I’m Jenna, a local wedding photographer who has had the privilege of capturing over 100 Vermont weddings and elopements. You can learn more about me, here. I’ve photographed in all kinds of Vermont spaces, including: cozy Vermont inns, historic barns, treehouses, private residences, and even on local mountain summits. Along the way, and after working with the greatest couples in some of the most beautiful Vermont wedding locations, I realized that as a wedding vendor I want to ensure your entire wedding experience is as seamless as possible. We all know that planning a Vermont wedding (well, any wedding for that matter) can be overwhelming.
So, enter: Your Vermont Wedding: The Ultimate Guide! I will leave the minute details and expanded expertise to each type of wedding vendor mentioned throughout this post but I wanted to create a starting resource on my site for engaged couples that round up some of Vermont’s best vendors and locations, as well as my favorite insider tips as a photographer to help you create the day you’re dreaming up together.
You can learn more about working with me here.
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 in the Vermont wedding industry. This post will be updated periodically.
Your Vermont Wedding: A Guide
Table of Contents
Your Wedding Proposal
If you’ve made it to my page but you’re not engaged yet, that’s okay too! I’ve photographed not only Vermont weddings, but engagements and wedding proposals, too. Whether it’s the Lake Champlain waterfront, a cool local hike, a back road with breathtaking foliage, or a snowy landscape at a winter resort, Vermont has a million beautiful and unique wedding proposal location options. If you are interested in hiring a professional photographer to document your proposal, contact me. Or if you’re simply curious about the best place to pop the question, go ahead and read my blog here.
Hiring a Vermont Wedding Planner
It goes without saying that before you can fully plan and book your venue and favorite wedding vendors, you’ll need to consider your overall budget. Once that not-so-fun task is complete, it’s time to decide if you want help planning and executing the vision for your wedding day. If you’re already overwhelmed this early in the process, there’s a good chance that investing in a wedding planner would be beneficial for you. With so many moving pieces, a wedding planner is a sanity saver on a wedding day.
For local planner suggestions, skip to the “Vermont Wedding Vendor” section below. And if you opt out of planning? Just know that more often than not, your wedding photographer tends to also fill the role of timeline planning and pieces of the day-of coordination, so pay attention to my tips as you read through this article to really make the most of your day, both logistically and visually. To be extra clear here, however, while photographers can help make sure you’re at the right place at the right time, they won’t be able to fill the role of actual day-of coordinator (i.e. taking on tasks such as meeting your florist, transporting your wedding party, setting up your reception space, ensuring other vendors are on time, etc.) To fill these needs, you’ll either need a planner or a…very reliable wedding party.
Vermont Elopements & Micro Weddings
If you’ve made it to this page, but you’re more interested in an elopement, adventure elopement, or micro wedding – don’t worry! I’ve created the Complete Guide to Your Vermont Elopement to serve all your elopement needs!
Vermont Wedding Venues
(Plus: Real Wedding Examples)
(Note: The * marks a pet friendly location in the list below)
Photographer Tip: Before choosing a Vermont wedding venue, it’s important to first consider the season you’re getting married in. Will you have an early Spring wedding, where some flowers have bloomed (but there might still be mud on the ground where grass should be)? Will you choose Summer with those lush greens and later sunsets (and as much outside time as possible)? Or will it be Fall, when you can embrace the unmistakeable pops of color on the trees? Or last, but certainly not least, Winter is also an option and your ceremony could take place outside with soft flakes of snow falling while you say your “I Dos” in front of a mountain backdrop.
There are so many possibilities here, and it is absolutely worth choosing a season before choosing your Vermont wedding venue, as your final choices for indoor and outdoor locations will determine the feel and aesthetic of your date. If the timing lines up, try to visit your venue during the same season you’ll be getting married and/or around the same time of day as your ceremony. This will give you the best idea of what your wedding day might look like in real-time.
Located in the central Vermont town of Warren, Sugarbush is a quieter resort than Stowe and Stratton, but just as beautiful. This ski resort does it all and can host elopements, micro weddings, and large groups of up to 250 guests. There are both indoor and outdoor options, including the lodge, mountaintop, golf clubhouse, and inn with all of them guaranteeing a beautiful backdrop. Sugarbush’s central Vermont location is also central to many wedding vendors and close to the airport for your guests’ ease. Plus, if you host your ceremony at the top of the mountain, you’ll have the chance for some really iconic Vermont chairlift wedding photos on your post-ceremony ride back down.
Click here to to learn more about planning a Sugarbush wedding.
If you love a Dirty Dancing vibe, Basin Harbor club may be the venue for you! This sprawling resort is a dream Vermont wedding venue for many and is best known for its lakeside views, blooming gardens, and panoramic views of the Adirondack mountains. Basin Harbor has an elevated summer-camp feel offering plenty of space for all out-of-town guests to stay on site. The venue also boasts babysitting and pet-sitting services. In addition, there are multiple recreational activities available to your friends and family, such as golf, tennis, and water sports. Multiple bars and dining locations on the property give you many options when planning your celebration. In addition, the varied decks, docks, tents, covered porches, and reception rooms ensure you’ll have the perfect day, rain or shine. If you’re looking to host a classic summer fete with all amenities in one place, look no further.
Click here to view a real autumn Basin Harbor wedding.
Woodstock Inn & Resort*
Anyone who has visited the Woodstock Inn & Resort would agree that it can best be described as the quintessential Vermont Inn. Situated approximately 90 minutes from Vermont’s queen city and airport, the Inn itself is located in the heart of Woodstock, Vermont – a small, historic village that boasts shops, parks, and a quaint covered bridge. Perhaps the best feature of the property is its ability to offer a reception of any size and feel. The Inn offers receptions in 2 ballrooms, an outdoor garden space, a tented farm space, a country club, a ski lodge, and a rustic barn. Whatever feel you’re aiming for – the Woodstock Inn is ready to serve with spaces for 40 to 200 guests. Like the best Vermont wedding venues, it’s stunning in every season.
Click here to view a November wedding at Woodstock Inn & Resort.
If privacy and luxury are priorities, Edson Hill is a perfect choice. When you book your wedding at their 38-acre estate, you reserve the entire grounds for you and your guests. Edson Hill can best be described as having an upscale farmhouse vibe, but its location in the heart of one of Vermont’s most famous ski towns also lends itself to a cozy, romantic, apres-ski feel. The estate offers both indoor and outdoor reception sites, which can host 30 to 200 guests. In addition, the resort boasts mouth-watering meals and is arguably best known for its food and restaurant’s cozy, romantic ambiance.
Click here for an Edson Hill micro wedding gallery.
Mountain Top Inn*
Mountain Top Inn* – Similar to Basin Harbor, Mountain Top Inn is ones of those Vermont wedding venues that has it all in one place. The inn boasts a charming, outdoorsy, Vermont vibe and has multiple rooms, cottages, and rental houses on the property. There is ample space for a tent but the venue’s recently-built multilevel event barn leaves nothing to be desired. Hosting a spa, loft area, bar, kitchen, walkout basement and patio, the barn is perfect for receptions or indoor ceremonies. Outdoor spaces such as the beach, stone patio, and knoll (that comes with panoramic mountain and reservoir views) offer options for outdoor ceremonies and rehearsal dinners. In addition, the nature trails, reservoir access, and horse barn will give you and your guests many activity options no matter the season.
Click here to see a real Mountain Top Inn wedding gallery.
A restaurant by day, and wedding venue by night, Waterworks is best known for its culinary options and riverside views. If the traditional Vermont farmhouse or barn feel isn’t for you, consider opting for the edgy, exposed brick interior at Waterworks. The exposed brick interior is perfect for a cozy vibe and sets the scene for moody and contrast-y images. Located in the Winooski circle just steps from the city of Burlington, Waterworks is an easy commute to a handful of hotels and lodging options that Vermont’s more rural venues lack.
Click here to view a Waterworks wedding gallery.
Trapp Family Lodge*
If this makes you think of The Sound of Music, you’re not wrong as this property is still owned by the Von Trapp Family. After settling in Vermont, the Von Trapps built the lodge that now offers outdoor recreation, dining, weddings, events, overnight accommodations, and more. This venue is perfect for those who want easily accessible mountain views (no hike required). However, if outdoor recreation and nature activities are a priority, the lodge also offers snowshoeing, nordic skiing, and nature trails to keep you and your guests happy. In addition, the lodge is only ten minutes from Stowe Mountain Resort and a multitude of other outdoor activities and restaurants. The venue also offers its own tented reception site, which eliminates a tent rental from your to-do list. Are indoor receptions more your thing? Trapp Family Lodge has that covered, too.
Click here to view a spring micro wedding at Trapp Family Lodge.
Stratton Mountain Resort
If you’re looking for a venue with Vermont vibes that’s not quite as far North, Stratton Mountain Resort is perfect for you. The ski resort is beautiful in all seasons, and its Southern Vermont location makes it significantly closer to Boston, Hartford, and NYC than many other mountainside venues. Stratton offers both indoor and outdoor ceremony sites, with many couples choosing to celebrate on the mountain summit. The gondola ride to the summit is a unique treat for your guests and guarantees that you’ll have memorable photo opportunities on their platform deck, boasting gorgeous mountain views. Reception sites include two different ballroom options, depending on your party size. The base lodge is open for receptions year-round and can accommodate up to 250 guests, making it one of the larger sites on this list.
Since its recent opening in 2019, Maquam Barn and Winery has hosted a multitude of Vermont weddings. Most popular in summer and fall, Maquam’s selling point is its stunning sunsets over the venue’s grape vines. The barn itself is updated to include a kitchen area, loft, and stone patio which can serve as a great cocktail hour spot or backup ceremony location. Unlike the other venues on the list, Maquam does not offer multiple reception sites on its premises and has fewer ceremony site options, but the sites it does offer it does WELL. In addition, there’s a white, lofted space in the barn that serves as a functional getting ready space complete with hair/make-up stations for the day-of.
I have not photographed a wedding at Maquam yet, but funny enough I live less than a 20 minute drive away from the venue! I will update this link after my next wedding on the property.
Lodge at Spruce Peak*
Located in Stowe Mountain Resort, The Lodge at Spruce Peak is everything you dream of when you imagine a ski resort wedding. Nestled closer to Burlington and Vermont’s airport, Spruce Peak is a more northern venue than some of our other ski mountain sites. The backdrop of Stowe, Vermont offers multiple shops, restaurants, and activities for your guests, but with a golf course, spa, hotel, recreational activities, and restaurants on-site, there really is no need to venture further. The Lodge can accommodate events with up to 300 guests and has one outdoor site that can fit 500. In addition, the resort is pet and kid-friendly so they mean it when they say nobody is left out. A casual or luxury affair – it can all be done here, and with so much variety in one location, each event can look and feel different than the next.
Click here for a blog post featuring a snowy winter wedding at Spruce Peak.
Vermont Swiss and Bloom Farm
Redesigned in 2017, Vermont Swiss and Bloom Farm is the quintessential farmhouse venue. Featuring an updated farmhouse that sleeps 17 and a reception barn that fits 225, this venue feels like you’re hosting your wedding at a familiar family home. The venue is equidistant from both Burlington and Montreal. Updated but still playing host to a rustic feel, the venue is popular May through autumn and is perfect for those aiming for lots of outdoor time during their big day.
Alternative Wedding Venue Options
Private Residences, AirBnB Properties, Inn Rentals
For couples looking for a more intimate experience, a unique wedding site, or an elopement location, an AirBnB or vacation rental may be just the ticket. Rental properties and vacation homes can offer access to backdrops that may otherwise be overlooked – such as lakefronts and treehouses. In addition, these properties may have lower site fees and allow for longer stays than a traditional wedding venue.
However, there are also things to be wary of. Be sure your location can sustain the parking, plumbing, and electrical needs of your guests. If not, you may be adding costs of items like portable restrooms and generators. Still, unique rentals are absolutely worth it if creativity, storytelling, and intimacy are priorities.
Inn rentals are another unique option that works well for couples who want a larger guest list than an elopement offers but simultaneously crave privacy, too. By renting an entire venue, you guarantee that you’ll only be celebrating your wedding with friends and family. Inn rentals offer both ceremony and reception sites, as well as on-site lodging and parking for your guests. Since most inns are not part of a larger franchise, the layout, design, and feel of each inn varies wildly and when carefully chosen, can add to your specific wedding day vision.
Vermont Wedding Venues: Photographer Tip: As you plan the location for your getting ready space, ceremony, and reception, you’ll want to also consider the types of photos you’ll get at the venue you choose. For example: If you’re looking for a light and airy wedding photography gallery, it would benefit you to choose a venue option that has lots of windows in the getting ready and reception spaces (or a well-decorated tent works well, too). If you’re looking for a moodier, more industrial vibe, then choose a venue like Waterworks, Arts Riot, or even The Castle Hill Resort & Spa*. These venues all have darker interiors which, perhaps paired with a photographer who has a moodier editing style, will aid in your overall wedding photography gallery looking the way you envision it.
Similarly, if you want an adventurous feel to your wedding photos you might choose a winter resort venue (think: The Lodge at Spruce Peak) or a venue that has breathtaking mountain views only a few feet away from your cocktail hour (think: Sterling Ridge or The Barn at Smugglers Notch). If you’re looking for a traditional editorial or more indoor luxe vibe, you may opt for a celebration at a venue like Shelburne Farms (undergoing building improvements during the 2022-23 season), Edson Hill, or the Brick House at Shelburne Museum. And while we’re on the topic of photography, in the next section let’s dive into all of the ins and outs of hiring a wedding photographer!
5 Steps for Hiring a Wedding Photographer
As a local wedding photographer, I could elaborate on this topic for quite some time but for the sake of your time, I’ll try to keep it as concise as I can… try being the key word here. Here are 5 tips for hiring a wedding photographer, written by a wedding photographer.
Step 1: Do Your Research
Before you even start reaching out to photographers, spend some time researching wedding photographers and noticing what styles you are drawn to. Photographers are practicing a form of creative art, which means their editing styles often vary dramatically. Do you prefer darker, moodier images with significant shadow and contrast? Do you prefer a light and airy style that resembles film photography? Do you like black and white editorial-style images? Do you prefer a more true-to-life colorful style?
Once you choose what style of editing you prefer most, you’ll also have to think about the style of posing that you enjoy as well. Does the photographer have a more candid, happy portfolio? Do they tend to show quieter, more intimate moments in the majority of their work? Or do they have a more traditional smile-at-the-camera style? Are they a true documentary photographer? Pay attention to the overall aesthetic and mood of their website, as this is a great indicator of the type of images they are most drawn to and most likely to produce while working with you.
If you’ve just read through this section and feel more confused than when you started that’s okay too. This guide by Style Me Pretty is also a great resource (and if you’re wondering, my style is a mix of the Emotion-Driven and Photojournalistic categories paired with a lighter editing style). Still not sure what you like or don’t like? Skip to the next few steps and when you start reaching out to potential photographers, ask questions like:
- How would you describe your editing style?
- How will you interact with us during our engagement session and on our wedding day?
- What does the process of working with you look like?
Step 2: Your Budget and Investment
After doing some wedding photography style research, you’ve no doubt noticed that wedding 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, quantity and quality of their equipment, employees, cost of goods, education, taxes, sales taxes, etc.)
- style of photography (the cost of real film, for example, can be quite high)
- experience level (number of weddings, relevant education, etc)
- supply and demand
- the photography package you choose (Prints? An album? Digital images only?)
- second photographer(s) included in your package (which also means extra editing time for your photographer after the wedding)
Wedding photography pricing can range greatly in different states and different countries. More often than not pricing tends to coincide with the quality of your client experience and your final image gallery. It’s safe to say that you can expect to spend anywhere from $3200-$10,000 on a Vermont wedding photographer, with the average range being somewhere around $4500-$7500.
Pro Tip: If you have sticker shock, keep in mind that wedding photography is one of the only things that will last forever once your wedding day is over (videography, too!). You’re not only paying your photographer for the 8 hours they are with you on your wedding day, but also the expertise with which they’ll document your once-in-a-lifetime moments, the time spent at your engagement session, the time invested in planning your wedding day timeline, the costs listed above, and the many many hours spent editing your images and designing albums once the wedding day has come and gone.
Step 3: Read Reviews
Once you’ve chosen your preferred wedding photography style and have an idea of how much you’re willing to invest in your photographer, it’s time to research. Choose a few of your favorites and then spend time reading through their recent reviews and testimonials. Are there any recent reviews? If not, find out why. Do the reviews resonate with how you’d want your photographer to make you feel and the quality of the final product you hope to receive? In my opinion, the more good reviews the better – this is an indicator that they have more experience with more happy customers overall.
Pro Tip: Ask to see a full wedding gallery so you have an idea of what your final gallery might look like.
Step 4: Reach out!
Once you’ve chosen your top 3-5 options, it’s time to reach out! Fill out the contact form on their website or send them an email with your wedding date, a little about you and your partner, and what you envision for your wedding day. Assuming the photographer is available for your date, they’ll most likely reach out to set up a meeting or call. 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. Which, as most of us know, can feel like a really awkward experience. For more tips on feeling comfortable during your photo session, read this blog post!
Questions to ask a potential wedding photographer:
- Do you have business insurance?
- What is your turnaround time on our engagement and wedding photos?
- Will you provide sneak peek images before the final gallery is delivered?
- Can we provide you with a list of family photos?
- Have you photographed full weddings before?
- Can we see a few full wedding galleries that you’ve recently delivered?
Step 5: Book Your Vermont Wedding Photographer
It’s time to make things official! At this point, your photographer will walk you through their booking process but it often involves you and your partner signing a contract as well as paying a portion of the invoice total as a non-refundable retainer to officially hold your wedding date on their calendar.
To see more on hiring a wedding photographer, check out my post here.
Vermont Wedding Vendors: Recommendations to Get you Started in Your Search
Congratulations! By now you’ve booked a wedding venue and a photographer! From here, you’ll have to decide what other vendors are a priority for your wedding day. To help you get started with this process, I’ve listed a few local vendors that I have worked closely with in recent years and recommend. Vermont is fortunate to have so many talented wedding vendors that I can’t even begin to list all of them, so for more ideas and reviews, check out our “Next Steps” section at the end of this post.
Pro Tip: If a vendor you reach out to is already booked, ask them for referrals! The Vermont wedding industry is a really tight knit group and many of us are friendly – it’s likely that if we aren’t available, we’ll have ideas of other similar vendors to whom you should contact.
If you’ve read this far and are feeling excited and empowered to start planning your Vermont wedding, fabulous. I’m so happy to help with your nuptials in some way. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s normal, too – and may be a sign that bringing a planner on board is the right move for you. Below are a few great planning teams I’ve worked with, or who come highly recommended by wedding vendor friends.
Assorted Artistries – An all-women wedding planning and design team based in Plattsburgh, NY and serving Vermont and New York.
Ehmann Events – Husband and wife event planning duo based out of Killington, VT.
Lindsey Leichthammer Events – Full service wedding and event service based out of Burlington, VT.
Willow Hill Design Co – Willow Hill is an event planning and interior design company. They are located in Vermont and specialize in designing authentic & intimate spaces, particularly at tented events.
Kate Dawson Events – Kate Dawson offers event planning for weddings, celebrations, and corporate events. Based in Massachusetts.
Harlow & Dahlia Events – With team members headquartered in Vermont, Maine, and NYC, this event planning and design company executes beautiful events throughout New England and beyond.
Hair & Makeup
While you may be worried about wearing more makeup than usual on your wedding day, I can assure you that a professional hair makeup session will elevate your look in photos dramatically. Looking for a more natural look? Easy – just communicate with your makeup artist. All of the local professionals I know will work with you to finalize a look that will translate to a more natural, put-together aesthetic in photos. Hillary Fay Studios, mentioned below, often posts helpful educational content on her Instagram – keep an eye out for tips and tricks to help you prep for your session!
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.
Mirror Mirror – Stowe and Burlington Locations offering work with various artists.
There are so many talented florists in the state of Vermont! From hand-grown in their own backyard, to ethically sourced, to epic artistic arrangements that will turn your tent into a forest of magical greenery – Vermont has many options.
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.
Clayton Floral – based in Charlotte, VT, Clayton Floral takes pride in growing many of their own flowers for wedding arrangements.
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.
True Bloom Farm – Interesting and unique florals, hand-grown in Cambridgeport, VT.
If you’re looking for a specific kind of energy to level-up your event, here are some excellent Vermont DJs to choose from.
Wedding DJ Vermont – Evan and his team have been serving Vermont and New England for over 8 years. When not DJing weddings, he can be found working in nightclubs and concert venues. Evan spins real vinyl and, fun fact, he was also the DJ at my wedding back in 2014!
Premiere Entertainment and Events – Talena and Jim run a superstar team of wedding and event DJs and serve VT, NY, and NH.
Supersounds – Another local, extremely reliable and experienced wedding and event DJ company having served over 8,000 couples. They also offer video services.
For some couples, live entertainment is a non-negotiable piece of their wedding vision. Below are a handful of bands who have been recommended to me multiple times. Also of note – many live bands travel to Vermont from larger cities like Boston and NYC. It may be worth a broader regional search for this type of vendor. Ask friends and venues for recommendations, too!
The Dress: Shop Local
If you’re spending a weekend in Vermont touring venues and meeting with vendors, why not try on a dress or two?! Here are a few local dress shop options:
From the very first Zoom call with potential couples, I always like to mention that while I can capture all of the important moments on a wedding day, I still can’t capture the words. And in my experience?! Those are worth documenting, too. Mark and I skipped hiring a wedding videographer for our day and it is one of my few regrets. Here is a list of some really cool options, both local to Vermont and/or serving the New England area (and worth the travel fee, if one applies):
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!
Fox & Sparrow Films (Maine) An adventurous, talented duo splitting their time between Maine and California. Michelle and Alisha create contemporary, emotional wedding day films for their couples.
Align Films (Vermont) Joel comes from a family of creatives and it shows. Each wedding 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 of your day.
B&L Wedding Films (New Hampshire) With a background in film theory and experience producing independent films, Billy and Larissa beautifully bring their cinematic touch to each wedding production.
Sixpence Studios (Vermont) Joanna’s vibrant, emotive videos are moment-driven and her edits stand the test of time.
Juharo Productions – (MA) Julian and his team create stunning wedding films, all with the goal of the client’s reaction in mind. I’ve worked alongside Julian and can attest to his professionalism and talent.
Birdhouse Weddings (PA) Birdhouse weddings is a 3-person team who combines Super 8 and digital film to create their wedding day masterpieces. Their team is based out of Pennsylvania but is eager to travel.
If your venue doesn’t include a food option or preferred caterer, here are a few options to browse through! I might not have any photography-related tips for catering, but I do know that even your vendors look forward to a quality meal to fuel them back up on your wedding day. Plus, I often hear feedback and chit chat from guests on the dance floor – and these options below left people in awe!
The Roving Feast – Eclectic New England fare based out of Chittenden County, VT.
The Hindquarter – Varying local menus with entrees cooked over an open flame. Based in Huntington, VT.
Let’s Pretend Catering – Based out of South Hero, VT Let’s Pretend Catering uses local and sustainably sourced ingredients to create their personalized wedding and event menus.
Lost Nation Catering – An emphasis on local cuisine, based out of Morrisville, VT.
Woodbelly Catering – Fan-favorite wood fired pizza, based out of Montpelier, VT.
Sugarsnap – Farm to table catering with ingredients sourced from their 3 acre farm in Burlington, VT.
Blood’s Catering – Local to White River Junction, VT, they do everything from passed apps to entrees, seafood to meat to vegetarian options. Bonus: they do tent rentals, too!
I don’t know about you, but I have a huge sweet tooth and quality dessert at a wedding is a must. Don’t want to cut the cake? Go ahead and skip that tradition, but don’t skip the sweets for your guests!
North Country Donuts – With an almost 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 – Jess and her husband create beautiful custom cakes out of their Essex, VT home. Her masterpiece recipes are all her own and perfect for your next occasion.
Vermont Gifts & Wedding Day Artists
Whether it’s gifts for your soon-to-be wedding party, thank-yous for your parents, a wedding day gift for your spouse, or favors for your wedding guests, there are a lot of decisions to be made! Check out two really awesome local resources for Vermont gifts, below.
Vermont Weddings Gift Guide – Hand-curated list of unique and special Vermont gifts.
Shelburne Gift – Specialty gifts for weddings and events. Based out of Shelburne, Vermont.
Hope Sharp Art – Hire Hope to paint a fine art masterpiece in real-time on your actual wedding day. This also makes a great gift for a soon-to-be married couple.
Sample Summer Vermont Wedding Timeline
After booking your favorite vendors, your timeline might be the next most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to planning your dream Vermont wedding day. Great timelines not only allow each vendor to really shine in their role on the day-of, but they also ensure that photographers and videographers have enough time to capture all of the moments you’re hoping to relive in your final wedding gallery.
Often a wedding planner will coordinate this piece of the puzzle for you and keep you in the loop. When no wedding planner is involved, however, this responsibility often falls on the photographer. So, here’s what a sample timeline might look like for 8 hours of coverage from a photographer’s perspective, below.
Pro Tip: As you browse the below timeline, keep in mind that this will change based on other factors such as: whether you do a first look, whether your wedding day includes more than one location and lots of travel time, what season you get married in, what time of day the sun sets, etc. If you are curious as to how a first look affects your wedding day, read my post here. Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind the hours of photography coverage you have as you plan to capture the moments that are most important to you while your photographer and/or videographer are on site.
Sample Summer Timeline with a First Look:
12pm: Photographer(s) arrive on site to capture venue details, and a few candids of partner #1 and their friends getting ready.
(Pro Tip: If dresses are involved, skip the “all dresses hanging together” photo. This singular photo takes up at least 20 minutes of time on a wedding day after tags are removed, dresses are taken out of their bags, put on hangers, and placed somewhere with good lighting. That’s 1/24th of an 8 hour wedding day. In my personal opinion, dresses look better on bodies and your photographer’s time is better spent capturing images of you with the people you love.)
1pm: The second photographer (if there is one) hangs out with partner #2 and their friends. During this time they’ll capture this half of the wedding party getting ready and a few candids as well.
1-2pm: Both partners get dressed and ready and each respective photographer captures these moments, followed by portraits of each person fully ready, as well as photos with their friends if time allows.
2pm: First look followed by couple portraits, wedding party photos, and immediate family photos. (Taking all of these now allows you go go enjoy your cocktail hour post-ceremony)
3pm: Assuming no travel is required, everyone can relax for a few minutes before the ceremony. At this time, your photographer will likely head to the ceremony location to set up, capture details there and candids of your friends and family arriving on site.
3:30pm: Ceremony. Note: Depending on your style of ceremony (religious, non-religious), the duration may vary.
4-5pm: Cocktail hour. Note: If you opt out of doing a first look, this is the time of the day when you’ll take wedding party, family, and couple portraits. Often you’ll miss most of your cocktail hour in this situation.
5pm: Reception! Timing on this varies but most commonly goes in this order:
- Wedding party or just couple announced into reception
- First dance immediately following intros
- Toasts/Speeches happen while dinner is being served/eaten
- Parent dances happen towards the end of dinner, followed by dancing!
8 or 9pm: Depending on how many hours of coverage you have, your photographer/videographer will often leave around this time. But don’t worry – but now, we’ve captured all of the traditional events, along with at least an hour of dancing which gets you all of those fun party photos.
Pro Tip: As soon as the party starts, be sure to dance with your partner followed by anyone else you might want dancing photos with (besties? Parents? siblings?). This guarantees that they are in the dancing portion of your wedding reception gallery.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies
When it comes to your wedding ceremony, factors such as: indoor vs. outdoor, time of day, and location greatly impact your final wedding gallery. Below are a few things to consider while planning yours:
Considerably more popular among my couples, outdoor ceremonies are often beautifully represented in a final gallery. Why? Well, the key to any good photograph is lighting and when it comes to quality of light, outside is always better than inside. The biggest concern here is “What if there is bad weather on my wedding day?” Well, we’ll touch on backup indoor locations in the paragraph below, but in my opinion? Stay outside as long as you can. A little rain still looks beautiful in photographs! A lot of rain? Don’t quote me, but those images could go viral 😉 For more rainy day wedding tips, check out this blog post: https://jennabrisson.com/rainy-wedding-day-tips/.
Indoor Ceremonies & Backup Locations
Indoor ceremonies are most common with religious ceremonies, or when a backup indoor location is needed due to bad weather. My advice here? As you plan an indoor ceremony or discuss backup ceremony options with your venue, choose the option that has the most windows, as they will let in as much light as possible.
No choice here? That’s totally okay, too! Your photographer and videographer are used to working in all kinds of lighting conditions and, most of the time, these factors are totally out of our control. Most of us bring backup lighting for when it is needed! Ultimately, don’t stress – just trust your vendor to make all of this look like magic. These tips are just here for you to consider in the beginning stages of the planning process.
Time of Day
When it comes to outdoor ceremonies, later is better. When it comes to photography, the sun is highest and harshest at noon. If you’re getting married in an open field with zero shade, then it’s worth pushing your ceremony to at least the 2 or 3pm mark. Whether you have a first look or not will also affect the timing of your ceremony (see sample timeline above).
Again, this is sometimes out of everyone’s control, but if you do have a say over the exact location of your ceremony I would suggest reaching out to your photographer for insight here! Why? Often things like: full sun on your face vs. behind you will make a difference in both your comfort level during the ceremony, and how your final images will look. Additionally, getting married in front of a lake isn’t always the best idea when it comes to photo quality – sometimes the background can be SO bright that it distracts from the moment. Again, just my two cents but this is worth discussing with your photographer and videographer if the opportunity arises!
Making the Most of Your Wedding Reception
What to do after you’re officially hitched…? Party! Receptions are super fun, and arguably the piece of the wedding day that varies most from couple to couple! There are so many different ways to personalize your reception – from food to details to entertainment to decor! And from a photographer’s POV, those reception decisions will also influence your photos. I’ve expanded on that here.
In Vermont alone, are a multitude of spaces available to host your wedding reception. From hotel ballrooms, to white tents, to barns – the options can seem overwhelming. How will the reception space you choose alter your wedding images? Here are a few photo-specific things to keep in mind as you plan your reception:
White tents are a classic way to host your guests outside and one of my personal favorite reception options. Having an outdoor, tented reception will ensure that you’ll get gorgeous outdoor photos while the sun is still up and gorgeous indoor photos once the sun goes down (when artificial light (a.k.a. flash) is needed for your reception images). The white ceiling of the ten will allow your photographer to produce light, bright, images even after dark by bouncing their flash off of the white ceiling. This light bouncing off of the tent ceiling reflects back on you in a really beautiful way in photos. White tents tend to match the light and airy and clean and bright editing styles well – so if that’s your vision, this could be the venue for you.
Clear tents are another great reception option, especially for those who want to celebrate amongst nature. Note that while clear top tents allow a continued view of the night sky and stars (dreamy!), they don’t reflect as much light as white tents. Other factors to weigh in are their larger price tag and the fact that while some venues offer a white tent already set up on location, I’ve only seen one or two venues that house a clear top tent. Despite those challenges, clear top tents are stunning and bring an added elegance and ambiance to outdoor fetes.
Barns are the perfect way to bring your rustic Vermont wedding vision to life, and we’ve seen them grow in popularity in the last decade. If high-quality natural light photography is a priority for you, look for barns with lots of windows or painted interiors. White and light-colored barns will allow for brighter images. The fewer windows in the barn, the darker the space will be overall. While photographers will bring extra lighting options with them for your reception, the background of your images will still be slightly darker in a darker barn with limited natural light.
Hotels and Banquet Halls are popular reception options in every state – and for good reason! Often these venues have lodging on-site so guests can literally walk upstairs after your reception is finished. In addition, many ballroom-style spaces can accommodate larger numbers (i.e. 150-200 guests.)
From a photography standpoint, images can vary widely from hotel to hotel. White-walled ballrooms will photograph somewhat similarly to white tents; images will tend to be brighter and truer to natural coloring. Painted spaces, dark ceilings, and/or rooms with dark carpeting will reflect those colors onto the subjects and lead to darker images overall. For a sultry, moodier ambience and photo gallery, these spaces work well. As I’ve mentioned before, if lighter and brighter images are your preference, find a lighter or more open space.
Pro Tip: The outcome of your reception images will vary depending on the style of photography you choose. When researching photographers, ask to see a full wedding gallery from a venue similar to yours, or with a tent if that’s the route you go. Seeing how those images are lit, photographed, and edited, will give you the best idea of how your reception images will look.
Here are a few Vermont tent rental recommendations to get you started:
Bonus: 5 Things to Consider When Including Your Dog
For some couples, venues with on-site accommodations for your guests is a priority while for others, it’s a location that boasts five-star food and drinks. And then we have those whose number one priority is having their furry best friend there on their big day! If including your pet on your wedding day is a must, here are 5 tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to ensure both you AND your four-legged loved ones have the best day imaginable.
- Have a friend or family member oversee your pet’s care during your big day. While we know you love your furry friend, taking time during your big day to ensure he/she gets adequate bathroom breaks, dinner, and a walk will steal unforgettable moments from you and your significant other. We highly recommend asking someone your pet is familiar with to help with feeding time, walks, and bringing your pet safely to and from photo ops so that you get to focus on your marriage! Bonus points if he/she can tire your pet out before any big moments and grab your pet’s attention during posed photographs.
- If you want photos with your pet, a quiet first look or couple’s session is your best bet. While some animals love the spotlight, many can feel timid, scared, or unfocused around large groups in a new place. The most relaxed and successful photo ops with your pet often happen during a portrait session or a quiet moment with familiar faces.
- Bring a lint roller in your bag…because we love dogs, but we don’t love when our clothes are covered in dog hair in all of our photos.
- Be sure to tell your venue and planner (if applicable) that your pet will be coming. While many venues are pet friendly, some only have a handful of pet friendly accomodations. Be sure you know your venue’s pet policy so that there are no last minute stressors on your big day!
- Last, thoughtfully consider your decision to bring along your pet. Not all animals are wedding-ready. Be aware of your pet’s comfort level around new people and don’t force them into anything you don’t think they’d be comfortable with. I love my dogs dearly, but bringing them to a wedding with 100+ people would be asking a lot of them. If your pet is used to crowds or a great addition to your busy celebration, then we are all for it! However, if it’s not in your pet’s best interest, create another way to honor them on your wedding day. We’ve seen everything from custom cake toppers with pet figurines included, to signature drinks named after the couples’ fur fam. Be creative! Or, if you’re as obsessed with your dog(s) as I am, do all of the above!
Thank you for reading! I hope this was a helpful resource in your starting your Vermont wedding planning journey. If you’re interested in learning more about my photography services, read the below blurb, visit my website, and/or fill out my contact form. Or if you simply enjoy my work, and want to follow along please say hello over on Instagram!
Hi! I’m Jenna.
I’m a local wedding and elopement photographer and would love to document your Vermont wedding!
Based out of Vermont, I often photograph weddings around New England, the U.S., and am absolutely up to travel for your destination wedding.
I specialize in working with couples who are looking to have a beautiful wedding, but who won’t be upset if their napkins arrive in the wrong shade of blue. My people are the ones looking to create memories that represent them well as a couple, even if that means skipping a tradition or two. Who said there have to be rules, anyway?
When I’m not photographing weddings or elopements, you can find me drinking a little too much coffee, adventuring outdoors with our two rescue pups, planning our next vacation, hanging at one of Vermont’s local food scenes, stumbling over myself on Instagram reels, or simply snuggled up on the couch with my partner, Mark, at our home in the countryside of Vermont. Those lazy afternoons are the best, am I right?
If my photography style fits your vibe and you think we’d get along – great! I would love to chat with you about photography for your Vermont wedding! I strive to document moments in a candid, relaxed, but beautiful way. Will I pose your family for portraits? Absolutely, but my goal is to capture as many authentically you moments as I can during the day. I treat my couples like friends, and often end up staying in touch with them long after the wedding day.
My Vermont wedding photography packages start at $5850. This includes an engagement session, location and style guide for our time together, vendor referrals, a custom timeline, answers whenever you have Vermont wedding day questions, and an overall awesome experience. I can’t wait to work with you!
Note: If you’re looking for a different photography style or I’m not available for your wedding date, please reach out! I would be MORE than happy to refer a few local photographers to you that may be a great fit!
Happy planning, and congratulations!!