Happy Holidays from Mountain Meadows Lodge!
Wedding Planning - Part 1

Now that our 2014 "wedding season" is complete, we are really looking forward to the 2015 season and hosting your wedding! We have a little lull before Killington gets busy with the winter ski season so it's a good time for maintenance projects and writing the newsletter.  And some travel: Bill and Anne are anxiously awaiting the birth of their second granddaughter who is due Dec 23. We will go to our daughter's house in WV and stay through Christmas. Hopefully the baby will make her appearance on time!  All five of our children and their spouses will be with us there. A rare treat indeed!  Our wedding coordinator, Lauren, has exciting news as well - she got engaged and is looking forward to planning her own wedding! 

We hope many of you can make it to Mountain Meadows Lodge to enjoy the beautiful Vermont winter and maybe even do some wedding planning! We're happy to sit down with you and discuss your event when you come.  It's 50% off lodging if you come and stay overnight.

Read on for some wedding planning tips and please visit the website and use the search box as a handy way to find some guidance.  There are loads of reviews from this past wedding season on WeddingWire as well.

And keep an eye out for more newsletters.  A message from Lauren and one that I am thinking of calling "How to make your guests feel welcome".

We figure it's the holiday season and you're probably getting together with friends and family, so it's likely that the subject of YOUR WEDDING (!!!) will come up.  And since you might be planning (or fielding questions from relatives)...we wanted to send out a few tidbits in this newsletter that will help you think about some plans for your big event here at Mountain Meadows Lodge...  What follows are some answers to frequently asked questions or topics that tend to come up -- and while not everything here will apply to your event, hopefully there may be some things in here that will help. 

The highest priority item is probably your SAVE-THE-DATE communication to your guests.  Announce the weekend and the nature of the event (so they know it's a weekend-long affair). Here are some samples
 or do it via email.

 

Then there are 5 other high priority items (as they apply to you) because they affect booking calendars.

  • Interview DJs / bands and get an idea of their advance bookings
  • Interview some Justice of the Peace/Ministers and get on their calendar
  • Decide if you want to do overflow lodging at neighboring inns and give those inns a call to get a block of rooms on their calendar
  • Do a draft of your rooming list.  We've already received calls from some of your guests looking to make their lodging arrangements.  In most cases we can't help them without your rooming list. More on this below.
  • Narrow down your list of photographers, check out their web pages to get a sense of what they offer, get a couple of quotes.

Another item worth considering is "wedding insurance",  Here's a link for a description to get you started. 

Here's a list of recommended services

If you do a wedding web page, let us know, so I can add a link here since some of your guests will find their way to that page.  Congrats to Olivia and Jim who just sent us the first link to a 2015 wedding web page!  

Decorations  Here's a note from one of our past brides: For MML Brides coming from Western Mass (or if you like a road trip!) there is a bridal consignment group and they've announced their next "flea market" in April 2015 in Easthampton, MA

Rooming list  These documents will help you: locations, room list.  Work on a 'draft' or a 'wish list' at this point, but it will help us know where to place people as they call.  

Here are some ideas/guidelines: 

  • You might want parents or wedding party in the upgraded rooms overlooking the balcony.
  • You may know of people who will prefer to have two beds in a room rather than one.
  • You may want older folks who might need to get away from the party to lodge in the farm house.
  • You might want folks with mobility issues to have a first floor room.
  • You may recognize that some young people will be able to crowd into one of our rooms with many beds so that they can enjoy the convenience of staying at Mountain Meadows Lodge and they will save money on lodging arrangements
  • You may know of people that you'd prefer to stay offsite (at the Greenbrier) or they themselves would prefer to stay offsite.

Keep in mind that the room assignments do not have to be set in stone.  It's likely that most of your guests will be flexible. And of course we recognize that you're doing this without having RSVPs returned.  Typically we see that the rooming list gets adjusted as you start to get responses from people - and this is not a problem for us.

Campers. Campers can stay on site for $22 per person per night and this includes breakfast. We don't have actual campsites, but we can give them an area of the lawn that is tucked away. For bathroom facilities they can use the lodge bathrooms or better yet, we ask that they coordinate with one of the guests in the lodge to use their bathroom. If there are a lot of campers we ask you to set aside (and pay for) a guest room in the lodge that the campers can use for their bathroom. Campers should call and make a reservation just like the other lodgers.

Flowers. If you are not hiring a florist, feel free to purchase your own flowers and make your own bouquets, flower arrangements, centerpieces, and other decorative touches. You can order flowers online and have them shipped here or you can come a day or two early and shop locally. We have a good variety of vessels for your arrangements - ball jars, mason jars, vases, pewter tins buckets and the like.

Menu Planning. If you haven't considered your menu yet, look over our catering page and see what looks intriguing. You can also take a look at our  sample menus too. You're not limited to the items on our web page. If you see something on the Food Channel that you think you might like for your wedding, just let me know and I'll find a recipe. Then, I will let you know if it can be scaled up and we'll take it from there. We are always available to help customize your menu. Give us a theme or some broad brush-strokes and we'll be happy to design a menu that fits your style. If you're looking for a really great pasta option, here's a link to some terrific gourmet ravioli from one of our favorite suppliers.
We don't do formal tastings because generally our groups are coming from far away and at different times of the year.  And there are so many testimonials on the web page testifying to how good the food is.

So, here's how we do tastings:

  • You're welcome to come and taste things whenever we are cooking.
  • If you plan on being in the area, you can let me know and I can probably arrange to make a few things
  • If you come during wedding season, you're welcome to try anything that is being served for the wedding.
  • If you are coming when we have a non-wedding group here, with enough notice you can let me know what you'd like to try and that will influence the menu for that group event.

Friday Night Ideas.  Think about Friday night as a welcome dinner rather than a rehearsal dinner.  Most couples choose a casual theme for the meal:  Cook-outs/BBQ are the most popular but consider a seafood boil, a taco bar, a pasta bar, Mexican Night or some other crowd-pleasing casual meal to make everyone feel welcome and relaxed.  End the evening with a campfire and s'mores!

Wedding Cakes and Desserts If we are doing your cake or cupcakes, here is something that might help.  If you are opting for the Ben & Jerry's ice cream cake or a sundae bar, check out the  Ben & Jerry's ice cream options

Gratuities

All of our guests recognize how hard the MML staff, particularly Lauren and Dave, work to make the event special and for all the components to go smoothly.  Most all of our wedding couples or moms and dads, honor MML staff with some form of extra gratuity.  [Hourly staff share in the 18% meal gratuity that is on your invoice.  David is on salary and does not share in this gratuity.]

If you need guidance in determining tips, below is a list of what we've seen as an average for gratuities for the staff for a wedding weekend at Mountain Meadows Lodge. 

  • Dave - Operations Manager: $100-$600
  • Lauren - Wedding Coordinator/Supervisor: $100-$500
  • PV - Sous Chef/Baker/Kitchen: $50-$200
  • All others, which is split depending on hours worked: $100-$300
  • If anyone has stood out that you would like to take care of separately we can help you with that

What if it rains...

What if it rains on the day of your wedding?  First of all, don't stress! As you can imagine, sometimes it rains on one's wedding day (duh!). It's not the end of the world. You've pictured a gorgeous outdoor ceremony on the lawn overlooking the lake and even though that might not happen, we'll do everything to give you a beautiful ceremony here at Mountain Meadows while keeping your guests comfortable and pleased.

For the ceremony you have a couple of choices. What you choose depends on a couple of factors: how big your wedding is, how flexible your schedule is, and how hard it's raining. So here are your choices.

1) Adjust your schedule - wait 'til the rain stops. If it's a day where there is a thunderstorm coming through or a day of light rain, we'll watch the radar and you can adjust the ceremony time. [One time we delayed the ceremony by 2 hours and served the appetizers before the ceremony so the guests had something to do while they were waiting.] We are not a "wedding factory" where we have another group coming through after you, so if your guests can roll with some flexibility then this is a good option. Your officiant will have to have some flexibility in his/her schedule to accommodate this plan.

2) Get married under the tent. We'll rearrange the set up under the tent to accommodate your ceremony there. We can open up walls of the tent, creating a garden back drop. We can move chairs to create seating for the ceremony and an aisle to walk down if you like.

3) Get married in the lodge in front of the fire place or in the music room. Depending on your guest list, there may not be enough seating for everyone so you might consider chairs in the front for the older folks with other guests standing in the back. We'll move furniture and do whatever it takes to give you a lovely indoor ceremony.

Equipment & Tent Arrangements

When it comes to tables and chairs for under the tent, you have some options.  You'll need to decide a few things (or let us decide for you!) What color linens do you want--do you have a color scheme? Do you like the round plates or square? Do you want a head table?  Do you want a sweetheart table?  In addition to the traditional round tables, there are rectangle tables, picnic tables and farmhouse tables. Use the Celebration Rentals brochure included in your wedding packet or the celebrateinvermont webpage for some visuals on the various options.  You can also consider things like cocktail tables on the lawn for the cocktail hour or decanters for lemonade.

We can rig up festoon lighting for an extra charge.  If you like the look of this, let us know.

There are some restrictions when it comes to attaching decorations to the tent so check with us if you have ideas.  Birch branches around the tent poles or Chinese lanterns over the dance floor can be arranged.

Time line: Look at the typical schedule. Although you do not have to keep to this schedule, it is just helpful for you to see how a weekend can unfold. It may also stimulate your imagination on what might still be left undone on your "to do" list. Another idea is to flip through a couple of the slide shows on our web page. Most of them are set up chronologically so you can really "see" how the weekend might unfold. 

Number of guests: By about six weeks out, you will have an early estimate of the number of guests attending your event and numbers for meals. We would like another "near-final" number two weeks out, then a final number a few days before - small changes even right up to the day of the event will not be a big deal at our end. 
 

The questionnaire: So we're wishing you smooth sailing with your wedding planning.  Let us know what we can do to help.  We'll be collecting all emails, phone conversations and notes from planning meetings.  At about 6-8 weeks before your event, we'll send you a planning document that we will have populated with as many things that we know about.  You will have a chance to add some details, make changes or corrections and fill in any holes.  You'll also get an updated estimate and menu page at that time. 


Happy Holidays!
Anne, Bill, Dave, Lauren and all the gang at Mountain Meadows Lodge

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Mountain Meadows Lodge | 285 Thundering Brook Rd | Killington | VT | 05751