24 User photos
Erin Tomczak · Getting married on 12/08/2020
Best Wedding Decision we made!
Hiring Maria to be our officiant was hands down the best decision we made, in regards to vendors for our wedding. After skyping with Maria, we knew instantly that she was the perfect fit. It was like we knew her for years, yet we just met. Her energy radiates to everyone around her, oh and she's really funny! We chose the personalized package and looking back I would make this decision over and over again. It was worth every penny. All of our guests raved about how heartfelt, personal, and emotional our ceremony was. You can really tell that she practices each ceremony too because her pronunciation, tone, pauses, etc. were all spot on. Additionally, the expertise that Maria brings is like no other. She gave us suggestions for where to stop to get "the perfect picture," how to organize our wedding party, how to stand, what to be conscious of, etc.
I cannot say enough great things about our experience with Maria and would highly recommend her to anyone I know that's getting married and needs an officiant. The ceremony was the most important part of the wedding for us and Maria made it absolutely incredible!Sent on 12/16/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:My dear Erin, thank you so much for sharing your experience working with me! I'm especially touched by the comment about me practicing the ceremony and how "spot on" you felt my pronunciation, tone and pauses were. I work so hard on this, so to know you recognize it and value it makes me so happy. All my love to you and Trevor! xoxo Maria
Matthew Pennie · Married on 10/19/2019
Wedding Camden ME
Maria is elite. From the first time we met Maria we knew that she was the right fit for us. We met in person and via video chat several times allowing her to get to know us and have a feel for our relationship. She has several options to make a ceremony feel like it is all about you. Our ceremony was flawless and the rest of the night people told us how special it was. We can not thank Maria enough and would recommend her to my family and friends and anyone that was looking for a great experience.Sent on 10/23/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Dear Matt, thank you for the kind words! I loved getting to know you and Wendy. It felt like we were old friends by the time your wedding rolled around. I love hearing that you got compliments on the ceremony. Yay!! Lots of love, Maria
Brittany Boilard · Married on 09/07/2019
Way more than just an officiant!!
Where to even begin?! Maria was just absolutely amazing from start to finish with the entire wedding process! Besides being extremely thorough and organized, she was a wealth of knowledge and a great resource when needing/looking for advice regarding anything wedding related. She was more than just an officiant, she become a friend & family. Her writing and public speaking skills really took our ceremony to the next level. She left all of our wedding guests raving about the ceremony!!Sent on 10/14/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Oh Brittany, your review just gave me goosebumps! Thank you so much for pointing out my public speaking skills, I think you might be the first person to specifically mention it! Lol! I'm delighted to hear your guests raved about the ceremony. I've been raving about you and Alex! Love the photos from Rachel Campbell Photography!! All my love, Maria xoxo
Courtney Mazur · Married on 09/01/2019
Maria is the best!
We could not be more happy with our decision to have Maria officiate our wedding. The ceremony was so personal and fit our style perfectly. Maria beautifully combined our love stories with readings and other elements we picked from her vast reserves and was then receptive to changes down to the word so that we felt comfortable with what it said. We really appreciated her patience and flexibility - it was so clear that she cared that we got it just right. Throughout the process Maria did a great job of setting expectations and communicating clearly. She was also very easy to work with even though we were out of state for most of the planning process. And while we weren't initially sure that we could match Maria's level of wedding-related enthusiasm, and we cringed at themes like "grounded", (which I bring up only to contrast all those who say that they immediately clicked with her), we are so grateful for the way that she kept us organized, calm, and excited about our ceremony. So many of our guests told us that they loved the ceremony too. You cannot go wrong with Maria on your team!Sent on 02/02/2020
A Sweet Start's reply:Courtney, thank you so much for your honest and beautiful review! I know my wedding-related enthusiasm is a little much for some (hahaha!), so I'm so glad you felt like I kept you organized and calm. And most of all that your ceremony fit your style perfectly! Love, Maria xoxo
Ellen · Married on 08/17/2019
Wonderful officiant who added a special Maine touch to our wedding day
From the very first call with Maria, she immediately put my husband and I at ease. We felt completely assured that she would execute our ceremony flawlessly. We met with Maria via video call several times over the course of the 12 months we were planning our wedding. Throughout that time Maria was highly professional and detail orientated. We had previously considered using a friend as our officiant however after connecting with Maria we were so impressed with her experience, knowledge, warm personality and ability to create a special moment for the two of us and our guests. One of the things we are most sad about our wedding being over is not being able to work with our vendors' anymore. Maria was our wedding officiant but also had become a friend. This is such a testament to the care and attention she gave us and gives all of couples she works with. We'll make sure to get coffee with her when we're in Portland next summer! If you're looking for an officiant in Maine - Maria should be your first call.Sent on 09/02/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Oh, Ellen, I feel the same way now that you're wedding is over: I miss you and Adam! What a joy it was getting to know you two and working together. I'm so touched that my experience and knowledge helped assure you that working with a professional officiant, rather than a friend, was the right choice for you. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Love to you and Adam! xoxo Maria
Michael Hoffer · Married on 08/03/2019
Maria was fabulous
I can't rave enough about how Maria walked us through the process, incorporated our story into the ceremony and impressed everyone with her skills as our officiant. Her enthusiasm is genuine, she loves what she does and she makes the wedding couple feel at ease, while also making them excited for what's to come. I recommend her highly!Sent on 08/07/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Michael, working with you and Angi was a joy! Thank you for participating in writing your ceremony in such an engaged way. I'm so glad to hear you felt at ease on wedding day, that's a win in my books! Big hugs to Angi! xoxo Maria
Annelise · Married on 07/27/2019
Having Maria as our wedding officiant was one of the VERY best decisions we made for our wedding. She was a true joy to work with -- from the beautiful and 100% "us" ceremony she custom-wrote, to her calm and deeply knowledgeable guidance as we finalized ceremony logistics leading up to the wedding. On the wedding weekend itself, she blew us away with her warmth and skill (and her ability to wrangle our family and friends and keep us in the “happy wedding bubble"!). Our ceremony was one of the most magical, meaningful, and joyful moments of our lives and so much of that was because of Maria's incredible talents -- and her clear passion for the work! She made time slow down and every word matter. We will treasure those memories forever. We can't thank Maria enough! She's amazing - and now truly feels like family!Sent on 09/22/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:My dear Annelise, your thoughtful feedback means so much to me! Hearing you use the words "calm" and "deeply knowledgeable" warms my heart, because, as you know, offering these qualities to you was my ultimate goal. I'm delighted our paths crossed and will always treasure our time together. I love you and Jeremy! xoxo Maria
Sophie Booth · Married on 07/20/2019
Just the BEST.
Where to start with our dear, dear Maria?! Let me just say - choosing to work with Maria was by far one of the best decisions my (now!) husband and I made as we planned our wedding. We had a complicated situation - I'm American, my husband is Belgian, and we live in Belgium but got married in Maine. Maria Skyped us whenever we had questions, kept us on track with her incredible organization and deadlines for things like vows and ceremony readings, helped us detangle the international aspect of our marriage paperwork and license, and connected us with a network of professionals who, just like her, are authentic and fantastic people who I'm now thrilled to consider friends. Maria led our rehearsal dinner and made sure everyone involved knew their role. And our ceremony...it was truly the highlight of our wedding. Heart centered, personalized, grounded, sweet, and such a genuine reflection of me and my husband's love...at the end of the day, that's what all of this is about, isn't it? And I couldn't have asked for a better officiant-turned-friend to hold our hands every step of the way. Maria exceeded every single one of our expectations and was a true joy to spend time with. I already miss her!Sent on 07/30/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:My dearest Sophie, thank you so much for expressing your feelings about working with me. I want to thank you and Simon for taking the time to meet with me and making the effort to see me when you were in Maine. Getting to know you two was such a pleasure! I look forward to visiting you when we come to Bruges! Cheers to your marriage and our friendship! xoxo Maria
Amanda Fogarty · Married on 06/22/2019
Heartfelt & Custom Ceremony that we will cherish forever.
Oh Maria, where do I begin!? We knew we wanted to book you long before we ever got engaged! Knowing that we didn’t want a super religious ceremony but also wanting our ceremony to be thoughtful and meaningful we knew you would help us create just that.Sent on 07/01/2019
Creating a custom ceremony with you is one of our favorite parts of the entire planning process. You helped ground and reconnect us in a way that we so desperately needed amongst the chaos of planning.
The months and days leading up to the wedding (and after!) you were an incredible resource for all things wedding. From writing our own vows to how to change my last name after the wedding - you already had all the tools in place to make the process as smooth as possible.
One of the moments that sticks out to me the most is the moment during our rehearsal when you announced to our closest family and friends that our planning responsibilities were officially over and to keep us in a “wedding bubble of bliss”. From that moment on, our family and friends point of contact was our planner and our vendors. No more decisions to be made or worries to tackle - by stating this openly to all of our wedding party and parents you gave us the ability to relax and be stress free which is the greatest gift of all. Everyone listened and respected you, and from that moment on our entire weekend was more relaxed.
We know that we will cherish this ceremony for the rest of our lives and we are so grateful for your presence during our wedding weekend and your ability to share our love story with our family & friends as we begin our forever. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
A Sweet Start's reply:Oh, Amanda, where do *I* begin? Working with you and Cole was such a pleasure. You were both so responsive and engaged. I'm delighted to hear how much you enjoyed the process. I'm also so glad you were able to stay in the "wedding bubble of bliss" all weekend, you deserved it! Congratulations on your beautiful marriage. I'll never forget your wedding! xoxo Maria
Brianna · Married on 06/15/2019
The sweetest person ever!!
Maria made our ceremony one of a kind! She was able to take aspects of our lives and relationship and create the most beautiful ceremony! She is also the sweetest person we have ever met! She took the time to get to know us to make sure the ceremony was exactly what we wanted! She made everything so easy for us, and was super patient and flexible! Everyone at the wedding raved about the ceremony!!!Sent on 06/18/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:My dear Brianna, Thank you for taking the time to share your experience working with me. I love that your ceremony was exactly what you wanted. Yay! Big hugs to you and Seth! xo Maria
Susi Huesing · Married on 06/01/2019
Heartwarming Ceremony and Super Experience
We were exceptionally happy about our experience with Maria and how her wonderful energy and enthusiasm brought our ceremony to life. From our first experience interviewing her, we immediately had a sense of confidence in finding the right person. She provided us with 3 different scripted ceremonies to choose from as a great starting point for us to then make the ceremony our own. She was super flexible working with us, yet timely and prompt in everything she did (and kept us on track)! We met with her in person as our ceremony approached to further personalize, share family and wedding party background, and have her walk us through everything we should expect. Our wedding day ran so smoothly with her coordinating with the owner of our venue (Eve at Grey Havens Inn) and everyone in the wedding party knew what to expect and do. She was very clear and instructive in what was required for our marriage license and promptly took care of our filing. You’ll want to connect with Maria if you are interested in an officiant who you can count on for a heartwarming ceremony.Sent on 07/21/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Danke, Susi, for this wonderful review! It warms *my* heart to know you felt your ceremony was heartwarming, that's exactly what we were going for! I appreciate your confidence in me and that you felt I was timely, prompt and kept you on track. :) Mit liebe, Maria xoxo
Jill Barkley Roy · Married on 05/26/2019
Best decision we made!
My wife and I hired Maria to do a surprise wedding for us in the middle of our housewarming party. As a former wedding coordinator, I knew I wanted to work with Maria. She was perfect! She kept us grounded throughout all of the planning, so when she arrived moments before we announced we were actually having a wedding, we were both put at ease.
Her excitement was palpable, and her love and care for us was evident. The ceremony was beautifully written, a true reflection of our love story. If you want your ceremony to be thoughtfully put together and a meaningful experience for you to have and your guests to witness, hire Maria.Sent on 07/18/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Jill and Amy, it was an absolute honor to be your officiant! Thank you for trusting me to help you pull off the surprise wedding. I'm especially honored you chose me since you were a wedding planner, Jill. You know what it takes to bring a ceremony to life so the fact you chose me is deeply meaningful! We still need to get a drink and debrief! xoxo Maria
Caroline · Married on 05/10/2019
Phenomenal! Will Not Disappoint!
My husband and I got married in May and we could not be more grateful to Maria for her thoughtful planning and attention while crafting our ceremony. While wedding planning, my husband and I expected that dinner and dancing would be our favorite part of the evening. However, we both agree that ultimately it was the ceremony that made the strongest impact, which we completely credit Maria. While living in Boston and planning for a wedding in Maine, Maria accommodated us by making herself available for video chats. She even took time out of her weekend to meet us for lunch in Portland to get to know us better. Not only did she have wonderful ideas for personalizing our ceremony, she was also a wealth of knowledge about wedding planning in general, and I often referred myself to her blog when I felt stuck. She lead the ceremony rehearsal with professionalism and humor so everyone felt comfortable going into the main event the following day. While my husband and I were concerned about how some of our more religious family members would react to our secular ceremony, countless friends and family raved about our vows and complimented what a great job Maria did officiating. Not only was Maria invaluable in planning and performing our ceremony, she is also a warm, lovely human and I would get fish and chips with her anytime.Sent on 06/24/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Wow, Caroline, you're the best! Thank you for this glowing review and especially for mentioning that your religious family members raved about your secular wedding ceremony. I'll have fish and chips with you and Brendan any time - let's make a date! xoxo Maria
Stephanie · Married on 05/04/2019
I could not be more happy with our choice to hire Maria! She has been extremely helpful every step of the way and we are so excited to have be be a part of our wedding day.Sent on 05/08/2018
A Sweet Start's reply:My dear Stephanie, it is my great honor to be working with you and Chris! I can't wait for May 2019! :) xo Maria
Salvador Perez · Married on 01/12/2019
A dream come true
Early in our hunt for someone to marry my now wife and I, we found Maria and instantly knew she was the right choice. Maria is amazing she is so cooperative she works really hard to make sure everything flows well and here aura is so enjoyable. Even in our most stressed moments her joy helped set us straight again. She comes highly recommended for all your wedding needs.Sent on 01/15/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Oh, Sal! I'm still glowing from your wedding. You and Tami are two of the most beautiful souls I've ever met. Your personal vows touched my heart. I was so impressed by your love for each other. I know you're going to have a long and happy marriage. All my love, Maria xoxo
Seana B Cullinan · Married on 10/27/2018
Working with Maria was the Best!
Working with Maria was like working with a guardian angel, a cheerleader, and a therapist all at once. The process of getting married can be overwhelming and stressful, and Maria consistently helped us to stay calm, focused, and excited. She gave us so much guidance, and enthusiastic support. She is a wealth of information and her love for her work shines through the entire process! From the very beginning, her passion and her enthusiasm were infectious. We had a magical wedding and we are so thrilled that we chose Maria as our officiant. We are going to miss having an excuse to see her and talk with her on a regular basis! We recommend her highly and whole-heartedly.Sent on 12/03/2018
A Sweet Start's reply:I'm humbled by your kind words, Seana. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It warms my heart that you felt that level of support from me during your wedding planning process. Thank you for honoring me by choosing me to be your officiant. I love you and Dave so much and will always cherish the memories of your wedding! All my love, Maria xoxo
Alison · Married on 09/29/2018
We couldn't imagine our wedding without Maria!
We can’t say enough good things about Maria. We took choosing an officiant very seriously, we wanted to find someone who was experienced in the role and could also seem like they knew us. By the time the wedding day came Maria didn’t seem like she knew us, she DID know us. She prepared with us so thoroughly and thoughtfully, she couldn’t have been any better. I think no compliment can go any further than the fact we had guests all night telling us how beautiful they thought the ceremony was, and that was because of Maria. We’d recommend her to anyone.Sent on 11/19/2018
A Sweet Start's reply:Oh, Ali and John, thank you so much! I'm very touched by your kind words. Getting to know you two was so much fun, as was your wedding! Let's do it again when you're celebrating your anniversary! xoxo Maria
John Brogger · Married on 09/22/2018
Maria is the best!
Maria was absolutely incredible, I can't imagine anyone else as our officiant, nor would I want to. She listened to all of our hopes and dreams and made them all come true. She truly made our wedding day all about my wife & I. At the rehearsal she even kindly told our friends, bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, etc. to direct their questions/concerns away from us so we could enjoy our day and live in the moment. I could go on forever, but all you need to know is that Maria will go well out of her way to make you happy and to give you the exact ceremony you're hoping for. Can't thank her enough!Sent on 10/23/2018
A Sweet Start's reply:Wow, John, this is awesome! I love that felt I went above and beyond for you and Ali, it was my absolute pleasure to do it. I love you both so much and it makes me so happy you felt you had the ceremony of your dreams! Give your wife a big hug! xoxo Maria
Amy · Married on 09/01/2018
Maria made our wedding exactly what we wanted...
This review has been a long time coming, but I truly needed to be able to put into the right words what Maria's services meant to us.
Our wedding was 6 months ago today, and while all of the details were important, we knew that the ceremony was the thing that we really wanted to get right. We were looking for meaningful, honest, romantic, and with the right combination of sentiment to combine our lives together, with both our families and my 3 children. After explaining all of this to Maria via Skype and in person meetings, we knew that we had the right professional in our corner. It was SO important that we created a basis for our marriage and not just for the wedding day. And we did. During the ceremony there were tears, there was laughter, and most importantly we didn't have to stress about anything. Maria was able to consult through the whole process (even proof reading our vows to ensure we were both on the same page with length and tone) and bring my three kids into the fold in a way that felt natural and appropriate.
As someone who works in the wedding industry, I see a lot of wedding officiants (and ordained family members, friends, etc) at work. Some wonderful, and some not. The most important thing I can say about Maria is that she is not just performing the ceremony. She is crafting these moments WITH you in a way that doesn't feel contrived or rehearsed. We had to change a part of our ceremony last minute because of pregnancy (whiskey and babies don't mix) and she offered an immediate solution and revised script that took any stress away before it even started. Our rehearsal was efficient and fun, and everyone knew what was happening at all times.
If you are looking for a professional that becomes a friend, and who will do the best job possible, we highly recommend Maria. We feel very lucky that we found her.
Sent on 03/01/2019
A Sweet Start's reply:Oh my god, Amy, this means the world to me! Coming from someone who is in the wedding industry and has seen many ceremonies, your words touch me deeply. I love how you pointed out that the way I perform the ceremony doesn't feel contrived or rehearsed, that's such an important statement. Thanks for sharing your experience and kind feedback, I'm forever grateful! Big hugs to the kids and Jon! xoxo Maria
Lyndsey · Married on 08/25/2018
Maria was the best investment we made towards our big day! At the beginning we were slightly skeptical because some other officiants price points were much lower and it seemed like an area we could maybe cut costs. However, Maria played an integral role throughout the entire process and it would not have been the beautiful and fun ceremony it was without her. She guided us through everything, making the process easy and fun. Her positive energy radiated through email, phone calls and certainly through the wedding ceremony. I would not hesitate to recommend Maria to anyone.Sent on 09/25/2018
A Sweet Start's reply:Thank you, Lyndsey for your honest review! I appreciate you sharing your skepticism about the cost of my service in the beginning and how you felt it was totally worth it in the end. That's such a great perspective and I hope it helps other couples wondering about working with me. You're the best! Big hugs to Jai! xoxo Maria
Caroline Spillane · Married on 08/11/2018
Best and easiest decision we made!
Where do I even begin! My husband and I got married this past August in Maine, and Maria went absolutely above and beyond to help make our entire wedding experience perfect. From the moment we first skyped with Maria back in January, we knew she was exactly who we were looking for to perform our wedding ceremony. Maria is thoughtful and kind and helped us tremendously throughout our wedding planning process all the way through the end and for weeks beyond. She was, and is, so much more than a wedding officiant. She is a source of guidance and support, she is understanding, and you can see that, to her core, she is passionate about the work she does and the mark she leaves. I can’t think back to our wedding weekend without feeling so much love for Maria! She conducted the rehearsal walkthrough on Friday seamlessly and made it fun and special. On our wedding day, it started pouring rain 30 minutes before our ceremony start time, and she was there with grace to help talk us through a plan B or a plan C. Thankfully, the rain eventually and suddenly stopped. We didn’t know how long to rain would hold off, but Maria didn’t skip a beat. She had our 23 bridesmaids/groomsmen, 4 ushers, a ring bearer and a flower girl, 4 parents, 2 grandparents, and 250 guests organized and ready to go within minutes - and she didn’t even seem phased. Maria seemed to be the anchor of our wedding and I can’t thank her enough for all that she has done for us and with us over the past 10 months. We are so grateful and feel lucky to have had her by our side. I realize I haven’t even mentioned the written ceremony itself - as you probably already guessed if you’ve read through this in it’s entirety, it was perfect and exactly what we hoped for and more. Maria - we love you! Thank you for everything!Sent on 10/22/2018
A Sweet Start's reply:My sweet Caroline, where do *I* begin?! This is the most amazing review, thank you, thank you, thank you! I know your experience will help other couples understand my value, and for that I'm so grateful. It was my great honor to be the anchor of your wedding! You're SO welcome, I love YOU! All my love to you and Maxx! xoxo
Kristina · Married on 07/28/2018
Maria was an absolute dream to work with. From the second that we met her we knew we had to have her officiate our wedding, and it was one of the best decisions we made! I cannot give Maria enough praise! So many of our guests could not stop complimenting her and her beautiful words. She truly took the time to get to know us as a couple and that reflected in our ceremony. I would absolutely recommend Maria to anyone getting married in the Maine area, you won’t be disappointed! THANK YOU!Sent on 08/23/2018
A Sweet Start's reply:Thank YOU, Kristina, for this wonderful review! I loved getting to know you and Alex. I'll never forget your wedding and how everything worked out just perfectly. I'm so grateful you took the time to share your experience working with me and your heartfelt recommendation! xoxo Maria
Alicia · Married on 07/21/2018
Maria is AMAZING!!!! My husband is French so we wanted to make sure that we had a ceremony that included both cultures as much as possible. Maria was open minded and was able to turn our ideas into reality. It turned out to be our dream ceremony. Everyone was so impressed with the ease of the ceremony and the way she spoke. Even the French people were able to understand her because she spoke slow and clear! I would recommend her to anyone getting married. It will be one of the best decisions you make. She makes it so easy and fun!Sent on 07/09/2018
WE LOVE YOU MARIA
-Alicia & Johan
A Sweet Start's reply:Bonjour! Thank you SO much for this wonderful review! Wow! I’m totally blown away and very touched. I loved reading that your French family members could understand me during the ceremony, that so awesome! It was such a special day. Thank you, again, for trusting me to be your officiant. So much love to you both! Merci! xoxo Maria
Mike · Married on 07/21/2018
Maria was the icing on the cake for our wedding. From the very start of the process, Maria was professional, helpful, and completely organized. She was able to guide us through every aspect of our wedding ceremony, and we were able to fine tune it our way so that it was very personal. Our wedding would not have been the same without Maria. Alaina and I are forever grateful for “A Sweet Start”.Sent on 07/25/2018
A Sweet Start's reply:Hi Mike! Thank you SO much for this wonderful 5-star review! :) It means so much to me that you took the time to share your experience working with me. I love the icing on the cake metaphor! It was a pleasure and an honor giving you and Alaina a sweet start to your marriage. xoxo Maria
Julia · Married on 07/14/2018
Our wedding ceremony was incredible which was a direct result of Maria’s warmth, insight, professionalism and organization! Our guests raved about her composure, enthusiasm and delivery. It felt like she was a part of our family and she is now a friend for life!Sent on 07/16/2018
Julia & Chris McKenzie
A Sweet Start's reply:Oh, Julia, thank you so much for this incredible feedback! I so touched by the comment about my "composure, enthusiasm and delivery." Wow! I can't wait to come visit you and Chris in New Jersey! xoxo Maria