Sweetest Thing opens studio in downtown Bangor

By Aislinn Sarnacki, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 10, 2010, at 10:24 p.m.

When we sift through our memories, it’s the sweetest moments that remain clear in our minds as precious highlights in the chronology of our lives. Bangor event designers Amber Small and Kathryn Ravenscraft specialize in creating such moments.

Small founded Sweetest Thing Weddings, Floral Designs and Events five years ago, working from home and storage spaces. But everything changed when she partnered up with Ravenscraft and opened the doors to their new studio on Columbia Street in October. It became a twofold business: a boutique and event designing service.

“My bread and butter is the wedding industry,” said Small, who has been working in the industry for 10 years.

The pair also plans graduation parties, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, corporate events, cocktail parties and other special events.

Walking through the front door of their shop is like walking into their website. Light pink walls act as a backdrop to displays of carefully constructed centerpieces and special gifts.

“We go to a lot of auctions. You never know what you’re going to find here. We’re like a high-end Marden’s,” Small said.

Even if you don’t purchase something to spice up your home, the smell of freshly cut flowers will cling to your clothing and follow you out the door.

Small, a Winterport native, has been told that she should move the business south, to Portland or Boothbay, but she has resolved to stay in Bangor. So far, business has been good.

“We’re ready to be the designers of Bangor,” she said.

She sees downtown as a place for young entrepreneurs to thrive, and calls Columbia Street a hidden treasure. But the street hasn’t housed a boutique for years, and it’s difficult to get people up the hill to their shop.

Both women are working moms; Small has four young children, and Ravenscraft has two. Through their business partnership, they’ve become best friends, and so have their children.

“Kathryn is the yin to my yang,” Small said. “We do everything together. When you hire us, you’re getting a team.”

Small was introduced to wedding planning while working for a catering company. Every wedding seemed the same to her — the same linen, centerpieces and flatware.

“Weekend after weekend I saw this,” she said. “And that’s why I started this. I got to know these brides and I thought, ‘You’re so not a blueberry-scented candle.’”

Small and Ravenscraft work on bringing each couple’s ideal wedding to life in an event that reflects the bride and groom. In August, they designed a wedding with locally grown food and green products for a pair of organic farmers.

Sweetest Thing’s most recent wedding had 16 guests on Cadillac Mountain. But they have also planned weddings with 250-300 guests. Though the wedding they designed for the ambassador of Guatemala cost $2.5 million, they’ll work with a few thousand dollars — whatever the couple can afford.

More than 90 percent their weddings are for out-of-state couples who come to Maine to be wed.

“The thing I admire about Mainers is that they can do everything,” she said. “Planners are just taking shape here.”

They’re excited to work with more Maine brides and for Maine residents to embrace event and floral design.

“Your life is an event. Your Christmas is an event,” Small said. “I think people need to embrace the little things.”

For information, call Sweetest Thing at 907-6484 or 735-5536 or visit www.sweetestthingweddings.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/12/10/living/sweetest-thing-opens-studio-in-downtown-bangor/ printed on July 23, 2014