NEW GLOUCESTER ⁠— The summer of 2020 won’t exactly be known as the summer of love. According to Misty Coolidge, owner of Coolidge Family Farm, a wedding venue in New Gloucester, her season is just about gone, with planned weddings postponed due to crowd restrictions in the wake of COVID-19.

But Coolidge said the answer could lie in a smaller scaled event.

Coolidge said her venue is offering an “Intimate Wedding Package,” an all-inclusive deal for a $10,000, 50-person ceremony that includes a venue, a DJ, catering and even cake. She also said that she’s hosting ‘anniversary’ packages for couples who want to celebrate with a night at the venue’s farmhouse and private meal.

“We’re trying to refocus and get some business back for this summer, to get some activity at the farm and give people the opportunity to have an amazing wedding day at a super reduced rate,” said Coolidge.

Misty Coolidge, of the Coolidge Family Farms in New Gloucester, has found that couples have been postponing their weddings, but not canceling them. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

According to a release sent out by Sunday River Resort Wednesday, the resort in Newry that typically hosts 50 weddings a year has followed suit, offering special wedding packages for “intimate” groups of less than 50 people.

But Tammy Webster, owner of Linnell Farm in Otisfield, says 50 guests is about the maximum capacity for her wedding barn. Most couples have simply cut down on their numbers, but Webster said she has informal packaged offerings to couples based on their needs.

“We’re just a small venue anyway. The ones that are booked for this year are cutting back on their number count. We’re working with everybody that comes to us. I haven’t advertised it, but when people reach out to me I offer different private packages depending on their circumstances,” said Webster

According to Webster, flexibility is the name of the game in the 2020 season.

“We really just want to work with them. It’s a shame this is happening at this time in their lives, and they just want to have it still be a special day. We want them to have the best day of their lives, whether there’s crappy stuff going around them or not,” said Webster.

Coolidge said so far, no couples have taken her up on her package deal. For couples that have pushed back into the next season, the logistics of downsizing (and the reality that deposits have already been paid) may be keeping them from shrinking their guest lists.

But, Coolidge said her offer could be a viable option for lovebirds who want a deal.

“If people were thinking they wanted to get married this year but couldn’t afford it and haven’t done any planning, they could be like ‘oh my god, we could just sign up here and have our wedding done. No stress…here’s everything we need’,” Coolidge said.

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