September 4, 2021, Milton, VT

Photos — and family — have played an important role in the relationship of Max and Melanie Morgan, two Vermont transplants from Atlanta and Lebanon, N.H., respectively. In fact, the first photo of the couple — on their first date, no less — depicts them with 30 friends all dressed in Wild West clothing taken at an old-timey studio on Church Street in Burlington.

Then, on a subzero day in January 2021, Max and Melanie skipped their usual ski at Stowe, opting instead for a relaxing dog walk at Red Rocks in South Burlington with their fiends, Ryan and Chelsea. Ryan, a photographer, had his camera, “of course,” remembers Melanie. “Overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, Max got down on one knee and proposed with our dog, Harley, by our side. Ryan captured that moment and the moments that followed, which are some of our favorite photos.”

A pro mountain biker, Max was traveling the world on the race circuit, but would always return to Vermont and Melanie when he could, just as she would travel to Asheville, N.C., to see him. Melanie eventually found a job in Atlanta, which cut the long distance between them to a three-hour drive. The couple moved back to Vermont in 2020. “Our love story started in Vermont and we both knew pretty instantly that we wanted to be married here,” says Melanie.

But first, back to photos and family. The couple knew they wanted “part of our story” displayed throughout the wedding and reception. Their wedding planner, Lindsay Leichthammer, also hand-painted watercolor table numbers and place cards with a peach theme as a nod to Max’s Georgia roots.

“Ryan also served as our officiant, which was a full circle moment as we met at his wedding in 2016,” Melanie says.

For this couple, who tied the knot at the Maquam Barn and Winery in Milton, including their parents throughout the day was important. “We made the decision early on to have both of our parents walk us down the aisle. That was a very special moment to all of us.”

Max, 29, and Melanie, 30, also opted for a private vow reading, what they call, “hands down, the best part of our wedding day. We both wanted to share our feelings on the deepest level and we knew that we wanted it to just be the two of us to experience that moment.”

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