8 Things We’ve Learned Since Becom­ing a Wed­ding Venue

Lesner Inn has been in busi­ness for quite some time now and we thought it would be help­ful to share with you some insights that we’ve learned through­out the years of being a wed­ding venue! From things spe­cific to the venue side of wed­dings or just some generic tips, we hope you can take at least one or two of these and use them dur­ing wed­ding plan­ning!


Hir­ing Help for your Wed­ding is Impor­tant Waterfront Wedding Venue Hampton Roads (3)
You may not need a wed­ding plan­ner or assis­tance design­ing your wed­ding, but hav­ing some­one to put all the pieces together on the day of, and get you down the aisle is cru­cial! Enjoy the day you’ve worked so hard on plan­ning, and spent so much money on. Let your hired ven­dors do what you hired them for – and hire a day of coor­di­na­tor to make sure they do!

Right: Sweet Ade­line by Jenn Marie

Do’s & Don’ts for Book­ing Ven­dors
  1. Do decide on your entire wed­ding bud­get BEFORE book­ing ven­dors. Once you decide on an over­all bud­get, select your cater­ing (some­times your venue includes your cater­ing). The scari­est num­ber you’ll see while plan­ning your wed­ding will be from the food and bev­er­age. About 80% of your entire bud­get should go towards the food and bev­er­age, and the remain­ing towards other ven­dors such as flow­ers, music, pho­tog­ra­phy, etc.
  2. Don’t com­mit to a spe­cific date until you book your venue. Def­i­nitely come up with a sea­son or month that you like to have your wed­ding but some­times if you nar­row it down to just one date, you may have a hard time find­ing a venue that has it avail­able depend­ing on how close that date it is.
  3. Do book your venue first THEN start book­ing other ven­dors based on the date that you booked your venue.

Trust Your Ven­dors
Once you’ve booked your ven­dors, be sure to actu­ally use them and the knowl­edge they’ve acquired from pre­vi­ous wed­dings. Your ven­dors do numer­ous wed­dings a year so they are aware of how things go and the best ways to do things. Go to them for advice and lis­ten to them if they have a rec­om­men­da­tion for cer­tain things to make your wed­ding per­fect!

echard_wheeler_lesner-dual-entree-plated-mealBe Open with Your Ven­dors
Trust­ing your ven­dors and being open with your ven­dors go hand in hand. Being open about every­thing from the start will make the process with your ven­dors so much eas­ier. Dis­cuss with them your vision, your bud­get, what you would like from them the day of, and so on. If you’re not open with them, then you may not be get­ting the best of the best of what they can offer you!

Always Do a Tast­ing
You could think you have your heart set on cer­tain food until you taste it – every­one makes things dif­fer­ently or you could be pleas­antly sur­prised and love some­thing you usu­ally wouldn’t order. It is also impor­tant to keep your guest’s taste pref­er­ences in mind, it’s your wed­ding but you are host­ing them and want to make sure there is a lit­tle some­thing for every­one. Also be con­scious of your guest’s dietary restric­tions – if some­one has a shell fish, gluten, peanut, etc. allergy that will be super help­ful to tell your cater­ing com­pany before­hand so the meal can go as smooth as pos­si­ble.

Left: Echard Wheeler Pho­tog­ra­phy

Allow for Hic­cups
You’ve worked really hard to plan an event, but with every event, there’s always the risk of things not going exactly as planned. That’s okay! You’re hav­ing a wed­ding and recep­tion to invite friends and fam­ily to cel­e­brate the love between you and your fiancé. So enjoy the time together and pre­pare to be a go with the flow sort of per­son for that day!

Have a Sup­port Sys­tem
As fun as wed­ding plan­ning can be, it can also be very stress­ful. Plan­ning an event any­where from 50200 guests is no easy task espe­cially when you may be doing it for the first time in your life. You’ll want to cel­e­brate with them on the good days and have their sup­port on the more stress­ful days of wed­ding plan­ning!

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Above: Jes­sica Boudreaux Photography



We have truly learned a lot over the course of our years as a wed­ding venue! We have seen almost every­thing you could pos­si­bly see at a wed­ding and just wanted to share what we learned with our future cou­ples! If you’re just start­ing out or near­ing the end of wed­ding plan­ning, we hope you can use these to your advantage!




The Ulti­mate Guide to Cre­at­ing a Guest List

You’re now engaged and before you can start really plan­ning the wed­ding, you and your fiance have to cre­ate the dreaded guest list so you can visit venues that will accom­mo­date every­one and their grandma, right?! The girls at Lesner Inn know just how stress­ful that can be so we’re here to help you sift through exactly who to invite and how to do it!

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Write down every­one you can think of that you could ever pos­si­bly want to invite just to get all of the names out there. From old camp friends to col­lege pro­fes­sors to peo­ple you spend time with reg­u­larly, think about any­one and every­one and just jot their names down to get you started.

Right: Dustin Lewis Images

Add in your par­ents’ friends
We all know that this is your day but par­ents will always want to have some of their friends there to share this joy­ous moment with them. Tra­di­tion­ally, the guest list is split three ways to where the cou­ple gets 50% and each set of par­ents get 25%. This isn’t for every­one but it is a way to sep­a­rate it and keep most peo­ple happy.

Start trim­ming
This is where it starts to get hard. At this point, you have every­one in your life and your par­ents’ lives on the list, but we all know that would put you way over bud­get. The eas­i­est way to do this is to first cut the peo­ple you or your fiancé haven’t talked to in three years or more, then you can start mak­ing rules and actu­ally abide by them. A cou­ple of good rules are if one of you have never heard of or spo­ken to the per­son, cut them. If they’re a coworker and you don’t spend time with them out­side of the office, cut them. Nicely remind your par­ents that it is your wed­ding and that they don’t need to invite all of their friends, so ask them to cut their list a lit­tle too. You can really hone down on your list if you fol­low the rules you set up!

Take a sec­ond look
Now that you’ve got­ten your guest list down to a rea­son­able count with still hav­ing all of your friends and fam­ily on it, take another glance and make sure that every guest is a must-​have. As ter­ri­ble as that sounds, you don’t have to invite some­one just because they invited you to their wed­ding or let the kids of a fam­ily come because you feel bad. Your list should include your fam­ily and friends that you absolutely could not imag­ine your day with­out and you can cut all the oth­ers. We promise, they may be upset for a sec­ond, but they will be just fine! Also, with this last step, be sure to not have any last minute add-​ons. Being as straight-​forward as pos­si­ble with­out hurt­ing any­one feel­ings, if you didn’t think about them the first time around then they’re prob­a­bly not a must-​have guest.
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Above: April Renee Photography




We hope that these four easy steps help you cre­ate your dream guest list so you can start the fun things like book­ing venue tours with an ease of mind that your guest list is already set in stone and you’re sure to fit into the venue of your choice!




Behind the Scenes of Wed­ding Coor­di­na­tion

One of the many ser­vices that we highly rec­om­mend for your wed­ding day is a day-​of wed­ding coor­di­na­tor. It will take a tremen­dous amount of stress off your shoul­ders the weeks lead­ing up in the lit­tle details and keep you from wor­ry­ing when your big day arrives! Luck­ily for our cou­ples, Lesner Inn offers day-​of coor­di­na­tion and we want to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes of what we do to make sure your day goes off with­out a hitch!


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Above: Paige Ryan Photography

Wed­ding Day Prep

This will start any­where from 24 weeks out from your wed­ding date going through all of the nitty-​gritty details of a detailed time­line, ven­dor infor­ma­tion, floor plans, décor, and much more relat­ing to the cer­e­mony and recep­tion. After the final meet­ing, we will final­ize all details with your ven­dors and help you through rehearsal so all goes per­fectly on your big day!

Cer­e­mony It’s your wed­ding day!! Tak­ing all the stress off of you on this day is our num­ber one pri­or­ity. We are there to review the site before­hand for proper set up, ensure all per­sonalWedding-Venue-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn (29) décor is set, dis­trib­ute and pin the wed­ding party and spe­cial guest flow­ers, cue music and man­age processional/​recessional, and direct guests to the cock­tail hour space. All of this will allow you to enjoy time before the cer­e­mony with your wed­ding party and have every­thing start your dream day off with­out a hitch!

Right: Dustin Lewis Images

Recep­tion After the cer­e­mony, we are there the rest of the night to be the liai­son between you and your ven­dors, ensure the time­line is fol­lowed accord­ingly through­out the night, and send you off as new­ly­weds. We will be busy assist­ing the venue man­ager with any­thing they need, prepar­ing the wed­ding party for the grand entrance, and assist­ing your DJ/​band with the grand entrance, toasts, cake cut­ting, and any other spe­cial events. After you’re off as a mar­ried cou­ple, we will ensure that all per­sonal décor is bro­ken down and, along with your gifts, are put into the car of your choice!


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Above: Jes­sica Boudreaux Photography



Your wed­ding day will fly so make sure you’re tak­ing in every moment! Let us take care of the details the day-​of so you can enjoy your day with your fam­ily, friends, and new spouse. We hope this sneak peek into our day-​of wed­ding coor­di­na­tion lets you see just how much help hir­ing a coor­di­na­tor can be and helps take a just a lit­tle bit of stress off your shoulders!





2019 Wed­ding Trends

2019 is here and we want to let you know about 7 of the biggest trends you’ll see this year! We’ve all had dreams about what our wed­dings would look like and have thoughts on how we want to make it come true, but let us give you even more inspi­ra­tion! The best part is the girls at Lesner Inn can help make all of these dreams come true! Just ask us about our wed­ding design ser­vices and we’d be more than happy to make your vision come to life. Now sit back and let us tell you about the biggest trends for your 2019 wed­ding!

Vel­vet
Vel­vet will con­tinue to be used through­out this next year. It was a sta­ple at some wed­dings last year, but will become more promi­nently used in a lot of wed­dings in 2019. The great thing about vel­vet is that it can be used in all sea­sons depend­ing on the color you choose!

waterfrontweddingvenuevirginiabeachlesnerinn282529Edgy weddings
This will be the year of mood­ier accents. We started see­ing the darker images with a lot of con­trast in 2018 and this trend will only con­tinue to grow. Cou­ples are lov­ing the edgy look that this style of pho­tog­ra­phy gives so expect to see more through­out this year!

Left: Lia Everette Photography


Per­son­al­ized place settings

This trend will be seen more in smaller, inti­mate wed­dings, but it’s so cute that we hope to see it the big­ger recep­tions as well! Instead of place cards, cou­ples are writ­ing notes for each guest and plac­ing it at their seats. How adorable would it be to receive a per­son­al­ized note from the bride and groom?!


Lounge areaslukeandashley.com-7
This might be one of our favorite trends!! This will def­i­nitely be mak­ing more of an appear­ance in 2019, espe­cially dur­ing the cock­tail hour. 2018 wed­dings started this trend of bring­ing the indoors out if they had an out­door cock­tail hour and it’s such an ele­gant idea! Be on the look­out for more of these seat­ing areas through­out this year!

Above: Luke and Ash­ley Pho­tog­ra­phy

Min­i­mal­ism
This start­ing mak­ing its way into wed­dings last year and min­i­mal­ism in décor and design has no inten­tion of going any­where. The smaller color schemes and min­i­mal decor that View More: http://stellarexposures.pass.us/openhouse18cou­ples are lov­ing not only cre­ate for a lit­tle less has­sle with design but it also allows for a very nat­ural look for their big day!

Ban­quet tables
Ban­quet tables have always been a sta­ple at wed­dings and they will con­tinue to be a big part of 2019 wed­dings. A lot of peo­ple do opt to just hav­ing round tables, but ban­quet tables are some­thing to def­i­nitely think about dur­ing the plan­ning process as they’re a big favorite for your day!

Left: Stel­lar Expo­sures

Bring­ing the out­doors in We started see­ing more and more cou­ples using green­ery at the end of 2017 and well into 2018 and we will see this through­out this year as well, but we will also see cou­ples using grasses in their décor! How fun is it that they’re bring­ing in nat­ural ele­ments inside to their recep­tion space?! We can’t wait to see this more in 2019!

Below: Jes­sica Boudreaux Photography


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YES to all of the trends for this year!! We are so in love with the min­i­mal­ist, nat­ural, edgy feel that we’re going to be see­ing a lot of in 2019. We think that stay­ing up with the trends are vital to mak­ing your day the best so we hope this list helps even just a lit­tle bit on hon­ing down on the vibe for your wed­ding!




Best of 2018

It’s that time of year again where we sit down and rem­i­nisce on all of won­der­ful 2018 Lesner Inn wed­dings! We tend to think that we have the best job in the world because we get to be a part of some of the most touch­ing and fun moments of peo­ples’ lives and this past year has been no dif­fer­ent. We have laughed, loved, and even cried with some of our cou­ples, and we wish you all noth­ing but hap­pi­ness in your future! Now let’s dive into look­ing back at some of our favorite moments of the year!


Best Cake
There were so many to die for cakes, but this cake whipped up by Incred­i­ble Edi­bles was def­i­nitely our favorite for 2018! It mixed Mea­gan and Nicholas’ color scheme and a clas­sic white cake per­fectly!
Photo: Nikki Ahrens Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Cake Smash
Speak­ing of cakes, Tara and Steven were so amus­ing dur­ing their cake cut­ting! Steven didn’t have a chance at any sort of shenani­gans once Tara smashed a whole piece of cake in his eye!
Photo: Sara Hupfer Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Bridal Bou­quet
Nor­folk Whole­sale Florist, you are unbe­liev­able!! We absolutely adored every­thing about Alexis and Scott’s wed­ding details and the flo­ral arrange­ments brought their wed­ding together like a gem.
Photo: Kel­ley Stin­son Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Squad Pic
This was one for the books! Bring­ing back the good ole’ days from JMU, all of the grads hopped in with Court­ney and Tim hold­ing the school’s flag for one epic squad photo!
Photo: Dustin Lewis Images

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Best Per­sonal Touch
Another col­lege is mak­ing an appear­ance as best per­sonal touch in our favorites for this year! Tiffany and Cody both went to Vir­ginia Tech so it’s only fit­ting that their “His and Hers” drinks for the wed­ding be the Orange and Maroon Effect!
Photo: Lia Everette Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Theme
Even if you’re not into Harry Pot­ter as much as Lau­ren and Chris were, you still have to admit this is the best themed wed­ding of the year! We just couldn’t get enough of the Marauder’s Map and those shoes that Lau­ren rocked all night!
Pho­tos: Renee Jean Pho­tog­ra­phy

Best theme

Best Exit
This moment just makes our hearts burst with joy! We’re so glad that Paige Ryan Pho­tog­ra­phy cap­tured the laugh­ter after Elise and Kyle’s sparkler exit so per­fectly! What a way to end a per­fect night!
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Best Dessert Bar
When Kerry told us she was doing a spread of donuts for her dessert along with cake, we just knew that it was our favorite dessert bar of 2018! Kerry used stands to dis­play the donuts, but we even have a donut wall you can rent to have a dif­fer­ent look for your dessert dis­play!
Photo: Jes­sica Boudreaux Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Ring Bearer
Hands down, Michelle and Den­nis had the most ADORABLE ring bearer in 2018! We knew as soon as they told us they would be hav­ing their pup in the wed­ding that he would be the best ring bearer. It was all eyes on the pup until the bride walked down the aisle!
Photo: Dustin Lewis Images

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Best Flower Girl
If this flower girl doesn’t make you smile, we’re not quite sure what will! From the moment we saw her with curlers in her hair until she was sleep­ing on her mom’s lap at the end of the night, she melted our hearts the entire night!
Photo: Kelsie McNair

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Best Rainy Wed­ding
Rain isn’t nor­mally what cou­ples dream of on their wed­ding day but Tiffany and Cody didn’t let a few show­ers keep them down. They even took advan­tage of the fact that the Sun­set Deck is cov­ered and got their water­front pho­tos in after the cer­e­mony!
Photo: Lia Everette Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best First Dance
Janette and Ben had taken ball­room danc­ing lessons specif­i­cally for their first dance and had a whole num­ber pre­pared for this moment! When they came in for their rehearsal the day before, they headed to Lesner Hall for one last prac­tice run and let’s just say it didn’t go as smoothly as the wed­ding day. We saw Ben come down the stair­case with a bloody nose from one of Janette’s fly­ing elbows, but they sure did nail it on the wed­ding day! The mag­i­cal dance def­i­nitely wins best of 2018!
Photo: Erika Mills Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Bou­quet Toss
Brook had us rolling with laugh­ter dur­ing her bou­quet toss! The sin­gle ladies were ready from the get go for this moment and, as you can tell, it was a fight for the bou­quet! Brook’s face dur­ing it all was price­less and we’re so happy that Chelsie Dar­ling Pho­tog­ra­phy cap­tured the best bou­quet toss of 2018 so per­fectly!
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Best Garter Toss
Anthony’s garter toss quite lit­er­ally won best garter toss of 2018! One of his friends was head over heels for the garter and made sure no one else caught it!
Photo: CHSH Pho­tog­ra­phy

Best garter toss

Best Kiss
SWOON­ING!! Kerry and Josh hopped over to Chick’s Beach to get some pho­tos at their favorite place and we fell in love with this shot. We just had to name it best kiss of 2018!
Photo: Jes­sica Boudreaux Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Can­did
Lov­ing the fact that DJ Hype put Rachel in con­trol for a song! She chose her favorite so she could sing and dance the night away. Hands down the best can­did of 2018!
Photo: Echard Wheeler Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Party Crowd
What a crowd!! Jor­dan and Stefan’s guests did not sit down all night! It cracked us up when the DJ even got in on the fun and busted a move on the dance floor! This crowd def­i­nitely wins best party crowd of 2018!
Photo: Dustin Lewis Images

Best party crowd

Best Unity
This wooden box and ham­mer may not look like your typ­i­cal cer­e­mo­nial unity but dur­ing Rachel and Steve’s cer­e­mony, their loved ones placed let­ters in it for the new­ly­weds to read on their one year anniver­sary. They then nailed it shut to open back up 365 days later! When we saw this hap­pen­ing dur­ing the cer­e­mony, we fell in love and knew it was the best unity in 2018!
Photo: Beth Hamil­ton Pho­tog­ra­phy

View More: http://bethhamiltonphoto.pass.us/rachelandsteve2018

Best Guest Book
We felt like we were dream­ing when Nikki and Ryan told us this would be their guest book! They con­tacted a com­pany to have them cre­ate a can­vas of what the exact star align­ment would be of the night they said “I do”. Because this was a first for us, not to men­tion SO cute and clever, we had to name it best guest book!
Photo: Ryann Winn Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best First Look
Michelle and Den­nis were so adorable just being them­selves and their first look was def­i­nitely our favorite. Maybe it was because we adored them or maybe it was because Den­nis looked so smit­ten at his bride when she spun around on the Sun­set Deck. Either way, it’s def­i­nitely the best first look of 2018!
Photo: Dustin Lewis Images

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Best DIY
Emily put her artis­tic side to work for her card box and look how pre­cious it turned out! It was the per­fect accent to her min­i­mal­ist yet col­or­ful décor. Her cre­ativ­ity hands down won her best DIY of 2018!
Photo: Kayla Macken­zie Pho­tog­ra­phy

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Best Décor
It’s truly is a dif­fi­cult task to choose just one wed­ding with the best décor because it all blows us away! We couldn’t bring our­selves to choose just one this year so we have a tie!

Nicole trans­formed Lesner Hall into a vin­tage won­der­land with old books, bronze and pur­ple vases, satin linens and lace run­ners on the guest tables. She even added a flo­ral flare to her cake and sweet­heart table to make sure they popped! Falling in love with this décor and choos­ing it as one of the best decors of 2018 couldn’t have been eas­ier!
Photo: Dustin Lewis Images

Best decor

Ah, give us all of the green­ery! Kelly’s décor was our other absolute favorite of 2018. She per­fected the mix of bohemian and gar­den vibes and we can’t get enough of it! Every­thing about Kerry and Josh’s day was beau­ti­ful and the décor was just the icing on the cake!
Photo: Jes­sica Boudreaux Pho­tog­ra­phy

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To our 2018 cou­ples and all of the ven­dors that came through our doors this year, THANK YOU for mak­ing this a year to remem­ber! Every­thing we do lit­er­ally could not hap­pen with­out you, and we’re so excited to see what 2019 has in store!




Cou­ple Spot­light: Kerry & Josh 10.13.2018

Kerry and Josh tied the knot at Lesner Inn on a breezy, Octo­ber Sat­ur­day after­noon while their guests gazed upon the Lynnhaven River. The whole day, from décor to their first kiss and dance to an endear­ing streamer exit, it was a dream! We could not ask for two more gen­uine and lov­ing peo­ple to work with through­out the plan­ning process and the day of their wed­ding. We just adore cou­ples like Kerry and Josh, and we hope you enjoy their story and insight on wed­ding plan­ning as much as we do!


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How, when, & where did you meet?
We met in August 2017 at Eagles Nest Vir­ginia Beach (RIP!). I was hav­ing a girls’ night out after a con­cert and was not inter­ested in meet­ing any­one that evening. But Josh was per­sis­tent and thank­fully our friend Car­ne­sha told him to keep try­ing to talk to me – When he asked me to go to the beach for our first date that sealed the deal! He had no idea I pretty much live on the beach in the sum­mer when I’m not at work.

Dat­ing can be awk­ward, do you have any funny sto­ries from when you first started dat­ing?
I think the night we met was pretty awk­ward! Waterfront-Virginia-Beach-Wedding-Lesner-Inn (26)

Tell us your engage­ment story? When did it hap­pen?
A few months before Josh’s 31st birth­day I asked him if he wanted to plan a trip for his birth­day or stay in town – He was adamant about throw­ing a big party, so we ended up plan­ning this mas­sive Fourth of July themed event (his birth­day is in April). His entire fam­ily – cousins, aunts, uncles, his brother, and par­ents — were com­ing in from out of town for it too. The entire time we were plan­ning I kept say­ing to myself “Wow this is a lot for cel­e­brat­ing a 31st birth­day!” But it turned out he had planned the entire thing to be a sur­prise engage­ment party – I had no idea this was hap­pen­ing until I brought out his cake and he looked so ner­vous because he was about to pro­pose! It was so much fun to be able to cel­e­brate our engage­ment with our fam­ily and friends that day along with his birth­day.

What made you pick Lesner Inn as your wed­ding venue?
The Lesner Inn had the exact look and feel we wanted for our wed­ding day – The water views through­out the venue are Waterfront-Virginia-Beach-Wedding-Lesner-Inn (48) out­stand­ing and the inte­rior décor is bright, warm, and invit­ing. We wanted to host our wed­ding in a space that would be beau­ti­ful on its own with­out hav­ing to bring in a ton of extra dec­o­ra­tions and Lesner Inn was per­fect for this. Also not to be missed, the staff at the here was phe­nom­e­nal. From the first email to the rest of our plan­ning process, all of the ladies were extremely pro­fes­sional, prompt, and fun to work with!

What addi­tional ven­dors did you choose for your wed­ding day, and why?
One advan­tage for us in choos­ing the Lesner Inn is that we didn’t have to wres­tle with coor­di­nat­ing a bunch of other exter­nal ven­dors – Pretty much every­thing we wanted was with the venue. One addi­tional ser­vice we did add was the day-​of coor­di­na­tion ser­vice. This was a life­saver! Liz was out­stand­ing and made sure every­thing on our big day went off with­out a hitch – She kept every­thing on sched­ule and kept us informed, but we never felt rushed. It really allowed us to enjoy our wed­ding day to the fullest.

What décor & other design aspects of your wed­ding were most impor­tant to you?
We wanted our wed­ding décor to be sim­ple, bright, and to allow our love and the bless­ing that mar­riage is to be the focal point of the day. Since the Lesner Inn already had amaz­ing views and a great base for décor, we only needed to bring in a few more items to com­plete this vision.

Did you have a theme for your wed­ding? If so, how did you select it?
No theme in par­tic­u­lar – We just wanted to keep every­thing light, bright, and airy.

What unique details did you add to your wed­ding?
Waterfront-Virginia-Beach-Wedding-Lesner-Inn (55) One of my favorite details was that we had all of the grooms­men, ush­ers, and Josh wear Amer­i­can Flag socks. We also had our ring bear­ers dress up with cute Amer­i­can Flag bowties to really tie in the Fourth of July details from our engage­ment to the wed­ding day.
I wanted to have a hand in cre­at­ing some­thing for our day, so we ordered our flow­ers through Costco and my mom, grand­mother, and I spent the day before our rehearsal din­ner putting together the bou­quets, bou­ton­nieres, and cen­ter­pieces. This brought in a hand­made touch to our décor (and also was a great way to save money on flo­rals!)

What were you most excited for your wed­ding day?
Our Chap­lain was won­der­ful to work with and we felt extremely for­tu­nate that he was able to offi­ci­ate our wed­ding – We spent a lot of time with him lead­ing up to the wed­ding prepar­ing and get­ting excited about the oppor­tu­nity to stand in front of God, our clos­est fam­ily, and friends to ded­i­cate our lives to one another. We were also excited to see how all of our plan­ning would come together for a great day of cel­e­bra­tion! Most of our fam­ily lives out of state, so hav­ing the chance to see every­one at the same time was also really spe­cial.

Do you have any advice for cou­ples who are plan­ning their wed­dings now?
Wed­ding plan­ning is as stress­ful as you allow it to be. The amount of deci­sions that need to be made can be over­whelm­ing at times; how­ever, it helps to have a sup­port sys­tem dur­ing the plan­ning process. Stay­ing orga­nized helps a lot as well! The best piece of advice we can offer other cou­ples is to not lose site of the big­ger pic­ture. Your wed­ding day will go by extremely quick, but the life and love you build together will last a life­time and that is some­thing to be cel­e­brated every day.

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Wow!! Kerry couldn’t be more right. Plan­ning a wed­ding can be stress­ful IF you allow it to be. Always remem­ber the big­ger pic­ture that, at the end of it all, you will be mar­ried to your best friend and that is one of the great­est joys of life!

Pho­tog­ra­pher: Jes­sica Boudreaux Pho­tog­ra­phy
DJ: Astro DJ
Hair/​Makeup: Best Faced For­ward
Trans­porta­tion: Horse­less Car­riage Limos
Gown: Stu­dio I Do Bridals
Flo­rals: DIY




Find­ing the Per­fect Match

Ring shop­ping should be a joy­ful time for both the bride and groom, but often­times it can cause some anx­i­ety. Once you’ve got­ten through choos­ing the per­fect engage­ment ring for your now fiancé, it seems that it should be eas­ier to choose a wed­ding ring to match. We hope it does, but it can be just as stress­ful. You won­der which one matches the best or try to get the per­fect mix between drop dead gor­geous but not too much as to take away from the engage­ment ring. There are so many things that go through your mind, from the cut, mate­r­ial, fit, and even the color of your rings. Per­son­al­iza­tion is also some­thing to con­sider, like an engrav­ing that sym­bol­izes you and your fiancés’ love, so the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less!

Affordable Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (9)

Above: Kelly Marie Pho­tog­ra­phy

The graphic below takes you through how to find the per­fect pair­ing to the engage­ment ring, whether you’re shop­ping sep­a­rately or together!

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Of course, your per­sonal taste will also be a huge fac­tor when choos­ing the match­ing wed­ding ring, but this is def­i­nitely a great place to start! If you need more inspi­ra­tion, check out sites like Blue Nile, that have an exten­sive and unique col­lec­tion of wed­dings rings to fig­ure out just how to make the per­fect ring stack!




You’ve Got Ques­tions, We’ve Got Answers!

We know there are a mil­lion ques­tions that come up when plan­ning a wed­ding. No mat­ter where you’re at in the process, there will always be more ques­tions that pop up when you meet with a new ven­dor, a rel­a­tive gives advice, or some­times even your guests will have a ques­tion. Here at Lesner Inn, we try to answer them through­out the plan­ning process, but we’ve also come up with a list of our most fre­quently asked ques­tions! Happy read­ing!


Can I have a tast­ing of my menu before my event?
Absolutely! Tast­ings are included for the cou­ple but, cost $30 per per­son for any addi­tional per­sons. Tast­ings include your choice of 4 appe­tiz­ers & 3 entrees. Our chef requests two weeks’ notice for tast­ings & we typ­i­cally host them Wednes­day – Fri­day. Week­end tast­ings are based on our event sched­ule & our chef’s avail­abil­ity.

Do I need to get a plan­ner or a day of coor­di­na­tor? Is that what my venue man­ager does?
Your venue manager’s main focus on the wed­ding day is the food, bev­er­age, & venue. She will make sure that every­thing is run­ning smoothly on the cater­ing side as well as mak­ing sure every­thing in the build­ing is stocked & pre­pared cor­rectly for your event. We rec­om­mend hir­ing a plan­ner or day of coor­di­na­tor to help you with the details of the day as well as mak­ing sure your cer­e­mony runs smoothly. Lesner Inn has an in house day of coor­di­na­tion ser­vice that can be added to your con­tract as late as your 90 day meet­ing. Trust us, you won’t regret hav­ing some­one to assist you on the big day!

Day-Of-Wedding-Coordinator-Lesner-Inn

Above:Jason Jarvis Photography


Do I need a wed­ding hash­tag?
No, it is not nec­es­sary. We love when cou­ples cre­ate their own per­sonal hash­tag so that they can see pho­tos that guests take at their event but Lesner Inn also has a hash­tag. Fol­low #lesner­in­nwed­dings for lots of wed­ding inspi­ra­tion! Also make sure to fol­low us on Face­book, Insta­gram, & Pin­ter­est.

Why can’t I sched­ule my rehearsal until 2 weeks before my wed­ding?
Lesner Inn hosts nearly 150 events a year & we try our best to make sure each cou­ple gets the time frame that they want for their rehearsal. Unfor­tu­nately, we can­not guar­an­tee a time until two weeks prior to your wed­ding. We do accept last minute events, so we must keep our sched­ule open until two weeks before your event in order to best fit the needs of all of our clients. Fear not though! Rehearsals are very easy in our cer­e­mony spaces & can be repli­cated in another space if we can­not accom­mo­date your ideal time frame.

What do I do if I have a last minute guest addi­tion?
Let your event man­ager know ASAP. We need your final guest count two weeks prior to your event & any addi­tions after your final meet­ing will incur a $50 late fee.

Some­thing has come up & we need to move or can­cel our event. What do we do?
Let your event man­ager know ASAP. We under­stand that things hap­pen & some­times every­thing doesn’t go as planned. How­ever, there is a can­cel­la­tion fee & a date changeWaterfront Wedding Venue Hampton Roads (3) fee since your event was block­ing us from book­ing that space & time. Please see your cater­ing agree­ment for more infor­ma­tion regard­ing these fees.

Right: Jenn Marie Pho­tog­ra­phy

Do I need to tip the staff who will be work­ing my event? What is the 20% ser­vice fee?
The ser­vice fee pays for the hourly wage of ALL staff work­ing your event – dish­wash­ers, prep cooks, chefs, bussers, food atten­dants, park­ing atten­dants, man­agers, etc. Tip­ping is entirely optional, but it is a nice way to acknowl­edge & thank the staff who worked your event. Either way, we will divide the money left at the bar & dis­trib­ute it to the bar­tenders, food atten­dants & bussers.

Do I need to do any­thing after my event?
Relax! Wed­dings are a lot of work & you deserve a break. Once you are ready to tackle your to-​do list, the first thing you need to do is send thank you notes & write reviews. Thank you notes should go to any­one who gave you a gift, helped with wed­ding prepa­ra­tions & to your ven­dors. You should also hop on The Knot, Wed­ding Wire, Face­book or Google & leave a review for your ven­dors! Think back to when you were book­ing your own wed­ding & all of the reviews that you read to help you make your deci­sions. Leave one about your expe­ri­ence too!

Why do I have to make place cards for a plated meal?
For a multi-​entrée plated meal, we will need you to pro­vide place cards for each guest so that our staff knows who will be get­ting which meal based on the sig­ni­fier (Ex. “F” for fish or “C” for chicken in the bot­tom cor­ner of the place card). We request that all meal sig­ni­fiers be on the front of the place card so it is eas­ier for our event staff to read. We will also a need a break­down of which meals go to each table to help expe­dite ser­vice in the kitchen. (Ex. 4 chicken & 5 fish at Table 1, 6 chicken and 4 fish at Table 2, etc.).

Am I lim­ited to two meet­ings after my book­ing?
No, you are more than wel­come to call or email us with ques­tions you may have about your event at Lesner Inn. The two meet­ings are based around your pay­ment sched­ule to make your life eas­ier dur­ing the plan­ning process! Our office does oper­ate by appoint­ment, so if you know that you will be in town and would like to come by, please make sure to call ahead.

Can I have a sparkler exit?
Yes! We love sparkler exits but request that they only occur out­side of the build­ing & not on the docks. Many of our cou­ples use the park­ing lot on the side or in the front of the build­ing for their sparkler exits. Please make sure to bring a bucket of sand or water to extin­guish the sparklers.

View More: http://kirstynmarie.pass.us/sarahmike

Above: Kirstyn Marie Photography


Do I have to use the ven­dors on your list?
In short, no. We only require you to use Lesner Inn for all of your food & bev­er­age – with the exclu­sion of your dessert. We under­stand that is a spe­cialty cre­ation! We do like to pro­vide you with a list of pre­ferred ven­dors because these are trusted pro­fes­sion­als that we truly enjoy work­ing with & know you will too! There are lots of other great ven­dors out there though & we are always excited to work with some­one new.


There’s prob­a­bly a few that we’re miss­ing but we hope this helps answer any ques­tions you may have while plan­ning your big day! If you have a ques­tion that we didn’t cover, feel free to email us at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we would be more than happy to help!



Fea­ture Guest: Stage Right Light­ing

As we’ve men­tioned before, we love talk­ing all things wed­dings with our cou­ples and giv­ing our best insight, but some­times we love to have a guest on our blog to share other insight on their spe­cialty in the wed­ding indus­try as well. Stage Right Light­ing has been to Lesner Inn more times than we can count, and the way they can bring a room to life is beyond us, so we wanted to give you a chance to learn a lit­tle more about what they do and how you can use them at our venue!


What is one of the most excit­ing up and com­ing trends in light­ing?
One of the most excit­ing light­ing trends are twin­kle lights right now! There are so many dif­fer­ent ways to incor­po­rate these into our couple’s spe­cial day! We have been using them behind fab­ric for back­drops and lots of cus­tom drap­ing looks. Waterfront-Greenery-Iceland-Wedding-Virginia-Beach (20)We have also cre­ated designs with these lights drip­ping down for a mag­i­cal starry night feel­ing! What is really awe­some is that they actu­ally twin­kle and sparkle all night, unlike Christ­mas lights!

Do you have any favorite light­ing projects that you’ve done at Lesner Inn?
One of our favorite designs that we have done, and have also been doing for wed­dings at the Lesner Inn, is the full ceil­ing cus­tom twin­kle lights & drap­ing in the main ball­room. The design really com­pli­ments the space and adds a gor­geous focal point! The first time we did it for Open House took our breath away!

Right: Dustin Lewis Images

Of all of the options you have to rent, what light­ing options do you wish all cou­ples had for their wed­ding?
We wish every cou­ple would get uplight­ing! Uplight­ing is one of our main com­pany sta­ples, it really can trans­form any space and cre­ate a beau­ti­ful ambiance! Through­out the night, we can also have dif­fer­ent looks for din­ner, toasts and spe­cial dances with just the uplight­ing. It really gives a wow fac­tor for all of the guests!

What types of rentals do you offer to your clients?
We offer cus­tom design pack­ages for each of our clients. We like to sit down or do a site sur­vey with our clients and really get a feel for the look that they are going for and then cre­ate a cus­tom pack­age for each cou­ple or client! Some of our main rentals include high end up lights, pin spots, dance floor or stage wash’s & cus­tom mono­grams. More design details include crys­tal chan­de­liers, cus­tom drap­ing & back­drops. Really fun, we have also been doing col­ored fab­ric for drap­ing! Adding a twin­kle light pop, a beaded crys­tal sparkle or even Edi­son bulbs or string lights to any cus­tom design have all been very pop­u­lar as Weddings-on-the-Water-Virginia-Lesner-Inn (5)well! Give us all the design ideas!

What is your favorite thing about work­ing in the wed­ding indus­try?
Our favorite thing about work­ing in the wed­ding indus­try is bring­ing our clients visions & designs to life! We typ­i­cally meet with our clients any­where from 6 months to 12 months before their big day. We love hear­ing their ideas and help­ing them cre­ate a cus­tom design that is per­fect just for them. We also help each and every cou­ple design dif­fer­ent looks through­out their night with uplight­ing, which is so unique & fun! When the big day arrives, see­ing the couple’s reac­tion to our designs is so reward­ing, there’s no greater feel­ing than a happy cou­ple on one of their most spe­cial days!


This is SO true! We love see­ing the cou­ples’ reac­tion when they first walk into the room and see every­thing come to life. The cou­ples’ vision is one of the most impor­tant aspects to a wed­ding and Stage Right Light­ing helps makes that vision a real­ity. We love work­ing with them all through­out the year, so if you loved what you read about today, reach out to them directly or con­tact us and ask how to get in touch with them!

Left: Chelsie Dar­ling Pho­tog­ra­phy



Cou­ple Spot­light: Mea­gan & Nicholas 10.7.2018

Mea­gan and Nicholas sealed the deal with a kiss on Octo­ber 7, 2018 at their home church in Vir­ginia Beach sur­rounded by their most loved fam­ily and friends. They then came to Lesner Inn to cel­e­brate and dance the night away. Although they had to resched­ule their wed­ding from Sep­tem­ber due to Hur­ri­cane Flo­rence, their day was noth­ing short of a fairy tale! We are SO grate­ful to have been a part of their big day and we just know you’ll love hear­ing all about their love story below!

Wedding-Reception-Venue-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn (101)

How, when, & where did you meet? We met in high school my senior year. He was a junior and the new kid at school. The first time I talked to him was when we were in the halls and we were both wear­ing moc­casins and I said, “Hey! Nice shoes!”

Wedding-Reception-Venue-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn (8) Dat­ing can be awk­ward, do you have any funny sto­ries from when you first started dat­ing? On our first date, we went to the movies and he paid for a sec­ond movie in 3-​D so we could stay longer, but I still had to end up leav­ing early.

Tell us your engage­ment story? When did it hap­pen? Nicholas popped the ques­tion when we were in Smith­field by the water on Novem­ber 5, 2017.

What made you pick Lesner Inn as your wed­ding venue? The view! It was absolutely beau­ti­ful.

What addi­tional ven­dors did you choose for your wed­ding day, and why? I chose Incred­i­ble Edi­bles Bak­ery for the cake because we loved how we got dif­fer­ent fla­vors for each tier with­out an extra charge since we had our recep­tion at the Lesner. We also used Mary Pol­lock for our florist. She is a fam­ily friend and AMAZ­ING!

What was your vision for your wed­ding day? Wedding-Reception-Venue-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn (80) Ele­gant and happy. And it totally was!



We loved your Pitts­burgh Cookie Table! What inspired it? My fam­ily is from Penn­syl­va­nia and at all of their wed­dings up north they have cookie tables so we wanted to keep the tra­di­tion alive!

What were you most excited for your wed­ding day? Being with every­one I love!

How did you han­dle the stress of wed­ding plan­ning? Were there any major hic­cups along the way? It was a lot to han­dle but I got all the big things done early which helped a ton. Our wed­ding also had to be resched­uled due to Hur­ri­cane Flo­rence. But it worked out and the Lesner Inn and all of our ven­dors were able to resched­ule only a few weeks out. It was amaz­ing!

Do you have any advice for cou­ples who are plan­ning their wed­dings now? Enjoy it. It is one of the most excit­ing times ever so take it all in! Ask for help if you can not han­dle some­thing! Look around a lot on your wed­ding day. There is so much you will miss! Also, ladies, put your toss garter on right before the toss so it is not sweaty! :)

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From the very begin­ning of the plan­ning process to the end of your wed­ding day, look around and take it all in. It is the most excit­ing day of your life!

It truly warms our hearts work­ing with cou­ples like Mea­gan and Nicholas. If you’d like more infor­ma­tion on our ser­vices, con­tact us at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (757)4811122.



Pho­tog­ra­pher: Nicki Ahrens Photography



10 Quotes to Get You Through Wed­ding Plan­ning

When you start wed­ding plan­ning, you’re really not quite sure what to expect unless you’ve done it before or work in the indus­try. You begin with mak­ing your guest list and look­ing at wed­ding venues and then, once you get full-​fledge into the plan­ning after meet­ing with your first venue, you may be over­whelmed. So many details you didn’t think about, things you didn’t think you had to do until later, peo­ple you’re not sure if you should invite, and so on. At Lesner Inn we try to make things as sim­ple as pos­si­ble for you, but in the case that you get over­whelmed, we hope these moti­va­tional quotes help through­out the process! You will get mar­ried and it will be per­fect!

Waterfront-Wedding-Venue-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn (6) • “You are capa­ble of amaz­ing things”
• “Noth­ing can dim the light that shines from within”
• “Focused. Intel­li­gent. Moti­vated. Oh, and cute.”
• “Life is tough, my dar­ling, but so are you”
• “Don’t let any­one ever dull your sparkle”
• “Turn your dreams into plans”
• “She believed she could, so she did”
• “The most beau­ti­ful thing you can wear is con­fi­dence”
• “Chin up princess, or the crown slips”

Pic­tured right: Cortese Pho­tog­ra­phy & Film

And one of our per­sonal favorites: “Today know that YOU are good enough. Stop wor­ry­ing if you are pretty enough, strong enough, rich enough, smart enough…You must KNOW that you are ENOUGH. Don’t let neg­a­tive thoughts have power over you…Take a deep breath and know that you mat­ter and you are enough.”

Plan­ning an event of any­where from 50200 peo­ple is not easy, espe­cially when it’s one of the biggest days of your life, so we get it! It can be very stress­ful try­ing to make sure every­thing looks per­fect, your guests are pleased, and you don’t pull your hair in the midst of it all. It may get hard, but it will all be WORTH it when you kiss for the first time as new­ly­weds, and we hope this lit­tle list of moti­va­tional quotes help you get through it all!




More Arti­cles …

  • The Knot Best of Weddings - Hall Of Fame: Lesner Inn
  • The Knot Best of Weddings - 2017 Pick
  • The Knot Best of Weddings - 2016 Pick
  • Lesner Inn Catering Club, Best Wedding Venues in Virginia 2016
  • Lesner Inn Catering Club Reviews