FREEPORT, Maine — The Harraseeket Inn was the setting Friday afternoon as Laura Plaisted and Nolan Hood exchanged their vows. While the family-owned luxury inn has played host to countless weddings over the years, this one had a special significance. Laura and Nolan were chosen earlier this year as winners of the inaugural Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest. As grand prize winners, the newly anointed couple received a Maine dream wedding for free.
“This was an amazing experience,” said Laura, who entered the contest while her then-fiancée was stationed in Afghanistan. “Having the public vote on various aspects of the wedding was a lot of fun, and working with the staff at the Harraseeket has just been phenomenal. We couldn’t be more thankful for such a memorable experience.”
The groom, Nolan Hood is a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard. Hood has served his country for the past 12 years, most recently serving with the Army Infantry’s Provencal Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. He returned home this summer, after the couple had been chosen as contest winners. Since then, he has been anxious for the big day.
“Laura and Nolan had originally planned to get married in a year or two, but winning this contest allowed them to get married now,” said Beth Hood, Staff Sgt. Hood’s mother. “They feel so lucky to have had the help and support of everyone involved in this contest, and to have their wedding at a place as beautiful as the Harraseeket Inn was simply amazing.”
The wedding package also included a wedding dress, bridesmaids’ dresses, hair styling and makeup, wedding rings and accessories, flowers, photography, videography, wedding cake, a wedding planner, entertainment, food, a groom’s tuxedo, tuxedos for groomsmen, a limousine for the bridal party, and a honeymoon.
“Laura and Nolan are such a fun couple and working with them has been tremendous,” said Melissa Brady of The Harraseeket Inn. “They had a beautiful day for a beautiful wedding, and all of us at the Harraseeket wish them nothing but the best for their future.”
The Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest was announced in January. After receiving several entries from all over the state and the country, a panel of judges and voting from the general public narrowed the field of finalists down to four. Finalist voting took place for about a week and a half, and more than 6,000 votes were cast for the four finalists. Since the winners announcement in April, members of the public voted on many aspects of the wedding, including the cake, the rings, and the honeymoon.
“This was a very interactive experience for everyone from the bride and groom to the members of the public from all over the country who voted online,” said Melanie Brooks of Real Maine Weddings magazine. “We are so proud to have had such wonderful partners and a great couple for our first Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest, and we are already looking forward to doing it again.”
After the wedding day, the couple is looking forward to their honeymoon in Bar Harbor.
For more information on the Harraseeket Inn, visit harraseeketinn.com.
More information about the contest and other details can be found at realmaineweddings.com.