STORY BY BENJAMIN LERNER
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY STRATTON MOUNTAIN RESORT
Stratton’s Wedding Sales & Wedding Planning team members work diligently behind the scenes to make dreams come true for wedded couples
For a storybook Vermont destination wedding, look no further than the breathtaking slopes of Stratton Mountain itself! With a wide range of spaces that are ideal for every rehearsal, reception, ceremony, and brunch, Stratton Mountain is a prime setting for an unforgettable nuptial celebration. As the Wedding Sales & Wedding Planning team at Stratton gears up for another busy summer season, Senior Sales Manager Sarah Onidi and Senior Event Coordinator Erin Cromack spoke with Stratton Magazine about their process. Committed to courteous and thoughtful service, they ensure that each couple’s experience is every bit as magical as the breathtaking views from Stratton’s summit.
Seeing is Believing
From start to finish, Stratton’s Wedding Sales & Wedding Planning teams go above and beyond to make engaged couples’ dreams come true at Stratton. The initial inquiry phase begins when an interested couple reaches out to the sales team at Stratton by phone or online. “I generally invite them for an on-site tour after we’ve had the initial consultation,” says Sarah Onidi. “We take them around and show them a variety of venues, depending on the time of year that they are looking to get married and the size of the wedding.” The majority of the weddings that take place at Stratton are scheduled from May through October, but winter wedding packages can also be booked, as well. “It’s great to see the faces of the couples light up when you’re touring with them—especially when the look of the resort is perfectly aligned to the plans that they have for their special day.”
Over the course of the tour, Onidi usually brings prospective couples to the three most popular locations for wedding ceremonies at Stratton: The Summit, Chapel of the Snows, and The Great Lawn. “The larger yoga deck at the summit and the Hubert Haus deck are extremely unique settings,” notes Onidi. “It offers the opportunity for couples and their guests to ride the gondola up to the top of the mountain, which is a fun and distinctive experience.” The deck has sweeping views of Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire, and couples and their families can explore around the top of the mountain after the ceremony. “We also offer a champagne toast, which is a great opportunity to have that first toast and mini-speech at the top of the mountain.”
According to Senior Event Coordinator Erin Cromack, the Chapel of the Snows is a wonderful option in all seasons—especially during the wintertime. “Its non-denominational church on the side of a mountain that still offers great views as an indoor option. You can actually see the mountain through the glass window right behind the altar. It’s great for intimate weddings, and it has a lot of history and charm.”
For weddings with accessibility concerns, the Commons Great Lawn is another fantastic location. If there are potential mobility issues or fear of heights, adventurous couples can still have an outdoor ceremony at the bottom of the mountain. The Great Lawn is located in the Commons, which is right across from the village. It overlooks the mountains, as well as a small, attractive pond area.
Couples interested in an elegant reception venue at Stratton will delight in the rustic, yet elevated beauty of Timber Hall. Timber Hall is located at the Stratton Mountain Club, a private club that serves as a members-only Alpine Club during the wintertime. A working partnership between the Stratton Mountain Club and Stratton Mountain Resort allows the space to be rented out to the public for weddings and events from May to October. “Over the past several seasons, the trend for the receptions has been Timber Hall,” says Cromack. Cocktail service is located in the ‘Great Room,’ which is a beautiful space with floor to ceiling windows. An additional patio space offers equally-excellent views. For a more casual, ski-resort feel, the Base Lodge & Ballroom is another lovely option for large receptions. Wooden beams in the ceiling create an inviting atmosphere and the space also features tall ceilings and a large deck overlooking the mountains.
Tying the Knot
Throughout the planning process, the cohesive integration of Stratton’s separate hospitality sectors plays a key part in ensuring seamless service. Onidi elaborates: “One thing that sets Stratton apart from other wedding destinations is the sheer diversity of the spaces that can be booked for different events. You could have your rehearsal dinner at a restaurant in the village, you could have your reception at the Stratton Mountain Club, and you could have brunch the following day in the Black Bear Lodge. It gives couples the opportunity to create a whole weekend without having to leave the resort.”
Block rentals of condominiums, suites, and guestrooms spread throughout the Stratton campus are available for destination wedding guests, as well. “As part of wedding packages, we also offer a complimentary room on the night of your wedding at the romantic Long Trail House,” shares Onidi. “It presents a nice opportunity for the couple to have their own space on the night of their wedding.” Onidi adds that several of the larger condominiums within the commons are used during wedding season for several purposes. “We use some condos as ‘getting ready spaces’ for couples. You can have hair and makeup in those spaces, and photographers can meet you there for the initial ‘getting ready’ portraits.’ The rental program is constantly rotating, but we have a very wide range of selections for the couples.”
Couples can also choose from a vast variety of food catering options, including buying out Stratton Village restaurants such as Mulligan’s or Fire Tower, reserving the catering services of Stratton Mountain’s catering team, or working with Stratton Mountain Club’s talented Executive Chef, Jason Saunders. “The menu is gourmet and eclectic,” says Onidi. The catering teams incorporate farm-fresh ingredients and locally-sourced food products whenever possible, such as Jasper Hill Farm cheese. “Chef Saunders also does a double-diamond custom menus for the receptions at Timber Hall. It’s upscale, American farm-to-table cuisine made with Vermont flair.”
The flexible nature of Stratton’s integrated amenities and services allow Onidi and Cromack to meet challenges and adapt to changes throughout the booking, planning, and staging phases. “When we lock things in during the initial contracting phase, we ask them how they foresee the morning of the wedding looking,” notes Onidi. “We make recommendations on what properties that we think would work well, and we also make sure to reserve backup options for inclement weather. That way, we can make adjustments or changes if need be.”
Cromack says that maintaining organizational consistency is also key when navigating the busiest days of wedding season. “You have to pay attention to deadlines, payments, client requests, and take follow-up photos to make sure that everything is in line with the couple’s vision.” On the day of the wedding, the stage is set and the pressure is on. “It’s all about making the whole process fun and less stressful for the couple.” Cromack works closely with the service and catering teams to ensure that the atmosphere and guest experience at the ceremony and reception exceeds standards. “The most fulfilling moment is when they’re walking towards me after they say ‘I do!’ and they’re smiling. I can give them a thumbs-up out of the frame of the pictures and celebrate the success of what we’ve been planning for so long.”
Cromack maintains connections with some of the couples that she works with long after the honeymoon is over. “During a seasonal festival at Stratton, I saw three couples who I worked with as an event planner. They ran over to me to say hello, and I was so happy that they remembered me! I also receive text messages regularly from some of the brides that I’ve worked with. It’s really great to be able to stay in touch!”
The hard work of Stratton’s Wedding Sales and Planning teams has been recognized by the popular wedding planning website and application, The Knot. The Knot selected Stratton as a winner of its “Best of Weddings” Award in 2020, 2021, and 2022. “The award takes into account the glowing reviews that people who have gotten married here have given us,” says Onidi. “From the food and the lodging to the amenities, it shows that the couples who are choosing Stratton are extremely satisfied. We don’t just offer a wedding. We offer a full, well-rounded experience that goes well beyond expectations.”
MEET THE TEAM
Born and raised in New York City, Onidi attended University of Vermont (UVM). Upon receiving her degree from UVM, she decided that she wanted to make Vermont her home. “I didn’t want to leave, so I started applying to work at different mountains.” As soon as Onidi visited Stratton, she loved everything about it. “It was conveniently-located in a place where I could still visit my family down in New York,” she adds. “I fell in love with the culture and the people.” Onidi has worked in a number of different departments since she began working at Stratton in 2013. “I’ve worked as a call center agent, I’ve worked in guest services, and I also worked as an event coordinator prior to joining the sales team,” she says. “It all helps with understanding what I’m selling, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people that work here. The views, the snowboarding, the hiking, and the beauty is amazing—but it’s the people that make working here so incredible.”
Erin grew up just south of Windham County, Vermont in Greenfield, Massachusetts. “My grandfather was a fire chief in Greenfield, and when I was old enough to ski, he was retired. Every Saturday, we would drive up to Stratton to ski. I was young, and I was getting up way earlier than I wanted to at the time, but I learned to ski here.” Many of Cromack’s most cherished memories from her childhood occurred on those trips to Stratton with her grandfather and other family members. “Even though I’m from Massachusetts, Stratton has always been my home mountain. When I saw the job listing, it just seemed like a great opportunity. I had already been working in events and communications, so it was a perfect fit.”
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