Pine Brook covered bridge in Waitsfield, VT. Photo: Jeff Knight

Want to get married on a covered bridge in The Valley? One of The Valley’s three covered bridges is off limits and the others come with conditions.

The Waitsfield Select Board recently received a request from Taylor O’Connell and her fiancé Morgun Flanagan seeking permission to get married on one of Waitsfield’s two covered bridges in November.

The couple met with the select board on March 27 with a formal request to get married on the Pine Brook covered bridge and for an informal discussion of whether the covered bridge on Bridge Street would be an option. The Pine Brook bridge is a single-lane bridge on North Road.

The select board ruled out the Bridge Street bridge as it is a main thoroughfare and blocking it off, even for a short ceremony, would not be possible. Board members had multiple concerns about the Pine Brook bridge as well.

O’Connell and Flanagan expect 150 guests who would be bused to the site from the 1824 House where the reception will be held. The question of whether or not allowing people to get married on the bridge would take business from local wedding venues was raised by board members as a potential obstacle, although not applicable in this situation.

The couple estimated they would need 30 minutes for setup, 20 minutes for the ceremony and 30 minutes for breakdown. Their guests will stand, no chairs will be needed, and there will be no fixed decorations. Guests will stand at the edge of the bridge versus inside, so the weight limit on the bridge will not be a factor.

Down the road in Warren, the covered bridges sees two to four weddings a year and the select board has developed a process that involves working with wedding planners or betrothed couples on traffic control, parking and conditions. Some are obvious – no candles in the bridge. Some are not – location of the reception, plans for busing guests, the use of chairs and heaters. Using the Warren covered bridge for weddings comes with a $500 price tag. The town asks people to make the $500 contribution to the Warren Historical Society.

So far this year, Warren has hosted two weddings on its covered bridge.

Because there are essentially three ways into and out of Warren Village, closing the bridge for a wedding ceremony does not present the same access and traffic management issues that exist when using the Pine Brook bridge. The Waitsfield Select Board ultimately approved the request to use the Pine Brook bridge for the O’Connell-Flanagan wedding with conditions for traffic control and busing, etc.