Finding the Ultimate Reception Venue

mountaintop-innFirst off, I promise not to turn this into a wedding blog but since I’ve just started planning a wedding, I can’t resist telling you about the beginnings of my venue hunt. Mike and I have decided to have a winter wedding in central Vermont: the area where we first joined a ski house together four years ago. Between the mountains, rivers, covered bridges, and maple syrup farms, there is really no place cuter.

And the epitome of VT quaintness? The town of Woodstock.

Luxury-hotels-woodstockWoodstock was the first stop on our list of potential locations. We have always loved this village. The 18th-century architecture, the stream that passes under the main street, the antique lamp posts, cheese shops, and boutiques all combine to make it one of my favorite places in the whole country (and I’ve driven across the U.S. twice). The town is full of charming bed-and-breakfasts, but to accommodate 150 guests for the ceremony well need something bigger than a quaint courtyard. The Woodstock Inn is definitely the largest and grandest hotel in town, so we had to check it out.

Though the Woodstock Inn is quintessentially small-town Vermont, the suites feel fresh and sophisticated (i.e., no wooden ducks and twig wreaths); if I could choose any rooms for our guests to stay in, it would be these. While I could definitely imagine a gorgeous wedding in the inn’s ballroom, we realized that if we were going to have a wedding in the Green Mountains, we needed to embrace what Vermont does best: the great outdoors.

Stone fireplace On to the Mountaintop Inn (pictured here and top)! Set on 350 acres of forest and perched above a massive reservoir, this Chittenden property was recommended by my dear friend Erin (who actually introduced Mike and me–good omen). Offering ice skating, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and horse-drawn sleigh rides, this hotel definitely appeals to Mike and my former-camp-counselor sensibilities. The inn’s decor is bit rustic for this L.A. girl, but the space is supremely cozy, with lodging options that just couldn’t be better. Couples can stay in the lake-view suites, while groups of friends can rent three-to-five-bedroom chalet homes on the property for as little as $55 a person.

Though we are leaning heavily toward the Mountaintop Inn for a winter wedding, the experience of hunting for venues is too good to rush. Looking for reception sites is probably the best excuse to sample all the hotels you’ve ever dreamed of visiting, and I’m going to soak up every moment.

Do you know any great hotels, farms, barns, mountain peaks in Vermont that you think could work well for a wedding? If so, wed love to hear them!