Melanie + Stephen
March 09, 2013
Let me introduce you to Melanie, one super savvy bride. First, and most obvious is the fact that Melanie and Steve's wedding, captured by Steve Holmes, is just gorgeous! They chose a stunning mountain setting for their destination winter wedding They incorporated lots of beautiful details. And they made sure their out of town guests had fun. But most importantly, they made decisions based on their priorities, which helped with managing their budget. For example, Melanie wanted her favorite band to travel form the Jersey Shore to Vermont. That was a top priority. So she found ways to save money elsewhere. She nixed reception flowers and DIY-ed a lot of the details. Don't you just love a bride who can prioritize and make her wedding amazing? Me too! Don't forget to check out Melanie's Hindsight Wedding advice below…
Why a Mountain Wedding?
Steve and I met in February of 2009 in Vermont on a ski trip that a mutual friend had put together. We were engaged in December of 2011 and when we started thinking about where we would want to get married Vermont was on the top of the list. I researched a lot of different areas in Vermont and came across the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. We went up and spent the night to get a feel for the Inn, and loved it. It was so nice that it was surreal, we were making jokes that we felt like we were in the movie “Funny Farm” with Chevy Chase, because we could not believe anywhere could be that perfect with service that good. Unlike the move, this place was legit!
Where did you find your inspiration?
I am a creative, craft type (I'm a fashion designer) so I did the majority of the wedding myself (with the help of my family and husband of course!) . Pinterest is every brides best friend these days, but Martha Stewart was also a great source of inspiration. I started by searching for a good color scheme and landed on Black and Blush, as it was both a masculine and feminine color so it suited both of us. I put together an inspiration page that I would look back at often and decided on the details I wanted to focus on.
Your favorite moment of the day.
Three things you're glad you did.
- DIY to save money and get the look I wanted. With a winter wedding real floral arrangements weren't that important to me.
- Hired a band and went out on a limb to ask them to travel. We spend every Labor Day and Memorial Day at the Jersey Shore seeing one of our favorite bands, Brian Kirk and Jirks. When it was time to choose our musician they were our first choice, but….. they were in New Jersey and I doubted they would travel. I went out on a limb and asked, and they agreed! They really made the reception awesome, everyone was dancing all night.
- Had a Welcome Party on Friday night for all the guests. This was considered a “destination wedding” because no guests were actually from VT and everyone had to travel. Due to that fact, this wedding was a weekend commitment for guests and we decided to open up the Rehearsal dinner for everyone. We had a Pasta Party with an Irish band. It was great because we got to spend more time with guests who had traveled so far just to spend time with us. One night would not have been enough time to give everyone the attention we wanted to.
Three things you wish you hadn't worried about?
- Guest Accommodations. I was stressed over the rooms, would there be enough, would there be too many? The Inn's Coordinator and staff took fantastic care of everything and I didn't need to worry at all!
- Weather. What bride doesn't stress over weather. But I had a different concern, I wanted snow!!! I was afraid there would not be enough and with so many skiers attending the wedding I wanted them to have the opportunity to ski! Then as it got closer, too much snow! I was afraid that we'd have a blizzard and no one would make it. In the end it was perfect, snow on the ground and sunny.
- The tasting. We were unable to make it to the Mountain Top's semi annual tasting because Hurricane Sandy had hit New Jersey the week before and took out all of our power. I was so stressed over it, I knew the food would be good, but now how do we know what to choose? In the end it was amazing of course. As long as you are confidant in the quality of the food the Inn or venue provides, whatever they make will be great. Keep it simple with a beef, chicken, fish and or veggie and it will all work out.
What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?
- Maximize your backdrop. The mountains are so beautiful, use that to create a feeling and do as many outdoor activities that you can. Even though it was cold at our wedding, we had sled races and ski activities that got guests outdoors and enjoying themselves.
- If you are not from the area where the wedding is held don't stress over that. Some people give the impression that it is so hard to plan a wedding remotely. It's not, you just have to develop a relationship with the wedding coordinator and do your research to find reputable vendors.
Chittenden, Vermont Wedding Vendors
- Photography: Steve Holmes Photography – He is so talented. OMG, the way he captured the wedding. One of my guests wrote on facebook after seeing his photograph “It (the wedding) was as perfect as this picture”. Everyone has been raving about the photos.
- Cake: Julie Almond from Caketopia Cakes – I was unsure of what I wanted as far as deserts. Julie handled it and made it perfect.
- Music: Brian Kirk and the Jirks LOVE
- Mountain Top Inn Wedding Coordinator: Chelsea Howe – She was fantastic. She dealt with all my little details and basically made my vision come to life!
- Reception Venue: Mountaintop Inn
- Dress Designer: Nicole Miller
DIY Vermont Style
- Table arrangements – I found inspiration from various places, then went to Ikea to get all the parts to put together. Everything on that table was from Ikea, even the silk flowers in water. I used a frosted glass spray and stencil from the craft store to create the table numbers and monogram the card jar, and cut the center doilies out of felt from a template. For the master tables the bridesmaids and I measured and laid down the ribbons. We wanted the wedding party table to be different from the rest of the tables to make it special. I put pashminas on the back of all the ladies chairs in case they got cold, and printed out all the guests names with menu on paper that folded around the napkins.
- Toast – I bought tiny Guinness tasting glasses online and we used that for the Dad and Groom's toast. Used pink champagne for the Maid of Honor toast to stay with the Black and Blush theme.
- Ceremony decorations – My dad cut down branches and drove them all the way to VT on the top of the car:) I bought hanging votives from the floral district in NYC so that we had a rustic look that brought the outdoors indoors.
- Invitations – I knitted tiny hats and made them into magnets for the Save the Dates, with our website on them. Bought all my paper products from Paper Presentations in NYC for the formal invitations and printed them on my home computer.
- Place Settings – We made tiny snow globes with guests names and table number. Doubled as a favor!
- Luminary Bags – Bought a box of 75 from Quick Candles, printed our monogram on the front on my printer
- Website – used Wix Wedding templates to create our website and GoDaddy.com to secure the domain. Put the address on our save the dates. It was very helpful for guests to have a cyber spot to get information in case they didn't have the invites with them.