The first dance is over, the hashtag is no longer trending and the wedding album has finally been printed. Now what do you do with your dress? You always have the option of preserving your dress to save it for your daughters or granddaughters. But what if it won’t fit them? What if you have boys? What if it is no longer in style? For those of you who don’t think preservation is in you gown’s future, here are ten different ways to reuse or recycle it.
Erin (right) took her mother’s wedding dress and revamped it for her Lesner Inn ceremony & reception — Ashley Lester Photography
Many dresses these days could be shortened or altered to turn them into cocktail dresses but we have to ask…where is everyone wearing these white dresses? You can’t wear it to a wedding so unless you make a habit of attending black tie galas, it would be hard to sport again. Consider dying it a fun color or the classic black.
Have a professional photoshoot
You could always do the trendy “Trash the Dress” session but what about a thank you to your parents if they paid for the big day? Take cues from a group of sisters who all got together in their wedding dresses for a professional photo shoot for their parents as a show of gratitude. All 5 sisters zipped their dresses back on to document a moment that their mom and dad will cherish forever.
Rachel Blackwell Photography
Donate the dressFor the altruistic bride, consider donating your dress. We have rounded up 3 great charities that accept pre-worn wedding dresses for you to consider. Brides Across America – Donates dresses to military brides Every Girl’s Dream – Provides dresses to brides undergoing financial hardships in the Southeast Michigan area Wish Upon A Wedding – Grants weddings and vow renewals to couples facing serious illness or life altering circumstances
If you plan on baptizing your future children into your church, consider turning part of your dress into a christening gown for them. You can use it for your big day AND their big day!
No, we don’t mean wear it to work. Though that could be fun too… What about taking the skirt of your dress to a seamstress and have it tailored into a fun tulle skirt? You could knock your husband’s socks off on your anniversary with a flirty, fun fashion piece. Bonus points if he recognizes it.
Put it around your neck
There are plenty of vendors online who will turn a small part of your dress into a pendant for a necklace. Check out The Lace Studio on Etsy!
Remember the special day every Christmas by taking a scrap of lace or a part of your veil and memorialize it in a glass ornament.
If your dress is still stylish, take it to your nearest bridal consignment store to make back some of your money. Shops will accept dresses as long as they are in good condition and have been professionally cleaned. You can recoup 50% of their sale price if it sells! For Virginia Beach brides, check out Silk Bridal for a fantastic selection of gently used and runway dresses.
Create a garter or bouquet binding
For mom’s who have daughters that can’t wear a family dress, you can create a garter for them or use some of the fabric to wrap the stems of her bouquet. That checks something old off of the list!
Donate it to a theater
Many high school and professional theaters will gladly accept a dress to expand their costume department. And how would it be to see your dress take on a whole new life?
Your wedding dress will always be special to you but being able to create a keepsake, earn some cash back, or make someone’s dream come true can be even better!
Though the charm of Virginia Beach lingers year-round, along with spring comes an additional burst of beauty in our Beach City. Sand pushes up on the dunes, grass returns to its natural green, and the greenery begins to boast their loveliest buds. We can’t help but be captivated by this city when it comes to life in the spring and now, with wedding season in full bloom, we’re pulling inspiration from last spring’s Lesner Inn weddings! If you’re wedding day is right around the rose bush, check out these color palettes for inspiration!
With the first day of spring only 2 days away, we find it fitting to say goodbye to winter by putting the spotlight on Sharise & Richard’s beautiful winter wedding on the water!
Sharise & Richard held their reception at The Lesner Inn, after tying the knot at Hampton University Memorial Chapel on December 19, 2015. They rented the entire venue, hosting cocktail hour in our Waterside Deck, followed by the reception in our Lesner Hall. Saying it wasn’t one of the most beautiful weddings we’ve seen in our building would be a flat out lie. Sharise, her mother, & the team at Morlina Events did such a great job planning every detail! Everything from the DIY centerpieces, to the snow that fell out of thin air during their first dance was perfection!
The couple picked a palette of cherry red, navy blue & silver for their wedding design.
Their first dance as Mr. & Mrs. was to “Let it Snow,” as snow literally fell out of thin air – thanks to Stage Right Lighting!
Mr. & Mrs. Johnson were able to get a picture with every guest who attended the reception. How could you not be tempted to take picture after picture with the crystal backdrop provided by Stage Right Lighting, and the breathtaking view from our Lesner Hall and Sunset Deck? Not to mention their sweetheart table, which was covered by a glitz sequin linen provided by Waterford Event Rentals.
We would like to thank all of the vendors who participated in making this event so successful, and we hope you all consider them while planning your wedding!
Photographer: Bryan Myhr Photography
Wedding Planner: Morlina Events
Linens & Chair Covers: Waterford Event Rentals
Uplighting, Snow Fall, Crystal back drop: Stage Right Lighting
Whether or not you’re serving alcoholic beverages at your wedding, there are so many up and coming trends with beverages that we hope you consider while planning your wedding at the Lesner Inn! From the ceremony to cocktail hour and cocktail hour to the reception, here are our favorite trends for wedding libations!
We love the idea of serving beverages during the ceremony, especially on a hot summer day! Keep your guests refreshed with a glass of iced tea, lemonade, or infused water while they sit on our Sunset Deck waiting to greet the bride!
Or, for winter weddings, provide your guests with a mug of hot cocoa while they keep warm in our heated Waterside Deck!
Also trending in weddings is having multiple signature drinks during cocktail hour (and in some cases for the whole evening) rather than just one or two! Signature drinks are a fun way to provide your guests with beverage options they may have never tried before! It will remind them of your wedding every time they order it at their local bar!
Heather Hughes Photography
Another huge trend is having scotch & bourbon tastings during cocktail hour! Instead of just mingling around cocktail tables, your guests can pretend like they’re actually learning about fancy scotch and bourbon!
When your guests migrate upstairs for the main meal, have wine brought to the table! One bottle of red, and one bottle of white will keep the class at an all-time high during dinner service!
Once the party really begins, show off your hometown by stocking the bar with local beer and wine during the dancing and entertainment!
Ross Costanza Photography
Try adding sangria to any of these essential portions of your wedding day! It can be made for any season, and is such a refreshing libation at any time of day!
While some may not think of IHOP’s National Pancake Day as a holiday, we find it to be one of the best faux holidays around! Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but it’s also a meal where you can get creative with your food and beverage options! From the classic breakfast of eggs & bacon to the trendy chicken & waffles brunch, there are so many different ways to create a brunch menu. In celebration of National Pancake Day, here are some of our favorite reasons to have a brunch wedding at the Lesner Inn!
The view of the Lynnhaven River on a sunny day, from either of our decks, is so picturesque you will have some of the most beautiful wedding photos to reflect on.
Jason Jarvis Photography
Typically, holding an afternoon event with us at the Lesner Inn is more cost efficient than having an evening wedding. This all depends on your guest count and the menu items that you choose, but the overall cost is expected to be less than an evening wedding based on our food and beverage minimums!
Having a wedding in the daytime can also save you money on fancy uplighting!
Our recently updated brunch wedding menu has some fun and trendy brunch ideas that will have your guests thinking you’re a breakfast genius! The stations package is by far our favorite, featuring clever stations like the chicken & waffles and breakfast taco stations, and of course classic stations for omelets, ham & biscuits, and so many more!
Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas are arguably the smartest drink concoctions ever created. Not only do they cure your rehearsal dinner hangover, but they get the party started all over again!
Instead of sticking to the traditional tiered wedding cake, you can bring donuts in as an alternative! We suggest Duck Donuts because their maple bacon donuts are just simply amazing! Pick up a couple dozen donuts of different fun flavors, and arrange them on a cupcake stand!
OR why not have a cake made out of stacked pancakes or waffles? GAME CHANGER!
Just because an afternoon event at the Lesner Inn must end by 3:00 PM doesn’t mean the party has to end. Bring your guests to one of our neighboring restaurants, Bubba’s or the Back Deck, for your after party! But then again who said you have to use our brunch menu in the morning? Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea!
With Hampton Roads having such a strong military presence, it should come to no surprise that we have seen numerous military weddings and traditions. We know that not every military fiancé is well acquainted with the traditions of their significant other’s community, so we thought we could lend a helping hand to those of you planning (or attending) a military wedding.
What are we all wearing?
Dress whites? Mess Dress? Class-A? None of this makes any sense to those of us outside of the armed forces so let’s break it down a little. For officers, evening dress is comparable to civilian white tie and tails. This is extremely formal attire. Dinner uniform – or mess dress — is similar to civilian black tie. Looking for something semi-formal? Go for service dress whites or service dress blues. In the Navy, dress whites are worn most often in the summer and dress blues are worn in fall and winter. Lesner Inn has seen mostly dress whites and blues but every once in awhile we have someone step up the formality to mess dress. Either way, we think they always look handsome and we love a man in uniform — especially against a sunset over the Lynnhaven River.
To glove or not to glove?
Tradition shows that all service members wear gloves – groomsmen, users, saber and sword bearers. The only exception to this is the groom and the best man as they will be handling rings.
Do they still need boutonnieres with their uniforms?
No. You should not be wearing a boutonniere on any military uniform. Budgeting bonus if you have a few military groomsmen and don’t need to purchase these!
Where is everyone sitting?
In the event that parents cannot attend, the bride or groom’s commanding officer and their spouse may sit in the front row. If parents are present, the commanding officer may sit close to the family. All following military guests should be seated according to rank.
Do I get a discount?
Yes! Lesner Inn offers 50% off of the room rental fee for all military weddings and functions. Being the daughters of men and women who have served our country, we know what you and your families have gone through to get to this special occasion. It gives us so much joy to be able to show our appreciation to those of you who have served our country!
Let’s talk about the arch of swords
Every military bride is excited about this and we LOVE seeing photos of it on our stairway and Sunset Deck. We turned to the experts at The Knot to explain this to you:
The arch is a symbolic act that ensures the newlywed couple safe passage into their new life together, but it should only be performed for commissioned officers. As soon as the ceremony is over, the ushers line up on either side of the aisle to the chapel steps. At the head usher’s command — “Draw sabers (cutlasses)” — the ushers raise their blades, edge up, into the air, carefully forming an archway. If there are civilian ushers in the wedding party, they also line up and stand respectfully at attention while the arch is formed. The newlyweds pass under the archway, and at the command — “Return sabers (cutlasses)” — the ushers return their weapons to their sides. They then turn and escort the bridesmaids down the aisle. If weather permits, the arch may be formed outside the entrance to the ceremony site. Though specific commands and protocol may differ based on the military branch of the commissioned officer, the arch is a military wedding tradition highlight.
Cutting the cake
Want the biggest slice of cake possible? Slice it with a sword or saber. It is a common military tradition for the bride and groom to cut the first slice of cake this way. The groom will unsheathe the sword and with his hand over the bride’s they will cut the first ceremonial piece of cake.
What is that song that is always sung?
Go to any military wedding and you are bound to see this happen. All of the sudden, the dance floor clears, a chair is brought out for the bride and servicemen gather all around her. No, this is not the garter toss – it’s time for some karaoke. Since the premiere of Top Gun, men have gotten down on one knee to serenade the wife of their fellow serviceman with The Righteous Brother’s Classic “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. We love watching the guys belt this one out to a blushing bride – it never gets old!
There are many more small traditions that vary from service to service but these are some of the more common ones that we see on a routine basis. When in doubt, you can always check with your local base protocol officer with any questions!