There’s something so special about a small wedding. There’s still lots of planning involved, but perhaps less production, so the whole thing feels a bit more relaxed and intimate. Not to mention it’s easier to DIY just a handful of invitations than to make a hundred of them! Erin and Mark tied the knot on a Friday evening with 19 guests in attendance, then everyone walked next door for a delicious meal at the newlyweds’ favorite local restaurant. If you’re aiming for a lovely low-key wedding with just your very closest friends and family, or even if you’re going big but you want some beautiful ideas, then read on!
In addition to a few other DIY projects, the bride and groom made their own wedding stationery with watercolors and a unique monogram that appeared at the reception, as well.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I didn’t receive any advice, mostly because I myself have been in the wedding business for 8 years. But the advice I gave myself was to have FUN!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? To relax, enjoy it, make sure it’s what you want and reflects who you are, and to go with the flow because not everything will work perfectly.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? If we did it all over again (which I’d love to do because it was so much fun!), I think we would have an after party someplace.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? We were on an incredible budget. I had just bought a house, we were coming out of a long and cold winter in Maine which drains everyone financially, and although our wedding was very important to us, we didn’t want to be drained financially after. From our attire, to food, to venue, to photographer, etc. we spent a total of about $4,000 (and about 80% of that total was the photographers because being a photographer myself, I knew that feeling confident with who we hired was essential). Otherwise, we traded. We have so many friends in the wedding business and they not only gifted us their talents, but we were also able to pay them back in other ways. We will be forever grateful to them! Our venue was very cheap, and we actually didn’t have to pay anything for our reception space, so that all cut down on costs. Also, the venue limited our guest list which was HUGE in terms of cutting costs. We were able not to skimp on food, alcohol, and other things because the guest list was small.
“The ceremony space is a beautiful, light filled, large room in an old mill building. We attended many art openings in the space when it was used as a gallery, and when we settled on our spot for the reception which was literally right next door, we knew this was the perfect spot to hold our ceremony and cocktail hour. It was such a big space for a group of 21 people, but I loved the fact that we were all huddled together during the ceremony. It felt so intimate, but spacious and free.”
Your ceremony in three words. Love. Unique. Laughter.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? One of my best friends is a marvelous officiant. She guided us through the process, gave us tips and pointers, and made us feel like everything was going to go very smoothly. The most important part for us was that it reflected who we were as a couple.
Who officiated your ceremony? Maria Northcott of A Sweet Start. She is fantastic, and even if she wasn’t one of my best friends, I would have still hired her!
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We did the usual exchange of rings, read our own written vows, and also did a ring warming where we passed our two rings around to all of our guests to hold and bless. It’s not really a tradition, but we stood on a very old rug that belonged to my late uncle whom I was very close with.
What was your ceremony music? I walked down the aisle to a jazz song played by a talented jazz pianist I went to college with, who is part of the band Micromasse in Maine.
What were your vows like? We wrote our own vows which turned out to be pretty funny. Mark read his first and they were really quick and short. I, however, had written quite a bit! I ended them with an excerpt from Beyonce’s song “End of Time” for some slight comic relief because everyone knows I have a little obsession with Queen Bey!
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? My favorite thing about our wedding ceremony was looking into my soon-to-be husband’s eyes and see how much he loved me. His favorite thing was seeing me walk down the aisle and hearing my vows.
“Our reception was fun, intimate, delicious, and full of wine and laughter and relaxing! Also, the room was gorgeous beyond my wildest dreams. The stylist (Emily Hricko of Emily Elizabeth Events) and florist (Amy Maloney of Pretty Maine Flowers) made a room that was so beautiful and stunning my jaw dropped when I walked in!”
Why did you choose this location for your reception? One of our favorite restaurants that we frequent regularly is Frontier Cafe in Brunswick, Maine. The restaurant is inside a big mill building, with beautiful wooden floors, white brick walls, and very large windows overlooking a river. And it’s right next to the gallery space where we held the ceremony. In the back of the space is a small room for private functions. When Mark and I tossed around the idea of having our reception at Frontier, I knew it was the perfect place for us. However, the space only holds 20 people max, which meant our guest list had to be severely limited. It was a hard decision, but we made it work!
What was your first dance song? We danced to “My Romance” which is a classic jazz standard. Our friend played it on the piano.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We made custom placemats for all of our guests which they got to take home with them. They were like mini chalkboards with each guest’s name written in chalk, then sealed so they wouldn’t smudge. Mark also made some unstretched paintings on canvas which become our “guest book” and we hung them in the reception room.
Menu: Frontier house salad: Mixed greens, shaved Parmesan, and Frontier vinaigrette // Goat cheese stuffed chicken: herbed goat cheese stuffed natural chicken breast, wild mushroom risotto, haricots verts // blueberry pork: pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin with a dijon and Maine blueberry pan sauce served with Yukon Gold and parsnip puree, and roasted baby Brussels sprouts
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a delicious spice cake topped with a buttercream frosting made by our friend and talented chef and baker Tara Barker of A Baking Life.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our love for one another and the life we’ve built together. We kind of infused our lifestyle and aesthetic into planning our wedding. The most important things to us our family, friends, food, and art! And we had them all.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? I think my favorite part was being able to thank all of our talented friends who made our wedding day so amazing.