The Best Christmas Gifts For Couples Who Have Everything from The Vermont Flannel Company

We all have those people on our holiday shopping list – the ones who seem to have everything they need. And when it’s a couple, it can be even trickier, since you’re shopping for not just one but two people. That’s why finding the best Christmas gifts for couples who have everything can turn even the most festive person into a confused Scrooge!

A great guideline to follow for couple’s gifts is to look for something that’s unique, useful, and can be enjoyed together. No matter the occasion or holiday, The Vermont Flannel Company has a variety of gift ideas perfect for the hard-to-shop-for couples on your list.

Why Vermont Flannel Has the Best Christmas Gifts for Couples

The holiday season is extra busy for everyone, and a gift that promotes relaxation and connection is sure to be appreciated by anyone on your list. And really, is there anything more relaxing in the winter than cozying up with your partner in flannel?! 

The Vermont Flannel Company is the leading name in ultra cozy, premium flannel. Vermont Flannel is committed to quality and comfort. Their flannel is produced with 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton and their products have been handcrafted in the US since 1991. The flannel is double-brushed to ensure maximum softness, and made with yarn-dyed, tightly woven fabric. That means your flannel will look and fit as good after the hundredth wear as the first.

Matching Lounge Pants: The Ultimate Holiday Gift for Couples Who Need a Cozy Night Together

Vermont Flannel’s lounge pants are the ultimate cozy night uniform. Slip on a pair of these unisex pants to instantly set the mood to unwind together.

Made with the premium flannel the company is known for, these pants will be a staple in the couple’s wardrobe for years to come. (And, if their family grows, it’s good to know they come in youth sizes too!) A quality pair of lounge pants isn’t something everyone thinks to buy for themselves, which is why it’s the perfect gift for the couple who has everything. These pants are an everyday luxury that will invite relaxation into a couple’s busy lives. 

Creating the Best Gift Bundle:

  1. Make it a set and pair the pants with flannel henley shirts.  
  2. Create a kit for a cozy date night, complete with a list of suggested holiday movies, popcorn and other treats, and the couple’s favorite beverage.
  3. Tuck a pair of lift tickets in the pants. Your favorite skiers will be excited to get warm in these pants after a day on the slopes!

A Vermont Flannel Blanket: The Best Holiday Gift for Couples Who Love Adventure

A Vermont Flannel Stadium Blanket is an amazing gift idea for couples who have everything, especially if they love adventure. This blanket is built with exploration in mind! This cozy two-sided blanket has Vermont Flannel on one side and anti-pill fleece on the other. It’s perfect for picnics, sporting events, tailgates in the car…or cuddling on the couch post adventure. 

The Luxury Patchwork Blanket is an awesome option for newlyweds or couples moving into their first place together. It’s so comfortable, we promise the couple will want to snuggle up under it all season long. 

Both blankets are high quality, and will be a treasured part of the couple’s home. They’re beautiful, practical gifts that couples will enjoy for years to come, wherever their adventures take them!

Creating the Best Gift Bundle:

  1. Wrap up tickets to the couple’s favorite sporting event inside the blanket.
  2. Include some coffee or tea, and a new book or magazine subscription to inspire lazy mornings reading on the couch.
  3. Tuck a gift card to a favorite local restaurant inside so they can pick up takeout and enjoy a picnic together. 

Engaged? Vermont Flannel Makes Excellent Wedding Favors and Wedding Party Gifts!

For the engaged couples reading, we didn’t want to forget to mention that Vermont Flannel makes amazing favors and wedding party gifts!

The flannel beer hugs are equal parts adorable and useful (especially when paired with your favorite Vermont brew). You can even customize the label with your wedding details. These are excellent wedding favors! 

A Vermont Flannel shirt is a classic Vermont wedding party gift for bridesmaids and groomsmen alike. You can mix and match the color and fit options to find the right look for everyone in your wedding party. These shirts make for great photos for your wedding morning, and will be loved long after the weekend ends!

And, if you want to wrap your friends in a hug, even when they’re far away, we recommend a Vermont Flannel blanket. You can even add a custom label to personalize it for your wedding.

Win a Romantic Weekend in Burlington (Vermont Flannel Giveaway)

Looking to get away together? Planning a Vermont wedding (or maybe having already celebrated your own) and looking for an excuse to get back to VT? Vermont Flannel is currently hosting a giveaway for a 2 night stay at Hotel Vermont in Burlington and two Vermont Flannel robes! You can enter the contest and read the official rules here. Don’t forget to enter by December 31, 2022.

Checking the Couple Who Has Everything Off Your Christmas Shopping List

We hope these unique gift ideas from The Vermont Flannel Company have helped you check off all the couples on your holiday shopping list. Don’t forget to mark your calendars: the deadline to order your gifts to meet holiday shipping deadline is December 19, 2022 at 9am EST! 

Thank you to Vermont Flannel for sponsoring this blog post. We’re excited to partner with and share this Vermont business!

Fly Fishing Unique Engagement Session

Today we’re showing off  Allie and Tim’s unique engagement session. When discussing their engagement photo shoot with GarrenTee Photography, Ali and Tim made it clear that they didn’t want cookie-cutter style engagement photos. They wanted a unique engagement session!

Like most Vermonters, the couple loves exploring and being outdoors. Tim’s family has a camp in northern Maine and he is an avid fisherman. Ali enjoys activities such as running and hiking. Taking those hobbies into consideration, the couple came up with an engagement shoot that was out of the ordinary, fun and so them!

We Love Unique Engagement Shoots Like This

Engagement photo shoots are a great way to capture your next chapter together as a couple. Many wedding photographers offer one-off engagement shoots or even include them in their wedding packages. One of our favorite things about engagement shoots is that they can be done anywhere and don’t have to match the vision you have in mind for your wedding day. So why not try something unique like an adventurous engagement photoshoot session?

Your Next Read:

Looking for another wedding with incredible florals? Check out this Maquam Barn Summer Wedding.

Want another real wedding post? Check out any of these.

A Timeless Spring Wedding at The Grafton Inn

When you think of a Vermont wedding do you imagine rolling green mountain views?  Small town charm? Something rustic, easygoing, yet timeless? If you answered, “YES!”, you will love learning more about Toni and Blake’s spring wedding at The Grafton Inn.

Nestled in Southern Vermont, Grafton is one of New England’s prettiest (and smallest) towns. Toni and Blake knew they wanted a classic, small-town New England feeling for their big day, and The Grafton Inn definitely provided it! Their photographer, K. Lennox Photography, loved capturing their special day.

A Beautiful Day Worth The Wait

Like many couples, Toni and Blake had to schedule and reschedule their wedding day due to the pandemic.  In the meantime, they welcomed their precious little girl, Lennon, to their family. Lennon served as their flower girl at their wedding, and wait until you see just how cute she looked!

While unseasonably warm for a spring wedding in Vermont (94 degrees!), the heat didn’t weigh down the happy couple or their wedding guests. The day was packed with laughter, dancing, and partying.

Blake and his Best man are co-owners of the distillery Copper Canon in New Hampshire. To incorporate this into the wedding, favors were from Copper Canon, a fun personal touch.

A Quintessential Vermont Wedding at The Grafton Inn

A perfect blend of rustic details and modern-day charm, the Grafton Inn is a quintessential Southern Vermont wedding venue and resort. Nestled between picturesque green mountains and Grafton village, this wedding venue is perfect for couples looking for an enchanting, timeless location.

Your Next Read:

Looking for another Grafton Inn wedding? Check out this Hygge Fall Wedding at the Inn.

Want another real wedding post? Check out any of these.

Elegant Summer Inn at Burklyn Wedding

Hillary and Albert’s elegant Inn at Burklyn wedding can be easily described in one word: breathtaking! After postponements and venue cancellations,  the Burlington-based couple fell in love with The Inn at Burklyn in East Burke, Vermont, and the day could not have been any more perfect. 

Of all the seasons, summer in the Northeast Kingdom is nothing short of magical! Kelsey Regan Photography captured the area’s natural beauty, which was highlighted by the couple’s simple decor, timeless florals, and classic color palette. 

A Special Day with Sweeping Mountain Views

Hillary and Albert first met when Albert was bartending at Hotel Vermont in downtown Burlington. The couple alluded to this detail of their love story throughout the day, including offering a signature cocktail and taking cute couple portraits at the Inn’s bar. 

The Inn at Burklyn is filled with stunning views no matter which way you turn, and we love that the ceremony was kept simple for uninterrupted Northeast Kingdom views. The couple’s reception was held under a beautifully decorated tent for dinner and dancing.

The Inn at Burklyn: An Elegant Vermont Wedding Venue

The Inn at Burklyn is a one-of-a-kind estate-turned wedding venue in East Burke, Vermont. It has spectacular views of the North East Kingdom’s breathtaking mountains and is an excellent backdrop for couples looking for a romantic wedding venue in Vermont.

Your Next Read:

Looking for another elegant estate wedding? Check out this Colorful Summer wedding at The Wilburton Inn.

Want another real wedding post? Check out any of these.

Indoor Engagement Session Ideas

Have you considered an indoor engagement session? These are amazing and often overlooked! As the weather turns colder in Vermont, this is especially a great idea to consider for your winter engagement photos.

Two of the biggest benefits of indoor engagement photos are that they are unique and not weather dependent.

While I love a Vermont scenic engagement shoot, your personality can really shine with your indoor location choice! Plus, an indoor shoot gives you more options for when you schedule your photos because you don’t have to worry about the weather. 

Convinced? Here are some of my favorite indoor engagement ideas from Vermont photographers.

Jess Rene

A Brewery, Wine Shop, Bar, or Coffee Shop

Head to your favorite brewery and cheers to saying “I do” over a brew or two! (Also, holding your mug is a great way to show off that new ring!) Plus, the industrial vibe is a great backdrop for your photos. Beer isn’t your thing? What about a wine bar or coffee shop? 

Think about places that are meaningful to both of you as a couple. Years from now you can look back on these photos and remember all the times you spent there together! 

VT coffee shop engagement photo
Moho Photo
fancy bar indoor engagement session idea
Kelsey Regan Photography
winter brewery engagement session
Kelsey Regan Photography
brewery engagement session ideas in the winter
Kelsey Regan Photography

Greenhouse for an Indoor Engagement Session

This is one of my favorite ideas! If you were dreaming of an outdoor shoot but the it didn’t work out, a greenhouse can give you that feeling without worrying about the weather. As a bonus, I’d pick out a new plant to bring home and grow to remember your shoot!

greenhouse indoor engagement session idea
Isora Lithgow Creations
greenhouse indoor engagement session idea
Isora Lithgow Creations

Indoor Engagement Session at the Arcade

If posed engagement photos aren’t your thing – head to the arcade! You can your partner can play around and just hang out together while getting some awesome photos. This is a great indoor engagement session idea for the any time of year. 

This has been one of our most popular engagement blog posts to date at The Archives Bar.

indoor engagement session ideas
MoHo Photo
Couple playing arcade games during engagement photoshoot in Vermont
Moho Photo

Library or Bookshop

There’s something extra cozy and romantic about this idea! If you are both bookworms this is the perfect way to spend an afternoon while taking some unique photos. Stroll through an adorable downtown and roam in and out of bookshops and libraries. 

library engagement session idea
Kelsey Regan Photography
bookshop engagement session
MoHo Photo
Jess Rene

Record Store for Your Indoor Engagement Session

Love music? Visit a record shop together – maybe you’ll find inspiration for your first dance song! 

record shop engagement session idea
Keith MacDonald

Your Home

I think couples often overlook their own space for their photos! Taking indoor engagement session photos in your own space has a lot of advantages.

First, you’ll be comfortable, and have access to your stuff to do activities you love like play guitar, make food in your kitchen, or mix up a drink. It’s also good way to include your pets (and then have put in another room if needed, without the help of another person).

Also, I think it’s really special to have part of your actual, daily life captured by a professional.

engagement photos taken inside of your home
Kelsey Regan Photography
Jess Rene Photos
Jess Rene
Jess Rene
Jess Rene

A Hotel Lounge or AirBnB

Make your engagement session a weekend away! Hotel lobbies and lounges can be stunning, and make for a great backdrop. You can also book a beautiful Airbnb for the weekend. This will be a fun weekend away and you get to make use of a beautiful interior. 

indoor engagement session at an airbnb
Jenna Brisson
unique engagement photo ideas for Vermont couples
Jenna Brisson

Plan Ahead

If you want to take your pictures at a local business, it’s a good idea to call ahead and ask the manager if it’s okay beforehand. I’d say something like: My partner and I love [business name] so much, we’d love to take our engagement pictures on site! Is that something you allow? When would be a good time for you? 

Going at a slower time will be less stressful for everyone; you can take your time taking photos without worrying about inconveniencing the business or random other patrons jumping into your shot. Depending on the location and their availability, they may even be able to open to you before/after hours so you can have the place to yourself! 

And be sure to leave a tip to show your appreciation!

What do you think? Where would you plan an indoor engagement photo shoot?

Your Next Read:

Looking for more Vermont engagement sessions? Read more here

Venue Spotlight on Wild Sugar Homestead

Do you envision breathtaking mountain views when you think of your wedding day? Have you been looking for a wedding venue that provides a stunning, blank canvas you can use to bring your DIY vision to life? Are you hoping to host close family members and friends on-site for a quintessential Vermont wedding weekend? Wild Sugar Homestead in beautiful Newbury, Vermont checks all of those boxes (and so much more!)

Tucked away in Orange County, the Homestead boasts the most beautiful sweeping views of the White Mountains and historic charm. It’s the perfect for couples looking for a quiet venue in the Vermont countryside with freedom to bring their wildest dreams to life.

Owners Erik and Hallie (who just so happened to get married there themselves this past summer!) sat down with us to share more about their beautiful and one-of-a-kind Vermont property.

A couple getting married in front of mountains at Wild Sugar Homestead in Newbury, Vermont

The space: What’s the vibe?

Wild Sugar Homestead is a bucolic Vermont dreamland!

Wild Sugar Homestead, which includes a large main house, party barn, and a converted milk house, sits on 70 acres of pure Vermont magic. With views of the White Mountains from Washington to Moosilauke, an apple orchard that overlooks the pond, and beautiful scatterings of carefully chosen plants (by nature or us!) all around you, it is hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else while you are at Wild Sugar

The house mirrors the landscape – there’s something to see and nooks to explore everywhere. The first walk-through is like being guided through a maze of Vermont “I Spy” items. 200 year old posts and beams? Check. Hand planed floorboards? Check. Copper tub? Check. Hand-cut nails? Check. Once you’re acquainted with the maze, there is a charming homeyness to the sprawl of the house. If the living room is too noisy (or not noisy enough) you can head to the den and hang out there. If the main kitchen is at capacity, there is another kitchen upstairs waiting for you. Wild Sugar not only has the ability to sleep 16, it has the ability for 16 people to live there for the duration of the wedding weekend without that claustrophobic feeling. 

If you have more than 16 folks that you’d like to be on the property for the weekend, we have you covered. We have an almost unlimited capacity for tent campers in our backfield, just a 1-minute walk from the main house and party barn. 

Additionally, the milk house which is right off of the barn, has been converted into a space to hang out with a small group and have a drink. It can also be used as a bedroom space where your 2 most introverted friends can stay (dibs on the milk house is a real thing).

A smiling wedding party running out of a dairy barn at Wild Sugar Homestead in Newbury, Vermont

The party barn is, as described, a great place to party. It has five “windows” cut into the south and west-facing walls that let in the breeze and some of the most golden mountain light we have ever seen. It can accommodate small dinners (under 90), dancing for up to 200, and it makes a great place to have a ceremony in the event of rain. 

You can have your ceremony anywhere you’d like at Wild Sugar, but we have two main sites that are hard to beat. Site one is the mountain view. The highest point on property is an amazing place to take in the White Mountains. If mountains are your thing, this view will leave your mouth permanently agape. Plus, the walk up the field to the high point is so dreamy! Site two is the pond view. Nestled right in our old variety apple orchard and only a hundred feet from the house, this a great spot for a late summer / early fall wedding. Plus, it allows greater ease of access for folks with mobility issues. 

A smiling couple just married Wild Sugar Homestead in Newbury, Vermont
Bride and groom walking through field during Vermont wedding

The amenities: What’s included?

  • You will have complete access to the entire property and grounds for the duration of your stay. This includes lodging for 16 and unlimited tent camping (perfect for summer weddings!) We also offer flexible reservations; typically Friday through Sunday, but can also accommodate at least Wednesday through Sunday. Wild Sugar Homestead offers a variety of flexible packages to truly make your weekend unique. Think: design help, Sunday brunch, staff for the day of your wedding, a smoker/grill that can feed 200, pick your own flowers- and more!

The area: What is there to do during your stay?

Newbury is an incredible small town with a charming small town vibe to match. You are going to have to drive 30+ minutes for the big breweries and nightlife, but you only have to walk out the door to have access to Tucker Mountain Town Forest and its extensive trail system and 360-degree views of the White’s and Green’s. You only have to drive 8 minutes down the hill to spend some time with our friends at 4 Corners Farm (the best strawberries you have ever had, period.) You only have to drive 5 minutes to take a dip or go for a paddle in Hall’s Lake. And, you only have to drive 10 minutes to be in the charming little downtown of Bradford where you can get a coffee and anything else you need for your weekend. We love the liveliness of towns like Stowe or Burlington, but that’s not us. It’s quiet here, and it’s lovely. 

The history: What’s the property’s story?

Wild Sugar Homestead was re-built in 1971 by Ray Clarke as his family home. Ray went on to have a very successful career renovating homes using reclaimed materials and 100+ year old building practices, which is exactly what he did at Wild Sugar. In fact, he made Better Home and Garden’s list of Top 10 Contractors in the U.S! 

Also, while we (Hallie and Erik) are the owners of Wild Sugar, we were also the very first clients! 

After our wedding, all we can really say is that spending a few days with your favorite people while you all do things in preparation for your wedding is like the greatest gigantic bear hug you could ever receive. It made every detail have purpose and every thought intentional. While it might seem like a lot of work, we would never do it any other way. Thank you to our loved ones for chipping in, it truly was the greatest part of our wedding.

 

Thank you, Hallie and Erik! Learn more about Wild Sugar Homestead in the Vermont Weddings Vendor Guide. 

My 6 Biggest Wedding Regrets (And How to Avoid These Mistakes Yourself)

My husband and I just celebrated our four year wedding anniversary, and we were talking about our favorite parts of our wedding and our wedding regrets – the things we’d do over again if we had a chance. (I didn’t work in the wedding industry at the time, and I have learned so much through this experience!)

I will say that overall we look back on our wedding with really fond memories, and there are lots of  things I’m SO glad we did (you can see that list too). But, hindsight is 20/20 and I wanted to share our biggest wedding regrets to help you avoid these mistakes!

biggest wedding regrets

I Wish We had A Friday Night Wedding

Our wedding week itinerary went something like this: Wednesday night some family arrived in town; Thursday night we had a welcome party at our house for out of town family; Friday we set up our venue and had our rehearsal dinner; Saturday we got married. By the end of Saturday night, I was so tired.

I wish that instead of front-loading the week with activities, we had a Friday night wedding and planned some lowkey activities with guests for the day after.

This would have allowed for more time to hang out with guests. Plus, recounting the wedding festivities the day after would have extended the celebration and helped with the post wedding blues. 

I Regret Not Writing Our Own Wedding Vows

We wrote a lot of our ceremony (picking meaningful readings, for example), but we decided to exchange traditional vows instead of writing our own.

Honestly, I do think it’s special that by reciting traditional vows you’re part of a lineage of other couples who have used those same words.

However, when else are you going to write your own vows?! I wish we had written our own and shared them privately ahead of time during our first look. I think this would have been super meaningful! 

wedding regrets from a former bride

One of Our Biggest Financial Wedding Regrets: Our Custom Cocktail

Like many couples, we wanted a tasty signature cocktail. The good news is that the drink was really popular with our guests (we went with a maple bourbon lemonade cocktail).

The bad news is that we didn’t realize that there were some premium ingredients, which drove our bar bill up by about $1,000. Oops!

Lesson learned: if you’re offering a custom cocktail anticipate that they will be the most popular option of the night, and plan your choice or budget accordingly. 

I Wish We Had Fireworks

At the time, I just couldn’t make one more decision, but looking back I wish we had prioritized this! I love fireworks, and it would have been such a fun way to celebrate our summer wedding. (Thinking about fireworks for your wedding? Here is everything you need to know.) 

Maybe fireworks aren’t your thing, but if there’s some kind of special activity, design choice, etc. make it a priority! 

bride and groom wedding regrets

Big Wedding Regrets: Not Hiring a Day Of Coordinator

I’m a planner at heart (and a former professional event planner) so I didn’t really think I needed help. And, for the most part, I was able to stay in “bride mode” on my wedding day. However, there were a few times I slipped into planner mode because I hadn’t passed certain tasks off to anyone else.

The most cringe-worthy example? I wrote a check to one of our vendors at our reception. I wish I handed off every single “administrative” task to a trusted professional and partied a little harder. 

If  a day of coordinator truly isn’t in your budget, I recommend asking a trusted friend or family member to handle anything that comes up on the wedding day. 

One of My Biggest Wedding Regrets: Too Much Stress 

It’s cliché for a reason. I wish I stressed less throughout the process. I think there’s so much pressure for your wedding to be the most amazing five hours of your life… and that kind of pressure can make the entire process less fun. If you can reframe and think about your wedding more as the whole season – the engagement, the dreaming/planning, the shower, etc. – it takes a bit of the pressure off the main event and allows you to enjoy the entire season more!

Learn From My Mistakes

I share our biggest wedding planning regrets because I hope that they inspire you to have thoughtful conversation with your partner about what you want your wedding to feel like. I’m cheering you on! 

VENDORS

Photographer: Danielle Allendorf Photography | Venue: The Mansfield Barn

Want More Wedding Planning Support?

I created the Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide based on the spreadsheets I created to plan my wedding, the lessons I learned, and TONS of invaluable advice from our community. It’s the guide I wish I had when I was planning my wedding!

Elegant Summer Wedding at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel

Childhood sweethearts, Becky and John, finally had their big day at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel in Manchester, VT. The photographer, Idena Beach, shared that she absolutely adored capturing this couple. This wedding can only be described as pure bliss and big smiles. 

bride and groom under the lights at the Taconic Hotel in Manchester, VT
Idena Beach Photography

An Emotional Day

Becky and John had been dating since middle school, so to say that they know each other well is an understatement! Case in point? Their pre-ceremony gift exchange. Becky bought a particular perfume that  John likes so she could surprise him by wearing that scent…and John ended up buying her the same perfume as a gift! It was a fun little moment where everyone was laughing at how well they know each other.

John also included an old sports t shirt of his for her to sleep in. Becky is a huge PJ lover! When asked what her best guess is when it comes to his gift to her she said, “Pajamas. I love Pajamas!” There was a note taped to it as well. It was a small, funny little moment, but there was not a dry eye in the room because the couple’s love was so apparent.

Before putting on her dress, Becky saw John and his groomsmen outside taking photos on the street in front of the hotel. Idena remembered how she captured Becky’s happy tears and excitement over the nearness of their ceremony!

A Kimpton Taconic Hotel Wedding

The Kimpton Taconic Hotel is the perfect place for an elegant wedding. Becky and John’s wedding party got ready at the hotel and took pictures around the property before preparing for the ceremony. The beautiful garden was an elegant setting for their outdoor ceremony. (John’s face says it all as Becky walked down the aisle with her dad. The ceremony was beautiful, memorable, and full of laughter.)

Everyone enjoyed cocktail hour out on the terrace before heading into the ballroom for the reception. Becky and John’s family and friends enjoyed speeches, dinner, and dancing the night away together. 

This was a special day full of wonderful memories for everyone involved!

Your Next Read:

Looking more Manchester, VT summer weddings? Check out this Colorful Summer Wedding at the Wilburton Inn

Want another real wedding post? Check out any of these

This Vermont Carnival Engagement Shoot Is Sure to Make You Smile

When Moho Photos sent us this carnival engagement shoot, we broke out into huge smiles and knew we had to share it. If you’re looking to do something fun and unique for your engagement photos, a carnival (or amusement park or state fair) is an excellent photoshoot idea! 

Champlain Valley Fair Engagement Session

These photos were taken at the iconic Champlain Valley Fair in Essex, Vermont. Dubbed “the ten best days of summer” this fair happens every year in late August to early September. (Check out this list of fairs and festivals in Vermont for other possible venues.) 

If you’re hoping to book an engagement session at the Fair (or another carnival) we recommend trying to go on a weekday versus a weekend because it will be less crowded and you’ll have more time to linger and get your shot. 

Ideas for Carnival Engagement Photos

Channel your inner child and have FUN! Go on timeless rides like the carousel or ferris wheel; binge your favorite carnival snacks like cotton candy, funnel cakes, or popcorn; get competitive over some games… the fun photo opportunities are endless!

Another benefit of this location is that carnivals provide a variety of colorful backdrops for photos during the day or nighttime, which gives you lots of options. 

Scroll through the gallery below for more inspiration. 

Ready For Your Own Engagement Session?

We hope this carnival engagement shoot gallery inspires you to have fun with your engagement session, wherever it is! 

Feature Credits:

Photographer: Moho Photos

Your Next Read:

Read about this fun arcade engagement shoot

Want another real engagement post? Check out any of these.

A Laid-Back Vermont Fall Engagement Session

Katie and Alden are college-sweethearts that quickly fell in love through their shared love of the outdoors, including skiing, hiking, and camping!

Outdoorsy East Montpelier, VT Fall Engagement Session

Since Katie and Alden both love the outdoors, a location with woods, waterfalls, and farm land was perfect for their fall session with their beloved dog, Bridger. This gorgeous location has views of Montpelier off in the distance. They spent their session exploring the property, enjoying each other’s company, and smiling ear to ear. The changing leaves in the background looked like it was straight out of a movie! 

A highlight of the session was when Katie and Alden popped a bottle of champagne! The smiles on their faces as it sprays everywhere says it all! Kris of K.Lenox Photography captured every magical moment.

Fall-Loving Couple

Vermont is such a beautiful place in the fall, and a destination for many to do some leaf peeping. Since Katie and Alden both love the fall it just made sense to capture their photos then, as well as plan a fall wedding at the Sterling Ridge Resort.

I love that this couple chose have a laid-back, outdoor session. You can tell they both felt comfortable in front of the camera because they were just being themselves. Their personalities and love for each other really come through in the photos because they chose to highlight what they already love to do! 

Photography by K. Lenox Photography

Your Next Read:

Looking for more Vermont engagement sessions? Read A Mountain Top Golden Hour Engagement Shoot

Want another engagement post? Check out any of these.

Wedding Planning Advice from an Expert

My husband and I just celebrated our four year wedding anniversary in August. While driving to Québec City for our anniversary getaway (itinerary coming soon!) we were discussing some of best decisions we made for our wedding. Here is some of my best wedding planning advice, inspired by our experience and expert advice I’ve learned since running Vermont Weddings (which I wasn’t when I got married). 

bride and groom vermont wedding portrait wedding planning
Vermont wedding planning advice

Wedding Advice I’m Glad We Took: Do A First Look

I’m so glad we did a first look! For starters, seeing each other in a private moment was so calming and special. Also, doing a first look and portraits before the wedding allowed us to spend more time at cocktail hour with our guests! 

Plus…it rained right before we got married, which pushed our ceremony inside. While the sun came back out after, and we still got out later for pictures, I’m glad we got our main portraits done ahead of time!

Wedding Planning Tip: Get Ready at Your House (Or Make Where You Are Homey)

I loved my wedding morning so much, I wrote a whole blog post on how to have the best wedding morning! While I know it’s not possible for everyone to be in the comfort of their home (I see you, destination couples!) you can try to make wherever you’re getting ready feel comfortable. 

Food, music, and a strong timeline are a few great keys to start. 

DIYing Your Wedding Can Be Fun

Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone, but because I genuinely like to do crafts and design work, this was so fun for me! I DIY’ed pretty much everything from the signs to the bouquets. 

If you decide to go this route, I highly recommend giving yourself plenty of time to complete your crafts. Also, just because you’re doing it yourself doesn’t mean it will be cheap; keep track of your receipts so you can stay on budget. 

big group photo wedding planning advice

My Favorite Wedding Photo: Get A Full Group Photo of Everyone at Your Wedding

We asked our photographer to take a photo of our whole wedding and it’s one of my favorite photos from the day. We printed it poster-size and framed it over our living room sofa, and every time we have friends visit they love to look and find themselves in it! It truly makes me smile every time I look at it. 

If you want to pull this off for your wedding, it takes a bit of planning. First, definitely let your photographer know this is important to you. Try to scout a location for the photo ahead of time (ex. a large area for guests to stand and/or a high point for your photographer to stand to get the shot). Secondly, know it’s not going to be perfect. It’s likely that someone will have their eyes closed or will be looking off to the side, or cut off on the edge. You’ll still get the essence of the day! 

We scheduled this photo at the very end of our cocktail hour and used it as a way to round everyone up and move in for dinner. 

Wedding Budget Advice: Budget for a Videographer

I am so glad we have both pictures and a video to look back on and remember our day! While I felt very present during our ceremony, memories do fade over time, and it’s nice to be able to rewatch it together. 

I’m really glad we budgeted for a videographer in addition to a photographer for those memories. 

If your budget truly doesn’t allow for a wedding videographer, I would recommend asking a trusted friend to at least capture your ceremony for you. You could have them sit in the front row with a tripod and ipad/iphone. It won’t be the same quality as a professional wedding film, but at least you’ll have your vows on video. 

bride and groom wedding ice cream truck

Hire a Creeme Truck for Dessert

We got married in August, and it was HOT on our wedding night. We hired a local creeme truck to serve up maple creemes and it was a huge hit, especially with our out of state guests. Four years later, guests still talk about the creeme truck!

Wedding Planning Advice I Give All Couples: Give a Toast

I rarely make universal suggestions but here’s one: get up and thank everyone at your wedding. Your guests are there for you, and a public thank you goes a long way to showing your appreciation! (This also takes the pressure off if you miss thanking someone during the evening.) 

This took all of two minutes, and we slotted it right after our first dance and before the dance with our parents. 

I really think this makes an impact on your guests, and I wish every couple would do this!

Choose Your Last Dance Song Intentionally

A friend suggested this to me during my wedding planning, and I am so grateful! Thinking about how I wanted our reception to end, rather than trusting our DJ to instinctively guess, was so smart. (What if they close it out with a song that you secretly hate?) 

Our pick was “Dancing in the Moonlight” and I still think it’s a great choice!

Delay Your Honeymoon by a Month

After months of intensive planning and looking forward to our wedding… I had the post wedding blues really badly. Having our honeymoon to look forward to was so helpful to get past that.

Plus, it was good to a few weeks to recover from the wedding and finalize our honeymoon plans. I think a month was the perfect amount of time; we had enough time to recover, but we were still feeling that newlywed energy.

(We went to Portugal for our honeymoon and I’m obsessed. If you’re considering it, please DM me and I’ll send you our itinerary!

Do we have any wedding regrets? 

You bet! Stay tuned for what we’d do differently! 

Overall, we’re really happy with how our wedding turned out and think these are the best decisions we made that may help you while planning your own wedding! 

 

Photographer: Danielle Allendorf Photography | Venue: The Mansfield Barn

Want More Wedding Planning Support?

I created the Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide based on the spreadsheets I created to plan my wedding, the lessons I learned, and TONS of invaluable advice from our community. It’s the guide I wish I had when I was planning my wedding!

Vermont Wedding Favors Guests Will Love to Receive

If you’re looking to show your guests appreciation and add another personal element to your day, Vermont wedding favors are the perfect touch. Keep in mind, you don’t need to give your guests favors. But, if you do want to offer a small gesture, we love the idea of choosing something that will remind guests of their time in Vermont. 

We’ve curated a few of our favorite Vermont wedding favor ideas that showcase the talent and flavors of the Green Mountain State, and will be pretty universally appealing for guests! Plus, by shopping from any of these makers, you’re supporting local businesses. 

local Vermont maple syrup wedding favors
Juniper Studios

Runamok Maple Syrup – A Classic Vermont Wedding Favor

There’s a reason maple syrup is a popular, timeless wedding favor in Vermont: it’s delicious! Runamok Maple has amazing options from their barrel aged maple syrup, to their infused flavors. This is a true taste of Vermont for your guests to enjoy back home.

Soy Candle Favors

Is there anything better than a new candle? These soy candles from Belle Savon Vermont are sure to be a hit with guests. We love that they’re handmade out of  natural soy wax. You can choose your scent and design a personalized label for the lid of each one!

Personalized Jam Wedding Favors

Blake Hill Preserves offers mini mini preserves in a wide variety of flavors. Choose from one of their best-selling sweet, savory, or spicy preserves and marmalades and create your custom label to create a beautiful, delicious bespoke favor.

Gourmet Cotton Candy Favors

This one is pure fun! Crazy Cotton Candy Lady offers gourmet cotton candy, with over 70 flavors to choose from. Your guests will be delighted by this unexpected, nostalgic treat and amazed by the grown-up flavors!

Vermont wedding favors
Vermont wedding favors
Orchard Cove Photography

Fire Starter & S’mores Kit

Let your love burn bright! Fire Fire sells individual firestarters made from hand-blended, all-natural wood chips and paraffin wax. This would be a particularly great favor for a camp wedding! It’s a super practical gift your guests will appreciate!

Want to take this up a notch? Include a gourmet s’mores kit from Nomadic Kitchen with your fire starter! (Pro tip: order extras, you and your guests are going to want some more!) 

Gourmet Chocolate Vermont Wedding Favors

I don’t think there’s anyone who would turn down chocolate! Lake Champlain Chocolates offers several options for giftables, including heart-shaped chocolates, bars and coins. Daily Chocolate offers a variety of chocolate bars and pops – including ones shaped like Vermont dairy cows!

Reusable Wooden Bag Clip

If you’re looking for a unique wedding favor that can be both meaningful and environmentally friendly, the Bubbe clip from Vermont’s Own Gift Shop is perfect for you. It’s an all natural, wooden clip perfect for reclosing your paper, foil, and plastic bags. We recommend clipping them to an individual bag of chips, and including a note that says something cheeky like: “Thanks for helping us keep it together!” 

Finding Your Perfect Vermont Wedding Favor

We hope these ideas inspire your own perfect Vermont wedding favor selection. No matter what you choose, wedding favors are an opportunity to thank you community and give them a keepsake from their time in Vermont!

Your Next Read:

Looking for more made-in-Vermont wedding favor and gift ideas? Check out the 2022 Vermont Weddings Gift Guide. We’ve curated over 100 gift ideas for everyone on your list, all made by Vermont artisans. 

Modern Wedding Ceremony Readings

Choosing your own modern wedding ceremony readings is a great way to personalize your ceremony with your beliefs, values and interests. Your readings help to set the tone for your ceremony and provide your guests with glimpses into your life. 

After talking over ideas with your partner, discuss your ideas with your officiant (who will likely have suggestions as well!) to select the perfect readings for your wedding ceremony.

winter elopement in stowe VT
Madison Anne Studio

How many readings should you have in a wedding ceremony?

There’s no hard and fast rule with the number of readings required (you could skip them entirely if you want!) but generally speaking, two readings is a good number. 

Where do readings go in the ceremony?

Often the readings are done after the opening remarks and before the vows. You may also choose to close your ceremony with a reading (such as the Traditional Hand Blessing below) as a closing prayer or blessing.  

Who do you ask to do the ceremony readings? 

Anyone you want! Your officiant could read them, or you could ask someone from your wedding party (who doesn’t mind public speaking). Ceremony readings are also a great way to include loved ones who are not part of your formal wedding party, such as a younger sibling or an aunt/uncle. 

Can I modify a ceremony reading? 

Of course! This is your wedding, so use these readings as guides – not as final. You can shorten a reading or modify it to match the tone, your beliefs, or your ceremony length. 

Do I need to explain why I chose my readings?

You don’t, but if there is a special meaning, it can be a nice touch. For example, at my wedding my sister in law read a (modified) version of a lovely book called Love Is by Martha Everds. She shared, “This reading is from a book that Tricia’s grandma, who can’t join us in person today, used to read to her” before starting the reading.

You could also put a note in your programs (if you’re doing them) to explain the meaning behind your choices as well. Or… don’t! You don’t owe anyone an explanation! 

Kelsey Regan Photography

Traditional and Religious Readings

 

Traditional Celtic Blessing

“May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow

May the soft winds freshen your spirit

May the sunshine brighten your heart

May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you

And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.

May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

and the rain fall soft upon your fields

And until we meet again my friend(s)

May God hold you in the hollow (palm) of his hand.”

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him–a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 

Colossians 3:12-14

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 

 

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

 

Blessing of the Hands – Rev. Daniel L. Harris

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Michael Tallman Photography

Ceremony Readings from Children’s Books

 

Your Personal Penguin – Sandra Boynton

I like you a lot

You’re funny and kind

So let me explain

What I have in mind

I want to be Your Personal Penguin

I want to walk right by your side

I want to be Your Personal Penguin

I want to travel with you far and wide

Wherever you go, I’ll go there too

Here and there and everywhere

And always with you

I want to be Your Personal Penguin

From now on

 

A quote from Dr Seuss

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

 

Using Song Lyrics as Wedding Ceremony Readings

 

“If I Should Fall Behind” – Bruce Springsteen

“We said we’d walk together baby come what may

That come the twilight should we lose our way

If as we’re walking a hand should slip free

I’ll wait for you

And should I fall behind

Wait for me.

We swore we’d travel darlin’ side by side

We’d help each other stay in stride

But each lover’s steps fall so differently

But I’ll wait for you

And if I should fall behind

Wait for me.

Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true

But you and I know what this world can do

So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see

And I’ll wait for you

If I should fall behind

Wait for me.”

 

“Forever Young” – Bob Dylan

May your hands always be busy

May your feet always be swift

May you have a strong foundation

When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful

And may your song always be sung

May you stay forever young

A woman getting married
Juniper Studios
Idena Beach Photography

Poems for Wedding Ceremonies 

 

“Our Souls Are Mirrors” – By Rupi Kaur

god must have kneaded you and i

from the same dough

rolled us out as one on the baking sheet

must have suddenly realized

how unfair it was

to put that much magic in one person

and sadly split that dough in two

how else is it that when i look in the mirror

i am looking at you

when you breathe

my own lungs fill with air

that we just met but we

have known each other our whole lives

if we were not made as one to begin with  

 

“Touched By An Angel” – Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage

exiles from delight

live coiled in shells of loneliness

until love leaves its high holy temple

and comes into our sight

to liberate us into life.

Love arrives

and in its train come ecstasies

old memories of pleasure

ancient histories of pain.

Yet if we are bold,

love strikes away the chains of fear

from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity

In the flush of love’s light

we dare be brave

And suddenly we see

that love costs all we are

and will ever be.

Yet it is only love

which sets us free.  

 

“One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII” – PABLO NERUDA

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,   

or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:   

I love you as one loves certain obscure things,   

secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries   

the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,   

and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose   

from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,   

I love you directly without problems or pride:

I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,

except in this form in which I am not nor are you,   

so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,   

so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

Colette Kulig Photography

Lighthearted Wedding Ceremony Readings

 

“Growing Old With You” – Adam Sandler, from The Wedding Singer (Bonus points if you can sing it!)

I want to make you smile whenever you’re sad. Carry you around when your arthritis is bad.

All I want to do is grow old with you.

I’ll get your medicine when your tummy aches. Build you a fire if the furnace breaks.

Oh it could be so nice, growing old with you.

I’ll miss you, Kiss you, Give you my coat when you are cold. Need you, Feed you, Even let you hold the remote control.

So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink. Put you to bed if you’ve had too much to drink.

I could be the man who grows old with you.

I want to grow old with you.

 

“A Word to Husbands” – Ogden Nash (While this title is gendered, the sentiment and advice couple be applicable to any couple)

To keep your marriage brimming

With love in the loving cup

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;

Whenever you’re right, shut up.  

 

“I’ll Be There For You” – Louise Cuddon 

I’ll be there my darling, through thick and through thin

When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin

When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train.

When life is just threatening to drive you insane

When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page

When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age

When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm

When the forecast said “Fine”, but you’re out in a storm

When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum

And your holiday photos show only your thumb

When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay

And return to discover you’ve been towed away

When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste

Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist

When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes

When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes

So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…

When you break a rule, when you act the fool

When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew

When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue ’cause

I’m telling you, I’ll be there.

A man reads his wedding vows during his winter elopement in Vermont surrounded by a winter landscape. 
Hallie Jade Pictures

Ceremony Reading for the Nature & Dog Lovers 

 

“Untitled” – R.M. Drake 

You will be the clouds

and I will be the sky.

you will be the ocean

and I will be the shore.

you will be the trees

and I will be the wind.

whatever we are, you and I

will always collide.

“Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog” – Taylor Mali

A fantastic and highly relatable funny wedding reading for all the dog loving couples out there.

Falling in love is like owning a dog

First of all, it’s a big responsibility, especially in a city like [insert city].

So think long and hard before deciding on love.  

On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security: when you’re walking down the street late at night and you have a leash on love ‘ain’t no one going to mess with you.  

Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable. Who knows what love could do in its own defense?  

On cold winter nights, love is warm. It lies between you and lives and breathes and makes funny noises.

Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs. It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.  

Love doesn’t like being left alone for long. But come home and love is always happy to see you.

It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life, but you can never be mad at love for long.  

Is love good all the time? No! No!

Love can be bad.

Bad, love, bad!

Very bad love.  

Love makes messes. Love leaves you little surprises here and there.

Love needs lots of cleaning up after. Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.

Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper and swat love on the nose, not so much to cause pain, just to let love know don’t you ever do that again!  

Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk. Because love loves exercise.

It runs you around the block and leaves you panting. It pulls you in several different directions at once, or winds around and around you until you’re all wound up and can’t move.  

But love makes you meet people wherever you go. People who have nothing in common but love stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back, again, and again, and again.  

But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.

And in return, love loves you and never stops  

Hopefully these ideas inspire your own selection! 

A couple exchanges vows during their elopement on top of Mount Mansfield in Vermont
Jenna Brisson Photography
Couple posing with their dog during elopement ceremony in VT
Kate Seymour Photography

Choosing Your Own Wedding Ceremony Readings with Care

Hopefully you’ve found an idea or two for your own modern wedding ceremony readings. When choosing your readings, remember to consider your values and personalities as a couple – your readings should reflect that! Choosing your readings is a big step, and we celebrate your progress! 

Your Next Read:

Find ways to honor your loved ones during your wedding ceremony or include your dog in your wedding ceremony! 

Epic Winter Car Camping Elopement

Hannah and Tom planned an incredible car camping elopement wedding in Stowe, VT. Vermont wedding photographer Madison Anne Studio was thrilled when these two asked her to capture their big day. The couple noted that they had three must haves on their list: their dog, camping, and skiing.

Stowe, Vermont Winter Elopement 

This elopement was all planned within about a month. Hannah and Tom wanted to elope with just a few friends and family, so they planned an elopement getaway to the Trapp Family Lodge. This beautiful Austrian-Inspired lodging was the perfect place for a small outdoor ceremony. With the sun shining, mountain views and their dog by their side, it was absolutely beautiful and heartwarming, even despite the chilly temperatures! 

The couple spent some time celebrating with their family and friends taking portraits and enjoying some wedding cake before heading out to car camp. 

Chilly Car Camping Elopement

Hannah and Tom wanted to take full advantage of the mountains, so they drove up to Spruce Peak. It just happened to be the coldest day at —14° on the mountain, but these two adventurers didn’t care a bit!

They took some incredible car camping elopement photos complete with a gorgeous sunset and fire. Hannah wanted a sweeping veil shot, and Madison not only nailed the shot, but lent Hannah her own veil to use for it!

vermont car camping elopement wedding
More Real Vermont Wedding Inspiration

Be sure to check out more posts of our real Vermont wedding posts here.

Photographer: Madison Anne Studios | Venue: Trapp Family Lodge and Spruce Peak

Guide to an Alternative Wedding Registry

Ah, the wedding registry. One of the parts of wedding planning that sounds so good in theory, and actually feels pretty challenging in practice. 

A traditional registry can be a great option for many couples, but for many others, it’s not. Maybe you’ve lived together for a while and have all the big stuff covered, or maybe you’re planning to move in the near future and don’t want extra possessions. Whatever your reasons, it’s totally possible to build an alternative wedding registry that still allows your community to shower you with gifts (they want to!) without more physical stuff. We’ll show you how.

How to Ask for No Gifts 

First, you need to explicitly say no physical gifts (sometimes referred to as “boxed gifts”) and explain why. For example, “Tricia and Brian are getting ready to move to a new city! As such, they kindly request no gifts they’ll need to pack up.” This information should be on your wedding website and provided to anyone who is hosting a bridal shower, engagement party, etc.

Why Register for Services & Other Non-Boxed Gifts 

The thing is, people still want to get you something. So, it’s helpful to have a plan for what you want people to get you in lieu of boxed gifts. These options give the gift giver an opportunity to feel like they’re getting you something tangible, and will benefit you and your partner!

bride opening gift on wedding morning
Kelsey Regan Photography

Alternative Wedding Registry Ideas

Register for a honeymoon fund 

This is common these days; many couples even include it as a line item on a traditional registry! 

Here’s how to tactfully ask for money toward your honeymoon: “Your presence is the best gift of all – we can’t wait to celebrate with you! We truly have everything we need at the moment for our home, and kindly request no boxed gifts. However, for friends & family who have inquired, we have set up a fund to help us make the most of our honeymoon to [destination] together!”

You could do this as a cash fund (many sites like Zola make this really easy) or register for experiences via a site like Airbnb

Subscriptions to Add to Your Alternative Wedding Registry

What do you and your partner love to do together? Register for more of that! Or, think about what would make your lives easier and add that to your list. Some ideas include…

  1. Wine or beer of the month club (local friends: Salt & Bubbles Coup Club is great!)
  2. Floral bouquet subscription (Farmhouse Flowers and A Clover and One Bee both provide this for Vermonters!)
  3. Meal kits or food subscriptions like Blue Apron or Butcher Box 
  4. A CSA membership to a local farm would be a great gift
  5. You can also register for subscriptions that make your life easier like a year of Amazon Prime or Instacart

Date Night Registry Essentials

This could be such a fun option and provide you with a year – or more – of fun date night ideas! For example:

  1. Movie tickets to the local theater 
  2. Passes to a local museum or attraction
  3. Gift cards to local restaurants (provide examples)
  4. A gift card to a local spa 
  5. Entertainment subscriptions like Spotify, Netflix, Disney+ etc. 

Couple kissing at bottom of ski slope after their Vermont winter elopement
Juniper Studios
A white couple pops champagne after getting married at Sterling Ridge Resort, VT
Jenna Brisson

An Adventure Lovers Alternative Wedding Registry

If you and your partner are adventurous, fuel your passion for the outdoors with a registry that helps you to get out and explore more. Consider:

  1. Passes to your local state park (or a National Parks Pass)
  2. Ski passes 
  3. Mountain bike passes 
  4. Gift cards to a gear shop you love so you can pick out something together

Register to Preserve Your Wedding Memories

Savor the feeling from your wedding for years to come with a thoughtful gift! 

  1. Floral Preservation – preserve your wedding bouquet in a one-of-a-kind piece of art with Tanglewood Floral Preservation. We love that this idea is sentimental, functional, and gorgeous! You can register for a gift card and work with their team to create a item that you’ll treasure for years.
  2. Wedding album –  a heirloom album can add up, so consider registering for a gift card (or fund) to create yours!
  3. Picture frames to create a gallery wall (affiliate link)

Register for Charitable Donations

In lieu of a registry, you could ask for donations to a charitable organization that holds a close meaning to you both. (This is also an excellent option in lieu of favors!)

Final thoughts on the Alternative Wedding Registry

I can pretty much guarantee that no matter how many times you say no gifts, someone is going to hand you a big white bag with a bow on top and a gift inside at some point. When that happens, be gracious. Say thank you (here’s a guide to writing the best thank you notes) and know that person is just trying to honor your marriage the way they know best!

Have You Seen the Vermont Weddings Gift Guide?

Even if you’re skipping a traditional registry, we highly suggest browsing our Gift Guide – it’s unlike any other! We’re confident you’ll find something to give your partner, anyone who helped celebrate your wedding in a meaningful way…and lots of other ideas!

Your Next Read:

Looking for more wedding advice? Check out our post on how to have the best wedding morning

Want more relatable advice? Check out any of these.

Three Rehearsal Dinner Themes (And Coordinating Invitation Templates)

While rehearsal dinner themes aren’t necessary, they can be helpful to guide your planning by focussing your choices on a particular color palette or style. It may be related to your wedding theme, but it doesn’t have to be. If you had your heart set on a theme that didn’t quite make the cut for your wedding – this is the opportunity to do it. 

Your rehearsal dinner is the pre-party of your wedding weekend. It’s a chance to celebrate with your closest family and friends in an intimate setting and get excited for what’s ahead.  

Kaylen, the incredible wedding planner behind Sarah Judith Events, shares three rehearsal dinner themes that could work at a variety of venues.  

Bonus: We created three templates you can customize for invitations to your rehearsal dinner for each of these themes! Scroll to the bottom of the article to get yours.

Something Blue

Blue is the color of love, purity, faithfulness, and modesty. Tradition says “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” will bring luck on your wedding day…why not make your something blue your rehearsal dinner?

Check out the ways Kaylen incorporates shades of pastel blues and in a watercolor-like palette that’s sweet, romantic and fresh. This theme could play equally well at a lakeside setting (and lean more nautical) or a mountain affair (and lean more garden party). 

Blue hydrangeas are in season in Vermont in the summer, which is an excellent floral choice.  Ask you florist for more recommendations on bringing the blues to your floral arrangements.

Black & Gold Rehearsal

Looking for a classy and elegant rehearsal dinner theme? You can’t go wrong with black and gold! 

Surprise and treat your guests with special details, like a champagne wall, balloon arch, gold silverware, and hand lettered gold place cards.

With fewer people attending your rehearsal dinner than your wedding it can be an opportunity to go a little “all-out!” Don’t forget about the themed gold rimmed cake as well! (These bakers are sure to create a stunning, glittering creation.)

Positano Vibes

If you have been lucky enough to visit Positano, a village in Italy off the Amalfi coast, you know how gorgeous it is! Even if you haven’t been (or are planning to go for your honeymoon), you can bring a little bit of  this cliffside village to Vermont as your rehearsal dinner theme. 

This colorful theme is whimsical, fun and joyful. Blue and white plates pop against yellow details – including an adorable lemon place card! 

A seating chart written on old wine jugs and a serve yourself sangria bar are excellent choices to bring this vibe to life. Check out Salt and Bubbles Wine Bar & Market for some wine suggestions (they also offer mobile bar catering) to bring a true taste of the region to your party. Your guests will enjoy feeling transported to a different country with a delicious italian dinner and wine. Salute! 

Rehearsal Dinner Invitation Templates

Like one of the themes above? You’re luck because we have three invitation templates per theme you can customize for free for your rehearsal dinner using Canva (you can use the free version).

You can print these and mail them to your wedding party and close friends/family, or you could email them the invitation (that’s what I’d do). It’s an extra little touch to make those who are closest to you feel special! 

Check out the designs below and get your templates to customize your favorite

Wedding Planner: Sarah Judith Events

Your Next Read:

Looking for more amazing wedding design? Check out the Best of 2021 Wedding Details & Design.

Want to binge read some inspiration posts? Check out any of these.

7 Productivity Hacks I use Daily as a Mompreneaur

As a busy solo entrepreneur and mom, I wear a lot of hats on any given day. Just as I’m writing this, my inbox is full, I just started another load of laundry, and I’m half-heartedly thinking about what we’ll have for dinner. (To be clear, I don’t say any of this to complain – it’s a gift to have a full life!)

Personally, I was attracted to entrepreneurship for the ability to have a more integrated work/life approach and I know many of my colleagues and clients are too! 

That said, in order to take advantage of the benefits of entrepreneurship, I’ve had to learn some productivity hacks along the way. Here are some of my best habits that may help you too.

#1: Don’t Put Off Tasks That Take Less Than 2 minutes.

Ignored, small tasks can pile up quickly. It’s easy to procrastinate responding to an email, scanning a document, or filing something away, but I always feel worse when I do. Putting off the task ultimately adds redundant work to my plate (ever re-read the same email 3 times before responding? Yeah, me too.) and adds to my mental clutter. 

My rule is, that if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, just get it done right then and there. If I’m having a particularly busy week, I set aside 10 minutes a day to clear my to-do list of these small items. 

#2: Experiment with Time Blocking as a Productivity Hack

If there’s a major project I need to tackle (like writing this blog post) I’ll block out time on my calendar like I would for a client meeting. I usually choose a time block between 30 – 90 minutes. During that time I try to remove as many distractions as possible: email away, phone down (and turned over and/or silenced). 

When I worked in an office, I’d set my status as “busy” on Slack. Research shows focusing on one thing at a time will help you get it done better and efficiently. 

As a fun bonus, I also LOVE to use my productivity playlist for this time to hack my brain into focus mode! 

#3: Regularly Invest in Education 

Here’s the thing: I can either spend time (sometimes lots of it) learning how to do something myself – or I can shortcut that and learn from someone who’s already mastered it. Investing in coaches and personal development has been one of the BEST commitments I’ve made in the business. It has been scary to make some of those investments when the upfront costs are high, but it’s always paid off. Ultimately, paying for education tells my brain “this is important!” and helps me stay committed to taking action on my goals.

Self-development isn’t usually thought of as a productivity hack, but I really believe these investments have helped me hone in on what’s most important, learn some key skills from experts, and commit to an action – ultimately getting where I want to go quicker! 

Looking for help? I offer a select number of 1-on-1 coaching spots each season to help entrepreneurs with their business goals! Content development, website copy, social media planning, and setting up systems are all things I’ve helped clients with in the past. Please DM me if you’re curious to learn more about current openings.) 

#4: Clean Up Digital Spaces Monthly 

I realized pretty quickly that wasting time searching for “that photo of a cute dog with a floral collar that looks springy” amongst dozens of unorganized folders on my desktop wasn’t the best use of my time. (That dog photo is here by the way.) Having a well-organized digital space (desktop, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) is hugely helpful to my productivity. I’m still refining my systems, but here are a few tips I’ve implemented that have helped so far: 

1. Creating a Dropbox folder specifically for images I may want to use again on my website or in blog posts and including notes about who the photographer is and if I had a specific plan for the image (ex. a picture of a bride in tights for a story on winter wedding inspiration).

2. Using the “save” feature on Instagram to file posts I may want to reshare or draw inspiration from. I create separate folders for topics like audio, reel ideas, and photos to repost. 

3. Planning time each month to clean up my desktop, downloads folder (it can be a hot mess), and inbox. 

#5: Set Time Limits on Social Media

It may sound odd coming from someone whose job is largely built on Instagram, but I really value taking time away from my phone to recharge and ensure I’m focusing on other to-do’s. I set a daily limit on my phone (under Settings) to limit my daily time on Instagram, and really try my hardest to not “ignore the time limit” and stick to it.

I’ve only been doing this for a couple of months, but I already see the difference in how I interact with the app professionally and personally! For work, it’s forced me to give up some perfectionistic tendencies and just hit “post”. That means I’m actually able to create more content than I would have if I agonized over the same 20-second reel over and over and over. Personally, it’s been enlightening to see which accounts I value the most in this season, and it’s becoming easier to stop the mindless scrolling when I know the timer will run out! (And go do something else that’s ultimately more important.)

#6: Invest in Tools & Services

One of the life lessons I keep learning time and time again is that while I may be able to do anything (ex. write blog posts, handle client inquiries, clean my house, raise a child, etc.) it doesn’t mean I have to – or can – do everything at once. While I have invested in some virtual assistant support in my business, I’m primarily still a solopreneur. That means I touch pretty much everything in the business at one point or another. To ease this load a bit, I’ve invested in a few key tools:

  1. Honeybook: I use Honeybook daily to keep my business running smoothly. From handling inquiries to sending contacts and managing payments, this system is at the core of my client-facing business operations. It’s almost like an assistant, and I don’t know what I’d do without it! (You can save 50% off your first year with my link – Visit Site)
  2. Asana: I use the free version of this online project management tool and have for years! It’s primarily my to-do list and my editorial calendar, although I also use it for projects as well.
  3. Instacart: Ok, this isn’t specifically a business tool, but hear me out! When life gets really busy (hello, wedding planning/working wedding season/early parenthood/etc.) normal weekly routines can feel overwhelming. Those weeks, having groceries delivered straight to my door is praise-hands-emoji-level bliss and frees up mental space for other priorities at hand. (Get $10 off your first order – Visit Site)

#7: Celebrate Your Accomplishments Often

I always think I’ll remember all the projects I’ve worked on, but I don’t. When I worked for someone else, taking a few minutes each month to write down that month’s wins made my annual reviews so much easier. Now that I work for myself, this practice gives me a sense of accomplishment and gratitude, fueling me to do more! This practice is also a good reminder to myself of the work I’ve already done that could be repurposed or reshared. It’s easy to get caught in creation mode, but sometimes promoting what’s already out there (perhaps with a tweak or two) is even more effective – and more efficient!

 

What do you think? Do any of these productivity hacks inspire you to try something new? Do you have a great hack I missed? I’d love to learn about it! 

Meet Photographers Kolleen and Bobby Kintz

You know how fun the best double date of your life was? That’s kinda what it’s like to work with Bobby and Kolleen Kintz, the husband and wife team behind Photos by Kintz. These two radiate joy and love to instantly put you at ease in front of the camera. Plus, as a two-person team, they can capture more moments of your special day with teamwork and complementary perspectives. Read on to learn more about this couple!

How did you get into wedding photography? 

Bobby was born with a camera in his hand. But seriously, as soon as he discovered he could use it to get out of class, he took over photography for the high school yearbook. From there, he trained in sports photography out in Los Angeles, which is where he met and fell in love with Kolleen, who had the brilliant idea of taking all this talent and starting a business together. Bobby documented a few weddings in LA, but it was only after marrying the love of his life that he decided he wanted to be a wedding photographer. We said “I Do” at a backyard Vermont wedding and shot our first wedding together just 3 weeks later. Over the last 10 years we have documented countless love stories and fallen further and further in love with wedding photography and each other!

How would you describe your photography style? 

Playful, romantic, vibrant. We aim to capture authentic moments, and do so by creating an environment where our clients can relax and enjoy themselves. We promise to make you laugh! 

What inspires your work? 

Our clients! We love getting to know you and telling your story, it is an honor. We tailor our style to each client. We want to capture photos that truly represent who you are. 

Also…Nature! We feel deeply fortunate to be living and working in Vermont. The spectacular beauty of the Green Mountain State keeps us feeling humble and inspired on the daily. We incorporate as much nature as possible into our work. You will see us lying on the ground, putting flower petals in front of our lens, or maybe even climbing a tree! Whatever it takes to get “the shot”. 

And…Our marriage! As we approach 10 years since our wedding day, it feels more important than ever to be with a couple at the beginning of their journey into marriage. We love each more each year, and have grown so much as husband and wife and business owners.

Any special tips for couples for choosing a wedding photographer? 

Remember that your wedding photographer is the one vendor who will spend the entire wedding day by your side. It’s important to find someone you click with! Or better yet, two people! 

What’s your favorite moment during a wedding? 

We love to whisk a couple away from the reception for a few minutes to capture photos during the golden hour. We get to watch the sunset with so many couples! Seeing their faces as they watch the sun set on their first day as a married couple is so special. Not to mention, the light is so perfect for photos during this time. 

A close second would be the father-daughter dances. Ever since becoming parents to our little girl, Olive, we always cry!

What’s your favorite thing to do in VT? / Local spot to visit? Etc. 

Tough call between skiing or swimming! We love living in Waitsfield where the possibilities are endless. 

We are loyal to Mad River Glen where we ski every day that Mother Nature allows us. This vintage ski resort is a real throwback experience and some of the toughest terrain in the country. Kolleen’s grandparents skied the first season here in 1949. 

But, when the weather warms up, you can find us swimming in the Mad River or jumping off rocks at Warren Falls. The crystal clear mountain water may be unforgiving, but the experience is unforgettable. Blueberry Lake is another favorite family hangout.  

If you weren’t a wedding photographer what would you do? 

Travel the world! We’d love to be documentary film makers and start a band. Bobby studied cinematography and is a film buff. Kolleen plays guitar and sings, and is learning the piano. We love adventure and plan to convert a school bus into a home on wheels so that we can travel the open road and photograph beautiful sights all over the country. 

What’s a fun fact about yourself? 

We are professional clowns. (Think: Charlie Chaplin and Lucille Ball.) We have been training in physical theatre and comedy since 2010 and have performed together through the years. We share the life-changing experience of traveling to Haiti to perform with Clowns Without Borders for more than 5,000 children. We love teaching circus skills to children and have run summer camps for many years. 

What’s a song that always gets you on the dance floor? 

“I Want to Dance with Somebody” (Kolleen changes the lyrics to some Bobby), and we always turn up for “Turn Down for What” by Lil Jon. But seriously, we love it all! 

Thank you Kolleen and Bobby! Learn more about Photos by Kintz in the vendor guide.

Traditional Anniversary Gifts for Vermont Lover

Once you get married, you unlock a new holiday every year – your anniversary! Anniversaries may just be the most special holiday of the year because it’s one that you earn. Each year you spend 365 days choosing each other and building a life together.

Traditional anniversary gifts are a fun way to recognize this important milestone in both of your lives. And, following the traditional anniversary gift ideas makes the process of purchasing your spouse get a little easier. If you got married in Vermont, buying gifts every year from local, Vermont vendors is a special way to celebrate! 

Below you’ll find ideas for each big milestone – all from Vermont makers!

TRADITIONAL WEDDING ANNIVERSARY GIFTS YEAR 1: PAPER

Your first anniversary is definitely a special one! The theme of paper represents a blank slate to write your story together. The thread of the paper is a symbol of your connectivity and blossoming relationship. 

Wildflower Seed Notecard Set by Cards by Cato: Each card contains embedded wildflower seeds that grow when planted and is printed on 100% post-consumer fiber paper.

Vermont Alphabet Print by As Little Cooking As Possible. Order a Vermont art print to remember your Vermont wedding or request a custom design. 

YEAR 10: ALUMINUM

Year ten is a big one for many couples. Aluminum represents a durable, yet flexible relationship that you both have sustained through the ups and downs of marriage.

Couple Sculpture by Vermont Rocks: This is such a unique gift. It’s the use of rocks with aluminum (it’s actually steel, but we won’t tell if you don’t) figures on the top that can be shown doing any activity that you and your spouse enjoy.

YEAR 20: CHINA

China represents the delicate care and tending your relationship takes year after year. You both look after each other carefully and look after your relationship after twenty years.

Resin Chess Set by Catinko Creations: Ok, this isn’t made of china… but it’s as beautiful as china! Plus, you can play with your partner and make new precious memories together!

Handblown Vase by AO Glass: Again, not china, but dare we say it’s even more beautiful and useful? This heirloom vase will be the centerpiece of your table for years to come!

YEAR 30: PEARL

A pearl comes from deep in the ocean and takes anywhere from five to twenty years to form. The pearl as this traditional anniversary gift represents the depth and longevity of your marriage.

Pearl Necklace by Yes MISS Bridal Jewelry: A gorgeous piece of jewelry to commemorate thirty years together! You could also pass this down to a daughter or even granddaughter on the day of their wedding to make it extra special.

Ornament by Mint Print Studios: Choose a pearly ornament to represent a special date or memory from your relationship

YEAR 40: RUBY

Ruby is one of the most sought-after gemstones. It represents love and passion. Here are my recommendations for this wonderful anniversary:

Keepsake Necklace by Ceci Leibovitz: Take a swatch of ruby fabric from something you or your spouse wear and have it set within a special necklace or cufflinks. 

Jam Set by Blake Hill Preserves: How about a ruby red jam (strawberry, raspberry, etc) and a coupon for breakfast in bed. (We’d recommend throwing in a bag of coffee from Kestrel Coffee Roasters or Carrier Roasting Co. as well!) 

YEAR 50: GOLD

Fifty years of marriage is incredible and should be celebrated as such – with gold. Gold represents strength, wisdom, and prosperity.

Trail Ring or Necklace by Courtney Reckord Jewelry: Celebrate one of your favorite hiking trails with a signature gold ring or necklace

Vanilla Bean Bar by Botanical Tribe Apothecary: Not only does this smell delicious, but it also includes gold flakes within the bar. While you can’t keep it forever, it will definitely be a gift that’s appreciated.

Looking for even more Anniversary gift ideas?

Imagine always having the perfect gift idea ready for your anniversary, a baby shower, a housewarming…for five whole years. That’s where the Vermont Weddings Gift Ideas for the First Five Years Guide comes in! You’ll get three traditional anniversary gift ideas for years 1 – 5, and ideas for other big occasions. Basically, we got your first five years of marriage covered! Plus it’s only $6 – a great investment to always have the perfect gift idea!

We also have our Vermont Weddings Gift Guide! It is the ultimate collection of Vermont-made gifts perfect for any Vermont wedding occasion or Vermont lover. We’ve curated over 100 gift ideas for everyone on your list – all made by local Vermont businesses.

I hope these gift ideas inspire you as you celebrate the anniversary of your Vermont wedding and shop local whether you are newlyweds or married for years! 

The New Vermont Weddings Collection with Gosia Meyer Jewelry Launches Today!

I am giddy typing this post right now because it means I get to share a VERY special new collaboration: The Vermont Weddings Collection at Gosia Meyer Jewelry! I teamed up with uber-talented Vermont jewelry designer Gosia Meyer to create a stunning new collection together, and I am SO excited for you to see it! (This is where you’d hear me squeal if we were in person.)

Gosia Meyer Jewelry

Gosia’s designs are chic, timeless pieces that are designed to be worn over and over again. She is based in Vermont and offers custom jewelry design services in addition to her extensive collection.  Her designs are Sterling Silver, 14K Gold-Filled, and solid gold, accented by semi-precious gemstones and freshwater pearls. They truly are beautiful accessories for your big day – or any day! 

A New Bridal Jewelry Collection Made in Vermont

Gosia and I connected about the idea of designing a specific collection that could be perfect for a Vermont bride. I explained my visions, and she created the most amazing pieces beyond my dreams! 

Every piece in this collection is designed to be worn on your wedding day, and to make every day thereafter feel more special. We thoughtfully designed each piece for a particular recipient (like a bridesmaid or mother of the bride), but intentionally made the designs universally appealing so you can mix and match to best suit your crew. 

There are three pieces in the collection: The Love Knot Bracelet, The Part of You Necklace, and the Better Together earrings.

LOVE KNOT BRACELET

Knots symbolize the bonds of love. Whether it’s romantic love or friendship, these bonds hold our lives together and make them richer.

This handmade, 14k gold-filled bracelet is the perfect gift to thank a friend who’s helping you tie the knot (bridesmaid, maid of honor, friend who’s officiating, etc.) This classic bracelet is a beautiful reminder of your special bond.

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PART OF YOU NECKLACE

When you truly love someone, they become a part of you and live in your heart forever.

This delicate, handmade necklace features a freshwater pearl inset in a hammered circle, which represents a mother holding a child. It’s the perfect gift to honor and thank the mother figures in your life. This stunning necklace is a gorgeous symbol of your relationship and love.

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BETTER TOGETHER EARRINGS

“I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together.” – Jack Johnson

These sweet, handmade earrings feature two hammered concentric rings: one silver and one gold, with a delicate dangling freshwater pearl. Each metal is lovely by itself, but they’re even better together – just like you and your loved one. They are perfect for your wedding and for everyday wear. These earrings are a beautiful, subtle reminder of your union.

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How incredible are these pieces? Save 10% on this collection using the code MYVERMONTWEDDING at checkout!

I’m so grateful to partner with this wonderful Vermont business, and we’re both excited for you to get your hands on these pieces!

Colorful Summer Wedding at the Wilburton Inn

Sarah and Noah knew immediately they wanted to get married in Vermont. It’s where their love story began, after all. They visited several venues in the area, but as soon as they arrived at The Wilburton Inn, they know they found the perfect spot for them. Sarah describes it as beautiful and a little quirky with lots of space to gather with their friends and family for days of festivities. After delaying their wedding in 2020, it was more important than ever to bring everyone in their lives together to celebrate their love and have Hannah Photography capture their beautiful day!

Outdoor Wedding at The Wilburton Inn

The Wilburton Inn in Manchester, VT offers gorgeous panoramic mountain views, plenty of outdoor space, and specializes in destination weddings. Sarah and Noah wanted to ensure their wedding felt joyous and fun from start to finish. They did just that by incorporating beautiful, bright colorful flowers wherever they could! The floral arch for their ceremony and the bride’s bouquet from Birds of a Flower was especially stunning! The bridesmaids also all wore different colored dresses. 

If you are planning a Vermont wedding, the bride passed along some advice for couples. Sarah says, “plan a moment of quiet for just you and your partner after the wedding ceremony.” It was the perfect little stillness that was just their own and so special to them. 

Lively, Dance Centered Tented Reception

This couple LOVES the dance floor so it was a top priority to have the best time dancing with everyone at their reception. The Grift provided a great soundtrack as well as the most infectious energy! The version of the hora they played was particularly enthusiastic, definitely one of the best the team at the Wilburton had ever seen! 

As for the shirtless dance that is featured in so many photos, it is actually a Middlebury tradition with their college friends: you take your shirt off whenever “Like a Prayer” by Madonna comes on! And as for the lift… “We like practice what we call our ‘party tricks’ around the house when we’re bored,” says Sarah (who used to be a dancer). “That lift was from a show I was in college. We obviously had to pull out our best party trick for the dance floor!” This party looks like an absolute blast!

Congratulations, Sarah and Noah on you Vermont wedding!

Wedding Venue: WILBURTON INN | Photography: HANNAH PHOTOGRAPHY | Linens: THE LINEN SHOP | Florals: BIRDS OF A FLOWER | Band: THE GRIFT

Your Next Read:

Looking for another wedding with incredible florals? Check out this Maquam Barn Summer Wedding.

Want another real wedding post? Check out any of these.

Meet Wedding Photographer Jenna Brisson

Jenna Brisson is one of those wedding vendors who you just know you’ll stay friends with after the big event. She’s bubbly, authentic, and a wicked talented wedding and elopement photographer. I joke with her that she’s the current reigning queen of dog photos because, as a dog lover herself, her feed is always filled with the most adorable shots of couples with their pets at their engagements, elopements and weddings. Sound like someone you’d like to know better? Pull up a seat and get to know Jenna!

How did you get into wedding photography?

In high school and college I took a couple of photography courses, developed my own film, etc and loved it but never had the means to buy myself a “fancy” DSLR camera.  Shortly after we got married, my husband, Mark, bought me a Canon Rebel as a gift. I started taking photos of anything and everything – Vermont landscapes, our cat’s shenanigans, you name it.  After a couple of years, my sister-in-law (who is Vermont family photographer) connected me with a local photographer who needed a second photographer/assistant for the summer. I said yes, ended up working almost 20 weddings with her that first year and fell in love with wedding photography. I started my own business that October, and this will be my 5th year owning my own business!

How would you describe your photography style? 

My approach to wedding photography blurs the line between photo-journalistic and fine art styles to provide couples with timeless imagery representing real, organic moments in an artistic way. While I am drawn more towards capturing the organic, naturally candid moments of the day, I believe there is also a time and place to trust your wedding photographer to gently direct you through a few beautiful portraits in glowy, golden hour light.  In my opinion, the best wedding galleries represent an intentional mix of the two.

What inspires your work? 

Honestly? It is such an honor to document one of the happiest days in a couple’s life, that the job in itself is inspiration enough. I know this sounds corny, but couples put an insane amount of trust in their photographer and it’s such a gift to be able to preserve these memories for them for generations.

Any special tips for couples for working with a wedding photographer?

Oh gosh, yes! I actually wrote an entire blog post on this!.  My #1 tip? I always tell couples that while it’s important to love my work, it’s equally important that they feel comfortable chatting with me on our first phone or Zoom call. Feeling the slightest bit comfortable speaking with your photographer will help you feel that much more comfortable being photographed.  So, find someone you get along with – it helps, I promise. 

What’s your favorite moment during a wedding? 

I love documenting those first few moments of the recessional, just after the couple makes things official.  These are often some of my favorite photos of the day because the couple’s joy is so authentic and tangible. And, for at least a few moments, they are 100% present and not worried about the what/when/where/how of the remainder of their wedding timeline.

What’s your favorite thing to do in VT?

Aside from adventuring outdoors with Mark and our two rescue pups, Winnie and Milo, I love spending my free time boating on Lake Champlain with Mark and our friends, drinking a local beer at a brewery or our favorite local hangout, checking out the Farmer’s Market, or planning our next vacation. We caught the travel bug pre-pandemic and can’t wait to get back out there and see more of the world.

If you weren’t a wedding photographer what would you do? 

I have always thought that being a counselor of some sort would be really rewarding! If I can’t help document people’s stories, I would love to be able to listen to them and help as much as I can.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? 

I used to work for Senator Leahy in various capacities: in his Montpelier office in college, on his campaign after college, and in his DC office a year or two later.  During his campaign, I was asked to drive him in the motorcade for Michelle Obama when she visited Vermont (and got to meet her). More recently, I was asked to photograph Senator Leahy’s retirement speech which was a really special thing to capture having worked for him over a decade ago.

What’s a song that always gets you on the dance floor? 

Ooh I’m a sucker for “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. Full disclosure: I’m a little bit of an old soul in the music department, but don’t get me wrong – I love the heck out of some Beyonce too!

Thank you, Jenna! Learn more about Jenna Brisson Photography in the vendor guide.

Whimsical and Elegant Summer Wedding at Lake Willoughby

This lakeside summer wedding at Lake Willoughby was right out of a dream! Jess and Jared’s love story began in Vermont over a cup of 802 coffee, and they’ve loved exploring Vermont together ever since. When they across Lake Willoughby together, they immediately fell in love. 

Jess and Jared knew this was the perfect place to invite their family and friends to celebrate their marriage. The summery pastel colors tied everything together and blended perfectly with the lake backdrop. All of the amazing florals were locally sourced by Blossoming Bough Flowers

Quintessential Vermont Summer Wedding

Of all the seasons, summer in the Northeast Kingdom is nothing short of magical. Jess and Jared aimed to curate a wedding weekend full of everything they love about Vermont. The venue and cabins at Willoughby Haven and the Willoughvale Inn brought everyone together in beautiful accommodations for all of their guests.

The weekend offered a delicate balance of whimsical elegance and a summer camp reunion. Jess and Jared made food and entertainment top priorities for their guests complete with kayaks, maple creemees, local beverages, wood-fired fare, campfires, and even a signature wild blueberry basil mocktail.

The welcome bags for their guests included gifts, jam, and maple candies sourced from Willey’s general store in Greensboro.

Breathtaking Lake Views at Lake Willoughby

This couple took advantage of the lake views whenever possible! They chose to do the first look out on the dock and had their ceremony on the beach overlooking the water and the mountains. The portraits on the beach at sunset are some of my favorites!  They hosted the reception under a beautifully decorated tent for dinner and dancing.  Amanda at Pine Events Co. offered invaluable support as the executive designer and planner to make everything perfect for this wedding! Check out the full gallery below. 

Your Next Read:

Looking for another wedding with incredible florals? Check out this Maquam Barn Summer Wedding.

Want another real wedding post? Check out any of these.

BLOSSOMING BOUGH FLOWERS | WILLOUGHBY HAVEN | PINE EVENTS CO Accommodations: THE WILLOUGHVALE INN | RABBI JAN SALZMAN | DEBORAH HOLMES ART | SUPERSOUNDS ENTERTAINMENT | LIZ MEGAN ROULEAU | CHRIS THOMAS CREATIVE|NORTH COUNTRY DONUTS | POZE CATERING| WOODBELLY PIZZA| WILDE THYME CATERING| PALMER LANE MAPLE | PR BARTENDING | JESSICA MURPHY |TIFFANY MARTIN: MAKEUP ARTISTRY | CHICKADEE HILL | GMR | SCENIC TENTS

Talking About Introducing and Gifting Sex Toys with Vermont Pleasure Store Earth and Salt

It’s pretty universally recognized that sexual satisfaction is a major part of relational satisfaction, but this is an area that’s largely overlooked when considering wedding gifts! In part, that’s understandable. We typically are private (or at least more reserved) about this area of our lives and because it’s so personal, it can be challenging to choose the right gift for someone else. Nevertheless, a gift focussed on intimacy and pleasure can be a wonderful surprise for a couple getting married! 

Beth Hankes, owner of the Burlington-based adult pleasure store Earth and Salt, sat down with Vermont Weddings to discuss some of the biggest misconceptions about sex toys and why gifting a sex toy or sex-themed gift may be the best wedding gift we could give!

This blog post is sponsored by Earth and Salt. We’re excited to partner with and share this Vermont business!

Photo: Isora Lithgow Creations

Not Your Average Adult Pleasure Store: Earth and Salt is a Mission-Driven Store You Can Feel Good About

Earth and Salt’s mission is to see all people free to live in their pleasure. “I was very intentional about the wording of that,” says Beth. “I want to be a resource for everyone who is looking to experience more pleasure in their lives, whether physically, emotionally, and/or interpersonally. And I want to be sure that I’m serving their individual vision of their pleasure, as it is different for all of us, and it changes through the course of our lives. The space to be who we are, as we are, right now, is so crucial, and that is what I want my store to be for folks.” I love that the shop is broad in its definition of pleasure and inclusive of the ways individuals may seek that. 

Social justice is also a cornerstone of Beth’s business model. “I intentionally find toy and accessory companies that are owned by women, BIPOC folks, trans and nonbinary folks, as investing in these businesses both gives money to these communities of people, and advances innovation by and for these folks in the sex toy and accessory space. I also aim to offer a wide range of educational resources (books, blog posts, workshops) on numerous intersectional topics, presented by educators from a diverse set of backgrounds. This allows me to support their work and give them a wider audience, and to again, provide that space for people to find community and be seen for who they are.” 

In short, Earth and Salt’s mission and offerings go well beyond any tired notions of a sex store, and supporting this business is supporting important social justice work. (Which is also something to feel good about!)

Busting The Biggest Myth About Sex Toys

Beth says the biggest misconception about sex toys is that they’re taboo or rare. In fact, sex toys are normal and common! “So many different people use them for numerous reasons,” explains Beth. “They are not replacements, but enhancements to what folks are already doing.” 

Isora Lithgow Creations

How to Choose a Sex Toy

When you’re looking to purchase a toy, there are three things to consider: thee function, shape, and material. 

First, consider the function of the toy – what is it designed to do, and where? Does that sound awesome to you or not? 

Then, consider the shape. Does the shape work with your or your partner’s body? Does the base of the toy allow you to hold it easily? 

Thirdly, consider the material. Beth explains, “Sex toys are unregulated in the US, and not all toy makers use body-safe materials.” She recommends silicone, stainless steel, glass, and ABS plastic.

While some folks are uncomfortable shopping for these items in person, a progressive adult store like Earth and Salt can be very helpful. The staff at Earth and Salt are knowledgeable about the products and trained in talking to folks about these products and sex. Beth adds, “it’s really difficult to judge the size, weight, and noise level of a lot of toys without seeing and touching them in person.”

How To Broach the Topic of Sex Toys with Your Partner

While we’ve already busted the myth that sex toys are weird or unusual, it’s understandable that if this is new to your relationship, bringing it up may feel a bit scary and vulnerable. 

One approach is to set a meeting to discuss the topic so both parties can prepare. This doesn’t have to be formal, but agree on a specific time and topic ahead of time, rather than ambushing your partner. This allows each party time to process emotions and prepare questions. 

Frame the conversation about your personal needs, desires, and interests instead of any perceived lack in the sex you’re having, or in your partner’s performance. 

Also, propose it as an experiment. Beth suggests the idea of a “willingness window”, a concept from author Emily Nagoski. Propose that you try out the toy together for only 5 or 10 minutes, and then decide if you want to continue using it or not in that session. This way neither party feels locked into something. 

If you decide to try something, talk about it again after. Give each partner time to reflect if you liked it and if you’re willing to try it again. This kind of open communication is key to a healthy sex life (and marriage!).

Isora Lithgow Creations

Let’s Talk Gifts! How Do you Gift a Sex Toy to a Friend Getting Married? 

Maybe you’re looking to purchase a unique gift for a friend and want something that they’ll really enjoy. (We’re willing to bet the right sex toy is more enjoyable than even the most beautiful set of silverware – ha!) If you’re thinking about gifting a sex toy to a friend getting married, Beth has some tips to keep in mind. 

First, “you’ll want to choose a toy that could be enjoyed by a wide range of people, so look for something that is relatively simple in its design, that has a number of speeds, and can be used just about anywhere on the body.” She recommends a bullet vibrator or a finger vibrator

If you want to gift something sex-related but not a specific toy, Beth recommends massage oil or massage candles, a silky blindfold, a feather teaser, a book, or (Beth’s favorite option) a sex wedge. Also, gift cards are a lovely option as they encourage couples to explore the possibilities for themselves! 

Finally, ask an expert like the team at Earth and Salt! “They will know what the best sellers have been in the store, which are better bets for gifting than choosing a toy at random, says Beth.” 

If you’re worried about your friend opening the gift publicly (say at a bridal shower), add a bright tag that says something like “open in private” or “a sexy little something” to tip them off. Or just ship the gift directly to the couple so they can open it in private. (You could bring a card to the shower explaining the gift has been sent separately.)

Educational Parties at Earth and Salt for Bachelorette Parties, Birthday Parties, and More 

Ready to take your knowledge to the next level? Earth & Salt offers private parties, which include a 30 minute educational workshop and the chance to shop the store with your crew. This would be such a fun addition to any Burlington-area bachelorette party or bachelor party (or for any occasion, really!).

“It is so fun and so rare to get to learn about sex as a friend group,” says Beth. “And it can be both a fun and meaningful way to spend time together.”

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Thank you, Beth! We’re so excited to promote this amazing Vermont brand and business. Earth and Salt was part of our 2022 Vermont Weddings Gift Guide, a collection of gift ideas from Vermont makers. To learn more about Earth and Salt, visit their website or shop in store in Burlington. 

Photographer: Isora Lithgow Creations

THE MOST FUN ARCADE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOSHOOT

Meaghan and Matt invited photographer Moriah, of MoHo Photos for a fun photoshoot crawl, which they dubbed “the engagement gauntlet.” Starting at the Winooski River, they made their way to The Archives on the circle, an arcade bar in which Matt brought tokens for before the pandemic and was eager to use. They strolled along the Winooski river, and topped off the day with creemees at Al’s.

Moriah says her favorite moments were along the river where the couple was able to relax and take in the sounds of the river and the golden light. Based on the gallery below, we can’t choose our favorites! This engagement is a great inspiration for couples who want to do something a little different for their engagement shoot and visit a few spots that are meaningful.

Couple playing arcade games during engagement photoshoot in Vermont

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Photographer: MOHO PHOTO

THIS COUPLE DIY-ED THEIR STUNNING WINTER ELOPEMENT AT AN AIRBNB

Rachael and Nathaniel celebrated their beautiful winter elopement on a snowy Tuesday at BlackAframeVT, an Airbnb A frame cabin in Wardsboro, VT.

The couple set up their own decorations, made themselves a scrumptious dessert, and celebrated on their own terms. Check out the stunning gallery by Hallie Jade Pictures below!

Couple kissing after winter elopement ceremony in Vermont

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Photographer: HALLIE JADE PICTURES

A SUMMER WEDDING ON THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR TO WARM UP YOUR WINTER

It’s a cold wintery day, so let’s warm things up with a flashback to this summer wedding! Photographers Kolleen and Bobby Kintz shared that this June wedding day was one of the hottest on record. “I guess the steamy romance and passionate love between this New Jersey couple and their families heated up New England for the weekend!” jokes Kolleen. 

This knockout wedding at Basin Harbor definitely warmed our hearts as well! A favorite moment of the day was sitting on the docks as newlyweds watching the sun go down as newlyweds. “We feel so lucky to share moments like that with our clients,” says Kolleen. “We partied until the wee hours with this crew, who really know how to have a good time!” 

Lucky for us, we get to share in the celebration as well with their gallery; check it out below. 

Bride and groom sitting on dock looking over the sunset during Vermont wedding

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Photographer: PHOTOS BY KINTZ | Venue: BASIN HARBOR

FAMILY TRADITIONS INSPIRED THIS SUMMER VERMONT WEDDING

Daryl and Kyle celebrated their summer Vermont wedding surrounded by family at the Inn at Weathersfield. The couple wanted to be sure they honored their family heritages for their wedding. The groom, Kyle, is from Vermont, and bride Daryl’s family is from the Taos Pueblo tribe in New Mexico. 

A Native American Smudging Ceremony 

During their ceremony Daryl’s dad performed a smudging ceremony. “This consists of burning cedar branches and ‘smudging’ (waving) the smoke around the couple and all of the attendees,” said photographer Kate Seymour. “The purpose of this is to ward off bad spirits and offer protection and blessings. After this, he presented the bride and groom with a very special gift: two eagle feathers from the tips of an eagle’s wings. He explained that these feathers are the ones that steer the bird in the direction it wants to go – a perfect symbol for a new marriage.”

The wedding was on the hottest days of the summer. This go with the flow couple rolled with the new plan to move the reception inside so everyone could enjoy the air conditioning during dinner and toasts. After dinner the party moved outside to enjoy dancing under the tent! See their full gallery below. 

Bride and groom kissing in the woods during Vermont wedding

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Wedding Venue: THE INN AT WEATHERSFIELD | Photographer: KATE SEYMOUR PHOTOGRAPHY | Flowers: CEDAR CIRCLE
 

A SUMMER BARN WEDDING WITH EPIC FLORAL DESIGN

When Melanie and Max’s Maquam Barn wedding ceremony popped up on my Instagram feed, I gasped. The floral archway is beyond gorgeous! The couple threw a beautiful, floral-filled barn wedding focused on celebrating with their family and friends this past summer. Highlights include the floral installations, perfect weather, and exchanging their vows privately before the ceremony. 

Wedding planner Lindsey Leichthammer included peaches as a recurring detail throughout the event design. She said, “as a nod to the groom’s Georgia roots, I added whole and halved peaches into Clayton Floral’s amazing green garlands, and painted custom place cards, menus, and table numbers to include peaches as well.” 

To top it all off, the couple got on stage with the band late in the evening. Florals, family, and fun… it’s a recipe for an amazing wedding. See the full gallery below. 

Bride and groom exchanging vows under floral ceremony archway

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Wedding Venue: MAQUAM BARN & WINERY | Wedding Planner: LINDSEY LEICHTHAMMER EVENTS | Photographer: JULIA LUCKETT | Florals: CLAYTON FLORAL

A DIY BLOGGER’S GORGEOUS SUSTAINABLE VERMONT WEDDING

There’s something magical about Lake Champlain in late summer: warm days, cool evenings, and the beauty of the changing leaves. That gorgeous backdrop set the scene for Marissa and Marshall’s Basin Harbor wedding this past year.

The bride is the creative powerhouse behind the popular DIY blog and Instagram @onecrafdiygirl, so you know there were going to be some amazing DIY details! “We wanted to make our wedding as personal and sustainable as possible,” Marissa said.

Stunning DIY Wedding Details

The couple and their community pitched in to do just that. Family and friends collected glassware for table settings, and collaborated to create standout details, such as the arbor made of oars, and custom “M” disco ball that glittered over their dance floor.

Another creative DIY detail? “On the wedding aisle, instead of flowers we hung frames on the chairs of all of our family members on their wedding day,  to honor the love that was present and those that have passed,” shared Marissa. And keeping sustainability top of mind, “We opted for flowers that were locally-sourced and seasonal.”

(Related Reading: How to Honor Loved Ones at Your Wedding)

We love the personal details and the confidence Marissa and Marshall have for doing things their way. From their decor to choosing to do their first look with vampire fangs, to setting sail on an antique boat after saying their vows, their wedding was a true celebration of their love.

Couple sitting on boat on wedding day at sunset on Lake Champlain in Vermont