Want vs Necessity

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Last week I helped a couple who wanted to quickly get married.  The husband in this case was a veteran and he and his now-wife have two small children.  She decided to join the Air Force and was leaving in a matter of days.  Among all the other tasks to be done before she left was to get married.  They called looking for the easiest and quickest way to make this happen.  My suggestion?  Meet me at the town office.

They arrived a few minutes early, filed their marriage intentions form, and we went into a conference room near the back of the building.  The ceremony was performed in under one minute, the license was filled out and immediately filed.  They waited a few minutes for the clerk to give them their certified copy and the deal was done.  Total time from their arrival at the town office to their departure with their marriage license in-hand?  About 30 minutes.

Marriages usually happen out of want, but from time to time they happen out of want AND necessity.  When the latter is the case, Affirmations can always be counted on to make things uncomplicated.

For those who are planning a more elaborate event, be sure to get your officiant booked soon.  February is the month in which officiant’s summer weekends are filled up quickly.

Happy planning!


Maine Wedding Venues

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Couples often ask for recommendations on Maine wedding venues, so I’ve started to put together a list of my personal favorites.  Each venue listed here offers something unique or unforgettable.

Agora Grand Event Center (formerly St. Patrick’s Church) – Lewiston, Maine

Agora Grand is one of Maine’ newest full service wedding venues.  Unique to this location is the ability for couples to marry in a stunning church setting without the requirement of holding a religious based ceremony.  From a reception hall on site featuring 55 foot ceilings, to a tower honeymoon suite and hotel, Agora Grand offers some pretty amazing options for couples planning a mid to large sized wedding.  There truly are no words to adequately describe this location, so please view their website at www.agoragrand.com.  You may also contact Agora Grand’s owner, Andrew Knight, by phone at (571) 505-2916 or by Email at afknight@gmail.com

Maple Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast Inn and Conference Center – Hallowell, Maine

It isn’t just the 130 acres of woods and fields (with trails for walking, snowshoeing or cross country skiing) or the tastefully appointed guest rooms, or even the covered porch which make this location stand out.  My favorite feature here is the llamas.  Yes, llamas.  Michelle and Jory married here in September under the two beautiful maples trees and although the llamas didn’t stick around for the ceremony, they did show up for photos afterwards.  Have a look here:  http://www.suzannesimmonsphotography.com/blog/fall-wedding-maple-hill-farm-inn-hallowell-maine.  You can contact the innkeepers of this award winning and environmentally friendly venue by calling 1-800-622-2708.

 The Inn at Sunrise Point – Camden/Lincolnville, Maine

What makes this place special enough to make the “Best of Where to Elope 2016″ list?  Maybe the choice to marry amongst the flowers of the incredible gardens, or beneath the trees at the ocean’s edge.  There is certainly no shortage of amazing backdrops for your wedding photos.  The Inn at Sunrise Point accommodates only the smallest of weddings; elopements and ceremonies with no more than 6 attendants.  The grounds and buildings here are incredible and the staff is wonderfully helpful.  But what stands out the most is the peacefulness and the quiet.  Visit the inn’s website at www.sunrisepoint.com or reach out by phone at (207) 236-7716.

 

 

 


2015 Remaining Availability

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June:  Entirely booked.  No availability for weekend or weekday weddings.

July:  Entirely booked. No availability for weekend or weekday weddings.

August: All weekends are booked.  Some weekdays are available.

September: All weekends are booked.  Some weekdays are available.

October:  Entirely booked.  No availability for weekend of weekday weddings.

November:  There is current availability for most weekends and weekdays.

December:  There is current availability for most weekends and weekdays.

 

 


Booking A Wedding Officiant in Maine

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Booking a Wedding Officiant in Maine

Maybe Valentine’s Day has something to do with it, or maybe the wedding planning guides advise it, but whatever the reason, couples seem to focus on booking their wedding officiant in February.  The e-mails come in and the phone starts ringing and I find myself talking to excited couples from all over the country.  I also find notes scribbled on my calendar on many of the days in June, July and August.

So, just how important is it to book early?  Well, that depends.  If you are planning a large wedding which includes a formal venue, other vendors and requires a rehearsal, on a date which cannot be changed during peak season (any Saturday in June, July or August), book early.  Super early.  A year in advance is not unusual and almost guarantees that the officiant of your choice will be available.

For smaller affairs which require less planning, fewer vendors, and can be pulled together in a few months worth of work, plan to have your officiant booked by the end of March.  You should still be able to find a reputable officiant who you’ll be happy with at that time.

For those of you who are planning very small weddings or elopements, with no additional hired services, or for those who don’t need a specific date for their wedding to take place, you should feel pretty confident that as long as you are flexible on the date, you can get away with waiting almost until the last minute to hire your officiant.

A few other things to keep in mind:

*If you plan to marry on a Friday evening in June, July or August in Maine, book early.  Officiants often have rehearsals on Friday nights for Saturday weddings.

*If you are marrying during the week (including Sunday), no matter what month, it is very likely that you’ll be able to hire any officiant at any time.  I have received calls from couples who want to marry on the very same day and although I don’t recommend waiting THAT long, it certainly can be done.

*There are certain days of the year which are popular regardless of what season or what day in the week they fall on.  They are:  Christmas Eve, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, any sequential dates (i.e. 10/11/12 – though we won’t be seeing any more of those in my lifetime), any unusual calendar dates (i.e. February 29th if it’s a leap year, and lastly, any dates which make your anniversary easy to remember (i.e. 1/6/16).

 


Maine Wedding Ceremony Officiant: 2013 In Review

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Maine Wedding Ceremony Officiant 2013 in Review: I closed the year having performed 30 wedding ceremonies and 1 commitment ceremony. Same sex marriages accounted for about one third of the total.

I think if you asked any Maine wedding ceremony officiant, they would tell you that 2013 was a busy year.  For me, some ceremonies were very quick and low key, others were large and formal.  Most fell somewhere in between.  But they were all done flawlessly and I truly enjoyed each and every one of them.

On Christmas Eve I married the last couple of the year.  Well, that is unless someone calls with a last minute request for a New Year’s Eve wedding ceremony, which does happen.  Anyhow, after a decade together, Carol and Linda decided it was time to tie the knot.  Several hurdles threw themselves in the way of carrying out their wedding plans.  Amongst other challenges, Linda’s son missed his flight, but caught another one in time.  Mother nature threw an ice storm upon us and Linda and Carol lost power, but it came back on just in time.  Both work for an electric utility company, and getting out of work in the midst of massive power outages isn’t the easiest stunt to pull off, either.  But everything came together and with some flexibility on everyone’s part, the ceremony happened.  I came home that evening feeling that all was right in the world, despite the large number of CMP customers who were still without power.

Reflecting upon the year, it sure was an interesting one.  With the same sex marriage law passing and taking effect late in 2012, 2013 was the year for Maine couples who had been together for many years to finally marry.  This was absolutely, without question, my favorite part of 2013.  I met a number of couples who amazed me with their dedication to one another.  It was such an honor to make their relationships officially legitimate.  So, the first of firsts for 2013 was that I performed my first legal same sex ceremony in 2013.  Of course, there had been many commitment ceremonies done before.

I also performed my first marriage ever, sitting down.  Tracy and April opted for a casual ceremony at their kitchen table over a cup of coffee.  Now that I think about it, I think Tracy was actually standing up.  But April and I were sitting.  Later on in the year, I married a couple at a  little cafe in Gardiner where again, everyone was sitting – and again, over coffee.

Another first?  The first ceremony performed in under 15 seconds.  After the first, two more followed this year.

Of course, not everyone chooses a quick or casual ceremony.  For those who opt for a more formal event, in 2014 a wedding vendor folder for brides in the planning stages will be distributed at Patricia Buck Bridal and The Senator Inn & Spa.  Affirmations will be the only Maine marriage officiant featured in the folder, so be sure to look for the ad!

This website, more than a year old at this point is continuing to evolve.  I’m hoping to add a calendar/availability feature to it in 2014.  I’m also hoping to master SEO (search engine optimization for those of you who are lucky enough to have never dealt with it).  A Facebook page was recently established and I’ve not yet put much effort into marketing it…Another item for the bucket list.

Without a doubt, this past year goes in the books as a great year.  Here’s hoping for an even better 2014.  Cheers!


Marriage Ceremony in Bar Harbor Maine

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In October, I had the pleasure of performing a marriage ceremony in Bar Harbor, Maine.  It was a day to remember and I’m pleased to be able to share the details.

The couple:  Rosie and RosemaryAcadia National Park wedding

The date:  October 22nd, 2013

The plan:  Marry atop Cadillac Mountain during their annual Maine vacation

The details:  Classical harpist to play before, during and after ceremony

Rosie and Rosemary planned to marry at the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park when the federal government shutdown forced the park to close just a little more than 3 weeks before the wedding.  Any hope of sneaking in was limited by the news that police were issuing citations for such misbehavior.  Molly Nichols, a classical harpist had been booked to play during the ceremony.  Plans to hold the ceremony at the Graycote Inn were made in case inclement weather on the mountain risked damage to the harp.  Just a few days before the ceremony, the shutdown ended and the park reopened.  Yahoooo!!!  The weather was clear, even sunny, during my drive to Bar Harbor.  Skies began to turn gray as I entered the park.  By the time I was three quarters of the way up Cadillac Mountain, the wind had picked up and rain began to fall.  I chalked it up to a “passing shower”.  When Molly arrived, the decision to have the ceremony at the Graycote was finalized.  So we traveled back down the mountain and picked a spot on the lawn to hold the ceremony.  Adirondack chairs rearranged in a half circle, the harp set up, and we were ready.

There is something to be said for a couple who truly just wants to be married.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Rosie and Rosemary were this sort of couple.  They and their guests took the last minute change of plans in stride.Bar Harbor maine wedding harpist

I ran to the town office to deliver the license and then met back up with the group at Galyn’s in Bar Harbor for dinner.  What transpired there was just too much fun not to blog about.

Molly set up her harp in a function room located toward the rear of the restaurant.  A just-right sized room with an intimate feel.  Not far from other patrons but somehow perfectly separated.  Hors d’oeuvres of shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, seafood stuffed mushrooms and the best bacon wrapped scallops I’ve ever had were laid out.  Noticed a seafood theme, didn’t you?  Well, that’s because Rosemary and Rosie are from Georgia.  Their guests were from as far away as New Mexico.  When it came time for dinner, they all ordered seafood.  But Molly and I (the only Mainah’s in the group) ordered prime rib….A fact pointed out before dinner was over.  HaHaHa – We do have a tendency to take our seafood for granted up here.

Galyn’s also served us some memorable sparkling wine, which I took note of and have looked for, but can’t seem to find on the grocery store shelves (hmmm….go figure).

The company Rosie and Rosemary keep is colorful (that could be the understatement of the year).  I did forewarn Molly about sitting next to Rosie’s brother David (who you can just tell is T-R-O-U-B-L-E), but she did it anyway.  And it turns out Molly is not just an amazing harpist, but she is a remarkable entertainer in general.  I don’t think anyone will soon forget her impression of the Maine accent.  After dessert, we discovered that the multi-talented Molly also sings fabulously.  There was somewhat of a sing-a-long when Molly began playing requests for Phantom of the Opera tunes to end the evening.  My stomach finally stopped hurting from all the laughing we had done at just about the time I got home (two and a half hours later).  I don’t believe anyone in the group wanted to see the evening come to a close.

To Rosie and Rosemary:  Congratulations and thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!  I cannot remember the last time I had as much fun.  When you are ready to renew your vows, be sure to call (assuming Rosemary can find her phone!!!)          ;)

If you are planning a destination wedding in Bar Harbor or Acadia National Park, please call or e-mail me to reserve your date.

Bar Harbor maine wedding


8/10/13 – Katie and Adam

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Katie and Adam’s Wedding at Martindale Country Club in Auburn Maine

Together 3 years, Katie and Adam decided it was time to make things official.  So, I had the honor of joining them together on the golf course at Martindale Country Club.

KatieAdam-33Their rehearsal was held on Friday, the evening prior to the big day.  It was a generously sized wedding party (which always keeps an officiant on their toes), so I was really hoping to be able to do a run-through in the actual location the ceremony was to be held.  It had been pouring rain onKatieAdam-386 and off all day but the rain stopped long enough for us to run through the most important parts…Thanks to a bit of cooperation from Mother nature and a “get down to business” kind of group.

Though the weather forecast called for Saturday to be beautiful, I must admit that based on the weather Friday evening, I was beginning to get a little worried for Katie and Adam.  As it turns out, my concerns were completely unnecessary.  When I arrived at the venue on Saturday, the weather was amongst the nicest of days I can recall us having all summer.  And it was most certainly, the absolute perfect weather for an outdoor wedding.  Blue skies, no humidity, not too hot, not too cold and…Very mild, if any, wind.

KatieAdam-159Let me digress for just a moment, here.  Wind.  It’s one of those things that I think about first when it comes to outdoor weddings.  It has the potential to turn a beautiful, peaceful and graceful ceremony into a feat which should be part of the Summer Olympics.

The object would be to see which officiant can manage to hold the pages of their book in place, hand tissues to the bride and groom, hand pages of readings or vows to the couple or other honored speakers, keep their hair out of their eyes, follow the ceremony with their finger (so as not to lose their place), all while taking, holding and passing rings.  And for extra points…Give a candle lighting ceremony a shot.  Of course, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to wage a war and win against the wind (try to say that three times fast).

Anyhow, thanks for letting me throw that around a bit.  So back to Katie and Adam.  The weather, as I said, was absolutely perfect.  Lucky them. Or, lucky us!

Given that each couple is unique in their situations, I am never surprised when a new idea is introduced by a couple.  This time, Katie and Adam wanted to incorporate a recording of Adam’s mother singing in a church mass.

Sadly, Adam’s mom passed away about 5 years earlier, so this was a fantastic way to honor and include her memory in their ceremony.  I spoke a few words about the contributions Adam’s mother made to this day in her raising of Adam, the significance of including this piece in their ceremony, and then the song began.  It was a powerful moment.  We then lightened things up a bit and the ceremony moved along flawlessly.

I would also add that I was impressed with Ashley Mower of Mower Photography out of Turner, Maine.  She was sweet as can be.  She was also kind enough to share, with Adam and Katie’s permission of course, a number of photos and a DVD of the ceremony.  Credit for all photos on this page go to Ashley.  Please visit Ashley’s website or Facebook page.  Her contact number is (207) 653-5863.

I missed out on watching the wedding party riding golf carts, but thanks to Ashley, I did get to see the pictures.  One of which I found particularly amusing.  Who doesn’t love a beer drinking, golf cart riding bridesmaid?

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Katie, Adam, their family, their friends and their vendors really made the day easy and fun for everyone.  Carl Hoffses of The Music Man DJ Service out of Portland provided music during the ceremony and the reception.  He was personable and a pleasure to work with as well.

It was my honor to marry the two of them and they have my wishes for the best-of-the-best in their future together.

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Kristin and Melissa’s Rockport Maine Wedding

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 Kristin and Melissa’s Rockport, Maine Wedding

Last December, when the new marriage law passed, I promised the first couple to book their same sex marriage a complimentary ceremony.  Kristin and Melissa from Fort Worth, Texas were the lucky ladies.  They set a date of July 27th and arrived for their Rockport, Maine wedding early enough to enjoy a nice break from the heat of summer in Texas.  Their friends and family also escaped and traveled to Maine to share the day with them.

We met at The Liberal Cup in Hallowell a few days before the ceremony to get to know each other a bit and finalize some ceremony details.  Kristin and Melissa are both just as sweet as can be and I was truly honored to be able to do this wedding for them.

The weather was as welcoming as a Saturday in July could possibly be.  The ceremony was held on the patio overlooking the ocean and the guests watched while seated in Adirondack chairs situated in a semi-circle.  L.L. Bean missed a great photo-op for their catalog.

I left with the most beautiful wedding favor…A sailboat themed, quilted coaster, hand made by the mother of the bride.  It sits on my desk, a constant reminder of why I choose to spend my summer weekends doing this kind of work.20130801_220936

Best wishes Melissa and Kristin!

A reminder that weekends fill up quickly in the summer months, so be sure to call or e-mail early to reserve your wedding date.


Abby & Dustin’s Maine Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

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Maine wedding ceremonyAbby & Dustin’s Maine outdoor wedding ceremony took place in July of 2013.

Abby:  Electrical engineer by day, bartender by night, horse fanatic around the clock.

Dustin:  The one guy who can handle Abby (and that’s a testament straight from Abby’s father).

Abby and Dustin were planning some logistics regarding their wedding ceremony when Abby asked Dustin: “Where do you want to stand?”. Dustin’s response: “Next to you”.  Ahhhhh.  Quick wit at it’s best.

The ceremony took place in the morning under an arbor on the lawn where Abby grew up (with an impressive view I might add).  Abby actually wrote the entire ceremony herself and included a hand ceremony.  About two weeks before the wedding, she decided it was “Too much, too much!”, and sent a revised copy which was significantly shorter, and absolutely perfect. The girl knows what she wants!

Abby and Dustin sent along a couple of photos to share.  Credit goes to Heather Sparrow Photography. Heather did a spectacular job of capturing the love between them, and their personalities really shine through. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Gray – And a sincere thanks for allowing me to be a part of such a special milestone.

 

 

Maine wedding ceremony


4/14/13 – One Plus One Makes a Family

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On April 14th, I married Shelly and Belinda in a semi-casual ceremony at the home of Shelly’s parents.  Though it is not wedding related, I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with Shelly’s parents.  Together, they built custom kitchen cabinetry out of wood cut on their own land. Shelly’s mom designed and Shelly’s dad crafted.  Gorgeous, functional and amazing…Much like their marriage.  Without a doubt, the commitment they display has trickled down to their children.

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Now, I always enjoy the pleasure of sipping wine and champagne.  Okay, so I wasn’t really sipping.  Whatever!  It’s a wedding!  Eating strawberries, whipped cream and to-die-for cake are a few of my favorite things as well.

But best of all…Getting to hang out a bit with the brides and their family and friends.  What a crew.  They’re warm, loving, tolerant, accepting, full of zest, multi-talented (from keyboards to cabinets, they have it covered) , and they put fun right up their at the top of their priority list.  Now those are my kind of people!

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When I arrived, I was almost overwhelmed at the positive energy within this group.  They tease each other warmly, show affection without reservation and laugh without hesitation.

Shelly and Belinda have a wonderful son named Cameron, who was as big a part of the day as Shelly and Belinda themselves.

Cameron had made it clear that the three of them were getting married right from the get-go when they filed their marriage intentions.  So we incorporated a vow from Shelly and Belinda to Cameron to honor his place in their family.  Cameron himself was given the honor of pronouncing them all as a family at the end of the ceremony, a job he carried out flawlessly.

Maine wedding ceremony

 

The joy over this marriage didn’t end there.  All of those present were clearly elated to be gathered for such a special occasion.  Shelly sent me a few photos and the moment I opened the one of the entire group, I again felt that same positive energy just oozing from the photo.  I am loving the big smiles all around…Evidence of a truly happy moment.

During a toast to the newlyweds, Shelly’s mother expressed a simple wish: Peace and harmony.

Congratulations to Shelly, Belinda, Cam and the rest of the group.  Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of such a fun filled afternoon!

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 (Look at all those great smiles!!!!!!!)