Tuesday Tips | Volume 20 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

Spring is here!  Really, really here!  I won't even tell you that it snowed last week...  we need to put that behind us and move on to sunny blue skies and lilacs.  Is that too much to ask for in May? :)  Our last entry was on bar service and what the laws are for a private home wedding in Vermont. As promised this week we will chat about the reasons I truly think you should hire a professional bar service even if you don't technically have to.  

Reasons To Hire A Professional Bar Service For Your Wedding

Like we mentioned above, in our last tip we learned about some of the reasons why you may not need to have a professional bar service at your wedding.  I'm sure this might like seem a great place to save money but before you get really excited I would love to chat more about the reasons why I strongly suggest you do hire a bar service for your big day and it has more to do with the amount of ice you will need to make it happen.... ice!  You have no idea how much ice you will need.  We are talking hundreds of pounds.  And where will you store it all?  OK, back to the list below....

1. A professional bar service will be able to guide you through the process of what is needed to fully stock the bar.  They understand what to buy and how much is needed.  They will come with everything it takes to make the day work and flow smoothly from the best local craft beers to your favorite wine, maybe your Dad's favorite scotch right down to the lemons, limes, cucumbers and mint.  

2. A professional bar services will set up and clean up for you. They will keep the bar area looking clean and organized.  They will haul away all the bottles at the end of the night too.  Take it from someone who hauled over a dozen very heavy barrels of bottle to the street after one wedding... this is huge! Not to mention, they are fast and efficient at what they do and keep your guests happy while moving them along so they can wait on the next guest.

3. Your professional bar service comes with an added bonus too which is a liability insurance policy.  They are licensed by the state and properly insured.  This comes back around to the homeowner too... last week we talked about the reasons why you wouldn't need to have this service but this might be the biggest reason why I would chose to use them.

4.  These bar services serve responsibly.  All of the bartenders and bar backs have been trained by the state.  They are able to detect when a guest may have had enough and when it's time to shut someone off.  They have no feelings involved, which is what you need.  It's a matter of keeping your guests safe and obeying the laws.

I know, some of you are still like, but Randi it might save us some money!  How hard could it be?

Let's also hear from Lindsey Leichthammer, the Director of Catering for The Farmhouse Group, who offers superb catering and bartending services throughout Vermont... she has a way of explaining it too.

        "There are a few reasons why it's best practice to hire a bar service for a wedding on your home and/or property. The first of which is safety. Bartenders aren't just there to pour your Moscow Mules, they provide trained supervision of your guests and monitor consumption for the safety of you and your guests.. Leaving your wedding guests open to judge their own consumption in such a festive environment can lead to many issues: from Uncle Billy asserting his dance moves with his tie securely around his forehead to more serious accidents or drunk driving. Second - stemming from possible accidents - is liability. Bar services are equipped with liability insurance to protect those involved. Otherwise the homeowner is subject to liability for anything that should occur where liquor is being served. Lastly, time is money. A big motivator for the DIY bar is "I can go to New Hampshire, skip the taxes and avoid the markup" However, that also requires transport, storage, chilling of product at east 24 hours in advance (and the ice to do that) ice on the day of (4-600lbs!) the cleanup, recycling removal, etc. Throwing a backyard BBQ for 30 guests and supplying the bar is one thing, but a formal or semi formal affair with 200 of your closest pals is worlds away. Remember that time is money - Don't underestimate how long it takes to secure, set up, break down and clean up any alcohol related items. Having a bar service move everything IN and OUT, as well as provide service to your guests throughout the event, may relive numerous headaches and stress. The week of your wedding, you want to be focused on hosting all of your friends and family, not becoming frantic about foamy kegs with party taps."

And there you have it.  Words of wisdom, not only from me, but also the legendary Lindsay Leichthammer who besides running the catering division over at Farmhouse Group is also the President of Vermont Association of Wedding Professionals.  See!  She's a Vermont Wedding Industry Superstar!  I wouldn't quote anyone less.  Take it from us, hiring a professional bar service on your wedding day might just be the best thing you could do!  You'll thank us later.

Come back next week for a fresh new tip.  ~Randi


Tuesday Tips | Volume 19 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

Do We Need To Hire A Bar Service For Our Vermont Wedding? 

This is a question that we often get asked.  But let's break it down to a specific example, a wedding at your home or on your private property.  This is the question we MOST often get asked.   Do we really need to pay a bar service to work the wedding if it's in our backyard?  That's they key, 'in our backyard' or at my parents home, you get the picture.  The answer is technically, no.  No, you do not NEED to hire a bar service if the wedding is being held at your home or on your private property. Title 7 VSA Section 61 states "The only place you can furnish alcohol without a license is in your own home" (A person, partnership, association, or corporation shall not furnish or sell, or expose or keep with intent to sell, any malt or vinous beverages, spirits, or fortified wines, or manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, prescribe, furnish, or possess any alcohol, except as authorized by this title. However, this chapter shall not apply to the furnishing of such beverages or spirits by a person in his or her private dwelling unless such dwelling becomes a place of public resort...)

Now that we know that you do not need to hire a bar service for a wedding at your home in Vermont, let's talk about all the reasons why I strongly suggest that you DO hire a bar service, next week....

Tuesday Tips | Volume 18 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

Greetings from Vermont!  I wish I could say Spring has arrived but it definitely has not.  It's been snowing off and on for the last ten day with temps still hovering around freezing.  Honestly, it's getting old at this point.  Last week though was a bright spot in our long cold weeks.  I had the chance to take a seminar on the Vermont Liquor Laws at Sugarbush Resort.  (On a complete side note, Sugarbush is a great venue place to get married at.) Back to the topic at hand...  It's always good to stay on top of the liquor laws in VT.  I'm here today, to share a tip from that seminar...

Serving Alcohol at Your Vermont Wedding

Today's tip is short and sweet.  Did you know that there are four dry towns in Vermont where the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited?  I didn't.  These towns are Athens in Windham County, Baltimore in Windsor County, Holland in Orleans County and Maidstone in Essex County.  This information can come in handy when planning your wedding in Vermont. 

More tips on the Vermont liquor laws next week.  

Tuesday Tips | Volume 17 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

The Best Way To Stretch Your Wedding Day Budget

Let's face it, weddings are expensive.  We often have couples ask us for ways to save money on their day so that they stay within their budget.  They've often been told by a well meaning friend or family member to ask for local, 'in season' flowers... this does not save you money in Vermont, that is for sure.  It's been suggested that they just purchase a 'cutting sheet cake' but really, it's your wedding day.  Do you want to serve a sheet cake?  I've heard that you can cut back on food... just no, to this suggestion.  You do not want hungry guests who spend the night drinking more to fill themselves up.   

Most of our clients have a vision, "the vision", the one that they have been planning and dreaming about.  Expectations are high on your wedding day.  You want it as close to perfect as possible.  This is probably the most expensive celebration you will ever have.  So how do you save on your wedding day without drastically compromising on your vision?  You cut the guest list. It's as simple as that, you cut back the number of guests you plan to invite.

Let me give you an example of how this breaks down.  If you have a budget of $75,000, which is pretty average; and let's say you have and estimated 150 guests.  That's a budget of about $500 per person.  As you are talking to vendors you realize that in order to have the day you want you are going to need at least $80,000. So where do you cut to get the budget back into the 75,000 range?  Do you cut out the stationary appetizer table?  No, that's definitely not going to make for happy wedding guests.  Do you cut the photographer?  Obviously not.  Do you go with a cash bar?  Guests will probably not appreciate that either, after traveling all the way to Vermont.  So the easiest thing to do is to cut your guest list back by a few.  If you cut 10 guests you would have approximately $4,000, maybe a little more.  You wouldn't have $5000 extra because some of your pricing is fixed like your venue, attire or photography costs.  But you would save on food, bar, flowers, linens, tables, place settings and transportation not to mention favors and invitations. Every little bit counts.  And you wouldn't compromise your vision. So remember...  when looking to save on your wedding day consider cutting the number of guests before you consider anything else.

I'll be back next week with another tip for your Vermont wedding.  ~Randi

Tuesday Tips | Volume 16 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

The Wedding Dress Code

 A black tie optional wedding at  Hildene .  Photo by  Daria Bishop Photography .

A black tie optional wedding at Hildene.  Photo by Daria Bishop Photography.

The Wedding Dress Code.  Black Tie Optional or maybe it's Festive Cocktail Attire. Those little words on the bottom of the invitation that hold so much weight. What do they mean?  Which one should you choose for your wedding?  Do you need one at all?  Assigning a dress code to your day is definitely not mandatory but it does help your guests to know what is expected of them.  Let's break it down below.

White Tie

White Tie is the most formal and I'm betting we won't see many of these at Vermont weddings.  White tie is mostly reserved for royal weddings, (Still waiting on my invite for May 19th) and diplomatic galas. We would see the ladies in formal full length ball gowns and the gentlemen in tailcoats with a white waist coat and white bow tie.

Black Tie

Black Tie means this wedding is a formal affair.  Black Tie is not as strict as White Tie but does have a few rules.  The gentlemen would be wearing a black tux, style of their choosing and the ladies would be in a formal full length gown or very fancy cocktail dress.

Black Tie Optional

Here in Vermont we often see Black Tie Optional weddings.  If you find this dress code on your next wedding invitation you should choose formal attire.  The wedding party will most definitely be in full length gowns and tuxedos.  Gentlemen would have the option to wear a nice suit, preferably dark in color, or a tuxedo and the ladies would again, be in a full length gown or cocktail dress.

Cocktail Attire | Festive Attire | Semi-Formal

All three of these codes mean very similar things.  Your bride and groom are hoping you join them in festive attire that is not black tie.  We would suggest a nice suit, in any color, for the gentleman with a neck tie or bow tie of your choice and a cocktail dress for the ladies.  


We don't see many Casual Dress options for our weddings in Vermont but if you do, feel free to wear anything at all, within reason.  Ladies may want to wear a causal dress or maybe a sundress while the gentlemen could be in a button down shirt, with no tie, jacket optional.  

If you choose to apply a dress code to your wedding make sure to chat with your invitation designer so this little detail does not get missed.  I look forward to hearing which one you choose.  Reach out today so we can talk more about the dress code options and how they may apply to your day.  Click the button below to start the conversation.

Tuesday Tips | Volume 15 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

Greeting from a STILL cold and snowy Vermont.  Are you wondering if I wrote this a few months ago?  Nope, it's March 20th.  But don't you worry, Spring will be here, soon, maybe, I hope.   Sometimes winter likes to hold on here for the skiers but I do hope the daffodils are popping up very soon.  Last week we chatted about the Groom's attire.  Without a doubt, I feel like this subject is just as important as what our bride is wearing.  So let's continue on the topic of Groom's attire.

Wearing A Tuxedo On Your Wedding Day

Last week we chatted about wearing a suit to your wedding.  This week we will focus on the tuxedo. The tuxedo is the formal brother of the suit. When deciding to wear a tuxedo on your wedding day you should consider the location of the wedding and what the bride is wearing.  Typically the only difference between a suit and a tuxedo is the presence of silk satin lapels and stripe down the side of the trousers.  So, should you wear a tuxedo? There are no hard fast rules anymore but usually tuxedos are worn on very special days.  Your wedding day is that very special day.  There is nothing quite as sharp as a custom made tuxedo like the ones you see on Alexander and his brothers, in the above image.  Once you decide to have a tuxedo custom made, you will need to work with a designer on the stye that you like best.  But don't worry, they will walk you right through the process and the fittings. You will also need a few accessories to complete the look. You will need to decide on the type of jacket lining you like best to really personalize the look along with a formal collared shirt; the most common options being the the wing tip or spread collar. You'll also need to decide on the cuff style, sock and tie options.  For cuffs, I personally think the french look very sharp.  As for ties, while there is no rule you must wear a bow tie with a tux, you should.  A bow tie just looks great. It's a statement piece to pull the tux together.  Traditionally you would go black or white but these days patterns are very popular too.  And from here you can talk to your tuxedo designer about suspenders, shoe options and pocket square among other things.  Consider the tuxedo an investment, just like a wedding dress but with a big perk.  With a tux there is a good chance you will wear it again, like at your next black tie affair, where as wedding dresses are often cleaned and tucked away for safe keeping and future generations.  Of course, renting a tuxedo is always an option.  If you decide to rent, reach out to a local tuxedo rental shop in your area for help with the process.  

That last statement brings me to our topic for next week...  Dress Code.  

One of our recent grooms highly recommended 9Tailors in Boston for custom tuxedos.


Tuesday Tips | Volume 14 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

Daylight savings is finally here.  Last night it was still light out at 6:30 PM.  Now if Mother Nature would only turn off this snow.  We are at the start of our third Nor'easter in three weeks.  I do think my girls will be thrilled to get in a few more days of sledding though.  As we inch closer to wedding season we've had a lot of our couples asking for help on the grooms attire.  So today let's tackle one option, the suit.

Wearing A Suit on Your Wedding Day

Let's get right to it.  When deciding to wear a suit on your wedding day a few things should be considered; the location of the wedding and what the bride is wearing.  Once you have decided that a suit would work, you will need to decide on the best location to purchase or have it custom made. The biggest advantage to wearing a suit on your wedding day is that you will have many opportunities to reuse it after the day is over. Consider the suit a long term investment. Unless you often attend black tie affairs, a suit might the perfect answer for your day.  In Vermont we see a mix of 60% suits and 40% tuxes. Tradition says you should strongly consider a deep navy or charcoal suit with black shoes. You can see in the above picture, shot at Topnotch Resort in Stowe, Vermont, that, Atang, our dashing groom, nailed this rule.  All of the the guys in his wedding were on point with their attire.  Ideally, when thinking about a suit you should think timeless and classic over trendy.  Often it's best to add a white shirt and classic tie to the suit.  If you want to be a bit more formal you can consider a vest.  A few ways to express yourself and really make the look  'all yours' would be to consider cool socks, suspenders or a bowtie; but please, I beg of you to never wear flip flops on your wedding day.  My last piece of advice that I feel very strongly about... have your suit custom made or tailored by a professional.  It makes a huge difference! 

Atang's suit was custom made at Blank Label in Boston. Our couple mentioned that Blank Label was great to work with too.

Let's chat about the tuxedo next week.

Tuesday Tips | Volume 13 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

Hello from Vermont! This week our hearts are with our friends in Scituate who were pummeled by the high surf from the Nor'easter over the weekend. I hope everyone has time to secure their homes before the next storm moves in tomorrow. OK, let's talk about something near and dear to my heart... flowers, more importantly, a bridal bouquet.  During my floral design years, making the bridal bouquet was always the highlight of my week.  It was the icing on the cake for sure. This week let's chat about how to hold your bouquet so it looks great on video or in pictures.  

How To Hold Your Bridal Bouquet

How to hold your bridal bouquet.  Seems like such an easy thing to do, doesn't it?  It is, but with a little guidance we can make sure you have it positioned in your pictures so it doesn't cut off your dress or draw attention to an area you would rather not.  I've always felt it was so much easier to explain this technique in person when handing off a bouquet to a bride.  You should loosely hold the bouquet with two hands close to the flowers, high up on the stems. You should relax your arms and let your elbows point out slightly while your arms were bent just a bit more than 90 degrees.  When we were in the bouquet making business we always placed a pearl pin in the back as a guide so that you would know you had the back facing you.  If your thumb was on that pin then the best side was always facing forward.  Like I said, it's so much easier to show you how to do this in person.  Thankfully for us one of Vermont's premiere floral designers Sarah Jo Willey of Creative Muse Floral Design has a video about this very topic.  Sarah Jo truly is an expert in this field and she has valuable insight.  Pay close attention as we hit the 2:30 mark.

Special thanks to SJ  for sharing her video with me.

Tuesday Tips | Volume 12 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

Good Morning!  My name is Randi Nonni and I am addicted to talking about Vermont weather.  Just ask my husband.  If you think it's bad in the winter, well, you have no idea how obsessive I become during wedding season.  There is not a weather app or weather man who is safe from me.  I look at my phone easily every 10 minutes leading up to a ceremony just in case trouble is on the horizon...   But today has nothing to do with weather.  Although, since I know you're probably dying to hear... it's warmish, OK warm may be a stretch, it's not freezing, and the sun is out and the sky is a glorious shade of blue.  I saw a few robins in my front yard too!  We all know what the return of the robin means;  it's means wedding season is fast approaching!  Alright, so back to the topic at hand; who can marry you and what will we do with that license that we talked about last week in How to Make Your Marriage Legal in Vermont

How To Make Your Marriage Legal In Vermont, Continued

There are many people that can legally marry you in the state of Vermont.  You can be married by a justice of the peace or an ordained or licensed member of the clergy, a supreme court justice, a superior court judge, a district judge or an assistant judge.  The ordained clergy member must reside in Vermont or in an a adjoining state if the church, temple mosque or other religious organization lies wholly or partly in Vermont.  In addition to all that we have listed, any person who is at least 18 years of age may register with the Vermont Secretary of State to become a temporary officiant for the day.  There is a fee of $100 associated with becoming a temporary officiant in Vermont.  You will send your fee in along with the necessary application.  Vermont law does not require you have a 'witness' but some religions may so let's talk more about this later.

After the ceremony is over, what do you we do with the license?  Well, for starters, give the license to your officiant before the ceremony.  They must have the license before the ceremony can be performed.  After the ceremony your officiant will fill in all of the needed information and sign the license.  At this point your license becomes a marriage certificate. Your officiant will return the certificate to the town clerk's office where it was issued within 10 days after the wedding.  The town clerk will officially register the marriage.  If your officiant had to register with the Secretary of State as a temporary officiant, a copy of the certificate of authority issued by that office, should be attached to the signed license and returned to the clerk's office.  The certificate is not a legal document until it has been officially recorded by the town clerk's office where it was purchased.  

Does this sound like a lot of detail to keep straight?  Just reach out to me today and I will walk you through it.  Also, it helps to have an experienced, well versed and knowledgable officiant from the state of Vermont to help, such as Annie Alexander-Kramer. She's been performing ceremonies for over 18 years and is a wealth of information.  She's seen it all and I'm positive she would be an asset to your day. 

Let's talk more about your ceremony soon.  Click below to chat with me.