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Destination I Do
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New England Wedding Tips

Words by The planners of Mavinhouse Events
Photos courtesy of Lindsay Vann

Top 10 Ideas for Fuzing Old & New

Comprised of six states, including Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, New England is home to some of the eldest American history and traditions. The beautiful colors of fall attract visitors from all over the country and the world to host their events in such a wonderful region with a rich Colonial past. Finding a balance of classic New England vibes and modern touches can be tricky, however. Mavinhouse Events specialize in creating celebrations that fuze the glories of old and new, so we thought we'd give them the chance to provide you with the top ten tips on modernizing your classic New England destination wedding/event.

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1. Add a personal twist to your New England style food/dishes.

New England is known for their fresh seafood but that doesn’t mean you have to do the classic surf n’ turf meal of steak filet with a grilled lobster tail. Consider making your catering more interactive so your guests can enjoy a little bit of everything. A live raw bar during your cocktail hour that features crab legs, fresh shrimp, cherrystones, and oysters shucked by a Cape Cod fisherman can be a huge crowd-pleaser. For dinner, why not offer interactive stations featuring line-caught local fish, fresh Maine lobster salad over a bed of local greens, roasted potatoes garnished with sea salt and Boston clam chowder? When incorporating New England fare into dessert, feel free to forego a classic wedding cake. Opt instead for homemade Boston Cream Pie, passed Whoopie Pies or ice cream sandwiches with homemade chocolate chip cookies. Regardless of exactly what you serve at your wedding, New England is synonymous with fresh, locally sourced food all the way from the farm picked vegetables to freshly dug Ipswich clams.

2. Don't limit yourself to traditional locations.

Just because you’re in New England doesn’t mean you have to choose between the beach or the mountains. There are plenty of venues from Rhode Island to Maine that offer all kinds of natural elements for you to incorporate into your design plan. Head north in Maine and you’ll find yourself saying your I do’s while simultaneously being hidden within the woods as the breeze comes off of Sebago Lake at Migis Lodge. In Massachusetts, find historical charm amongst the rolling hills at The Crane Estate as you and your guests overlook the beach at this private estate. For ultimate customization, Mayflower Venues allows you to choose between a ceremony at an active cranberry bog or a reception at a private chateau atop the mountains of Vermont. Within New England, there really is something for every type of design aesthetic so you don’t have to feel like you’re sacrificing a part of yourself due to venue limitations.

3. Flaunt some weather-friendly, trendy clothes.

When determining dress code for a New England wedding, time of year is, of course, a major factor. If your planning a late Spring/Summer event, think simple cocktail attire. Light breezy fabrics such as linen and cotton help keep everyone cool and call to mind relaxing days spent on the North Shore. If you are planning a Fall/Winter event, why not embrace the chilly New England nights and opt for a black-tie affair? Rich fabrics such as velvet and wool make an event drip in luxury and keep everyone warm and toasty.

4. Do florals as the Colonists did.

The same way New England has an abundance of offerings for locally sourced food, there are also floral designers all across New England, growing, harvesting and designing with blooms from their very own farms. Using botanicals that are native to the NE area you are in is a beautiful way to incorporate the season and location that surrounds you. Using anything “in season” adds an effortless, natural feeling to your design and experience since you are drawing on your most abundant resources.

5. Gift guests something sweet from the region.

When trying to decide on favors/wedding party gifts look no further than your own backyard. New England is known for our wonderful local shops where artisans showcase everything from handmade novelties and jewelry to freshly tapped maple syrup. Harness that shop local pride and consider a tea-infused candle and a box of shortbread cookies. Or preserves made from locally harvested fruits that capture the flavor of the region (think Maine blueberries). Then package it all together in a muslin bag that you guests can use again and again (bonus it doubles as a nod to New England’s eco-conscious mindset). 

6. Gain a contemporary perspective on the classic 'Nantucket style' design.

When thinking about a classic New England wedding, your mind may immediately go towards the coastal theme with anchors, lobster bibs, navy and white..the list goes on. But couples can capture the essence of New England is to really think about how you can create a local experience without a heavy thematic play. For example, start with choosing a venue that oozes New England vibes without a touch of decor. Bring your guests to a place that on its own sets the tone for a quintessential refined, sophisticated wedding and surround them with the shoreline or a classic farmhouse. Decor can still incorporate subtle coastal themes, maybe through a creative escort display or in your favors but highlighting an overall mood by just being in a space that exemplifies your vision will submerge your guests in an experience that rings true to your New England wedding. 

7. Customize your cocktail hour to incorporate the local distilleries and/or breweries.

There are plenty of local breweries and distilleries throughout New England for you to feature some truly exceptional libations at your bar. Consider serving a specialty blueberry vodka lemonade to your guests made with Nantucket’s own Triple Eight Distillery blueberry vodka. Local breweries seem to be popping up like wildflowers throughout New England and have an almost cult-like following. Maine Beer Company, Oxbow Brewing in Maine, and Trillium Brewing in Boston are all top-rated local breweries which will offer your guests a true taste of what New England beers have to offer. Having some local choices at your bar will give your out of town guests something new to try and definitely make them jealous that you live so close to all of these amazing breweries and distilleries! 

8. Play with colors and patterns.

From the myriad of blues seen in the ocean on a spring afternoon to the pops of amber during the height of leaf-peeping season, New England is not shy about color and you shouldn’t be either. Avoid anything too trendy and look towards everything your surroundings have to offer. A deep forest green linen reminiscent of a Vermont Balsam Fir Christmas tree can be a stunning and surprising moody option. Pair that with lighter shades of steel blue or soft rose for a balanced color palette.  For an oceanside celebration don’t feel pressured to use navy for everything, or even at all. Consider using a dusty blue as your base and bring in a pop of color such as peony pink. You do not have to match your wedding colors to the standard seasonal rules, either. Keep an open mind when it comes to your color choices; even in the dead of winter New England can have a perfect cotton candy pink sky.

9. Don't overdo the Nautical theme.

Tablescapes and centerpieces could be the place where those subtle coastal touches could be pulled in. Incorporating a few artfully placed pieces of driftwood, rope accents or other sea-worthy touches from your floral designer can be a part of a meaningful design without overdoing a “theme” and falling into a predictable, nautical wedding with generic beachy details.

10. Display a guest book and place cards that go all-out New England.

These are the details where we would encourage a couple to think about if they want to have more explicitly nautical touches. These are small details in comparison to the overall design of your space and won’t command too much attention, but are moments all of your guests will interact with. We have seen countless creative ideas for a nautical-inspired escort display. Some of our favorites are miniature compasses with tags tied to them with seating assignments, gold lobster figurines, and even origami sailboats placed on a map!

To learn more about Mavinhouse Events, visit their website.

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