Love in Lovell

Jill & Alex, How it all began

Jill & Alex meet in high school. All they knew at the time is that they enjoyed each others company. At one point Alex asked her out, and took her to a restaurant that had been a favorite of her families for years! From there things just kept getting better. In a quiet moment at home a few years later, Alex popped the question. He did it right, got down on one knee and surprised the heck out of her (in the best possible way!).

Pleasant Point Inn, When you’re here, you’re family!

Now here we are at the Pleasant Point Inn on Kezar lake in Lovell ME. The inn has been in Jill’s family since 1900! I’ve enjoyed getting to know Jill and Alex, but hadn’t meet them in person til this moment. They and their friends and family were so warm and welcoming. They made me feel right at home. Jill’s grandfather offered me a cookie when he greeted me at the door. I knew at that moment this was going to be an epic day 🙂

Jill was beautiful, and Alex was sharply dressed as well. I had the opportunity to work with the super talented Brittany Jones of 207 Weddings who, along with her team captured everything in amazing photos and video.

Lakeside Ceremony

The ceremony was on the side lawn of the Inn with the breathtaking view of Kezar Lake just feet away. The bridesmaids came down the aisle to an instrumental version of “A Day without Rain” by Enya. After a brief pause the brides dad walked her down the aisle to the instrumental version of Haley Reinhart’s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”.

The ceremony was sweet and emotional with a few light moments courtesy of their officiant Price Hutchins. After a kiss The new Mr & Mrs England were formally presented to their guests and they walked up the aisle to an instrumental version of “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban. It was a chili, but absolutely beautiful day. Even still guests were as much inside as outside enjoying all the beauty and elegance Pleasant Point Inn and Kezar Lake have to offer.

Let the Party Begin!

When the time came, guests were invited into the ballroom, champagne was poured, The bridal party was introduced with the newlyweds coming in to “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson. When they got to the dance floor the bride laid her flowers down on the table while the groomsmen did a sweet dance step with the groom, and then The new Mr & Mrs Alex and Jill England took to the dance floor for their very first dance as husband and wife to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and Beyonce.

Deception at the reception

Alex handed his bride over to her dad for their dance. The chicken dance started, played for a few seconds, long enough for the bride burst out laughing, and the correct song began playing, Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. It was a nice light moment. Next it was Alex’s turn to dance with his mom, and it was only fair that he get pranked as well. As they took to the dance floor, “Hit The Road Jack” began playing. Everyone laughed including his mother Pamela, while Alex looked a bit surprised, and the correct song began – “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts. this was definitely one of my favorite parts of any wedding I’ve been in

To the Newlyweds!

The toasts followed. Best man Christopher Griffin began with a masterful presentation. Maid of Honor Emily O’Connor followed with a sometimes emotional, heartfelt toast. With that, dinner was served. A bountiful feast to be sure. The energy was high, and the guests would be ready to dance. Sure enough, as the dinner music gets more modern and peppy and we get into Motown and early 70’s toes start tapping, heads start bopping, and voila, they are dancing!

Explosive experience

We take a brief break as loud booms begin outside… Fireworks! The guests all head outside for an amazing fireworks display. Fairly short, maybe 10-15 minutes, but just awesome! Everyone came back in, Alex and Jill cut their wedding cake, and we danced like crazy people to everything from Grand Funk’s Some Kind of Wonderful to Prince Royce. It was a grand evening, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it.

Happily Ever After…

Congratulations Jill & Alex! Thank you for asking me to be a part of such a very special day. I wish you all the best and hope you will stay in touch!


Married at Merepoint!

Setting the Scene for a coastal Maine wedding

It was early afternoon at Merepoint in Brunswick Maine early on September 15, 2018 for Ben and Grace’s wedding. There were orange tiger prints leading the way to the point, and the yacht club. The view of the Atlantic ocean on the point was breathtaking. Mostly smaller boats passed by as the warm sun beat down.

About 4:15, fog socked us in, and stayed for the duration of the day. It was a fitting setting for a Captain to marry his Clemson Tiger superfan bride. The energy was electric! You could feel it all over the point. Today was going to be an amazing day, and no amount of fog had any chance to stop it!

A foggy day in Brunswick town

Even with the fog, and in a rather enchanting way because of the fog, the setting for the ceremony was beautiful. Guests arrived by bus. The groomsmen gathered, and soft music played as we awaited the bridesmaids. There was no guessing on their arrival as the bright red double cab 4×4 pickup pulled up with the bright orange Clemson banner waving.

Ben and their officiant strode down to the tip of the point. The bridesmaids and groomsmen paired up for their journey down the aisle to the Piano Guys version of Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars followed by Grace and her dad, an equally ardent Tigers fan, coming down the aisle to The Piano Guys version of Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. After a beautiful heartfelt ceremony, the new Mr & Mrs Ben and Grace Bailey led the way up the aisle to the triumphant horns of You Are The Best Thing by Ray Lamontagne. They and their bridal party hung back to grab a few photos while the guests adjourned to the yacht club for cocktails.

The warmth of friends and family

The fog brought a chill with it, but friends and family of the newlyweds flowed freely as did the drinks and laughter, keeping the atmosphere light and warm. When the time was right, Alane and Nicky from Salty Sea event planning gathered all of the guests for photographer Sara Jane to capture a photo of everyone on the massive porch of the yacht club before everyone gathered under the beautifully lit and decorated clear tent provided by Robyn from Maine Event Decor.

Let the celebration begin! To the newlyweds!

Once the guests were seated comfortably, the bridle party and the new Mr & Mrs Ben and Grace Bailey were introduced to I Gotta Feeling by the Blackeyed Peas. Moments later, the Clemson Tiger Rag played. The father of the bride Mark Kirshe took the microphone for a dynamic, yet very touching speech and toast. The best man, younger brother of the groom, followed up quite nicely. Finally the Matron of honor, sister of the bride, herself just married in the same location 3 months earlier. Each gave a sweet, funny and not too long tribute and toast to Ben and Grace. Now it was time for Coastal Critters to take over, getting everyone fed, and not just fed, they were treated to lobster, steak and a plethora of grilled veggies, it was a feast for the ages!

Let there be dancing!

As dinner wound down, guests began filling the Yacht club. Soon after Ben and Grace took to the dance floor to You Make it Easy by Jason Aldean. Ben then handed his beautiful bride over to her dad Mark. They then danced to Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl. Ben then escorted his mom to the dance floor. They danced to I Hope You Dance by Leanne Womack followed up by one more rousing rendition of Clemson’s Tiger Rag! The already packed dance floor buzzed with energy!

There were a couple of breaks. One for the uncle of the bride to offer a humorous toast and presentation to the newlyweds. The other break was for the newlyweds to cut their wedding cake in front of the beautiful Yacht Club fireplace. After the cake was cut, dancing continued and the energy stayed high right til the very last song. What an amazing day from start to finish!

Thank you Ben and Grace for asking me to be a part of your wedding day. It was my honor and pleasure!

Sincerely, Michael J Mahoney, your DJ

Toasts v. Speeches

Toast or Speech?

As wedding planning begins to tighten up, around 6 weeks prior to the wedding, I’m often asked “when are the speeches?” “You mean the toasts?”, I counter.  And the confusion begins between Toasts and Speeches. So let’s talk a bit about the difference between the two, and when each may be appropriate.

When to Toast?

At it’s most basic, a toast is a brief statement prior to a meal. When the meal is part of a celebration, that statement has a specific focus and purpose; to celebrate the guest(s) of honor. Since at a wedding there are technically 2 guests of honor, two toasts may be appropriate. They should be done after the first course, generally salad or soup, so that guests are not so hungry they can’t pay attention for 3 – 4 minutes. This allows time for the shift from whatever happened just prior, be it an entrance, first dance or other formal celebrating occasion. Waiting until after the first course for the toast will also allow time to ensure glasses are filled in the case of a champagne toast.

What is a Toast?

Speeches are another matter. If what you have to say is more than 4 minutes, let the poor suffering guests get something more substantial in their bellies. It’s easier to pay attention when their stomach is not competing with what you have to say. I’ve mentioned this time frame of 3 – 4 minutes a couple times because it is important. The time of the talk is key to it’s definition as a toast. The second key ingredient of a toast is that you speak about both guests of honor, sharing no more than one story to illustrate their best quality, and/or what makes them work together. The 3rd ingredient is the raising of the glass in celebration of the guest of honor.

I’ve got something to say

Once everyone has had a chance to get some of the delicious food prepared for them, they will have about 20 – 30 minutes after the last person has returned from the buffet. In the case of a buffet, for speeches. In the case of a served meal, there will be about 20 – 30 minutes from the time the last guest is served.

Let the speeches flow!

When speeches are scheduled, the first will be from the host(s). In most cases this would be the father of the Bride, but certainly not  all. In cases where the bride and groom are paying for everything themselves, The bride and groom may be the hosts. This is the thank you speech. It can be as long or short as you wish, just make sure to include a flattering word about your new spouse ;). If there are more than one speech, keep it short and sweet. Thank you so much for coming to celebrate this amazing day. It means so much to us, and we hope you all have a wonderful time!

Just a Thank You

If there is only one speech, you may choose a longer form, such as; Thank you all for coming to enjoy this beautiful day with us, it means so much to us that so many have come from near and far to celebrate with us, I hope you are enjoying the meal, we’ve spared no expense, and they are the finest caterers in the east, our guests of honor deserve no less, and when we are finished, we will dance until the power goes out in celebration of the Mr & Mrs Stevens!

…Either way, the thank you speech tends to be short. It is meant as an entree to the more involved speeches.


It is up to you as the planner, or if you have an event planner, it is up to them to decide who speaks, or for how long. Your master of ceremonies should be able to offer either guidance on this. In any case, a speech should be between 5 – 7 minutes. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s twice as long as a toast. This leaves time for 4 – 6 speeches.

So What?

If you have never organized a dinner party, you may find yourself saying “who cares?”. If you have been in charge of a dinner party, then you know why it matters. Nearly everyone in the event business uses the suffix -ish to describe the times, knowing that things happen to set things back, or speed things up. Dinner doesn’t like to wait. If you are holding your event in a location without a kitchen, meal delivery timing is absolutely crucial. Your caterers can then only keep things hot for so long. When serving fish, or if you are really concerned that your guests get their steak medium rare instead of well done, these things matter.

Granted, a 5 minute difference is not likely to be a big deal, but with such a wild card as how long will your toast or speech be, and the ability for things to snowball (one wants to speak, then they all want to speak). The easiest way to minimize this as a concern is to only allow one toast before the main course is served. Save the others til after your guests have their meal in front of them. As I mentioned above it is easier to pay attention when your stomach is not growling.

Questions? Fire away! I would love to hear your questions or even your take or your experiences. Was dinner ever cold at an event you have attended because toasts went way over time? I will be following up with a post about what does and does not belong in a toast. That is where you will see some real scary stuff, so stay tuned. In the mean time, I can’t wait to hear from you!


International Love at Portland Maine’s Press Hotel

It was a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon when Yelena and Dave tied the knot in a simple civil ceremony at Portland’s City Hall. While there were only around 75 guests, it was enough to pack the place, certainly more than most City Hall services. After a receiving line on the City Hall steps that must have looked like a political event with all of the sharp dressed travelers, you would be forgiven for mistaking it for a meeting of the UN general assembly!

David and Yelena’s guests traveled from far and wide to celebrate this day. Over a dozen countries were represented including Russia, Germany, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel and more! After the ceremony the guests began filtering into Portland Maine’s own Press Hotel where a colorful buffet and full bar awaited including the couples signature cocktail, the Apothecary. They are both pharmacists, so it was perfect for them. They even had it available in Prescription strength and Over The Counter (Alcoholic and non alcoholic respectively)

Soft jazz filled the air as guest mingled, laughed and swapped stories and memories of the bride and the groom. guests began finding their seats and the newlyweds snuck in with their bridal party who were all family members. We introduced them to Hello by Dragonette. There was a thoughtful toast and thank you by the newlyweds, salads were served, and many toasts followed including a sweet thank you from the mother of the bride and and a charming rendition of Sunrise, Sunset by the grandfather of the groom.

After dinner the dancing began with everyone joining David and Yelena on the dance floor to Tata Simonyan’s Anapati Arev an upbeat, fun Armenian Song, right into the Hava Nagila. Photographer Tom Couture did an amazing job keeping on top of all the action as it unfolded.

They danced to everything from Whitney Houston to Russian and Armenian favorites, and we had an amazing night. They capped it off with, appropriately enough, “We are the world”, and indeed, that night we were. The energy was electric, the guests were warm and friendly, and Impeccably dressed. It was an absolute joy to be a part of  your wedding David and Yelena.  As local Portland Residents, I know we will be seeing each other again. I wish you all the best in this amazing journey you are embarking upon.



Wedding Bells and more at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

On Sunday July 1st, Alexandria married Noah at the Thresher Memorial Chapel at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. It was the perfect setting for soon to be Naval officer to marry his best friend. It was the reception that followed at The Tirante Tavern where things really heated up.

Noah and Alexandria were introduced, along with their wedding party to “This Is What You Came For” by Rhianna. The energy was great! They mixed and mingled with their guests as the catering crew prepared for Dinner to begin. When the caterers were set, and the newlyweds had made the rounds to each table, the stage was set for the toasts. This is when the thermometer was about to explode, and no one was the wiser…

Turning up the Heat

Alexandria’s Maid of honor Bethany had taken the Microphone and was about 3/4 into her toast when the fire alarms went off. This is a military base, and the fire alarms are hard wired to the fire department. We had to wait for the fire department to come, inspect the building, reset the alarm, and give us the all clear.

While we were outside, guests mixed, mingled, laughed, and had a great attitude about the whole thing. For the bride and groom’s part, I don’t think they could have enjoyed it more! They got pictures with the firemen, and an incredible photo in front of the fire trucks. You know what they say, where there’s fire, the has got to be s’mores 🙂

The party continues… sort of

When we got the all clear, we headed inside to continue the toasts, and the celebration. The best man, Chase, made a quick joke about the fire alarm. He then gave a brief, engaging, and heartfelt toast before handing the mic to the father of the bride. It was a bit longer than the best man’s toast, but gave an endearing dad’s eye view of his daughter’s wedding day. He made a joke about “at least this time the fire alarm didn’t go off”.

Right on cue, the fire alarms went off again! Once more, we filed out, still rather jovial all things considered. I don’t think the fire trucks had even made it off base. The process for this second alarm took half the time of the last one. The firemen determined a faulty zone on the alarm to be the culprit. They neutralized the alarms for the duration of the event, and remained on base with the promise we could carry on worry free.

Foot Loose and Fire alarm free!

With all of the drama and toasts behind us, dinner was served! It was delicious and uninterrupted. The catering staff at the Tirante Tavern were extremely accommodating, gracious and friendly. They extended the event end time by half an hour to make up for time lost to the fire alarms.

Once dinner was done and the buffet cleared, we adjourned to the room once occupied by the buffet, now set for dancing.

The newlyweds cut their wedding cake, and swiftly moved to the center of the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. They chose Owl City’s “If My Heart Was A House”. Noah then handed his beautiful new bride to her dad for a dance with her to Jimmy Buffet’s Delaney Talks To Statues. Noah’s mom was in the spotlight next to dance with her son to “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles.

Dance a lot, Learning a little, and loving every minute of it!

Brisk dancing commenced for the next hour until a break for a little trivia. We got to know our newlyweds just a bit better with the Shoe Game, or Bride and Groom Trivia. They answered questions about each other with some very fun and funny results. There was a lot of laughter as we learned about things like Midnight Cookies, Alexandria’s planning prowess, what made Noah so annoying (and why she married him anyway). 🙂

Happily Ever After…

Dancing then continued until we wrapped it up with their last dance. A Tale As old As Time from Beauty and the Beast.

It was a hot day, and things just got hotter as the day wore on. Far from merely standing the heat, Noah and Alexandria, and their guests basked in the heat. You may even say frolicked in it, and you can certainly say Danced through it!

Thank you Noah and Alexandria for asking me to be a part of your wedding day. It was truly an honor and a privilege.