venue & catering: The Hawk Inn and Mountain Resort, Plymouth VT
flowers: Vermont Country Flowers, Springfield VT
music: Nick Stryker, Top Hat Entertainment, South Burlington VT
cake: Slice of Life, Bridgewater VT
guitar: Dayve Huckett
signage: Emily’s Dad!
I will remember Sean & Emily’s wedding for quite some time. You may remember their eshoot from last winter, taken on one of the most frigid December days. It was sooo much fun… proving again that all you need to bring to a shoot is your happiness to make it awesome.
That sentiment came in handy after Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont. Their wedding was not, thankfully, the same weekend that the floods hit, but was schedule to take place three weeks afterwards. In the storm, the Hawk Inn and Mountain Resort was hit very hard. Their wedding meadow was completely gone. The Inn’s bottom floor flooded. The quaint iron bridge that carried couples over the normally tame river had washed away. Sean and Emily were given the news and a choice.
I know this story happened to many other couples with planned Southern Vermont weddings this fall. I can’t imagine what that must feel like after the months of planning. Weddings take a lot to coordinate. Sean and Emily probably felt their stomachs drop after they got that call.
The pair traveled as soon as Vermont roads would allow them to the Hawk to assess the situation. They chose to go forward with their plans, although it wasn’t quite the dream wedding they had originally planned. But then, like so many of the stories of Vermonter resilience and determination, the Hawk created a new dream wedding for Sean and Emily. The ceremony was moved to an alternate field, the reception tent was relocated and the Hawk staff worked tirelessly to bring the Inn’s grounds back to shape. Sean and Emily’s wedding was the first there after the storm since all the other couples had postponed or canceled. Maybe it was in part the heartfelt thanks in the air from the family and guests but I think the result was a wedding even more spectacular than it originally would have been.
The first part of the day was a bit of a nail biter for me thanks to the storm too. Even allowing for ample travel time I wasn’t 100% sure how I was going to get there. So many roads had been closed but many were rumored to be opening. There was no way to be sure what routes would work. Fortunately I was able to make my way down Route 100 but it was an eery drive. The area looked like a war zone and I was the only traveler on the road. I was majorly relieved when I finally pulled into the Hawk.
With renewed spirit, I began to shoot. I was greeted first by a handmade sign directing foot traffic. The boomerang at the top was a reminder that the couple met abroad in Australia.
My first stop was the groom’s room were he and the groomsmen were getting ready. Correction: they WERE ready. I was a little surprised because it was still early but my guess was that underneath it all a little bit of anxious nerves were at play. I was there in time to catch Sean giving the groomsmen gifts. It was a really important moment for him to individually thank each and every person there. As an employee at Saucony, he gave each guy a custom pair of shoes.
The bride and her ladies were having a pretty good time downstairs. Debbie from Vermont Country Flowers had just arrived with the beautiful bouquets. The colors were so romantic. And Emily attached a handwritten note to each vase to express her appreciation for each attendant.
After an approving hug from Dad, it was on to the big moment. The new ceremony site was wo sunny and pretty. The weather gods made up for the storm by blessing us with a fantastic day.
Sean had great expressions (and maybe a few tears) as Emily approached. Emily’s walk was amazing. She and her Dad rose into view from this hill and had a nice long walk together.
Right next to the ceremony site was a fabulous tree-lined hill, perfect for the group shots. Afterwards, the couple and I took a walk down a winding road dirt road. I think they enjoyed the time together. When we were done they were chauffeured back to the the Inn by golf cart.
The Australian touch carried over into the reception with boomerang place cards. The tent was so elegant. Everywhere were lanterns, birch branches, lots of white and accents of pale greens, plum and lavender.
The couple had an enthusiastic entrance and a very sweet first dance. The whole place teared up during the parent dances. You could tell by the toasts that Sean and Emily are very loved by friends and family.
The rest of the night rocked. That was due in part to Nick from Top Hat Entertainment. I love it when the most composed grooms end up having slick moves on the dance floor. The night was perfect. I think had the storm news not been shared, no one would have known that this wedding day was an “alternative” plan. It was elegant and intimate and beautiful. I’m so happy for Sean and Emily who deserved this wonderful day. And we were all so thankful for the folks at the Hawk and all the other vendors who pulled through to make the day so special.