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Northern Vermont is in the path of totality for a rare total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8.

Total commitment: This Vermont couple will get married during the solar eclipse

A photo of two light-skinned people sit in a bunch of crunchy fall leaves with two dogs and smile at the camera. Yellow and green foliage is in the background. The woman has her hair in a ponytail and is wearing glasses, a teal scarf and a grey shirt. The man is wearing a baseball cap, a blue and grey shirt and khaki pants. Both dogs are medium-sized, one is black, and one has patches of black and white.
Toph Downey
Craftsbury couple Leigh and Chris Falzone, pictured here with dogs Luna and Nebi, are planning to get married in Vermont on the day of the total solar eclipse.

There's this essay by Annie Dillard called "Total Eclipse," published in 1982. In it, she writes: "Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him."

So why not see a total eclipse ... and marry a man on the same day? That’s exactly what Leigh Falzone is doing.

"Quite honestly, we may never have gotten married if this darn eclipse wasn't coming over Vermont," she said.

Leigh and her partner, Chris, met as young lifeguards 17 years ago. Now ages 34 and 39, Leigh says they’re typically anti-traditional and never felt the need to have a wedding celebration.

"We bought a house together first," she said. "I proposed to him a few years ago, we had a baby two years ago."

An animation showing two hand-drawn hearts, with a black heart moving over a red heart on a black background in the same motion that the moon moves over the sun during an eclipse.
Drawings: Andrea Laurion/Animation: Elodie Reed
Vermont Public
One could say that the Falzones' wedding will be a ... total eclipse of the heart.

But then Leigh says there was that 2017 partial eclipse in Vermont: "I watched it in the Tractor Supply parking lot — I bought an $85 welding helmet."

She says that partial eclipse was, in all honesty, a little lackluster. But all the hype about the total eclipse that year drew her in. She went down an internet rabbit hole, watching people watching totality.

"It was like these YouTube videos of this incredible joy and like, ecstasy, that these people were in for two minutes, with no drugs and alcohol... question mark? " Leigh said with a laugh. "That was most moving... I remember not expecting to hear this, like, child-like giddiness from these grown people just standing outside."

Leigh says she wanted to have that experience, too. So she researched the next time Vermont would see totality. And found out she only had to wait another seven years, until 2024.

"I can remember, like, talking about this four years ago with them and her just saying they were gonna get married on this date," said Hannah Schoop, who lives in Elmore and has been friends with the Falzones for more than a decade. "I mean, it's a commitment!"

And Leigh is going all in.

"Decor with sun and moon and some twinkly gold lights," she said. "We purchased a ring, and it's a bunch of black diamonds, little black diamonds that look like mini total solar eclipses."

A photo of two light-skinned women standing with their arms around each other, their faces framed by an empty picture frame hanging from ropes. In the background is blue sky and green fields and mountains on a sunny day. The women are wearing strapless dresses, and the woman on the right is wearing a hat and glasses.
Hannah Schoop, left, has been friends with Leigh Falzone for more than a decade, and remembers Leigh talking about an eclipse wedding years ago.

And there's a name for the wedding: "My husband's last name is Falzone. And so the name of the wedding is 'FalZONE of totality.'"

Also, the dress (which we’ll be vague about so we don’t spoil the surprise for Chris the groom): "Definitely kind of showcases the gold total solar eclipse theme that we got going on," Leigh said.

And of course, the music playlist is called "Totality."

"The very first song is 'Bad Moon Rising,'" Leigh said. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is in there, too.

A photo of a person's hand holding up an iPhone with a background showing a total solar eclipse, the dark circle of the moon over the bright corona of the sun.
Elodie Reed
Vermont Public
Leigh Falzone says she's had this photo of a total solar eclipse as her phone wallpaper since 2017, when she started going down the internet rabbit hole about what it was like to experience totality.

As for food — the Falzones plan to have 100 sugar cookies covered in various amounts of chocolate, made to look like the phases of an eclipse.

"So the question was like, can you — can we do it all? And I think for for this particular order, we were like yes, we need to do this, we want to make this happen," said Tobin Porter-Brown, the owner of the Hardwick cafe Front Seat Coffee.

He says the Falzones’ wedding dessert order is one of several special eclipse-themed bakes they have planned for April 8. They'll have black garlic and cream cheese croissants, Oreo sticky buns, and some sort of macaron.

"I don’t know yet if we're going to be doing different stages of the moon, or just sort of like the totality, in macaron form," Porter-Brown said.

A photo of a person's silhouette with tree silhouettes against blue evening sky with orange-y clouds.
Elodie Reed
Vermont Public
Leigh Falzone says she's hoping to feel joy and ecstasy — and maybe a little fear and uncertainty — during the few moments of totality on April 8, 2024.

All of these preparations for the eclipse — and in the case of the Falzones, for their wedding — they’re all in anticipation of this rare window where the moon perfectly obscures the sun. Thousands of people are expected to visit Vermont to collectively witness this event.

And it’s that kind of togetherness with family, friends and her partner Chris that Leigh Falzone says should heighten the whole experience.

"I think there's an energy that comes with large groups. … The oohs and ahhs of the crowd, you kind of feed on that," she said.

As it gets dark in the middle of the day, and as the temperature drops, and maybe as Annie Dillard describes in her essay, people start screaming, Leigh says she hopes it feels like the man in a highly-viewed YouTube video. It’s called “Yosemitebear Mountain Double Rainbow 1-8-10.”

In it, a man reacts while filming a vivid double rainbow arcing over mountains. He laughs, he cries, and at one point, he says, "Oh my God, it's so intense."

"Oh, I love it — it moves me to tears," Leigh said. "It clearly just completely took over his psyche. And he had nothing but pure pleasure in this most simple moment — what could be considered a simple moment. So it's like the dichotomy of overwhelming joy and simplicity — I don't know. It's almost unexplainable. But it's worth finding. It’s worth being a totality seeker. "

And for the Falzones, it’s worth planning a wedding for.

A photo of sunset skies in bands of orange, green and blue hover over the silhouettes of trees and mountain ridgelines.
Elodie Reed
Vermont Public
On the afternoon of April 8, 2024, skies will darken over Craftsbury — seen here after sunset on Feb. 29, 2024 — as a total solar eclipse passes over the area.

More eclipse resources

See all of Vermont Public's 2024 eclipse coverage.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Elodie is a reporter and producer for Vermont Public. She previously worked as a multimedia journalist at the Concord Monitor, the St. Albans Messenger and the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, and she's freelanced for The Atlantic, the Christian Science Monitor, the Berkshire Eagle and the Bennington Banner. In 2019, she earned her MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Southern New Hampshire University.
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