Tag Archives: Weddings

The lagoon at the Mad River Barn

“Project Season” at the Mad River Barn

Although it would seem that Olde Man Winter decided to go on strike for the majority of last year, we were lucky enough to have a wonderfully busy season what with the many new and repeat guests to our inn rooms, as well as the continued patronage of said inn guests, loyal locals, and every other much appreciated customer who walked through the doors to the Pub and Restaurant.  With that being said, it is hard to deny human nature, and by the umpteenth round of snow shoveling and ice-salting (a.k.a February) one cannot help but to start daydreaming about what equally productive activities one could be accomplishing outside when the ground starts looking a bit more green… and one’s fingers start feeling a bit less frostbitten ; )

This may not be common knowledge to visitors of our lovely Mad River Valley who are accustomed to seeing it marketed as a 4 season resort destination, but year-round residents know the real truth of the matter. Vermont actually has SIX seasons-  Spring, Summer, Fall, Stick Season, Winter, and Mud Season.  This last weather phenomenon could also be referred to by many other pet names- “Dead Season” to Restauranteurs, “Wake up and raid the Birdseed” season to Black Bears, “Sleep/Recovery Season” to Snowmakers, “Hubcap Eating Season” to our dirt road dwellers, etc. And while occasionally a few of these monikers could, theoretically, be prefaced by some rather… ahem “colorful” language, here at the Mad River Barn we are choosing to view our Lawson’s glass as half-full and have decided on a more optimistic nomenclature- “Project Season”!!!

Another bit of lesser known trivia, is that sitting a little ways back on the upper field, hiding beneath the boughs of some lovely and established Pine Trees, there lives a tiny building formerly known as Poolhouse.  Now, lest some people get all oddly excited at the prospect of a swimming pool hiding back there as well- perish the thought.  That particular feature has long been retired and returned to the earth, and everyone knows that summers are for swimming in the Mad River.

The Pool  House

The Pool House

Leave it to the ever present creativity of Joanne Palmisano to conjure up a vision for the next chapter in the life of the building (formerly known as Poolhouse).  Anyone who is familiar with the history of design work at the Mad River Barn (and if you aren’t you should be!) will know that it physically pains Joanne to watch anything that still has use or value be discarded… and that encompasses pretty much everything she sees. With the continued popularity of DIY weddings, and the seemingly endless imagination with which one can create in an Etsy and Pinterest era, the Barn has amassed quite a collection of decorations.  The only logical next step for Joanne’s mind to take was that of COURSE these materials should be given the opportunity to be further enjoyed, and what better use for our little building than to be re-incarnated as a centralized home for all of them?  (Believe it or not, more than one employee had been heavily campaigning to convert it into a summer residence for their horse, and even WE… I mean… THEY have had to begrudgingly admit this was a much better plan)

Dubbing the idea “Rent-a-Shed”- the endgame objective is to have all of our decorations housed and displayed inside and it will become an option available to any prospective client. For a nominal fee they can “Rent” the Shed and have carte blanche to utilize as many objects as they desire in whatever way they feel would make their day most special.

Wedding decorations

Wedding decorations

In the meantime, however, one of the projects tackled so far this year by the Barn team has been a massive cleanOUT of said Shed’s interior, as well as a cleanUP of the exterior and surrounding land.  The phrase “many hands make light work” truly proved itself accurate during this (rather daunting) endeavor and lucky Andy spent the better part of three days with a ragtag crew of Barn employees gittin’er done.  This brings up yet another reason why Project Season has been proving itself to be invaluable this year beyond just the usefulness of the finished products themselves.

Andrew building benches for outdoor seating

Andrew building benches for outdoor seating

One of the ugly truths to living/running a business in a seasonal resort town is the unavoidable oscillation of tourism. During the slower shoulder seasons the pace dwindles tremendously.  At this juncture you are faced with the difficulty of trying to figure out a way to maintain and utilize the employees that are so integral to running the business during the busier seasons when faced with a comparative trickle of revenue.  It is nothing less than fortuitous that our kitchen crew is full of many multi-talented employees who are agreeable enough to work their hours elsewhere once the insanity of ski season dies down (and between the grounds, guest rooms, and multiple buildings on premise there is no dearth of jobs to be done).  We were able to poach both Josh and Taylor and employ their skills in a plethora of tasks.  Painting, touch-ups, landscaping, carpentry, masonry, chainsaw work, tree work, running an excavator, butcher, baker, candlestick maker.. and one can never discount the importance of sheer muscle (and my personal favorite- eye candy!).

 When the first big renovation was underway in the central Barn Building one of the main concerns was how to keep the basement dry throughout the year- no mean feat with an older building that is happily situated at the base of a mountain range.  The solution was a series of piping that leads underneath the barn and carries the runoff to the base of our tiered gardens and eventually travels through a culvert into the Millbrook across the street.  While the basement has remained drier than British wit ever since its rehabilitation, the last lingering concern regarding our run-off was the ecological effect said water may have on the health of the Millbrook itself. Even with the filtering effect of the soil from the garden there was always the question of whether or not any temperature variation between the original stream and the water our business contributed would affect the natural order.  It was during a pre-Mud Project Season walk around the grounds that Heather expressed yet again her desire for Peeper Frogs to take up residence on the property and the answer to both conundrums became clear- if we built it, they would come. Enter Project Lagoon.

Josh and his helper trenching the lagoon

Josh and his helper trenching the lagoon

The purpose of the Lagoon is multi-faceted. Besides the most important goal of becoming known as the #1 destination community for Peeper Frogs on TripAdvisor, it solves the ecological question by serving as a holding tank for runoff water from the Inn and allowing all the liquid to reach the same temperature before it continues on its journey under the road and into the MillBrook. The Lagoon will also figure into our longer vision plans of utilizing all the different areas around the MRB grounds and allowing them to play various roles during our Wedding weekends (and, of course, a spot where our non-nuptially motivated Inn residents could enjoy their stay).  We envision hosting a reception or cocktail hour among the raised beds of the garden where guest could grab a libation and wander up and down the terraces, across the water on our bridge and back- just in time for a refill- before moving on to their next location for dinner.

Josh and Taylor building the bridge over the lagoon

Josh and Taylor building the bridge over the lagoon

We feel so very lucky to be a property with options for our Wedding Guests to enjoy over their entire weekend stay- Breakfast in the dining room, a walk or run on the Catamount Trail right outside the front door, maybe a hike up the 9th hole ski trail to explore Mad River Glen, a quick game of afternoon shuffleboard in the Game Room is an excellent way to bond with future family members, afternoon cocktails in the garden, Dinner and Dancing on upper field Landing, S’mores and a Bonfire around the fire pit, back to the Pub for an afterparty… The possibilities are endless!!!

The lagoon at the Mad River Barn

The lagoon at the Mad River Barn

 

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you soon!

Meredith Marble, Assistant Innkeeper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

A Magical Vermont Wedding at the Mad River Barn

 

Nikki and Eric were a joy to work with. Their family and friends were fun and laid back...and ever detail was simple and stunning, including have photography taken down by our stream. All photography is by Todd Wilson, photographer extraordinaire.

Nikki and Eric were a joy to work with. Their family and friends were fun and laid back…and ever detail was simple and stunning, including have photography taken down by our stream. All photography is by Todd Wilson, photographer extraordinaire.

We love the Mad River Barn…it’s true…but when we can host a wedding that truly is the essence of everything Vermont…than it becomes more than a place we live at and love… but a magical location where family and friends create memories that will last a lifetime.

And that’s what happened at Nikki and Eric’s wedding this summer here at the Inn.  We can’t even begin to describe all the amazing details, so we will show you through the eyes of their incredible photographer, Todd Wilson Photography and the words of the lovely couple themselves (at the end of the pictures).

Thank you for sharing your special day with us and allowing us to share it with those who dream of their own Vermont wedding.

Ours, Heather and Andrew 

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

We love the fact that Nikki and Eric incorporated lots of the Inn itself in their wedding preparations… including this gorgeous shot of the dress on our sign.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Getting ready in one of Inn’s rooms. We were so happy that most of their friends and family stayed with us for over four days, allowing them to really spend some quality time together.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Photo opportunities abound in the Mad River Valley, Waitsfield, Warren area…including a historic covered bridge…

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Group shots down by the stream next to our inn… does it get any better?

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Ohhh… We see that it does get better. Having fun in Sunglasses….

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

The creativity of this wedding astounded us…there were enough DIY Craft wedding projects to fill a book. And so tastefully done. Simple, Vermont, Country, Elegant…these are all the words that describe how Nikki, Eric and their family created their romantic gorgeous tent wedding in our backyard.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Birch Logs sliced for name cards for place setting…

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Painted terra cottage pots as center pieces…

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Family and friend pictures clipped onto a cloths line — okay this was our favorite!!! Clever you guys!!

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Even a “leave your fingerprint” family and friend tree — that they will frame as artwork.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Put it all together and WOW!

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Our backyard is so large that they even put out some lawn games for all to enjoy!

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Of course, a Vermont wedding is not complete without some famous Vermont beers and ciders… Heady Topper… Citizen Cider… these guys really know how to throw a party! Since we already have a great bar and some amazing bartenders, we’re able to make life easier for the wedding party by serving the wine, beer and alcohol.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Vermont’s summers and falls are pretty amazing…and this day did not disappoint. Let the games begin.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

We loved the fact that not only did Nikki and Eric have their wedding reception on our back lawn but they also had the ceremony there as well. No need to drive from place to place. Chairs were set up outside and it was lovely, no-stress, ceremony… Perfect for Vermont!

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

We’re so happy that our outdoor bar that we had made out of reclaimed wood got some fun use… It looks so pretty!

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Look at that picture! Stunning…Love the streamers they hung from the trees… it gives an amazing backdrop to their outdoor wedding ceremony.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Lovely…

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

More great pictures in our very own backyard… They really took advantage of all the spaces we have. That made us so happy!

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wooden Spoon Catering did an amazing job with the food and their displays.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Happy Times had by all…

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Okay… love the decoration this cake…wood circles with letters…you can’t help but say….Ahhhhh….

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

Time to turn on the lights…no one wanted to stop dancing, everyone was having so much fun.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

We’re happy they took advantage of our fire pit and made some S’mores…This is such a great picture of Eric and Nikki — it really shows how fun they are and how in love they are.

Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

The stars decided to come to the wedding as well. Todd Wilson captured the wedding at night beautifully.

   Boston and Cape Cod Modern Wedding and Portrait Photography

It is hard to find words to describe this picture and this weekend filled with fun and laughter. All we can say is thank you Nikki and Eric for making Mad River Barn a part of the most special day (and days) of your lives.  And for the kind words below…

Dear Heather and Andrew,

Eric and I just got back from 2 weeks of honeymooning and celebrating our wedding and I am still in awe of how amazing the entire weekend was.  Thank you so much for all the help in coordinating 200 people over the course of the weekend. I have heard nothing but rave reviews of the entire event and how awesome the two of you were, and really we couldn’t agree more!
We wanted a wedding where our friends and family could spend a weekend together and share our love of Vermont and the mountains and just being outside as well as have a central location to meet up and the MRB was so perfect for everything. 
The wedding itself was unbelievable, of course we are bias, but it was the best night of our lives for sure. Between the awesome dance party, standing in the river in our wedding outfits, late night fire pit, amazing food and beer, lawn games, star gazing and fresh air (dancing on the bar late at night?) the day was everything we ever imagined and more.
Many people wish they could do relive their wedding days, but we both agree that the whole 4 days we were up there could not have been any better and there is no way we could ever repeat that weekend.  We are so very content and grateful for everyone who helped make our wedding unforgettable.
So thank you thank you thank you for everything!  
 
We will be seeing you this winter for sure!
Nikki & Eric
Thank you again Nikki and Eric and Todd Wilson Photography for the use of your photographs.
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Rehearsal Dinner Ideas…Vermont Style

As the weekend approaches, we’re getting ready for another amazing Rehearsal Dinner here at the barn. We’re having so much fun watching these couples and their family and friends enjoy time together– it really is special to be a part of their big moment.  And of course, the wedding gets all the credit, but we find the rehearsal dinners to really special because everyone is relaxed and excited in anticipation of the big day ahead.

Of course, decorating for rehearsal dinners can remain simple, no need to stress out about them. Here at the barn, the restaurant is so interesting in the décor, that couples only need to bring a couple vases of flowers and they’re done.

Here are some easy ideas to give your Rehearsal dinner a little Vermont style. Here are some interesting things we’ve seen and have done for our guests. Maybe you can add an idea or two to your rehearsal dinner to make it just as memorable (alright all most as memorable) as the wedding itself.

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This idea is so Vermont — but instead of a flower, you can get some vellum paper and decoupage on, a personalized thank you to your guests, or the shape of the state of Vermont or a picture of the two of you, and let them bring them home as memento coasters…

save the date

We love that our guests think to use our Mad River Barn sign in the lobby as their postcard for the SAVE THE DATE card. We are honored!

postcard for a save the date event at Mad River Barn

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Love this idea! We made this board for our guests who wanted something besides the wine that was being served… if you want to allow your guests to get beer or soda, they just bring the button chip to the bar. Once you run out of buttons, then open bar ends :)

MadRiverBarn Fire Pit

If you’re rehearsal dinner group is small enough, you can enjoy a fit pit S’more evening together behind the inn.

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One of our signature pieces in our bar and game room are the tins filled with trival pursuit cards. How fun to make your own personalized rehearsal dinner cards. Another way to get folks having fun and interacting (not to mention learning something new about the couple). This wedding planning site has 10 great ideas for rehearsal dinners.

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Love these chalkboard cards. They remind us of our chalkboard wall in the lobby and around the bar and pub areas. Check out this Etsy shop that can make them for you.

 

joanne pic

Our designer for the Mad River Barn, Joanne Palmisano, makes lots of fun projects for DIY NETWORK. These recycled glass jars are now filled with tiny evergreen trees that not only decorate the tables but you can give them to your guests to bring home and plant in your honor. Clever Joanne!

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Mad River Barn Inn Wool Blanket Pillow DIY

Our dining room can seat up to 84 people but we recommend no more than 60 people to be truly comfortable and have space to move around. And, of course, our chef will work with you, to create a menu that works best for your lovely evening. Not to mention we have some amazing rooms for you and your guests to stay in to continue to enjoy your time together.

We hope you will look at our special events page on our website, www.madriverbarn.com and our Rehearsal dinner page as well. We have been told that the Mad River Barn is one of the best places to have a rehearsal dinner in the Mad River Valley and Sugarbush area. But we encourage you to contact some of our references, and get their insight and not just take our word for it.  :)

Thanks again for considering the Mad River Barn for your special event, we feel honored to be considered as the location for one of the biggest moments in your life.

Our best, Heather and Andrew

madriverbarn@madriver.com

 

 

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Making the Most of Your Special Event

Though we have only been open a year since our major renovation, Mad River Barn has become a destination spot for special events, including weddings, rehearsal dinners and birthday parties. We are honored.  We put together an EVENTS PAGE on our website to give you more details about what we offer. We also wanted to give you our thoughts on a few things you must remember when planning a special event. Hope they help.

The tent on the lawn at Mad River Barn Wedding Reception Site

1. What kind of event do you want to have? Will it be casual, rustic, formal, country, sit down meals, buffet…? The answers to these questions will help you decide on the best place for you. For example, The Mad River Barn can do sit down meals for around 70 people inside (perfect for a birthday party or rehearsal dinner) but for a larger group of people, you’ll want to have a tented affair on our expansive backyard.  If you are looking for a formal event, the best venues will be hotels and resorts that have banquet rooms, especially built for those types of events. So…once you decide on the type of event, you can narrow down the location.

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Appetizers? Sit Down Meal? Buffett? Understanding your budget will help you with this decisions.

2. What’s your budget. There are a lot of little details that can add up. Are you picking up people from the airport, are you giving gifts to all out of town visitors, are you having an open bar…get some estimates on costs of locations, catering, services, cars and more.

cake display

Give a friend the task of making sure the cake is set up just the way you want it.

3. Give everyone some jobs. To try and manage an event by yourself is tough. Delegate if you can.

flowers in tent

Hanging flowers, vintage pictures, Celtic dancing… What are your family traditions?

4. Are there some family traditions you’d like to add? Grandma might really like to have a tradition brought into play. Or maybe it is a slideshow of family pictures on a big screen…it is things like this that make the event truly special.

joanne pic

A DIY table setting by Joanne Palmisano, our designer, for DIY NETWORK

5. Don’t get overwhelmed or stressed, take one piece at a time, keep it fun and it will go smoothly. Remember, your special event is about being together and memories, so that should always be at the top of your checklist.

Rehearsal Dinner Details

Special details like this can be added to your checklist.

6. Put together a detailed checklist. This way, you won’t forget anything.  The location, the cake, the music, the rooms, the food…everything. Make sure you have all the contact information, and confirm everything a day or two before the event. Don’t just assume it, better to be sure, than have someone forget.  That way, event day will be more relaxing and flow more smoothly.

MadRiverBarnDesignbyJoannePalmisanoPhotobySusanTeare

This room at Mad River Barn is perfect for a family. What kind of lodging do your guests need?

7. Give your guests a list of accommodations, car rental information and things to do in the area and then let them take it from there. If you have blocked out some rooms, they can call with your name and get themselves on the list.

David and Eileens Wedding at Mad River Barn Vermont

Your special event is really about people and being together.

8. Have fun…remember, you are planning an event in Vermont, because you love the beautiful, atmosphere and relaxed setting a country inn can give you.  Go with the flow and you will have amazing memories of your special event.

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We wish you the best in planning your special event.

Don’t forget to check out what some folks have said about having an event at Mad River Barn.

Have fun planning! Heather and Andrew

Chris and Claire's Wedding Mad River Barn

Rehearsal Dinners, Brunches and Weddings…

Wow! Is all we can say about the first few special events at The Mad River Barn. Who knew people would be saying… “We’re the best place for a Rehearsal Dinner in the Valley.” Or… “This is the most amazing place for a rustic, casual, Vermont wedding ever!”

We want to thank those who have put their faith in us and had a wedding, rehearsal dinner, birthday, company or anniversary party, and family gathering here.  We are truly honored to be part of your special day.   But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some incredible pictures and thoughts from our special guests…

David and Eileens Wedding at Mad River Barn Vermont

Here are David and Eileen… What a gorgeous couple! A summer wedding and ceremony at Mad River Barn on the lawn. We are honored you choose us!

David and Eileens Simple Vermont Wedding at Mad River Barn

David and Eileen took advantage of the four farmhouse tables in the dining room that could accommodate large groups of people — for a family style gathering.

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It was easy to add a fun rustic table to the dining room to display their yummy cake — love the birch bark look! Casual, elegant, and charming, everything they wanted…

David and Eileen’s Thoughts… We loved the laid back nature of the place, that it was an old establishment of sorts here in the Valley, and that two brave, enthusiastic young people decided to take it over and rehab it into something better. 

In the whole planning process, Heather and Andrew were as helpful, accommodating and pleasant to work with as we could have hoped.  They were very communicative about what they could do for us, and what it would cost.  And when we were concerned about weather for an outside event – the gave us peace of mind in letting us know that things could be moved inside.

If someone is wanting to have a wedding in Vermont because they love not only the beauty and nature that exists here, but also want something that captures the spirit of the place – then I would recommend highly they consider the Barn. We loved it and so did our guests!

Thanks David and Eileen for your thoughtful comments…they mean a lot to us!

Chris and Claire's Wedding Mad River Barn

Chris and Claire had a fabulously intimate wedding at the Mad River Barn. We had their whole family and most of the friends here for the whole weekend and by the end of the weekend, we felt like family too. Stunning couple! Amazing pic!

 

Chris and Claire's Intimate Wedding at Mad River Barn in the Tent

We were thrilled that they wanted a tent up on the expansive lawn on our hill. It is the perfect Vermont setting for a gathering…They went into the late night and the stars were out in full force for them and their guests.

The tent on the lawn at Mad River Barn Wedding Reception Site

Sometimes simple is the best…

Chris and Claire's Wedding Salads Buffett Mad River Barn

The buffet was simple yet elegant, rustic but refined, just what Chris and Claire wanted out of their Vermont wedding.

The food at Chris and Claire's Wedding at Mad River Barn Vermont

Elegant Casual Country Wedding In Vermont Cake Table

Another beautiful cake… this time in the tent.

Chris and Claire Cutting the Cake Mad River Barn Perfect for Kids

One of the reasons Chris and Claire loved the Mad River Barn is that it was perfect for kids of all ages.

 

Letting nature be the beauty at your wedding tree hanging globes vermont

We love to see the different ways our guest decorate for their special event. Chris and Claire showed us just how elegant and charming they are… with the simply decorated trees.

 Chris and Claire’s Thoughts… If you want something relaxed and low-key, then the Mad River Barn is the place to go. It radiates what Vermont is all about–quality, simplicity, kindness and beauty.

We loved the décor — it wasn’t contrived — it was rustic, yet comforting and welcoming. All our guests loved it — and the best part was there was something for everyone–the game room, the pub, outdoors, and more…  

On Sunday,  we had a Family Brunch, where people where gathered around the Farmhouse Tables as well as having quiet breakfasts at other tables. It was the perfect ending of an amazing weekend! 

Heather and Andrew  are personally invested in having it go well, because they truly care in making sure our special day was the best it could be. They were accommodating and low-key, which always keeps everyone in a relaxed mood. 

 We love the Waterbury, Waitsfield, Sugarbush area… it has the perfect combination of things to do and true Vermont natural beauty. The  Mad River Barn is in the midst of it all and we would recommend it for anyone who wants a relaxed and casual Vermont wedding, where all their guests feel at home.

Thanks Chris and Claire — we are so happy it turned out just how you planned it.

Mad River Barn Dining Room close up

Here is where our Rehearsal Dinners are hosted. Sarah and Zac loved this spot for their special evening with friends and family before the big day.

Sarah and Zac’s Rehearsal Dinner: Their Thoughts… Heather and Andrew went out of their way to make our rehearsal dinner everything we wanted it to be. We used the barn as the “home base” for our wedding and it served as a wonderful place for our guests to meet up in the down time between events. They were flexible with last minute changes and made sure to check in with us to see if everything was to our liking. They treated us like family and I am excited to go back to visit in years to come!!! 

Thank you Sarah and Zac ! We appreciate your noticing our flexibility :)

Rehearsal Dinner Details

Here is a little something we put together for the folks who are having a rehearsal dinner at the Mad River Barn.  A memorial toast — very moving…

Our Best, Heather and Andrew