2013 Real Maine Wedding of the Year
Tiffany & Patrick
Tiffany and Patrick won our 2013 Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest and had a dream wedding in Patrick's hometown of Kennebunkport, Maine. Follow them on their journey as they plan a stunning wedding in a town that is so close to their hearts. 

By Melanie Brooks
Photography by Patrick McNamara Photography and Russell Caron Wedding Photography
As soon Tiffany Vasquez started working on the Celebrity cruise ship Equinox, Patrick Jones, who worked as an engineer on the ship, tried to find a way to meet her. Luckily, he didn't need to wait too long.

Tiffany was a member of the on-board production crew, dazzling guests with nightly theatrical shows. Several of the doors backstage needed to be fixed, so Tiffany put in a repair request. Guess who was in charge of distributing the jobs to the repairmen? As Patrick was handing out the jobs, he quickly realized that one of them belonged to Tiffany, and he decided to handle the task personally.

"He called me up to ask if I could meet him and show him every single door backstage," Tiffany says. "We spent a good hour talking to each other and immediately hit it off." Tiffany thought this stellar customer service was standard procedure—it wasn't. "I later found out that the job would have taken someone five minutes, and that Patrick would not have been the one to do it." Before Patrick left, he invited Tiffany to the wine and cheese night. "Patrick arrived before I did, and there was a seat conveniently available right next to him when I arrived," Tiffany says. "The rest, they say, is history."

Patrick proposed during a surprise trip to the Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire. The couple enjoyed a wonderful dinner and planned to have breakfast the next morning in their room. After feasting on cinnamon French toast, blueberry sausage, eggs benedict, and mimosas, Patrick got down on one knee. "I was surprised and excited, asking him 'What are you doing?!'" Tiffany says. "He said, 'I love you very much. I never knew I could have a love like this. From the bottom of the largest mountain on the eastern seaboard, I would like to ask you to be my partner in crime, the love of my life, and my best friend.' Of course I said yes!"

The Wedding Planning Begins

When Tiffany and Patrick heard that the 2013 Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest was to be held in Patrick's hometown of Kennebunkport, they decided they had to create a video and enter. "Kennebunkport holds so many memories for us," Tiffany says. "It's the first place I met his amazing family, who welcomed me with warm and loving arms, and it's the first place I told Patrick I loved him."

Patrick spent the majority of the wedding planning process working aboard a ship, finishing out his contract, but Tiffany took some time off to make this wedding a reality. "I was a bit bummed that Patrick couldn't come with me to our first meeting with Christine Parker and Melanie Brooks from Real Maine Weddings and Amber Small from Sweetest Thing Weddings," Tiffany says. "But Patrick's mom, Colleen, took the day off of work to come with me." The duo drove up to Bangor to begin the process of planning Tiffany and Patrick's dream wedding.

"From the first few minutes of talking to Amber I could tell she was a true professional. I absolutely loved her energy," Tiffany says. Amber shared some of her ideas for a wedding theme, which happened to fall right in place of with Tiffany and Patrick's tastes and desires. Once the wedding theme was chosen by the public vote, the rest of the planning went into overdrive.

Because Tiffany was splitting her time between Patrick's family in Maine, her family in Florida, and visiting Patrick on the cruise ship, her planning days needed to be full and furious. In fact, Tiffany made some huge decisions during the first two planning days in the beginning of May, with an entourage: her mother, Carmen; sister, Elizabeth; nieces Emily and Kimberly; her bridesmaids, Yvonne, Jasmine, and Kathleen; and Patrick's mother, Colleen. Their first stop was to Andrea's Bridal in Portland to try on wedding gowns.

"I didn't think it was possible, but Julia Irace, the boutique owner, made me even more excited about finding my wedding dress," Tiffany says. Julia and Amber started picking out dresses from Allure Bridals for Tiffany to try on. "I tried on so many gorgeous gowns, but there were three in particular that captivated me: two of them were dresses that Julia and Amber had picked out." One in particular captured Tiffany's heart, and it wasn't a dress that she would have ever tried on if Amber hadn't insisted. "I could envision myself walking toward my future husband in that dress, and it brought me to tears."

After an emotional morning at Andrea's Bridal, Tiffany headed over to One Stop Event Rentals to choose china, silverware, and stemware for the reception. "They have everything you could imagine for an event—and more," Tiffany says. "I thought that, with my indecisive nature, I would spend half the day there, but Amber and Lynne Cousins, owner of One Stop Event Rentals, made it so easy and fun!"

The next stop brought the crew to Village Paperie, where Tiffany picked out three invitations from William Arthur, and the public voted to select a winner. "The quaint shop is so warm and inviting, and it was such a pleasure to meet Jean Betses, the owner and Gabby Trappe from William Arthur," Tiffany says. "Looking through the William Arthur invitations was like looking at pieces of art. It was hard to choose, but Jean had the perfect system to help me narrow it down to the top choices."

A welcome cocktail party at On the Marsh Bistro ended the busy day with great wine and fantastic food. Tiffany, her family, and friends got the opportunity to meet the amazing vendors working to make her dream wedding possible. "It was great to have an opportunity to thank all of the sponsors involved. Patrick and I were so grateful for all of their generosity and felt so lucky to have the best of the best come together for our special day," Tiffany says.

The second day of planning started bright and early at Bridals By Sandy in Alfred, owned by Sandy Bisson. That morning, the bridesmaids were the models, and Tiffany had the women pick out dresses they liked from the many racks of colorful gowns. "Sandy is so sweet and has such a relaxed disposition that she made the stressful decision easier," Tiffany says. "I must say it was much more challenging to pick out the attire for the bridesmaids compared to my own dress!" After much deliberation about style and color, the group narrowed the dress choices down to three and left it to the public to decide.

After lunch with the Jones family in downtown Kennebunkport, Tiffany headed over to Coastal Jewelers to look at wedding bands. "Patrick's family are regulars at this high-end jeweler and frequently purchase exquisite pieces from this charming shop," Tiffany says. In fact, on this day, Tiffany was wearing a sand dollar bracelet from Coastal Jewelers that Colleen had given to her for Christmas.

"It was a surreal feeling to put the wedding bands on," Tiffany says. "I just thought about our wedding day and how our wedding bands symbolize the commitment we would be making to each other. Susan MacDonald, the owner, was so helpful. She had some great suggestions as to what band would look best with my beautiful engagement ring." Susan went out of her way to special order a custom wedding band for Patrick that would pay homage to his Irish heritage. The traditional Irish Claddagh ring represents friendship, love, and loyalty.

Tiffany took advantage of spending some time in Maine by paying a visit to Day's Jewelers in South Portland with Colleen and Patrick's grandmother, Nanny. Day's Jewelers invited Tiffany to come pick out three sets of bridal jewelry, leaving the decision up to the public vote as to which one she would wear on her big day. Katie Leighton from Day's Jewelers and Erin Corey from Honora were on hand to help Tiffany along.

"Patrick and I love that Day's Jewelers is committed to offering their clients pieces of jewelry that are obtained with regard to the harmony of our environment and that are from conflict-free areas," Tiffany says. "It was one of the key reasons Patrick bought my engagement ring there."

After making so many decisions in a week's time, Tiffany headed home to Florida before she was off to spend some time with Patrick aboard the ship. By the end of July, Tiffany was back in Maine with Carmen for the third day of planning.

Tiffany spent the day touring the different properties that were going to play important roles in making her big day fabulous. "We visited all the stunning venues and met up with such phenomenal people along the way," Tiffany says. "Everyone made me feel so loved and comfortable."

The morning began with Sonja Mesley from the Kennebunkport Resort Collection. "If anyone knows me, they know I absolutely love food," Tiffany says. "Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear Sonja's ideas and chat about the menu for our wedding reception!" Tiffany loved Sonja's suggestion of having the first three courses–soup, salad, and sorbet–served to the guests while sitting at the tables, and then offering a buffet for the main course. "We also talked about signature drinks, and the group came up with some great options. The signature drinks are not only going to be tasty, they're going to look terrific!"

Melissa Wirth from Stonewall Kitchen joined the group to show Tiffany the personalized jam jar favors her guests would be taking with them. "Patrick and I really love Stonewall Kitchen because they make a wide assortment of deliciously amazing food," Tiffany says. "I have never had something from Stonewall Kitchen that I didn't like."  Stonewall Kitchen also provided welcome baskets of food for Tiffany and Patrick's wedding guests, as well as a huge welcome basket for the couple as everyone arrived in Kennebunkport for the big day. "It was such a nice touch to present our guests with the "Crackers and Savories Gift Basket."Patrick and I received their amazing "Maine Morning Breakfast Basket," and we couldn't wait to open it and start eating all the deliciousness inside!"

The group then made their way to The Nonantum Resort to sit down with Tim Ames to discuss the rehearsal dinner. "The Nonantum Resort holds a lot of history for Patrick and his family," Tiffany says. "He learned how to swim there. And his grandmother, Carol Walsh, docked her boat there for many years." Tim walked Tiffany through her options for the rehearsal dinner, which included a cocktail hour and dancing. "Tim was so hospitable and charming! We really enjoyed our visit, and we knew our guests who were staying at The Nonantum for our wedding were in for a real treat!"

Speaking of treats, Teresa Gamache from Sweet T's Confections was also at The Nonantum meeting to discuss Tiffany and Patrick's rehearsal dinner dessert buffet. "After hearing Teresa's ideas, I knew that Patrick and many of our guests were going to feel like they arrived in heaven," Tiffany says.

After sampling Teresa's amazing car bomb cupcakes, the group headed up to The Colony Hotel. Christian McCrory was there waiting to show Tiffany where she would be officially getting married. "This was the first time my mom had a chance to see where Patrick and I were going to say our vows," Tiffany says. "It is a breathtakingly beautiful place. Our ocean backdrop is not only fitting for our story and how we met, but it also provides a magnificent view."

The final stop for the day was at Wells Reserve at Laudholm–the location for Tiffany and Patrick's reception. "This gem is actually a National Estuarine Research Reserve," Tiffany says. "I was honored when Nik Charov, president of Laudholm Trust, told us that Patrick and I will become members of this historic site."

This was the first time Tiffany had a chance to walk around the barn, where her reception was to take place. Amber and Sonja were coming up with endless ideas for the space, which they decided they'd keep as a surprise for the couple. "I wanted to walk into the space with Patrick and just be in awe, and I knew with so many talented and creative minds working together that I would be."

During this visit to Maine, Tiffany and Carmen went to Cross Jewelers in Portland to pick out gifts for Tiffany's bridesmaids. As it happens with many who visit Cross Jewelers, the history of the establishment swept Tiffany off her feet. "I am beyond grateful to not only be a part of Cross Jewelers history, but also to be presenting my bridesmaids with a treasure from this local jeweler," Tiffany says. "Karen Pride created a display with exquisite pieces for us to view. She gave me some great tips and provided the best guidance to pick three amazing pieces for the public to vote on."

Tiffany decided to wait for Patrick to arrive in Maine for their cake tasting at Let Them Eat Cake. Once that day arrived in September, owner Gayle Forte created a basket with no less than 13 pieces of cake to take home and enjoy. "This allowed us to have a romantic night, savoring each cake flavor to decide which to choose," Tiffany says. The design of the cake was voted on by the public, but the flavors–spice cake and toasted coconut–were chosen by the couple. "When we finally saw our cake at the reception, we were blown away! It was spectacular."

The Maine Event

With Patrick off the ship, the wedding day was drawing closer! The three-day-long event started with a welcome party at On the Marsh Bistro. "It was the perfect start to an incredible three-day celebration," Tiffany says. "Everything about the event was wonderful, the company, the atmosphere, the venue, the service, the food, the decor—everything!" The guests were greeted with tasty hors d'oeuvres and a selection of wines to sample. After the cocktail hour, the guests were invited to be seated to enjoy an entree of beef, fish, or vegetable lasagna, accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables. Blueberry-filled vanilla cupcakes ended the meal on a high note. "We are so thankful to On the Marsh for starting our festivities with such class, fun, and beauty!" Tiffany says.

Amber from Sweetest Thing Weddings created a nautical theme for the Thursday night rehearsal dinner at The Nonantum Resort. Guests enjoyed a cocktail hour on the patio at 95 Ocean before being ushered into the River Room for a traditional Maine lobster dinner. This was the first time many of Tiffany's family members had ever had Maine lobster, let alone left to open it up and eat it. "It was so much fun seeing our guests trying to open up their soft-shelled lobster with a fork and knife," Tiffany says.

Sweet T's Confections dessert spread included a vast array of cupcakes, cookies, and whoopie pies. Luke Lanigan from Music Man DJ kept the energy going throughout the night with music. "He played different styles to accommodate every guest," Patrick says. "Tiffany's family was dancing up a storm when he started playing Spanish music!"

Tiffany took the opportunity at the rehearsal dinner to present her bridesmaids with the Vermeer freshwater pearl earrings from Cross Jewelers. "Karen even asked me if they preferred yellow or white gold, so I was able to give the ladies the color that complimented their style."

As the night came to an end, Tiffany retreated to the house she and Patrick rented as their local home base, and Patrick headed to a hotel to spend their last night as Mr. Jones and Miss Vasquez. The next day was the one they had been planning for months.

"I woke up the next morning to a gorgeous day outside, and my dress was sparkling in the sunlight. It was the perfect way to start the day," Tiffany says.

Patrick also woke up excited. "I really wanted to see Tiffany," he says. "I even thought about showing up at the salon while they were getting ready." Tiffany, Colleen, Carmen, and the bridesmaids spent the morning being primped to perfection at Fringe Hair Art. "It was the perfect bonding time to share with my special ladies," Tiffany says. "The ladies at Fringe are so talented, sweet, and helpful. They made us all feel special and excited for the big day."

Sabin Beckwith from Kitchen Chicks Catering swung by the salon to drop off breakfast treats, including fruit, scones, muffins, juice, and champagne. The ladies munched as the incredible stylists and makeup artist got them ready. "I absolutely loved how my hair and makeup looked," Tiffany says. "Sheryl Miller-Rideout, the salon owner, really outdid herself with my hair style."

The ladies then went back to Tiffany and Patrick's rental house to get into their gowns. After a quick bite and some photos, The Maine Limousine Service showed up with their Bentley and stretch limo to take everyone to The Nonantum Resort for Tiffany and Patrick's first look.

"I loved the idea of a first look, because it gave us a special moment together," Tiffany says. "It gave us a chance to ease the nerves and tell each other how much we love each other."

Patrick and his groomsmen, who were decked out in chocolate brown suits from Classic Tuxedo arrived at The Nonantum before the bridal party. When the Bentley and limo pulled into the parking lot, Patrick could hardly wait.

"My heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest as I knew she was walking toward me," Patrick says. "Then, finally, I got to turn around and see my bride in her dress for the first time. As soon as I had her in my arms, my heart stopped racing and I was able to calm down."

Before the ceremony at The Colony, Tiffany and Patrick had some time to themselves again to relax. But as Tiffany started walking down the aisle to Patrick, all those butterflies returned. "I was so excited and relieved to see her walking towards me—I couldn't stop smiling!" Patrick says.

"As I was walking down the aisle, all I saw was Patrick. I couldn't wait to stand there with him, holding hands and declaring our love for each other," Tiffany says. "All I could do was smile because I had never been more happy."

Tiffany and Patrick created an intimate and personal wedding ceremony by choosing the readings and writing their own vows. This was a bonding experience that Tiffany and Patrick say gave them a chance to grow as a couple and allowed them to strengthen their connection.

The couple stood under a beautiful altar, which was created by Michelle Rose at Blooms Flower Shoppe. In fact, Michelle created all of the floral arrangements and bouquets for the entire event. "Michelle from Blooms outdid herself," Tiffany says. "The bouquets were beautiful and the perfect compliment to the theme and decor. The flower girls looked so sweet with the wreathes on their heads. The arbor for the ceremony was out of this world—I've never seen anything so unique."

After the ceremony, Tiffany and Patrick's wedding guests were treated to a cocktail hour on the lawn at The Colony. The centerpiece was a raw bar, featuring a large ice sculpture of an anchor, designed and executed by Murray Long at Wicked Good Ice. "It looked amazing!" Tiffany says. "Not only was it a cool way to display the raw bar, but it was also a work of art. We were really surprised when we saw our monogram in marine flags!

The food and drinks at the cocktail hour were provided by the staff at The Colony. "People kept raving about how delicious everything was," Tiffany says. "Many said that the food was the best thing they had ever put in their mouths!" Besides the raw bar, The Colony offered trays of crab cakes, lobster quiche, grilled lamb loin canapes, vegetable spring rolls, spanakopita, Andouille sausage puff pastry, and scallops wrapped in bacon. "We even took a plate with us to eat in the Bentley on our way to Laudholm, because everything was so delicious!" The couple chose to offer a signature drink—warm mulled cider—to their guests. "It was the perfect way for the guests to warm up and enjoy a tasty cocktail for our outdoor wedding."

Tiffany and Patrick left their wedding in the Bentley, and their wedding party followed in the stretch limo. The guests hopped aboard a trolley from the Ogunquit Trolley Company. "It was so classic, romantic, and elegant to ride in the Bentley," Tiffany says. "Guests had a lot of fun mingling and seeing the sights of the area from the trolley. Some our guests wanted to take a trolley ride during their visit to Maine, so for those with very limited time, this was the perfect way to do so."

At last it was time to view the barn, decorated to the nines. Many of the design elements had been kept secret from the couple, and Patrick's favorite part of the reception design at Wells Reserve at Laudholm was seeing Tiffany's face when the barn doors opened for the first time. "What a sight it was!" Tiffany says. "The farm tables from One Stop Event Rentals were such a unique touch and the perfect compliment to the barn setting. The burlap and lace table runner added elegance to the tables. The gold rims on the plates and glasses glistened in the light and added such class and opulence to the dinner. There were so many flowers. Those centerpieces looked like they were right out of a storybook! The lighting design by ELC made a huge difference in the feel of the room. The lighting created such a magical, warm, and inviting feel to the barn." A small box with a purple bow was placed at each setting and held two delicious truffles from Dean's Sweets‚ a delicious treat from one of Maine's finest chocolatiers.

Tiffany and Patrick had had a menu tasting prior to the big day at Cape Arundel Inn with Chef Pierre Gignac, so they knew their guests were in for an amazing meal. "We loved the mix of having the soup, salads, and sorbet served and our guests having the chance to taste everything that was on the buffet," Tiffany says. The meal began with a pumpkin and squash bisque, followed by a savory roasted heirloom carrot salad. Guests were served a cranberry sorbetto to cleanse their palates before walking through the buffet line. Tiffany and Patrick chose to serve cider-brined, pan-roasted Statler chicken; three-citrus glazed grilled salmon; roast beef from the carving station; roasted root vegetables; and sweet Yukon whipped potatoes. "Everyone kept saying how amazing everything tasted."

Once dinner was over, the dancing began. "The Time Pilots were great!" Tiffany says. "They really knew how to get the crowd excited and involved. Our favorite part was when Seth, the lead singer, came into the crowd and had everyone singing, 'I want to rock and roll all night…and party every day!' It was so much fun."

The next morning, Linda Ruel Flynn, owner of Flora-Ly, picked up Tiffany's bridal bouquet and the couple's wedding invitation to create a one-of-a-kind memento. She would spend the next two weeks pressing some of the flowers from the bouquet and arranging them with the invitation, creating a framed work of art for Tiffany and Patrick to hang wherever they drop anchor.

Guests were also treated to a delicious breakfast to-go, courtesy of Kitchen Chicks Catering—the perfect send off after an amazing event.

Throughout this entire process, from the first planning day to the end of the reception, photographers Patrick McNamara and Russell Caron took photos of every aspect of the journey. "We were so lucky to have them there for all those special moments, from trying on wedding gowns, to picking out wedding bands, to celebrating our wedding day," Tiffany says. "Thanks to their skill and talent, we have so many extraordinary and unbelievable photos of this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime journey. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment we had with Patrick and Russ. They have provided us with memories to treasure for years to come."