They are in their third season of managing the Old Gray Barn in Dorset , which exudes a country Vermont setting with its beautiful valley views . The Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester is a new collaboration , where they will be opening a cafe in late May , as well as booking weddings . The arts center ’ s Yester House galleries are perfect spaces for wedding receptions .
With all this history and knowledge , Lauren has some suggestions .
Before the event barn was open , Mountain Top Inn had a three-season tent adjacent to the inn . It got pretty dicey in the shoulder seasons , when they had to shovel snow off the tent tops , and high winds would cause problems . They even went running over to the horse barn to get straw bales when there was flooding under the tents . “ I laugh when I think back to when it went from a wedding to a hoedown ,” says Lauren . “ Outdoors in that tent , the elements definitely affected the outcome . It ’ s important to have a backup plan .”
There are so many venues and varieties of locations , it ’ s also important to think about the look and feel of a place and what matches your interest and style — whether it ’ s outdoor or indoor , sophisticated or casual , explore the different venues and what they have to offer . Because Lauren and Steven are so passionate about the dining experience , make sure you have a solid food and beverage program so you don ’ t regret the food that is served at your wedding .
“ It ’ s nice to have an event coordinator to work with , to handhold the event ,” says Lauren . Having a coordinator makes the wedding party feel confident that the coordinator knows what they ’ re doing . They ’ ve done it countless times before , so the wedding is bound to go well . Brides and mothers of brides are in a stressful mood , so it ’ s good to relieve them of decision and give them a level of comfort . Also , brides and grooms are torn in different directions with so many things going on and friends and family to visit with . Lauren does a lot of pampering of the bridal group — sending over food and snacks , champagne and mimosas .
“ You need to have someone to do all your tasks for the entire event — even friends and family ,” says Lauren . “ There are so many things going on . Have people help you every step of the way .”
OTHER WEDDING VENUES
HILDENE , THE LINCOLN FAMILY HOME Amidst 412 acres of conserved beauty in a valley between the Green and Taconic Mountain ranges , the Georgian Revival mansion occupied by three generations of President Lincoln ’ s descendants sits proudly atop a spectacular promontory . Behind it , a formal garden overlooking vistas completely unique in the region . The history and beauty that is Hildene ’ s legacy is sure to become a part of your own . For you and your treasured guests , allow Hildene ’ s story to be a memorable part of your wedding story . 1005 Hildene Rd ., Manchester .
800-578-1788 or hildene . org
THE INN AT MANCHESTER At the Inn at Manchester , the pleasures are simple . Awake to the sweet smell of a home-cooked breakfast wafting into your room , enjoy a front row view of the Green Mountains from a rocking chair on our classic front porch , curl up with a good book next to one of our many fireplaces , take a dip in our secluded pool or warm up with a cocktail in our cozy , living-room-style pub with old and new friends .
802-362-1793 or innatmanchester . com
THE RELUCTANT PANTHER INN AND RESTAURANT With stunning views of Mount Equinox , The Reluctant Panther offers an intimate wedding venue hidden on a side street in Manchester Village . From private elopements , to garden weddings of up to 125 guests , the inn offers several on-site locations for a memorable event , all with an award-winning restaurant and luxurious guest rooms at your disposal . Superb service , elegant dining , and unending attention to detail ensure a relaxing and enjoyable start to your married life together . 39 West Rd ., Manchester .
802-362-2568 or reluctantpanther . com
SEESAW ’ S LODGE With the backdrop of the beautiful Green Mountains , Seesaw ’ s Lodge provides the perfect intimate gathering space on your dream day , whether it ’ s a tented event on the knoll or inside the event barn . On-site lodging , dining , and personalized private events , as well as proximity to local activities , make for a stressfree site to celebrate with those you love . All-Comers Welcome . 3574 VT Rte . 11 , Peru .
802-824-5533 or seesawslodge . com
SOUTHERN VERMONT ARTS CENTER Let your wedding be a work of art . Three unique spaces — the historic Yester House mansion ’ s galleries , the contemporary Wilson Museum , and the 400-seat Arkell Pavilion for performing arts . All are atop 100 acres of pristine land along with the state ’ s largest sculpture park , which makes any event a masterpiece . Exclusive catering by Church Street Hospitality . 930 SVAC Dr ., Manchester .
802-362-1405 or svac . org
THE WILBURTON Create the destination wedding of your dreams at The Wilburton ’ s hilltop mansion and 30-acre historic estate with breathtaking mountain views , outdoor hilltop ceremonies , and receptions for up to 225 guests in the unique Vermont marble pavilion tent . Add rehearsal dinners , bonfires , brunch with in-house catering and farm-to-table fare . Lodging for 100 + guests in elegant guest rooms and vacation villas . Pool , tennis , sculpture gardens , pets welcome . 257 Wilburton Dr ., Manchester Village .