East Coast Ferry Wedding

Carla, 31 & Joe, 38

Portland, Maine

Wedding Date: August 27, 2011

Number of Guests: 68

Wedding Cost: $11,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Casco Bay Ferry, off the coast of Portland Maine

Wedding Reception Location: 5th Maine Regiment Museum, Peaks Island Maine

bride and groom kissing by the sea

Maine wedding portrait

glasses of beer and wine at east coast wedding

Maine wedding venue

Maine wedding couple

boats in harbor

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We wanted to be able celebrate with our very closest friends and family and we wanted to be able to interact with the guests we did invite – many who were traveling from far away to be there and we hadn’t seen in a while. We knew if that we had too many people, we would not have been able to visit with everyone during our wedding.

lobster themed wedding games

beer and wine

lobster boil wedding reception

bride playing bean bag toss

wedding guest playing bean bag toss game

white and green wedding bouquet with thistles

bride and dog ring bearer

homemade cookie wedding favors

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Setting expectations with other people on how big the wedding would be. Our reception site was also a challenge. I don’t think many weddings or big events are held there, so figuring out where people would sit was an issue. While our wedding was relatively small, it was large for this location, so navigating that was a little difficult. We also looked at many reception sites where our wedding would have felt dwarfed by the site, but other sites where we were pushing the limit.

white rose boutonniere

white, green and blue wedding bouquet

wedding bouquet on antique blue chair


wedding bouquet on green barn board

bride and groom portrait by the sea

bride and groom shoes

beaded wedding sandals

Adele Wechsler wedding dress with green sash
black and white portrait of smiling groom

Casco Bay Ferry wedding ceremony

Casco Bay

bride sitting with her dog

bride and her dog

gold wedding bracelet

bride putting her earrings in

bride walking down stairs

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

It was not as difficult as we thought it would be beforehand.

bride looking at her groom

wedding guest with baby

bride and guests walking to the ceremony

wedding guests on the ferry

wedding guests arriving

family wedding portrait on the porch
Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Yes. We invited some people who we had not initially invited and that worked out fine. We also reminded people that this was not their wedding. It is probably inevitable no matter how big or small your wedding is you will have issues with the guest list and family and friends.

bride portrait outside yellow house

black and white portrait of smiling bride

bride wearing beaded sandals

bride in Adele Wechsler gown

black and white bride in Adele Wechsler gown

bride getting dressed

excited wedding guests

bride and her father on the porch

bride getting ready

Maine newspaper

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Having our friend marry us – and that he choked up in certain parts of the ceremony. Also, we didn’t know where the ferry would stop for the ceremony and it stopped with a view of a lighthouse, which was great.

cellist playing at wedding ceremony

boutonniere being pinned on father of the bride

cellist playing at wedding ceremony

flower girl in sailor dress walking down the aisle

bride being walked down the aisle by her father and mother

East Coast ferry wedding ceremony

bride and groom holding hands during ceremony

wedding officiant

bride holding her bouquet during ceremony

bride crying during ceremony

groom placing ring on bride's finger

bride and groom walking down the aisle together

bride hugging guests

What were the highlights of the reception?

We didn’t do a seating chart. One of my coworkers had told me that he and his wife had ruined the night before their wedding planning a seating chart and that it was incredibly stressful, so he advised against doing it. We had honestly just forgotten about it. No seating chart meant that Joe and I didn’t have a seat anywhere together, so instead we just floated around and sat in a bunch of different places. Eventually, we got to sit together. I ate my chowder at one table, corn at another table, salad at another table and lobster at yet another table.  It was really fun to enjoy eating with all our guests. People also told me that I wouldn’t get to eat at my wedding – not true, if you make it so. I ate everything and got to have some of the specialty cocktails Joe had carefully orchestrated.

Fifth Maine Regiment Museum wedding reception

bridesmaid carrying baskets full of cookie favors

Ferry lifesaver

ferry flagpole

ferry sign

wedding lobster boil

seafood wedding reception dinner

lobster wedding reception meal

two tier white wedding cake

young wedding guest eating lobster

lobster dinner

lobster bibs for wedding guests

wedding watermelon

wedding guests eating dinner

lobster shells

fifth Maine regiment museum window

flower girl in sailor dress

wedding guests looking out ferry window

bride talking to wedding guests

cocktail hour snacks

sunflower centerpiece on red checkered tablecloth

guests seated at tables with red checkered tablecloths

wedding guests toasting the bride and groom

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

You have a chance to actually visit with your friends who you maybe haven’t seen in a while.


bride and groom kissing on the ferry

bride and groom kissing

bride mingling with guests

guests watching the ceremony

surprised wedding guests

laughing wedding guest

wedding guests leaning out ferry window

wedding guest with baby

flower girl in sailor dress

young wedding guest eating watermelon

wedding guest wearing lobster bib

bride mingling with guests

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Carla: In thinking about the guest list, it helped remind me that people do not really even want to be invited to weddings, so you are not doing anyone a favor by inviting them. I don’t know that this is true, but I told myself this. Weddings  are a huge cost for guests and can be both a financial and time burden. In not inviting people, I thought about how I was freeing them from spending time or money to come and/or guilt in saying they weren’t coming.
Joe: Just do it and if you have a big extended family, be prepared to just invite your immediate family and certain segments of your family.


headless bride and groom portrait

close-up of bride and groom holding hands

bride and groom portrait in the garden

close-up of bride and groom's hands

groom kissing bride on forehead

bride and groom sitting on stone steps

bride and groom walking in the garden

Maine seascape

wide angle shot of Maine seascape
fifth maine regiment museum lit up at night

fifth maine regiment museum wedding reception lit up at night


Photographer: Emily Delamater

Caterer: Maine Lobster Bake Company

Cake: Two Fat Cats

Dress: Adele Wechsler

Chartered Boat: Casco Bay Lines

Hair/Makeup: Danielle at Ferrante

Music on the boat: Kieran McManus (who I literally found on
Craigslist three days before)

Cookies: Our friend, Mary Cat’s catering business – Pudding Stone Kitchen