2017 Real Maine Wedding of the Year
Emily & John
Emily and John had the best of both worlds for their 2017 Real Maine Wedding of the Year. They enjoyed the excitement and sophistication of the City of Portland and the quaint charm of pretty Peaks Island. 
By Melanie Brooks 
Emily Corradina and John Robinson’s paths probably crossed dozens of times at Brockton High School, but even though they were in the same graduating class, they had never met. It took 10 years for fate to step in and place the couple in the same place at the same time.
One night during her shift at Massachusetts General Hospital, Emily noticed there was a new guy working on her floor. John was a respiratory therapist and was filling in for a coworker who had called out sick. “I couldn’t help but notice him...he’s so handsome!” Emily says. She was excited when they finally had a chance to chat, and was surprised to hear they graduated high school together. 
During their first date they shared stories of Brockton High and filled in the 10 year gap since they had graduated. They clicked. “I knew John was ‘the one’ because of how easy our relationship has been from the beginning,” Emily says. 
The couple planned to celebrate their one year anniversary in Acadia National Park. John decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to propose. While Emily was enjoying a stunning view from a mountain trail, John got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. “I was completely shocked and literally speechless,” Emily says. She said, “Yes!”
When Emily heard about the Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest at a wedding show, her curiosity was peaked. The wedding date, October 20, was the same day as her parent’s anniversary. Emily had visited Maine countless times to ski, camp, and hike with her friends and family. Once John started dating Emily, he joined the crew and instantly fell in love with Maine, too!
“We spent so much of our time getting to know each other in the beautiful state of Maine, it seemed fitting to have a wedding in such a gorgeous place,” John says. The couple created video to enter the contest and crossed their fingers. They were elated when they were announced the winning couple. “Winning was a surreal experience,” Emily says. “Never in our wildest dreams did we actually think we would win the whole thing!”
Before the excitement had even died down, Emily and John were working on planning their big day. They shared their wedding inspiration Pinterest board with Amber Small from Sweetest Thing Weddings and the public helped vote on their theme. 
Just like their 2-minute entry video, the public had the opportunity to vote on aspects of Emily and John’s 2017 Real Maine Wedding of the Year. The Real Maine Weddings team took them to all of their planning appointments and helped them choose the important things that would make their wedding event truly spectacular. First stop: Andrea’s Bridal to try on wedding gowns.
Owner Julia Irace met Emily and her family at the door. “I don’t know how she did it, but Julia knew my taste and what my dream dresses were before I even knew myself,” Emily says. “I cannot say enough about Julia’s expertise and I felt so honored and privileged to have the chance to work with her.”
John met with Julia next as she helped him choose suits at Andrea’s Bridal’s sister store, His & Hers. “I knew John was in good hands,” Emily says. “He said afterwards that he felt well taken care of knowing he would look sharp on our big day.”
John and Emily’s mothers also had the opportunity to choose dresses for the big day at Blush Bridal & Formal in Portland. “It was so wonderful to see both our moms looking so beautiful in wedding day garb,” Emily says. “Courtney Wetzel from Blush was so lovely and patient. She understood what an important time this was for us and our moms.”
The second planning day was also filled with important decisions. It started at the Zula Bell studio in Portland’s Old Port. “Owner Jessica Thibodeau knew exactly what colors and styles to use to incorporate the theme of the wedding into the invitations and save the dates,” Emily says. “Her vision was spot on!”
Their next stop was a stroll through the world of Laurie Andrews Design and LA Design Lab. “John and I felt like kids in a candy store as we walked throughout the warehouse, eyes wide in wonder at all the beautiful furniture and wedding décor!” Emily says. “We left so excited thinking about all the furniture, flowers, and other beautiful custom equipment that will be at our wedding!”
John and Emily were ushered to Day’s Jewelers to choose their wedding bands and Emily’s bridal jewelry. John picked out some white gold wedding bands while Heather Elaine from Day’s helped Emily find a band that would perfectly complement her engagement ring. “Their selection was so nice and they had something gorgeous for every price point,” Emily said. 
The day ended at Savvy Event Rental where Emily and John chose linens and table settings to adorn the farm tables at their reception. “The staff was so friendly, kind, and helpful, and we can’t thank them enough,” Emily says. “It was a perfect ending to a perfect day of wedding planning!”
A few weeks later, Emily and John were back in Portland to pick out more wedding day elements. We started this day off at Dube Travel where Emily and John chose three Club Med Resorts for the public to vote on. “Terry Carpentier from Dube Travel was so kind and accommodating,” Emily says. “We were amazed at all the beautiful Club Med resorts we had to choose from.”
We hopped on a ferry over to Peaks Island for Emily and John’s first look at the Inn on Peaks Island. There we met with Jayson Mathieu to talk about their reception. “Jayson’s fabulous menu options left our mouths watering! He was so kind and his food choices were perfect for us,” Emily says.  
Back on the mainland we met with Barbara Seelan from BHive Design. “Barbara is a creative genius who created handmade purses for me and my wedding party!” Emily says. The couple also got to view some creative products from A&E Stoneworks. They chose coasters for the public to vote on and got a peek at what the company was giving Emily and John to gift to their wedding guests. “We were so excited to have these special Maine-made things for our wedding celebration,” Emily says.
Once LK Weiss and Laura Kloosterman arrived from Bowline Co., all the attention turned to John. “I immediately felt like my cool factor went up exponentially just by meeting these trendy entrepreneurs,” John says. He loved all the ties he tried on, but left the final decision up to public voting. 
A month passed before Emily and John returned to Portland for their final planning day. It started on the sweet side—a cake tasting at Mainely Wedding Cakes! “Owner Linda Noddin had an array of delicious cakes, fillings, and frosting ready for us on arrival,” Emily says. “She had an amazing vision for our theme and she knew what would be perfect for the design of our cake!”
The next artisan John and Emily met was Carol Sullivan from Fox Run Studios. Emily got to see up close Carol’s beautiful hand-painted silk scarves. “Carol generously agreed to make us a custom piece for our wedding,” Emily says. “She has so many beautiful, colorful designs and has a real passion and skill.”
Emily and John were excited to see the venue for their Welcome Party, so we headed to The Portland Regency to meet with David Davis. “We sat down and David was able to lay out every detail of the event for us and whenever we had a question or suggestion he was right there with a solution,” Emily says. “We felt so fortunate to be having a Welcome Party let alone to be having it hosted at such a cool venue!”
The team then headed over to the Portland Masonic to talk about their Rehearsal Dinner with Angela Fall and the guys from Blue Elephant Events, Fausto Pifferer and Reuben Bell. “The Portland Masonic is filled with two things we really love, unbelievable architecture and a ton of history,” John says. “Fausto, Reuben, and Angela were really awesome, they gave us a little tour of the beautiful temple and we learned about the beautiful meal they planned to create for a sit down dinner in the Scottish Rite Room,” Emily says. 
The last meeting of the day also had the most pressure. Emily and John had to model for their cake topper at Steamfruit! “Michael and Laura Vickery have a studio complete with a 3D image scanner and what we’ve been describing as a life size lazy Susan,” Emily says. “The challenge—strike a pose and hold it for 3-4 minutes while your entire body is captured in 3D.” Emily and John changed into their hiking gear so their cake topper would be a replica of them hiking a mountain—one of their favorite hobbies. 
For the rest of the summer of 2017, the public voted on aspects of Emily and John’s Real Maine Wedding of the Year. When the leaves started turning their brilliant hues of yellow, orange, and red, it was time for everyone to reconvene in Portland to kick off Emily and John’s three day wedding event!

Wednesday, October 18 started with  a tour of Portland’s Old Port with Maine Foodie Tours. “My family loves trying new foods and Portland is certainly the place to do it,” Emily says. The couple and their wedding party (which was made up of their closest family members) loved every stop they made and every treat they tried. “The Maine Foodie tour was a perfect way to start our wedding festivities,” John says.
That evening The Portland Regency hosted Emily and John’s Welcome Party. Their wedding guests and the business representatives who participated in the contest were invited to a fun and festive cocktail reception. Laurie Andrews Design decorated The Atlantic Room in a modern, romantic theme. “Laurie is such an incredibly talented designer and we couldn’t have been in better hands for our Welcome Party,” Emily says. 

Candles glowed, lights sparkled, and delicious food was served as guests and vendors mingled and laughed. “The Portland Regency staff were so attentive and accommodating,” John says. “The oyster display was the most phenomenal display of seafood I’ve ever seen,” Emily says. “The food was exquisite and artfully prepared.” 
The next morning, Emily, John, and their families met at The Escape Room on Congress Street for an adventure. The crew split up into two teams to work their way through a set of clues to free themselves from their assigned room. “We all loved our Escape Room experience!” Emily says. “The designs for each room were unique and fun. We has a wide range of ages with us and everyone was able to participate and work together.”
That evening guests boarded the ferry at Peaks Island and were greeted at the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal by a luxury bus from Northeast Charters. The destination? Emily and John’s Rehearsal Dinner at The Portland Masonic. “The bus from Northeast Charters was comfortable and classy,” John says. “It really took away all the stress of having our guests travel from the island to our rehearsal,” Emily adds. 
John and Emily were excited to have their Rehearsal Dinner in such a beautiful and historic building. Laurie Andrews Design created a warm, welcoming environment for the plated dinner created by Blue Elephant Events. “Fresh flowers, candlelight, warm linens, and a glowing fireplace helped to make the room feel intimate, romantic, and rustic, all the while keeping the majesty and grandiosity of the room intact,” Emily says.

The couple headed to the rooftop for some sunset photos with photographer Kim Chapman. The view overlooking Portland was astounding!
After drinks and hors d’oeuvres, guests took their seats and enjoyed a fabulous filet and lobster dinner. “The food from Blue Elephant was top notch,” Emily says. “We are so grateful to Reuben and Fausto from Blue Elephant for creating a magical experience for our Rehearsal Dinner,” John says. Guests also enjoyed desserts crafted by Mainely Wedding Cakes. The individual layered cake desserts were as beautiful as they were delicious!
Emily and John took the opportunity pass out some lovely gift to their wedding party. John gave his groomsmen and ring bearers ties and bow ties from Bowline Co. “We are so thankful to Bowline for helping us look our best for the wedding day,” John says. “I love the bowtie and it’s something I’ll always have to wear for special occasions and anniversaries.”
Emily gave her bridesmaids scarves from Fox Run Studio. “You could see the beautiful hand painted details in each one!” Emily says. Carol Sullivan also created a special wedding scarf for Emily and John. “I was so emotional seeing the scarf Carol worked so hard to make for us. We are so excited to have this special keepsake in our new home.”
Each place setting was set with a slate lobster ornament from A&E Stoneworks. Emily and John also gave Maine-shaped coasters to their families as a gift. “Our wedding party loved them!” John says. “It’s a daily reminder of this awesome experience.”
The last gift was given by Emily to her sisters, mother, and mother in law. Barbara Seelan from BHive Designs created a bag to match each woman’s wedding day attire. “Barbara did an amazing job making these handbags unique and special,” Emily says. “I will keep my bag forever and it will certainly become an heirloom that I will be proud to pass down and share with other brides in my family!”
At the end of the night the guests were ushered back to the ferry terminal by Northeast Charter to get a good night’s sleep before the wedding day.
Friday morning started bright and early. John had breakfast with his father, brother in law, and nephews before getting dressed at the house his parents had rented on the island. “We took our time getting ready, putting our suits on, and having some photos taken by Russell Caron Wedding Photography,” John says. “Deidre Moore at His & Hers was so attentive and accommodating about our suits. I felt that I looked my absolute best on the way to see my beautiful bride!”
Emily got ready at her rental house with her mother and sisters. John’s mom and sister came by to join in the fun and have their hair and makeup done by Kim Doll and Cynthia Miner. Photographers Kim Chapman and Greta Tucker were present to capture all of the details and merriment.
“Kim is so talented and quick!” Emily says. “She was able to turn my vision of perfect, romantic wedding hair into a reality, and I was so pleased!” Cynthia owns From This Day Forward and brought her bag of tricks to help enhance the beauty of the Corradina and Robinson ladies. “I felt naturally beautiful when Cindy finished. I felt very comfortable and the makeup lasted all night long.”
Angela Emery and Rebecca Zolton from Pratt Abbott came to the house to press the gowns and suits. “It was so comforting and convenient to have Pratt Abbott on site making sure everything was looking good for our big day,” Emily says. “Steaming so many dresses and suits was no small task, and we were so incredibly appreciative of their hard work!”
Emily’s sisters, Viola and Stephanie, as well as John’s sister, Mary, all wore a different bridesmaid gown from Andrea’s Bridal. Emily took inspiration from her mother’s own bridesmaids gowns when choosing the natural colors for her wedding. “I was so happy that each of them had a different and unique gown, yet all in the same color family so we all coordinated perfectly,” Emily says. “They all really liked their gowns and felt comfortable the whole night through.”
Emily and John’s mom’s also looked stunning in their gowns from Blush Bridal & Formal. “The color of my mother’s gown gave her a glowing, radiant look,” Emily says. John’s mom also loved her gown. “It felt really special to see her looking so beautiful on my wedding day,” John says.  
Emily’s own wedding gown was inspired by her mother, Sandie’s, wedding gown. “My dress was a nod to her wedding gown with all of the lace, long sleeves, and bustline detailing,” Emily says. “I could not have felt more beautiful and comfortable in my wedding gown. The dress was flawless, and I am so thankful to Julia Irace at Andrea’s Bridal for picking it out for me!”
The bridal jewelry from Day’s Jewelers was the finishing touch to Emily’s wedding day look. “I absolutely loved my jewelry for the wedding!” Emily gushes. “The pieces are timeless, elegant, and simple, and they have a cool art deco feel to them, which I love.” 
In the early afternoon, the bouquets were delivered to Emily and her family. Created by Laurie Andrews Design, they wowed the bride with their beauty and fragrance. “The bouquets and flower girl crown were over and beyond what I had envisioned,” Emily says. “I absolutely loved the long silk ribbons that cascaded from the bouquets!” 
The boutonnieres were also delivered to John and his wedding party. “The boutonnieres were so classy and really gave me added flair while elevating my look,” John says. “Laurie Andrews picked some great colors that popped against my suit.”
Once Emily and John were both dressed, they met along the coast at a spot chosen by Russell Caron Wedding Photography for their ‘first look.’
“I had so many butterflies in my stomach on the way to the ‘first look,’” John says. He stood facing the waves while Emily was ushered into place. “I was overcome with joy upon turning around and seeing her for the first time looking so amazingly beautiful.” Emily was just as exhilarated. “The photographers and videographer were so incredible in making this moment a special and private time for us,” Emily says. “They were somehow able to make it feel like we were the only ones there on those rocks. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
After their private photo session with Russell Caron Wedding Photography, the couple headed to the church for their ceremony. They held a Roman Catholic mass and were delighted to personally choose the old and new testament readings, the gospel, and the hymns. “I loved that no matter what faith our guests were, they felt welcome, united, and included in the intimate setting of the church John and I chose for our wedding,” Emily says. 

After being proclaimed husband and wife, the couple exited the church as their friends and family threw rosemary herbs. The newlyweds hopped in a golf cart and had a private photo session down on the beach with Kim Chapman Photography before joining their guests for a cocktail hour at the Inn on Peaks Island. 
Laurie Andrews Design and LA Design Lab pulled out all the stops on the 2017 Real Maine Wedding of the Year tented reception. They took the “Woodland Fairytale” theme to new heights! With the help of Illuminated FX, Inc. the team created a showstopper of an event, complete with lounge furniture, hanging Edison bulbs, draped fabric, walls of plants and grass, flickering candles, and illuminated tree branches. 
While guests enjoyed cocktails and appetizers in the exquisite lounge area, the couple got the first peek into their transformed reception place. “I was completely awestruck,” Emily says. “It’s hard to put into words how incredible it feels to literally have the wedding of your dreams...and that’s exactly what Laurie and Gail did for me that day. It was breathtaking everywhere I looked. It felt like everyone was a part of a magical fairy dinner party in the woods and it was better than anything I could have dreamt up in my head. Laurie Andrews is a genius and I am so honored that her team designed and executed my perfect wedding.”
The farm tables from Savvy Event Rental created a rustic and inviting atmosphere. Emily and John loved how they made their guests feel like they were sitting at a family dinner. “The linens and table settings from Savvy were so beautiful and elegant. They gave the tables a dressed up, classy, romantic feel.” 
A hand-painted buoy was presented at each place setting. “The buoys by Maine Wedding Artist were a lovely handmade favor for our guests to take home,” Emily says. “You could tell that a lot of time, patience, and artistry went into the creation of each one.”
Guests mingled and found their seats using the seating chart and escort cards by Zula Bell. “Everything Jessica created for us was unique, beautiful, and right in line with my vision,” Emily says. 

After introductions by the DJs at Music Man DJ Service, Emily and John enjoyed their first dance to “I Get to Love You” by Ruelle. “It’s the song we used for our submission video to the contest,” John says. “To dance to it as our first song was like coming full circle.”
Once the dances ended people took their seats to enjoy dinner. “The service by Jayson Mathieu and his staff at the Inn on Peaks Island was phenomenal,” John says. “During the cocktail hour, Jayson personally greeted us with our signature cocktails, which were out of this world. He then proceeded to bring us a large tray of hors d’oeuvres, which included some of the best lobster rolls we’ve ever had.” Emily also fawned over their experience at the Inn on Peaks Island. “I could not have more wonderful things to say about our experience,” she says. “The food was unmatched! The staff really knocked our socks off at every turn, and we had the most amazing day because of their attention to detail and hard work behind the scenes to ensure that everyone was well taken care of!”
After dinner the couple headed into the inn to cut their cake. “Linda Nodden from Mainely Wedding Cakes is really an artist,” Emily says. “The cake was beautiful and interesting—I have never seen anything like it!” Sitting on top of their wedding cake was the cake topper by Steamfruit. “The finished product blew us away!” Emily says. “We now have a tiny statue of us in our hiking gear to keep forever. Not many people can say that about their cake topper!”
John and Emily also had a special cake made to commemorate Emily’s parent’s 38th wedding anniversary. “We asked Linda to make a mini replica of their carrot cake wedding cake as a surprise,” Emily says. “I loved that she made an effort to create something really special for them!”
After the cake cutting, guests enjoyed dancing and hopping into the photo booth provided by Maine to Boston Photo Booth. “The photo booth was a blast!” Emily says. “I loved that everyone got a photo with a magnetic case so that they could hang it on their refrigerators as a memento!”
The services by Music Man DJ also didn’t disappoint. “Dancing is a huge part of weddings for my family,” John says. “They love to dance after seeing someone get married!” And dance they did! “It meant so much to have a DJ who was able to keep the dance floor packed. Luke and John from Music Man DJ did just that!” The dance floor was jam packed for the rest of the night!
What’s the perfect way to wrap up an energetic wedding reception? Late night snacks, of course! The chefs at Inn on Peaks Island served some sweet and savory treats near the end of the night to hungry guests. 
The reception died down at 10 p.m. at the inn, but festivities continued elsewhere. After a full day of excitement and adventure, Emily and John retreated to their room at the Inn on Peaks Island a happily married couple. “The accommodations were beautiful,” Emily says. “And having our leftover cake sent to our room was appropriately timed! Wedding cake was definitely the perfect thing to top off our perfect wedding day.” 
All day long, Emily and John were photographed by Russell Caron and Kim Chapman. They were also surprised with videography services from Timeless Media. “We were so excited when we found out about having a videographer,” Emily says. Not only will they have photographs, they’ll have a video that will last a lifetime.
Emily and John left soon after their wedding for their honeymoon. Due to the terrible hurricanes in the fall of 2017, the Club Med at Turks and Caicos, where Emily and John planned to spend their honeymoon, had to close for extensive renovations. Terry Carpentier from Dube Travel worked with the couple to find another location for their honeymoon, and Emily and John enjoyed a relaxing and fun week in the Dominican Republic. They hope to visit Club Med Turks and Caicos for their one-year anniversary!
Kim Chapman and Russell and Liz Caron followed Emily and John’s entire journey—from their announcement as winners in the spring to their moves on the dance floor at their reception. “We spent so much time with these three that it’s like they became part of our family,” John says. “We got to know some really amazing people and now we’ll always have pictures of every part of this incredible journey to cherish and look back on.”