2013-12-11 / Business


Maine Seasons Events
Karen Schneider

Topsham business creates unique experiences

J ust off Topsham’s Main Street is a sweet little backyard garden containing Maine Seasons Events, a thriving event planning company specializing in one-of-a-kind, creative events that truly reflect the personalities of the wedding couple. Meagan Gilpatrick and her husband, Chris Biedrzycki, who recently left his job to work with his wife full-time, both grew up in Topsham and are graduates of Mt. Ararat.

Gilpatrick’s sunfilled home office, situated in the back of the garage, is her ideal work space because she and Biedrzycki designed and created it themselves. With sky blue ceilings, white walls, and a screen door opening onto the garden, it has the feel of a porch and is filled with all the beautiful items the entrepreneur needs for inspiration.

When Gilpatrick planned her own wedding, she enjoyed it so much she found herself offering to help friends, all the while working other jobs in the restaurant and retail sectors. She developed her strong work ethic while tackling seasonal jobs on fishing boats, raking blueberries, and making balsam wreaths. Leading up to going out on her own, she was a social sales manager for a coastal resort.

MEAGAN GILPATRICK, right, of Maine Seasons Events with a bridal client. MEAGAN GILPATRICK, right, of Maine Seasons Events with a bridal client. Along with Biedrzycki, who his wife describes as “my best friend of 25 years; he can make anything I dream up,” and assistant Charli McGrew of Portland, Gilpatrick has parlayed her talents and most importantly, her joie de vivre, to create unique experiences for more than 200 wedding couples over the span of nearly 15 years.

“I wanted to craft a living doing something I loved. I also knew I wanted to have a family and be home as much as possible. The thought of working for myself made a lot of sense to me for many reasons,” said Gilpatrick.

MEAGAN GILPATRICK, left, of Maine Seasons Events and her associate, Charli McGrew, bring flowers for a wedding. 
PHOTO / CUNNINGHAM PHOTOGRAPHY MEAGAN GILPATRICK, left, of Maine Seasons Events and her associate, Charli McGrew, bring flowers for a wedding. PHOTO / CUNNINGHAM PHOTOGRAPHY “The really fun part is that no two days are the same,” she said.

Her days differ greatly depending on the season. This time of year, Gilpatrick is in her home office by 9 a.m., answering emails, planning event designs, and communicating with vendors as she prepares for the busy time ahead, known as “the season.”

“At some point, my 6-year-old daughter comes out to the office and ‘works’ alongside me. She loves to give me design advice!” Gilpatrick remarked.

This time of year, the busy mom has more family time. These are the months the clever DIY couple catch up on projects around the house, go antiquing for the business, or spend the afternoons baking in the kitchen.

Gilpatrick has worked from home since her daughter’s birth. Although Biedrzycki’s mother helps care for the child a couple days a week, Gilpatrick said she’s built the business with her daughter on her lap. “She loves to put candles in their holders and count out charger plates and lanterns. She has abundant energy and passion and has been alongside me while I work her whole life,” she said.

The couple has recently made the decision to home-school which makes scheduling an even bigger challenge. Flexibility is key and Gilpatrick admitted she finds her biggest challenge is turning work off. “I don't get to clock out. I’m the business and I’m constantly thinking about ideas for the future and ways to be better. I have a hard time turning off my computer and being totally focused on one thing.”

Consequently, she finds herself balancing home and work by making comprehensive to-do lists and working on them in the wee hours. She also works from her cellphone constantly to stay in contact with her clients and vendors.

“I may be in line at the grocery store answering emails. I work best when I have multiple tasks going on and I’ve finally learned to embrace that,” she added. “Sometimes it’s hard not to sneak out to the garden or steal away to swing in the backyard with my daughter. Sometimes I give in to that.”

Gilpatrick’s really hectic time is during the short Maine summers. She and her team of part-time seasonal employees usually work 18 to 20 hours a day from Friday through Sunday mornings. The remainder of the week is spent in the office finalizing details for the next weekend’s event. Although the summers are crazy, the family takes time to go on expeditions with the 1962 camper they restored themselves.

Gilpatrick said, “I’m so fortunate to spend every day with my two favorite people.”

She’s proud she can offer employment to others, too. Maine Seasons Events has been featured in local, national and international publications. A recent expansion of services includes the rentals of event props: “reimagined” furniture, lighting, and accessories from the couple’s 20 years of collecting.

You can find Maine Seasons Events on the web at www.maineseasonsevents.com. The online address for Maine Seasons Event Rentals is www.maineseasonseventrentals.com.

KAREN SCHNEIDER, of West Bath, is a freelance writer. She can be reached at iwrite33@comcast.net.

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