When the first day of fall hits there’s a shift. We can break out the cozy sweaters, embrace the pumpkin spice flavor that seems to be everywhere, and start to enjoy all things fall like pumpkins, apple picking, and lets not forget the apple cider donuts! Thats why on the blog today (the first day of fall) we have one of our most glorious fall weddings to share with you.

There are literally endless reasons to feature this wedding, from the color palette, to the decor, it was an intimate and oh so romantic weekend. Kelsey a designer and owner of Kelsey Donahue Designs poured her heart and soul into every little detail of the weekend and it shows. She and Ben literally grew their own wedding flowers, how amazing is that? Not only were the details absolutely stunning, but the way this couple utilized the property to create a one of a kind experience was ingenious! Read on for more about gorgeous fall weekend, and check out the not one but TWO full galleries here and here. If you’ve “fallen in love” with the look and feel of this memorable fall wedding you should definitely reach out to Kelsey as she has ventured into the event styling and design world, you couldn’t be in better hands than with a bride thats been married at our property and has a discerning eye for design. Enjoy all the fall loveliness!


How did you come up with such a wonderful weekend itinerary? Can you give us an overview?

We wanted our weekend to be about spending time with the people in our life who had come from near and far. So we tried to keep the itinerary simple in order to allow for people to enjoy the space, the property and the company of each other. 

Thursday our parents hosted a small Italian dinner with lasagna and salads, that way people could arrive and get settled at their own pace. We had time to see everyone and be present.

By Friday, all the guests (38 people) had arrived and had the morning and afternoon to themselves. For lunch, I was able to sneak away and take my "bridesmaids" to The Lyceum before we started getting ready. This was a nice time to get off property and enjoy some calm before the ceremony. The boys stayed back and played some yard games and BBQ'd. Friday night we had a Chef (Kimball Packard and his Wife Neysa) come and prepare a seated dinner for our small group following the ceremony. It was so nice and intimate.

Saturday was purely a party. While we know this is different, this allowed Ben and I more time with Guests to catch up and thank them for coming. We didn't have to cram the wedding ceremony and reception into a 6-8 hour window in one day. We could just let loose and enjoy everyone's company. We had 200 guests, no seating plan, an open bar and a Pizza truck (Stoked Pizza) for dinner. It was perfect!


How many guests attended the intimate sap house ceremony? 

We had an intimate 38 person ceremony on Friday night in the Sap house, we did it just as the sun was going down so it was sparkly, warm and cozy. Perfect for fall. Creating the small space for Ben and I made it less intimidating as we said our vows, and so special. We had a solo musician (Chris White) who filled the space perfectly with acoustic guitar and song. It was just how we imagined.


Where did you draw your inspiration from? 

Honestly, a great place to start is to think of all the weddings you have attended in the past, Ben and I have had the honor of attending so many of our friends and families weddings and celebrations. We started with what we liked and maybe what we might have done differently according to our personal taste. From there, we found inspiration in the space itself, the colors of the season and just scouring pinterest, bridal magazines, blogs and the bridal closet at The Preserve! 


Dresses - stunning! Where were they were from? How did you decide on what to wear when?

My dress was made up of many separates, and designers. With a 2 day event, (Ceremony on Friday night, and Reception on Saturday) I wanted to get the most out of my outfit, by switching it up I was able to enjoy all the parts of the day/night comfortably. 

The common piece no matter the day was a blush skirt designed by Carol Hannah. I was able to mix up my look with 3 different tops. For the Ceremony, I had a more traditional white, long sleeve, lace bodice by Theia. For Saturday's reception, I switched it up to a more simple Carol Hannah white silk tank. Once the dancing started, I actually changed one more time, I found a short, tutu skirt at Target for $20, and had a white crop top designed by Sarah Seven. I was fit for dancing by 9pm!


Tell us about the Grooms Attire 

Both Ben's Friday and Saturday outfits were from Joseph's in Portland Maine. Ben didn't want to wear a traditional suit, so chose to mix it up with two different sport coats with colors that matched the overall theme of the wedding weekend. 


Bridesmaids Attire 

We didn't do the traditional Bridesmaid/Groomsman attire. Since our actual ceremony was so small, we didn't have anyone but our flower girl and ring bearer walk down the aisle with us. However, I did want to be sure that I got ready with, and had pictures with the girls who would have made up my bridal party. Since I wasn't involving them in the ceremony, I felt bad forcing them to go out and buy the same dress, so instead I gave them a color theme and let them buy what they wanted. That way in photos we were coordinated enough and they all felt special. 



When Ben and I were discussing flowers for our wedding, I actually thought it might be worth it to try to grow our own! Maybe crazy, but I have been gardening more and more and really wanted to try to grow Dahlias, after I saw the price of cut stems at the florist. So, come May before our wedding, we ordered 25 dahlia tubers of all colors, planted them and cared for them until we cut them all! By October we had 6 Home Depot buckets full of beautiful, home grown blooms to bring up to The Preserve with us! While this isn't for everyone, this saved us so much money on flowers. We were able to supplement with a few other types of flowers, and our coordinator was able to incorporate them throughout the vases, and my bouquet. This was truly a labor of love, but it was worth it to us. 

On top of fresh flowers, we also created paper flowers to help take so much weight off the fresh flowers. As part of our decor, we created large paper flowers to include around the Barn as decor. This helped fill some empty space, create fun photo opportunities and add pops of bright fall colors to the space. 


Coming up on your anniversary what parts of the weekend do you reminisce about the most? 

We loved the space and amount of time The Preserve provided us to connect with our loved ones. There are not many times in life you get to have 4 days of family and friends together in one place. Your wedding goes so quickly no matter how long you have, but we felt by having that time we were able to actually catch-up with people and enjoy their company. The Preserve forces you to slow down, take it in and just be present in the moment (even if you're the Bride and Groom), that is something most of us take for granted.

After 1 year, we can truly reflect back and say we have so many wonderful memories. We felt so grateful to be a little part of the history of the original barn on the property and our hearts broke the day we learned it burned down. Being sad about your venue...this is proof that you become a part of the family when you have your event at The Preserve. Mary, Ed and Sam have taught us all about rising out of the ashes. In this short year, they have come back better and more beautiful than ever. Old or new barn, The Preserve will always be a piece of our life and we can't wait to see how it grows over the years



Photographer | Abby Lorenz Photography

Catering | The Farmstand B&B | Stoked Pizza Truck

Brides Dress | Carol Hannah | Theia | Sarah Seven

Grooms Attire | Joseph’s Portland Maine

Florals | The Bride

Event Design & Styling | Kelsey Donahue Designs

Paper Goods | Kelsey Donahue Designs