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Ashley Hopwood & Mike Farrar Wedding

Mike and I got married at Sugarloaf Outdoor Center in Carrabassett Valley. Mike hails from Bangor but I grew up in San Diego with almost all my extended family residing in the UK or Australia. People would be traveling great distances so we wanted a wedding worth their effort. But, of course, we had a very tight budget.

Venues in the larger cities seemed to be really expensive with "curfews” as early as 9pm. This would not do for two families who love to party. We branched out into rural Maine and found the perfect venue: Sugarloaf Outdoor Center.

The Outdoor Center is stunningly beautiful. The main room is large enough for 150 people with twenty-foot high ceilings and a huge stone fireplace. It has rich wood paneling and an entire wall of huge windows overlooking a lake and Sugarloaf ski resort. Even better, we felt like we were in control and our fun loving crew was more than welcome. Sugarloaf provided us with all the essentials and we were able to bring in our personal touch to make the event our own.

We were married on October 1st during peak foliage. The leaves ranged from bright red to rich yellow and our guests discovered the famous beauty of northeastern autumn. The ceremony was held outside the Outdoor Center. Mike, me, and our officiante (Mike’s Uncle David) stood on the rock overlooking the lake with the wide-open wilderness as our altar.

Orange Cat Café in Kingfield, catered the event. They cooked the hot stuff (delicious lobster rolls, pulled pork rolls, and curry chickpea rolls) and we prepared the appetizers and sides (cheese platters, chowders, quinoa salad, potato salad, fresh green salad, and even a gluten free cake). Orange Cat also provided the wait staff and all rental equipment taking a huge load off our shoulders.

Our wine came from Old Port Wine Merchants in Portland. They recommended a lovely, well-received set of wines. The beer came from Ayotte’s in Carrabassett Valley. They have a huge selection of kegs including domestic, imported, and craft. What’s more, their prices were the best I’ve seen anywhere, ever.

Our decorations were DIY. We wanted a romantic, warm, relaxed vibe. We bought thousands of white Christmas lights and hundreds candles.

Richard’s Florist of Kingfield provided the ferns to scatter on the tables as well as our Scottish-influenced bouquets and boutonnieres. They were amazing at nailing down my very confused ideas for foliage.

Our DJ was TV host, radio DJ, and local legend: Greg Powers. He has a ton of experience and first rate equipment. He was familiar with the Outdoor Center and hiring him was a no brainer.

I had one other dream for our wedding day that I didn’t think was possible in central Maine: a bagpiper. Our very helpful contact at Sugarloaf referred us to a friend of a friend. The tight knit Maine network at its finest! We found a lovely bagpiper, Bob Underwood. He knew all the songs we wanted and came in full regalia! It was perfect.

Our photographer captured the true essence of our wedding. Garrick Dixon is an old friend and an incredible photographer. He was so pleasant and positive during the festivities and so discreet during the ceremony. Garrick lives in the area, thank goodness, because I couldn’t imagine any one better.

The total cost of our wedding was about one third of quotes we got from other venues in other states and was far more fun than we could have imagined, thank you Maine for giving us a perfect wedding!

Written by: Ashley Hopwood

Photography by: Garrick Dixon

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