The wedding bells are still ringing
“I don’t love anything as much as you. ~William Shakespeare
Two years ago, as COVID-19 moved through our beautiful part of the world, it also caused many cases of “wedding bell blues”, for couples who wanted to get married in 2020. Some have postponed their nuptials, rescheduled for 2021 or 2022, or chose to elope instead.
In 2021, according to the website https://wedding.report, there were 8,962 weddings in Maine in 2021 and the average cost was $20,898. This year, according to planning site The Knot, 2.6 million weddings are planned nationwide. And according to The Wedding Report, Maine is expected to host more than 11,000 ceremonies in 2022.
Three great, longtime places in the Boothbay area to say “yes” are the Spruce Point Inn, Newagen Seaside Inn, and Linekin Bay Resort. Each of these three locations offers stunning views of Linekin Bay and/or the Atlantic Ocean – a big draw in this “destination wedding” season. Yes, there are many other delightful wedding venues in the area, and for a complete list, visit the Boothbay Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce website, www.boothbayharbor.com/weddings-in-boothbay.
The Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa has been the location of hundreds and hundreds of weddings in the Boothbay area. Why? At 88 Grandview Drive in Boothbay Harbor, the hostel property overlooks Linekin Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, making for a truly awe-inspiring view!
Many wedding ceremonies and receptions have taken place on the Grandview Bridge over the decades, but even the Spruce Point Inn was impacted by the pandemic that hit us in March 2020.
Chief Executive Harper Sibley said it was the cause of 31 wedding postponements and one cancellation in 2020. Of the postponed weddings, 29 were moved to 2021 and two more postponed to 2022.
Spruce Point Inn will host nearly 60 weddings this season, with 29 originally scheduled for 2020. Sibley says the focus is on wedding weekends. The intention is to create a smooth and stress-free weekend for couples, from rehearsal dinner to Sunday farewell lunch.
“This is a time of connectedness for guests many of whom may not have seen each other much due to the pandemic. Due to this renewed focus, we are intentionally limiting the number of weddings we will host this season compared to previous years,” Sibley said. “Postponing one of the most important celebrations in a couple’s life has certainly been disappointing for everyone involved, but our team strives to work closely with each couple to relieve the stress of the situation. At Spruce Point Inn, all of our guests are part of our family and part of a long-standing tradition – and we aim to treat them as such. We are honored to be part of their story.
Couples can choose from a variety of locations for their nuptials and receptions; information is on the hostel’s website: https://www.sprucepointinn.com.
Newagen Seaside Inn on Southport Island at 60 Newagen Colony Road and offers 20 acres of beachfront property. On the Destination I Do website, Newagen was listed third on its list of the top 10 wedding venues in Maine.
The inn’s wedding coordinator, Maura Nicholson, said 20 weddings were postponed in 2020. Nineteen of those took place in 2021 were those postponed ceremonies; and the last rescheduled for this year.
“When we opened for our first wedding weekend in May 2021, there was a limit to indoor capacity. However, at the end of June, we were able to host events with 150 guests inside,” Nicholson said. “We worked closely with the couples, making sure to take many precautions to ensure that they and all of their guests felt comfortable for the duration of their stay.”
Newagen held 15 exclusive wedding weekends in 2021 and others that have been reduced. Nicholson noted that elopements were very popular last year.
Nicholson said 2022 was booked up very quickly and in April there were 19 weddings planned; Newagen is open 22 weekends each season.
Learn more: https://newagenseasideinn.com.
Linekin Bay ResortMelissa Nein, wedding planner, said this year the resort is “full to the brim with a full schedule of weekend weddings as well as many smaller mid-week weddings and getaways!”
Nein remembers 2020 as an “incredibly stressful and uncertain time, so to be honest it’s largely a blur of emotional emails and multiple daily phone calls with brides, grooms and often their parents as well. I believe the cancellations started in late March/early April and we had seven weekend weddings and three smaller ones midweek that were canceled outright. Other couples have reduced the listings of guests to meet the CDC’s maximum limit on gatherings or postponed until 2021.
“In 2021, state-mandated gathering limits were lifted after our first wedding weekend – we followed state guidelines on this and did not implement our own,” said Nein said. “We had 15 weekend weddings last year and of those five were postponements from 2020; and two postponed from 2021 to this year.
“Apart from following safety protocols as much as possible, we did not take a comprehensive approach to how we handled weddings,” Nein explained. “Each is a unique and very emotional major event for these couples and their families, and we have tailored the end result specifically to each.”
Visit https://linekinbayresort.com for more information.
Boothbay Railway Village Museum
But what if you’re a bride who wants to design the entire event – from ceremony to reception – yourself? And if the only thing you really need is location, Boothbay Railway Village Museum (BRVM) might be the place you’re looking for! The Village Green can accommodate up to 300 people – at most. Rental fee includes use of Spruce Point Chapel and City Hall (110 seats).
Five couples have chosen to celebrate their marriage there this year. Lori Reynolds, director of marketing and events at the BRVM, said there were about half a dozen per season. There was one in July, one in September and there are 2 in October. Great. So what’s the draw?
Reynolds says a lot of couples who book at the Village love trains and/or anything vintage. Speaking of vintage, Rolls Royces from the BRVM’s vintage car collection can be rented just as well as the train!
“The biggest draw for couples getting married here is that they can make the ceremony, the reception their own,” Reynolds said. “And, since the pandemic, people want to be outside, with a little distance. The couples set up old-fashioned games, including the cornhole, for the reception.
The BRVM offers catering options via Mine Oyster Catering & Rentals. If a setting that marries the past with the present appeals to you, look no further. Reynolds says each couple “absolutely loved having their wedding here.” For more information and to find out why, visit https://railwayvillage.org.