Real Wedding: Jenny & Michael

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East Burke, Vermont

Vermont has always held a special place in the hearts of Jenny Feldman and Mike LaRocque.

They first met in Burlington over the Independence Day weekend in 2006. Their first kiss happened on Lake Champlain, with fireworks bursting in the sky above them. Jenny, a New Yorker who had grown up spending long ski weekends in Vermont, couldn’t imagine a more perfect place to get married, while Mike, having grown up in Swanton, was already well aware of the area’s many charms. When Jenny accepted Mike's proposal during a Champagne picnic at a state park off the Taconic Parkway in the summer of 2008, there was no question in either of their minds that the wedding celebration would take place in Vermont. “We knew we wanted a Vermont wedding because there is no state more beautiful,” says Jenny with heartfelt simplicity.

Jenny had always dreamed of having a traditional Vermont barn wedding that would combine equal parts rustic charm and elegance. She decided to act as her own wedding planner, meticulously overseeing all the details for the ceremony and reception. For her starting point, Jenny began with the décor, choosing a natural color scheme grounded with a neutral, gold-hued wheat shade and highlighted with rich reds drawn from ranunculus blossoms and misty blues pulled from French lavender and blue delphiniums. With the help of her talented florist, she filled wooden boxes with miniature crabapples and stalks of wheat and hung hundreds of milk-jug candles from the barn’s ceiling to give the entire setting a soft, warm glow. Instead of table numbers, Jenny bought seed packets from a nursery and named each table after a flower or vegetable. One extra-long center table ran down the middle of the barn, while smaller round tables were set up in the barn stalls. A monogram of the bride and groom’s initials was sewn with flowers onto a piece of burlap, which hung from a refreshment stand where warm cider was served out of a cast-iron cauldron. Doubling as both seating cards and favors, gift bottles of Vermont maple syrup with handwritten nametags were arranged on a long table. “It was magical to see how the decorations transformed everything,” Jenny says. The barn turned out exactly as Jenny had intended — a beautifully appointed space with plenty of country whimsy.

During the intimate outdoor ceremony, guests perched comfortably on muslin-covered hay bales, and custom-printed ceremony programs and pashmina shawls were arranged in galvanized buckets.

Folk singer Marie Claire, accompanied by musician Brett Hughes, played Bob Dylan's “Forever Young” as the bride walked down the aisle. Though Jenny envisioned an elegant wedding, she also wanted her wedding celebration to be a fun experience for guests of all ages. Instead of a typical cake, they created a casual dessert bar. Later, a piñata filled with candies and playful chocolate liquor bottles dangled from an obliging beam, waiting to be broken open by intrepid guests, and the catering staff passed out miniature ice-cream cones. Mike’s nephew, the couple’s ring bearer, delighted Jenny and Mike with a special fiddle performance. The atmosphere was sophisticated while remaining comfortable and inviting.

“I loved the fact that we were able to have a celebration that was elegant but relaxed and child-friendly at the same time,” says Jenny. “Our wedding managed to be a joy for both adults and kids.”

Jenny credits her terrific vendors, including Spice of Life Catering and Blomma Flicka Flowers, with helping make her dream wedding a reality and encourages other brides not to be afraid to seem like a micromanager when it comes to having the wedding they’ve always dreamed of. “Your vendors will appreciate how specific you are about what you want, and there will be no unwanted surprises on the big day,” she says.

Jenny’s Tips:
1) You can have a child ~ friendly wedding without sacrificing style if you plan carefully. get ideas from your vendors on ways to involve children to keep them happy and entertained ~ you'll be amazed at what they come up with.

2) Don't let the little things take up your time ~ delegate small , simple tasks to those willing to help so you can focus on the big decisions.

{Other professionals}
Invitations: Cheree Berry Paper
Logo design: BetsyWhite
Photograhy: Sven Lindahl | Julia Drapkin