On a typical summer weekend driving around The Valley, people are likely to encounter several weddings at the many venues in the area -- in rustic barns and B&Bs and even cow fields with the backdrop of the Green Mountains. Not so last summer, when most events were canceled.
Like many event venues, the 1824 House, Waitsfield, had to pivot their business model to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were no weddings or events last summer, proprietors Sean Kramer and Farrell Leo started offering takeout and a space in the backyard to enjoy food, beer and wine. This summer, they have six weddings booked and are hoping to continue offering sandwiches and other lunch options during the weekends. “We’re trying to do what’s good for us and good for The Valley,” Kramer said. There are still a lot of unknowns about the future of events. “I think we’re getting back to ‘normal,’” Kramer said, and that people are returning to Vermont and The Valley for their events. He noted a “burst” of weddings that had been postponed last year due to the pandemic. Finding vendors, such as photographers and florists, is a challenge, he noted, and he said the 1824 House is “being up front with clients” about these challenges before they sign on to having their events.
MAD RIVER BARN
The Mad River Barn, Fayston is back in full swing, with 18 weddings scheduled for this summer, along with several smaller events, such as celebrations of life. The event space, built in 2018, is fully booked through 2022 and events coordinator Adrienne Cady said they are already planning events for the summer of 2023. She said they waived their 100-person minimum this year with the understanding that many events will have fewer attendees due to COVID-19 concerns. Last summer, they were able to do only three micro-weddings, but their events calendar is getting back to normal. While Cady said they’ve had good luck with most wedding vendors, she added that they’ve experienced some challenges with food and beverage distributors’ availability and getting supplies. She said, “This year is still an adjustment, but we’re feeling good.”
WEST HILL HOUSE B&B
Peter MacLaren of the West Hill House B&B, a smaller event venue in Warren, said their schedule is busy and “pretty much back to normal” this year after canceled events last summer. They are asking that guests either be vaccinated or take a negative COVID-19 test within three days before arrival.