Saying “I Do”
When Julie Qui and her husband Brian of New York were planning their wedding, they looked to Maine. Both have fond memories of trips with their families to Acadia National Park from their childhoods and had spent time together in Maine as a couple.
“We decided to re-experience the magic together [when we were dating]. We took several trips up to Maine to hike, kayak and eat lobster. When we got engaged, I had initially considered planning our wedding in NYC, where we live, but it quickly proved to be uninspiring and annoyingly expensive,” Julie Qui said.
They didn’t want to get married in their hometowns either. Julie Qui is from Indiana and Brian grew up in upstate New York.
“So then I started to think about getting married in a place that we both love and has always made us happy. Coastal Maine was the obvious choice,” Julie Qui said.
They were married at French’s Point in Stockton Springs in May 2014. “It was a dream come true. Being able to share the breathtaking scenery, charming culture, and amazing food and drink that we’ve always enjoyed with all of our family and friends made our wedding weekend incredibly special. Our friends still rave about the fresh local oysters from our reception to this day,” Julie Qui said.
The Quis aren’t alone.
Chris and Bonnie Moxhay chose Maine because Chris had a strong affinity for the state that he passed on to his bride. He’d taken family camping trips here as a child and later attended Bowdoin College. When they started dating, he introduced Bonnie to the state as well. They were having brunch near their Manhattan apartment when they saw an article about the Portland food scene in The New York Times.
“We decided that Maine would be a great long weekend trip, so we headed up a few weeks later, over Columbus Day Weekend, to check out the food, and so I could show Bonnie some of the sights. Bonnie fell in love with Maine, and Portland felt like a whole new city to me, even in the few years I’d been away,” Chris Moxhay said. “We started visiting regularly, and a year later, when we started thinking about a destination wedding, Maine felt like the perfect choice.”
The couple knew they wanted an October wedding so everyone attending could enjoy the changing leaves along with ocean views. “I even realized that, because of all the peninsulas, Maine is one of the few places on the east coast where you can see a sunset over the water,” Chris Moxhay said.
Now, they visit Maine every year for their anniversary.
Wedding professionals like Meagan Gilpatrick, owner and creative director of Maine Season Events & Rentals for the last 17 years, say that affinity for the state brings lots of folks here to wed.
“For some of our clients, they grew up here and want to return to be married. Several of our couples have gone to summer camp or college in Maine or have relatives here, making Maine a special destination for their wedding celebration that they want to share with their family and friends. Sometimes the couple has just come on a vacation to Maine and fallen in love with the natural beauty and charm of this special place, and decided to bring their family and friends here to celebrate their marriage,” Gilpatrick said.
At William Allen Farm in Pownal, owner Heidi Curry estimates that she’s hosted about 24 weddings each year at her 200-year-old rustic New England-style barn in the last three-plus years. Many are for people from away. The busiest time for her business is the fall, when the leaves change colors.
“Many clients are coming from a metropolitan area and don’t have the peaceful, quiet space to enjoy. We joke about how we don’t have any street lights here in Maine and how you can lay in the middle of the field and see the stars at night. Many people can’t enjoy that where they come from,” Curry said.
Curry’s barn, which is now booking for 2018, rents for $7,200 for weddings.
Picturesque Maine has a lot to offer couples looking for a destination wedding.
“The beautiful coast line and traditional lobster bakes and all the beautiful space we have to offer here [make it an ideal place to get married],” Curry said.