As more people turn to weddings in the mountains, and as smaller gatherings may become the norm, the Thaddeus Twitchell House in Bethel, Maine, is fast becoming a favorite destination.
Located between Sunday River Resort and historic Bethel Village, the property offers a picturesque, comfortable setting to host a wedding party as well as a ceremony itself.
The home originally was built in 1813 and went through stages as a boarding house, bed and breakfast and a single-family home where the bedrooms were all named after the family’s children, except for one that is now named for the current owners’ son.
Since then it has been transformed by a series of renovations into the luxury accommodations of today. Situated on 1.6 wooded acres, the beautifully landscaped property affords an exquisite backdrop for an outdoor ceremony. Inside, the 4,650 square-foot home features an expansive living room with fireplace, a gourmet commercial kitchen, a lovely, spacious dining room and seven bedrooms, each with a private bath, plus an additional bedroom with a half-bath.
A unique feature of the home is the Bridal Master Suite, with an attached salon where the bride and her wedding party can prepare for the ceremony. The salon is set up with perfect lighting, salon chairs and a nail station. Guests may bring in their own stylist or hire one locally. There’s even a local masseuse who will come to the inn to work her magic.
When John and Cynthia Wissocki came to Bethel for their own wedding, they had no idea they would end up owning a wedding venue. They were married in June 2019 at another nearby inn. On their way home they passed the Thaddeus Twitchell House, saw it was for sale and very quickly made the decision to purchase it.
After their wedding, they decided this was such a perfect way to get married, hold family reunions or bring friends together, that they immediately knew it was the right thing for them. “Bethel is absolutely magical to us! We literally fell in love with its quaintness and we sanctified our love there,” says Cynthia.
John and Cynthia operate under an atypical business model. They live full time in Florida, taking bookings through VRBO, Air BnB and their own website. They communicate via email with all their guests and employ a housekeeper/manager who checks the home after guests depart and oversees all cleaning and maintenance. After closing on the property in October 2019, they hosted their first wedding five days later. Now they are fully booked for most of June, July and August, with not only weddings but also family reunions and get-togethers for friends.
The eight bedrooms sleep a maximum of 16. If a wedding reception is to be held on the premises, there’s room for a large tent in back that can accommodate about 50 guests. For larger weddings, couples may opt to have the wedding party stay at the house and prepare there, then hold the ceremony and reception at one of the nearby larger venues. The house is well-equipped for the bridal party or smaller gatherings with a commercial (but not a catering) kitchen, adequate dining and living space, game room, a hot tub and outdoor pool and patio. All rooms have new 55-inch smart TVs, and mini-splits provide comfortable air conditioning in summer. If the reception is to be held on the premises, the couple is responsible for bringing in their own caterers equipped with all they need for service.
Cynthia says, “Our Bethel destination wedding consisted of 26 people in a different, but similar, single-family home, waking up and sharing breakfast in our pajamas, enjoying the fact that we did not have to share any amenities such as a pool, hot tub and game room with strangers had we chosen a hotel, allowing our guests to have privacy in their own rooms with multiple comfortable areas also to congregate without restrictions. I reveled in the convenience that I could get ready in my gown onsite, without the worry of wrinkles in my dress, fallen hair and forgetting items. It was more than perfect. The logistics of this type of wedding is stress free.”
They are seeing many repeat guests, some who have been coming for seven or eight years. This season there have been a lot of last-minute bookings for family gatherings and only one cancellation due to the current health situation. And happily, those folks have booked for next year.
Prices range from $585 per night during mud season to $1,000 per night for holiday periods, with an average of about $850 per night. For weddings being held on property, with a maximum of 50 people in the backyard, the price ranges from $2,200 to $3,000 for two nights. According to the owners, a two-night booking is fairly typical for weddings.
About the Bethel area and the Thaddeus Twitchell House, Cynthia says, “John and I joke that our wedding became a very expensive wedding as our present to each other became the Thaddeus Twitchell House. We had no prior intention of starting an investment like this here or anywhere else, in fact. However, we fell in love with this historic charming home and thought how wonderful it would be to create an intimate place where other couples could start their fairytale dream life.
“Love, partnership, family, community and togetherness are virtues we hold, and we believe married lives should start with these. We believe that our home uniquely allows people to commune and celebrate love and life, and we hope to be the beginning place of many brides and grooms.”