2014 Real Maine Wedding of the Year
Tara & Trevor
Tara and Trevor's real Maine wedding was held in the majestic mountains of western Maine. The Bethel area played host to Tara and Trevor's friends and family for an unforgettable four-day event.
By Melanie Brooks
Photography by Andree Kehn Wedding Photography, Carol Savage Photography, & Audra Photography
Tara and Trevor fell in love hard and fast. The Cape Cod, Massachusetts couple met through mutual friends and instantly felt a connection. One month after the couple met, Trevor had to take off for South Carolina to complete some summer college courses. Tara made a split decision to hop in his car with him at 2 a.m., and take a road trip that would change their lives. "I had this feeling that if I didn't go with him, that I probably wouldn't see him again," Tara says. "I wasn’t willing to risk it, so I jumped in his Jeep and down south we went."

Eight months later, Tara transferred colleges and moved to South Carolina to be with Trevor. "We complimented each other so well," Trevor says. "Being able to finish college together while living together really brought us closer."

Trevor surprised Tara with a proposal at the Cape Cod Canal on Christmas Eve in 2013. After dinner and drinks, Trevor made an excuse to stop at the canal on their drive home. It was freezing out, but Tara went along with it. "When we walked over the bridge Trevor got really nervous all of a sudden, and showed me the ring," Tara says. "I said, 'Is this real life? It's only official if you get down on one knee!'"

Tara learned about the Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest at the Boston Bridal Expo a few weeks later. "I met Melanie Brooks at the Real Maine Weddings booth, and she told me all about this once in a lifetime opportunity," Tara says. "When I told Trevor about it he was all in, and our video production began."

Tara and Trevor's video garnered enough votes to make them finalists. When they arrived in Freeport with their families for the announcement at the Maine Wedding Association's Freeport Wedding Show, they were visibly nervous. "My palms were sweating and my heart was racing," Tara says. "Trevor just grabbed my hand tighter and told me it was all going to be good. Winner or not, I knew no matter what it was amazing to just be a finalist."

Tara admits that she and Trevor were shocked when they were announced the winners. "I knew how many votes we were down the night before, and the only chance of us having a shot at winning was for us to get the majority of the vendor votes," she says. "Although I have never experienced a paparazzi ambush, I think winning this contest felt a bit like that. The cameras were flashing, questions were being asked, and we were interviewed by the local radio station. Our parents and friends were screaming, some crying, and the overall experience was surreal. I will never forget that feeling or that day as long as I live!"

Tara and Trevor sat down with Christine Parker and Melanie Brooks from Real Maine Weddings, Amber Small from Sweetest Thing Weddings, and Andree Kehn from Andree Kehn Wedding Photography to talk about the next steps. Wedding planning was about to begin!

Tara was elated to be able to work with Amber in planning her big day. "Taking with her at our first meeting, I knew Trevor and I were in good hands," Tara says. "She made planning this wedding a piece of cake!"

Tara and Trevor were about to embark on a journey where they would meet over 30 amazing vendors who were going to do everything in their power to make sure they had a dream wedding in Bethel. "My favorite aspect of the planning process was getting to know the vendors," Tara says. "Trevor and I had a blast getting to know them all, and we are truly grateful that they were the big reason we won this contest in the first place."

The first planning item Tara needed to decide upon was her wedding gown and bridesmaids' gowns. Tara and her entourage—which included four of her five bridesmaids; her mother, Michelle; Trevor's mother, Christal; and Trevor's sister, Maggie—left Cape Cod and headed north to Bangor, Maine. The first stop was The Henry's Bridal Boutique and Formal Wear to pick out bridesmaid dresses. "This store was fantastic," Tara says. "I met the owners, Molly and Dave Lincoln, and instantly felt right at home. They were so welcoming and excited to help my bridesmaids all find a dress that fit their styles and shapes." Since the gowns were a part of the voting process, the crew had to pick out three to put up for public vote. "Molly made some great suggestions, and we were all very happy with the gown that won."

The next morning the crew headed up to Presque Isle to visit Courtney Wetzel, owner of Panscofar's Bridal Boutique. "I admit, I was a little nervous to go wedding dress shopping," Tara says. "But as soon as I met Courtney, I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that she had the dress of my dreams. Her store boasts some of the most amazing designer wedding dresses that had all of our jaws dropping." Courtney was excited for Tara to try on one of her favorite gowns, and once she stepped into the blush pink beauty, everyone knew Tara had found "the one." Luckily the public agreed, and the form-fitting Casablanca gown was special ordered to fit Tara perfectly.

Tara and Trevor's second planning trip took them to Portland to meet with Valerie Kyros at Papier to choose invitations. "I don’t think Trevor or I were prepared for the amount of detail and creativity that can be involved in picking out wedding invitations," Tara says. "As soon as Trevor and I agreed upon colors and the layout we liked, Valerie's expertise helped us narrow down the choices quite quickly." Once the public voted on the invitation, Valerie set about personalizing the design and creating table name cards and escort cards. "I kept all the table name cards from our reception and look forward to making them into something wonderful to display in our home!"

Tara and Trevor's first planning trip to Bethel was a whirlwind! The first day brought the couple to Marta's Bakery to choose the flavors and design for their wedding cake. "My sweet tooth was fully prepared for this planning visit," Tara says. "I couldn’t wait to taste Marta’s treats!"

Marta Cistecky met the couple at the door and ushered them into her bakery. While the couple looked through magazines and photos of other cakes Marta had designed, they were indulged with slices of delicious cake. When Tara and Trevor saw Marta's creation at their wedding reception they were elated. "The cake looked too good to eat, but I couldn’t resist," Tara says. "I could tell how much time she put into making our cake a piece of art."

After filling up on cake, Tara and Trevor headed to Harvest Gold Gallery to meet with jewelers Bill and Lynda Rasco. There the couple chose toasting flutes, bridesmaids' gifts, and Tara’s bridal jewelry—all of which was voted on by the public.

"It's so nice to think that the flutes we use during our wedding ceremony will find a special place in our home where we can use them to toast every anniversary," Tara says. Choosing jewelry for her special friends took the most time, as the selection of handmade jewelry was vast. "Lynda and Bill hand make every piece of jewelry on display in their store. This not only makes this gift for the girls very personal, but also one of a kind." Tara’s bridesmaids were given gorgeous sterling silver earrings and braided bracelets to wear on Tara's big day. Tara chose a beautiful "White Mountain Bracelet" woven out of 14k white and rose gold as her bridal jewelry.

After a lunch break, Tara and Trevor headed over to Nabos to meet with owner Amanda Moran. "As soon as we walked in I was in awe with the amount of fun and unique items displayed from one end of the store to the other," Tara says. Amanda showed the couple a few ideas for wedding favors, and they chose rock glasses etched with a moose for wedding favors and soap with a moose design for their guests' welcome bags.

The couple spent the night in Bethel and got up bright and early the next morning to plan some more. Their first stop was a meeting with Emily Bourassa at Sunday River. "Emily walked us through every step of our reception at Sliders, located in the beautiful Jordan Hotel," Tara says. "Emily was very helpful and gave us some great pointers for making our celebration a memorable one!"

Their next meeting was all about flowers. They headed to Pooh Corner Farm Greenhouses and Florist to meet with owner Carole Duplessis and Jessica Badone from Allium Farm. "After browsing Carole's photos of previous work and looking at magazines for ideas, I chose a few of my favorite flowers and Carole, Jessica, and Amber from Sweetest Thing Weddings helped me from there," Tara says. Jessica from Allium Farm was in charge of the floral decorations at the couple’s rehearsal dinner at the Sunday River Golf Club and their cocktail hour at The Bethel Inn Resort. Carole from Pooh Corner Farm was in charge of the centerpieces at the reception as well as the personal flowers for the wedding party and decorating the horse drawn carriage at their ceremony.

Their next stop was The Bethel Inn, which played host to Tara and Trevor's wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. "When Trevor and I first pulled up to the inn I was in awe," Tara says. "I had seen photos online, but none of them prepared me for how amazing The Bethel Inn looks like in person." The couple had lunch with Tammy James from The Bethel Inn and decided to have their ceremony on the 18th hole of the inn's golf course. "This couldn’t be any more perfect for my future husband, the golf pro!" Tara says.

That night, Tara, Trevor, their families, and friends gathered at The Mill Hill Inn for a vendor welcome party. Real Maine Weddings invited all of the participating vendors to a cocktail party, hosted by the inn's owners Woody and Lee Hughes, where everyone finally got to meet the winning couple. "Trevor and I got to spend some time getting to know the vendors we had yet to meet. There are so many vendors making this wedding a possibility, and Trevor and I wanted to take as many opportunities as possible to truly show our gratitude."

Maureen Ginther from Linda Clifford Scottish and Irish Merchant presented the couple with a beautiful glass pitcher, glasses, and bowl as a wedding present. Carole from Pooh Corner Farm used the bowl as a vessel for a floral arrangement and the piece was displayed on the escort table at the couple's reception.
Two more big wedding items that Tara and Trevor checked off their list during the summer of 2014 was choosing wedding bands and tuxes. The couple headed to Day's Jewelers in Auburn to choose the bands the public would be voting on. "Choosing rings with the Day's Jewelers team was entertaining, educational, and a day we will never forget," Tara says. "My engagement ring and wedding band fit together perfectly. Trevor is still not quite used to wearing a ring, but he says he’s never taking it off."

After they chose their rings, Tara and Trevor headed to Classic Tuxedo to look at attire for Trevor and his groomsmen. A representative from Classic Tuxedo had taken Trevor's measurements at the Freeport Wedding Show when the couple had won, so that they had suits for Trevor to try on in his size. "We were so happy with the color and style of the tuxes, and Classic Tuxedo did a great job making sure everyone was fit properly," Tara says.
In August, Tara; her maid of honor, Carolyn; Melanie; and Amber met up in Bethel for food tastings at Sunday River and The Bethel Inn. "Picking out the food for the reception was difficult, because everything at Sunday River was so tasty and each meal was plated so beautifully!" Tara says. Sunday River created a huge spread of hors d'oeuvres for the wedding reception that knocked Tara and Trevor's socks off. "They even carved our names in pumpkins and watermelons!" she exclaims. "Dinner was scrumptious. I’m still getting compliments on the entire spread provided by Sunday River from our guests!"

At The Bethel Inn the team met with Tammy James and tasted hors d'oeuvres and cocktails for Tara and Trevor's post-ceremony cocktail hour. One of Tara’s favorite parts of the cocktail party was the mashed potato bar. "Tammy made a point to tell us that the mashed potato bar was a big hit at weddings—and she was right! I got a lot of compliments!" The signature cocktail chosen by the public was the rum boogie, which happened to be Tara's favorite. "The Mason jar it came in, the decorative straw, and fruit made that drink look as appealing as it tasted," Tara says. "Tammy and her staff set up a beautiful cocktail hour in the rose garden." After their ceremony, guests played lawn games while Tara and Trevor had photos taken with their families overlooking the golf course.

Once the majority of the planning was done, all Tara and Trevor had to do was wait for the big day to arrive. As the leaves were turning from green to hues of yellow, orange, and red, the couple packed up their Jeep and headed to Bethel in anticipation of their Real Maine Wedding of the Year event.

The celebration kicked off with a Welcome Party at Mountain House at Sunday River on Wednesday, October 15. Tara and Trevor's guests, along with the partnering vendors, were invited to attend. "Mountain House is a unique location in Maine," Tara says. "Trevor and I were thrilled that owner, Julie Stevens, let us experience her venue for our welcome party. Everything from the trees in the apple orchard adorned with twinkling lights to the fire pit to the decorated breeze barn made this event picture perfect."


Scott and Necole Mondor from Affordale Events LLC erected a gorgeous tent on the property and set up long farm tables and chiavari chairs for the evening event. "Scott and Necole outdid themselves!" Tara says. The tables were topped with chevron runners and napkins from Affordable Events and potted ferns and succulents in antique milk glass, provided by Sweetest Thing Weddings. Amber placed candles in lanterns and green votives around the space to create a romantic glow.

The food was provided by Dave and Heather Nivus from Good Food Store, who arranged a tasty spread and also offered passed hors d'oeuvres for guests to enjoy. "Heather and Dave do such a good job," Tara says. "Everything they make tastes amazing!"
Steve Etheridge from Rooster's Roadhouse was manning the bar, offering beer and wine chosen by Tara and Trevor. DJ Luke Lanigan from The Music Man DJ Service spent the night spinning the tunes, which turned into a mini dance party in the breeze barn.

"The Welcome Party was a great way to kick off our wedding celebration," Tara says. "We were able to mingle with some of the vendors one last time and see our families and friends who had flown from across the country and drove many miles to see us get married."

On Thursday morning, bright and early, Trevor and some of his guests participated in a golf scramble at the Sunday River Golf Club. "The rain didn't stop us from teeing off," Trevor says. "The course has an outstanding layout, the greens were in phenomenal shape, and it challenged all types and levels of players."


While Trevor and the guys were hitting the links, Tara and her girls were enjoying a spa day, courtesy of I Do Spas. "The massage therapists did a wonderful job working out all the knots and tension in our necks and backs, and everyone's nails looked great. They came prepared with all the amenities a day spa has to offer and the whole team was very personable and excited to be a part of our wedding celebration."

After Thursday's events, the wedding party met up at The Bethel Inn for a soggy wedding rehearsal. Amber from Sweetest Things Weddings and officiant Ellie Andrews led the group through the ropes so that everyone knew what to expect on the following day. After the rehearsal, everyone met up at the Sunday River Golf Club for Tara and Trevor's rehearsal dinner.


The team at the Sunday River Golf Course had worked all day to prep the clubhouse for this event. The earthy-hued linens and chiavari chairs were provided by Affordable Events, and the décor was created by Allium Farm. "One of the first things Trevor said when we walked into the clubhouse was, 'Wow! Look how awesome all of this looks!' I completely agreed," Tara says. "The décor and design of our rehearsal dinner was gorgeous! Everything looked better than I could have imagined. The centerpieces by Allium Farm fit perfectly with our mountain top-themed wedding."

The Good Food Store provided the meal, which included a pasta bar—something Tara was particularly excited about. "The Good Food Store did a spectacular job with all of the food they provided for our events," Tara says. "I loved it all and I think Trevor ate about five plates of scallops wrapped in bacon at our Welcome Party. The pasta station and the steak were big hits at our rehearsal dinner. Everyone raved about the food!"

On the morning of the wedding day, Tara got ready in her suite at the Jordan Hotel with her friends and family. Ambiance Day Spa was on hand to help get the women glamorous. Linda Adler and her talented team of Joshua Heald, Karena Landry, Amy Robinson, and Jennifer Pownell styled hair and makeup all morning long. "The team was very attentive to what each girl liked and the look they were going for, and they made everyone feel beautiful," Tara says. "The hair styles complemented everyone's taste and looked stunning with the dresses. Ambiance made us all feel and look amazing!"

All the bridesmaids donned personalized robes while having their hair and makeup done, and changed into their beautiful bridesmaids gowns at the last minute. "The bridesmaid dresses looked so good! I love how their blush dresses with lace detail complimented my wedding gown."

Once Tara slipped into her wedding gown, she was anxious to see Trevor at their "First Look" session. "We have been together for seven years now, and the thought of waiting a minute longer to see him was out of the question!" Tara says. "My wedding gown was exquisite. It was comfortable, easy to walk in, and fit like a glove. I am so lucky to have such a beautiful treasure that hopefully will be passed on to our children one day."

Carole from Pooh Corner Farm delivered the boutinnieres and bouquets to the wedding party, much to Tara's delight. "All of Carole's flowers were beyond perfect, and I couldn't have been happier with the design she created," Tara says. "My bouquet, with a mix of calla lilies, succulents, and blush roses was gorgeous."

Once everyone was dressed and ready, they headed downstairs to Sliders for Tara and Trevor's "First Look." Trevor waited with photographers Andree Kehn and Carol Savage a little ways up on the mountain as Tara walked towards him. "I loved being able to tease Trevor, because he wasn't allowed to turn around and look at me until I said so," Tara says. "Having a "First Look" takes away a lot of the jittery nerves before having to walk down the aisle. I’m so happy we decided to have one."
After a quick photo session, the group separated and Stagecoach Shuttle Services was ready to transport everyone to The Bethel Inn for the wedding ceremony. DiAnne Ward from Deepwood Farm had her horse and carriage waiting out in front of The Bethel Inn to transport Tara, her parents, and her bridesmaids to the ceremony site on the 18th hole. "That horse and carriage ride to the ceremony really made it feel like a real life Cinderella story," Tara says.

Tara and Trevor walked down the aisle with their respective parents by their side. The couple wrote their own vows, keeping them secret from each other until their ceremony. Ellie Andrews, the officiant, led the couple through their celebration, which included a wine ceremony. The couple wrote letters to each other stating the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and the reasons they are choosing to get married, and placed the letters in a box with a bottle of wine. "We’re going to open the box on each of our anniversaries and write another letter to open the following year," Tara says. "I’m looking forward to re-reading all of our letters to see how our love has evolved over time."

The couple’s dog, Bruschi, was also a part of their ceremony. He was walked down the aisle by Trevor's sister, Maggie, and wore a flowered collar, created by Pooh Corner Farm.


After the ceremony, the guests were invited to a cocktail reception while Tara, Trevor, and Bruschi posed for some photos on the 18th hole of the golf course. The Bethel Inn served guests hors d'oeuvres and drinks, including a rum boogie, which was the signature cocktail chosen by public voting. After the cocktail hour, guests were taken to Sliders at the Jordan Hotel for dinner and dancing.

"When I first walked into Sliders I was elated," Tara says. "I tried to soak it all in as much as I could. I loved how the moss, greenery, and river rocks all fit so well with our wedding theme." The tables were decked out in linen from Affordable Events and topped with moss and greens from Pooh Corner Farm and candles from Sweetest Thing Weddings.

As guests entered the room they picked up their escort card, which was tucked into the moose-etched rock glasses from Nabos. "They are too cute and perfect for our guests to take home," Tara says. Each table setting held a small jar of Stonewall Kitchen blueberry jam, personalized by Tara and Trevor with the words, "Jam Packed with Love." "The Stonewall Kitchen jams were not only a perfect addition to our table décor, but another great gift for everyone to take home and enjoy," Tara says. The last wedding favor for Tara and Trevor's guests was a balsam pillow tied to each of the chairs with ribbon. "The fragrant pillows from Maine Balsam Fir Products will last for years! Trevor and I decided to have a picture of a moose printed on one side, and our names and wedding date on the other."

After dinner and toasts, the dance floor lit up. DJ Luke Lanigan from The Music Man DJ Service, who provided entertainment all weekend long, had a huge group of dancers to contend with. "Luke and his assistant, John, rocked it, literally," Tara says. "Luke used my playlists to play all of our favorites and incorporated his ideas based on the crowd. Every night he had people on the dance floor, moving and grooving. I was very impressed!"

Tara and Trevor's guests also took full advantage of the photo booth provided by Maine 2 Boston Photo Booth. "The booth was a big hit and everyone was excited to get in there and make some goofy memories," Tara says. "The owner, Jim Curtis, made sure everyone got copies of their photos and created a photo album for Trevor and I with copies of everyone's photos!"

After the reception died down, the party continued at Rooster's Roadhouse. "By the time we got there, most of our guests were already on the dance floor dancing to the live band!" Tara says. "Our guests all enjoyed the fabulous spread of food that the owner, Steve, had put together for us. We had so much fun continuing the celebration at Rooster's and were lucky to spend that extra time with our family and friends."

The next morning, Tara and Trevor invited their guests to The Phoenix for a send-off brunch. "The Phoenix is another gem set in the mountains of Sunday River," Tara says. "Gordon Breidenbach, the owner, did such a great job putting together our farewell event. The food was amazing and the Bloody Mary bar was a great idea."

Designs by Janet Black was in charge of decorating the space. "Janet designed The Phoenix to the nines and everyone was blown away when they walked in. She made each table different from the next, and even had little green tees made with our names on them. It was magnificent!"


Around 11 a.m., Tara and Trevor said goodbye to their families and friends and took off for their Maine honeymoon getaway at the Inn at Pinnacle Mountain. "Everyone says you need some rest and relaxation after all the fun and excitement from your wedding, and they are right," Tara says. "The Inn at Pinnacle Mountain couldn’t have been a better place to get away." As soon as the couple arrived, owners John and Mary Lemmon led them straight to the hot tub. In their honeymoon suite sat a basket full of goodies from Stonewall Kitchen. "John and Mary let us have the inn all to ourselves and left us to enjoy all the amenities," Tara says. "We loved spending some time in the hot tub and indoor pool, cuddling up on the big comfy couch by the fire, and watching football in the bar." John and Mary made the couple a romantic dinner the first night of Tara and Trevor's arrival and they also let the couple use their ATV to explore the trails around the inn.

Throughout this whole experience, Tara and Trevor had two photographers follow them around, taking pictures of all of their planning days and events. "Having Andree and Carol follow us around for everything was so much fun," Tara says. "They are both so much fun to be around and they each have their unique twist on photography. We were incredibly blessed and lucky to have them there to document our entire journey, and I look forward to sharing these photos, as well as the photos taken on our wedding day by Audra Welton, with our children in the future. They will see how lucky we were to have this experience."