The very night Simone and Andrew got engaged, they emailed Shelburne Coach Barn about availability. It was that important to the couple—who met in 2014 at a party through a mutual friend—that they be wed there. Along with the stunning scenery and venue, they loved the fact it was on a grand estate that had been converted to an educational farm nonprofit. “It’s also one of the most beautiful places in a state full of natural beauty,” says the bride. “We loved that we could get married under the trees, with a view of the lake behind us.”
Their May 27, 2017, wedding for 200 guests was the culmination of a hectic year for the couple, who had both fallen ill and closed on a new home the same month, moving houses the weekend before the wedding. “Wedding planning was stressful but not as stressful as the rest of our lives falling apart," says the bride. To cope, they hired planner Jaclyn Watson a month out to help ensure a “friendly, inclusive, festive” wedding full of nature, good food and great music. In the end their Buddhist ceremony was everything they’d hoped for and more. “It was a quiet, contemplative moment in the middle of an overwhelming weekend and a crazy year," says the bride. And after the beautiful day things only continued to get better when Simone and Andrew jetted off to Greece and Switzerland for their honeymoon.
The gorgeous natural setting of Sherburne Coach Barn sold Simone and Andrew on the venue for their wedding.
Simone stuck to one tradition: She wore blue undergarments, a borrowed gold bracelet, antique diamonds from Andrew’s family in her wedding ring, and her new gown, by Mira Zwillinger.
“We gave our awesome floral designer lots of freedom to go wild with flowers because we love flowers,” says Simone. Bouquets and boutonnieres were also whimsical, featuring blown-open blooms.
The first time she tried on her Mira Zwillinger gown, Simone says she really liked it but wasn’t committed. She then “wasted lots of time” trying on other gowns in various cities until she realized she actually loved the first one most. Her groom donned a Dolce & Gabbana suit and shoes for the special occasion.
The couple felt their ceremony setting was perfect, with a lush arbor behind them and the lake as their backdrop. At the entrance to the aisle for ceremony seating they set up a lhasang, a traditional Tibetan Buddhist purification that involves hot charcoal and ground juniper leaves. “As people entered they were invited to sprinkle a little bit of juniper onto the charcoal, creating smoke that rises up into the air and smells nice,” explains Simone. The bowl was later brought to the main shrine table at the altar to be used in their ceremony.
Because many of the couple’s friends and family have small children, they opted to make the event kid-friendly. They included a children’s procession during the ceremony, in which all the kids attending were invited to participate and carry streamers down the aisle.
Both the bride and groom were escorted down the aisle by both their parents to "avoid the limitations of traditional gender roles."
Simone and Andrew opted for a unique-yet-traditional ceremony related to the six paramitas, the "transcendent actions." In the structured ceremony, the officiant led them in the process of making six offerings—like food, incense, perfumed water, flowers—representing the qualities they hope to cultivate in their marriage.
Because they avoided many of wedding traditions, the couple did not have a first dance after they made things official during the ceremony.
Simone and Andrew wanted their wedding to reflect them as a couple so they paid attention to details such as creating artistically and playful escort cards. Specialty cocktails were also a play on their last names.
The reception venue at Shelburne Coach Barn is a huge brick Victorian coach barn, where the couple were excited to dine under the stars in the courtyard with their friends and family. Bistro lights lit family-style tables dressed in gold flatware, candles, and brass frames with table numbers.
Lush organic centerpieces decorated tabletops that also incorporated pears and other fruits.
"Dinner was farm-to-table feast with lots of great colors and vegetables," explains the bride.
Though the couple didn’t want to have an official cake-cutting, their planner insisted and it made for a sweet photo opp! Their vanilla wedding cake was accompanied by a mini dessert bar.
Looking back, the couple especially remembers the spectacular sunset on their wedding night fondly. “All the guests poured out of the Coach Barn onto the lawn by Lake Champlain to take pictures and enjoy the scenery," says the bride. And later on, they partied hard. She adds, "The band Affiniti NYC was like our own private Beyonce concert—everyone was sweating, dancing, and going crazy!"
Venue: Shelburne Coach Barn
Catering: Let’s Pretend Catering
Planner: Jaclyn Watson Events
Bride’s Dress: Mira Zwillinger
Groom’s Attire: Dolce & Gabbana
Hair & Makeup: Vivian Infinito
Floral Design: Nectar and Root
Music: Affiniti NYC
Invitations & Paper Products: Christa Alexandra Designs
Rentals: Vermont Tent Company
Photography: 822 Weddings