Wed­ding High­lights: Trina & Greg 6-​3-​2017

Trina & Greg tied the knot at Lesner Inn in a beau­ti­ful Ben­gali cer­e­mony on our Sun­set Deck and then par­tied the night away in Lesner Hall. We loved hav­ing the oppor­tu­nity to learn more about Trina’s cul­ture and get to know the cou­ple through­out the plan­ning process. And we wanted to share more with you! We reached out to Trina & Greg and — amidst her crazy res­i­dency sched­ule – got to hear their side of their big day!

How and when did you meet?View More:

Despite hav­ing the same mutual friends for about 10 years before meet­ing, we finally met a few years ago in Rich­mond, VA. My friend from high school, Chris, was back in town from the North­east for his annual col­lege soccer/​fraternity reunion week­end. He invited me to meet him and his friends, Greg included, on a Fri­day night. I decided see­ing a good friend from out-​of-​town war­ranted a short study break even though I had an exam (med­ical school) on Mon­day. Lit­tle did I real­ize how impor­tant that study break would even­tu­ally be! (We learned shortly after dat­ing that we missed meet­ing each other by one or two days almost every year for 10 years…) Greg and I hit it off instantly and kept in touch for many months as friends. Greg lived two hours away in North Car­olina but vis­ited Rich­mond often for work and fam­ily. We caught up on one of those vis­its, and the rest is his­tory…

How and when did he pro­pose? (Don’t worry, we cried too)

Greg had the oppor­tu­nity to take a head soc­cer coach posi­tion at a uni­ver­sity in Penn­syl­va­nia. We were then five hours apart but vis­ited each other as often as we could. Some­times meet­ing in Mary­land for a week­end or day trip was the best option due to our crazy sched­ules. One Fri­day in late Feb­ru­ary 2016, we were two weeks into a four week stretch apart. Greg had work oblig­a­tions the next morn­ing but knew I had the week­end free. He sug­gested we meet in Annapo­lis for part of the week­end. He only told me where to meet and what to pack. I was not phased by the lack of detail because he loves to plan sur­prises. I was just excited to explore Annapo­lis together and spend [what I thought was] an unan­tic­i­pated week­end together. I had only been there once before, but Greg was born there and spent many sum­mers coach­ing at Naval Acad­emy soc­cer camps.

View More: met at the Mary­land State House and dropped our things at one of the his­toric inns. After explor­ing down­town Annapo­lis in the after­noon, we headed over to the Naval Acad­emy. We sat on a bench, look­ing out on the water and city. Greg shared sto­ries about dif­fer­ent parts of town, either from fam­ily life or sum­mer coach­ing vis­its. I was pretty antsy from sit­ting in the car and sug­gested we walk more. He asked me to stand with him for a moment as he pulled me to the cen­ter of a huge com­pass rose on the ground. [The com­pass rose had turned into a theme for us through­out our rela­tion­ship for a vari­ety of rea­sons.] He stood right next to me and said he had to show me a cool tra­di­tion before we walked away. He asked me to turn and look west. I looked back across the water as the sun was about to set over the city. He then told me to face north. And last, he said to face east and then watch my shadow. At this point, I was rolling my eyes and laugh­ing, won­der­ing what this strange “tra­di­tion” was. That’s when I saw my shadow still stand­ing and his shadow get­ting down on one knee…

Why did you pick Lesner Inn for your wed­ding?

We were excited to show­case the local side of Vir­ginia Beach dur­ing our wed­ding. Trina’s fam­ily moved close to Chick’s Beach before she started high school. When we come to town, we are usu­ally on/​near Shore Drive at the beach or favorite local spots. We stepped into Lesner Inn and instantly fell in love with the beau­ti­ful views and the building’s setup. The Sun­set Deck pro­vided an out­door feel with secu­rity of a cov­ered deck in case of rainy sum­mer weather. The Lesner Hall was the per­fect size and lay­out for our recep­tion. We also liked the inclu­sion of tables, linens, cater­ing, bev­er­ages, etc. into a pack­age. We were also for­tu­nate that Lesner started offer­ing day-​of coor­di­na­tion ser­vices at a really rea­son­able price!

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

Bengali Wedding Bride Lesner Inn Virginia Beach Best Wedding Venue.jpgChelsea Ander­son Pho­tog­ra­phy– Chelsea’s images are crisp and very true to life. We could tell how well she would cap­ture the col­or­ful nature of an Indian cer­e­mony. Chelsea is also more than a wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher. She truly believes in mar­riage and uses her pho­tog­ra­phy to cel­e­brate the con­cept of mar­riage beyond the one day of a wed­ding. Her authen­tic­ity is unique!

Empty Pocket– Band. We found Empty Pocket through Sam Hill enter­tain­ment and through the rec­om­men­da­tion of a pre­vi­ous Vir­ginia Beach bride. The band’s song list was a full spec­trum, much like our music taste, and the singer’s voice is unreal.

Nor­folk Whole­sale Flo­ral– Trina’s fam­ily had a great expe­ri­ence with them for her sister’s wed­ding. We actu­ally ended up work­ing with the same florist, Sandie. At our ini­tial meet­ing, she asked if Trina could show her any pho­tos from Pin­ter­est we had saved. Trina laughed as she said, “I don’t have Pin­ter­est,” and asked about sea­sonal flow­ers in the col­ors we were choos­ing. We pretty much told Sandie the col­ors, some of our favorite flow­ers, and the gen­eral look of the arrange­ments… she took care of the rest!

Bengali Wedding Ceremony Lesner Inn virginia beach 41.jpgBeauty by Sharra– Hair and Makeup. Sharra’s port­fo­lio was amaz­ing and ver­sa­tile. She included travel fees, which made it fea­si­ble for my brides­maids and me to get ready in the com­fort of my par­ents’ house. She exclu­sively did my hair and make up. She and another artist split my mother’s and brides­maids’ hair and makeup. Sharra had such a calm­ing pres­ence through­out the day. She also was very will­ing to make any adjust­ments, if needed, so that we all loved our hair and makeup.

Cus­tom Cake Shoppe– Fan­tas­tic cus­tomer ser­vice and great cake!

Brah­mani Indian Asian Mar­ket (Nor­folk)- This is Trina’s family’s local go-​to for Indian gro­cery needs. They were able to order gulab jamun and ras­malai in bulk to be served at the recep­tion.

View More: Design Co (Etsy)- Our guest “book” sign was custom-​made by Bri­anna from an orig­i­nal com­pass rose design in her shop. The turn around was quick, and we love the sign on our wall!

Edi­son, NJ Indian shops– A large selec­tion of Indian apparel and other goods. Greg’s cer­e­mony out­fit was made by Maha­rani Fash­ions. Trina’s wed­ding sari was a banarasi silk sari, which is cus­tom­ary of Ben­gali brides, from Miss India.

Stu­dio I Do Bridals– Ash­ley, the owner, is a high school class­mate of mine. I loved see­ing the growth of this local store as well as the inven­tory she posted through the store’s social media. After try­ing quite a few dresses that didn’t seem quite the right fit, Ash­ley found the gown I ulti­mately chose, a Mag­gie Sot­tero gown. The gown was gor­geous and actu­ally com­fort­able. The style also some­what blended Indian and Amer­i­can cul­ture, just in the way we wanted our wed­ding. (Also, I actu­ally bought my prom dress from this store when it was solely All The Rage… and Ash­ley was there then, too!)

We loved get­ting to learn more about your cul­ture and all of the tra­di­tions. Can you explain what all of them were for any­one who may not have attended an Indian wed­ding?

This is a very brief synopsis/​explanation but hope­fully help­ful for those less famil­iar!

Lesner Inn Greg and Trina Indian Wedding92.jpgThe Vedas (ancient scrip­ture) describe the rit­u­als of Vivaha (Hindu wed­ding). Some spe­cific tra­di­tions vary from region to region, and our wed­ding was of clas­sic Ben­gali (of the state West Ben­gal) tra­di­tion. We infused Chris­t­ian ele­ments through­out to cel­e­brate Greg’s her­itage as well.

The wed­ding begins with the bride’s mother and friends wel­com­ing the groom with arati (a wor­ship rit­ual). He then stands on a piri (plat­form) to wait for the bride. She is car­ried on her own piri by broth­ers (in our case, Trina’s cousins and close friend). She holds betel leaves in front of her eyes as the group car­ries her around the groom seven times. After the sev­enth time, she removes the leaves from her face to share the first shub­ho­dr­ishti (first aus­pi­cious look). The bride and groom then exchange gar­lands three times. This all occurs under a chadna (canopy).

The bride’s father then accom­pa­nies the bride, groom, and priest on the man­dap (mar­riage stage). The bride’s father joins the bride’s and groom’s hands above a holy pitcher before the priest ties a knot between their gar­ments. The cou­ple then lights a holy fire before mak­ing offer­ings and cir­cling the fire three times. Next, they take sap­ta­padi (seven steps), where the bride steps on each bowl indi­vid­u­ally with the groom’s assis­tance. Each step rep­re­sents a promise: to unify spir­i­tual thoughts, to seek mutual hap­pi­ness, to be faith­ful, to be right­eous to one another, to be kind to all cre­ation, to act towards good name and fame, and to seek friend­ship, affec­tion, and fidelity. Waterfront Indian Wedding Lesner Inn Virginia Beach Trina and Greg 16.jpg

The cou­ple then exchange vows in San­skrit that mean “Let my heart be yours and yours be mine. Be a full part­ner in my enter­prises; merge your thoughts with mine. May the Almighty make us one.” They pray to the fixed North Star as a sym­bol of their now per­ma­nent tie. The priest presents a seed-​bearing fruit as a sym­bol that will later be shared by the cou­ple. The groom then applies sin­dur (ver­mil­lion pow­der) to the bride’s forehead/​part to sig­nify her as his bride. They then exchange rings before mak­ing the final offer­ing and extin­guish­ing the fire. The priest then sprin­kles them with holy water before announc­ing them as offi­cially hus­band and wife.

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

Civil Wars– Sacred Heart. One day early in our rela­tion­ship, we both hap­pened to lis­ten to songs in French. Nei­ther of us speak or have stud­ied French, so this was very ran­dom. We shared them with each other, and this song ended up stick­ing as our song. The cho­rus has a line “Seule­ment Toi,” mean­ing “only you.”

What were you most excited about for your wed­ding day?

View More: to pick just one! We were excited to start our mar­riage with stun­ning views as the back­drop and to share the evening with our clos­est friends and fam­ily. We were also excited to have a cer­e­mony and recep­tion that paid homage to both fam­i­lies’ cul­tures.

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

Cer­e­mony items: We used Trina’s mom’s wed­ding sari as the canopy in the cer­e­mony. The piris were built by Trina’s father and designed/​painted by Trina for her sister’s wed­ding. They hope to pass them down as the gen­er­a­tions go by. Trina also designed the com­pass rose [by hand] that was used on our pro­grams and wed­ding table num­bers.

Cer­e­mony struc­ture: We infused some Christian/​American ele­ments into our Hindu cer­e­mony– hav­ing a tra­di­tional bridal party with a pro­ces­sion, exchang­ing Chris­t­ian vows, and includ­ing a read­ing of one of our favorite poems. We also included music that rep­re­sented that fusion: tra­di­tional Indian wed­ding music, The Bea­t­les, Sara Bareilles, and Anoushka Shankar with Norah Jones.

Spice jar favors: We loved the idea of a practical/​useful favor. We ordered bulk Indian spices, small spice jars, and labels/​tags to put these together. We were serv­ing the deli­cious choices from Lesner Inn’s menu for our recep­tion but wanted to [lit­er­ally] add some Indian fla­vor for guests. Each jar had a label with the ingre­di­ents and a tag with a recipe.

What was the biggest mis­take you made dur­ing the plan­ning process? (Not that you made any mis­takes!)

We were really lucky to have Alexis and Cayleen as our [ABC] day-​of coor­di­na­tors. Not hav­ing them would have been our biggest mis­take!! We handed every­thing over 2 weeks prior. Their detail-​oriented work ensured that all went smoothly, espe­cially when they coor­di­nated some unan­tic­i­pated changes in the sched­ule dur­ing the night.

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

Have fun with it! Remem­ber what the day truly means– you are sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends who are cel­e­brat­ing the start of your mar­riage. Think of each deci­sion, small or big, about rep­re­sent­ing that notion. And def­i­nitely have at least day-​of coor­di­na­tion so that you can just enjoy your night with­out any tasks in mind!

Best Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach Lesner Inn 74.jpg

Almost three months later, and we still can­not get enough of Trina & Greg’s story! What a beau­ti­ful cou­ple that we were lucky enough to have at Lesner Inn for their wed­ding! These doc­tors are a power cou­ple to look out for, and we can’t wait to see what amaz­ing things they accom­plish together!

Pho­tos by Chelsea Ander­son Pho­tog­ra­phy!

10 Ques­tions to Ask Your Wed­ding Venue (and all of the answers!)

On aver­age, we meet with 1,000 newly engaged cou­ples a year and spend 30 min­utes or more dis­cussing options for their wed­ding at Lesner Inn. That means we spent 20.83 days a year (500 hours) talk­ing to poten­tial clients about ini­tial book­ing. We have found that these poten­tial clients are all ask­ing the same great ques­tions, so we’re here to pro­vide newly engaged cou­ples with the answers! Read on for the 10 ques­tions to ask your wed­ding venue!

#1: Is my date avail­able?
Unless you are flex­i­ble with your date, make sure to ask your venue if they are avail­able before you begin your tour. We hate see­ing a cou­ple fall in love with Lesner Inn only to find out that we are already booked on their date. To avoid this, have a few date options in mind before you begin your tour. While we’re on the sub­ject of your date, don’t ever send out a save the date before you book your wed­ding venue! This puts you at risk for not hav­ing your ven­dor dream team, and of course not being able to have your wed­ding at your dream venue!

#2: What is the max­i­mum capac­ity of the space?
We love that we offer two dif­fer­ent spaces to accom­mo­date both small and large scale events and it is impor­tant for cou­ples to know max­i­mum capac­i­ties for both. If you are look­ing for a smaller space, our Water­side Deck is a great option! With space for a 110 per­son seated event (plated or buf­fet), it can also be used for groups as small as 25. For larger events, our Lesner Hall can accom­mo­date up to 200 guests for a plated meal with space for a dance floor too!

#3: What hap­pens if it rains?

This is a great ques­tion and so impor­tant to ask in a coastal area! Our Water­side Deck is a fully enclosed space so your event can still go on even in the midst of hur­ri­cane sea­son. Lesner Hall is an indoor space and our cer­e­monies are typ­i­cally on the Sun­set Deck which is a cov­ered, open deck. How­ever, unless you have high winds, your out­door cer­e­mony can still hap­pen! If you have your heart set on tying the knot out­side, this is per­fect for you because your guests will be kept safe and dry but still have an awe­some view.
Above: Echard Wheeler Pho­tog­ra­phy

#4: What is included in my rental fee?
Always, always, always ask this! Not all venues offer tables, chairs, linens and set up and break­down like Lesner Inn does. This can be a huge cost to fac­tor into your bud­get. All of our event pack­ages offer a vari­ety of tables, chi­avari chairs, linens, set up and break­down of all of these items, flat­ware, glass­ware, chi­naware and all cater­ing sup­plies. Some of our pack­ages even offer your table decor!

#5: Where do my guests park?
All Lesner Inn events come with a com­pli­men­tary park­ing atten­dant to help direct guests as they arrive on the prop­erty and all of our staff parks off­site. We are under the same own­er­ship as Bubba’s, Back Deck, The Shell­fish Com­pany and the Lynnhaven Fish­ing Com­pany so we have plenty of over­flow park­ing. On a Sat­ur­day night dur­ing peak sea­son, we have 300 guests in the build­ing and never have issues with park­ing. Why not a valet? We find that valets tends to slow down ser­vice when all of the guests are arriv­ing at the same time. You wouldn’t want some­one to be late to the wed­ding because they were wait­ing in line for their car to be valeted.

#6: Are there any hid­den fees that I should watch out for?
Nope! All of Lesner Inn’s costs are clearly spelled out in all of our pric­ing and menus. We even let you know what the state tax is so you have all of the infor­ma­tion you need. We love to cre­ate esti­mates so don’t hes­i­tate to ask your event man­ager for one. This will show you a break­down of all costs so you can see every­thing that you are pay­ing for.

#7: Do you have a pre­ferred ven­dors list that I have to stick to?
Nope! We think you should be able to build your dream team of ven­dors and we love to meet new pho­tog­ra­phers, DJs, florists, coor­di­na­tors and bak­ers. There is no addi­tional fee for bring­ing an out­side ven­dor in so if your dad wants to be the DJ and your sis­ter wants to be the pho­tog­ra­pher, we think that’s great! But if you aren’t famil­iar with any wed­ding ven­dors, we have a sug­ges­tion list to help you start your search for reli­able ven­dors. And the ven­dors on our list offer dis­counts to cou­ples that book their wed­ding at Lesner Inn!

#8: Where do I get ready?View More:
Lesner Hall comes with a beau­ti­ful bridal suite that lets in lots of nat­ural light. It makes for great pre wed­ding pho­tos that you can find on our Face­book and Insta­gram. Go give us a fol­low and check it out for your­self!
Right: Kirstyn Marie Pho­tog­ra­phy

#9: Do you offer a mil­i­tary dis­count?
Yes! We offer all mil­i­tary wed­dings a dis­count of 50% off of our Sil­ver pack­age as a thank you for your ser­vice.

#10: I’m in! How do I book?
Lesner Inn requires a non-​refundable deposit of 25% of the esti­mated cost of your event. Your next pay­ment will be due 90 days before your event and will be 50% of the remain­ing bal­ance. You will also sit down with your event man­ager at this time to dis­cuss the details of your event like menu, linens, and floor plan. Two weeks prior to your event, we require all final num­bers as well as final pay­ment. Three easy pay­ments and you’ve paid off your wed­ding!

Did we not cover all of your ques­tions? Give us a call or shoot us an email at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sched­ule your tour!

Luxe Tuxes for the Spe­cial Men on Your Wed­ding Day!

We know we focus a lot on the ladies involved in Lesner Inn wed­dings, but it’s time to let the men shine! The Black Tux has great tuxe­dos for all of the men involved in your wed­ding day. If you’re look­ing for a tux that goes with your sum­mer wed­ding theme, Black Tux has great rentals to let your men keep up with the lat­est trends in wed­dings too!


We’re going back to basics this year with nat­ural tones, and you can make the men involved in your wed­ding rock this trend! The per­fect pair for nat­ural tones, is of course pops of green! Have them keep it sim­ple with a classy tan suit from Black Tux, and bring this trend to life with a green tie & bou­ton­niere like Jonathan did for him & Andrea’s jun­gle theme wedding!

Green & White-Wedding-Lesner-Inn-Waterfront-Wedding-Virginia-beach

Win­ston Veranga Photography

Another fun trend for men is adding prints to their ensem­ble! We love the green striped bowtie and polka dot­ted pocket square! How awe­some would a flo­ral print accent look with this nat­ural green­ery look though?

Green-2017-Wedding-Trend-Virginia-Beach-Waterfront-Wedding-Tracey-Sanders-PhotographyTracey Sanders Photography


Another one of our FAVORITE clas­sics is blue & blush. Such a per­fect pair of col­ors can be dis­played in any way you want, espe­cially when it comes to the suits rented from the Black Tux!

One of our favorite new trends in men’s wed­ding fash­ion is sport­ing a col­or­ful suit! Check out this rose col­ored suit for the bold groom or wed­ding guest!

They say that real mean wear pink, but of course we can­not for­get how clas­sic a man looks in a blue suit!


David Cham­pagne Photography

There are so many other clas­sic suit styles for the impor­tant men on your wed­ding day, but when they’re decid­ing on what to wear don’t for­get to think about the lat­est sum­mer trends!

Pulling Off a Last Minute Wed­ding!

We know how it is. You’re newly engaged, or have even been engaged for years, and you just want to get mar­ried to your best friend. If you had it your way, every­one and every­thing would mag­i­cally appear in the per­fect spot, at the per­fect, time, with the per­fect touches. But you don’t have a whole year to ded­i­cate to decid­ing linens & flo­ral arrange­ments, and you don’t have the bud­get to hire a wed­ding plan­ner to do it for you. Luck­ily, Lesner Inn has a team of wed­ding pro­fes­sion­als who can help you pull off your last minute wed­ding from start to fin­ish! Trust us, you’ll want to keep read­ing!

Wedding-Venue-Virginia-Beach-Waterfront-Lesner-Inn.jpgWed­ding Bug Studios

First things first, you MUST choose your wed­ding venue. This is what deter­mines which ven­dors are avail­able, and in some cases even the cost of their ser­vices. Lesner Inn is the per­fect wed­ding des­ti­na­tion that offers a casual ele­gance, with lit­tle need for lav­ish décor. How­ever, we have a wide selec­tion of cen­ter­pieces and light­ing to choose from to help you knock another thing off of your wed­ding plan­ning check­list. Check out the rental items that we offer to help make your wed­ding shine!

echard_wheeler_lesner013.jpgAddi­tion­ally, we pro­vide all linens, tables, chairs, china, glass­ware and flat­ware so you don’t have to go through a rental com­pany. We also pro­vide all food and bev­er­age! Lesner Inn is prac­ti­cally a one stop shop for the last minute wed­ding in Vir­ginia Beach!

Right: Echard Wheeler Pho­tog­ra­phy

As far as out­side ven­dors go, we def­i­nitely rec­om­mend hav­ing a DJ! ASTRO DJ offers a dis­count to Lesner Inn cou­ples and they are always our go to guys & gals! If they have a DJ avail­able, they are great to work with and can help you plan much more than just your playlist! They will help you plan every­thing from your first dances, to your bou­quet & garter tosses!

Hav­ing a pho­tog­ra­pher is also key to any wed­ding! You can’t rely on your guests to take the per­fect can­did with their iPhones. Make sure to do your research before book­ing a pho­tog­ra­pher, and find some­one who you vibe with that takes the style of pho­tos that you like. We have a pre­ferred ven­dors list with great rec­om­men­da­tions that we are happy to pro­vide!

Wedding-Venue-Waterfront-Virginia-Beach-Florals.jpgEvery bride and/​or groom need their flo­ral accents! There are TONS of amaz­ing florists in the area to make your bridal bou­quet and bou­ton­nieres. But, if you’re look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle more bang for your buck, gro­cery stores like Farm Fresh & Har­ris Teeter have a flo­ral depart­ment that can do them for you! Regard­less of who you choose though, you will need to con­tact them at least a month in advance so they can order the right flow­ers!

Left: Vin­luan Pho­tog­ra­phy

Lastly, you’ll need some­thing sweet for the cherry on top of your wed­ding! Whether it’s cake, cup­cakes, or cook­ies your guests will be thank­ing you for some­thing sug­ary to end the night!

Over­all, it is impor­tant to keep an open mind when plan­ning a last minute wed­ding. If you have a dream date/​venue/​vendors then plan­ning a wed­ding within a mat­ter of months is not for you. We hope you con­sider Lesner Inn for your last minute wed­ding! Our sales man­agers would love to meet with you!

Wed­ding High­lights: Sarah & Mike 3-​18-​2017

For the girls at Lesner Inn, one of the hard­est parts of our jobs is see­ing our cou­ples leave on their wed­ding night. We have been through so much with them and after the main event, we are so sad that we won’t be work­ing with them any­more. Thank­fully, we get to see pho­tos and videos from the big day and we love fol­low­ing along through cus­tom hash­tags and pho­tog­ra­pher blogs. But there is some­thing spe­cial about hear­ing a bride talk about her wed­ding day so we reached out to Sarah, one of our March 2017 brides, to hear more about the big day from her point of view!

Start­ing with the age old intro…how did you two meet?View More:

Mike and I actu­ally met at the OneLife gym on VB Boule­vard when it opened up, the minute I saw him I swear I knew he would be my hus­band (and I pro­ceeded to tell all my girl­friends that the cute guy in the black nikes would be mine!) Once he finally got up the courage to ask me out, I found out that he had been call­ing me his gym wife to his guy friends (before meet­ing me).. so it was def­i­nitely love at first sight!! I love our story and even now at 7 months preg­nant with our lit­tle guy, we still work out together all the time!

This is the most fun part to hear, how did he pro­pose?

We love to ride bikes together at the ocean­front so one (hot) night in July he took me for a bike ride to the north end… and I could see the ring box in his pocket the whole time! I was silently freak­ing out and then he finally said we should pull over for a minute and I knew it was com­ing! Then he got down on one knee and I pre­tended of course to be so sur­prised, it was very sweet!

Did you always have a clear pic­ture of what you wanted your wed­ding to look like or did you find your vision along the way?

I went back and forth a lot on what my wed­ding would look like, I always thought I would do some­thing small and inti­mate and we still had the inti­mate piece at the Lesner Inn but ended up with about 120 peo­ple and it was per­fect. Color and theme-​wise, I have always wanted a blush, cham­pagne and whim­si­cal wed­ding.

How long after you got engaged did you start look­ing for a venue and what made you pick Lesner Inn?

We started look­ing right away, I wanted our engage­ment to be a year or less so we moved quickly! I lived on Shore Drive for a few years and love the area, we plan on mov­ing back there even­tu­ally and it just seemed like the per­fect fit! Lesner Inn is the per­fect mix of the beach and class, which was per­fect for us.

View More: other ven­dors helped with your big day and let us know why you loved them : )

Han­nah Hilde­brandt was my wed­ding plan­ner and she is AMAZ­ING, hands down the best deci­sion I made with our wed­ding was choos­ing her as my plan­ner! She helped me pick out our ven­dors, includ­ing Kirstyn Marie Jor­dan (our pho­tog­ra­pher), Incred­i­ble Edi­bles (bak­ery), Kelly Gish (our florist), and Paper­Dolls Design (for all of our invites and paper goods). All of our ven­dors were so easy to deal with and our vision came together per­fectly with the help of Brit­tany at the Lesner Inn, she is a god­send! Our engage­ment and wed­ding pic­tures are hon­estly per­fec­tion and we are using Kirstyn again in a few weeks for my mater­nity pic­tures!

What was the hard­est part of the wed­ding plan­ning process?

Hon­estly, Han­nah and Brit­tany made it so easy, I am also pretty laid-​back when it comes to deci­sion mak­ing so I wasn’t super OCD about the wed­ding but we didn’t have much stress over any­thing. Towards the end, mak­ing sure all the tiny details come together was prob­a­bly the hard­est part.

What was your favorite part of the wed­ding and why? View More:

The cer­e­mony, hands-​down. We used Ken Lane (Rev­erend) to do our cer­e­mony and he was just incred­i­ble, the whole thing was beau­ti­ful and per­sonal and heart-​felt. My Husband’s vows were also so lov­ing truly the sweet­est words I’ve ever heard, every­one was in tears, so that was prob­a­bly my absolute favorite part.

Were there any spe­cial lit­tle touches that you included to make the day more per­sonal to you?

I loved hav­ing our sig­na­ture drink named after our dog, Win­ston. We made sure to get some great pic­tures of him with Kirstyn and put those up at the bar with the drink menu! Mike and I also opted out of the first look and waited to see each other until I came down the aisle, and this made all the dif­fer­ence in the world to me. I know there are perks to a first look, but noth­ing could change the way we felt when we saw each other, his face was price­less and it made me feel like the most spe­cial girl in the world! So, if you are debat­ing a first look, I say don’t because the real first look is so spe­cial!

If you had to go back and do it all over again, is there any­thing that you would change?

I have thought about this a few times and talked with fam­ily and friends…and hon­estly we wouldn’t change a thing. Our wed­ding was absolutely per­fect.

View More:

What advice or rec­om­men­da­tions would you give to future cou­ples plan­ning their big day?

Use a plan­ner!! Enjoy the process and don’t get hung up on the lit­tle things because when you’re walk­ing down the aisle, the lit­tle things that didn’t turn out per­fectly won’t mat­ter at all!

View More:

Truer words have never been spo­ken. We find that a lot of our brides com­ment that hav­ing a plan­ner or even a day-​of-​coordinator helps to make the whole process much smoother. Don’t for­get that Lesner Inn offers day of coor­di­na­tion but we also have some great full and par­tial plan­ning friend-​ors that we would love to rec­om­mend to you!

Con­grat­u­la­tions again to Sarah & Mike and we can­not wait until Baby Sawyer’s debut!

Pho­tos by Kirstyn Marie Pho­tog­ra­phy!

The New­ly­weds Ven­dor Book­ing Guide

Hello newly engaged cou­ples, and con­grat­u­la­tions! Where is the wed­ding? Have you booked your pho­tog­ra­pher? How about your DJ? What type of food are you hav­ing? Are you doing cake or cup­cakes? What is your color scheme? These are just a few of the ques­tions you will be bom­barded with from friends, fam­ily, and any­one else ready to offer their con­grat­u­la­tions. Do you want to know how to be pre­pared to answer these ques­tions? Then pay atten­tion.

Lesner Inn has teamed up with Wed­ding­Wire to bring you our best tips for book­ing your ven­dors and plan­ning your wed­ding. With this time­line, you will be con­fi­dent in the plan­ning process and in find­ing your amaz­ing ven­dors on sites like Wed­ding­Wire.

David-Champagne-Photography-20170129-0202.jpg Step One: When & Where
Most impor­tant to the plan­ning process, is know­ing when and where you will have the wed­ding and recep­tion. This is how you book all of your other ven­dors and begin choos­ing color scheme and other design aspects. Of course we rec­om­mend hav­ing your event at the beau­ti­ful Lesner Inn in Vir­ginia Beach, but if a water­front venue with a killer sun­set isn’t your scene then Wed­ding­Wire can help you find a venue that’s a per­fect fit for you! Most cou­ples book at least a year out from their event to give them enough time to bud­get and plan, which we def­i­nitely sug­gest! After book­ing your venue, it is a great idea to book your pho­tog­ra­pher, espe­cially if you are set on a cer­tain per­son and/​or have a pop­u­lar wed­ding date! The best pho­tog­ra­phers book out a year in advance as well, so book­ing them at the same time as your venue will avoid any stress in find­ing a pho­tog­ra­pher to give you some dreamy pho­tos!

VendorBooking.jpg Step Two: Food & Flo­rals
If your venue doesn’t include food and bev­er­age like Lesner Inn does, then the next step is decid­ing who will be doing your cater­ing for the event. This involves tast­ing a lot of deli­cious foods, so make sure to wear your stretchy pants! You want to do this about ten months out from your event, to ensure that both ven­dors will be able to work together to make your event a suc­cess! You will want to book your florist and begin shar­ing your ideas with them ten months out from the wed­ding as well, that way you can begin choos­ing your color scheme and give your ven­dors the oppor­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate!

Step Three: Enter­tain­ment
Are you hav­ing a band or a DJ? Well this is the time to find out! Nine months out from your wed­ding date is the per­fect time to decide which you will have, and who they will be! Ask your wed­ding venue if they have a pre­ferred ven­dors list, because often times ven­dors who enjoy work­ing together will offer dis­counts if you book with both of them!

Step Four: Guests & Dress
It’s time to send out your save the dates so your out of town guests can start think­ing about where they will be stay­ing and how they will be get­ting there! If your cer­e­mony music won’t be han­dled by your DJ or band then you will want to decide who will be doing this as well. This is all decided at the eight month mark of the plan­ning process where you will also choose your wed­ding dress! The sooner you do this the bet­ter to make sure the dress is PER­FECT for your spe­cial day!

Step Five: Maids & Cake
Time to take the girls shop­ping! If your brides­maids haven’t bought their dresses yet, and you’re seven months away from your wed­ding, then it is time! You will also want to go in for a cake tast­ing, which trust us you want to make sure you get just right for you & your guests to enjoy! Bring your brides­maids along for this too if you want to make a day of it!

Step Six: Details Details DETAILS!
We’re half way there! Six months out from the wed­ding and it’s time to get those pesky details nailed down! The next three months will be a lot of back and forth with your ven­dors, fiancé, and of course your inner mono­logue, and quite hon­estly it can be an extremely stress­ful time. This is when orga­ni­za­tion is KEY! Keep a binder with tabs and fold­ers for each indi­vid­ual ven­dor, and a cal­en­dar for dead­lines and meet­ings. Your ven­dors are a team that you have hired to make one of the most spe­cial days of your life amaz­ing, so keep­ing every­one in the loop and up to date is extremely impor­tant! If you’ve booked with Lesner Inn, we rec­om­mend uti­liz­ing our day of coor­di­na­tion ser­vices to make this hap­pen! We help ensure that the plan­ning process runs smoothly, and that all of your ven­dors have cur­rent infor­ma­tion about your wed­ding day once we get closer to the event.

We hope that the plan­ning process runs smoothly for you, and more than any­thing we hope that you have an AMAZ­ING day cel­e­brat­ing your mar­riage with friends & fam­ily!

In addi­tion to keep­ing binders and fold­ers, another way to stay orga­nized is with a wed­ding check­list! Wed­dingWire has a place for you to cre­ate your own wed­ding check­list! Make sure you check it out!

How to Have a Wed­ding for Under $10,000

Imag­ine a Fri­day evening wed­ding over­look­ing the Lynnhaven River from our beau­ti­ful Water­side Deck. Your arch is decked out in lush green­ery, and you and your squad walk out with bloom­ing acces­sories at sun­set. The DJ has his best mood music play­ing, with roman­tic light­ing to really set the tone. Your skill­ful pho­tog­ra­pher snaps every kiss, and even every ugly cry­ing face. The night con­tin­ues with lav­ish din­ner and bar ser­vices for you and your clos­est friends & fam­ily. After cut­ting the cake, you dance the night away to your favorite oldies and escape into the night under a mag­i­cal flurry of sparklers!

While we know this all sounds too good to be true, we are here to tell you that it is pos­si­ble! All you have to do is be real­is­tic about your guest count and what you plan to offer your guests, and here is how to do it!

David-Champagne-Photography-Fluttering-Flowers-Florist-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Venue-1 Vistaprint Sta­tion­ary: $75
Save the Dates (70 copies)
– Invi­ta­tions (70 copies)

Trans­porta­tion: $200
– The Vir­ginia Beach Resort & Con­fer­ence Cen­ter not only will give your guests a dis­count for a block of rooms, but they even have a shut­tle ser­vice that goes for $200 for the entire night!

Lesner Inn Cer­e­mony: $650
– One hour towards total event time
– Set up & break­down of cer­e­mony chairs
– Use of Lesner Inn’s white arch
*David Cham­pagne pho­tog­ra­phy, shown right*

Lesner Inn Room Rental: $750
– Three hours towards total event time
– Tables & cot­ton linens
– Chivari chairs
– China, glass­ware, & flat­ware
– Mir­ror tiles & can­dle votives
– Easels

Food & Bev­er­age from Lesner Inn for Eighty Guests: $4,200
– Cock­tail hour hors d’oeuvres (one plat­ter & two hot/​cold hors d’oeuvres replen­ished for a full thirty min­utes)
Two entrée buf­fet served with a salad, starch, veg­etable, and bread rolls
– $1,000 con­sump­tion bar
– Cake cut­ting, champagne/​sparkling cider toast, bev­er­age sta­tion, & tast­ing bag for the new­ly­weds after the event

Daissy-Torres-Photography-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach.jpg Wed­ding Favors: $100
– Candy bar pro­vided by Lesner Inn

Daissy Tor­res Pho­tog­ra­phy: $2,000
– Six hour cov­er­age
High res­o­lu­tion images, print release, proof gallery, & $200 print credit
– Addi­tional $150 print credit for Lesner Inn cou­ples
*Daisy Tor­res pho­tog­ra­phy, shown right*

ASTRO DJ: $750
– Four hour cov­er­age of music & MC
* ASTRO DJ works with cou­ples of all bud­gets, and even offers dis­counts for Lesner Inn cou­ples! Just talk to one of their This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Flut­ter­ing Flow­ers Florist: $900
– Green­ery & flo­ral accents for arch
David-Champagne-Photography-Incredible-Edibles-Bakery-Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Cake-Virginia-Beach.jpg – Bridal bou­quet
– Five brides­maids bou­quets
– Six bou­ton­nieres
– Five flo­ral cen­ter­pieces includ­ing dec­o­ra­tive lanterns
* Flo­rals included are year round (sea­sonal flo­rals may be added at an addi­tional cost)
*David Cham­pagne pho­tog­ra­phy, shown right*

Incred­i­ble Edi­bles Bak­ery: $250
Cake to feed fifty guests

Total: $9,875

5 Ways to Make Your Guests Feel Spe­cial or Involved at Your Wed­ding

Unless you get lucky and have guests that all live locally, attend­ing a wed­ding can be a big com­mit­ment for your guests to make. After you add air­fare, accom­mo­da­tions, and trans­porta­tion, it sure does get a lit­tle pricey. Make sure you go out of your way to remind them all how spe­cial they are to you and that you appre­ci­ate their efforts! Not sure how to do this? Here are five ways that you can thank them for being there.

Say it! – This might seem clear but some­times the most obvi­ous things are what we miss. Take a moment dur­ing your wel­come to thank every­one for tak­ing the time to be there. If you know some­one went really out of their way, point it out! If that per­son doesn’t know very many peo­ple then it will give them some­thing to talk about at their table.

Anniver­sary Dance – This is always a favorite and helps to get the dance floor mov­ing too! Have your DJ invite all of the mar­ried cou­ples on the dance floor for a dance with you and your sig­nif­i­cant other. After about a minute, have him dis­miss cou­ples that have been mar­ried 1 year, 5 years, etc. You will even­tu­ally end up with the longest mar­ried cou­ple on the dance floor! Ask them for their best mar­riage advice. Don’t for­get to take a pic­ture together!

348Favors – We have seen so many dif­fer­ent types of favors at Lesner Inn but cou­ples still sur­prise us with orig­i­nal ideas. Some of our favorites? Hand painted bot­tles of limon­cello, suc­cu­lents and jarred honey! Send your guests home with some­thing they’ll remem­ber.

Give Them An Hon­or­able Job – On the day of the wed­ding, there are a mil­lion things to get done. Often­times your guests are just as excited about your big day and want to help in any way pos­si­ble. Do you need ush­ers or greeters still? This is a great way to make some­one feel like a guest of honor.

Hotel Wel­come Bags – When your guests check in to their hotel, have a goody bag at the front desk ready and wait­ing for their arrival. Stuff it with coupons for local restau­rants, a note from you, candy, snacks, sunscreen…anything! Guests will feel pam­pered imme­di­ately upon arrival.

There are so many more ways to make your guests feel spe­cial. But just remem­ber, the small­est thank you goes a long way.

Wed­ding High­lights: Melanie & Steve 5-​29-​2016

We feel that Melanie & Steve’s one year anniver­sary is as good a time as ever to look back on this amaz­ing day. We asked them to sit down and reflect on their awe­some wed­ding day at Lesner Inn and they gave a lit­tle advice for future brides and grooms too!

Start­ing at the beginning…how did you two meet?
We met at Deer Val­ley YMCA Fam­ily Camp out­side Pitts­burgh, PA on a hot summer’s day. Steve first caught my eye one morn­ing before break­fast; we were both out­side for a brisk morn­ing run around the lake.

And the moment that he popped the ques­tion?
After 5 years of dat­ing, over President’s Day week­end, Steve pro­posed to me *lit­er­ally* ON the frozen lake where we met.

We’ve seen the pic­tures from this and, trust us, it was an epic pro­posal! When you started the venue search, what made you pick Lesner Inn?
We selected Lesner Inn for our beau­ti­ful sun­set wed­ding and recep­tion after falling in love with the loca­tion and inter­act­ing with the fab­u­lous staff. You can’t beat this venue! Deli­cious food, beau­ti­ful marina view, and all-​inclusive with one loca­tion to pro­vide both the wed­ding cer­e­mony of your dreams and recep­tion for the ages.

It takes much more than a venue to pull off a beau­ti­ful wed­ding. Who else was involved?
I highly rec­om­mend all of our ven­dors: Nor­folk Whole­sale Flo­ral, Dustin Lewis (pho­tog­ra­pher), DJ Rod­ney Charles (Astro DJ), Stowe Haven Strings (string trio), Incred­i­ble Edi­bles (cake), Duck Donuts, Maya Cou­ture (wed­ding dress), Makeup School by Sarah Ril­lon (bridal makeup)

Melanie and Steve really had the A-​team of wed­ding ven­dors! Check out the pho­tos at the end of the post to see more! We are always inter­ested to see what song a cou­ple picks for their first dance. What made you pick it and why?
I was very stressed about find­ing the per­fect first dance song– it seemed to be the most chal­leng­ing aspect of the entire wed­ding plan­ning process (ridicu­lous, I know…). Just over a month before the wed­ding, at 5:30 am, I was dri­ving my sister’s car to work (her pre-​set radio sta­tions are quite dif­fer­ent from my own). This is when I dis­cov­ered our song!! Pearl Jam “Just Breathe” I was imme­di­ately put at ease and knew on the spot this was our song.

What were you most excited about for your wed­ding day and why?
I was most excited to have a huge party with all of my clos­est friends and fam­ily, most of whom drove/​flew a great dis­tance to cel­e­brate with us.

Were there any per­sonal touches that you put on your wed­ding day that were really spe­cial to you? (We have to pref­ace this with say­ing how impressed we were with how per­sonal their wed­ding was)
Per­sonal touches…soooo many! Let me name a few– Steve and I named each of our tables after places that were impor­tant or sig­nif­i­cant to our rela­tion­ship (ie. Berkey Cream­ery, Pip­pin Hill, Cari­bou Cof­fee, Garmisch, Charleston, etc.). Sig­na­ture drink– we elected to serve “Anchors Aweigh” which was inspired by our favorite drink from State Col­lege, PA (root beer schnapps, coke, jager­meis­ter)- this was not your tra­di­tional sig­na­ture wed­ding drink, but was com­pletely us and turned out to be a huge hit! We also used Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy (my favorite from Ocean City, NJ) to attach the guest’s name tags for table set­tings. Wed­ding favors: indi­vid­u­ally dec­o­rated Limon­cello bot­tles for each guest from our time in Naples, Italy.

What was the biggest mis­take you made dur­ing the plan­ning process? Not that we think you made any!
Mistakes.…I never make them.…ever ;)

Ha, a girl after our own hearts. What advice do you have for other couple’s plan­ning their wed­dings?
Once you arrive to the recep­tion– leave all expec­ta­tions at the door and just have fun! The wedding/​reception will fly by so try your best to live in the moment and enjoy your­self, your guests, and of course: your new spouse!!

We could not agree more!!! It is so great to see a bride who can be present in the moments dur­ing her wed­ding instead of wor­ry­ing about the lit­tle things. What was your favorite mem­ory from the wed­ding?
I have a tie for first place in favorite mem­o­ries from the wed­ding. I loved the ser­e­nade to Top Gun’s “You’ve Lost that Lov­ing Feel­ing” my hus­band and his bud­dies sur­prised me with, avi­a­tors and all. We also broke out a ton of glow-​in-​the-​dark neck­laces and wands when “Sand­storm” came on– the child in each of us came out and every­one came on the dance floor to join in. Quite the com­pli­ment!

We loved being able to a part of a couple’s spe­cial day and can­not believe it has been a whole year since that ener­getic dance party! Scroll down to see some of the pho­tos that Dustin Lewis took on their big day!

Let’s Talk Floor Plans

We know that we fall in the rare cat­e­gory of peo­ple who truly enjoy a good floor plan. When we see a cou­ple that has really nailed their table arrange­ments, our hearts flut­ter. But…we know that it isn’t so easy for every­one. One of the more dif­fi­cult things that a cou­ple has to do before their wed­ding is fig­ur­ing out their floor plan. Often­times you don’t have your RSVPs back until a month before your wed­ding. This leaves you with very lit­tle time to decide if your con­ser­v­a­tive Uncle Tim is going to love or hate the chance to sit with your fiancé’s free spir­ited sis­ter for din­ner at an inti­mate fam­ily table. So let’s talk floor plans.

The first major David-Champagne-Photography-20170129-0163deci­sion you need to make is if you will be hav­ing a seat­ing chart or not. Cock­tail style recep­tions (with lim­ited seat­ing to encour­age guests min­gling) don’t need one because not every­one will have a seat. If you aren’t hav­ing a cock­tail style recep­tion, but still don’t want to deal with a pesky seat­ing chart, you can go rouge and let guests pick their own seats. (This doesn’t work for a plated meal though!) If you decide to do this, we rec­om­mend putting a few extra seats out that way your col­lege friends aren’t pulling chairs from every table so that all 12 of them can sit together. We also rec­om­mend mak­ing sure to mark a reserved sec­tion for fam­ily. Since they will be tak­ing for­mal pic­tures with you and your sig­nif­i­cant other after the cer­e­mony, you want to make sure that your guests haven’t taken all of the seats close to the action. Noth­ing is worse than see­ing a fam­ily mem­ber pushed to the back of the room because they didn’t get in early enough to reserve them­selves a seat.

David-Champagne-Photography-20170129-0029If you decide that assigned seat­ing is for you, you have to decide what kinds of tables you will be using. Our stan­dard tables are 72 inch rounds which com­fort­ably accom­mo­date 10 guests but can squeeze up to 12. Keep in mind that if you will be using charg­ers in your décor, we rec­om­mend stay­ing as close to 10 guests as pos­si­ble to allow for more space for the charg­ers and flat­ware.

Another option you have are king tables or long ban­quet tables. These are great ways to cre­ate a unique lay­out and also allows for you to put more peo­ple together. We often see cou­ples that opt for a sweet­heart table (just the two of them) and use a long ban­quet table for their bridal party instead of split­ting them up. Ban­quet tables and king tables are also great for larger fam­i­lies so that they can all sit together too! This is a great way to make sure all of your fam­ily feels hon­ored with­out hav­ing to worry about split­ting them into smaller groups.

David-Champagne-Photography-20170129-0047Look­ing for some­thing other than rounds or long tables, or even some­thing to go along with these tables? Square tables really help to cre­ate a visu­ally inter­est­ing space. They can accom­mo­date 812 guests and are very trendy in wed­dings lately. No need for all of your tables to match either – mix it up with all of these options to best fit dif­fer­ent groups of guests!

Just remem­ber, at the end of the day, the most impor­tant thing is that your guests are at your wed­ding.

Pho­tog­ra­phy: David Champagne

A Friendly Reminder to the Stressed Out Bride or Groom

You’re engaged! When is the wed­ding? What does your dress look like? Who is your pho­tog­ra­pher? Where are you going on your hon­ey­moon? The ques­tions never end! While some peo­ple love hav­ing the spot­light on them and rel­ish every sin­gle minute of the plan­ning process, we know that not every bride or groom enjoys it. And you know what? That’s okay.

As one of our brides once told us, this process is only as hard as you want it to be. You will spend hours search­ing for the per­fect dress, writ­ing witty vows, craft­ing cen­ter­pieces, and pick­ing out a playlist. Some­times this all just seems too over­whelm­ing and you need to take a step back. Remem­ber the rea­son you are get­ting mar­ried. You are com­mit­ting your­self to your part­ner in front of your clos­est friends and fam­ily and at the end of the day, that’s all you really HAVE to do. It is easy to be swept up in Pin­ter­est boards and bridal mag­a­zines but remem­ber that in the end, this is your day. It will never be exactly like any­one else’s and that makes every sin­gle wed­ding spe­cial and orig­i­nal. If it all seems like too much and you don’t know where to start, check out your con­tract!

Lesner Inn pro­vides a plan­ning guide for cou­ples to have a check­list to work with. Your lesner-inn- wedding-virginia-beach-waterfront-sunset-best-wedding-venue-hampton-roadsevent man­ager will also help you with a floor plan and pick­ing out the lay­out of where tables need to go. Don’t be afraid to email one of the girls in our office to ask a ques­tion – that is what we are here for! We will meet with you about 3 months away from your wed­ding day to touch base and make sure things are on track. We will help you to fill out the plan­ning guide and get those pesky floor plans worked out. Then we will sit down with you two weeks before the wed­ding to final­ize these details. While it can seem over­whelm­ing when you are sit­ting up late at night furi­ously pin­ning images to a Pin­ter­est board, remem­ber that you are going to love your wed­ding day because you are mar­ry­ing the love of your life.

Don’t be afraid to take a step back from the plan­ning process and have a date night with your fiancé. Enjoy being engaged. Go to happy hour with your friends and catch up on their lives. Log some time at the gym to blow off some steam. Catch up on your DVR and don’t feel guilty. Just because you are plan­ning a wed­ding doesn’t mean that you need to drop every­thing else in your life.

So…to bride or groom who feels like they’re tread­ing water and can barely keep their head up, just breathe.

lesner-inn- wedding-virginia-beach-waterfront-sunset-best-wedding-venue-hampton-roads-married

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