (as much) about unflattering images winding up online for all the world, including random high school classmates, to see. Even if your professional shooter captures a few images of double chin or awkward facial expressions, no one else has to know.

Let your photographer know you’re planning an unplugged wedding. You may be able to arrange to make a small selection of images available for guests online soon after the wedding, which can help to satisfy their impulse to document the big day.
Ask your officiate to make an announcement at the ceremony. Or make a note on your program or print out cards explaining your choice to go unplugged. Check out Offbeat Bride for actual wording and templates you can use.

What’s your take on this trend? Are you planning an unplugged wedding?

No pictures during the ceremony<br><a href= target=_blank>Audra Bayette</a>

Posted in Inside Peek, Local Tips & Trends

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Inside Peek: French’s Point

October 15 • 2014

emilie inc.

French’s Point is an upscale estate tucked away on a serene point on Maine’s rocky coast near Penobscot Bay. Surrounded by water views on three sides of the Point (a 260 degree water view!), it is a truly breathtaking site. Up until this week, I hadn’t gotten a chance to walk around the site for myself, so when I had the opportunity to take a tour at French’s Point earlier this week, I jumped at it!

In my mind, French’s Point was a beautiful property with a cute gazebo and a beach, but it was too remote, my mind told me. After visiting, though, I can say firsthand that the distance melted away after seeing the property. It. Is. GORGEOUS! The main estate is in supreme condition: dark hardwood accents, stone flooring, soft lighting in the hallways and expansive dining rooms that are lined with windows, letting natural light flood into the space. The grounds are pristine and continually maintained, with hidden flower-filled niches and private spots to talk or romance.

Other than the welcoming yet practical staff, there are three things that really stood out to me about the property:

1) The Tent

French’s Point recently redid the floor of their tent, which is available from May-October. The floor is now tinted poured cement that mimics real wood, and while this sounds odd at first, it’s actually brilliant. At first glance, the floors looks like classic wood, but it is much firmer, flatter, and doesn’t warp, which means that you and your guests won’t have to worry about tripping. The large tent accommodates close to 300 people and has a separate, covered side area for caterers to set up shop.

2014-09-16 11.44.14

2) Beach Rose Farm

The Farmhouse at French’s Point was redone this year and now boasts 13 spacious bedrooms, each with an in suite bathroom. It can accommodate 26 people, so it’s an ideal sized space for the whole bridal party to stay, and it has a beautifully refurbished wood kitchen, which is connected to a seating area complete with fireplace. It feels incredibly homey, and in my opinion, is a big step up from a hotel; there’s more privacy, and you’re in one place with other guests.

Mr. Haack Mr. Haack

3) Versatility

While French’s Point is primarily known for its ocean views, it also has expansive lawns framed by gardens. These lawns give you the option to have the ocean or a more rustic garden feel, or both! Up to around 100 people can be housed onsite at French’s Point and in the surrounding rental properties and B&Bs. But with Belfast less than half an hour away, there is plenty of easy accommodation for larger groups as well, making it easy to have small, medium, or large weddings at French’s Point.  The estate is also open all year round, giving you the perfect spot to have beautiful summer wedding or a cozy winter one.

emilie inc.

All in all, I was entirely blown away by French’s Point, and I would highly recommend a visit to their beautiful grounds!

Photos by emilie inc. and Mr Haack

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Inside Peek: Cairn Events

September 25 • 2014

emilie inc.

L&L: Tell us a little about your history and how you got into the wedding planning business.

HEATHER: I actually came into weddings through politics. I worked my first campaign in 2000 and was involved in a lot of field organizing, logistics, and fundraising. In December of 2006, I went to New Hampshire because Barack Obama was making his first trip to the Granite State,  I was the advance person that was planning Barack Obama’s book signing in Portsmouth. He shook over 900 hands in an hour and fifteen minutes! It was crazy! At the end of the day, he asked if I would join the campaign, if he decided to run….  the rest is history. It was through my campaign work that I really found my love for event planning and all of the detail and forethought that has to go into every decision.

L&L: When did that love of political event planning transfer over to weddings?

HEATHER: The daughter of a friend on the campaign was getting married on Peaks Island, right off the coast of Portland, Maine, and he asked me if I knew of anyone who could help with day-of coordination. I told him I didn’t know anyone and got off the phone. Then I paused and thought to myself, wait a second, if I can handle planning events for 15,000-20,000 people with 3-5 days notice, then I can handle a wedding. Needless to say, I called him back.

emilie inc.

L&L: What was your first wedding like? Any major hiccups or memorable moments from the whole experience?

HEATHER: Fortunately, there were no major hiccups, but there have been some funny moments since. I remember one time right before bride and groom  were announced into their venue on Peaks Island, there was a bat in the ceiling, and I had to get the groundskeeper to capture it, all without the couple ever knowing.

emilie inc. L&L: How early do you prefer that people contact you?

HEATHER: My business is a small boutique firm, which allows me to be very agile. It really depends on what the couple is looking for. Some couples I work with for a whole year, others for just a few months or weeks.

L&L: How involved are you in the weddings that you plan?

HEATHER: My involvement level completely depends on what the client needs. I offer full design, floral, month-of coordination, full planning and more.

emilie inc. emilie inc.

L&L: Where do you look for inspiration?

HEATHER: I look at Pinterest and at other events that I attend. I’m also a big fan of antiques stores and walking down the aisles of fabric stores. I try to really listen to what my clients are saying, and showing me and what ideas are coming from them, and then condense and clarify those ideas for them. My clients inspire me.

L&L: How do couples normally approach you with ideas and inspiration?

HEATHER: Everybody has a Pinterest board now. It’s one of the first things that they send me. It’s so funny to see how much a bride’s Pinterest board changes between when she first starts planning and what the final inspiration board looks like.

emilie inc.

L&L: What is the first decision that you normally ask couples to make?

HEATHER: I encourage people to meet with their paper vendors first because it changes EVERYthing. And then I ask them to put together their budget.

L&L: Paper? Really? Not colorschemes?

HEATHER: Yes! It’s counterintuitive, but colors and textures don’t always come before paper. I’ll give you an example. A couple came to me last winter and said, ”Heather, we want our wedding to be black tie, very modern.” I said, “Great!” And then I had them sit down with Papier Gourmet, *laughs* and they ended up picking out a very beautiful yet pretty casual invitation that was charcoal with hints of poppy. They said, “Wow, we can’t do a black tie event with these.” I agreed. As you can see, paper changes everything. That wedding was great. The look ended up being quite formal but having small rustic touches which made it feel like you were at a lovely dinner party, much lower key.

emilie inc.

L&L: Are there any styles of weddings that you particularly enjoy planning?

HEATHER: My niche is island weddings, and along with that I do a lot with the Nautical style. The wedding that I mentioned before, though, is one of my favorite styles: Classic, elegant, and yet you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable sitting at that table. I really enjoyed a wedding I planned in that elegant relaxed style which A Brit & Blonde photography captured. A slideshow of it can be seen below:

L&L: We hear you are participating in the BESWOON showcase this coming February…

HEATHER: Yes! I went with my daughter to it last year and loved it, so that’s why I’m participating it in this year. I’ll be designing the Secret Garden room. My daughter is even going to be a flower girl in my room this year!

L&L: Thank you so much for giving us an inside peek into Cairn Events! If readers want to get in touch with you, what is the best way to do so?

HEATHER: or the contact form on my website are both great ways.

*All photos are from weddings planned by Cairn Events. All photography by emilie inc.

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Cupcakes are becoming more and more popular at weddings. They’re easy to distribute to your guests (no more waiting forever for a slice of the beautiful but inaccessible cake), fun, and often much less expensive than a traditional cake while still being easy to meld with your color scheme and overall theme (and did we mention, absolutely scrumptious!?). One way to help personalize them for your wedding (and an easy way to provide a tiny scrapbooking item for you or your guests) is through cupcake toppers. Enter: Thick & Thin Designs. John & Christine Carney, a husband and wife power team, started Thick & Thin just last year out of the IMRC maker space at University of Maine, Orono. Their business quickly took off, and now the couple makes thousands of personalized, laser-cut cupcake toppers throughout the year. These are just any run-of-the-mill toppers, either. Some of the couple’s best sellers are zombies, gears, and hipster glasses! Their repertoire also includes many nautical themed toppers that easily caused New England to come to the forefront of our minds, such as Maine state outlines, octopus tentacles, and whales. John & Christine are also happy to create custom toppers to perfectly fit your wedding decor.

love Maine octopus tentacles whales


Photos via Thick & Thin Designs

Posted in Favorite Things, Inside Peek

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Jackie’s wedding recap

October 22 • 2012

Jackie and Nick tied the knot<br><a href= target=_blank>emilie inc. photography</a>

As a married woman of two weeks, I’m now looking back at our amazing wedding day thinking what so many other brides think: I can’t believe it’s over. After a year and a half of planning and giddy excitement, the big day went by in a flash, even though we celebrated into the wee hours of the morning.

Two words can sum of the first part of the day, before the ceremony: team effort. We’re still thanking our lucky stars for the generosity of our friends and family who helped to set up the ceremony and reception locations. They hung lights, unfolded chairs and tables, arranged flowers and centerpieces, folded napkins, the list goes on. Nick was right there with them, and I stopped by for a bit before it was time to rush off to our beauty appointment.  I felt like such a diva. “Hang those lights there, (hair flip), now I’m off for my updo and makeup!”

(One note to any couples considering using tissue paper poms, like these, as décor.  Super cute? Yes. Quick to fluff into pretty little balls? Not so much. 50 of those darling little poms, which arrive flat, had to be unfolded one layer of tissue at a time. My mom, chief pom fluffer, said she wanted to hold a ritual burning of the poms after the wedding. She was only half kidding.)

And that’s just the help our loved ones gave on the day of the wedding, after months of pitching in during the planning stages. I would list them all here, but my sister/matron of honor already did a great job giving shout outs in her blog post about the wedding for emilie inc.

Speaking of our A-team wedding party, remember that townhouse we rented for them? Total win, it was a charming property in a perfect location, and the owners were, pardon the pun, so accommodating. Nick and his fellas got all handsomed up there while the ladies and I prepped at the lovely Portland Harbor Hotel.

The wedding day all started to feel real when it came time for the ceremony. Seeing all of our guests arrive and knowing Nick was waiting for me at the end of the aisle – that’s when it hit me. As soon as I saw him, even before the ceremony started, I thought, “We did it.”

We’d made the decision to recite our vows to each other a couple of days before the ceremony, and I’m so glad we did. We got all the blubbering out of the way at our kitchen table, so we managed to make it through the real deal with just a few sniffles. As we processed down the aisle after Nick’s dad pronounced us husband and wife, both of us felt all the stress of planning and the intensity of the ceremony lift from our shoulders. It was time to party.

But first, we had to flee from the downpour that started not 5 minutes after the ceremony. I’m talking the sky opening up with sheets of drenching rain. Thank goodness the train was waiting, because we had to run for cover.  So glad I wore flats. Luckily, everyone stayed mostly dry.

The rain will remain one of my most enduring memories from the wedding. There was something felicitious about the timing, and I couldn’t help but take it as a good omen.

In all, there are too many great memories from the day to count.  Can we talk about the toasts? My father’s was pitch-perfect, my sister and brother-in-law’s was funny, touching and set to music, and my father-in-law broke out into a beautiful song (Nick had never heard him sing!) One of my bridesmaids busted out some break dancing moves (in a dress no less), my typically stoic brother teared up during Nick’s dance with his mother, and the cake Nick’s sister baked us was as delicious as it was stunning.

Now that the honeymoon dust has settled and we’re back to reality, our lives feel much like they did before the wedding. But there’s also the joy of a new beginning, and squealing a little inside when I say, “Oh my husband is just parking the car.” Or, “The funniest thing happened to my husband.” We’re both so happy knowing our best years are yet to come.

My final thoughts are these. The day will go by as quickly as everyone tells you it will. Sprinting out of the rain with your dress hiked to your knees may not be graceful, but could be necessary. Try to give yourself the day after the wedding to relax and regroup before you jet off on your honeymoon. If you’re like us, being surrounded by all of your nearest and dearest will make you recommit to spending more time with them after the wedding. Don’t skimp on photography – we’ve relived our big day through all of those beautiful images, even moments we missed.

Oh, and bring an umbrella.

Read the previous posts in Jackie’s wedding planning series:

The proposal

Will you be my maid?

Dress shopping

Engagement portraits

Torn between virtual planning tools

The food

Planning snags

Getting dressed



The two month countdown

Table mock up

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Venue Tour: Caswell Farm

October 10 • 2012

With the demand for barn weddings growing in popularity, we were pleased to recently learn about sweet Caswell Farm in Gray, just 15 miles from Portland. Many thanks to owner Catherine for sharing a bit about this up and coming location.

Caswell Farm wedding<br><a href= target=_blank>Brenden Bullock</a>

L&L: Tell us a little about you and the history of Caswell Farm.

CASWELL: My Grandfather bought Caswell Farm in 1936. After my father’s generation grew and left the nest no one had the desire to return to the rural lifestyle of Gray, Maine. I, on the other hand saw the absolute charm and beauty here. In 1996 my family was planning on selling the farm and I knew I wanted it! I moved from Alaska where I had been living for the 4 years prior, with grand notions of  organic farming. I did just that for years, selling to local restaurants. After my son was born I found it hard to get back into the field and realized that hosting weddings for others would allow me to stay home, care for my son and be able to afford to live on this amazing farm. Until I launched my little website two seasons ago I had only hosted two weddings for close friends.

Caswell Farm wedding<br><a href= target=_blank>Brenden Bullock</a>

L&L: Do you have a limit on how many weddings you accept each year?

CASWELL: I have only been hosting weddings to the public for a few years. I am now getting a lot of inquires and have had to decide how many weddings to book in a season. I feel that any more then 8 would be too many. I have 5 booked for 2013 and one for 2014.

L&L: When a couple books the farm for their wedding, how long do they have access to the grounds?

CASWELL: 4 days, with access to the farm house day of. I feel they need at least that much time to make the space their own. They are able to come in early to set up, and have the option of hosting their rehearsal dinner here as well.

Caswell Farm wedding<br><a href= target=_blank>Brenden Bullock</a>

L&L: Are there any options for overnight stay on the property? Do you allow people to set up tents? Or, are there places nearby for guests to stay?

CASWELL: Yes, the bride and groom are welcome to the bottom floor of the farm house which includes two bedrooms, kitchen, bath and living room. Tenting is also available to the guests night of.

L&L: What structure(s) exist on the property?

CASWELL: 1700’s farm house and barn, and a small out building I have converted into a sauna.

Caswell Farm wedding<br><a href= target=_blank>Brenden Bullock</a>

L&L: Do you allow event tents to be set up on the grounds? If so, do you have a particular company that you recommend?

CASWELL:  I have suggestions for all the services you may need but the couple is welcome to bring in whomever they’d like including caterers.

L&L: Tell us more about the property. Do you have specific spots that you recommend for photos or other activities?

CASWELL: I have a side lawn that is specked with small flower beds and fruit trees that are wonderful for the ceremony. The barn opens up to a large field which is perfect for the reception tent. There is also a bonfire pit that I light for the guests.

Caswell Farm wedding<br><a href= target=_blank>Brenden Bullock</a>

L&L: Do you provide any decorations, or do couples do this themselves?

CASWELL: I have collected decorations over time and they are available for everyone to use including tiki torches, solar lights for pathways and few hundred feet of string lights. I also have quite a bit of signage to help direct guests through the farm. There are also some old farm tables that can be used, but the bulk of tables and chairs need to be rented.

Caswell Farm wedding<br><a href= target=_blank>Brenden Bullock</a>

L&L: What “must-see” places and eateries do you suggest to folks from out of town check out while visiting the area?

CASWELL: A ferry ride around Casco Bay in Portland, Fore Street restaurant and Standard Baking Co. in Portland, and a stroll though and around Pineland Farm in New Gloucester.

Caswell Farm wedding<br><a href= target=_blank>Brenden Bullock</a>

L&L: Thank you for giving us an inside peek into Caswell Farm. If readers want to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to reach you?


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