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After fate placed Laura and Pete in the same dorm during their summer gigs on Nantucket, it didn’t take long to realize they’d be bunking together for the long haul. Fast-forward five happy years and the pair found themselves planning their wedding in the bride’s hometown of Stowe, Vermont.

In a gutsy move, Laura nixed hiring a wedding planner and instead armed herself with three key weapons: Emily Post’s sixth edition of Wedding Etiquette, a one-stop-shop venue to simplify arrangements and her very organized mother to rein in her Champagne taste. 

The result? A hitch-free wedding that mirrored the ease and understated elegance of the couple. Here’s how she did it.

RELATED: A Postmortem With A Real Bride About Her Florida Wedding

VT Wedding venue
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Picking the Venue

“Having everyone in one place for the entire weekend was priority number one. I wanted my family and friends right there the whole time, and not stressing about travel time and enjoying that extra glass of Champagne. As a result, we only looked at venues that offered accommodations for sleep, food, drink and activities. Which brought us to the Stowehof. This casual, funky hotel had a site fee of just a few hundred dollars, and the mountain views were the best we’d seen.”

VT Wedding dress
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Her 11th-Hour Dress “Miracle”

“I found a dress I loved at BHLDN, but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger at first. Upon my return appointment with some cheerleaders, the dress was end of line and out of stock. Super disappointed, I purchased my second-favorite option but set BHLDN as a bookmark on my iPad and continued to check weekly. Miraculously, my first love came back into stock with just two left! I bought it on the spot. I had exceeded the return period for the other dress (even after calling and begging them to help a girl out), so I ended up consigning and getting back about 50 percent of the sale price. The lesson here: If you love it, jump on it.”

VT Wedding 8
Jennifer Langille Photography

On the Realness of Wedding Dress Mobility

“This photo is not staged! Lining up the seams and keeping the layers of my dress from folding up on themselves was a nightlong task for me and my bridesmaids (thanks, guys). Spoiler: As much as I loved my gown, I was definitely happy to change into a short, breezy lace number after the first dance.”

heat
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Choosing a Theme and Running with It

“One detail that organically arose was a wheat motif. It’s a classic and kind of Victorian look that we had designed into our engagement ring together, and—unplanned—it ended up being a pattern on my dress. From there, we decided to roll with it and incorporate green wheat into our flowers, invitations and even our officiant’s address to us. It felt fresh and organic, and not at all cheesy.”

VT Wedding bridalparty
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Her Nontraditional Bridal Party

“Who says you have to have all groomsmen? Right from the get-go, we knew there would be a groomswoman in our party—Pete’s best friend, Alie—standing up there with him. So while my three bridesmaids wore Jenny Woo "Inesse" dresses in Morning Mist, Pete’s groomswoman donned it in Denmark Blue, which, yes, I picked out, not Pete. If he had his way, she would have wound up in a tailored jacket and sneakers (he loves Ellen…). Also, note the Bonobos suits, which looked so good. Pete has always sworn by Bonobos, but we converted a few newbies along the way, including my father, who went out and bought the same suit to match the boys!”

VT Wedding flowergirls
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Improvising in a Pinch

“Our shy little flower-girl troop of cousins and nieces were not into the throwing of petals. So at the last minute and with our florist still on site, our day-of coordinator (staffed as part of the Stowehof’s wedding package) improvised these little shoots of lavender tied with ribbon for them to carry instead.”

VT Wedding 6
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Their Double-Duty Escort Cards

“I wanted our wedding ‘favors’ to be things I would want to keep myself (so maybe not a personalized Champagne flute with someone else’s initials on it.) That’s how we came up with these bud vase escort cards. My mother has gorgeous penmanship and worked on the tags over the summer. We bought the assorted bud vases at Michaels. We were actually short a handful, so for about a month, we would stop at every Michaels we saw and pick up a few until we got to 100! But my favorite part was how the vases truly added to the tablescapes once people were seated. It was definitely a utility-meets-design moment.”

VT Wedding 9
Jennifer Langille Photography

...And the Double-Duty Decor

“One place where I really indulged my Pinterest fantasies was our ceremony decor. I was absolutely set on baby’s breath in sap buckets peppered with eucalyptus to line the aisles. While definitely cost-effective, I was still surprised by the quote when we first saw it. Filling each bucket required three to five bunches of baby’s-breath, which can run as much as $10 to $15 each. To give them extra legs, we ended up bringing the buckets into the tent after the ceremony to decorate around the tent poles and cocktail bar.”

VT Wedding Tablegreens1
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Cutting Costs of the Tablescapes

“We opted for elegant tablescapes made of flat-laid greens (eucalyptus and succulents), which were a third of the cost of individual table arrangements. Additionally, instead of using the tent company to rent runners, my mother cut costs in half—again—when she found this pretty, wide lace ribbon online. We had the florist cut them to fit on the day of, and when the bud vase escort cards joined the mix, they built up the tables with lots of color, texture and height.”

VT Wedding Cake
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Craft Stores Saving the Day

“Every tabletop decorating moment (aside from the flowers themselves) was handpicked at retail stores by my mother. Many, many visits to—yup—Michaels put us under budget on little things like the decorative metal lanterns alongside our wedding cake and the mercury glass votive holders topping our cocktail tables. Bonus for me? I got to keep everything and now have a spectacular collection of lanterns and votives for our home.”

VT Wedding DJ
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Originally Wanting a Band but Deciding on a DJ

“Trying to get a live band that fit our requirements proved to be difficult to schedule up north— too many weddings and not enough artists! So we played it safe and affordable by booking a D.J., and we got exactly what we wanted: disco, rock, jazz standards, top 100 and EDM.) No regrets.”

VT Wedding 3
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Making Big Decisions Early On

“My dream from the outset was a massive sail cloth tent and all festivities residing outdoors. However, due to the location of the kitchen on the opposite end of the hotel, we would have also needed a catering tent. Begrudgingly, I caved and agreed to have the dining indoors. This decision probably saved us $10K (!) all together, and I still got to have my dream tent for cake and dancing. By making big strategic decisions in the beginning (venue, D.J., outdoor vs. indoor dining) we were able to indulge in other things later on—like adding our photo booth, which was a big hit.”

 

VT Wedding Fireworks 1
Jennifer Langille Photography

On the Biggest Surprise Of the Night

“The biggest surprise of the night was that, without my knowledge, my parents had arranged for a fireworks display for us. The show went on forever—seriously, like Fourth of July long—and after it ended, the fire master came up to share in the moment. Turns out he was a family friend who had added a few extra fireworks to the package for us to enjoy. It was the best gift.”

VT Wedding 11
Jennifer Langille Photography

On Adding a Sweet Sendoff

"For a final touch, we set out lemon rosemary shortbread cookies on the gift table on your way up to your room. Pete’s mom is famous for this amazing recipe, so I asked her if she would mind contributing in that way. She baked us over a hundred cookies! After the event, people would say, 'What a wonderful celebration. Oh, and could you send me the recipe for those cookies?' I’m still getting emails.”

VT Wedding 111
Jennifer Langille Photography

On the Best Piece of Advice She Received

“Our photographer told us to go very slowly back up the aisle at the end of the ceremony: to look around at our guests, look back at the view and soak it all in, which sounded like an awkward thing to do at first. But as I started to make eye contact with my guests, I could see them light up and feel the deep joy of the group. When I turned around at the end as she requested, I was blown away by the entire scene, all my loved ones in full color against the trees, fields and mountains. Whoa! I realized I had totally beelined it to the altar without looking around. I'm so glad I didn't miss that.”

VT Wedding vendors
Jennifer Langille Photography

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