NEW YORK CITY HAD BEEN THEIR SHARED HOME FOR TWO years, but for Annie Nichols and Morgan Jones, a wedding in Vermont seemed almost inevitable. The couple had met there while both were sophomores at Middlebury College. And celebrating that anniversary six years later, they found themselves back almost where they started–not far from Middlebury, atop Vermont’s Mount Philo. Rushing to watch the sunset over the valley, they encountered a park ranger who warned them that the road to get back down would close in 10 minutes. As they sat taking in the view from a mountaintop picnic table, Morgan got down on one knee and proposed. In the rush of excitement that followed, he and Annie forgot all about the ranger’s warning–by the time they were ready to leave, a gate blocked the roadway and they had to find a park ranger to escort them down the mountain. “It was a beautiful sunset, though!” Annie recalls.
So, after a post-college history that included two years of commuting between New York City and Boston, where Annie had moved right after school, the couple began to plan the ceremony that would finally make them husband and wife. After choosing the Wilburton Inn, a 20-acre Victorian estate in Manchester Village, as the location, Annie planned a color scheme. The bridesmaids’ dresses would be green; the floral designer suggested bringing in shades of purple with the flowers and linens. It was an inspiration, Annie says, that “turned out to be gorgeous.” In fact, all the wedding professionals Annie worked with were “amazing,” she says. And the family that runs the Wilburton were “very welcoming, especially since we took over the entire inn for the weekend.”
The only real “tradition” the couple followed was not allowing the groom to see the bride in her dress before the ceremony–a challenge, given that they got dressed in rooms practically next door to each other. Morgan’s cousin Maggie Nemser, who had been ordained via the Internet, officiated at the ceremony. The couple’s siblings all did readings, one of which was a poem that Morgan had written to Annie while they were in college. Anotherspecial moment for Annie came when three college friends sang a song called “Heaven,” which they had performed with the Middlebury a cappella group.
One of Annie’s favorite parts of the wedding was actually the day before, when “everyone just played–tennis, soccer, whiffle ball. It was like camp. The setting was incredible.” The best part of the evening was that “every single person danced–and would have kept dancing if the band didn’t have to go home. It was a great party!” Even though it rained on the day of the wedding, the skies cleared for the ceremony and pictures, starting up again only once everyone was safely under the party tent. Having so many good friends and family members together for a whole weekend was perhaps what made the wedding most memorable, and Annie urges other brides to “make a weekend of it. It’s so rare to have all of those people in one place, and we had such a good time just hanging out a little amidst the craziness. We had many opportunities to see and talk to everyone, and I think it was less stressful to have everything all in one place.”