CHITTENDEN - Vermont is a popular destination for weddings, with
it's beautiful rolling hills, scenic vistas and quaint towns. But
military men and women often forgo the opportunity to have a dream
wedding, due to tight budgets and uncertain schedules.
However, next December one lucky couple, and up to 200 guests, will
be treated to a dream wedding reception at the Mountain Top Inn
& Resort. This is made possible by 20 Vermont businesses
donating their services for this year's "A Salute to Our Soldiers"
Winter Wedding contest.
"The generosity of those offering their services to make this
wedding a dream, has been overwhelming," said Diane Dickerman,
director of marketing for The Mountain Top Inn. "Everyone has their
own reason for wanting to be a part of this… it's a small way for
us to say thanks to the men and women in uniform."
The contest is open to all active, reserve and former members of
the U.S. armed forces who are currently engaged. Only the bride or
groom needs to be from the military to be eligible. To enter the
online essay contest, the couple is simply asked to tell their
"love story," why they would like to be married in Vermont and why
a military wedding is important to them. Submissions will be take
until April 1 with the winning couple announced May 1. The wedding
will take place at the Mountain Top Inn & Resort Sunday, Dec.
Last Wednesday, Jan. 23, The Mountain Top Inn held a reception
to thank the participating businesses and to show off their new
barn, the venue for the winning couple. The Barn is a
4,500-square-foot, post-and-beam structure with a stunning
ballroom, a balcony for the ceremony and a basement for
entertainment and fitness. The large windows on all three floors
overlook the Chittenden reservoir.
Dickerman thought that hosting a military wedding in the new
barn would be a great way to celebrate the new barn and give back
to a very deserving couple. When she contacted the Vermont Tourism
office she heard about Watson and Holmes, who were already in the
midst of arranging a second military wedding giveaway, and
immediately volunteered The Mountain Top Inn & Resort to be the
Wedding planner, Jackie Watson of Vermont Enchanted Events in
Jeffersonville, Vt. spoke to the group on Wednesday reflecting on
the first military wedding giveaway, held last year in Stowe. "I
asked myself the question, how can I give back to my community...
how can I give back to the military?" she said. "The answer I came
up with was a wedding." Other wedding vendors soon jumped on board
when they heard about her idea.
Lorin Holmes, of
VermontWeddings.com, was one of the first. She was eager to host
the contest on her website and promote the event through her vendor
connections. "I immediately wanted to be part of the contest," said
Holmes, "It's great to have so many businesses involved this year
and the stories that have come in so far are truly inspirational! …
We have narrowed it down to the top nine so far, but we hope more
will keep coming in… it's going to be so hard to choose!"
Smith, commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Marketing,
also spoke at the event praising the participating businesses and
the teamwork it takes to pull off a event like this.
were last year's winning couple, Kelly and Shawn Lane of Wolcott
who married in Stowe last year. Shawn Lane serves in the Army with
the rank of E-4.
This year the winning couple will receive a
package worth over $70,000, according to the website. It includes a
reception for up to 200 guests, photographer, music, linens,
flowers, invitations and salon services.
More information visit