Rehearsal Dinner Locations
EAT MAINE-Wedding Issue 2012
By Joe Ricchio
Pier 77 Restaurant
I met my first wife, a furniture designer, while scouring the market for a desk chair strong enough to support my immense bulk during interminable writing sessions. It wasn’t long before we became engaged, and the choice of a venue for the meeting of our families was an easy one: Pier 77. The breathtaking views of crashing waves into Cape Porpoise Harbor and the charming, New England–style dining room are enough to calm even the most anxious mothers. And over bowls of assorted local seafood fresh off the grill, we formed a bond that would last forever. Well, at least through our wedding the next day.
77 Pier Rd. | Kennebunkport | 207.967.8500 | pier77restaurant.com
I soon grew tired of my first wife’s narrow worldview, which tended to manifest as cold stares every time I reached for another bottle of wine. After our split, I found myself tangled up in a more dangerous lifestyle, and before I knew it I was engaged yet again, this time to a stunning Russian mafia princess. For the rehearsal dinner, her family was insistent on someplace “secure” so I suggested the intimate wine cellar at Caiola’s. A staple in Portland’s West End, chef Abby Harmon creates boldly flavored and internationally inspired cuisine, like her paella with grilled chicken, spicy chorizo, and meaty swordfish.
58 Pine St. | Portland | 207.772.1110 | caiolas.com
The White Barn Inn
Shortly before my second marriage ended for personal-safety-related reasons I am hesitant to go into, I was introduced to another captivating Russian woman, this one a professional tennis player. Soon after reconnecting with her on Facebook, I asked for her hand in marriage. Armed with the knowledge that “the third time’s a charm,” I decided to employ the White Barn Inn for a decadent, over-the-top rehearsal dinner. Guests were plied with Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg and Coche Dury Corton-Charlemagne while feasting on Osetra caviar, ravioli with braised rabbit, and pistachio-roasted venison with locally foraged mushrooms. Their legendary dining room, housed in a beautifully restored barn from the 1800s, provided a stunning setting.
37 Beach Ave. | Kennebunk Beach | 207.967.2321 | whitebarninn.com
MC Perkins Cove
It took my third wife quite a while to realize that I did not have any interest in tennis. So once again I found myself back on the market—that is, until I met a quirky yet mysterious flight attendant on my way back from Thailand. We were engaged within weeks, and to thank the members of her family who accepted our abrupt decision, I treated them to the cuisine of James Beard Foundation Award–winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier at MC Perkins Cove. There’s nothing like eating massive towers of shellfish on ice, washed down with gallons of champagne, and enjoyed in a contemporary dining room dominated by a window so large that one may imagine he is dining on the beach. When I awoke in the morning, I found the bubbly to be a bit flat and called off the wedding.
111 Perkins Cove Rd. | Ogunquit | 207.646.6263 | mcperkinscove.com
After acquiring a restraining order against the flight attendant, I was finally able to enjoy a quiet night alone. While consuming one of the best meals I can ever remember eating at Primo, I began chatting up a charming girl in her mid-20s who claimed to be a country-music artist from South Carolina. She had an uncanny appreciation of the obscure selections on Primo’s wine list, and showed no signs of slowing down as we plowed our way through plate after plate of seared Hudson Valley foie gras, braised pork belly from the restaurant’s own pigs, and a few ultra-fresh vegetables from the garden for good measure. Six months later, we decided that this beautiful former house would be the perfect setting for our rehearsal dinner, and we promptly rented out the upstairs dining rooms, which are a bit more rustic and funky than the first floor, to celebrate the beginning of my fourth marriage.
2 South Main St. | Rockland | 207.596.0770 | primorestaurant.com
Though we were happily married for seven months, the self-proclaimed country singer began to get cozy with a member of the country-pop sensation Rascal Flats, and eventually she left me for him. In a fit of self-loathing, I drank an entire bottle of absinthe and decided to go swimming in the ocean. The only thing I remember is waking up after being resuscitated by a lovely female lifeguard. For our rehearsal dinner (which was more of a lunch, actually), we settled on Nebo Lodge, situated on a scenic island off the coast of Rockland. On a blisteringly hot summer afternoon, each guest was handed an icy-cold bottle of Picpoul de Pinet to sip on while enjoying a traditional Maine lobster bake right on the beach.
11 Mullins Lane | North Haven | 207.867.2007 | nebolodge.com
The Nonantum Resort
I suppose my waning interest in the lifeguard may have had something to do with the breathtaking Japanese woman I met while she was on vacation in Maine. The fact that she owned a sushi and sake bar in Japan may also have shined a little extra light on things as well. All I know is that I’m getting married and moving to Japan in a couple of weeks. Before I go, we are holding a wedding celebration for family and friends at the Nonantum Resort, on the waterfront in Kennebunkport. We will feast on ribs and lobster, following a ceremony right next to the lighthouse. After the festivities die down, we will retire to the Carriage House Inn, drinking away the remainder of the evening in a room with spectacular views of the water. I have a feeling that things are going work out this time around…
95 Ocean Ave. | Kennebunkport | 207.967.4050 | nonantumresort.com