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A Rainbow Illuminated the Sky at this Outdoor Wedding in Vermont

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Two of Us Photography

|Planning by 

Harlow & Dahlia Events

Sophie Allen and Nick O’Connor first met while attending St. Lawrence University. Nick’s youngest sister Mimi was the one to introduce the two, but it wasn’t until they re-connected as post-grads in Boston that Sophie and Nick began dating.

Four years later, while visiting Sophie’s family’s cottage in Canada, Sophie’s mother urged the couple to sip their morning coffees by the lake—it was such a beautiful and calm day. While walking along the dock, Sophie caught a glimpse of her sister hiding in the bushes with a camera and quickly figured out the “covert” plan. Nick got down on one knee and, just as she guessed, proposed to Sophie.

The couple began planning their October nuptials. Having attended many weddings together over the years, Sophie and Nick had compiled a list of what they wanted for their own ceremony: outdoors, reception on-site, and a fun band. Middlebury’s Bread Loaf Campus in Vermont was the perfect fit. “I always wanted to get married at Bread Loaf,” Sophie explains. “The campus is a five-minute drive from my parents’ house, and I grew up skiing at the Rikert Nordic Ski Center at Bread Loaf.” The institution only allows two weddings every year, so it was a blessing when the couple scored the venue.

Sophie personally loved the planning process. “I really enjoyed thinking about the details–my sister, mom, and friends were very patient as I ran millions of ideas by them,” she says. “Nick made sure we kept the process moving and on track. The Bread Loaf team was really wonderful throughout the planning process and so great to work with. Claudia from Harlow & Dahlia was our day-of coordinator and was really helpful as well.”

When dreaming about her wedding outfit, Sophie always knew she would like to wear a simple silk dress, augmented by a seasonal sweater and hat. Without ever stepping into a bridal shop, she ordered a dress from Reformation and had it tailored. Finding the perfect bridal sweater, however, was slightly more difficult. “I reached out to a couple companies about custom sweaters and considered hiring a family friend to knit something for me,” she says, “but in the end, my sister found the Milly sweater that I wore online.”

Her warm-toned hat was from Lack of Color and complemented her pearl drop earrings, which she found from a New Zealand-based Etsy store. “I wore a pearl ring that belonged to my paternal grandmother and a gold ring that belonged to my maternal grandmother, so they could both be with me on the day,” Sophie adds. She pulled the entire look together with her comfortable low-heeled Manolo Blahnik Aspros from The RealReal.

Sophie kept her beauty look effortless and natural. Her mother’s hairdresser, Scharene Maynard, styled her hair; Elizabeth England flawlessly applied the bride’s casually elegant makeup.

Nick wore a tweed J.Crew suit, The Kooples knit tie, and R.M. Williams Chelsea boots. His groomsmen donned similar outfits, while the bridesmaids were wintry-chic in burgundy velvet gowns and cashmere Skida shawls. The wedding party was comprised of the couple’s siblings: Sophie’s sister and maid of honor, Lydia; Nick’s sisters, Mimi and Katie; Nick’s brother and best man, Pete; and Sophie’s brothers, Walker and Oakley.

Sophie admits that their wedding “was a study in Vermont weather.” She recites the old Mark Twain quote, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a few minutes.” The rain forecast constantly changed in the days leading up to the wedding, but Sophie and Nick held on steadfast to their outdoor wedding plans. “We emailed our guests and told them that it would be cold and to bring jackets, arranged for there to be hot apple cider for guests at the ceremony, and decided to carry on regardless of the weather,” she remembers.

On October 13, 2018, there was a dusting of snow on the tops of the nearby Green Mountains, and the morning began with light rainfall but cleared up before the ceremony. Then, about halfway through their vows, there was a light drizzle before the sun broke out from behind a cloud and bestowed a vibrant rainbow across the sky.

Sophie’s brother Oakley designed the arbor that the couple were married under. “Everyone thought the arbor was two trees that were just magically growing together in the middle of the field where we were married—not so!” Sophie mentions. “I had asked Oakley to create the arbor and gave him creative freedom with the one request that there not be any 90-degree angles. The morning of the wedding, Oakley and my sister’s boyfriend Wyatt cut two Red Maple saplings from my parents’ land–they couldn’t do this ahead of time, or the leaves would have wilted. They drove the saplings to Bread Loaf in my parents’ truck on a forest service road, so they could go slowly and not lose too many leaves in the process! At Bread Loaf, they attached a couple of the saplings’ branches to each other and used a fence post driver to create deep holes in the ground to put the trees in without disrupting much earth. They went so far as to scatter grass around the base of the trees, so they really looked like they were growing in the field.”

A family affair through and through, Sophie’s mother crafted a lino print of the Bread Load Mountain for the Save the Date card and wrote the place settings. Sophie’s sister Lydia painted the navigation signs around campus, and her brother Walker sang “Forever Young” at the ceremony. Even Sophie’s former host family from France chimed in! Her former host sister Valentine joined Sophie’s family and Nick’s parents in making the bouquets for the guest rooms. Nick and his parents, Sophie’s brothers, and her father strew lights around the barn. “It was a team effort, to be sure,” Sophie smiles. “I loved the contributions from all of our family and friends–they made our wedding feel completely personal and unique to us.”

After such a picturesque ceremony, the couple joined guests for cocktail hour in the campus’s theatre. Candlelight dinner followed in the dining room, catered by Middlebury College. The newlyweds sliced into a Lauren Slayton carrot cake and then danced the night away in the campus barn as the Nate Brash Band playing their favorite songs.

“At the end of the night,” Sophie says, “we had a bonfire down by the pond. The Bread Loaf team was so awesome throughout the whole planning process. When we got down to the bonfire area, they brought Nick and me aside and said that they had one request of us, we had to burn all the wood they had staged near the bonfire. We took that to heart and hung out by the fire, chatting with family and friends until the wee hours.”