Can’t Miss Burlington Wedding Weekend Activities

Are you looking for a wedding experience that is unique and special? Look no further than Burlington, Vermont! This beautiful city offers couples the perfect mix of outdoor beauty and urban amenities to make their Vermont wedding unforgettable. With picturesque mountain views, vibrant cityscapes, and the backdrop of Lake Champlain, Burlington is an ideal destination for couples seeking a one-of-a-kind wedding experience all weekend long.

We recently sat down with Sabiha Mujkić , ECHO’s Event & Retail Specialist, to map out the perfect Burlington wedding weekend itinerary. We know these ideas will help you have an unforgettable celebration!

Michael Tallman

A Unique Burlington Wedding Venue

One of our favorite Burlington wedding venue is ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.  A staple for families throughout the green mountain state, ECHO is a science and nature museum located right on the Burlington waterfront.

This one-of-a-kind venue offers a pristine lakefront location and breathtaking, uninterrupted views of the Adirondacks outside, and sparkling aquariums and elegant spaces for ceremonies, dining, and dancing inside.

Portrait Gallery
Portrait Gallery

“Our team takes care of every detail from start to finish and makes it our priority to support as many local businesses during the process,” says Sabiha. “For example, we work with Sugar Snap catering, who offers delicious and original farm to table catering.” Think: Vermont made cheeses at cocktail hour, signature drinks with maple syrup, and lots of Vermont beer options at the bar.

Plus, you and your guests get exclusive access to the entire museum for your event, which is a truly unique experience! 

And, a wedding at ECHO directly supports Vermont communities and education, which is something to feel good about!

Michael Tallman

A Burlington Wedding Weekend Itinerary

Burlington is Vermont’s most bustling city, with a variety of activities to choose from. In fact, there are so many things to do in the Queen City that it’s almost impossible to list them all, but here are some of our top recommendations! 

Burlington Wedding Activities for Nature Lovers

It’s no secret that Vermont is beautiful all four seasons! That also means that there is always something to do outdoors. 

Spring & Summer Activities

The crown jewel of Burlington is Lake Champlain, which you can paddle board, kayak, sail or swim in. You can also take a scenic bike ride alongside the lake on the famous Burlington bike path. (North Star Sports offers both regular and electric bikes in case you can’t bring your own.) This is a great idea for guests looking to explore more of Vermont’s natural beauty at their own pace.

In the neighboring town of Colchester, the bike path turns into the Causeway, a path that runs through Lake Champlain with unforgettable views on both sides. If you’re feeling up for it, the path goes all the way up to the Champlain Islands, where orchards, like Hackett’s, and wineries, like Snow Farm Vineyard, are waiting to be explored. (Spoiler alert: It’s worth it!) Just be sure to check the ferry schedule as you’ll need to take a quick ride between the Causeway and the Islands.

A quick car ride will get wedding guests to some incredible hiking options in the area, such as Oakledge Park and Red Rocks, both located in Burlington’s South End. These parks are also great spots for swimming in the summer.

In Burlington’s New North End, the Intervale Center has scenic community gardens and walking paths to explore. The Intervale holds a weekly concert series in the summer, complete with food trucks.

For something truly unique, you can book a private charter boat to take you and your loved ones around the Lake. Sabiha shares that while most couples take advantage of ECHO’s lakefront views for their ceremony, some couples opt to have a private wedding ceremony out on the lake before celebrating their larger reception at ECHO. This can be an amazing beautiful, and intimate experience for a couple looking to do something unique!

Fall Activities

If you’re looking for a manageable peak to conquer, Mount Philo, located in Charlotte, Vermont will do the trick. This hike is gorgeous all year round but especially in the fall. On your way to this state park, you’ll also drive through the towns of South Burlington and Shelburne, which are both filled with their own charm! There are also lots of craft fairs that take place throughout the state during this time of year, filled with tons of local makers!

Lucky Strike Studio
Owl's Iris Photography
Sam Simons

Winter Activities

If you’re visiting in the winter, pack your layers and suit up because we don’t hibernate here! There is something truly beautiful about freshly fallen snow. From ice skating to cross country skiing, snowshoeing or skiing and snowboarding – there’s plenty of activity within Burlington, or only a short distance away. Some of Vermont’s best areas and mountains to explore are less than an hour away from Burlington. We suggest checking out Leddy Park, Cochran’s ski area (yes, that famous Olympic family!), Smuggler’s Notch, Stowe or Bolton Valley.

Afterwards, warm up with hot chocolates or maple lattes on Church Street Marketplace! (More on this iconic spot below!)

Hannah Lux Photography

Burlington Attractions for Food, Beer, and Entertainment

Burlington is a dream destination for foodies, music fans, and beer lovers!

Truly there are too many restaurants to name in a single article. Burlington is foodie paradise, with new locations opening all the time! One resource we recommend for checking out local options (and finding out about new spots) is Love Burlington.

For beer, one of our favorite pockets of Burlington, is Pine Street, which is home to Zero Gravity, Burlington Beer Company, Citizen Cider and Queen City Brewery. Pine street is also home to Burlington’s Farmer’s market, which takes place every Saturday in the spring, summer and early fall. There’s also Truck Stop on summer Fridays, complete complete with rotating food truck vendors and live music.

Foam Brewers and Spot on the Dock are two more can’t miss spots in the summer, offering unparalleled views of the lake and yummy refreshments. For a unique evening, hit up the arcade bar Archives. Or check out Lincoln’s or Deli 126, two speakeasies, each with their own charm!

Looking to catch a show? Burlington has excellent entertainment available year round, from the Vermont Comedy Club, to the The Flynn Theatre, or Higher Ground. 

Church Street Marketplace

Of course, no trip to Vermont is complete without a walk on Church Street, Burlington’s pedestrian only street, filled with local boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. It’s home to the Burlington Jazz Festival and Festival of Fools events in the summer, and decorated oh-so-dazzling for the holidays come winter. It’s truly a must-see for every Burlington visit! 

Getting to Burlington

There are a few travel options when it comes to arriving or leaving Burlington, Vermont, making it a great spot for a destination wedding! The Burlington International Airport (BTV) is Vermont’s largest airport, serving northern New England and offering commercial, private and charter flights. (If you’re used to very large and bustling airports, this one may be a breath of fresh air!)

Burlington is also easy to get to by car. Interstate I-89 will help most New Englanders and New Yorkers make their way back home. Lake Champlain even has boat ferries that can transport you across the lake and over to upstate New York, which can cut down on driving times depending on your destination.

Planning Your Dream Burlington Wedding 

We hope these ideas get you as excited to explore Burlington as we are! Thank you to Sabiha and the team at ECHO for sharing insights for this article. You can learn more about ECHO in the vendor guide. 

The Lowdown on Wedding Welcome Bags

Wedding welcome bags are a fun way to greet your guests and thank them for traveling to celebrate your special day! These gifts showcase your personalities, give guests a taste of what’s to come, and can provide helpful items to help guests make the most of their stay. 

To help inspire your own gifting, we sat down with Tracy Stolese, owner of Shelburne Gift Company. Her team specializes in working with couples, wedding planners, and venue managers to create memorable welcome wedding bags. After packing countless gifts, Tracy knows wedding welcome bags like no one else, and is kindly sharing some of her best tips to inspire you!

Read on for her advice, and, if you decide to outsource this gifting task, reach out to Shelburne Gift Company for help.

Who Receives a Wedding Welcome Gift?

The etiquette around who receives a wedding welcome gift can vary: Is it just for out of town guests? Does your wedding party get one? Does each family get one gift or does each individual receive one?

“In terms of who gets a gift, this actually seems to vary widely by couple…we see it in every way you’ve described!” says Tracy.

To start, think about your distribution plan. If the welcome gifts will be given out at the hotel(s), then we’d suggest you plan gifts for any guests staying at the hotel, but not those who are staying in their own accommodations. Sometimes, wedding welcome bags are given out at the venue itself (functioning more like a wedding favor). In this case, we’d suggest planning for gifts for every attendee. 

“As far the wedding party, they are often included in the welcome bag count,” says Tracy. “But that is not a hard-and-fast rule, especially if they’re receiving something different/more extravagant.”

Tracy notes that it’s common for her team to create two versions: a small version for a single attendee or couple, and a larger version with multiples of certain items for families. 

Wedding Favors vs. Welcome Bags – Which is Better?

While both kinds of gifts show your appreciation, your wedding budget may call for you to choose one or the other. 
Wedding favors can be a great option if they add to your reception decor (ex. potted succulents on each table setting). Wedding favors are also great if they’re adding to your reception entertainment, such as live cotton candy spinning or portrait sketching (both of which can be found in our Gift Guide!). If most of your guests are local, and thus not staying in hotels, a favor would be easier to distribute. 
On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for wedding favors to be forgotten at the end of the night, which can lead to waste. “I think a welcome gift upon arrival at the hotel is more likely to be remembered and enjoyed,” says Tracy. Wedding welcome gifts are a great option if you have a lot of out of town guests, or if you have a full weekend of activities and want something that guests can enjoy throughout your festivities. 

Three Elements to Great Wedding Welcome Bags

When creating your welcome bags, we suggest hitting three main categories: food, information and useful items, and personal touches. Including something from each category will create a great gift. 

Snacks & Beverages

Stock up your guests with your favorite snack foods to fuel their fun. A good rule of thumb is to include something sweet, something salty/savory, and something to drink. (Check out our Gift Guide for yummy local options to include!)

Information & Useful Items

Including useful items in your welcome bags can make them feel practical and thoughtful. Consider packing things like an itinerary, transportation details, suggestions for local attractions, bandaids, travel pain relievers, or individual electrolyte packets.

Incorporating Personal Touches

Maybe you’re famous for your chocolate chip cookies, or everyone knows your partner loves a brand of seltzer – include those unique touches!

You can also make this gift personal to your wedding by incorporating your wedding theme. For example, pack a mini sunscreen or novelty sunglasses for a lakeside summer wedding, or hand warmers for your après ski winter ceremony.

Tips to DIY Your Wedding Welcome Bags

Tackling your own wedding welcome bags is a big project. Tracy is kindly sharing her tips below to make the process easier, but don’t forget that her team is able to handle this for you if you decide to outsource the task!

Order Your Supplies Early: Give yourself plenty of time when ordering items for your welcome gifts. This is even more important if you are including custom items.

Double Check Your Orders: Open your boxes and count your items as soon as you receive them. Sometimes shipments come up short or include damaged items. 

Ask friends to pitch in: If you’ll have a significant number of gifts, save time and energy by making space for “assembly line” table, and call in your friends and family to help.

Plan Your Transportation:We know from experience just how many bags and boxes of varying sizes fit in the back of vehicle – and it can be a surprise when it’s fewer than you had planned!” laughs Tracy. So, be sure you have plenty of room to transport all of your gifts. (Or enlist those friends with extra vehicle space.) It’s also helpful to have clean blankets to keep things pristine during delivery.

Plan for Distribution: Would you like them to be waiting at the reception area for the guests to pick up on arrival? Or perhaps you’d like them to be delivered to their rooms individually? “A lot of the time, we’ll deliver the gifts to the hotel(s), and then the hotel will either deliver them in advance to the guests’ rooms or hand them out to the guests upon arrival,” says Tracy. “And, it’s worth noting that sometimes hotels will charge fees to deliver to rooms.” Think through how you want guests to get their gifts so you can work with your team to plan accordingly. 

Start Crafting Your Own Wedding Welcome Bags 

Now that you’ve seen how to create your own wedding welcome bags, you may be feeling inspired to DIY – or excited to connect with Shelburne Gift Company to manage this gifting task for you! Either way, find ideas for amazing Vermont products to include in our Gift Guide.

Bookmark These Mountain Wedding Ideas

When you think of Vermont, it’s quite possible one of the first images that comes to mind is racing down snowy slopes at a ski resort, or hiking up a ridge to catch a stunning sunset. Exploring the mountains is a favorite pastime in Vermont, and one that many couples choose to incorporate into their wedding. We’re sharing our favorite ideas for a Vermont mountain wedding so you can include this passion into your celebration!

Ellen Sargent Photography

Choose a Mountain Wedding Venue

If you want a mountain wedding, it’s only natural to choose a venue in the mountains! There are many beautiful venues in Vermont that sit on top of mountains or take advantage of the views. However, mountain weather is unpredictable, so finding a venue that offers both indoor and outdoor spaces is paramount. This allows you to take advantage of the gorgeous mountain views, and provides you a safe space to gather if the weather takes a turn.  

One venue that checks all the boxes is Sugarbush Resort, a four-season luxury mountain Vermont wedding destination. Located in Vermont’s picturesque Mad River Valley, the resort specializes in offering guests a full mountain wedding weekend experience.

The most popular ceremony location at Sugarbush is perfect for a true mountain wedding experience: their Mountain Meadow ceremony site. It provides an expansive backdrop of the Green Mountains accessible by private use of the chairlift. “I like to remind couples how unique it is to incorporate the chairlift into their ceremony!” says Abigail Harkins, Wedding Sales Manager at Sugarbush Resort. “Not only is it an interactive part of the day, but it’s also an incredibly memorable experience for guests. There have been several times when we’ve had bears and other wildlife hanging out on trails under the lift which is such a cool way for guests to experience Vermont and the mountains.”

In case you have concerns about accessibility with guests getting in and out of a chairlift, Abigail assures couples that “it is surprisingly easy for guests to load and unload the chairlift without snow and we make sure to stop the lift if a guest is clearly nervous. This gives that guest the chance to get situated and us the opportunity to help them feel more comfortable. If there is a guest with limited mobility, we send their walker or wheelchair up the lift prior to loading that guest, so that it is waiting for them at the top!” 

Jenna Brisson Photography
Seas Mtns Co
Jenna Brisson Photography

Embrace a Cozy Color Palette for your Mountain Wedding

A ski mountain-themed wedding is all about warmth and coziness, so embrace a color palette that reflects that! Think: earthy tones like brown, beige, and green, as well as rich, warm colors like burgundy, gold, and navy. These colors will compliment the mountain vistas no matter the season. Let them inspire your flowers, bridesmaid dresses, and décor. 

Serve Mountain-Inspired Food and Drinks

When it comes to food and drinks, consider serving options that are inspired by the mountain environment. For example, serve up late night nachos or waffles (like you’d get at lodge cafeteria) or set up a hot chocolate bar! Too hot for hot cocoa? What about a signature chocolate martini inspired by frozen hot chocolate or a s’mores bar? These foods and drinks give the feel of a mountain retreat, no matter the season. 

Melissa Lynn
Juniper Studios
Barrie Fisher
Juniper Studios

Include Ski-Inspired Details

To really drive home the mountain theme, include ski-inspired, or mountain-inspired details in your wedding décor. Here are a few of our favorite ideas: 

Your Guest Book
“We’ve seen couples turn old pairs of skis into a guest book that they could later hang on their wall,” says Abigail. “I’ve also seen customized skis with the date and location of the wedding, also used as a guest book.” 

Your Seating Chart

Use trail maps as a seating chart or name your tables after your favorite trails! 

Family Photo Display

“We’ve also had couples collect old season passes from family members and turn that into some type of display at the wedding,” says Abigail. If your family has taken a lot of mountain family vacations, you could include photos from those vacations as well. 

The Cake

Ask your baker about incorporating mountain or ski details on your wedding cake. Think: a mountain scenery painted with icing on the sides of the cake, or a chair lift cake topper! 

Andy Madea

With a little creativity and attention to detail, you can create a wedding that truly captures the spirit of the mountains!

Thank you to Sugarbush Resort for contributing to this story. You can learn more about Sugarbush Resort in the vendor guide.

Your Next Read:

Check out these ideas for a Vermont winter wedding.

Don’t miss this stunning spring wedding at Sugarbush Resort.

Our Wedding Gift Guide is Live

It’s here: the ultimate collection of Vermont-made gifts perfect for any occasion – from weddings to housewarmings to just because! We’ve curated gift ideas for everyone on your list in our Vermont gift guide. And, every single gift supports a local VT business. 

On a personal note, it’s been such a fun experience to connect with well known brands and discover new businesses. One thing is clear: Vermont is full of talent. We’ve already gifted things from the guide (and bought a few for ourselves…) and we’re confident the guide will help you do the same. 

bride opening gift on wedding morning
Kelsey Regan Photography
Juniper Studios

What’s in our Vermont gift guide?

Gift ideas for everyone on your list – all from local, Vermont businesses. Many of the featured businesses identify with at least one of the following: women-owned; minority owned; eco-conscious; certified-organic; family-owned. 

We’ve organized the gifts by the most common recipients: couples getting married, wedding party gifts, favors, parents, kids/babies, and pets or other occasions (ex. anniversaries, housewarmings, etc.).  Of course, you can mix and match these ideas to best fit your crew, but we hope our selections will help get you started! 

There are a variety of styles and price points represented. 

How can you shop for these Vermont made gifts?

Click to a category that appeals to you and start browsing! Each gift has a “shop” link to take you directly to the businesses’ website. Please note that Vermont Weddings cannot guarantee inventory or availability; contact each maker directly if you have questions.

Also, take note – some businesses have generously provided Vermont Weddings readers an exclusive discount! Be sure to use those codes to save.

If you’re using this guide to build your own Vermont registry, we recommend using a site like Zola, so you can add gifts from any local business. (Use our free gift tracker to keep track of all of those gifts!)

Shelburne Gift Company

Why does shopping local matter?

Have you seen the meme about when you buy from a small business owner, an actual person does a happy dance? That’s true! When you buy from a local business, your neighbors (the people behind that business) benefit! Small businesses make up a large, important part of the Vermont economy and choosing to buy from them is a tangible way you can help our community.

Isn’t buying from small businesses more expensive?

Not necessarily. Yes, some of the gifts included in the gift guide are splurge-worthy gifts, because they are handcrafted or one-of-a-kind heirlooms.

However, buying local isn’t always more expensive, especially when you consider the quality. And – there’s the double bonus of the real impact supporting a small business. 

We included a range of price points in the guide to fit most budgets.

Juniper Studios
GarrenTee Photography

How do I join the Vermont gift guide?

We’ll be adding to the guide throughout the year, so if you want to nominate a Vermont business (including your own) please contact us for details!

Thanks for supporting our gift guide!

This is our second year putting out a gift guide and we’re so thankful to each of you who supported it – through listing your businesses, shopping the guide, and sharing it with friends!

We are so excited to help with your shopping needs and connect you with these talented makers! I’d love to hear what you scoop up first!

Shop now:

Check out our Vermont gift guide and start shopping for everyone on your list – including yourself!