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!
While wedding traditions in the past seemed to be set in stone, it seems that more and more couples are making it their goal to break these traditions. Things like not seeing each other before the ceremony, wearing a white dress, or rice showers upon exit are becoming less and less common, and more fun and exciting alternatives are on the rise. For your guests, attending a wedding that breaks tradition gives you immediate cool points, and gives you bragging rights for years to come! Here are some of Lesner Inn’s favorite breaks in tradition!
Can’t See Each Other Before Ceremony
This age old tradition dates back to when marriage was considered to be more of a business deal than a symbol of eternal love. When arranged marriages were the norm, the bride and groom wouldn’t have even met before the ceremony. The tradition of not seeing each other was actually born because the families didn’t want the bride or groom to back out of the “transaction” if they weren’t attracted to each other. Side note, this is also the intended purpose of the veil. Makes you really second guess whether or not to participate in this tradition, right? While some couples have not put this tradition in the past where it belongs, many are seeing it as an adorable photo opportunity! It can be difficult to photograph the moment you first see each other with a crowd of people all trying to see the same thing your photographer is. We love the idea of making this more of an event for the bride and groom so they have an intimate memory of the first time they saw each other on their wedding day. — Photo Credit Amanda Hedgepeth Photography
Drinks Start After the Ceremony
Who decided that the fun can’t start before the ceremony? When your guests begin to arrive and take their seats, why shouldn’t they be offered a light beverage to get the evening started? Whether it be a champagne punch, beer, wine, or all of the above nobody ever turned down a nice refreshing beverage! If you don’t want to offer alcohol before the ceremony, you can always offer infused water, iced tea, lemonade, hot chocolate, or any other fun drink you can think of to start the night off right!
Traditionally, the flower girl is a young girl who scatters flower petals to give the bride and groom luck in fertility. This tradition, like most of these wedding traditions, originated from superstition back when the Earth was thought to be flat. We think it’s time to go out with the old and in with the new with this tradition, or in this case out with the new and in with the old? One of our favorite plays on tradition was when grandparents were featured as flower girls and ring bearers during the ceremony! The crowd went wild, and we at the Lesner Inn still talk about this moment with our clients! — Photo Credit Dustin Lewis Photography
White was adopted as the traditional color for a bridal gown in the Victorian era, as a symbol of purity and innocence of girlhood. As traditions change, it becomes less common for brides to be looked down on for avoiding the cookie cutter white dress. Instead, brides are opting for gowns in ivory, nude, and even subdued pink. We love this break in tradition, and encourage brides to opt for a dress they love over staying within the narrow lines of tradition! — Photo Credit Caitlin Gerres Photography
The bride isn’t the only one who is expected to fall within a traditional mold for attire. The groom is expected to wear a white button down shirt, with a vest, and overcoat on the wedding day! However, we see more and more grooms coming out with a more casual look, opting for the button down with just the overcoat or vest, or just the button down with rolled up sleeves! We know this is great news for the groomsmen when it comes to a summer wedding! — Photo Credit Ross Costanza Photography
When we think of a wedding cake, what comes to mind is a traditional three tiered cake representing the engagement, wedding, and eternity rings. However, if you’re not a cake lover then spending hundreds of dollars on a cake for the sake of tradition probably isn’t the best way to budget your wedding. Many couples are switching to cupcakes, but we’ve even seen alternatives such as donuts, tiramisu, and pie! Try switching it up for your sweet treat!
Photo Credit Lindsey Fauvre (left) and Dustin Lewis Photography (right)
Okay, we will admit this tradition has been long gone! But we just love talking about all of the fun exits that can be done instead of throwing rice or flower petals! One of our favorite, and most common, exits are sparkler exits! They make for such amazing pictures! And of course we can’t forget how amazing boat exits are off of our dock onto the Lynnhaven River!
David Champagne Photography
Traditions are just like your everyday trend, changing over time with one bold move that leads the pack!
2016 is showing us at the Lesner Inn that the traditional buttercream frosting wedding cake is on its way out the door. While we still love the classic combinations of fruit-filled cakes with fluffy icing, there are some new kids on the cake table.
Sprinkle CakesOne of the more popular trends coming in wedding cakes are sprinkles. Yes, the same thing that you coated your ice cream sundaes in as a kid. We first started seeing a rise in cakes that were coated in sprinkles like one of our fall brides did (pictured above). But now we are seeing more and more funfetti cakes (sprinkles on the inside) making their way onto plates. No one ever said funfetti was just for kids! Photo Credit Skylar Watt
Dirty Iced CakesNot everyone is as crazy about icing as we are. And now there is a solution for you non-frosting folks. Dirty iced cakes! The name is weird but the concept is great. Instead of two coats of icing, bakeries stop after the crumb coat. In traditional cakes, the crumb coat serves to even the surface to smooth on your frosting – similar to what paint primer does for walls. Be on the lookout for these as they are becoming ever more popular among modern brides.
Single Layer CakesWhile cupcakes have been the hit of the decade, couples haven’t been able to take part in the time-honored tradition of cake cutting with these bite size sweets. Problem solved with single layer cakes. These small cakes allow you to still have the ceremonial slice without having the cost of a giant tiered cake. Photo Credit David Champagne
Gold Leaf AccentsDo you want a little bit of sparkle without going over the top? Gold leaf accents are topping many popular wedding cakes these days. This adds a bit of flair to your cake and is a nice change from fondant and flowers.
Photo credit onefabday.com
Reflect Your PersonalityWe were in love with this cake from one of Waterside Deck wedding this past winter. The bride surprised her husband – who is a Marvel maniac — with a cake to show both sides of their personality. He was blown away by this creation by Carolina Cupcakes.
Photo Credit Emma Fair Photo
Break Out of the Cake BoxNo one ever said you HAD to have cake at your wedding. Colleen & Mark weren’t big cake people and neither were Ashley & Nick. Colleen opted for pies for her December wedding and Ashley brought specialty donuts to a whole new level with her Duck Doughnuts dessert table. She even got mini boxes of doughnuts for all of the vendors – a sweet treat that we thoroughly enjoyed!
Photo Credit Lindsey Fauvre (left) and Dustin Lewis Photography (right)
There are so many different flavors, styles, and types of desserts you can choose from, that it’s easy to get bogged down. Don’t let it stress you out though! In the end, pick whatever appeals to your sweet tooth. As far as everyone else goes, listen to Marie Antoinette…let them eat cake!
We’ve all been to those weddings where the flower girl can’t stand still and just wants to be with her mommy. Or the ring bearer can’t stop fiddling with his too trendy for a toddler suspenders once reaching the end of the aisle. These things can be distracting, and can take the focus off of your vows and the overall ambiance of the ceremony. Luckily, we’ve seen a thing or two, and have some of the best tips to keep all of your little helpers calm during your ceremony!
Start training early
- While your bridal party may just need one rehearsal to get the routine down, your flower girl and ring bearer may need a little more training. Show them videos of other weddings to give them an example of how they are expected to act, or even throw a pretend wedding where they get to act out what they should be doing!
Make sure they’re comfortable
- If a child doesn’t like the tutu or vest you dress them up in, they won’t hide their emotions. So, to prevent a half naked or crying child from walking down the aisle, try making them a part of choosing their attire. If you give them a choice, they will be much more willing to cooperate.
Give them a little something to keep them occupied
- One of the best tips we’ve heard for flower girls at the Lesner Inn, is to put skittles or another of their favorite candies at the bottom of the basket. This gives them something to work for while they’re tossing the flowers, and keeps them occupied and willing to stand still during the ceremony!
Keep their parents close
- For any of those shy or attached children, have their parents sitting towards the front so they don’t feel uncomfortable. A familiar face can always calm a child down!
- After all, there will be cake at the reception :)
Dustin Lewis Photography