Lucie and Dave’s Wedding at Flanagan Farm | Buxton, ME

Happy 2022! Happy February and happy to be back at it!

We’re finally getting around to sharing all of the BEAUTY that was 2021…what a whirlwind the last year was for all of us! No one was tested more than the couples who planned on having a 2021 wedding. We empathize with every couple who had to pivot…pivot…and pivot again in working with us to make their wedding go off without a hitch. And for those of you who’ve had to push your date into 2022 or beyond, trust us – it’ll be more special than ever when it finally does arrive.

With 2021 behind us, we thought of no better way to say ‘goodbye’ to a crazy year than to take a moment to look back at our couples who truly endured it all. We want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to those who trusted us throughout the entire process. Our little business and family have been through so much and we’re just so grateful for the amazing support they’ve given us.

Without further ado, let’s relive the epic day that kicked off wedding season with Lucie and Dave at The Barn at Flanagan Farm! Their day was wildly colorful, immensely thoughtful, and incredibly fun-the epitome of the joy they bring to the world. Take a look!

Vendor details:

Wedding planner & Design: A Family Affair of Maine | Venue: The Barn at Flanagan Farm | Photography: Henry + Mac | Videography: Cling and Peck |Rentals: One Stop Event Rentals, Heartwood Essentials, PEAK services A Family Affair of Maine | Specialist Lighting: Griffin and Griffin Event Design Illuminated | Photography: Henry & Mac | Floral Design: Chevaughn Marie Designs  | Catering: Fire & Company, Roaming Speakeasy | Entertainment: DJ Jon, Isaiah Bennett Music | Beauty: Ariel Johnson Makeup | Dress: Leanne Marshall | Suit: Indochino | Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Meet Lucie, Dave, and Keifer (their adorable pup):

From their introduction at a friends’ going-away party in New York to a surprise proposal recreating some of their favorite moments, Lucie and Dave’s relationship is filled with love, laughter, and bodacious fun. It’s no surprise that their wedding day was all of these things and more. With thoughtful details of their love story woven throughout, Lucie and Dave’s wedding was a day to remember…or not…thanks to some pickle-back shots to kick off the ceremony! And let’s not forget about the most important guest of all – Keifer! – their adorable pup who stole the show. We love working with couples who adore their fur babies as much as we do!

Photo by Jen Pepper

From the start, Lucie and Dave wanted their day to be a true reflection of their relationship together – right down to the smallest details. This included personalizing their invitations, RSVPs, and even their envelopes, all carefully and thoughtfully crafted by the very talented Jen Pepper of The Chatty Press. Lucie and Dave both knew that the best way to paint a picture and get their guests super stoked (and show up in a time of COVID) was to get guests smiling right out the gate. Jen created a custom modern toile pattern with all of their favorite things, including icons of New York (where they met), toilet paper (how they were introduced…you’ll have to ask them about that one!), sushi, karaoke, sneaker shopping, traveling and of course, Keifer! Jen and I even collabed on the Fire and Co. team attire with custom ties on a gingham checked shirt (see more of Jen’s amazing work below).

Something else we love? Check out what Lucie and Dave suggested for guest attire: Oyster shucking chic. This was such a fun preview of what guests would be indulging in during cocktail hour!

For florals, Lucie and Dave wanted their colors to pop. Ranunculus, garden roses, peonies, poppies, and fresh and dried greenery were incorporated into the bridal bouquet, bridesmaids hoops, arbor, and arrangements by the ever-talented Chevaughn Marie Designs.

The florals were a perfect match with the colors of the bridesmaids’ dresses! We loved how Lucie let her bridesmaids pick which color and style of dress they wanted to wear. The colors were so vibrant for a springtime wedding!

Terracotta pots and vases filled with assorted ferns, succulents, and flower arrangements were the centerpieces for their grazing tables.

Capiz Side Table

Florals are so important when filling out a space as large as the Barn at Flanagan Farm. A stunning installment was placed in the center of the tent, next to the bar of course, where they could grab the couples’ signature drink: the Linda!

What did you love most about the Barn at Flanagan Farm?

What’s not to love!? Everything from the owners, to the property manager, to the actual property itself… it was magical and perfect. It was really special that our parents were able to stay in the house on the property, and one night everyone sang songs around the campfire. We loved the orchard, the wooded sanctuary, and the fact that there was so much room to enjoy the property!

Lucie and Dave gave us creative freedom in the development of the property layout with the food stations using brightly colored umbrellas to keep the oyster bar staying chill, tiered displays and modern bookcases for grab and go bevs and noshing. This layout gives guests tons of space to mingle, plus unlimited opportunities for killer photoshoots.

Market Umbrella with Stand
Every bridal party needs a photo on these peacock wicker chairs! | Wicker Lounger

What was the best part of the planning process?

The little details!! Those are the things we had the most fun with: finding ways to surprise our guests with small details that showcased our personalities. It was awesome working with A Family Affair because we knew that they’d take our brain dump of ideas and turn it into something cohesive and beautiful.

What was your favorite part of your wedding weekend?

Our first look! We were on the fence about doing one, but we’re so glad we did. It was such an intimate moment that we’ll remember forever… we both laughed AND cried.

Lucie surprised Dave with this absolutely gorgeous colorful overlay to her bridal gown by Leanne Marshall. We loved this detail so much, and as the day progressed she removed the skirt for a more traditional look for the ceremony. By end of night, she had a third fantastic look to get the party started (keep reading to see!)

Lucie and Dave’s ceremony was anything but ordinary and here at AFA, we absolutely love that! Pre-ceremony shots and chips were available for guests to grab to keep their hunger and thirst curbed before the cocktail hour. Ann, Lucie’s mother, performed a song during the ceremony, and Keifer made his star appearance down the aisle.

Accompanied by one of Lucie’s stunning bridesmaids, Keifer was of course a part of the ceremony! I mean, c’mon, that tuxedo!? We can’t handle the cuteness!

First kiss as Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez and breaking the glass to honor Dave’s Jewish heritage.

A post-ceremony must-have for the newlyweds? Extra dirty gin martinis!

I mean, do these bridesmaids and groomsmen look straight out of a magazine, or what?! We love the jewel-tone colors that they sported.

If the shot and chips were wearing off from the ceremony, guests need not fret as The Roaming Speakeasy greeted them immediately for cocktail hour. Fire & Co began their first wave of service with passed mini lobster rolls and pigs in a blanket. In addition, an oyster shucking station (as noted in their attire requirements) and charcuterie were available for grazing. We love how Lucie and Dave had their drink signage match their invitations!

What do you feel your guest will remember the most about your wedding?

The incredible lobster rolls and combo karaoke + dance party!

Fire & Co served wave number two of food including a farmers salad, skillet cornbread, pimento mac & cheese, smoked pork tacos, and smoked chicken with chimichurri. These heavier apps were perfect to prepare guests for the few hours of dancing and karaoke they were about to experience inside the barn!

Let me tell you, we did our absolute best keeping the inside of the barn a total secret from guests. Lucie and Dave truly wanted to kick things up a notch with a complete old school sparkle prom vibe to get their friends and family in the mood for a dance party karaoke of the epic kind. Griffin and Griffin nailed this installation, and who else but DJ Jon could we have center stage? Only the best for these two!

Their first dance as newlyweds was appropriately “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'” and the wedding party was introduced to “Izzo (HOVA)” by Jay Z, which lit the floor on fire! Then, Lucie and Dave kicked off karaoke with a special song “Let’s Duet” from the movie Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Guests absolutely loved belting out their favorite tunes!

Finally, after burning some major calories, Fire & Co served their third and final wave of food – wood-fired pizza, s’mores, and chocolate lava cake.

Any advice for couples on their wedding day or throughout the planning process?

Do things for yourself, not for other people or because of Pinterest Pressure. Focus on the meaning of the day – your marriage – and let your team sweat the small stuff. The wedding is just one day, and the marriage is forever! It will feel perfect no matter what, so do what you want to do. (We agree and couldn’t have said it better ourselves!)

We absolutely loved working with Lucie, Dave, and Keifer and their vendors to make their day one to remember. To many more years of lobster rolls, karaoke parties, and happiness! Thanks for trusting us with your special day. We cannot thank you enough for your wonderful energy, for your contagious spirits, and your big, big hearts. You inspire us!

See Lucie and Dave’s teaser trailer through the gifted eyes of Cling & Peck here!

Love the rentals Lucie and Dave used? Check out our rental shop! If you’re ready to plan the party, event, or wedding of your dreams, contact us today.

Alissa + Hayden’s Cunningham Farm Wedding | New Gloucester, ME

Hello my sweet friends! We’re somehow already more than one month into the new year (??) and I can hardly believe it. We’ve been spending the last month the same way I’m sure many of you have as well: resetting, both mentally and professional. I’ve set new goals for myself and for the business, and I know my hardworking team has done the same. January is always a time of growth for me, and it’s been good for the soul to reset, reprioritize and re-energize for the year ahead.

As part of this process, I actually spent quite some time looking back on previous weddings over the past few weeks. I love to reminisce, but I also find such inspiration in looking at our own Clients, remembering how we worked together to bring their vision to life. Today, I figured I’d bring you along for the ride!

I’m going way back for this one: a sweet summer wedding in August 2019 to celebrate the love of Alissa & Hayden. These two incredible human beings made this day completely their own, which as you know, we love. Bright pops of color in the florals, design elements, and, yes, Alissa’s hair (!!) stole the show in this stunning day. They even caught the attention of Rock N’ Roll Bride – peep the recent feature here!

Let me just start by saying this: Alissa and Hayden are probably cooler than we’ll ever be and we are so here for it. They are spontaneous, adventurous, and vibrant in everything they do. They’ve traveled the world together (literally) and always made us laugh. They’re a whooole lot of fun and we knew from the start they’d be awesome to collaborate with. Huge shout out to Cody James Barry Photography for capturing all the beauty!

Some window peeping from our gorgeous Bride – how much should we bet that she was trying to catch an early look at her husband to be?!

Nothing like a sibling hug on the big day! Alissa’s sister was not only there for support, but actually was the genius behind all of the fabulous make-up for Alissa and her bridesmaids. Very impressive if you ask me! Alissa opted for a more natural look for the day, with a beautiful lip color that perfectly complemented her full floral headband.

Remember when I mentioned that the florals stole the show? This is what I’m talking about! The bouquet is probably an all time favorite of mine. Anika and her team at Bad Rabbit Flowers created some seeeerious magic. This bouquet was overflowing with colors and interesting textures, including everything from dahlias to succulents and airplants. She’s a beauty!!

Please just try and tell me Alissa is not one of the coolest, most genuine Brides you’ve ever seen… I’ll wait! Her fitted lace dress, vibrant headband and casual sandals made for a vibrant boho look.

And there’s our Groom!! Hayden opted for a grey suit and beautiful floral tie to complement Alissa’s look.

After a hug from mom (a requirement), we officially started out the day with a gorgeous first look on the sprawling lawn on Cunningham Farm. Cunningham Farm was a no brainer for Alissa and Hayden when it came to the venue selection. Alissa was born and raised in Maine, and knew she wanted to find somewhere in her home state to say ‘I do’. The grounds at Cunningham Farm are so vast, they’re almost playful, while the barn itself is romantic and intimate no matter how many guests are presentIt made the most stunning backdrop for the already picture perfect day!

I am quite honestly in awe of this entire first look. The love between these two is completely infectious – and uhm, so is Alissa’s smile if you didn’t notice! I am sitting here smiling ear to ear and sucking up as much joy from these pictures as I can get. These two radiated such positivity throughout the day, a sense of calmness in knowing their love was so deep and finally being cemented.

One of my favorite pictures from the day – such a fab girl tribe!

After enjoying some pre-ceremony photos and time with their closest friends and family members, Alissa and Hayden retreated to the barn while guests arrived. Guests were greeted by this stunning mirrored sign, as well as fruit infused water and champagne to sip as they took in all the beauty. The ceremony space itself was adorned with lush florals throughout, with the arbor florals absolutely stealing the show. The space was serene but lively, with a stunning backdrop of large trees and a quiet pond just behind the arbor. It was a dreamy setting, with hardly a cloud in the sky I might add, too!

We love special ceremony elements like this. It’s the small things that make a day so unique and personal!

Someone needs to let me where this FABULOUS hat was purchased?! I’ll take a few, please!!

“I was so nervous leading up to the ceremony, I was shaking visibly, Alissa shared. “Walking up to Hayden at the altar, I think he could tell how nervous I was. Standing up there, I took his hands, and planted my feet to steady myself.”

“After a few minutes, where I was starting to feel really woozy and lightheaded, Hayden leaned in and whispered ‘bend your knees!’ Luckily, he realized that in my nervousness, I had locked my knees and was on the verge of passing out! If he hadn’t said that, I definitely would have passed out at the altar, making for a different, much more embarrassing story. In that moment, I realized how well he knew me, and I felt so comforted and seen.”

Finally husband and wife! This ceremony was so touching and filled with emotion (did you see the way Alissa looked at her dad when he walked her down the aisle?!). Hayden’s sister shared a heartfelt reading and I can promise you there wasn’t a dry eye in sight. And the personal vows left us smiling for hours – filled with humor, sweet stories and the most radiating joy between these two. We loved every second of it! Alissa and Hayden floated out of the sanctuary to none other that ‘Don’t You Think It’s Our Time’ by Johnny Crash and June Carter Cash.

Tell me you’re not obsessed with this picture! Meme is rocking those flowers and may officially be the most lovable grandma around.

Post-ceremony, guest headed over to the Hay Barn for a festive, indoor/outdoor style cocktail hour. Beautiful cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were circulated as guests explored the property and listened to some rockin’ tunes from Larry Williams Band. An antique croquet set, Giant Jenga, and cornhole were spread out across the lawn as well for some added fun. Guests sipped, danced, and played games under the warm sun.

Are we obsessed with these bright, summery linens? Do we want them in our own house? I’ll let you figure that one out! 😉

Remember when I said drinks and hors d’oeuvres we’re passed? These are the beauties I was talking about! Trillium Catering stunned with their gorgeous displays and even more impressive flavors. Alissa and Hayden designed three speciality cocktails that guests truly RAVED over: Peach & Blueberry Whiskey Sour, Sparkling Basil Lemonade and Lone Star Beer. These were a hit! The food hardly took a back seat though. Guests enjoyed Maine crab cakes, lobster rolls, banh mi crostini, crispy polenta cakes, and beef picadillo Empanadas. YUM!

As cocktail hour came to a close, guests were invited into the barn for dinner. And this sight was truly a showstopper… we used our rustic barn board wall as a grand escort card display, adorned with (to no surprise) colorful florals at the base.

Collaborating with Alissa and Hayden on this design was so much fun. These two had our creativity flying with their ideas! We landed on a rustic yet charming design with large farm tables and chiavari wood chairs. La Tavola Tuscany Kiwi Runners adorned the tables for a bold pop of color, which was a fun complement to the bright centerpieces. We added simple mercury glass votives for some natural candlelight, as well as table numbers with floral accents to complete the look,

This place setting was a stunner! Vintage china was an absolute must from the very beginning, and these authentic, patterned dinner plates did not disappoint. Shiny gold flatware, vintage rose goblets and classic ivory napkins rounded out the look. And to top it off? A beautifully designed custom menu!

Peep those mood setting lights… they made the barn feel intimate and magical! Shout out to Griffin & Griffin Event Design Illuminated for this display.

Alissa and Hayden snuck off for some sunset pictures and all I have to say is…. WOW. I’ll just leave these here for you!

Back in the barn, guests enjoyed a variety of stunning desserts to add a sweet touch the the night. Yet another shout out to Trillium Catering here! These are seriously making my mouth water. Dessert consisted of a buttermilk cake with lemon and Swiss meringue, Maine blueberry pie, Texas pecan pie and some creamy ice cream to put on top.

Annnd let the best part of the night begin! Dancing the night away was a favorite for Alissa and Hayden, and clearly for the rest of this crew too!

Alissa & Hayden – we absolutely adore you! Being part of your wedding day was a true honor and an experience that I will remember for years to come. Thank you for allowing us to collaborate with you to create such a perfect day!

XO, Paula

Get the look with A Family Affair of Maine’s speciality prop rentals for New England weddings:  Vintage China | Vintage Cranberry & Green Plates | Vintage Salad Plates | Rustic Barn Board Welcome Wall | Gold Votives | Driftwood Coffee Table | Gold Base Side Table | Plum Velvet Pillow | Pink Velvet Down Pillow | Outdoor Side Chair with White Cushions | Outdoor Sofa with White Cushions | Velvet Carved Wood Sofa | Leather Wingback Chairs | Blush Pink Wool Rug | Gold Mirror Mesh Side Table – Small | Gold Mesh Mirror Top Side Table – Large | Moroccan Coffee Table with Glass Top | Copper & Glass Terrarium Lanterns | Table Top Signs – Gifts and Cards & Guestbook | Cocktail Hour Sign | Floor Artist Easel | Bronze Wire Basket | Gold Framed Mirror | Antique Croquet Set | Giant Jenga | Cornhole Game | Tear Drop Beverage Container | Table Number Frames

And a special thank you to all of the vendors who made this day one to remember:

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Cunningham Farm | Planning, Design + Specialty Rentals: A Family Affair of Maine | Rentals: One Stop Event Rentals | Specialty Light Install: Griffin & Griffin Event Design Illuminated | Calligraphy: OnPoint Calligraphy | Photography: Cody James Barry Photography | Floral Design: Bad Rabbit Flowers  | Catering & Bar: Trillium Catering | Ceremony, Cocktail Hour and Reception Music: Larry Williams Band | Transportation: Custom Coach & Limo | Restrooms: Royal Thrones of New England

Who runs the world? Oh that’s right, our pets!

Happy holidays my friends! I may be a summertime gal at heart, but Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I have Christmas spirit running through my veins all year round, but just after Thanksgiving I turn into Buddy the Elf. The element of surprise, Christmas decorating and spending time in the kitchen with my girls is all too much for my heart to handle. Things may look different this holiday being away from our extended families, but we’re still grateful for this magical season. We hope you’re all safely celebrating the season with the ones you love.

While we all may be a bit more excited than normal for the year to come to a close, we had to take some time to squeeze in one last blog post to cover a very important topic (and no, it’s not Pantone’s 2021 color of the year). Let’s shine a big spotlight on our fur babies! I truly believe that spending so much time with our pets this year has been one of the biggest bright spots. It’s well known that having a pet leads to true health benefits – bonding with our pets can instantly lower blood pressure, combat feelings of anxiety and lonliness and provide a much needed distraction to the news reports this year. And of course, they encourage us to get outside! Having a furry fiend Increases opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities, which is something we all need more of these days.

Straight from the Peanuts gallery, our buddies: Charlie Brown and Lucy.

I know I’m not alone in my love for these guys either: rescue animals were featured as Time Magazine’s 2020 Pet of the Year. According to the ASPCA, animal welfare organizations across the country saw a spike in adoptions during the second half of March, with an estimated national adoption rate of 58% at the beginning of the month, jumping to 85% by the end of the month. I also saw recently that for many shelters across the US, the number of homeless dogs and cats entering shelters has declined significantly. And though I’ve seen some concerns about this, it looks like adopting from a shelter right now is very safe. According to the CDC, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low – there is no reason to think that any animals, including shelter pets, play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

Bottom line here: we love our pets, and if we’re being honest, they probably have loved EVERY second of us being home for nine months straight. How will we ever break it to them that we have to return to work one day?! This year, we’re donating funds to local animal shelters to say thank you to all of the fur babies out there and to those who work to help us find and take home our favorite furry friends. Here’s some ways that you can donate too:

  • ASPCA: Donate online or call (800) 628-0028.
  • Humane Society: With your donation, you’ll protect animals suffering in factory farms, in research labs, in puppy mills and in other situations of cruelty and neglect.
  • Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland: There are so many ways to give back here – as a one-time gift, a regular contribution, and/or in honor of a pet or loved on.
  • Hart of Maine: The Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART) is a shelter and adoption center for cats in Cumberland, Maine. Their organization is filled with tireless volunteers that provide love and care for surrendered cats and are supported entirely by the generosity of individual donors, foundations, and businesses.

Fun fact: Our couples are also huge pet lovers! And we are so here for it.

We’ve had a ton of conversations with our couples this year, and somehow, we always end up talking about our fur babies. But we’re hardly complaining. It’s probably the one thing all of our couples have in common – most babes have even made it into the official planning process in some way! We wanted to take some time to celebrate them today. So, without further ado, please meet some of our 2021 couples and their absolutely adorable pets!

Up first, meet Lucie, Dave and pup Kiefer! Kiefer is rambunctious and jovial, and joined the family just about three years ago. After almost four years of Lucie telling Dave they should get a dog, one day she noticed him Googling dogs and local shelters. She knew that the window of opportunity was there, and pounced. A month later, Kiefer came home to Brooklyn!

  • Favorite story, according to mom & dad: When Kiefer was a puppy, we took him to the “doggie lake” at Prospect Park in Brooklyn He LOVED the water and waded out on a nice big rock. He splashed around, enjoyed the water, and played with other dogs on the rock. He started getting bolder, and walked out a bit farther on the rock…. until next thing he knew, the rock ended…. and Kiefer sunk into the water not prepared to be “in the deep end”. He popped back up (what a relief) and quickly swam to shore. That was the day Kiefer learned how to swim. It was terrifying but funny, and the poor guy hasn’t touched water since.
  • Celebrity voice if Kiefer could talk: Kiefer Sutherland, of COURSE
  • Wedding incorporation: Only the star of the invitation!! And maybe the bridesmaids too? We love it!!

Up next is Annie, Nick and pup Riley! Though this cozy pic might make you think otherwise, Riley is an outdoor enthusiast – he loves to hike, go to the beach (we relate!) and play with other dogs. He is very much so a dogs-dog and demands to say hello to every dog that he passes.. He’s very happy, wiggly, energetic, and playful!

  • How Riley joined the family: Annie and Nick adopted Riley on November 2, 2019! Nick grew up with dogs, but were adopted by his parents when they were on the older side, so he always wanted to train and raise a puppy. We talked about it for a few years and finally decided to move forward with it! Riley is a rescue from Aruba; there are a lot of feral dogs on the island and a few different nonprofits have volunteers who fly puppies back to the U.S. He was fostered in Dennis, MA, minutes away from where Annie’s family loves to vacation on Cape Cod. We picked him up there on a chilly November day and the rest is history!
  • Favorite story, according to mom & dad: On our first day with Riley, Nick naively thought it would be a good idea to try some off-leash training right away. We brought him to some trails on Cape Cod, took off his leash, and tried to have him follow us using treats. He immediately turned around and started walking back towards the car! Luckily, he’s now great off-leash, but it took some time 🙂
  • Wedding incorporation: Annie’s sister (and maid of honor) walked Riley down the aisle at their micro-wedding this past September! He was very excited to be included and he was a star in the pictures!

My heart is BURSTING from seeing these snuggles – am I the only one?! These two cuties are no other than Clark and Bean, kitten children of our awesome Couple Allison and Dylan. Clark and Bean were a dynamic duo when they were adopted to years ago. According to Allison, Clark is a big softy – he spends a ton of time lounging and relaxing in front of the wood stove. (Sounds like a good life if you ask me!!) Bean on the other hand is shy, but once he gains your trust he’s a loyal companion who will greet you when you get home.

  • Favorite story, according to mom & dad: We adopted Clark and Bean from Hart in Cumberland in February of 2018. Dylan’s sister Abby is a vet and would volunteer giving cats their vaccines and check ups. When Abby told us about the cats, she said that they were bonded and needed to be adopted together. The first night we brought them home, Clark jumped into Allison’s lap knowing he was in his forever home. Bean was a little apprehensive and would call for Clark who would go find him and lead him into the room with us. Bean would get scared and run into the other room and then call for Clark who would then bring him back. This went on for an hour where Clark finally gave up and snuggled with Allison but it was so interesting to see them communicate and lean on each other for support. After Bean got used to everyone he has been inseparable from Dylan and of course his first love, Clark. We often find them snuggled together in such odd positions or wrapped in each others arms.
  • Celebrity voice if Clark & Bean could talk: Bean would be Ewan McGregor and Clark would be Sean Connery
  • Wedding incorporation: Since they couldn’t be there for the big day (that would have been a disaster!), we named our specialty cocktails after them. Clark was a blood orange margarita and Bean was a beer by Mast Landing.

I actually don’t know if I can handle more cuteness, buuut let’s keep going. Please meet Brianne, Angelo and Oscar! Brianne and Oscar have been two peas in a pod for six years now, even before Angelo came into the mix. But it didn’t take long for Oscar to warm up: Angelo insisted on meeting him the first time him and Brianne hung out! Oscar is, according to Brianne, “too smart and stubborn for his own good, incredibly loyal, BEYOND food motivated (will practically do backflips for treats), and always down for an adventure.”

  • Favorite story, according to mom & dad: I used to live in downtown Dover, NH which meant on our weekend walks, there were always PLENTY of treats from people late-night snacking. One night when we were walking, I see Oscar go into full stealth, sneak-attack mode, snatch something up in his mouth, then try to slink away; he found the Holy Grail of treats and scored a whole, intact slice of pizza. While I was crying from laughing so hard, I genuinely felt bad taking it away from him because I have never seen any dog put so much effort into securing food, but, can you really blame him?!
  • Celebrity voice if Oscar could talk: Daniel Craig; Oscar is smooth and handsome like James Bond (this suggestion was all Ang but I couldn’t agree more).
  • Wedding incorporation: We’re slightly obsessive dog parents and finding a venue that allowed him to be there with us for not only the ceremony, but entire duration of the day including the reception was one of our top criteria. For the reception, we created a signature drink sign with a drawing of Oscar and after loving the way it came out, we decided to fully embrace our love/obsession and also order cocktail napkins and drink stirrers with his face on them!

This little guy is no other than Beezer, doggy son to Kristina & Tom. Beezer joined the fam 9 years ago, and was actually Kristina & Tom’s first dog together. According to Kristina, “Beezer is a stubborn French Bulldog, but also so sweet and affectionate. He always has to be touching one of us, whether it’s cuddling next to us or his paw or head rested on our legs. He’s a lazy dog who also happens to have a serious food obsession. He usually starts begging or barking at us to give him his food a couple of hours before his meal time.”

  • Favorite story, according to mom & dad: For Christmas one year, we bought Beezer three bags of dog treats that we were hoping would last for months. We wrapped up the treats and put them under the tree, and the next day we headed off to do more Christmas shopping. Hours later, we arrived home and walked into the house to wrapping paper everywhere. It took one look at Beezer’s guilty face to find the culprit. When we went to clean up, we found the three bags of dog treats, chewed open, with not even a crumb of a treat in sight. Beezer ate a few month’s worth of treats in the span of a couple of hours! Needless to say, he slept soundly the rest of the day! 
  • Celebrity voice if Beezer could talk: Alfalfa from the 1994 Little Rascals movie. We always picture him having the cutest voice. 

Chrissy and Mike, you’re next! These sweets are getting married next year and you better believe that their pup Indy (or Indiana if we’re being formal!) will be by their side. Indy has two personalities he’s famous for: a silly, playful side and a major snuggly, cuddly side. He loves to play outside, but is also just as happy to snuggle up on the couch.

  • How Indy joined the family: We’ve had him for about 2 years, so not long enough! We found “Buster” online and drove all the way out to Pennsylvania (7 hours one way) to a beautiful dairy farm. It was well worth the long drive. He smelled like cows for the first week we had him! We named him after Indiana Jones’s dog. In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade you find out that Indiana Jones is actually named Henry Jones Jr who took the name Indiana from the family dog! Sean Connery says “We named the dog Indiana!”
  • Favorite story, according to mom & dad: He makes us laugh everyday! It’s can be the looks he gives us when he wants to play or when he jumps into bed with us in the morning like a toddler on Christmas or the “ah-ooo-gah” sound he makes when he has a really big yawn or jumping like a kangaroo in the snow. He always makes us laugh.
  • Wedding incorporation: We are still planning much of the wedding details but we know he’ll be involved in some way. We will have some children at our wedding so he may have the task of keeping them entertained!

Surprise to no one: AFA has some fur babies too!

Like all of our Couples, the fur baby obsession is going strong with this team. We wanted to share some of our favorite moments so you can get to know the sweet AFA pets as well!

Marie, you’re up first my dear! I knew Marie was a dog lover from Day 1. These pups have been a conversation topics many times throughout her time with our team and honestly, we wouldn’t want it any other way!

And how did these sweet pups join the family? According to Marie: “We got Jameson from Maine Lab Rescue in February 2016.  Brian and I had sadly lost our dog in November of 2015 and had just started talking about potentially looking for a new dog. I saw an older dog on the Maine Lab Rescue’s Facebook page and since they were having an adoption event near by we decided to go meet the dog.  Brian said he was willing to just go LOOK but wasn’t so sure if he was ready to commit.  Well, that older dog wanted absolutely nothing to do with us and it just so happens that, that day Maine Lab Rescue also had a new litter of puppies up for adoption.  All the other dogs were already claimed except for Jameson.  We overheard one of the workers say “What should we do with Jameson?” and Brian immediately chimed – “We will take him!” [so much for just going to look 😉 ]  Jamo nuzzled right into my neck and we knew he was meant to be ours. We got to take him home a week later (longest week of my life) and he has been our sweet boy ever since. He also just recently turned 5 on December 5th!”

  • Personality traits, according to Marie: Jameson is our Sun baby.  He has such a playful spirit and would rather chase the ball or play tug with squeaky toys, over anything else.  He LOVES other humans and getting all their attention and has deemed himself the nickname of “mr. jealous” on occasion.  He is also the biggest cuddle bug and the second Brian gets up at 5am every morning, Jamo immediately hops into bed and we snooze back to back for another hour.  He is also an extremely curious dog and always wants to be right where mom or dad is, and if one of us leaves the rooms he feels the need to go with us to make sure we don’t need his help. 😉 Jamo is also the kind of dog who knows when you are feeling sad and does not like it when people cry.  He will come over and lick your face or try to nuzzle his head into your neck and it is just about the sweetest thing ever.
  • Celebrity voice if pups could talk: Jameson would definitely be Macaulay Culkin in the Home Alone movies. Jack would probably be a mix of Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood, depending on the situation.

This sweet girl right here is none other than Kona – Jordan and Jake’s pup! Kona is a VERY smart, loving and spunky gal who has been with the fam for about 3 years. Jordan adopted her at four years old, but it was a loooong time coming. “I had wanted a husky since I was a little kid,” she explained. “I mean this was YEARS of dreaming. I would stay updated on local shelters to see if any huskies became available in the area. One day, I saw this beautiful dog was available for adoption and took the next day off from work to meet her. To be specific: I arrived 2 hours before the shelter opened in order to meet her first! Kona became part of our pack and can’t imagine it without her!”

  • Favorite story, according to mom & dad: One Saturday afternoon, we had a friend up visiting, and the three of us went into the Old Port for lunch. We came back home to find Kona standing on the top of one of Jake’s four foot tall speakers. We were all on the floor cry laughing, it was hysterical. She must have stepped on the table that was next to the couch, and then hopped up onto the speaker to look out of the window. How long was she up there for? We have no idea. But it was so silly, especially since Kona isn’t one to get into our things or really make trouble! Too funny!
  • Celebrity voice if Kona could talk: Scarlett Johansson. We can’t really explain why, but Scarlett Johansson’s voice in HER is what we think her voice would be like. Jake came up with this — and cannot agree enough!

Next up is Courtney and Ryder! Ryder joined the family with Courtney and her boyfriend in July of 2019 and they’ve been obsessed with her ever since. July 2019 may seem like ages ago, but Ryder is still in full-on puppy mode. She is a full Australian Shepard (though I know they’re still questioning it after many asks about her being a Border Collie!). According to Courtney, “To put it simply, Ryder is insane hahah. She can be the sweetest, loving dog in the whole world but she has a TON of energy and she likes to take it out on us! I’m convinced she thinks she’s a shark with how much she likes to bite and chew on her toys. She won’t fetch.. just run away from you and chew them in the process!”

  • Favorite story, according to Courtney: Ryder has always liked her space when it comes to snuggling. She’ll give in for a bit, but once those 20 minutes are up, she’ll be moving to the other end of the bed so she can stretch out and enjoy her ~alone~ time. One night when I was getting ready to head to bed, I realized I couldn’t find Ryder. She never leaves our side, so I was really concerned. But come to find out she was completely stretched out under the bed already fast asleep! It’s now her favorite spot – she army crawls under each night and we don’t see her until the morning.
  • Celebrity voice if Ryder could talk: I don’t know if the Energizer Bunny has a voice but that’s her: crazy, high energy and very vocal!

And last but not least, meet my fun-loving, entertaining babes – Charlie Brown and Lucy! Charlie Brown is a full-bred vizsla. We adopted him from Widdershins Farm in Dover-Foxcroft and we adopted Lucy from Snow Tendra Bengals in Lisbon Falls last year. Both of our babies are hypo-allergenic pets and were a consideration for my hubby’s severe dander allergy. While I have always adopted animals from shelters and rescues, these two were breeder babies because of our home dynamic and for health issues. We still volunteer our time and donate to local shelters whenever we can and truly love the experience.

  • My favorite story? Everyday Lucy and Charlie run around the house and chase each other for hours. When we first got Lucy last Christmas, we were worried that Charlie would be jealous and “hunt her” because of his breed. Lo and behold they are the best of friends. Lucy is a more avid hunter than Charlie, catching mice, chipmunks and birds all while on a lead outside!
  • Celebrity voice if they could talk: Charlie Brown would most definitely be Goofy, and Lucy is no doubt Karen from Will and Grace.

Aaaand that’s a wrap on my new favorite blog post ever! These sweet babes mean the world to us, and we’re to happy to work with others who feel the same. Just call us obsessed pet parents! I know I can speak for my whole team and all of our couples when I say we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’d love to hear your pet stories too! Share your favorite fur baby pics and stories in the comments so we can all enjoy.

Xoxo – wishing you all the happiest of holiday seasons!

Day 2: Art Nouveau-Inspired Winter Elopement | French’s Point Estate

The weather outside today is frightful, so we’re back to showcase the rest of this stunning weekend from last year! For those who may have missed it, we shared a beautiful art nouveau-inspired elopement that we had the absolute pleasure of designing last year at French’s Point Estate. To recap some of the beauty from this post (thanks to Greta Tucker Photography!) , let’s just take a look back real quick…

Aaaand like I said, STUNNING. This weekend was a true celebration of talent, friendship and creativity. We worked with some of our closest peers to make this dreamy idea a true reality – traveling to Stockton Springs to design and help coordinate the weekend. While the styled elopement and reception was a showstopper, the group had even more up their sleeves planned for Day 2. Think: a non-traditional post-wedding event with every outdoor activity you can imagine to put an end to the most perfect weekend. Taking advantage of all the Maine winter has to offer! Jessika Brooks-Brewer, the fabulous CEO and Owner of French’s Point, dreamed up this killer concept for our crew to enjoy.

Like Jessika, we know the day after the wedding can be hard. Speciality lighting and florals come down, reception spaces get cleared and Couples move out of their wedding venue. But that newly married feeling is still going strong (our favorite feeling!). And the good news? Sundays are starting to become “the final day of our amazing weekend” instead of “travel day for all of our guests”. We’re loving this change – we’ve planned numerous Farewell Brunches and Post-Wedding Activities and think it’s the best way to see and thank your guests one final time.

For this elopement styled shoot, Jessika put new meaning on this post-wedding plan. We gathered all of our friends, family members and kiddos for some serious FUN. French’s Point offers so many opportunities for winter adventures, and we took full advantage. First on the list was ice skating and snow angels!

It may be in the shape of a heart, but you better believe that snow was used for a snowball – your adorable smiles can’t fool us, girls!

Next up was a childhood favorite for everyone, kids and adults alike – we went SLEDDING. We had tubes and antique wooden sleds handy for ALL the fun. French’s Point has a large hill right near guests suites that was perfect for the occasion. A breathtaking view didn’t hurt the experience either 😉

When it was Abby’s turn to go, this daredevil did not hold back! Talk about some serious air on this run. And can we point out that she is doing all of this in jeans?!

This Couple was the star of the show all weekend – so full of life, joy and adventure. I don’t think they minded playing this role after their recent real-life engagement!

With the sun starting to peek through the clouds, we headed over to the fire pit for a delicious snack, a layer of warmth on an otherwise chilly day, and a much needed coffee boost thanks to Espresso Dave’s. If I could have on-demand cappuccinos at every winter event, you better believe I would. The team is a joy to work with and their drinks are truly indulgent S’mores and coffee was the last item on our adventure-packed itinerary for the weekend and we soaked up every moment of it.

The perfect s’more doesn’t exi—

And that’s it, my friends! The most perfect ending to a perfect weekend. We so encourage Couples to take the entire weekend to celebrate their joyous occasion – whether it’s sledding and ice skating in the winter or ending the wedding weekend with brunch on a ferry in Casco Bay in the summer. It’s rare to have so many of your friends and family members from all parts of your life together, and we encourage you to make the most of it.

For this rock star team of vendors – thank you again for a weekend we’ll never forget! It was a true honor to work with this talented crew and seeing everything come together was magic. We love you all!

xo, P

PS: Rising Moon Films captured a fabulous video of the entire weekend that left us in awe. Check out all of the beauty and excitement from below!

And a special thank you to all of the vendors who made this day one to remember:

Shoot Venue: French’s Point Estate | Photography: Greta Tucker Photography | Design + Specialty Rentals: A Family Affair of Maine | Rentals: PEAK Event Services | Floral Design: Marigold Floral Studio | Coordination: To The Point | Catering & Bar Service: Bar Harbor Catering Company| Cake & Desserts: Bear Brook Bakery | Specialty Lighting: Griffin & Griffin | Hair & Makeup: Ariel Johnson Makeup | Videography: Rising Moon Films | Invitation Design: Gus & Ruby | Ceremony Musicians: Harpist Amy Kercsmar and Violinist Anna Pearlman| Wedding Gown, Groom’s Attire & Wedding Guest Attire: Madeleine’s Daughter | Jeweler: Ariantiquary | Bride & Groom Model: Annie Boss and Barrett Russell | Coffee Station: Espresso Dave’s / Fun to Eat Fruit | Gift Bags/Welcome Bags: Rachael Anderson’s The Best From My Nest / Salted Butter Farm / Bell the Cat

A Few Things We’ve Learned During An Unimaginable Year

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken us to the core. I never imagined to live to see such great destruction and loss in my lifetime, so quickly and so widespread. It has impacted every facet of our lives — from how we structure our daily schedules and habits, to how we manage our work lives and businesses to how we move about in the world and with those we care for. The added time spent with my family has been one of a few gifts in all of this that I will forever cherish (I know you’ve been seeing more adventuring on the insta story lately!), but it’s also been one of the biggest challenges I have faced to date. Managing the business, Clients and team during an uncertain time while homeschooling has been quite a tricky balance, but I maintain a mindset of how things can always be worse and in many respects I consider us very lucky. My heart goes out to each and every human out there on the front lines risking their lives every day to keep us safe and healthy. For the next few months I’d love it if the media would share a little more joy, like how many lives were saved today…or how many times our politicians came together for the good of our country instead of talking about walking straight into a dark, bleak winter. Now with a new administration at the helm, I am looking forward to 2021 with excited eyes. Our 2020 is not one I’ll soon forget however.

There’s been a large debate around the pandemic called The Great Pause – many are using this ‘slowed-down time’ to reconnect with their passions, find new sources of inspiration and soak up the peacefulness and extra time with loved ones that a slower paced life has given them. While I struggle to find that slow-paced life myself, I think there’s something important in this debate: reconnecting with your passions and creativity is so important to living a fulfilled life and being successful. In our industry in particular, creativity fuels everything we do. I’m constantly seeking out sources of inspiration to share new ideas with a Client, develop a new design concept for a styled shoot, or my personal favorite — source new rental items that will be just the perfect fit for a Client’s wedding. 

During this time of unimaginable loss, I’ve been immensely grateful for my health, my family and friends who have stayed strong and healthy over the past four months, my hardworking team, and my peers in this industry that we love. We are fighters. As Maine has begun to reopen and provide some semblance of normalcy again, we wanted to take the time to share what’s been on our mind lately. While the outcome of 2020 thus far isn’t exactly what we predicted, we’ve learned a lot along the way that we wanted to share with all of you. 

1. Creativity can lead you down new paths and to places you never knew you’d be. 

When the pandemic hit the United States in March, we had an optimistic view. Like most, we naively thought life would be paused for six, maybe eight weeks tops. Before we knew it, we’d be back to business as normal (albeit a few rescheduled weddings from early in the season) and on our way to a fabulous 2020 wedding season. 

Needless to say, we were very, very wrong. Sometimes, no matter how much you hope and pray, the show must actually NOT go on. And for the safety of everyone, we agreed. But in those first few weeks, we didn’t just sit around, waiting for life to return to normal — I spent countless hours with my team developing new operating procedures and putting systems in place to continually meet Client needs and be there for them above all else. We developed creative solutions that allowed us to continue to meet with Clients, serving as a trusted partner and friend throughout this unpredictable time. 

In those first few months of quarantining, the AFA team also launched a contest to recognize hard working small businesses in our local communities. As a way to spread positivity throughout our community, we encouraged those in our network to leave a positive review to any local business of their choosing. In doing so, they’d be entered to win giveaway packages from some of our own personal favs in the local community. It was a small gesture, but one we had hoped would give back to our community and spread a little joy during a time of uncertainty. The creativity we see in our industry and among local businesses – especially during times of crisis – is inspiring. My heart was hurting for so many of my restaurant friends and small businesses that did not have virtual capabilities or e-commerce. One of the most valuable experiences we took away from this project was the inspiring shifts each one of these businesses took in order to continue to support their community and provide their craft to not only stay afloat but thrive. It also felt like we were Santa on Christmas and kept us as a team all really jazzed during a pretty scary time.

From a business services perspective, we also quickly realized that our 2020 season would look very different. While I was fortunate to bring on a new member of the team in early 2020 (shoutout to our girl Jordan!), I was 100% committed to continue operating at full capacity — investing in our business and team and using the time we had to think through new solutions and new services during this difficult time. Because of that, we’ve begun developing a plan to offer home staging services in 2020 and beyond. While a natural fit into our current business model (and a service we’re particularly excited to launch), home staging was never an area I ever imagined offering this year. Sometimes, you have to let the world guide you and use your creativity to find new ways to succeed.

And a very exciting note… peep these shots below from a few of our home staging clients!

Most times, you have to think outside the box to meet your goals. Other times, you have to be creative to stay resilient, support the industry and continue to grow. 

2. Challenging times are never easy — but they’re the best times to find growth.

Aside from growing our offerings, we’ve also grown in new ways as well. While I’m not one who enjoys talking about my own successes, there is one achievement I am particularly proud of: learning the true meaning of business resiliency. In times of rapid change, it’s no longer enough to rest on your laurels – you must reconnect with your passions and inspiration and fight for it like you never have before. For the AFA team, our inspiration stems from serving our Clients and collaborating with our peers. For me, it is my family that fuels me. Working hard and investing in the business in order to grow is a reward, and I’m grateful we have been able to continue doing this during the pandemic. 

One of the largest investments – emotionally and monetary – has been relocating our rental showroom from downtown Gray to North Yarmouth. It’s a special move for me, as we’re now housed on my parents property. Our move was delayed due to COVID, but we capitalized on this opportunity – we used the extra time to finalize the barn, renovate the space and create a welcoming environment for our Clients. And to no one’s surprise, the space is FILLED with new rentals already! 

3. Not a new lesson, but a good reminder: Clients come first, no matter what. 

Clients are the reason we do what we do. Plain and simple. While many were hesitant to message to Clients during this challenging time, we’ve been committed to providing education and resources to keep them informed. And most importantly, we’ve made it our goal to continue to inspire. We have blogged weddings from our 2019 season, shared when we could on Instagram, pinned new inventory to Pinterest, ALL in the spirit of keeping that flame of wedding inspo alive. In fact, we launched our newsletter in April to better connect with our Clients and continue to be a visible resource to them during whatever challenge they might be facing. 

In the spirit of Client inspiration, we also were recently involved in two beautiful styled shoots – one that we created the vision for at Beech Hill Barn, and the second we were part of an inspiring team providing props and styling for at Garden Gate at Harley Farm. We poured our hearts and souls into these ones, my friends! The first was bright and summary and just the vibes we needed to have in our lives. We spearheaded the design and vision for this one and truly love the concept and colors-such a fun collab with some talented humans.

The second was a Vampire inspiration and was recently featured on Green Wedding Shoes – huge props to Cody James Barry Photography for dreaming up this incredible concept and including us in such a creative day! You inspire me always.

Sierra Archer Photograph | Invitations: Three Little Words
Sierra Archer Photography |. Specialty Rentals: A Family Affair of Maine
Sierra Archer Photography | Champagne Cart: The Roaming Speakeasy Co
Sierra Archer Photography | Floral Design: Honeysuckle Way
Sierra Archer Photography | Catering and Bar: Fire & Co
Sierra Archer Photography
Sierra Archer Photography | Cake: Bear Brook Bakery
Sierra Archer Photography | Makeup: Brooke Nason Beauty | Jewelry: Keith Field Goldsmith

Shop the look yourself here! Bamboo Director Chairs, Outdoor Sofa, Outdoor Side Chairs, White Washed Wood Coffee Table, Navy Blue Jute Rug, White Milk Glass Stemmed Goblets, Silver Champagne Urn

Annnnd for the 180 flip to the second shoot… 😉

Cody James Barry Photography | Calligraphy: Farm + Forest Design
Cody James Barry Photography | Cake & Food Styling: Autumn Nomad
Cody James Barry Photography | Dress: Andrea’s Bridal | Jewelry: Brown Goldsmiths | Hair: Peter-John at Akari | Makeup: Taylor Carley
Cody James Barry Photography | Florals: Electric Flora
Cody James Barry Photography

And finally, we were also grateful enough to still have six weddings this season: intimate affairs with the most lovely families. Our heart is with all of our couples that had to endure the disappointment of changing their wedding date, or worse, cancelling. These decisions were not made without long and careful consideration, followed by some heartbreak. Deciding to keep their original 2020 date is also not a lightly made choice, and takes a great deal of courage, resilience and a positive attitude to endure. I am so proud of each and every one of our Clients for making the choices that they did for them, and with a safety first mentality all in all. Client service is put above all else at AFA, so weddings during a pandemic have quickly become our specialty – we created and maintained logistics of keeping guests safe and comfortable while present. We went all out on the design and had a blast. Check out some of the beauty! 

4. Stick close to those you love. 

And for the lesson that you don’t need a pandemic to tell you – stick close to those you love. There’s no words to describe the heartbreak and loss we’re seeing every day, and I’m so grateful for my family to be in good health. I’m lucky to have a business that can weather this storm – and we all know that’s largely because of my talented, passionate team. They’re everything – they keep this train running on the days I’m pulled in one million different directions and you better believe they do it with grace, professionalism, and a whole lot of cheer. They bring SO much creativity to this team and never cease to inspire me. I recently asked our rockstar planner Marie what she learned this year and her answer couldn’t have resonated more.

“It is funny to look back on pictures from last wedding season, to reminisce on memories when hugging and shaking hands were second nature.  When breaking it down and getting sweaty on the dance floor with 150 of your closest family and friends was a given. When hand sanitizer was not a standard part of the table centerpieces and when charcuterie was built in abundance on tables and not individually served.

And then the world changed. The 2020 wedding season has been the most challenging and inconstant ones to date.  It has put our planner abilities to the ultimate test and taught us a lot about the future of weddings.

  • There are no more rules. And yet, there are so many rules.  But when it comes to what you and your partner want, do not settle for anything less than what feels right for you.
  • That it is okay and 100% normal to feel sad and really frustrated at times. And eat ice cream and popcorn for dinner…more than once.  Allow yourself the time to feel however you need to feel.
  • That being flexible and listening to the professionals is going to save you a lot of aggravation in the long run.  Wedding vendors are on your team and will do whatever we can to make it happen.  But also realize that these people are trying to keep their small businesses afloat and navigating through the ever changing craziness as well.
  • That 50 person weddings are actually SO MUCH FUN because the people that matter the absolute most are there and BEYOND ready to celebrate with you!
  • It is more than OK to put yourself and your health first.  Do not be afraid to ask guests to get tested, to enforce wearing of masks, and to provide hand sanitizer as the new wedding favor.
  • Above all else, love prevails.”

See what I mean here?! Inspiring. I couldn’t do this without my team and I’m so grateful for them.

I’m also thankful for my hard working peers and friendors who have stood hand-in-hand with one another to fight this together. We grow stronger when surrounded by those we love and it’s important to embrace that. 

I hope you’re all staying healthy and safe during this time. We couldn’t do what we’re doing without the help and support of all of you!! 

Xo, Paula

Chelsea + Austin’s Barn On Walnut Hill Wedding | Yarmouth, ME

Happy Summer, my sweet friends! Our wedding season (and our world) isn’t looking exactly as we imagined, but it’s in full swing and we’re making the most of it. In fact, we just produced our first wedding of 2020, the new showroom is nearly complete, and we designed a gorgeous styled shoot last week. So I guess you can say we’re keeping ourselves busy!

Today, though, we’re taking a look back to our 2019 season to celebrate the most perfect union (and almost one year anniversary!) of Chelsea and Austin. These two are seriously fab. Not only did they decide to have a FULL, four day weekend celebration, one of those days consisted of a Hunger Games style ‘Field Day’. Talk about creative and fun! This crazy crew had a jam-packed weekend, and we’re so excited be sharing their experience with you.

As you can clearly see, Chelsea and Austin are absolute stunners. Their vibrant personalities shone bright throughout their wedding day in both the design and atmosphere they created. Think: southwestern-inspired cocktail party with numerous surprises throughout. We had the best time getting to know these two and making their wedding dreams come to life! Thanks to the wonderful team at Maine Tinker Photography for capturing all the beauty of this day.

Chelsea opted for a smokey eye and natural bronze look to enhance her already glowing complexion. Lisa LaCroix at Bei Capelli led the gorgeous group through hair and make-up the entire weekend. And she certainly outdid herself if you ask me!

Nothing beats help from momma and your favorites gals when putting on the dress!

This phenomenal bride wore such a unique dress and we were SO here for it. The fabric had ornate floral details, but the dress was the perfect mix of sexy and sophisticated. The delicate high neck and A-lie skirt was a gorgeous contrast to the open back. And to finish the look, Chelsea wore a simple, stunning headband.

And you certainly can’t forget this handsome groom! Austin chose a light blue suit for the occasion with a navy floral tie and you guessed it – brown cowboy boots for the finishing touch.

We. loved. this. group. Simple as pie! We seriously adored these all-white, mix-matched dresses with such fun, vibrant earrings. And if you’re wondering if the AFA team strongly considered investing in our own pairs of those beauties, you are RIGHT.  

These girls may have dressed to impress, but their fondness for Chelsea was the real star of the show here. They were true supporters throughout the entire weekend – always ready to help Chelsea with whatever she needed. And most importantly, right there to pass her a drink when hers was empty!

This crew was a pretty stylish group as well. Austin was surrounded by his closest friends for this day, and I can promise you they had a blast!

And can we just give a shoutout to The Barn on Walnut Hill real quick? Not only did this sprawling venue allow Chelsea and Austin to invite all of their friends and family members to stay with them for the weekend, but created the most perfect background for these images. So much charm and simplistic beauty! 

Austin and his lovely parents – so supportive, loving, and kind. We’re so lucky to work with the sweetest families and this time was no different!

Personality pics, anyone?! We love these two!!

Chelsea and Austin were all smiles alllll day. And you better believe their enthusiastic energy set the mood for this entire celebration.

With pre-ceremony portraits complete and the final details in place, Chelsea and Austin retreated to the barn as guests were shuttled from Portland and Freeport over to The Barn on Walnut Hill. After sippin’ on some pre-ceremony drinks, guests were officially welcomed to the grande occasion by the stunning view of the ceremony site – we’re talking florals for DAYS, my friends.

Truly the biggest shout out to Sarah Whiton and team at Harmons and Bartons for these blooms. This lush arbor featured anthurium, xerographica air plants, silver tree protea and peach and orange florals for an extra pop. And most importantly, that gorgeous cow skull came from no other than the bride herself!

With such a gorgeous sanctuary at Walnut Hill, this arbor decor was the only thing needed to make the space feel welcoming, exciting, and just the right vibe for Chelsea and Austin. The weather was perfect as well – sunny but not too hot and perfectly shaded under the trees.

You go flower girl! This girlfriend was a little fashionista if you couldn’t tell!

This ceremony was one of a kind – as you would expect from these two, it was filled with laughs, personal vows and lots of love. Their energy throughout the ceremony was so tender and the love was radiating. We love being involved in such special moments.

MARRIED! We couldn’t be more happy for this duo. And as you can tell, I don’t think they could be happier about this moment either!

Time to get this party started! Cocktail hour was the official start of a fabulous cocktail-style reception filled with so many delicious food options and endless drinks for guests. A large sailcloth tent was situated right next to the barn, under the lush tall trees in the large open lawn. This cocktail hour had some serious fun – from lawn games to creative drinks to a surprise photo camper, Chelsea and Austin knew how to keep their guests entertained.

Working with Chelsea and Austin on design and a custom menu was such a treat for me. They took such a unique approach to everything they did, while remaining wholly authentic to who they are as a couple. The terra cotta pots and gold terrariums were earthy and simple, and the perfect contrast to the brass bud vases and vibrant flowers. To add to the ambiance, we also used large gold lanterns for candlelight.

And here’s the fab photo camper we were talking about! You know this gal by now – Lucy is a one of a kind 1967 camper and she was a HIT. From Maine-themed props to vintage phones and everything in between, this photo camper did not disappoint in giving guests the best pictures to remember the special day.

Annnd pausing to go (try to) make myself that drink because WOW. What a beauty. This creation was crafted by none other than the Fire and Company team – and the impressive fares hardly stopped there. Additional drinks consisted of local brews from Bissell Brothers & Foundation, premium cocktails, and three signature cocktails – a grapefruit margarita, dark & stormy, and an old fashioned. For pairings, Fire and Co whipped up a cheese & butcher station, house smoked meat and sausages, and mini buttered lobster rolls.

Once cocktail hour came to close, Fire & Co served up the first round of dinner as guests continued to mingle outside. Though the plan was to move inside the barn for dinner and speeches, this warm weather had Chelsea and Austin wanting to stay outside juuuust a bit longer. And I certainly don’t think anyone complained! Guests enjoyed skilled seared scallops, pork belly skewers, salad and chicken and waffles to kick off dinner. Right in time for a welcome toast from Austin’s lovely parents as well!

Thee two had guests in tears. We adore them!

After enjoying those extra rays of sunshine before the picturesque sunset and calm evening, guests made their way to the barn for the second round of dinner. And let me jut tell you, we were ALL here for two fabulous dinners. This non-traditional reception was such a hit – guests were able to enjoy numerous food selections while while mingling with everyone in sight, whether that was in the barn or outside. There were passed options always available for grabbing, and we also set up a few stunning food displays inside. Just keep scrolling, you’ll see what I’m talking about!

These design details seriously stole the show. We carried the same aesthetic from the cocktail hour tent into the barn and it did not disappoint. We used gorgeous farm tables from none other than Lani and crew at Heartwood Essentials. Both high and low top tables were placed in the barn for guests to select their own seating throughout the evening. Tablescapes were kept simple, with succulents, minimal florals in brass bud vases, and warm candlelight to create a welcome and intimate atmosphere. And as I’m sure you noticed, we had a seriously unique light install to tie the look together – large Moroccan lanterns hanging over the dance floor. What a beauty! We collaborated this look with then team Griffin & Griffin Lighting and as expected, they delivered.

We also created two lush lounge areas for optimal comfort and a whole lot of fun for guests. Each lounge setting had a velvet sofa, chairs in various colors, and plush floor pillows to add some extra coziness. And of course we had to repurpose the cow skull to make another appearance post-ceremony! This piece looked perfect above this vibrant lounge adorned with lush florals and greens.

Remember those food displays I mentioned? Here they are in all of their glory *heart eyes*. Fire & Co delivered once again with the final round of dinner for the night – consisting of salmon skewers, pork tacos, avocado tacos and poke stacks. YUM.

As guests continued to wine and dine, Chelsea and Austin snuck off for a little fun of their own. Sunset photography, anyone?! Personalities shinning bright in these ones!

Say hello to Dolly! This 1951 Ford made for the perfect pop of color and yet another fun element to the day. And the perfect vibe for this muscle pic!

Duel purpose truck over here! This beauty served as the perfect dessert display for all of these sweet treats. Jessica and her fabulous team at Nothing Bakes Like A Parrott hand crafted these lovelies for guest’s enjoyment – mocha and Oreo cheesecake squares, coconut cream, blueberry and apple pies, cannolis… she did not disappoint! This elegant cake completed the display, and was created by our wonderful friend Melissa at Bear Brook Bakery.

What a stunner! The cake was gorgeous by itself, but was adorned with florals to elevate the look. And that cake stand completed the look perfectly!

With the sun setting, this crew finally retreated to the barn to kick off the evening. We’re talking some serious dance moves, fun tunes from DJ Jon and uhm.. assless chaps?! Only with these two!!

Chelsea and Austin – we adore you! We hope you’re spending your one year anniversary lounging in the Bahamas without a care in the world. It was phenomenal to be involved in your celebration of love and honestly, we wish we could relive this day over and over!

xo, P

Get the look with A Family Affair of Maine’s speciality prop rentals for New England weddings: Glass terrarium lanterns | Antique brass containers | Teardrop beverage containers | Bronze moroccan lanterns | Glass bottle vases | Black etagere shelves | White etagere shelves | Small menu frames | “Can I Get A Witness?” sign | Dark blue wool rug | Green tufted ottoman | Plum velvet carved wood sofa | Peacock chairs | Faux sheepskins | Royal blue velvet side chair | Blush velvet ottoman | Cowhide rug | Light blue camel back sofa | Peach velvet armchair | Faux fur footstool | Equipale chairs | Marble top side table | Blush pink wool rug | Tan leather pillow | Plum velvet pillow | Gold sequin pillows

And a special thank you to all of the vendors who made this day one to remember:

Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Barn on Walnut Hill | Planning, Design + Specialty Rentals: A Family Affair of Maine | Rentals: One Stop Event Rentals | Farm Tables: Heartwood Essentials | Specialty Light Install: Griffin & Griffin Event Design Illuminated | Photography: Maine Tinker Photography | Floral Design: Harmons and Bartons  | Catering & Bar: Fire & Company | Cake: Bear Brook Bakery | Dessert: Nothing Bakes Like A Parrott | Ceremony, Cocktail Hour and Reception Music: DJ Jon  | Hair & Make-Up: Bei Capelli | Transportation: Custom Coach & Limo

Mickey + Stephen’s Barn on Walnut Hill Wedding | Yarmouth, ME

To all my dearest friends, Clients and industry partners – I hope you’re well. The past few months have shaken the world as we know it and we can only hope and pray that you’re all staying healthy and well in this new reality we live in. If I know anything, it’s how grateful I am for the continued support, the extra time with my family and to be a part of such a strong industry. We’ll make it through—and I know we’ll be stronger than ever.

Blogging is one area that had been put on pause since the pandemic began, but we quickly realized that sharing some of our favorite days might just bring a little bit of joy to your life and inspiration to our Clients. So in the spirit of spreading joy during the start of our very untraditional wedding season, we’re taking a look back to last June for one of our favorite weddings of the season – Mickey and Stephen’s beautiful day at The Barn on Walnut Hill.

Mickey and Stephen are truly one of a kind and their wedding day reflected that whole heartedly. From theatrical design to belly dancers to a portable speakeasy bar, this event was one for the decade. This passionate and hilarious duo knew they wanted to through a party that guests would never forget – and trust me friends that is exactly what they did. We are so blessed to have been a part of this showstopper of a day and even more thrilled to be revisiting it with all of you. Thanks to the always fab Heidi Kirn Photography team for capturing all of the beauty and endless details from this picture perfect day!

Selecting The Barn on Walnut Hill was a no brainer for this pair—the serene natural beauty made for a stunning backdrop, while the 19th century restored barn provided just the right amount of historic charm they were looking for. Most importantly, the house allowed Mickey & Stephen to welcome their closest family member—including their children—to stay with them throughout the weekend.

Mickey and her daughter Ella share a seriously special bond—as Maid of Honor, Ella was involved in her mother’s wedding day in the most intimate of ways. She was right by her side when getting ready, gave a beautiful speech during the ceremony and held her hand as they danced the night away. The admiration and love between these two was such a joy to witness. And the pride radiating from Ella when she looked at Mickey? Amazing.

This gorgeous bride wore a form fitting dress with lace details and an open back with small buttons running down the back of the dress. Her simply jewelry consisted of a silver bracelet, sapphire earrings and a floral comb with vibrant florals and natural greens.

This handsome groom looked pretty stylish as well, in a black tux, blush bowtie and vibrant pink and coral boutonniere.

Can we take a much needed minute to talk about this bouquet?! Lotus Floral Design absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one. Mickey’s bouquet was filled with lush seasonal blooms—ranunculus, white anemones, pink dahlias, roses—and romantic greenery for a vibrant, eclectic look. Big fans of this one!

With final touches and pre-ceremony photos complete, Mickey & Stephen made their way back to the barn as guests arrived on site. Not only were they greeted with this fabulous welcome table, guests were welcomed to the venue with numerous pre-ceremony drinks to kick off the day. Champagne was at the ready, along with lemonade, iced tea, and cucumber water.

The sanctuary at Walnut Hill is one of our favorites—tucked away just enough that you feel like you’re in the middle of a serene, beautiful forest. Mickey & Stephen had gorgeous weather on their wedding day, with rays of sun peeking through the trees to create a warm and cozy environment. To add to the natural beauty, whimsical, romantic floral arrangements lined the aisle, with pops of peach and coral and lush greenery. The white arbor was also heavily adorned with garland greenery and vibrant florals to frame the space.

And they’re married! This ceremony touched my heart—Mickey & Stephen’s children were an integral part of this gorgeous ceremony and it was an honor to witness. The personal vows were so special, filled with jokes and left everyone in tears. We couldn’t be happier for this officially married duo! And now just imagine: the instrumental version of Imagine Dragons’ On Top of the World playing as these two make their grande exit!

Post-ceremony, guests made their way to the sprawling lawn for a stunning cocktail hour. Hors d’oeuvres were served under a large sailcloth tent, while lawn games were spread out throughout the property. Giant jenga and giant connect four, please! Also, Mickey & Stephen couldn’t just have any old bar for their cocktail hour… ever heard of a Roaming Speakeasy? Just scroll down a little bit and see what we were gushing over…

This little guy—otherwise known as Hegan—is a 1954 restored horesebox trailer. And yes, officially the star of this cocktail hour. Picture perfect, endless charm and enough booze to fuel these party guests. Hegan was the main bar for cocktail hour, serving some of our favorite local brews (Allagash White & Maine Beer Co. Peeper, anyone?) and two signature drinks.   

Okay and now a WELL deserved shoutout to Jen and crew at 111 Maine. This team is one of the most hardworking in the industry and their food is something straight out of a global foodie magazine. For cocktail hour, stationary hors d’oeuvres included a number of fruits, breads and local cheeses. Passed hors d’oeuvres were the fan favorite, complete with Main lump crab cakes, puff pastry with figs & gorgonzola, and bamboo cones of Maine fried clams. And to top it off? A raw bar with clams, oysters and shrimp. YUM.

As the evening progressed, guests soon were invited into the barn for dinner. And what a sight it was….

Designing this reception was beyond fun for us. Mickey and Stephen had our creative juices flowing with their bold, theatrical design dreams. To accomplish this, we arranged farm tables throughout the barn, with one sweetheart table positioned at the head of the room. To elevate the look, we completely surrounded the sweetheart table with greenery and pops of bright florals. Tables were adorned with dusty rose velvet runners and filled with floral arrangements. White taper candles were held in antique brass candle holders and enclosed with tall glass hurricanes. 

And okay—anyone else wondering how Griffin & Griffin worked their magic to create those absolutely stunning garland arches?! 

The place setting was also a stunner, consisting of a gold beaded charger, a combination of either a cranberry or a blue antique dinner plate, silver antique-inspired flatware and clear glassware. Both blue and blue and white striped linen napkins were tucked under the dinner plate for a sophisticated look.

Watching Mickey and Stephen enter the barn was a sight to remember. They were overwhelmed that their wedding vision had finally come to life, and overjoyed to be surround by so many friends and family members. It’s one of my favorite moments to witness—and this one did not disappoint! 

Remember how I said these two were hilarious? Mickey had a little surprise up her sleeve for her groom that made this entire day even more memorable than I thought possible. 

From belly dancing to the first dance… cheers to these two and their fun personalities!

After a welcome speech from Stephen, it was on to food, toasts and family dances. 111 Maine continued to impress with their family style meal complete with rosemary garlic beef tenderloin, wildflower honey lime chicken, pan seared cod, handmade butternut squash ravioli, and a number of sides that will also make your mouth water. Toasts were from no other than Mickey & Stephen’s children, as well as family dances too.  

Up next was dessert, cake cutting and some serious dance moves. Drooling over here once again thanks to these sweets—raspberry tartlets, whoopie pies and key lime pies? Delish.

This crew was here to celebrate and that they did! Complete with a photo booth (and some not-so-kid-friendly but hilarious props), glow sticks, and even a chicken hat is making an appearance, I see?! There was some serious fun going on and we were SO here for it. 

Mickey & Stephen – Thank you for allowing us play such a large role in your wedding day! We are forever grateful to you both. The passion between you is radiant, and your laughs can absolutely light up a room. We miss you dearly and hope you’re enjoying making endless memories together as a married couple! 

We had the most incredible time getting to know this fabulous pair—cheers to a lifetime of happiness!

xoxo, P

Get the look with A Family Affair of Maine’s speciality prop rentals for New England weddings: Welcome sign | Dusty rose velvet runners | Blue linen napkins | Glass apothecary jars | Antique dinner plates | Antique brass candlesticks | Antique brass containers | Pale pink pillows | Jute rug | Outdoor side chair with white cushions | Outdoor sofa with white cushions | Driftwood coffee table | Extra large gold framed mirror

And a special thank you to all of the vendors who made this day one to remember:

Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Barn on Walnut Hill | Planning, Design + Specialty Rentals: A Family Affair of Maine | Rentals: One Stop Event Rentals | Specialty Light Install: Griffin & Griffin Event Design Illuminated | Photography: Heidi Kirn Photography | Floral Design: Lotus Floral Designs | Catering & Bar: 111 Maine | Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music: Affordable Elegance String Ensemble | Cocktail Hour Bar: The Roaming Speakeasy | Reception DJ: A Goodtime DJ’s | Belly Dancer: Anne Beal | Hair: Jana Rago Studios | Make-Up: Amanda-Jean Makeup | Transportation: Northeast Charter Company

Manhattan Glam Meets Winter in Maine at This Art-Deco Inspired Elopement | French’s Point Estate

If you live in Maine, you quickly learn that winter must be embraced (no matter how hard you try to fight it). It’s cold, yes, but the beauty of the season is something that can hardly be ignored. It’s one of my favorite times to find inspiration, practice my craft, and collaborate with some of our closest peers.

About a year ago, we had the opportunity to do just this – and thanks to our dear friends at Seacoast Weddings, we are over the moon to be sharing the result of this picture perfect collaboration with you today. We have some serious inspiration in the form of a dreamy winter styled shoot captured by the talented Greta Tucker Photography. With an all-star vendor team, a gorgeous backdrop at French’s Point Estate and a weekend filled with adventure, this vision came to life in ways we could only dream of.

Our vision for the weekend was an art nouveau-inspired elopement, designed for a Manhattan-based couple traveling to Maine with their closest friends and family in tow. For this stylish, face-paced duo, New England is the ideal destination to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

The best part of this inspiration shoot? We had an absolutely fab, newly engaged couple model for us (Annie and Garrett, thank you!) and we got to soak up all the fun as the dedicated “wedding guests”. Our team made the trip to Stockton Springs for the weekend to not only design and support our peers, but model a little bit ourselves! (Side hustle modeling career here we come 😉 ) A huge shout out to the lovely Jessika Brooks-Brewer at French’s Point for dreaming up this concept!

We designed the look with glamour in mind. The best of Manhattan luxury made its way into this black-tie styled affair through a rich color palette of emerald, gold, and black and geometric design details throughout. The invitation, designed by none other than the local Gus & Ruby team, as well as the stunning envelope by Soigne Calligraphy, set the tone for the entire event with its romantic, dramatic calligraphy and rich tones.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Ari Kellerman and her husband on this grand adventure weekend. She curates a most stunning collection of antique jewelry, artifacts and props and has the most fascinating stories to tell on her journey to gather. If you don’t know Ari, just following her travels on the Insta will keep you engaged in the rich history that is everything Maine.

From the unique wedding ring to these classic shoes, vintage elements were incorporated into the day for an old world feel. To the surprise of no one, it was one of my favorite pieces of the design!

Our Groom was styled in a luxurious fashion, wearing black pants with a contrasting white tuxedo jacket and black bow tie. His attire was sleek and upscale, with the white jacket not only matching his Bride, but emulating the gorgeous, soft white snow that surrounded the venue. 

In true Manhattan fashion, our stunning Bride had a fashion moment herself, wearing multiple looks throughout the day. For the first look and portrait photography, she was dressed in a classic wedding gown with elegant buttons adorning the back. We paired this with a sophisticated updo, vintage jewelry and a white fur wrap tied with a satin ribbon. Just look at these images! This sophisticated and seasonal look was ideal for the beautiful (and snowy!) surroundings. A tremendous thank you to Elizabeth for the care and gorgeous selection from Madeline’s Daughter.

Moving inside for the ceremony highlighted the warm and inviting atmosphere that perfectly complemented the natural beauty that is winter in Maine. We were honored to work with Leslie of Marigold Floral Studio and the talented team at Griffin & Griffin to design a luxurious indoor ceremony site for a romantic, intimate feel. With only 24 guests in attendance, this ceremony featured lux daybed seating and an overabundance of greenery and bright floral. The room itself was grande, so we kept the decor toned down to let the dark oak and gold tones speak for themselves. Natural candlelight only enhanced the cozy feeling of warmth and love in the space, and a gold mirrored backdrop added an element of elegance.