- 5 years ago
- Wedding: September 2013 - The Skinner Barn
Hey there bees! My husband and I got married in Waitsield, Vermont almost 6 months ago and then I dropped off of the Weddingbee Earth lol. When I was trying to plan my Vermont wedding, I noticed that there wasn’t a whole lot of information out there about vendors. That being said, I wanted to make sure that I got back on here and gave you a little run-down of the vendors I used. I hope this is helpful to some of you planning your own weddings in beautiful Vermont 🙂
Venue: The Skinner Barn
I had read some less than favorable reviews about The Skinner Barn, particularly its owner Peter, and was really hesitant to choose this as my wedding venue. I learned that you can’t believe everything you read. Peter was such a big help on our wedding day. He was there to offer advice on decor and ceremony organization and even lent my dad a shirt when he absentmindedly forgot to pack one. He also helped one of my recently-injured relatives get up and down the walkway outside by loading him in the back of his car. A serious lifesaver.
I was also originally put off by the site fee and the exclusive vendors for catering and rentals. It was a bit pricey but I feel as though it was well worth it. The service provided all-around was spectacular. I couldn’t have picked a more beautiful venue for my wedding and I’m so glad that we made the choice to go with The Skinner Barn.
Planner/Coordinator: Jackie Watson at VT Enchanted Events
If you are on the fence about whether you need a wedding coordinator/planner, jump on over the fence and hire one. Better yet, hire Jackie. I was originally drawn to Jackie because she offered a military discount and we are a budget-conscious military couple. Jackie ended up being the best money we spent when it came to our wedding.
I planned most of the wedding from out of state, visiting Vermont twice during the entire planning process. Jackie went far beyond her duties as a day-of-coordinator and was happy to offer me vendor suggestions, coordinate vendors, and make sure everything was in place while we were hundreds of miles away. The networking she has done with vendors in the area is invaluable. She was always able to find us someone who was in our budget who we never would have been able to find through a simple google search. Jackie always responded to emails promptly and addressed every issue before I even knew an issue was present.
Jackie is the reason that our wedding wasn’t a complete mess. I’m one of those brides who has a lot of ideas but can’t figure out how to organize them. The morning of the wedding I was able to drop off my bags and boxes of random decorations and while I sat in hair and makeup, Jackie and her team turned our venue into my dream reception. She even brought some of her own items (shepherd’s hooks, votives, etc) saving me even more money. I turned into an anxious mess as soon as the wedding started and Jackie was able to calm me immediately.
I really can’t thank Jackie enough for making my dream a reality. Your wedding day truly does fly right by and knowing that there was someone else there handling the small stuff really allowed me to focus on the important things.
Caterer: Catering by Dale
I will start off by saying that the food provided by Catering by Dale was spectacular. Everything was delicious and even my pickiest friends and family stuffed themselves. My sister couldn’t stop raving about the vegetarian vegetable stacks with polenta and my friends are still talking about the pumpkin curry soup served at cocktail hour. The staff was so friendly and invited everyone up for seconds. The day-of experience really was great.
That being said, it was nearly impossible to get in touch with CBD before the wedding. I was planning the wedding from a distance and it often took Dale over a week to respond to my emails. There was no contract to sign, the menu was printed in all caps, and the client questionnaire was a confusing mess. I didn’t find this to be very professional and it was extremely frustrating.
Since posting the original review you see above on Weddingwire I have been contacted by Catering by Dale. They said that they have taken steps to make their communications smoother and more client-friendly and I believe that these improvements will make them a really top-notch vendor.
Bar Services: The Hyde Away Inn
Bruce at The Hyde Away Inn ended up saving our butts after the bar supplier we had previously hired went out of business a couple of months before our wedding. I immediately got in contact with Bruce, signed a contract, and went in to meet him and pick drinks a month before the wedding. Working with Bruce was simple. He had no problem offering the beer and wine only bar we wanted and helped us pick the drinks that would both please our guests and stick to our budget. Our guests seemingly always had a drink in hand and we still ended up with a bill under 2k for the entire cocktail hour and reception. We were definitely pleased with their service and would recommend them.
Florist: New Leaf Organics
Getting our flowers from New Leaf Organics was a great value. We had contacted other florists in the area and got quotes that were way out of budget for a couple of simple bouquets and small table decorations of in-season flowers. Our planner put us in contact with New Leaf and we were thrilled. All of the flowers were beautiful and looked like they were picked right from the garden. I really hadn’t given them many guidelines (whites, browns, and greens; no specific flowers) and I ended up thrilled with the final result. I’m so glad that I left it up to their expertise. I will say that the flowers arrived missing corsage pins so it might be worth checking for missing pieces when the flowers first got there. I don’t know how the situation got resolved because my planner handled it but I know that it wasn’t a very big deal. I would definitely recommend New Leaf for event flowers.
DJ: El Folio
We had such an effortless experience with Evan and would definitely recommend his services. We are a military couple and loved that El Folio had military discount, However, even without the discount he is an amazing value. Evan responds quickly via email, my preferred method of communication. I was able to plan all of the musical aspects of the reception using the online planner, which was a lot of fun. Everything was set up in plenty of time for the reception and Evan was easily able to gauge what our guests wanted to hear. He was only on the mic when necessary, which was a nice change from a lot of wedding djs I’ve heard. El Folio was worth every penny and then some.
We also had Evan record our ceremony. My grandmother was unable to make the trip for the wedding but I wanted her to be able to see it. Evan didn’t charge much for this service so we took advantage of it. We are glad we did. It was nothing fancy (in fact, my friends later informed me that one of the cameras used was an iPhone lol) but it was definitely worth it. My parents received the DVD while we were still on our honeymoon and a small error on the video (wrong names used) was corrected immediately. It was definitely worth it.
Photographer: Jonathan Couture Photography
This is the one vendor that I really had a rough time writing a review for. That is because I had such a bad experience with him. After reading so many rave reviews on Weddingwire and hearing the recommendations from my coordinator/planner, I’ve come to chalk this up to a clash of personalities. I had planned to have all of our couple/family photos done before the wedding but this ended up not happening. Part of this was a timing issue on my part, but I also felt as though Jonathan was not efficient in completing the photos. I had sent him an organized shot list, as he requested, but instead of printing it out for easy access he kept referencing his phone. Not only did this look unprofessional but it took time for him to turn the phone on, put in the password, reaccess the document, and find his place. My entire family became impatient and it really put a damper on the mood.
When we inevitably had to take photos after the ceremony, I was already not a happy camper. Due to the layout of the venue, we ended up awkwardly taking photos in front of guests and missing the entire cocktail hour. I feel as though Jonathan fed off of my frustration and became frustrated in return and it ended up being a disastrous cycle that no bride needs on their wedding day. Some of my friends even commented to me lately that he was rude to them. If not for the comfort of my new husband and my planner, I can’t guarantee that this native New Yorker wouldn’t have completely blown a gasket. Still, I hoped that we would have some good pictures to look at later.
A couple of weeks later I anxiously awaited the arrival of our photos. When they didn’t arrive, I emailed Jonathan and found out that he had sent us an old copy of his contract. He had meant to send one that said we would get our photos in a month, not the the two weeks listed on our contract. While I understand that a month is a perfectly reasonable amount time of time to wait for wedding photos, I had planned to create our thank you cards using a photo from our wedding and the fast turnaround that Jonathan had offered was one of the reasons why we decided to hire him in the first place. I requested that he honor his contract and finish the photos as soon as possible and, though he seemed annoyed, we had the photos a few days later.
When I received the photos, I was in tears. Our family photos were a mess, with everyone awkwardly posed six inches away from each other. It took five hours of photoshop to put together a family Christmas card photo where everyone was close together and smiling. We barely had any pictures of our guests and half of the photos of the two of us were unusable. I was most frustrated by the awkward cropping of some of the photos we loved. There were quite a few photos cropped into a square, pretty much making them unframable. I was able to contact Jonathan and have him send us some of the uncropped photos and the color versions of the black and white photos he sent but it was a longer, more stressful process than I would have hoped for. We were also missing key detail photos that I had specifically asked for on our shot list (invitations, bouquet with groom’s dog tags) so I was less than pleased.
It took me a couple of months to be able to look at our wedding photos and feel joy. We have fallen in love with a select few photos and have used them to decorate our home but I would not wish my photography experience on anyone. Perhaps with a less crunched timeline and a more carefree attitude I would have had a better experience but at this time I can’t recommend Jonathan and his services.
Engagement Photos – Ampersand Photography
Grade – A
When Jonathan Couture Photography was unavailable to take engagement photos for us, we turned to our planner for a recommendation and she mentioned Ampersand Photography. We met with Ellen on a super cold winter day and she was totally down for going out to some random field and stomping around in the snow with us. We had a really great time with her and this resulted in genuine smiles in our photos. We had about 100 pictures emailed to us a day or so later and they ended up being some of our favorite photos of us. If I could go back in time, I would have shelled out a little bit of extra money and hired Ampersand for our wedding.
Hair and Makeup: Sarah Crowley of Finishing Touch VT
Getting ready with Sarah the morning of the wedding was so much fun. We started bright and early and were done with plenty of time before the ceremony. Sarah was calm, flexible, and extremely organized. Every single one of my bridesmaids was thrilled with the look she was able to give them and I couldn’t have been happier about my hair and makeup. In fact, when my husband saw me during our first look he immediately said “I love your hair”. That’s definitely saying something. I was thrilled to see how everything looked in our photos and that it stayed in place through most of the reception. Sarah even took the time to do some quick hair and lip gloss for our five year old step-niece who was hanging out with us in the bridal suite. Our niece was wide eyed and couldn’t stop taking about her “princess hair”. It’s moments like that that really stick with you. I would absolutely recommend her to brides looking for a mobile hair and makeup service.
Cake: Sweet Crunch Bakeshop
I didn’t quite realize how far away Sweet Crunch was when we ordered our cake. Unfortunately, we had the hardest time finding someone who would make a small, 8″ sweetheart cake for under $100. Sweet Crunch made us a vanilla cake with maple frosting for under $20. It didn’t travel all that well (on my sister’s lap in the car) and didn’t look super fancy by the time it got to us, but it was a delicious cake and did its job.
Rentals: Weddings, Tents & Events
At the time of the wedding, Weddings, Tents & Events was the exclusive rentals vendor for The Skinner Barn. I will say that picking out chairs and linens and silverware was an overwhelming but enjoyable experience for me. The consultants were so relaxed and organized and I had a great time working with them in their showroom. They had a deal worked out with the venue so drop off was the day before and pickup was the day after the event. The only negative that I woould really give them is that they didn’t have a huge selection when it came to rustic furniture and decor, which you would think would be popular in the area. I was unable to find a ceremony arch that we liked and ended up just settling for plastic ceremony chairs because they didn’t offer benches or brown garden chairs. Still, I felt that they had a decent inventory and would recommend them.