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Sam & Elisa’s Wedding at the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont

Posted on May 30, 2009


This was another fabulous destination wedding for us! It was actually a destination wedding for many of the guests, as they were from all over the world – including Chile, Australia, California, New Zealand, and Minnesota – too many places to mention! It was the most interesting and diverse group of wedding guests we’ve ever encountered. As both the bride and groom grew up on the ski slopes, many of their friends and guests were avid skiers as well. That was something many people there had in common.

This was the wedding of Sam von Trapp and Elisa Sepulveda. Sam’s family owns and operates the Trapp Family Lodge www.trappfamily.com in Stowe, Vermont. Elisa was raised in Chile and her stepfather is the owner of a magnificent ski resort in Portillo www.skiportillo.com. This is actually where she met Sam, who was a ski instructor at the resort at the time. Sam and Elisa have known each other for 13 years believe it or not, which is one reason why their wedding day was so highly anticipated by family members and friends alike! Sam’s “singing” family and their history of leaving Austria back in the 1930’s was the inspiration for the Broadway show and later the 1965 film, The Sound of Music. Sam’s late grandmother, Maria, was the actual Maria that Julie Andrews portrayed in the film. His father, Johannes, was Maria and Captain von Trapp’s last child. Several other relatives, including Sam’s Aunt Maria and Aunt Rosmarie also attended the wedding. The von Trapp’s history is so unbelievably interesting. The Trapp Family lodge has a magnificent collection of photos and memorabilia of the family’s long history, plus in each room there is a book with more photos and information about the family. We didn’t have time to read the whole thing so I bought it at the gift shop to read later at home.

We really can’t say enough about both Elisa and Sam’s families. Everyone we met was gracious, friendly and most hospitable. They are all really great people in every sense.

We were also really impressed with the Trapp Family Lodge itself. We’ve been to Stowe many times, but had never stayed at the lodge. Everything there was impeccable – the staff was friendly and helpful, our room was comfy and large and the overall surroundings magnificent. Also, the cuisine at the lodge was to die for! Check out the "TASTY STUFF" section of this blog to see cuisine photos from the Trapp Lodge. We were given the opportunity to photograph (and taste) many of the meals that were served over the course of the weekend. As you’ll see from the photos in this post, the scenery around the lodge is just breathtaking. Also, we are usually in Vermont in the winter, so seeing the green rolling hills in the spring was really neat.

Sam and Elisa’s wedding weekend started off with a rehearsal dinner in the Mozart Room of the lodge on Thursday evening. It was a delicious meal, including soup, salad, a game course and an entrée. There were many entertaining and emotional speeches made during the dinner and the bride and groom were filled with emotion as their many guests and relatives shared story after amusing story for all to hear. A delectable dessert table was set up later in the downstairs lounge, where the guests were invited to a welcome reception and live music.

The next night, we were invited to the groom’s parents’ home for a cocktail party. Johannes and Lynne, Sam’s parents, were terrific hosts as they opened up their magnificent home to all wedding guests. It was a great time and we took the opportunity to photograph Sam and Elisa in a more casual atmosphere before their wedding day. We photographed the food served here as well and as many people as possible as they enjoyed the party in this beautiful, rustic home.

As Saturday approached, so did the rain clouds. By 2pm, however, the clouds began to lift and the sun finally came out. After several days of on and off rain – this was truly perfect timing! There was definitely a concern about rain, as this was pretty much planned as an outdoor wedding. The ceremony was at a chapel that was built by one of Sam’s late uncles (Werner von Trapp) over 50 years ago. To reach this chapel, one has to basically hike uphill through the woods to get there. It is certainly a pretty trek, though, and well worth it! The chapel is made of stone and so quaint – only about 4 people actually can fit inside, so the ceremony was conducted right in front with wedding guests and musicians standing all around in the woods.

From there, we hiked down the mountain with Sam and Elisa and took pictures along the way. There were just too many picturesque spots to stop at all of them! The cocktail hour was held outside amidst a forest of birch trees followed by a reception in a huge white tent. The meal at the reception consisted of a huge variety of passed hors d’oeuvres as well as sumptuous food stations that included a magnificent cheese table, sushi, raw bar, crudités, carving station, fruit and of course, dessert. A high-energy band rocked the tent until 1AM – the dance floor was constantly filled with energetic guests boogieing the night away!

Now this is something we have never seen at a wedding before – a lamb roast on a huge open fire pit! Elisa wanted the lamb to be ready to eat at 2AM, so it was set to roast for HOURS before! Also available to roast were marshmallows and all the makings for smores – so yummy! Guests wandered out of the tent periodically to check out what was happening at the fire pit – it was also the warmest spot around, as the Vermont evening air was quite chilly.

Sam and Elisa and all of their guests had an incredible time during this festive wedding weekend - and so did we!




The grounds of the Trapp lodge is home to a herd of unique Scottish Highland cattle. They are very friendly.



Rehearsal dinner set-up in the Mozart Room at the lodge.






Same and Elisa share a moment in the doorway of Sam's parents' (Johannes and Lynne) gorgeous wooden home.





The path on the way to the chapel was a steep climb through the woods...


Elisa with her bridesmaids and flower girls, nieces Annie and Stella (left to right).


Elisa is emotional as she speaks to her maternal grandmother via cell phone.


The girls have fun making the trek to the chapel.


Sam and his groomsmen pause for a photo on their way to the chapel.


Sam looks on as Elisa's father walks her up the (somewhat muddy) aisle to her.


Have you ever seen wedding guests situated like this? Unusual and beautiful!





Sam's two aunts - Rosmarie at left and Maria von Trapp at right. Maria is 94 years old and one of the original "children" portrayed in The Sound of Music.




Wedding reception set up in a beautiful huge tent. Look at those rustic flower arrangements - perfect for this wedding!



Same and Elisa enjoy a speech by Elisa's mother, Mary.



Ok - now this is something you don't see every day! There was a huge open fire that was used to roast a lamb as well as marshmallows and all the makings for smores. This fire burned way into the night - the lamb wasn't even eaten until 3AM! Guests gathered around the warmth of the fire for hours.



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