2018 Real Maine Wedding of the Year
Jackie & Phill

Jacqueline Maude and Phillip Carter are two of the most darling high school sweethearts you could possibly ever have the privilege to know. Together thirteen years, the couple celebrated their love story on the gorgeous southern coast of Maine in Ogunquit.
 
By Melanie Brooks  |  Photography by Focus Photography 
 
"Jackie and I had been together for two years when I knew she was the one,” Phill says. The first time the high school sweethearts had ever spent significant time apart was when Phill left home for basic training. “Basic training wasn’t easy, but the hardest part was being away from Jackie.”
 
Phill decided that he needed to propose in a special way. So on Christmas Eve, while they were taking photos with Jackie’s parents by the famous lobster trap Christmas tree in Cape Porpoise, he got down on one knee. It was a moment that everyone had been waiting for.
 
Jackie and Phill started planning their wedding and quickly found the task dauntingly insurmountable. It was Jackie’s mom Karen who told them about the Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest. “We figured it would be fun to give it a shot!” Jackie says. “We liked the idea of getting married in Ogunquit, so close to our home in Wells.” They had a blast creating their two-minute entry video, recounting the past 13 years of their relationship. 
 
“We were humbled and honored to be chosen at the winners of the 2018 Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest!” Jackie says. “We are just two young kids at heart who love building a simple life together in Maine.” Phill works as the maintenance training manager at the Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire while Jackie runs their bakery and coffee shop, Brewed Awakenings, next door to their historic farm house. “Maine has always been close to our hearts as it has been our past, our present, and will always be our future.” 
 
The Real Maine Weddings team didn’t waste any time in starting to work with Jackie and Phill on planning their wedding celebration. Fausto Pifferrer from Blue Elephant Events and Catering joined Christine Parker and Melanie Brooks to help piece together the three-day event in Ogunquit.
 
Jackie and Phill’s first planning day took them to a handful of area businesses. Jackie was very much looking forward to meeting Heather, owner of Calluna Fine Flowers, to talk about the floral design for her wedding day. “When Heather started putting my favorite flowers together—lisianthus, ranunculus, hydrangeas, dusty miller—I felt like she knew exactly what I wanted,” Jackie says. “Heather truly is a master at her craft.”
 
A visit to the Ogunquit Beach Lobster House, the site of the couple’s Rehearsal Dinner, was next. “We loved the atmosphere of the restaurant,” Jackie says. “It has a hip, modern, coastal feel, which we thought was a lot of fun. Jonah, the manager, made us feel right at home!”
 
The couple also visited Jonathan’s to see the site of their wedding reception. “From talking with Chef Tristian we could sense his passion for not just cooking, but creating special moments through food,” Jackie says. “We love that Jonathan’s uses a farm-to-table philosophy, as we feel very passionate about that as well.” Fausto helped the couple envision the set up for their reception. “Fausto has such an amazing eye for design and has a way of visualizing a space and creating something out of this world!” Jackie says. 
 
Jackie also got the chance to meet Kristyn at Salon Loka. Kristyn’s team handled the hair and make up for Jackie’s bridesmaids, mother, mother in law, and grandmother. “Knowing I was going to have such a wonderful team of women behind me to help me look beautiful on my wedding day put me at ease,” Jackie says. “I knew I was in great hands.”
 
Jackie and Phill’s second planning day had them picking out some very special attire and jewelry. The day started at Blush Bridal & Formal in Bangor where Jackie modeled wedding gowns for her adoring family. “I woke up that morning with butterflies in my stomach,” Jackie says. Courtney, owner of Blush Bridal & Formal, put Jackie at ease. “Courtney was truly interested in what I envisioned seeing myself in. I don’t think I could have found the dress I did without Courtney’s help. I know finding a wedding dress is a rite of passage for most women, and Courtney makes it the most pleasant experience.”
 
While Jackie was narrowing down her wedding gown choices, Phill was in the lobby meeting with Laura from The Maine Square. He had a great time looking through the bow ties, ties, and pocket squares Laura brought to showcase. “Laura has such an amazing attention to detail, right down to the stitching on the pocket squares,” Jackie says. “The products she showed us truly were works of art!”
 
The last stop of the day was at the Day’s Jewelers in Augusta. Jackie and Phill were there to choose wedding bands and the jewelry set Jackie would wear on her wedding day. “As someone who doesn’t wear jewelry often, it was nice to have such knowledgeable and talented individuals helping me!” Jackie says. “We couldn’t have asked for a better experience with the team at Day’s Jewelers.”
 
The couple’s next planning day was a whirlwind of planning fun. The day began in Portland at the Geary Brewing Company tasting room. After a tour, Jackie and Phill got to sample the many types of beer brewed by Geary’s and choose what will be given as wedding favors. “Seeing that Geary’s was the first craft brewery in New England, we were honored to have a wedding favor that is rich in history and close to our hearts,” Jackie says. 
 
A couple of Jackie’s bridesmaids met her at Andrea’s Bridal to try on bridesmaid gowns. Julia, owner of Andrea’s Bridal, had Brittany and Jen try on lots of gorgeous gowns that would come in the pretty blush pink color Jackie wanted. “Julia was very helpful in finding dresses that embodied the overall feeling of the wedding—soft, romantic, and natural,” Jackie says. “When there was a sea of dresses to choose from, Julia made it such an effortless and positive experience.” 
 
The couple met Jessica, owner of Zula Bell, to choose wedding invitations. “I was amazed by her creative design options—they were absolutely beautiful!” Jackie says. The couple decided on a die cut invitation, which gave an impression of lace. “It looked so romantic and elegant!” Jackie swooned. 
 
Their next meeting was with Barbara from B.Hive Design. “I was very much looking forward to meeting Barbara as I had seen her work from the Peaks Island Real Maine Wedding of the Year and thought her handcrafted clutches were stunning.” Jackie says. The two of them pored over the details of Jackie’s clutch as well as gifts for the bridesmaids. 
 
The last stop of the day was with Terry at Dube Travel. “Phill and I haven’t had many opportunities to travel together, so we looked forward to our honeymoon adventure,” Jackie says. The couple narrowed down their choices, and thanks to public voting, enjoyed planning their honeymoon trip to Turks & Caicos!
 
There were still a few more venues for the couples to see during their planning days, and the fourth such day took them to The Meadowmere Resort and The Beachmere Inn.
 
Allyson from The Meadowmere Resort met with Jackie and Phill to discuss their Welcome Party. “We were excited to see where our party was going to be held, and the courtyard was the perfect setting,” Jackie says. “Fausto from Blue Elephant Events had some great ideas, including lighting. I could only imagine what it would be like on a fall night under a blanket of stars!”
 
Autumn from Flour! met the couple at The Meadowmere to talk about their Welcome Party and Rehearsal Dinner floral design. “You can sense Autumn’s passion and excitement for what she does right away,” Jackie says. “She is such a creative and talented individual with a kind-hearted disposition.” 
 
The next stop was The Beachmere Inn, the site of Jackie and Phill’s Ceremony and Cocktail Reception. “We were awestruck to see how beautiful the grounds were overlooking Marginal Way,” Jackie says. “Phill and I have taken many walks along Marginal Way and never thought in a million years we would be getting married overlooking one of the most beautiful and iconic places on the Maine coastline.” 
 
Jackie and Phill ended the day on a sweet note—with a visit with Owen and James from confectionArt! “I was hoping for something classic, romantic, and elegant for our wedding cake,” Jackie says. “The amount of precision and attention to detail that Owen possesses is simply amazing. The hardest part was choosing what flavors to serve because they were all delicious!”
 
Each moment of Jackie and Phill’s wedding planning trips were documented by photographers—Shane’s Wedding Photography and Focus Photography. “We have loved having them as a part of this wedding journey,” Phill says. It’s not often that couples have their wedding photographer chronicle their decision making process, but it’s what makes the Real Maine Wedding of the Year special. Showcasing the talents of local businesses is a huge part of the process. “We are truly humbled by the generosity of the vendors,” Jackie says. “They are all such creative and talented individuals who display such a love and passion for what they do.”
 
With much of the wedding planning completed, Jackie and Phill had the summer to focus on their family business. When the team met up again in the fall, it was to finalize the finishing touches of their three-day event in October.
 
Jackie and her bridal party kicked off the first day of wedding events at the Cliff House Spa. The ladies enjoyed a cup of tea before their manicures and pedicures. “It was really nice to have this time together,” Jackie says. “The Cliff House was simply amazing. I was completely taken aback by how picturesque it was. The spa felt so luxurious—I had never had an experience like that before!”

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Later that evening, guests gathered at The Meadowmere Resort for Jackie and Phill’s Welcome Party. “The party had such a relaxed and intimate vibe,” Jackie says. “People could mingle and enjoy themselves–it was everything we were hoping for!”
 
Jackie particularly loved the vintage lounge furniture from A+ Party Rental and the centerpieces by Flour! “They both added some extra flair to the outdoor space,” she says.
 
The courtyard was aglow in huge marquee lights that spelled out WELCOME and J&P from Your Love in Lights. “They created such a fun and whimsical feeling, especially when it got dark out,” Jackie says. “They made such an impact!”
 
Wedding guests and the 2018 partnering vendors enjoyed appetizers and drinks under the stars during an unsesasonably warm autumn evening. Jackie got the chance to meet with Mallory from WhiteGold Wedding Forecasts to discuss what Mother Nature had in store for the wedding day. Jackie and Phill gave personalized gifts to all of the businesses who helped make their wedding event a dream come true. It was the perfect way to kick off the 2018 Real Maine Wedding of the Year.

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The next day was cold and rainy, meaning the wedding party held the ceremony rehearsal inside at The Beachmere Inn. Fausto Pifferrer from Blue Elephant Events and Catering walked everyone through the ceremony until they felt confident about the order of events. After the rehearsal, everyone headed over to the Ogunquit Beach Lobster House for a celebratory Rehearsal Dinner!
 
The upstairs dining room had been transformed with the help of A+ Party Rental, Flour!, and Mainely Wedding Cakes. Jackie already loved the modern feel of the space, and swooned at the cross-back chairs and farm tables laden with garland, antique bottles, and soft candlelight. “I loved how the tables were organized so that people were seated in a more communal way,” Jackie says. “The florals Autumn brought were so romantic and I loved the vintage vases holding soft, white flowers.” 
 
Jackie and Phill decided to serve their guests traditional Maine surf n’ turf, which everyone raved about. “I’m a seafood junkie, so the pile of steamers and delicious lobsters was fantastic!” Jackie says. Dessert was provided by Mainely Wedding Cakes, who brought an assortment of tasty treats. Phill especially loved the cookies that had his and Jackie’s name on them. “The desserts were so pretty you almost didn’t want to eat them!” Jackie says. 
 
After speeches from Phill’s parents, Kevin and Deborah, and Jackie’s parents, Jim and Karen, The couple gave out some wonderful gifts. Phill gave his groomsmen and the fathers ties and pocket squares from The Maine Square. He especially loved the State of Maine embroidered on all of the pocket squares. “I loved the fabric we chose,” Jackie says. “It was the perfect dusty rose and everyone looked great wearing them on our special day.”
 
Barbara from B.Hive Design created a special clutch for Jackie, which complimented her dress perfectly. “It had a vintage feel but it was also feminine,” she says. Jackie particularly adored the bridesmaids’ clutches Barbara designed. “They were exactly what I had envisioned! They had a vintage flair and the fabric choices were perfect. The buttons on the clutches matched the groomsmen’s ties and pocket squares–that was a really nice touch!”

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After the party the couple retreated to bed. Jackie stayed at her parent’s house while Phill headed home. Jackie tossed and turned for most of the night, excited for the big day. Early Friday morning, she gave up trying to sleep and headed down to Perkins Cove to watch the sunrise on Marginal Way. “I watch the sunrise there often and there was no better place to go, seeing we would be getting married overlooking Marginal Way later that day!”
 
Phill woke up early, too. “I could feel the anxiousness taking hold like a little kid the night before Christmas,” he says. He headed to his parents’ suite at The Meadowmere Resort around 7 a.m. His groomsmen showed up around 8 and Phill joined them for breakfast. Shane from Shane’s Wedding Photography met up with the guys while they enjoyed cigars in the courtyard before getting into their tuxes from Tuxedos on Broadway. “I think Phill looked amazing in his tux,” Jackie says. “The deep navy blue looked so elegant and classic!”
 
Will and Lucia from Focus Photography spent time at the Maude’s with the bridal party. Salon Loka was there getting everyone ready for the wedding of the year! “I have never been much of a girly girl, so when it comes to hair and makeup, I have always felt challenged,” Jackie says. “Kristyn did such an amazing job. It meant a lot to me that she and her team went out of their way to come to my family’s home to help us all get ready in a place that made me feel the most comfortable.” 
 
Nick from Life in Focus spent time with both sets of wedding parties in the morning for Jackie and Phill’s wedding video. “It was wonderful having Nick there to capture our special moments,” Jackie says. “The video will be such a great way to relive our amazing day!”
 
While hair and makeup was happening upstairs, Angela and Becky from Pratt Abbott set up shop downstairs. “We were so lucky to have these women come to the house to steam all of our dresses,” Jackie says. “The girls loved their gowns from Andrea’s Bridal, and they all looked so beautiful in them! I loved how organic and flowy they looked.” 
 
Jackie had a hard time describing how much she loved her wedding dress and veil from Blush Bridal & Formal. “It was absolutely perfect for me–it was everything I was looking for,” she says. “I honestly never thought I would feel this way about a wedding dress, but I think when you find ‘the one’ it truly is more than just a dress.”
 
Once everyone was happily in their gowns, it was time to put the icing on the cake. “I really liked by bridal jewelry from Day’s Jewelers, especially the bracelet,” Jackie says. “I’ve never been one to wear a lot of jewelry, but it all made the moment feel extra special.” Seeing Phill in his wedding band puts a huge smile on Jackie’s face. “He’s so proud of it!”
 
Jackie made sure to have one of her wedding invitations on hand so that Focus Photography could use it for photos. “I adore those wedding invitations!” Jackie says. “Jess from Zula Bell did such an amazing job. It’s honestly the most beautiful invitation I’ve ever seen.”
 
Jackie and her parents were ushered to the ceremony in a classic Bentley while the wedding party rode in a limousine–both provided by the Maine Limousine Service. “That Bentley was amazing!” Jackie gushes. “What a fun experience to ride to The Beachmere Inn with my dad and mom!”
 
Upon arrival, Jackie was given her bridal bouquet from Calluna Fine Flowers & Gifts. “Heather did such an amazing job!” Jackie says. “She created a bouquet that was romantic and natural with a little vintage flair. I loved he bridesmaids’ bouquets, as well! Heather really listened and brought my ideas to life.”
 
Jackie and Phill had decided to do a First Look on Marginal Way before the Ceremony. It’s an intimate moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time and are able to calm some nerves before walking down the aisle. “When I turned around and saw Jackie for the first time on our day, there was nothing else–just her and I,” Phill says. “There could have been a hurricane blowing around us and I wouldn’t have noticed. Just me and the beautiful woman I will spend the rest of my life with.”
 
The Ceremony was held on the lawn at The Beachmere Inn, overlooking the Atlantic. It was a cool, windy, sunny day on the coast. Cheri from the Salty Girl and the Long Dog created an arbor made out of driftwood. It featured a heart-shaped rock in the center that Jackie and Phill had found together. “We love that arbor so much that it now has a special place at our home as the entrance to our garden,” Jackie says.
 
Jackie says that the Ceremony was her most favorite part of the entire event. “The ocean was our background, the waves gently crashing behind us,” she says. “I had waited for this moment for so many years of my life and I was ready.” The Ceremony was officiated by the priest who had baptized Jackie when she was a little girl. “It was very meaningful to have Father Brown officiate our wedding.” The Ceremony was short and sweet, and afterwards guests enjoyed a cocktail hour on the lawn while Jackie and Phill escaped for some photos on the beach and with their beloved classic truck–Stella. 
 
“Stella is a turquoise 1963 Ford F100,” Jackie says. With some help from friends, Jackie and Phill worked together to restore Stella to her original beauty. “Phill and I are passionate about building a life together, and truly creating the life we want using our own hands.”

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The Reception was held nearby at Jonathan’s. Jackie and Phill arrived before their guests to take in the details. “The space at Jonathan’s was beautiful!” Jackie says. “The vintage place settings from A+ Party Rental were certainly our style. The centerpieces from Calluna Fine Flowers were stunning and the glow from the candles was soft and beautiful.” Illuminated FX added pink uplighting to the room, creating the romantic vibe Jackie and Phill were hoping for.
 
Guests arrived to the Reception via trolley. “Everyone loved the Ogunquit Trolley ride!” Jackie says. “They trolleys were a nice touch and a great way to add fun and whimsy to the wedding.” 
 
A stunning five-tiered wedding cake greeted guests as they entered the Reception space. “The cake from ConfectionArt! was perfect!” Jackie says. “It was simple yet elegant and romantic. The flavors were out of this world!” Guests also enjoyed a photo booth provided by Maine to Boston Photo Booth. “I absolutely loved that photo booth,” Jackie says. “It was such a fun thing to have at our wedding and I think it was the highlight of the night!”
 
Before guests sat down to dinner, Phill had a special performance for his new bride. He grabbed his guitar and sang a song he had been practicing for months. “I started writing the song about nine months ago by accident,” he says. “The first verse came very naturally and I knew this was the song I wanted to sing to Jackie on our day. The lyrics told our story and how much Jackie means to me.”
 
A delicious dinner was served by some of the best professionals in the business. Jackie and Phill sat at their sweetheart table and enjoyed their meal and a view of the entire room filled with people who love them. Choosing their menu was a lot of fun, and their guests dined on Chicken Piccata with a parsnip puree, roasted Brussels sprouts, and lemon buerre blanc or Braised Beef Short Rib with turnip and carrot mash, Madiera poached Cipollini onions, and potato crisps.
 
After dinner, Jason from The Music Man DJ Service lit up the night with dance music. “Jason was so full of energy, which created a fun and upbeat atmosphere,” Jackie says. “Music has always been important to Phill and I and I think Jason did an amazing job of selecting music that we would enjoy.” 
 
At the end of the night, guests left Jonathan’s with a special parting gift–a can of Geary’s Riverside IPA! “We loved having Geary’s as our favors!” Jackie says. “Phill and I are big fans of craft beer, and we love checking out local Maine breweries like Geary’s.”

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A week after their Reception, Jackie and Phill packed their bags for their Turks & Caicos honeymoon. “We had a great time planning our trip with Terry from Dube Travel,” Jackie says. The couple had an amazing time on their honeymoon relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, and sailing. They even brought home a special souvenir. The couple met a stray beach dog that stole their hearts. “After spending a week on the beach with her, we knew we couldn’t leave without her,” Jackie says. It was a long process getting the dog back to Maine, but Grace, as they’ve named her, is making a new home in Wells, Maine. 

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Throughout their journey, Jackie and Phill were photographed by Shane’s Wedding Photography and Focus Photography. “From day one, Will and Lucia from Focus Photography were teaching us how to look our best in front of a camera,” Jackie says. “They really caught the essence of who were are as a couple. This journey would not have been the same without them.” Shane also made the couple feel comfortable in front of the lens. “Shane is a rock star. Every moment we spent with him we felt at ease. He was completely in his element behind the camera. I felt like he was capturing those candid, sincere, and special moments.” 
 
Jackie and Phill had a whirlwind year in 2018, and their favorite part of planning their wedding was the people they met along the way. “Fausto from Blue Elephant Events and Catering was there every step of the way, making sure every last detail was better than we could have imagined. We are so grateful for everything Real Maine Wedding has done for us,” Jackie says. “Christine and Melanie are the most important people in our whole journey, and it’s a journey we certainly will never forget!” 

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