When I first started college, I knew 100% that I wanted to be a teacher. As my first semester started, I was ecstatic because I was taking my first teaching course! After the first day of classes, I was a little discouraged because it just was not what I was expecting, but I was determined to keep going. Well, throughout the semester, I realized that teaching just wasn’t for me, but I did realize that I loved coordinating events through my Recreation and Leisure class I was also taking. From then on out, I knew I was going to be an event coordinator.
Skip to my job at Lesner Inn, which is amazing!! It is my first job out of college and I could not have asked for a better way to start my career. I love the environment that I work in, but I mostly love how I get to be just a small portion of someone’s biggest day of their life. I have the opportunity to be with them through almost the entire planning process, recommend vendors, help plan their décor, and see their big day come to life, and it’s what makes my career so much fun! Do I connect with some couples more than others? Of course, that’s just because of who they are and who I am, but I still love getting to be a part of their wedding day. The amount of stress I see throughout the planning process is overcome by so much joy on the wedding day, and the fact that I get to be a part of making that joy happen, is beyond measurable.
It’s almost funny to look back and think that I could have been a teacher and experienced a different type of joy, but the happiness that I get from seeing the couples on the biggest day of their lives is what I LOVE. The first kiss as newlyweds, the father/daughter dance, the cake smashing, all of that brings the biggest smile to my face because I had the opportunity to be a small portion of their big day!
Who do I want to experience this with most?
Before throwing a random figure out there for your wedding budget, you MUST sit down with your fiancé & put together a guest list. This list should include everyone you absolutely cannot celebrate your marriage without! You should even have a second list of people that you may want to invite if your budget allows for it, or if people on your “A list” can’t make it. There is no shame in having a B list!
Right: Christina Vanta Photography
When do I want to say “I do” to the love of my life?
Most venues & catering facilities will have a required food & beverage minimum that you need to reach on specific days of the week, months of the year, & times of day. At Lesner Inn, your food & beverage minimum can be significantly less in the months of January, February, March & November compared to any other month of the year. However, keep in mind when selecting your date that Saturday evenings are the most coveted day & time for a wedding reception, so the minimum requirements are going to be higher than they would on a Friday or Sunday!
Where do we want to say our vows & celebrate with our closest friends & family?
Between, food, beverages, favors, desserts, & décor there is a lot to consider when adding another name to your guest list. To create a more educated budget, find out what your favorite venues offer & at what cost. If the cost per person of your wedding venue or catering company doesn’t match up with what you were expecting, don’t be afraid to ask how you can customize their menu to fit your needs. If you don’t want to offer a bar, speak up! As long as you are reaching their minimum for your selected date & time it doesn’t matter how you get there!
Above: Daissy Torres PhotographyWhat do we need to make our wedding day perfect for OUR story?
A lot of people forget about the details that go into planning a wedding. We typically suggest budgeting at least $5,000 for things like cake, florals, DJ, & photographer. Of course the total cost of these vendors can be more or less, but it all depends on your vision. Lesner Inn is a one stop shop for food, beverage, much of couples favorite décor, wedding coordination & even desserts. We also have preferred vendors who offer discounts for couples who book with us if our services don’t quite fulfill everything that you & your fiancé want on your wedding day!
Will you help us make this day everything we want it to be?
After sitting down with your fiancé about the who, what, where, & when, talk to both of your families to find out if they are willing to contribute to your wedding celebration. If so, get a dollar amount so that you will know what you & your fiancé will be responsible for, & how much room is left in your budget to add that donut bar that you really wanted!
Above: Stellar Exposures PhotographyCreating a wedding budget after educating yourself on what you expect for your wedding day will make the whole planning process far less difficult & scary! If you’d prefer an expert opinion over trying to guestimate a cost by yourself, be prepared to answer some of the above questions for your wedding professionals. We want to make sure we are giving you the most accurate information to help you create the wedding of your dreams WITHOUT breaking the bank!
Contact one of our sales managers today to see how we can help with your budget wedding!
Of everything you have available to rent, what would you say would help spruce up a wedding reception the most & why?
As little as it seems, napkins are a huge part of wedding décor! May sound silly, but they’re in every picture of the table-scape & can add a pop of color, fun print or just a little texture to the table. Napkins are an easy, budget friendly addition that can make a difference, even if the client is using linen that their venue provides!
Right: Echard Wheeler Photography
What items do you provide for clients to rent?
We are a full service linen rental company that specializes in allllll things linens! We of course offer the basics, but we have a big selection of specialty & even custom print linens. We’re always willing to order in something new! Not only do we specialize in linens, but we also rent chairs & plate chargers. We have gold, mahogany & white chiavari chairs, as well as white resin folding chairs. We also have both resin & glass beaded chargers. We are currently expanding our inventory, so stay tuned for our newest additions!
Would you say chair sashes or covers are necessary?
Chair covers & sashes are definitely important, but totally not a must have! We may think differently though ;) Let’s say there are 15 tables & 150 guests. A table linen will only be on 15 of the tables, while a chair sash will be on 150 chairs. Makes such a bigger impact to the room!
Have you seen a trend in a specific type or color of linen?
All the neutrals! We see a ton of ivory, blush & gold… but we’re totally not mad about it! Such a romantic color scheme that doesn’t seem like it will ever go out of style. Add a pop of sequins in there & call it a day!
Above: David Champagne Photography
What is your favorite part about weddings?
Hardest question ever… but we LOVE seeing the room transform! Walking into a completely empty venue & walking out a few hours later with lighting, linens, florals, music, etc., it’s such a surreal feeling. Knowing that Waterford has made a small impact in someone’s BIG day is such an amazing feeling. Definitely will never get old!
Left: Echard Wheeler Photography
We couldn’t agree more! We love seeing our wedding venue transform into each couple’s dream & see their eyes grow wide when they see their designs come to life. We adore Waterford Event Rentals & work with them all throughout the year, so if you love what you read today, contact them directly or ask us how to get in touch with them so we can help your wedding vision come true!
No longer for just the kitchen & bathroom, marble is making its way into the wedding scene in a big way! From chargers to floral vases, there are many ways to incorporate marble into your tablescape. You can even break out of the box & incorporate marbled swirls into fondant for your cake or backgrounds for your invitations! We decided to use a marbled linen from Waterford Event Rentals, & even had marbled menu cards made from Paper Dolls Design for the place settings!
These breakfast treats aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Couples began to offer doughnuts as an economical dessert option a few years ago & it is still going strong. Whether you display these on a doughnut wall or on personalized platters, guests will go nuts for sugary sweets! Add edible glitter as a sweet & sparkly treat!
Rose bouquets may be a classic, but florals with bold & exciting colors are being seen more often in the wedding scene! Add a pop of color with a protea or ranunculus bloom & let your flowers do the talking! Winter berries were added to this bouquet from Wandering Petal for a touch of something unique!
Deep Reds & Romantic Tones
For that romantic feel, you can’t go wrong with a deep red to compliment natural tones. We have seen this color pop up in linens & bridesmaid dress options & can’t get enough of it. We complimented our marbled & gray linens with burgundy napkins & bold red florals!
We have to say that this is our favorite so far. Remember the trendy wooden welcome signs of the past? In 2018, you should be welcoming your guests into your wedding with a transparent acrylic welcome sign or mailing them a modern laser engraved clear invitation. We used transparent acrylic stands to hold up decorative manzanitas, but another great idea is using a transparent table for your sweetheart or cake tables. You can even spice these up by putting uplighting underneath of them!
Coppers & Golds
This might be linked to the Moscow Mule craze, but we don’t hate it! Copper flatware, copper cake toppers, copper jewelry, copper table numbers, copper chargers…the opportunities are endless! Of course, gold tones in general aren’t going anywhere!!
Wreaths & Hanging Décor
Not just your mama’s door décor anymore! We are seeing so many floral hoops & wreaths, adorning wedding arches, entranceways, & even see them suspended above tables. These can be full of simple greenery or they can have elaborate floral focal points. We love what Wandering Petal did with this hanging piece over our head table!
Thanks to Stellar Exposures Photography for documenting our 2018 Open House!
We’re sure you’ve seen these at a wedding you’ve been to recently. They’re a huge hit with the guests & most likely will be used again! These work for both bottled & canned beverages, so you don’t have to worry about only some of your guests enjoying them. Best of all they can be purchased online at a fair price if you order them in bulk!
Right: Lee Yen Photography
Who doesn’t love an extra pair of shades? If you’re having an outdoor wedding, you can order custom sunglasses with your name & date on the side for your guests to wear. For most websites, it only takes a few minutes to customize the sunglasses & they get shipped right to your home!
This one might seem a little peculiar at first, but it is such a unique idea! To cut back on cost you can make these favor yourself! All you need to do is put ground coffee in little bags & time them off with a tag. Try coming up with something fun to make your guests smile when they go to use the coffee after the wedding like, “Love is brewing”. You can even make a few bags with decaffeinated coffee for those people who don’t drink caffeine!
Below: Kelly Marie Photos
Normally, couples will have the traditional cake & maybe a few other desserts for the reception, but the candy bar is becoming increasingly popular as not only a dessert, but as favors. This is probably one of the easiest & most cost effective favors that you can give your guests. All you have to do is buy the candy & to-go bags, use a few glass jars & bowls, & there you have it! It’s an easy, fun, & inexpensive favor that keeps giving even after they leave the wedding! To make it even easier, Lesner Inn can create your candy bar for you!
These little plants are so trendy right now! Everyone loves extra décor for their house, so this is a perfect favor for your guests that won’t go to waste. You can save some money by getting faux succulents or you can get live ones for a couple more bucks!
Below: Erika Mills Photography
These are just a few ideas for different, useful, & low-cost wedding favors for your guests. You will love how easy & cost effective this gifts are, & your guests will love that they get to continuously use them after they leave the party! There are a lot more options if you’re up for having a non-traditional favor, so just keep looking or head over to our Pinterest page to get some more ideas!
Bustle: After you’ve flaunted your train during your waterfront ceremony & for portrait shots, it’s time to pin that train up & dance the night away! “Bustle” is just a fancy way to say that you’re pinning your dress’ train up, so that it doesn’t drag on the floor & get damaged.
Above: Stellar Exposures PhotographyCake Cutting Service: After the ceremonial cake cutting by the couple, your caterer will cut the rest of the cake & serve it to the guests to enjoy. Lesner Inn includes cake cutting services & even lets you decide whether you would like to display the sliced pieces of cake, or if you would like our staff to pass them to your guests.
Cake Cutting Set: This one is so simple, yet can be so confusing. The cake cutting set is the knife & serving piece that you use to cut & serve during the ceremonial cake cutting for you & your spouse. Lesner Inn has a house set for you to use, but some couples prefer to purchase their own or even will use the ones their parents used on their wedding day!
Chargers: These may look like fancy plates, but they are actually used as tabletop decoration & are placed at the table setting before china are put on top of them. Don’t be the one who accidentally takes this plate up to the buffet… talk about social suicide.
Cocktail Hour: This is the period of time (not always an hour) between your ceremony & reception where your guests have an opportunity to mingle with one another & enjoy cocktails & hors d’oeuvres. It is most common that the newlyweds will take wedding photos during this time with their family & bridal party before being announced into the reception.
Day of Coordinator: A day of coordinator (not to be confused with a wedding planner) is basically a wedding assistant who takes over once the wedding is a few weeks away. The coordinator’s main focus is to confirm the details that you have planned with your vendors & to tie up any loose ends. They will also be there for rehearsal & the day-of your wedding to make sure everything from set-up to overall execution goes smoothly. Lesner Inn offers day-of coordination & wedding design services to our couples, so feel free to reach out to us for more details!
Left: Brittany Sue Photography
Food & Beverage Minimum: This is the amount of money that you are required to spend on all food & beverage items. This amount varies from venue to venue but is always the amount that you will be meeting, & possibly exceeding, for any sort of food & beverages for your guests.
Hors D’oeuvres: This is just a fancy word for appetizers. They are made for everyone to enjoy during your cocktail hour, which Lesner Inn includes the hor d’oeuvres for in our base pricing!
Matron of Honor: Most people know that brides have a maid of honor & grooms have a best man, but brides can also have a matron of honor. This bridesmaid is just as special as your maid of honor, but the title changes since she is already married!
Memory Table: Just like any other side table, this one is completely optional for the couple. This table normally holds picture frames of loved ones who have passed away, so they can be remembered on your special day.
Toast: These are short speeches to the bride & groom generally done by the best man & maid/maitron of honor. Of course, there are others who can do them like the father of the bride, siblings of the bride or groom, or anyone who is special to you! Regardless of who speaks, toasts are generally done with champagne which Lesner Inn provides for each guest!
Above: Vinluain PhotographyVenue Manager: A venue manager is there the day-of your wedding to make sure all runs smoothly with the venue & the food & beverage side of things, if they do in house catering like Lesner Inn does. They will make sure your floor plan is correct, any sort of décor items rented through the venue are set, & that the timeline for all food & beverage is followed accordingly. At Lesner Inn, you will always have a venue manager on site the day of your wedding, but they do not act as coordinators with your other vendors or personal details.
Wedding Planner: Your wedding planner will be there throughout the entire process from choosing your venue & vendors to saying “I do”. They will help with designing your wedding, choosing vendors & finalizing contracts with them, & setting up & managing the details of your wedding on the day of. They will also be there the day-of from start to finish to make sure things go smoothly & that everything is handled correctly. Lesner Inn offers wedding planning to all of our soonly weds, so if you’re looking to sit back through the planning process & have a stress free wedding day, then our wedding planning service is the way to go!
We want to make the wedding planning process as stress free as possible, so we hope this glossary of “wedding words” helps out! Of course, there are many other terms we use that may be a little confusing, so just reach out to us if you need some insight!
A major way to cut the cost of your wedding is to cut your guest list. I know, I know, you want every family member & every friend you’ve ever met to come spend this special day with you, but this is one of the easiest ways to cut costs if you’re trying to stay within a budget. You can also look into having your wedding during the off-peak season. There are plenty of days in the early winter & spring months that would be beautiful for your big day! Off-peak months differ for each venue, but at Lesner Inn our off-peak months are January – March & November, so start thinking outside of those “normal” wedding months!
Elizabeth Friske PhotographyFloral
Another idea for cutting costs & staying within your budget is to use in-season flowers. Talk with your florist to see which flowers match your colors, but are still in season. You never know, you may be surprised with some gorgeous flowers you never heard of! You can also discuss using more greenery than flowers for centerpieces & arch décor. Greenery is gorgeous & is a perfect go-to when you want to cut flowers, but still have stunning designs!
Nothing is trending more right now in the wedding industry than a DIY wedding for couples with a wedding budget. We know that you obviously can’t DIY everything, but there are a few things that you can DIY to keep costs low. Using wine bottles as vases for your centerpieces can be so cute & inexpensive (try dipping them in paint or glitter to match your color scheme)! DIY the seating chart or welcome message by finding an old window, mirror, or chalkboard to write on. If you’re up for it, you can make all of your own signs so your guests are turning every corner to see your creativity! These are only a couple of ideas, so hop onto our Pinterest board to see what other DIY projects catch your eye for your wedding day!
Caitlin Gerres Photography
Want pretty stationary but your eyes grew wide at the cost? Think about making your own Save the Dates & Invitations! This can be a super fun way to pull out your artsy side & customize your stationary. Don’t think you’re creative enough to make your own? There are plenty of websites that offer templates that you can use for a much smaller dollar amount than going through a company. You even get the perk of printing your own stationary & not have to wait for it in the mail! Save even more money by having your guests RSVP on your wedding website or an app instead of paying for all of paper & postage for the responses!
Reach Out to Talented Friends & Family
If you have any friends or family members that are talented in photography, baking cakes, or something else related to a wedding, you can keep costs low by hiring them instead of a professional! On the contrary, we know you want to save money but just keep in mind that if you’re super picky about something (which you’re allowed to be, because it is your wedding), then you may want to leave the vendor work to the professionals. Of course, if you’re totally confident in your friend or family member because they’re spectacular at what they do, then definitely ask them to help out to save some money! At Lesner Inn, we have a preferred vendors list that we give to each of our couples, but we always make sure you know that you can use whomever you’d like for their vendors, so a friend or family member is always an option!
You may not be able to use all of these ideas, but you can use one or two or even think of some of your own to stay within your budget! There are so many ways that you can save a few bucks but still have a beautiful wedding. The most important part is that no matter if you go over budget, take some “traditional” things out to save money, or don’t have professional vendors, at the end of the day, you get to marry your best friend & that’s what you will remember the most!
We’ll be honest. We think that we have the best job on Earth because every day is a party at Lesner Inn! Every Monday, we meet to recap the weekend’s events & have been keeping a running list of some of the most memorable weddings of 2017. At the end of each year, we sit down to go over all of these lists & pick our favorites to share with you, our past, present, & future couples!
We hope you enjoy scrolling through some of the most beautiful, touching & even comical moments from Lesner Inn over the past year!
Best Something Old
As the saying goes, you must have something old, something new, something borrowed & something blue on your wedding day. Courtney nailed it with her something old by altering her mother’s wedding dress for her own wedding. Her mom did not get to see the dress until the day of & the result gave us all chills!
Below: Love Simply Photography
Best Something Borrowed
Continuing along the path of something old, new, borrowed & blue, Liz’s something borrowed pulled at our heart strings when she wore a bracelet from each of her grandmothers. We love that she tied in both sides of her family on her wedding day!
Below: Beth Hamilton Photography
Best Something Blue
Elizabeth made sure not to forget a single bit of blue on her wedding day & we loved her take on a coastal wedding. They even kicked off the day with blue champagne!
Below: Echard Wheeler Photography
This amazing creation by Whipped Up by Mimi quite literally takes the cake for the year! We see so many different styles of cake but we were head over antlers for this rustic naked cake. Oh & those antlers…they’re pure white chocolate!
Right: Lee Yen Photography
Best Cake Smash
Tim & Kate cracked us up from day one & that didn’t stop after they said “I do”! These two have such a laid back style & didn’t feel the pressure of wedding planning one bit. Kate clearly wasn’t worried about what Tim’s white shirt would look like after she smashed cake into his face, and we found it hysterical!
Below: Echard Wheeler Photography
Best Dessert Alternative
Amanda & Surge aren’t big cake people so, instead of a traditional wedding cake, they brought in Confetti Gelato! We knew that we loved this sweet couple but, when they told us that they were skipping the cake & going for gelato instead, we knew that they were meant to roll with the coordinators at Lesner Inn!
Below: Wasin French Photography
Justin & Ariel weren’t messing around when they picked out their cake topper! We got such a kick out of this one that we had to award it best cake topper of 2017!
Left: Ashley Peterson Photography
Kelly Gish, you are the florist of the year with this incredible bouquet! We loved Nelson & Nicole’s color palette for their wedding & the flowers were just the cherry on top of a beautiful day.
Check out those small pops of purple
nestled in the arrangement!
Below: Luke & Ashley Photography
It’s rare that a bride & groom can surprise us with something new, but we are pretty sure that this is our first couple to get married ON the water. Morgan & Jake sailed out into the Lynnhaven River with their immediate families to tie the knot while their guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the Waterside Deck. This beautiful moment is definitely the most unique ceremony of 2017!
Below: Lee Yen Photography
Best First Look
Mike, you HANDS DOWN had the best reaction of any groom seeing his bride for the first time when Alishia walked down the aisle. We are so glad Dustin Lewis captured this moment!
Below: Dustin Lewis Images
The moment that we saw this photo, we knew that it had to be awarded the best kiss of 2017. We love that this groomsmen got down on his hands & knees to give Jonathan a boost to his bride!
Right: Kelly Dier Photography
Cutest Ring Bearer & Flower Girl
Alright, so these two actually weren’t from the same wedding but we were so taken with them that we had to award them cutest ring bearer and cutest flower girl. Kayleigh & Wayne created this “Ring Security” badge for this little guy to make sure that everyone knew what his main job was. And even though it took a little nudging from their coordinator, Kyle & Amy’s flower girl strutted her stuff down the aisle once she realized that she was the center of attention!
Style Events did it again with one! Meghan & Craig had a beautiful wedding with long banquet tables, stunning linens from Waterford Event Rentals & romantic florals from Palette of Petals. Their use of creative floor plans & floating florals on the arch wins them the best décor of 2017!
Below: Echard Wheeler Photography
We will be the first to admit that we were a little confused when Tim & Kate told us that theme of their wedding was going to be America. But these two are the goofiest, most fun-loving people so we knew that we were in for a treat. They tied the knot on Memorial Day weekend & requested that all of their guests wear white with patriotic flair, had Statue of Liberty centerpieces, & danced to God Bless the USA for their first dance while their guests surrounded them waving American flags. Hands down, the best theme of the year!
Below: Echard Wheeler Photography
& Nicole’s trendy invites with the agate textured background!
Right: Wasin French Photography
Best Traditional Wedding
We see all sorts of family, religious & cultural traditions at Lesner Inn. This year we were lucky enough to be able to learn about the Bengali culture during Trina & Greg’s wedding ceremony. They incorporated both of their traditions into their marriage ceremony & you can read much more about the traditions and customs in their wedding spotlight here!
Below: Chelsea Anderson Photography
Oh hello beautiful Lynnhaven River! We love when couples utilize the water for a boat exit or entrance &, even though it was a misty day, Thomas & Lauren still sailed away in style. This boat exit won the best exit of 2017!
Below: Dragon Studio
Tyler & Rachael’s first dance gave us all the feels & when we saw this photo from Kelly Marie, we knew that they stole the spotlight for 2017. What is better than a handsome man in uniform spinning his new wife around the dance floor?
Right: Kelly Marie Photography
Lesner Inn is FAMOUS for the epic sunsets that you can catch every evening from the venue. While there were 365 contenders, Jon & Andrea win the award for the best sunset photo of 2017!
Left: Winston Veranga Photography
Best Party Crowd
Everyone looks forward to a wedding for the drinking, dancing, & love. Jordan & Nicole’s guests were no different but these guys REALLY came to party! Check out the top right photo, even Grandma got in on that open bar action!
Below: David Champagne Photography
This category is a liiiiittle deceiving, but it is going three years strong now! We aren’t quite sure what makes guests want to strip down on the dance floor, but anyone who does definitely deserves to win best dressed!
Below: Dragon Studios
Rain on your wedding day isn’t what most couples hope for, but sometimes Mother Nature has another idea in store for us. Kent & Haley rolled with the punches so well when it started to pour right before their ceremony, but luckily our Sunset Deck is covered so you can still have your outdoor ceremony, even with a little inclement weather. Because of their positive attitudes all day, they get the award for best rainy wedding of 2017!
Left: Bryan Myhr Photography
Best Groomsman Photo
Guys can be goofy… but this crew really had us giggling! We love that they took posing into their own hands by stealing the bridesmaid’s bouquets.
Below: Jason Jarvis Photography
Best Squad Pic
Amanda & Matt got busted with their squad when the First Landing State Park rangers jumped in on the action. Nothing says a party like some flashing lights & sirens!
Below: Dustin Lewis Images
Best Personal Touch
Jamie & Jill hid a little personal touch inside of their wedding dresses. Here is what they told us when we asked about these blue hearts:
“One thing that we decided to do was create our own little memorials for those who couldn’t be with us on our special day. Jill’s father passed away several years ago, so she cut a heart out of one of his blue shirts… and, Jamie’s grandfather had passed away in February, so she cut a heart out of one of his favorite jean jackets. We pinned these inside our dresses – as our something old and something blue.”You can read more about their wedding on their wedding spotlight.
Below: Valerie Betz Photography
2017 came & went so quickly, & we cannot thank the people & vendors we worked with this year enough for making our weddings such a success! We can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store, & to meet all of the wonderful, beautiful couples who will tie the knot at Lesner Inn with us in the years to come!
How & when did you meet?
We met the summer before my third year of pharmacy school. I was meeting a friend at the bar and her boyfriend invited Matt. As we started talking, I tried to describe this amazing drink I had just discovered– a Margarona. We decided to order a round of margaritas and coronas at the bar to make our own. Little did I know that the margarita need to be frozen to prevent spillage. I spilt it all over the bar. For months, Matt had me listed as margarona in his phone.
How & when did you get engaged? (We know, this story is so sweet!)
We got engaged in Jamaica in October 2016. Matt was waiting for the perfect time to propose. It rained every evening we were there. We were walking to dinner one night, umbrella in hand, when he pulled me aside. I was walking fast in an attempt to get to dinner (I really love food). He finally grabbed my arm and said “If you would just slow down for a minute, I’m trying to ask you to marry me.”
What made you pick Lesner Inn as your wedding venue?
I knew I wanted to get married on the water, but I didn’t want the unpredictable weather to be a factor. The Lesner Inn had amazing reviews. It turned out to be the perfect location. We were able to have the ceremony/reception at the same location. The food was phenomenal and the views were amazing.
What vendors did you choose for your wedding day & why did you choose them?
- Photography– Dustin Lewis- A friend recommended him. He had previous experience photographing at the Lesner Inn, and great reviews. He was so easy to work with and our photos were stunning!
- Mary’s Flower Works- Another recommendation from a friend/family member. She did an amazing job.
- Astro DJ- Astro DJ had great reviews. They were quick and responsive to emails. They even let one of the guest sing karaoke to “ICE, ICE, Baby”.
- Flawless/Blushtones- I researched hair and makeup artists for months. This was one of the more important details to me. They had great reviews. I knew after the hair/make-up trial, that I had chosen correctly.
We LOVED your Pittsburgh cookie table! What is the story behind this tradition?
My husband is from Pittsburgh. I’m not sure of the origin of the tradition, but a true Pittsburgh wedding is not complete without dozens of homemade cookies. Matt’s mom came down a week early to get all the baking done.
What was your favorite detail (big or small) from your wedding & why?
Renting a margarita machine. Our signature drink was the “Margarona”, and our guests loved it.
What made you decide to use a steel drum band for your ceremony & cocktail hour entertainment?
I wanted to create a “beachy” vibe. The sound of steel drum bands reminds me of the Caribbean.
How did you handle the stress of wedding planning? Were there any hiccups along the way?
I am a type “A” person. I sat down and created a list of everything that need to be done and scheduled time each week to complete the task. Most of the wedding planning was done in a couple of months. This allowed me to focus on the small details. We had one hiccup the day of. The shuttle bus forgot to pick up the guests. Luckily Cayleen and Alexis were able to handle the situation. I highly recommend a day of coordinator for this exact situation.
Is there anything that you wish you had done differently or that you had thought of in advance?
I wouldn’t change a thing.
What advice would you give other couples getting ready to plan their wedding?
Stay organized and book vendors as soon as possible. Remember, something is bound to go wrong the day of, but in the end it won’t matter.
What great words of advice! Even if you do everything right in the planning process, just remember you can’t always expect the unexpected. All you can do is roll with the punches, and make sure that you hire the help of coordinators to handle any issues that may arise!
Photos by Dustin Lewis Images
How & when did you meet?
Justin and I met at Old Dominion University in the fall of 2007. I reached out to my friend, who was also Justin’s college roommate at the time, because I was in desperate need of tutoring for an accounting class. Justin wasn’t great at math — but with his charming personality we hit it off!
How & when did you get engaged?
We got engaged at the Old Dominion Homecoming game on September 24, 2016. Justin wanted to propose right where it all began! He popped the question in front of the “Big Blue” lion statute. We were met with applause and cheers from fellow Monarchs who were there celebrating the “big game.” ODU even posted the news on their Facebook page!
Why did you pick Lesner Inn for your venue?
We looked at other venues but when we arrived at Lesner Inn we knew this was “it”! The location provided the perfect atmosphere for us to say “I do”!
What outside vendors did you use & why did you choose them?
We had amazing vendors that truly made our day so spectacular!
- Our photographer, Dustin Lewis, was recommended from the Lesner Inn “preferred vendor list”. After meeting him, we knew his personable approach to photography and artistic vision would be the perfect match for us.
- Our videographer, Intellect Media, we met at a bridal show. After looking at sample videos online from several different vendors, the production quality of Intellect Media’s video was reminiscent of a big-budget Hollywood film. After meeting with both Marcus and Eric, we knew their professionalism and knowledge of their craft would be the perfect way to capture our love story on our special day.
- I met our florist Debbie from Fluttering Flowers at a bridal show also. Her flair for floral arrangements and genteel persona was a winning combination.
- Based off of the recommendation from several vendors we sought out Deb from Incredible Edibles for our cake. We went into the cake tasting and Deb was so accommodating and helpful in deciding what “sweet treats” we would offer our guests.
- We knew from the beginning we wanted Astro DJ to provide the entertainment for the evening. Rodney Charles had been a DJ for a friend’s wedding the year prior. His style and choice of music meshed perfectly with our idea for a “great night”.
- I met Waterford Event rentals at a bridal show. After meeting with Rebecca who was so helpful and kind, I knew that I had to use some of their beautiful linens to “complete” my wedding look!
- I met Soirees by Lauren at a bridal show. I hired them for day of coordination and they helped me to feel like a guest at my own wedding!
What was your vision for your wedding day & did it change throughout the process? If so, how?
The vision for my wedding day was to have a beautiful, fun-filled day that I would not forget! Throughout the process, some of my ideas changed slightly — but overall, I kept my “end frame” in sight which was to focus on marrying my best friend and celebrating one of the best days of my life!
Did you have a theme? If so, how did you choose it?
Our theme for the wedding was “Old Hollywood”. We chose this theme because Justin is a huge fan of films (he has a collection of over 1800 blue rays) and I love anything glamorous and from that era. We used cinematic elements such as each table was a name of a film, having a “popcorn” bar, etc. Our colors were black, gold, ivory, and blush to bring in those “Old Hollywood” elements.
What were you most excited about for your wedding day?
We were most excited to have all of our family and friends in one room to help us celebrate this huge milestone in our lives.
Were there any personal touches that you put on your wedding day that were really special to you?
On our cake, we had two brooches that were from each of our grandmothers who had passed away. We were very close to them so this was a way of having them there. We also had our grandparents wedding photos on the cake table as a tribute to them.
Are there any funny or silly moments from your wedding day or the planning process that stand out to you?
Everyone dancing and enjoying the music at the reception to include two elderly family members grooving on the dance floor with their walkers.
What advice do you have for other couples planning their wedding?
Our advice is to enjoy the “journey” of wedding planning. It is easy to get caught up in the stress and “perfection” that a wedding has to be but remember the most important thing is that you are getting married. No one will notice if the decorations are not in the right order or if a bow is not correct, what your guests will take away from a wedding is the overall feeling of fun and enjoyment they experienced.
They definitely hit the nail on the head with that advice! Planning can become stressful if you let it, but just enjoying every bit of the process is what makes it so fun. At the end of the day the most important thing is that you are marrying your best friend surrounded by the people who love you most!
Photos from Dustin Lewis Images!
Date, time & location! Even though you may put this information on your invitations, it’s always a good thing to put these basics on your website too in case someone loses the invite. You can even be super nice & put maps or write out directions for your guests if you’re feeling up to it!
We love these!! Although not everyone will read the full story, the guests who do will love to read about all the little details throughout your love story. How you met, how the relationship grew, & of course how he popped the question! The romantic picture you paint will get all of your guests so excited for your big day!
Right: Echard Wheeler Photography
Presents, presents, presents! Where to get them though? Putting your registry on your website is such a help when people are shopping around for your wedding present. Although you never want to make it seem like your guests are obligated to bring a present, you can discreetly put a link to your registry on your website so your guests can have easy access to it.
Attire & accommodations! Every guest always asks “What should I wear to the wedding?”, so make it a little easier for them & suggest some things that could go with your wedding theme. If you’re having a rustic, relaxed wedding, you could suggest jeans or if it’s more glamorous, let them know to wear a more formal outfit. Also, if your guests desire to stay overnight before or after your wedding, letting them know of nearby hotels can be a huge help to them. This keeps them from bugging you about where is the best place to stay or having to do all of the research themselves. Another idea is to block off rooms at a local hotel for your guests & let them know that it’s already been done for them!
Left: Stellar Exposures
This is something that is pretty simple to set up and can be a huge help to your guests who don’t always respond in a timely manner through mail. Some of your guests may also prefer the convenient, cost-efficient way to RSVP.
Using your wedding website effectively will take so much stress off of the planning process! The little details will be at your guests fingertips, leaving you to worry about the big details at Lesner Inn!
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- How to Prepare for ALL of Your Vendor Meetings
- The Rehearsal Rundown
- Five Unique Guest Book Ideas
- Five Ways to Get your Guests on the Dance Floor