Since Michelle and Jared met in Vermont and the state holds such special meaning to each of them, it was exactly where they wanted to celebrate with friends and family. A blend of elegant and rustic style in an idyllic barn setting was complimented beautifully with their peach and sage green color palette- full of vintage and antique details!
When Cesar Chavez and his team were planning this styled shoot, they knew they wanted to put together a unique, elegant, and fashion-forward styled shoot. And they succeeded, big time! With a color palette of maroon, dark purple, mauve, green and gold, the details came together for a timeless look that perfectly complimented the dramatic and historic surroundings. The fashion is front and center with the bride wearing a sultry, risqué, silver sparkle illusion gown with long elegant feathers custom made by Sheri Autry Couture that really brings the "Wow" factor.
Sarah and Todd’s relationship has been centered around the outdoors- their first date was a hike up Rattlesnake Mountain in New Hampshire. The proposal happened on top of another mountain, Flume Mountain, the 32nd hike of the couple’s plan of hiking the 48 peaks over 4,000 feet in New Hampshire. At the summit, Todd found a rocky outlook that was private and while sitting side by side he opened the ring box to only have the ring fall out! Thankfully he was able to catch it between his legs, but was then afraid to move for fear that the ring would fall down the rocky slope. Sarah had to get down on her knee to fish the ring out from between Todd’s legs, and while it was scary at the time, it makes for a good proposal story now!
Sarah and Todd’s first venue cancelled on them five months before the wedding. They began frantically searching for a new location and through word of mouth found Sheady Acres. After Sarah checked out their website and called to arrange a visit, the couple decided it was the perfect place. They were excited to utilize the five on-site cottages for their families to stay in, and the gorgeous barn was exactly what they were looking for. It turned out to be much better than their original venue was going to be. The icing on the cake was that Sheady Acres donates a portion of their profits to a local animal shelter.
Staying in the nature and outdoorsy theme that fits the couple so well, they chose a green and white color palette. They incorporated the outdoors in the details as much as possible. Sarah wore a hair comb with a bird on it, and the bridesmaids all wore floral patterned dresses. The tables were named after the mountains the couple have hiked, complete with a photo of Sarah and Todd on that mountain. Todd’s ring was specially designed to feature an etching of the mountain range they got engaged on. The centerpieces included a ceramic bird and the escort cards were embellished with an animal and placed on a pinecone. They also used all compostable and recycled plates, cups, and silverware.
One of the couple’s favorite moments of their wedding is the unity blueberry bush that was a part of their ceremony. Instead of a traditional unity candle, the couple chose to place soil from their parent’s homes into a potted blueberry bush, which is not planted in the yard of their home as a symbol of the promise they made to grow together. Sarah also loved her bouquet which was made up of mostly vegetables and herbs. The center was an artichoke surrounded by kale, dill, allium, poppies, and zinnias. The bouquet was also created by her mother and combined Sarah’s love of green and unique details.
It rained heavily the entire morning of their wedding day and they finally had to decide to move the ceremony into the barn. They had finished arranging the tables to make room when suddenly the rain stopped. With fifteen minutes to go before the start of the ceremony they decided to have it outside after all and made a mad dash to get it all organized. Many guests stood since there was not time to arrange enough chairs, but in the end it made for a more intimate setting. The rain held off so that their guests were able to have the cocktail hour and play lawn games outside before it started raining again right as dinner was served.
Other favorite parts of their celebration included not hearing their personally written vows until the ceremony, and having their friends and family so close since they were able to stay in the cottages on the property. It allowed them to spend time with everyone before, during, and after the wedding which was very meaningful to them.
Sarah and Todd’s advice for other couples planning a wedding is: “I would say, be true to yourself and do not include details because of tradition or because of what someone else wants you to do. Our original venue was going to make us compromise much of what we had envisioned for our day, but once we found Sheady Acres we were able to truly make the day, and the entire weekend, what we wanted it to be. Also, get a videographer!! I cannot express enough how much more of the day was captured in the video we have as compared to the photos. I love them the photos, but the video is so amazing because I am able to see so many of the details of the day that I missed.”
featured professionals | VENUE: Shéady Acres | PHOTOGRAPHER: Jessie Dineen Photography | CATERER: The Lazy Farmer | FLORIST: Flowers by Olga, Arrangements by Bride’s Mother | ACCOMMODATIONS: Jay Peak Resort | DJ: Bride’s nephew | WHOOPIE PIES: Bride’s Mother | WEDDING GOWN: Andrea’s Bridal | ALTERATIONS: Material Instinques | FORMAL WEAR: Shirts: L.L. Bean, Ties: The Tie Bar, Pants: American Eagle, Jacket: Macy’s | HAIR & MAKEUP: Alexis Hart-Allen | VIDEOGRAPHER: Bride’s Stepmother | TRANSPORTATION: Jay Peak Resort Shuttle Service | FAVORS: Ben’s Maple Syrup | INVITATIONS: Paperless Post | DECORATIVE FLAGS: Bride's Mother | GROOM'S RING: Michelle Lenae Jewelry | BRIDE'S RINGS: Day's Jewelers | BRIDE’S FOOTWEAR: Kate Spade Keds
Shannon and Allen first connected on Tinder and within a few days had their first date. The connection was immediate and they knew the relationship was something special. A couple of years later, while on vacation with Shannon’s family, Allen surprised Shannon with a proposal by the water. His teary eyes and nervous behavior told her that something was about to happen, but it was still a shock when he got down on his knee with a ring. They celebrated with champagne and dinner with Shannon’s family- the perfect ending to a whirlwind of a night.
Shannon grew up in Vermont and Allen in Maine, so they couple have a love of the slower pace in the north country. They live in the Boston area and knew that it would be a lovely escape from the city to hold their wedding in the green mountains. Shannon always knew she wanted to get married in Vermont because of it’s beauty and the special place it holds in her heart. They had actually started looking at venues before their engagement and toured Stratton while in Vermont for Christmas. They immediately fell in love with everything it had to offer- from lodging to an on site chapel, so that everything could be held in one location. They knew their guests could enjoy an entire summer weekend in Vermont with so much to see and do there.
Shannon loved to flip through Vermont Bride magazine for inspiration and loved that she could see so many different styles of weddings. They settled on a “Rustic Chic” theme with tan, soft pink, sage green, and burlap for their color palette and decor. Some of their favorite moments were the first look before their ceremony with just the two of them, and the fire and cocktail party they held on the Friday before the wedding. There was so much love, laughter and fun and everything came together above and beyond what they had imagined.
Shannon and Allen’s advice for other couples planning a wedding is: “If you’re on the fence with a first look…do it! It is such a special moment for just the bride and groom and having that captured on camera is something we are so happy that we have. We look at those pictures and talk about that moment almost every day. As a bride, the wedding day can be nerve wracking but every nervous butterfly I had went away once I saw Allen, it’s an indescribable feeling. Enjoy every second of the process from the engagement to planning to the big day because it truly does go by so fast. Wedding planning can be very overwhelming and stressful and it can cause the whole process to be more of a job than fun, when it gets stressful, take a step back, realize what all of it is for and know that in the end it will all be worth it and it does not need to be as stressful as it seems because everything will be perfect in the end.”
featured professionals | VENUE, ACCOMMODATIONS, CATERING, AND TRANSPORTATION: Stratton Mountain Resort | PHOTOGRAPHER: Celia Kelly Photography | FLORIST: Nancy Bishop Floral Design | DJ: Peak Entertainment | CUPCAKES: Crazy Russian Girl Bakery | WEDDING GOWN: Lily Saratoga | ALTERATIONS: Will Fit You In | FORMAL WEAR: Men’s Warehouse | HAIR STYLIST: Stella’s Salon + | MAKEUP ARTIST: Stacy Hunter | REHEARSAL DINNER: Garlic John’s | FAVORS: Hobson’s Choice | INVITATIONS: Minted
photo: Letter10 Creative
Flash forward in time. It’s your 10th, 25th, or maybe 50th anniversary and you’re looking back on your wedding day. You chuckle together about the flower girl who unexpectedly stopped half way down the aisle, mesmerized by all the people, and the sweet if slightly embarrassing words shared about you by your minister or rabbi or officiant. You look at the lilacs growing outside the window of your home, smell the scent, and revel in the same soft purple grace you enjoyed at your wedding. When you hum your special song, or play the recording on the stereo, and dance through the halls of your home, your breath catches as you remember the moment of your walk down the aisle, the moment the musicians played your special song in the middle of the ceremony, or your first dance together as a married couple, and the music that filled the room on that day.
Music can be one of the most significant factors which will establish the ambiance, and color the memories, of your wedding day. With so many options available to today’s couples, where do you start in making music choices that will resonate for both of you – and leave memories that will still catch your breath on your 50th anniversary?
First, talk with your partner about what you like in music. Do you dream of a quartet serenading you down the aisle with your favorite classical music standards, or would you prefer a soloist or a duo with a Celtic lilt? Or perhaps you want to steer clear of traditional choices and pick some favorite pop or Broadway tunes. Do you have a special song already that you’d like to include in the ceremony? Or would you like to choose a special tune together that will become “your song?” What sort of musician would be best suited to play that tune? Do you have an ensemble in mind, or will you be finding a soloist or group of musicians that will play the repertoire you have in mind? Do you have any special memories of playing or hearing music in the past in a way that really influenced you? And what can you afford for music? The greater the number of musicians, the greater the price – so you’ll need to keep that in mind when choosing between a soloist, a duo, a quartet, or a full band. These are all important questions to explore together before you get too far in the planning!
You may have no idea what you’d like, and that’s ok too! Here are some thoughts on the next steps.
First, consider the value of live music. The feeling, the vibrancy, the life, the color of the mood of live music played by live musicians is something that will resonate in your experience of the day, in the experience of your guests, and in your memories. Ever been at a wedding where the bride is ready to walk down the aisle and a relative is having difficulty finding the right spot on the CD, or the speaker is blasting shrieks of feedback, the plug gets disconnected, or someone can’t find the off button after the bride reaches the front? With live music, there will be real and experienced people who have tailored the thoughts of you and your interests into their preparation, and who enjoy reveling in your dreams for the day and weave them into your repertoire choices, while shaping the music to fit each portion of your wedding.
The next step: browse some web sites. You can either do this together or have one of you do the initial research and report back. For starters, click here for an overview of some of the top musicians in the state. Talk about what each of you likes and doesn’t like about a particular option, laugh a little at the differences of perspective, and revel in the similarities. Check with musicians about availability, pricing, and any other questions you may have. The joy that you find in making the choices, and in the memories created, may end up being a part of the glue that holds your marriage together and keeps a lift in your step and a glimmer in your eye for many years to come.
Lisa Carlson is a freelance flutist, performing for weddings and other occasions throughout Vermont and beyond, with musical offerings ranging from a quartet of flute with violin, viola and cello, to solo flute, to duos and trios of flute with harp, violin, piano, cello, oboe, and more. She also teaches flute in Montpelier, Vermont Lebanon, New Hampshire, and online to students worldwide.