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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Winter Wedding - Featured in Seacoast Bride

Winter Wedding Retreat

By Laura Pope
Photography by CA Smith Photography
Jessika Brooks and Frederick Brewer Stockton
Springs, ME
February 9, 2008

A wedding of glamorous distinction and personal style enthralled 150 guests attending the mid-winter nuptials of Jessika Brooks and Frederick Brewer.

Jessika, the CEO of the historic Retreat at French’s Point in Stockton Springs, Maine, and Frederick Brewer, a CPA and volunteer fireman, had hosted numerous weddings and events at the destination located on the shores of magnificent Penobscot Bay.

Realizing that there were few opportunities to stage their own wedding at The Retreat in fair weather months, the couple decided a winter wedding weekend would be perfect. “We wanted to step outside our comfort zone and we certainly met challenges in creating our own wedding weekend, from Friday night rehearsal dinner, Saturday wedding and Sunday farewell brunch, in winter and in so short a time.”

First, Jessika and Fred downsized their original wedding guest list to accommodate a stunning facet of the wedding. Not only would the celebration take place in winter, the ceremony would be held outdoors at the bay-side gazebo. Guests would then enter the shingle-style estate cottage that is The Retreat and finally, with fingers crossed, everyone would enjoy dinner and dancing inside a fully-floored, heated tent.

Jessika and Frederick decided to have the tent for their event as they were renovating and expanding the capacity at The Retreat, which now accommodates as many as 300 guests. “It snowed the day before the wedding, and the day after, it rained,” recalls Jessika, savoring the pristine blanket of snow, the 36-degree-day with no wind that allowed her and Fred’s wedding day to progress as planned.

With weather gods appeased and a spacious tent heated to a comfortable 72 degrees – a first for tent vendor, Bancroft Potter of Sperry Tents Seacoast – and decorated in high fashion, the daring backdrops left everyone feeling they had attended a one-of-a-kind wedding that also keenly reflected the couple’s personalities and styles.

“In thinking about a color scheme, we kept coming back to our shared feeling that we were so proud of our work and accomplishments at The Retreat. That’s when the idea of a proud peacock came to mind. We wanted our British heritage to shine through, too.” Since the ceremony would take place outside, wedding attire took on a whole new dimension. Jessika took this challenge as yet another opportunity to make her wedding entirely unique.

The gown, a strapless ivory design with a gold sash, amber, brown and pink floral embroidery on the train of the sash, was made winter-ready when a custom bolero jacket was fashioned out of chocolate brown alpaca to augment the long ivory cape with a wide hood. Ivory winter gloves, ivory-colored boots and a custom designed headpiece of amber and green glass beads made in Great Britain finished her look.

“I dressed the bridesmaids in dupioni silk, two-piece gowns in chocolate with short capes in celadon green; they also wore brown boots, scarves and gloves—ivory cardigan sweaters at the reception.” The bride took a cue from two songs by one of her favorite performers, Celtic musician, Loreena McKennitt, and had her bridesmaids carry flower-adorned glass lanterns instead of bouquets. Flower girls, who dropped puddles of lavender from their baskets as they walked to the gazebo, wore similar attire along with ivory-hued earmuffs.

The groom and his party wore chocolate brown, Calvin Klein tuxes with an ivory vest for the groom and gold vests for the groomsmen and the adorable trio of bell ringers who followed the bridesmaids down the path to the gazebo.

Justice of the peace and piper, Captain O. Kenneth Barnes, led the ceremony, while world-renowned Irish whistle and flute player, Joanie Madden, and her ensemble, performed throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception.

As the sun set and the newly married couple were whisked away for photos, the guests made their way inside The Retreat for the cocktail reception where warm drinks, sangria, lavender iced-tea, a full bar and roaringfireplaces awaited.

In the reception tent, tables shimmered in candlelight, each centered with stunning topiary. Every table was named for a point, bay or cove along the Maine coastline and topped with a chocolate brown taffeta floral embroidered table cloth, clear beaded glass chargers, leaded crystal goblets from The Retreat, Lenox dishes and silver ware. Each guest chair was also a work of art, festooned with favor boxes, embellished with a monogrammed “B” and a real peacock feather.

A lavish, multi-course fare of food followed including grilled marinated filet mignon, grilled fresh salmon and butternut squash ravioli. The traditional butter cream wedding cake went upscale with multiple-layers, each with its own filling.

After the last dance at 10 p.m., guests sat on the patio to enjoy s’mores around copper fire pits and a night sky punctuated with fireworks, a present from Fred to Jessika.

the wedding recipe

Owen Dyer, Confection Art, York, ME

Chef Michael Gagne, Robinhood Free Meetinghouse, Georgetown, ME

Ceremony & Reception Site
The Retreat at French’s Point,
Stockton Springs, ME

Flowers & Floral Design
Judy Wilbur-Bourgeois, Flora Fauna, Yarmouth, ME

Lena Hartford, Hair That Moves, Dover, NH

Design by Russ Cottrell, Cottrell Designs, Stockton Springs, ME

Joanne McDonough, Joya Beauty, Dover, NH

CA Smith Photography, Kennebunk, ME

Bancroft Potter, Sperry Seacoast Tents, Portsmouth, NH

Calvin Klein, Madeleine’s Event Central, Portsmouth , NH

Wedding Gown & Bridal Party Dresses
Lazaro, Watters & Watters,
Madeleine’s Daughter, Portsmouth, NH

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