Hi there! I’m Jenna – a Vermont photographer specializing in elopements and micro weddings both in New England & beyond. After years of owning my own business, I’ve documented a multitude of elopements, micro weddings, non-traditional weddings and traditional weddings and I have loved every moment. However, it’s become apparent to me through the years that elopements and smaller weddings have always held a slightly larger sliver of my creative heart. Elopements often allow for more flexibility and extra time for us to be a little more creative and intentional with our time together. I am finding myself drawn to couples who prefer to celebrate their relationship uniquely and intentionally. After reviewing so many elopement details and ceremonies, I decided to round up all of the tips and tricks I know about planning a Vermont elopement and create this guide for you!
Table of Contents
Why Choose a Vermont Elopement?
For some of my couples, their dream wedding has always been a small ceremony or elopement. For others, they’ve wavered back and forth between a bigger ceremony and full reception. This has been especially common since the disruptions of COVID-19. If you find yourself on the fence between eloping and hosting a bigger, more traditional wedding, or are asking the question, “Should I elope in Vermont?” I hope the reasons rounded up below will give you some clarity.
- Elopements often feel more intimate. While I love a larger traditionally-sized wedding, more guests and larger wedding parties often require more attention from the two people actually getting married. Eloping allows you to focus on your partner, your promises to each other, and the details and moments of the day you both envisioned. Would you rather have a picnic and champagne toast with your spouse after your ceremony? You can do that Would you prefer to travel to a waterfall for extra portraits without feeling like you’re abandoning your guests? We can do that, too. It’s your day!
- Elopements can be less stressful than large weddings. Most large, traditional weddings include balancing a list of logistics (read: things to plan and execute) as well as multiple vendors. Florists, planners, hair and makeup artists, officiants, ceremony musicians, bakers, caterers, and entertainment are all common vendors for large weddings but elopements generally don’t include all of the above. Because there are often less vendors to hire and communicate with, smaller (or no) wedding parties to corral, and fewer details overall to plan, elopements can be much more relaxed.
- Elopements can be less expensive. As I mentioned above, elopements often require fewer vendors and always have fewer guests. Therefore, expenses are often lower, too. This means you can spend a little more on the venue, vendors, and plans that are most important to you.
- There’s more flexibility in your timeline. Because guests aren’t sitting in a reception venue waiting for you, you can spend as much time as you like with your photographer taking epic elopement portraits. A more flexible (and often shorter) timeline also means you can sleep in, have coffee and/or get ready with your partner before saying your vows. With less moving pieces and less guests to accomodate, these timelines feel more relaxed than a larger event.
- There are more opportunities to elope in unique locations. When you’re not looking for a venue to host 75 (or 100, or 200) other people, you have so many more venue options! Eloping at the top of a mountain, in your own backyard, or at a cute vacation rental with a killer view are all possibilities. This guarantees your experience AND your photos will be unique to your relationship and personalities.
Note: if you’re looking for a more traditional wedding planning guide click here!
How to Elope in Vermont
In order to make your Vermont elopement official, you’ll need to be sure you apply for a Vermont marriage license. Here’s how to get married in Vermont:
First, you’ll need to make an appointment with a Vermont town clerk to apply for your license. If neither of you are a Vermont resident, you can choose any town clerk in the state. That said, it makes the most sense to choose the town clerk in the town you’re staying/eloping in. If one or both of you are Vermont residents, you must make the appointment with the clerk in your town of residence. Once you receive your license, you’ll have 60 days to get married! Once your elopement is over, the license needs to be returned within 10 business days by the person performing your ceremony. However, in light of the pandemic, most town clerks have allowed couples to return their own marriage license. Be sure to ask about this when you call to set up your appointment.
Here is a link to the Vermont website with more information on what you’ll need to apply for a marriage license, and here is a link to a few commonly asked questions! You can find a few officiant recommendations in the vendor section of this guide.
A Vermont Elopement vs. A Microwedding
Elopements and microweddings are sometimes used interchangeably, but elopements traditionally involve only a handful of people – two partners, an officiant, a photographer, and sometimes a trusted friend or two. Microweddings are considered to be weddings with 50 guests or fewer. Here in Vermont, I generally see microweddings with 20-30 guests on average. Neither a microwedding nor an elopement is better than the other – it’s all up to the two of you getting married! Due to the higher guest count, microweddings will limit your venue options slightly (you’ll have to accommodate for parking, restrooms, and space considerations), and they sometimes include a wedding party. Elopements, on the other hand, are a bit more intimate and the location and timeline tend to be more flexible.
To take a peek at a real Vermont microwedding, check out these galleries:
- An Adventurous Vermont Micro Wedding Gallery
- A Vermont Micro Wedding on Private Property
- A Springtime Elopement at Stonewall Farm
Why Vermont is One of the Best Places to Elope in New England
Choosing a Vermont elopement offers the chance to have a ceremony on the top of a mountain, on a dock lakeside, amid one hundred evergreen trees, on the side of a mountain in your ski boots, or at a picturesque inn or restaurant…just to name a few. If you’re stuck on WHERE to say your vows, take a peek at some of my recommendations below, all of which are proof of why Vermont is one of the best places to elope in New England. I’m lucky enough to say I’ve photographed at almost all of the locations listed! Still need help brainstorming a location? Contact me – I’d be more than happy to help you plan the details of your day once you’ve booked me as your photographer. Last, be sure to research if one of the venues offer Vermont elopement packages – these can help direct your planning and start your vendor research.
Adventurous Vermont Elopement Ideas
Mount Mansfield Toll Road: There’s really nothing like getting married at the top of the world. Stowe’s Auto Toll Road traverses Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. During the summer months, the Toll Road is open to cars, leaving only a short hike from the parking lot to the rocky summit. Paired with a dreamy late afternoon or sunset ceremony, the light is stunning and the backdrop is a panorama of Vermont’s rolling hills below.
Pro Tip: The toll road entrance closes at 4:30pm, which means that’s the last opportunity for a car to travel up to the top. Once you’re up, you can drive back down at any time. Keep in mind that the best light of the day for photography purposes is often the couple of hours leading up to sunset, making the toll road option optimal for a shorter elopement (2 hours) during the months of September through mid October, when the sun is setting earlier in the evening.
Moss Glen Falls: If you’re looking for more water features and less mountainous ones, Moss Glen Falls makes for a cool and unique Vermont elopement location option. The short hike to the falls has very little elevation, is easily accessible, and the waterfall makes for an epic backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts. Plus, being only 20 minutes from Stowe, there are plenty of lodges, restaurants, and resorts to venture to in order to continue the celebration. If Moss Glen doesn’t fit your location or itinerary – take a peek into Warren Falls! Located in the Mad River Valley, Warren Falls is more known for recreation and swimming, but has a unique landscape making for very cool images.
Pro Tip: Pay attention to your photographer’s timeline suggestions when planning to elope in a wooded area. Time of day often matters here so that you’re getting the best quality of light that you can. Sometimes if it’s too sunny in wooded areas with lots of bright green leaves, the light filtering through trees can cast weird green hues onto your skin. Your photographer will be looking for the right time of day, as well as more open wooded areas with big patches of sky overhead in order to avoid this.
Classic Vermont Elopement Ideas
Trapp Family Lodge: This sprawling Austrian-style resort was founded by the Sound of Music’s Von Trapp family and lies just a short drive from Stowe Mountain Resort. The lodge boasts nature trails, extensive wildflower fields, a restaurant and bier hall, spa, and an outdoor wooden ceremony platform with breathtaking mountain views – all of which contribute to why it’s one of the best places to elope in New England. It’s the perfect choice for those who love the outdoors, or prefer to stay cozy by the fire all weekend.
Mountain Top Inn: Mountain Top Inn is a venue that has it all in one place; located near Killington, VT the inn has multiple ceremony locations including its picturesque knoll, reservoir beach, outdoor stone patio, and any of its trailside cottages. The inn has an onsite spa and restaurant as well as multiple recreational activities, making it a truly lovely destination in any season.
Lodge at Spruce Peak: Located in Stowe Mountain Resort, The Lodge at Spruce Peak can be as casual or as luxurious as you’d like. There are both indoor and outdoor ceremony locations, as well as onsite activities such as hiking, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, golf, and drinking and eating apres-ski style (that’s an activity, right?!). You’ll want for nothing at this resort, but if you decide to venture off site, the lodge’s hometown of Stowe, VT offers many activities, shops, and restaurants, too.
Unique Vermont Elopement Ideas
Rent a Unique Airbnb: If creativity and a memorable locale are important to you – a unique vacation rental may be the answer! Vermont is home to some pretty cool properties; treehouse sanctuaries, cozy A-frames, repurposed silos, and grist mills all are available for rent. Many of these spots are too small for weddings but make an unbeatable elopement location that no one else has used before. Plus, if it’s winter, having a spot on hand to warm up and get cozy between saying “I Do” and taking portraits is key. Your photos are guaranteed to be unique and epic!
Hipcamp.com: Hipcamp is a company that was founded on the idea of getting more people outdoors. Their website shows a collection of locations that allow camping. Sometimes these locales are in state parks or national forests, and sometimes the locations are on private property whose owners allow others to use their land for camping and outdoor purposes. Looking for one of the best places to elope in New England? Using this site, you can choose it for yourself! Before booking the site, be sure to check with the site’s owner for permission to use their property for your photo session. If your dream Vermont elopement involves a unique location with an epic outdoor view, take a peek at Hipcamp: https://www.hipcamp.com/en-US
Pro Tip: Look for Airbnb or rental spaces with lots of windows. The more windows, the better light you’ll have if we spend time taking photos indoors. Also be sure to check with your Airbnb, VRBO, or Hipcamp host to ensure they are okay with you taking photos of the property.
Luxury Vermont Elopement Ideas
Edson Hill: Also located in Stowe, Edson Hill is a quiet little getaway that may skimp on noise but not on luxury. The 38 acre estate has a cozy, apres-ski feel mixed with an elegant farmhouse vibe. The estate offers to host weddings and elopements, and is best known for its intimacy, food, and ambience.
Twin Farms: Twin Farms is an expertly-designed luxurious resort in Barnard, VT. The main building offers accommodations, and the remainder of the estate offers individual cottages, each with its own theme and architectural design. Twin Farms is there to cater to your every wish; the resort offers excellent meals, a wine cellar, recreational activities, private dinners, and more. Having a uniquely tailored celebration makes Twin Farms one of the best places to elope in New England.
Pro Tip: Some Vermont venues offer elopement packages. If you’re looking for a Vermont Elopement package, ask your vendor or planner if there are all-encompassing options that fit your vision! Grafton Inn, Mountain Top Inn, and Hotel Vermont are just a few locales that have customizable packages.
Example Vermont Elopement Timelines
One of the questions I’m asked most frequently as an elopement photographer is, “How many hours do we need to hire you for?” And my answer is, “…it depends.” Before you hop on a call with your potential elopement photographer, talk to your partner about your priorities for what moments you’d like documented. That way when your photographer asks, you’ll be able to give them a few things to get started and help in the planning process. Most couples I work with book a minimum of two hours of photography coverage. You can elope in a one hour session, but that often means a semi-rushed ceremony and only a few portraits. If you’re looking for more of an intentional, relaxed experience you’ll want to invest in at least two hours of coverage. Below I’ve listed two examples of what an elopement timeline might look like with an official sunset time of 8:15pm. Please note that these times will vary dramatically based on time of year (i.e. official sunset times, what the weather is like, etc.)
Vermont Elopement Timeline Example 1: One Location + First Look (2 hours)
In the example below, the couple chose one location for their Vermont elopement and let me know that storytelling as a whole was most important to them, including a few images of them getting ready together. I photographed getting ready and important details prior to their ceremony. Their portrait session was limited to one location and their getting ready and ceremony locations were close together in proximity!
6:15pm: Photographer meets with the couple at their getting ready location. You can choose to get ready together, or separately, as long as you’re not far from one another to avoid travel time. During this time, I usually wander around capturing candid moments and will chime in once in a while to suggest you move to a location with better lighting.
6:30pm: If you choose to do a first look, this is when that happens. I’ll find a nearby location and give you a few simple instructions before you say hello to one another.
6:45pm: After the first look and a few portraits, we’ll travel to the ceremony site of your choice.
7pm: At this time, you’ll read vows to each other. Elopement cermeonies are often only 5-10 minutes long.
7:15pm: For the rest of our time together, we’ll wander around the ceremony location for a few portraits and then skip over to another location that’s within a 10 minute drive for a few more photos.
8:15pm: The sun sets, and our time together ends.
Pro Tip #1: The best photos are taken in the hour leading up to sunset. Your photographer will likely do this, but be aware of official sunset time in your date and location. Note that if you’re surrounded by mountains, the sun will go down much earlier than “official” sunset (unless you’re on the summit!)
Also: Remember to be mindful of the time it will take to travel to and from getting ready locations, to first look locations, to ceremony locations etc. In a 2 hour Vermont elopement, there logistically isn’t enough time for multiple portrait locations or extensive travel.
Vermont Elopement Timeline Example 2: Two Locations + a Brewery (3 hours)
In this scenario, the couple either mentioned that having epic portraits of the two of them was a priority, and/or wanted the photographer to join them post-elopement to document them celebrating at their favorite local brewery.
5:15pm: Photographer either meets the couple at their getting ready location, similar to the above timeline.
5:30pm: Option to do a first look at this time, or start with a ceremony.
5:45pm: Travel to ceremony location (ideally, less than 15 min away).
6pm: Ceremony happens, followed by couple portraits, popping champagne, a first dance, etc – however you prefer to celebrate!
6:30pm: We head to location #1 for portraits.
7:45pm: We head to location #2 for portraits until 8:15, when our time together ends.
Pro Tip: Remember, at the end of the day, your Vermont elopement is about you and your significant other. Work with your photographer to determine locations, shot lists, important details, and more. Every timeline will be slightly different based on each couples’ personalities, interests, and priorities.
Sample Elopement Timeline Example Three: An Adventure Session
Vermont elopement adventure sessions are often much longer in length and can vary anywhere from 3 hours to 8 hours, much of which depends on what type of adventure you choose. These sessions sometimes include getting ready images, and sometimes they skip right to meeting at the trailhead. Below are a few galleries to inspire your adventure session planning, along with a few local hikes that might fit the bill. If you need help customizing a timeline for your day, feel free to reach out! I’d be happy to help once we get you on the calendar! Keep in mind that any local hike will probably make for epic photos – keep an eye on difficulty reviews and the time it takes to complete the hike so that we can plan accordingly.
Stowe Pinnacle: Not only is the summit of this hike insanely gorgeous with 360 panoramic views, but this hike is only a short 20 minute drive from other really cool Stowe, Vermont photo locations, breweries, great food, and cool places to stay. The hike itself takes about 60 minutes to reach the summit and can be fairly steep in some places.
For a real Stowe Pinnacle Vermont elopement gallery, click here.
Sterling Pond, Stowe: Another gem in the Stowe area, this hike is insanely beautiful and boasts a payout of serene pond views at the top. This is a moderate to difficult hike as it’s fairly steep, and takes about 45-55 minutes to reach the top. Beware that this is a really popular local hike, so your best bet for privacy would be to hike this on a weekday. I haven’t documented an elopement here yet, but hope to soon!
Owl’s Head, Groton: It may be further from central Vermont, but the views from the summit of Owl’s Head can’t be beat. With a shorter 45-60 minute hike to the summit, this option leaves plenty of room for creativity, personalization and time for epic photos.
For a real Owl’s Head Vermont elopement gallery, click here.
Mount Pisgah / Lake Willoughby Area: Located a bit further north, this hike boasts some really breathtaking views at the top. A 4.1 mile loop, this will be a bit longer of an option. Not interested in hiking for that long? No problem! Choose an Airbnb to snuggle up in nearby and plan your session location on the trails surrounding Lake Willoughby, where you can view Mount Pisgah’s summit from below.
This couple rented a treehouse Airbnb, and ended their session on Lake Willoughby’s North Beach with some bubbly.
Keep it Local: Many local resorts and Airbnbs are located on or nearby properties with groomed woodsy trails. Spend some time investigating those options if you don’t feel up for an epic hike. Your adventure session might look more like: spend the night at Trapp Family Lodge, hike to their little chapel in the woods, hike back for a few epic mountain portraits before you cozy up at their brewery with a pretzel and celebrate!
Pro Tip: Once you choose a location for your adventure session, take some time to visit that location / hike that trail before the day of your elopement. This will give you a more realistic idea of the actual time it takes to hike at the pace you want (because we all know you don’t want to be too sweaty for photos during your ceremony once we get to the top).
Pro Tip: Bring a backpack or two to your adventure session and fill it with: plenty of water, snacks, a small towel for sweat, an extra chance of clothes, a couple of celebratory beers, water, a lint roller, etc. These all help you to feel more comfortable during our time together.
Leave No Trace PSA:
Vermont is beautiful because of it’s many pristine outdoors spaces (lakes, rivers, wildlife, and forests), Vermonters are committed to keeping it that way. During each outdoor session, adventure hike or not, my goal (aside from photographing you in that great light) is to leave the area as we found it. Our landscape is precious and I intend to do my part to keep it looking exactly the way I found it. Additionally, I’ve taken a Leave No Trace for photographers course to ensure I’m learning all there is to know on this topic in efforts to keep our state’s outdoor playground looking beautiful.
Hiring a Vermont Elopement Photographer
If you’re new here, you’ve probably haven’t heard me talk about how important it is to trust and feel comfortable around your photographer. If you’re NOT new around here, then you’ll notice I talk about it often on my website, in reply to your photography inquiry, and on social media. Why? Trusting the person in charge of documenting your once-in-a-lifetime moments will lead to more ease during those moments, more candid emotions, and ultimately, better images. Finding the right photographer for your elopement can be daunting. Do you feel comfortable around their personality type? Will they be too intrusive on an otherwise intimate day? Will they capture details, ceremony, AND portraits? Will their work reflect the emotion of the day? Will we enjoy spending time with them? These are all common questions, and hopefully I can give you some peace of mind, and some helpful tips, below.
Do Your Research
The best way to hire the right professional for your Vermont elopement is to do your research in advance. Below I’ve listed important factors to consider.
- Editing Style: Each photographer has their own preferred editing style, often preferring the same type of lighting and same color palette for many of their photos. “Light and airy” photographers often aim for white and neutral colors in their images and tend to avoid shadows. “Dark and moody” photographers embrace shadows and edit toward a darker palette. Neither is better than the other – the way images are edited are simply a reflection of the photographer’s preferences and their art! There are more than two styles as well – clean and bright, bright and airy, true to color are all descriptions photographers use. This guide by Style Me Pretty helps to break down some of what goes into a photographer’s style and feel. If you’re especially drawn to one style over another, be sure to hire a photographer that matches your vision.
- Experience: It’s important to know if your photographer has experience with weddings and elopements. While years of experience doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll love the final product more than a new photographer, it does generally mean that the individual will know which lenses to use, how to aid you in nailing down the timeline, which vendors are reputable, which images and poses are client favorites, how to navigate different lighting scenarios, and how involved to be in the ceremony. If they have recently started their business, ask to see some recent work and an elopement gallery to get a feel of what your might look like.
- Budget: While we hate to admit it, your budget affects the photographer you’ll be able to hire. Be sure to research your photographer’s pricing. I’ll go a bit more in depth on this importance of this investment below.
- Testimonials: No one can attest to a photographer’s talent, expertise, and professionalism like a past client. Look at their Google reviews, check their website for testimonials, and you can even browse other wedding vendor sites for reviews (The Knot, WeddingWire, etc). However, keep in mind that “featured” vendors on sites like The Knot and WeddingWire often just mean that the vendor pays to be featured – that label alone doesn’t always mean they’re the best at what they do, so do your research and read those reviews.
Identify Your Budget
After doing some research, you’ve no doubt noticed that photography pricing can vary greatly. Why is that? Well, it’s often a combination of:
- business expenses (This varies by photographer, but think: insurance costs, quantities of equipment, employee & payroll costs, education, taxes, sales tax, etc.)
- style of photography (The cost of real film and film processing at a professional lab, for example, can be quite high)
- experience level (The number of elopements they have documented, relevant education, etc)
- supply and demand (Is this a common wedding destination with higher demand?)
- the photography package you choose (Prints? An album? Digital images only?)
In Vermont, photographers may charge anywhere from $450-$1,000 per hour for an elopement. If you have some flexibility in your budget, couples will often add an additional hour or two which can allow them to do fun things such as: venture to a second location for more photos, or bring me along to a celebration with family and friends after the “I Do!”
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that photography is one of the only things that will last forever once your wedding day is over (well, videography too!). WIth elopements, many of your loved ones are not there in person to share your wedding experience with you. The ability to showcase photos of your elopement and share them with those nearest and dearest to you is often priceless.
Once you’ve identified your top choices, reach out to those photographers, ideally through an inquiry link on their site or directly to their email. While many photographers are on social media, inquiries and requests can get lost so filling out their own contact form is usually your best bet! In your initial request, inform them of your name as well as your partner’s, and your vision for your day, including date, and general location (this can be town or county if you don’t have a venue yet). If booking your dream vendors is more important than the date you get married on, ask when the photographer is available. Getting to know your photographer before hiring them can be an extremely valuable step in the booking process. I tell this to my own clients often, but hiring a photographer who you feel comfortable speaking with will absolutely help you feel that much more comfortable while getting your photo taken.
Book Your Vermont Elopement Photographer
It’s time to make things official! This often involves you both signing a contract and paying a non-refundable retainer, which is often a certain percentage of your total invoice. Your photographer/videographer will walk you through this process.
Pro Tip: As a general rule, most wedding vendors will not consider you officially a client until you’ve signed a contract and paid a deposit. Be sure to confirm this with your photographer. Often they won’t hold your date for you without the above – so don’t miss out on your dream vendor due to a misunderstanding!
Vermont Elopement Vendor List
While elopements often involve fewer vendors than larger weddings, there are still quite a few that you may find yourself looking for while planning. The elevated details that these vendors provide contribute to the overall look and feel of your day. Plus, from a photography standpoint, including florals and hair and makeup can elevate your photos drastically.
Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this post and I am not being compensated for any of these referrals or ideas. The below tips and recommendations are based purely off of my own personal experiences at past Vermont elopements I have photographed. This post will be updated periodically. Last updated: 4/18/22
As I mentioned above, floral design can elevate your ceremony and portraits drastically. Here are a few of my faves.
Tipsy Tulip – Florist based out of Milton, VT, and serving Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Northern New York.
Bramble and Bloom – Florist based out of Stowe, Vermont.
Nectar & Root – Florist based out of Stowe and Burlington, VT.
A Schoolhouse Garden – Floral arrangements and design based out of Waitsfield, Vermont.
Blossoming Bough – Florist and Floral designer based out of Craftsbury Common, VT.
West Lane – Farm to table flowers, sourced from Vermont, surrounding areas, and Canada. Based out of Colchester, VT.
Clayton Floral – based in Charlotte, VT, Clayton Floral takes pride in growing many of their own flowers for wedding arrangements.
HAIR AND MAKEUP:
If getting married feeling like your best self involves no makeup, you do you! However, I often find that hiring an artist for a “natural” makeup look elevates your photos in such a beautiful, organic way. The artists below are truly passionate about what they do and will always cater to your desires and your own aesthetic. Tell them about your vision for your day and they’ll help you to feel like the best version of yourself!
Hillary Fay Studios – Hair & Makeup services. Based out of Huntington, VT.
Tiffany Martin Makeup services based out of Vermont.
Heather Garrow Studios – Hair & Makeup services. Based out of Vermont.
For lack of a better word, officiants make your marriage…official! They’re crucial to your ceremony and your day and it’s important to hire someone who you feel matches your vision. The names listed below are all officiants I’ve worked with in recent years.
- Greg Trulson: Greg and I have worked multiple ceremonies together and he is always a joy to be around. He brings an abundant amount of energy to the celebrations he is a part of.
- Janet Dunn: A soft spoken, but wildy thoughtful speaker, Janet is a great option for a more intimate setting.
- Kathryn Blume: Specializes in helping couples to feel comfortable and she does a wonderful job at just that!
- Annie Alexander-Kramer: Annie has officiated weddings for over 20 years, so if you have questions? She’s got answers.
- Anyone you want! The cool thing about getting married in Vermont is that you can sign up a friend, colleague, or family member as your temporary officiant. This application grants them a 60 day window to officiate your ceremony and I love how personal of an option this is.
- Me, your photographer! That’s right, I’m registered as a Minister through the Universal Life Church via their online service. For my couples that want to limit the amount of people at their elopement, especially as we navigated through the pandemic, having one person to both officiate the ceremony and capture the photos made the most sense at the time. For more details on this option, feel free to reach out. Note: I do not officiate elopements that I don’t photograph. I simply offer this as a free add-on service.
I believe strongly in the power of photos, but videos are so beautiful, timeless, and important, too. While I can capture stills, many videographers will capture audio of important moments such as your vows. And pairing photo and video of your elopement together to share with loved ones or simply watch together on your anniversary is really magical.
Wood & Ether (Vermont) Macaulay’s work is often described as artful and emotional, with a documentary-style feel. He’s local to Vermont as well!
Envision Pictures (Vermont) Specializing in weddings and documentary films, Envision Pictures has a resume including many venues around the Green Mountain State.
Fox & Sparrow Films (Maine) An adventurous, talented duo splitting their time between Maine and California. Michelle and Alisha create contemporary, emotional films for their couples.
Align Films (Vermont) Joel comes from a family of creatives and it shows. Each film is creative and unique to the showcased couple. He is also exceptionally unobtrusive; you won’t know he’s even there and yet he somehow captures every moment.
Just because you don’t have guests to serve doesn’t mean you can’t commit to an unreal dessert (or whole cake) to celebrate your Vermont elopement! Cake for breakfast, anyone? Heck, I even had a couple bring their cake to a mountain summit where they enjoyed it together post-ceremony, while taking in the surrounding mountain views.
North Country Donuts – With almost a cult following, North Country Donuts should be on your next Vermont “to do” list. Pro Tip: Order donuts online when they first open at 7:30am, otherwise they most likely will sell out by end of day. They are based just outside of Stowe in Morrisville, Vermont.
Blue House Bake Shop – From chairlift-centric cakes to elaborate underwater designs, Blue House Bake Shop can craft it all. Based out of Shelburne, Vermont.
Vermont Sweet Tooth – Marion’s realistically detailed sugar design work is gorgeous. She began her career as an NYC fashion designer and now resides in Stowe, Vermont.
Cronin Cakes – Another wonderful local option! Jess and her husband are based out of Essex, Vermont.
Bonus: 3 Ways to Include Your Dog in Your Vermont Elopement
For many of my couples, their number one priority is having their furry best friend there on their big day! If including them on your wedding day is a must, here are 3 things to consider when eloping in Vermont with your pet.
- Have a friend or family member oversee your pet’s care during your big day. While elopements can be designed to be very private for some couples, I strongly recommend bringing along a trusted friend or family member to help out. You don’t want to interrupt your vows when your furry loved one runs off after a squirrel mid-ceremony! In addition, your trusted pet-sitter can help tire your pet out prior to the big moment, and can be there for portraits, squeak toy and treats in hand to help hold your pet’s attention. Plus, if you elope in Vermont on a cold winter day, you have someone to bring your four legged friend back to a warm car or house if the temps are too chilly!
- Be sure to tell any venues and photo locations that your pet will be coming. While many venues and Airbnbs are pet friendly, some only have a handful of pet friendly accommodations, and some only allow pets of a certain size. If you’re staying at an inn, resort, or vacation rental, be sure you know your venue’s pet policy so that there are no last minute stressors on your big day. If you’re staying at home, but want to bring your pet along to all of your elopement photo ops, be sure that the locations are welcoming to four legged individuals. Burlington, Vermont for instance has a pet-friendly beach, and then other beaches that are closed to animals. Restaurants are similar, so be sure to do your research here.
- Last, thoughtfully consider your decision to bring along your pet. While I love pets at weddings and elopements, not all pets feel safe and comfortable around unfamiliar people. If you’re eloping at a location your pet has never been to before, with people they’ve never seen, that can be anxiety-inducing for some animals. Be sure that the experience will be comfortable and memorable for both you and your furry friend!
Lastly, Welcome to Vermont!
We’re so lucky to experience all four seasons. For those of us that live here, we actually believe there are five (mud season hits us hard in the springtime.) Anyway, while we love having distinguishable seasons, it also means that some of our businesses (and roadways) are affected. Know that some of our roadways may be closed in winter and early spring. The Notch Road, which traverses Mount Mansfield and is one of Vermont’s most scenic drives is a perfect example of this. Please also plan extra time for traffic (and dinner reservations) during mid-autumn, particularly the first two weeks in October. This is often peak foliage season and Vermont sees a surge in tourism during this time! If you’re looking to visit us during a slower month, November and April are considered our off-season. These months fall outside of peak foliage, ski season, and our warmer weather times, so some resorts and wedding venues may have more availability – or even better – may offer discounts! November light can be really beautiful – so it is worth thinking about!
If you’re planning a stay in remote Vermont…lucky you! Rural Vermont is simply stunning and serene. But before you visit know whether or not you’ll need four wheel drive or all wheel drive to travel to your destination. Some of our roadways may be class four roads. In addition, you may not be able to receive cell service in the remote corners of the state!
Food is your thing? Cool, ours too. Vermont is known for its food (and beer) scene. Check out these well-known Vermont go-to food and drink recommendations below:
- You have to try a maple creemee – it’s our specialty. Oh, and a creemee is what we call soft serve here. It’s paired best with real Vermont maple syrup!
- Vermont is the state with the most breweries per capita. We’re really good at making craft beer! If you enjoy having a brew, check out one of our many breweries! Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist, Zero Gravity, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and Long Trail are some of our most popular spots.
- We’re the home of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and their factory tour is worth a stop (free samples, anyone?). Located in Waterbury, the headquarters is in central Vermont making it a fairly easy drive from many other places.
- If you’re visiting in autumn, stop at an apple orchard! There are many throughout the state and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to try pressed cider or a warm cider donut, too.
Real Vermont Elopement Galleries:
If you’re looking for more inspiration, below are a few more Vermont elopement photography galleries that I have photographed!
If you’re planning for your elopement and feel like this information was helpful, or that we would work well together to make your photo dreams happen, please reach out! Or if you simply enjoy my work, and want to follow along, please say hello!