Sarah & Tom married on a summery August day at her family’s home in New Haven, Vermont. “We chose Sarah’s family’s home because of the meaning the place has to us. We spent many weekends there when we lived in Williamstown and Sarah’s parents came to know Tom and our friends very quickly with all of our Party Barn parties, hiking and biking weekends, paddle tennis tournaments, and all the many meals we cooked together in the kitchen. The property is exceptionally beautiful and ever since Sarah’s parents moved there and ever since Sarah knew she wanted to marry Tom, there was never any other option – it was an easy choice.”
“The visual theme was simple-country-alpine-classy: farmhouse tables, linen runners, and small, simple bud vases with tea lights on the table. Since our wedding was at Sarah’s family’s home, we wanted to make sure we incorporated lots of personal touches. Sarah’s dad made the bar by hand using recycled wood from around the property as well as the alpine planters sprinkled around the house. Sarah’s mom created and maintained the exquisite gardens and planted edelweiss and lavender (Sarah’s favorite flowers) around the property. And her grandfather’s dinghy was used for the beer vessel.”
Personal Details and Heirloom Pieces
The table assignments were all our favorite places and each card shared a personal story about why that place has special meaning to us. Sarah’s grandfather and mom hand-painted all the signage around the property. Sarah wore her great-grandmother’s veil (also worn by her grandmother and mother). Sarah’s brothers officiated the wedding and shared our story so beautifully. Our dog and Sarah’s family’s dog were the flower dogs. Sarah’s cousin was the adorable flower girl. Our dads wore special ties with personal messages inside. Our moms shared readings as part of the ceremony and we all sang “Edelweiss” in unison as the sun came out. It was also important to us that we worked with local vendors and compiled a great team of fun, hardworking people who love what they do. Our vendor team exceeded our expectations and helped us have an incredible wedding day.”
“There were many wonderful emotional parts of the day. It started with the private moment I shared with my mom as we got dressed. She zipped me up and we both put on our matching earrings (custom made by my mom and me from a combination of jewelry from both my grandmothers). My mom and my bridesmaids helped me pin on my veil (worn by three generations before me, including my mom on her wedding day) – it was a delicate process and many hands were necessary!”
Finding The Best First Look Spot for a Backyard Vermont Wedding
“Once ready, my mom and I walked hand-in-hand out to my dad who was waiting outside. We all lost it. Sharing that moment and those hugs with both of my parents was a memorable and emotional moment of the day.”
A week before the wedding I met up with Sarah & Tom at her family home, and we walked around the property to pick out the perfect spot for them to share their first look. They were struggling with the intensity of reading their vows before 200+ people, so I suggested they read their vows privately as part of the first look.
“Our wedding was large and we wanted to find ways – throughout the day – to make it feel intimate. This worked so well because it made the words feel stronger and more intimate just two of us. We think, this way, we were able to soak up the words in a deeper way and this intimate moment was one of our best memories from our wedding. To be able to read our own written words aloud – just the two of us – in one of the most beautiful settings in the world was beyond anything we could have imagined. There were some tears mixed with lots of smiles and laughter. During our ceremony, our vows were still emotional and meaningful, but it took the pressure off and allowed us to be more in the moment for this part of our day.”
A Rainy Day Wedding
“Immediately after our first look and private vows, the winds picked up, the skies turned grey and there was rain on the horizon (the forecast had called for sun and zero percent chance of rain).” With the temperature dropping, I knew we had an extremely limited time to get through all the group photos. Everyone hustled and we amazingly got through the full list as the sky became progressively darker.
“About 20 minutes later, Tom came back into the guest house and said that they spotted a clearing and the radar was predicting the skies to open up soon. The decision was made to go for it and get married down in the ceremony field. The groomsmen moved the flowers back down to the field, dried off the benches and the guests made their way towards the ceremony through wet grass and mud, with smiles on their faces.”
“The ceremony itself was one of the most special experiences of our entire lives. Sarah walked down the aisle with my her dad to the instrumental tune of Edelweiss. Sarah’s brothers – Chase & Jake – officiated the wedding and crafted the most beautiful, thoughtful ceremony we could have ever imagined. It was beyond perfect. Tom and Sarah’s moms both shared readings and everyone sang “Edelweiss” in unison.
As we shared our vows in front of 230 witnesses, the skies cleared completely and the sun beat down. We sealed it all with the best kiss ever and smiled back down the aisle into our getaway vehicle – a perfectly decorated Kubota full of flowers, burlap, and La Croix cans clinking behind. We did a lap around the fields and, after the guests went back up to the tent, we drove to our ceremony site to soak it all in. Sharing this moment – just the two of us – was very special. As we looked up the hill at all the people we love most in this world smiling, laughing, drinking, and dancing, we couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be any happier.”
“The rest of the night was perfect. The dinner, the first dances, the speeches by our maid of honor (Sarah’s best friend & future sister in law), best man (Tom’s brother), and Sarah’s dad were all thoughtful, beautifully written, funny, and completely captured us and our relationship so well. Sarah and her dad opened up the dance floor with an upbeat dance to a special Jimmy Buffett song and we all proceeded to have the best dance party ever.
The band was so much fun and completely captured the spirit of our wedding. We experienced the most beautiful sunset and as the band wound down for the night, we made our way to the Party Barn for the after-party under a bright, starry night, dancing the night away. It was truly the best day of our lives and we are so grateful to have shared it with all the people we love most in this world.”
You might recognize Gillian & Michael, I photographed their wedding the previous year at All Souls, where Sarah was the Maid of Honor for Gillian.
Sarah & Tom’s wedding was exceptional, and their joy was palpable throughout the whole day (yes, even when it was pouring, they were just super excited to get married). As their wedding coordinator, Randi Nonni put it, “She’s happy. I don’t think I’ve met a happier person. Her smile lights up a room or a field, as it may be. She truly shines from within.”
I asked Sarah & Tom what advice they would offer to other couples planning a wedding.
1. Put all your love and energy into personalizing your wedding day – it’s about you, your love, your commitment, and your friends and family gathered together in one special place. Find ways to make it your own.
2. Don’t be afraid to make last-minute changes/decisions on the fly if your venue allows (such as postponing the ceremony by an hour to get married in the field outside)!
3. Do a first look and share your vows privately for the first time. This was a very special part of our day. We shared our vows for a second time during the ceremony, but to have shared them just us first was extra special. Not to mention, it helped with the nerves!
4. Take time during your wedding day to share just you two. It flies by and those moments – even if just sharing a kiss on the dance floor – are so important and meaningful.
5. Have a glass of prosecco or a shot of Whistle Pig pre-ceremony with your wedding party 🙂
6.Hire an EXCELLENT band – this was huge for us and it was SUCH a hit!
7. If possible within your budget, organize welcome drinks and a Sunday brunch so that you can spend more than a couple of seconds of conversation with everyone. It takes the pressure off on your wedding day – rather than running around trying to say hi to everyone on your wedding day, we took the time to mingle on the Friday before and Sunday after so that we had more time to celebrate on Saturday.”
Wedding Coordinator: Silver Toad Weddings & Events // Flowers: HollyHawks Flowers & Designs // Invitations: August & White // Printing: Little Press Room // Tent: Celebrations // Catering: Almost Home // Bar: Solo Catering // Band: DC Project // Videographer: Luke Madden // Rings: Diamond Reserve // Dress Designer: Legends by Ramona Keveza // Bridal Boutique: Allegria Bridal // Shoes: Kate Spade // Hair & Make Up: Waterfalls Day Spa // Groom & Groomsmen Suit: Bonobos