Bud­get Tips for your Big Day!

We know that most engaged cou­ples are on a bud­get. Of course, the bud­get varies from cou­ple to cou­ple but we see that most cou­ples tend to have a num­ber that they would like to stick below. With that in mind, we have come up with some handy tips to make sure you & your fiancé have a beau­ti­ful wed­ding, but stay within the bud­get!

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!

View More: http://elizabethfriskephotography.pass.us/lesner-inn-style-shoot

Eliz­a­beth Friske Photography

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!

Best of 2017!

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


Best-Cake-Waterfront-Venue-Lee-Yen-photographyBest Cake

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


View More: http://ashleypetersonphotography.pass.us/cammaratawedBest Cake Topper

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

Best Bridal Bouquet

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

Best Cer­e­mony

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


View More: http://kellydierphotography.pass.us/lesch-wilson-bridal-partyBest Kiss

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!

Left: Jason Jarvis Pho­tog­ra­phy - Right: Dragon Stu­dios

Best Décor

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


Best Theme

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


Best Sta­tionery

One of the parts of the plan­ning process that we rarely get to see is the invi­ta­tion suite. Every once in a while though, a cou­ple will bring them in so the photographer’s can snap a few pho­tos of them. We loved Nel­son & 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


Best Exit

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


Best-First-Dance-Ballroom-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach-Reception-Kelly-Marie-Photography Best First Dance

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

Best-Sunset-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach-Winston-Veranga-Photography.jpgBest Sun­set

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


Best Dressed

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


Best-Rainy-Wedding-Rainy-Weddings-Bryan-Myhr.jpgBest Rainy Wedding

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!

Wed­ding High­lights: Amanda & Matt 8.5.2017

Sunset-Deck-Ceremony-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach.jpgAmanda & Matt got mar­ried at Lesner Inn on August 5, 2017 on our Sun­set Deck. The ladies at Lesner Inn had the plea­sure of coor­di­nat­ing their wed­ding, where we had a great time get­ting to know them & their fam­i­lies! After learn­ing a lit­tle bit more about them, we love how much of their wed­ding details match up to the details of their love story! We hope you enjoy the details as much as we did!

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.

Margarita-machine-wedding-signature-drink-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach.jpgWe 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

Wed­ding High­lights: Court­ney & Justin 10.28.2017

Court­ney & Justin said “I do” at Lesner Inn on Octo­ber 28, 2017 with fam­ily & friends all around. The year before the wed­ding, we spent a lot of time get­ting to know them, laugh­ing with them, & help­ing to plan their big day. Now they are back from their hon­ey­moon enjoy­ing life as Mr. & Mrs., & we just couldn’t wait to share their story with you!

How & when did you meet?
Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (25).jpgJustin 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!
Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (30)

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.

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (49)

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.

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (54)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.

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (12).jpg
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!

How to Make the Most of Your Wed­ding Web­site

Every­one is online nowa­days. Whether it’s social media, com­put­ers, or smart phones, we all spend a decent amount of our days on our phones & online, so why not have your wed­ding details on a wed­ding web­site? It’s is an easy, & gen­er­ally free, way to give your guests some details that you won’t put on your invi­ta­tions. The web­site is more than just throw­ing up some pic­tures & telling your guests when & where the wed­ding will take place. Get into it & get the most out of your web­site so your guests know all the details!

Basic Essen­tials
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!

Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Website-how-to-diy-weddings-virginia-beach.jpg Your Story
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.

View More: http://stellarexposures.pass.us/beachball17 Logis­tics
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

Online RSVP
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!

How to Pre­pare for ALL of Your Ven­dor Meet­ings

When plan­ning your Lesner Inn wed­ding, it is impor­tant to remem­ber that your ven­dors are not there to make deci­sions for you. We love to offer sug­ges­tions when asked but, unless you are deal­ing with a wed­ding plan­ner, it is not our duty to make the big deci­sions. We’ve recently pub­lished a blog to help you pri­or­i­tize when you should book each of your ven­dors, but let’s take a closer look at what comes after book­ing these ven­dors!

Every vendor’s plan­ning process is dif­fer­ent, but here are some of the best tips to make sure that you are pre­pared for every plan­ning meet­ing up until your wed­ding day!


At Lesner Inn, we have two plan­ning meet­ings after book­ing. The first will take place 90 days from the event, and the sec­ond will be two weeks out. If your wed­ding venue is doing your cater­ing, this is some­thing that you will need to con­sider before these meet­ings.
  • 90 Day Meet­ing: It is best to go into this meet­ing with at least an idea of details like your menu, floor plan, linens, rental décor, and guest count. If you have decided that you want a buf­fet, but can’t decide if you would like to serve beef or fish with your chicken entrée then this is also a great time to sit down for a tast­ing! We also ask that you have a gen­eral idea of your time­line at the 90 day meet­ing. Although we know that this will change sev­eral times after you meet with each ven­dor, we like for you to have a real­is­tic idea of when food is served at Lesner Inn, and the amount of time that it will take from your evening so that this infor­ma­tion can be relayed to your other vendors.

  • Final Meet­ing (2 weeks from wed­ding): Your final meet­ing is where all final details and changes must be made to the work­ing con­tract. Keep in mind that some of your ven­dors may require for you to pro­vide a meal for them, so make sure to relay this infor­ma­tion to us at this time!


Plan­ning with your pho­tog­ra­pher includes mak­ing deci­sions such as the amount of time they will stay to take pho­tos and what types of pho­tos and poses you are inter­ested in tak­ing. If you’re unsure of how to respond to these ques­tions, here are some sug­ges­tions on what ques­tions to ask your­self before going into the meet­ing:
  • What is my time­line on the day of, and where is every­thing happening?
  • What do I want my pho­tog­ra­pher to cap­ture on my wed­ding day? (Ex: Get­ting hair & makeup done, pre-​ceremony bridal party pho­tos, sunrise/​sunset, first look, cer­e­mony, first dances, cake cut­ting, recep­tion danc­ing, spe­cial exit, etc.)
  • Where do I want pho­tos to be taken on the day of? If you want pho­tos on Chicks Beach at Sun­set then not only should your pho­tog­ra­pher know, but also your venue/​caterer, and MC so that the event can flow seam­lessly with no gaps or wait­ing around.
  • Who do I want pho­tos with? Make a list of spe­cific peo­ple that you want pho­tos with to make sure that your pho­tog­ra­pher will be able to check them off as they go.
  • What kind of pho­tos do I want most? (Can­did, posed, group shots, etc.)


Your florist is going to be inter­ested in sev­eral aspects of your wed­ding design, and you may be over­whelmed with the amount of details they will need. Here are some of the top­ics you should be ready to dis­cuss with your florist:
  • What is your color scheme?
  • What linen col­ors are going to be on the tables?
  • Are there any spe­cific types of flo­rals that you want to be included?
  • Will you be pro­vid­ing your own vases/​other containers?
  • What kind of bou­quet do you want for you & your brides­maids? If you’re unsure, then check out this blog from Inside Weddings!
  • Are there any spe­cial guests to receive corsages/​boutonnieres?
  • How many tables need to be decorated?
  • What would you like for your arch to look like?


Whether you’ve hired a DJ, band, or ukulele player, they’re going to want to know the type of music you will want played dur­ing the con­tracted time. This includes let­ting them know that you DO NOT want the “Chicken Dance” played at any time through­out the event. Addi­tion­ally, they will need to know your time­line, names of any­one being announced, spe­cial dances/​games for dur­ing the recep­tion and the songs that you want played for each, etc. Don’t for­get that 9 times out of 10 your musi­cal enter­tain­ment will also be the MC for the event.


Obvi­ously this is going to be one of the most enjoy­able plan­ning meet­ings because you get to taste a bunch of sweet treats! Make sure that you are ready to dis­cuss any intri­cate designs that you want for your cake, so that your bak­ery can know what you are expect­ing.

We hope that you are enjoy­ing the plan­ning process and that you keep in mind what this cel­e­bra­tion is all about! Noth­ing is bet­ter than the day you get to walk down the aisle and enjoy a beau­ti­ful event with your friends, fam­ily, and new spouse!!

The Rehearsal Run­down

We hear it all the time. A few months before a wed­ding, a cou­ple will anx­iously call us ask­ing what time their rehearsal is, when peo­ple should get in town, and when they should sched­ule their din­ner. We under­stand that coor­di­nat­ing flights, travel arrange­ment and sched­ules can be hec­tic so we are here to help! When you book your wed­ding at Lesner Inn, you are guar­an­teed one hour for your rehearsal how­ever, we can­not sched­ule the date and time a year out from the event. Why not? Let us explain.

Let’s say you are get­ting mar­ried on Sat­ur­day night and want to have your rehearsal on Fri­day night at 6:00 PM right before your din­ner at 7:30 PM. If we have a wed­ding start­ing at 6:00 PM on that Fri­day night, we unfor­tu­nately can­not have two events going on in the same space at once. But fear not! The Water­side Deck and the Sun­set Deck are the same lay­out so you always have the option of using one of the decks for your rehearsal shortly before the other event begins.

We know that not every sin­gle cou­ple is com­fort­able rehears­ing in a dif­fer­ent space and we com­pletely under­stand! We try our best to make sure that you get the ideal space and time but some­times, rehearsals have to be around 3:00 PM or ear­lier. This is actu­ally a bless­ing in dis­guise though! If you have a local bridal party, they don’t have to take too much time off of work. If your bridal party is from out of town, then they have the option of going to check into their hotel, show­er­ing, and relax­ing from their big day of travel before the rehearsal din­ner. Win-​win all around!

The last option is to have your rehearsal off-​site. If you are hav­ing your rehearsal din­ner in a place with a large open area, you can eas­ily repli­cate the cer­e­mony space with your bridal party. Thank­fully, the hard­est part of a rehearsal is mak­ing sure that the first per­son knows where they are walk­ing. Every­one else just has to fol­low suit! Your wed­ding plan­ner or day of coor­di­na­tor will be a big help dur­ing this time to explain the flow of the cer­e­mony and answer any ques­tions that you or your fam­ily may have.

If you ever have any ques­tions about book­ing your rehearsal or your rehearsal din­ner with Lesner Inn or one of our sis­ter restau­rants, please don’t hes­i­tate to con­tact one of our sales managers!

View More: http://taraliebeckphotography.pass.us/angelique

Five Unique Guest Book Ideas

A wed­ding is not com­plete with­out a guest book, because how else will you know who to thank for com­ing? But, how each cou­ple presents their guest book can be totally unique, which we at Lesner Inn LOVE!!! So, for those of you unsure of what you want to do for your guest book, we wanted to help out and share some of our favorite guest book ideas!

For the Wine Fanat­ics
First off, who doesn’t love a lit­tle wine at a wed­ding? Many of our Lesner Inn cou­ples use wine bot­tles in their décor, so why not use them as guest books too? Plus, you can save some money on a guest book by just recy­cling the wine bot­tles that were going to sit in your recy­cling bin any­ways! Have a bot­tle or two on dis­play for your guests to sign with a win­dow marker, and let them share some kind words with you!

For the Music Inspired
Is music a huge part of you and your sig­nif­i­cant other’s rela­tion­ship? Well, whether you play an instru­ment or just jam out to some soul music, we love the idea of hav­ing an acoustic gui­tar laid out for guests to sign or even hav­ing them sign some of your favorite vinyls!

View More: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trina

Above: Chelsea Ander­son Photography

For your Spe­cial Theme
There are lots of ways to have your guest book reflect the theme of your wed­ding! If it’s a rus­tic or wood­land inspired wed­ding, you could use nat­ural cut wood or a wooden let­ter of your new last name. If you’re more of a Gatsby gal though, add some black lace to a book or pil­low and give the guests a feather pen to write their love with!

Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Guest-Book-Ideas.jpg For the Wan­der­ers
If you and your fiancé love to travel, this one is just for you! Put a map of the world in a pic­ture frame and let your guests sign on their favorite city. You could even use a globe and let your guests have fun spin­ning it around to find the coun­try or city they want to sign!

For the Crafty Orig­i­nals
There are so many options with this one! Whether it be quilt pieces that you sew together after your big day, let­ters that guests write and place in a mail­box, or hav­ing guests take a Polaroid and place it in a scrap­book to rem­i­nisce on, any of these options will let you and your guests bring out their crafti­ness!
Right: Caitlin Ger­res Pho­tog­ra­phy

No mat­ter what you choose for your guest book, your guests will be buzzing with excite­ment as soon as they walk in the door with all of these unique guest book ideas. Of course, you can always have mul­ti­ple guest books if you love two or three of these alter­na­tives. After all, it’s your wed­ding and you can do what you want!

Five Ways to Get your Guests on the Dance Floor

Some peo­ple are born for the spot­light while others…well, they tend to wait until the dance floor is filled before they join the crowd. So what do you do when no one will get up to dance at your recep­tion? We have seen lots of tricks at Lesner Inn to get those guests on their feet and thought we would share some of them with you!

Pro­vide danc­ing shoes: Lesner-Inn-Party-Wedding-Dancing-Entertainment-Hampton-Roads-Reception Fancy occa­sions calls for fancy shoes and unless they dress up on a reg­u­lar basis, most of your guests will have blis­ters by the end of the night. Don’t let that be their excuse! Bring a bas­ket of flip flops in vary­ing sizes and have them placed by the DJ once the dance floor opens. This gives your guests the option of kick­ing off their shoes with­out hav­ing to walk bare­foot around the recep­tion all night. Trust us, this is always a crowd pleaser!

The anniver­sary dance: This one is always a sweet tra­di­tion to watch. When the dance floor opens, start the night out with a slow love song and have your DJ ask all mar­ried cou­ples to come join you. As the song pro­gresses, have him dis­miss cou­ples to stand to the side who have been mar­ried for 1 year…5 years…10 years…12 years…15 years. You’ll be left with the cou­ple who has been mar­ried the longest and this is a great moment to get advice for a long mar­riage from them. And now, that every­one is already stand­ing on the dance floor, let the party begin!

Line dances: Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Reception-dancing-Virginia-Beach-Fun-Wedding For those guests with two left feet, some­times it is help­ful when some­one tells you what to do so that you are a lit­tle more com­fort­able on the dance floor. Plus it is always hilar­i­ous to watch your grand­par­ents learn the Cha Cha Slide!

Glow and foam sticks: Who doesn’t love a prop?! Glow sticks are a fun way to bring the party and get peo­ple loos­ened up. Your youngest guests will obvi­ously love a new toy but you’d be sur­prised just how many adults go crazy for them. If glow sticks seem too ele­men­tary for you, check out LED Foam Sticks. These light up in dif­fer­ent col­ors and at dif­fer­ent rates and can be found on Ama­zon for about $1 each. We won’t tell you how many grown men we’ve seen have light saber duels on the dance floor with these!

Song requests: This one requires a lit­tle fore­thought on your end. When you send out your invi­ta­tions, include a line on the RSVP card for guests to request a song that will get them on the dance floor. Give this list to your DJ so if he needs a lit­tle extra help to get peo­ple out there, he knows exactly what they want to hear.

Of course, hav­ing an awe­some band or DJ can get the party started but if your guests need a lit­tle nudge, we hope these tips will help them to break it down on the dance floor at Lesner Inn!

Pho­tos by Mike Dragon Stu­dios

Wed­ding High­lights: Jamie & Jill 6-​2-​2017

Jamie & Jill tied the knot at Lesner Inn on June 2, 2017 in a beau­ti­ful cer­e­mony over­look­ing the Lynnhaven River sur­round by their fam­ily and friends. We spent the year lead­ing up to their wed­ding day plan­ning and help­ing them to cre­ate their dream wed­ding. Now that they have had time to relax after the mad­ness of wed­ding plan­ning, we touched base with them to hear about their big day from their point of view!

Love-Pride-Wedding-Lesner-Inn-Waterfront-Virginia-beach-Wedding-Venue First off, how and when did you meet?

We both teach at the uni­ver­sity level and have our Ph.D.’s. It was a job that brought us together. We became instant friends; and were friends for a few years before we started dat­ing.

We love a good pro­posal story – how did you get engaged?

Well, we actu­ally pro­posed to each other two weeks apart. Jill pro­posed first. She planned a fun week­end in Raleigh – see­ing Jamie’s favorite singer. Lit­tle did Jamie know she would get to meet her favorite singer AND when they got back to the hotel that night, she would be greeted with roses, choco­lates, cham­pagne… and, a beau­ti­ful ring! Two weeks later, while Jill was at work, Jamie dec­o­rated the house with bal­loons from which she hung pho­tos. In the mid­dle of it all, Jamie propos­ing to Jill!

Lesner Inn Lesbian Wedding Venue Virginia.jpgWhy did you pick Lesner Inn for your wed­ding and how long did it take you to find a venue?

Lesner pro­vided us the per­fect set­ting for our wed­ding… Lesner Hall, with the inside ball­room and out­door deck, was the per­fect set­ting to make our wed­ding dreams come true.

What out­side ven­dors did you use and why did you pick them?

  • Flut­ter­ing Flow­ers – we heard so many great things about Deb­bie, and every venue we vis­ited knew of her and loved her, we just had to check her out for our­selves. Her work was absolutely beautiful.
  • Valerie Betz Pho­tog­ra­phy – Val is one of Jamie’s best friends from High School, so she gra­ciously vol­un­teered her tal­ent for our wed­ding day.
  • Incred­i­ble Edi­bles Bak­ery – Jamie needed a gluten free cake, so we con­tacted those bak­eries adver­tis­ing GF wed­ding cakes… Incred­i­ble Edi­bles was deli­cious, so we went with them with­out even try­ing any other bakeries.
  • Water­ford Event Rentals (Table Cloths/​Linens/​Napkins) – They were highly rec­om­mended, so we used them. The ladies there were won­der­ful to work with. And, they had the most per­fect nap­kins and table linens to match our colors.
  • Cur­tis, with Hamp­ton Roads DJ – We found Cur­tis through an Inter­net search, gave him a call for more infor­ma­tion, and after a short chat we knew he was the right guy for the job.
Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Virginia-Beach-Staircase-Dramatic-Venue.jpg What was your vision for your wed­ding day and did it change through­out the plan­ning process? If so, how?

Right from the begin­ning, we wanted some­thing “beachy,” with a hint of ele­gance. And, we got just that – the deck gave us the water and out­door feel, and the ball­room gave us our ele­gance.

How did you pick your first dance song and why did you pick it?

Our first dance song, “Think­ing Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran was “our song.” We heard it one day, and felt like it really spoke the words in our hearts. We felt so blessed to have found each other, when nei­ther of us were really look­ing for love.

What were you most excited about for your wed­ding day?

See­ing it all come together. We put so much time, energy, and money into plan­ning our spe­cial day; we couldn’t wait to see it all come to life. It was just as per­fect and beau­ti­ful as we hoped it would be!
We also were immensely excited to offi­cially declare our love sur­rounded by all of our fam­ily and friends, those that sup­port us and love us most. It was an incred­i­bly mag­i­cal moment.

Were there any per­sonal touches that you put on your wed­ding day that were really spe­cial to you?

Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Details-Something-Old-Blue-Waterfront-Wedding.jpg 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. We also included other memo­r­ial pieces in our bou­quets, and on a memo­r­ial board for the guests to see.

We also decided to cre­ate our own photo booth (which our 16 year old ama­teur pho­tog­ra­pher nephew was in charge of). It was a lot of fun find­ing and paint­ing props, and mak­ing the back­drop. As a spe­cial gift for our guests, we printed all the pho­to­booth pho­tos and sent them with our thank you’s.

We loved all the lit­tle per­sonal touches we added, but our favorite per­sonal touch was writ­ing our own vows. This was some­thing that was really impor­tant to us. It was def­i­nitely a chal­lenge, but was so worth it. We made each other cry, and our guests! And, now, we have those words to hold onto and live up to for­ever.

Are there any funny or silly moments from your wed­ding day or the plan­ning process that stand out to you?

The entire wed­ding day was FUN! But this prob­a­bly was the most mem­o­rable “funny moment” — Jamie’s dress was pretty fluffy… 3 bus­tles were inserted to help hold it all up for danc­ing (“They are really easy to find,” said the seam­stress). Well, it took sev­eral peo­ple, and their cell­phone flash­lights, to find 1 of those bus­tles. We never did find the other 2! Not so easy to find after all!

What advice do you have for other cou­ples plan­ning their wed­ding?

J+J-105Two of the best pieces of advice we could offer would be: 1) Cre­ate a bud­get and stick to it. Period. You can get really lost in all the lit­tle addi­tions or extras that add up. You don’t want to get so caught up in plan­ning the wed­ding that you lose sight of the most impor­tant thing– your mar­riage and com­mit­ment to each other. And, 2) Don’t expect your wed­ding day to be 100% per­fect… but, you can choose to accept any imper­fec­tions and just enjoy the day for what it is! The most impor­tant things are, of course say­ing “I do” and being sur­rounded by those who love and sup­port you. Every­thing else will likely be a detail you won’t clearly remem­ber.

Yes! We couldn’t agree with this more. All of your ven­dors will be work­ing tire­lessly to make sure that your wed­ding day is per­fect but some­times things hap­pen that are out of everyone’s con­trol. Go into your wed­ding day know­ing that – no mat­ter what hap­pens – it will be per­fect because you are mar­ry­ing the love of your life!

Pho­tos by Valerie Betz Pho­tog­ra­phy!

Want to read about more Lesner Inn cou­ples? Check out Trina & Greg’s Ben­gali Cer­e­mony & Recep­tion!


Once the cake has been eaten and the guests have gone home, you are left hap­pily mar­ried to the love of your life. And with a lot of boxes of stuff that you have no idea what to do with. If you are like 90% of brides across Amer­ica, you now have col­lec­tions of nap­kins, run­ners, twin­kle lights, and charg­ers just gath­er­ing dust in your attic. Here are a few ways to turn those into cold hard cash!

The most impor­tant part about sell­ing online is to make sure that you have pic­tures of each item. First, sift through all of your wed­ding pho­tos to see what your pho­tog­ra­pher cap­tured. It is eas­i­est to sell some­thing from a pro­fes­sional image rather than an iPhone pic­ture of it sit­ting on your kitchen table. Next, take inven­tory of the items. Count how many items, take mea­sure­ments of size and write it all down! This will help you to cre­ate an accu­rate list­ing when you go to post your items.

There are tons of sites that you can sell your items on but here are a few of the top ones to get you started: Of course, our old friend eBay is a great option too! Some of these sites do charge a fee on each sale so make sure to check that out when you sign up for each one. There are also great apps like Offer Up & Let Go for iPhone & Android users!

And hey, this isn’t just for peo­ple who are sell­ing items. If you are still look­ing for the per­fect “Choose a Seat Not a Side” sign then don’t down play a good bar­gain!

More Arti­cles …

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