Wed­ding High­lights: Court­ney & Justin 10.28.2017

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

How & when did you meet?
Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (25).jpgJustin and I met at Old Domin­ion Uni­ver­sity in the fall of 2007. I reached out to my friend, who was also Justin’s col­lege room­mate at the time, because I was in des­per­ate need of tutor­ing for an account­ing class. Justin wasn’t great at math — but with his charm­ing per­son­al­ity we hit it off!

How & when did you get engaged?
We got engaged at the Old Domin­ion Home­com­ing game on Sep­tem­ber 24, 2016. Justin wanted to pro­pose right where it all began! He popped the ques­tion in front of the “Big Blue” lion statute. We were met with applause and cheers from fel­low Mon­archs who were there cel­e­brat­ing the “big game.” ODU even posted the news on their Face­book page!

Why did you pick Lesner Inn for your venue?
We looked at other venues but when we arrived at Lesner Inn we knew this was “it”! The loca­tion pro­vided the per­fect atmos­phere for us to say “I do”!

What out­side ven­dors did you use & why did you choose them?
We had amaz­ing ven­dors that truly made our day so spec­tac­u­lar!
  • Our pho­tog­ra­pher, Dustin Lewis, was rec­om­mended from the Lesner Inn “pre­ferred ven­dor list”. After meet­ing him, we knew his per­son­able approach to pho­tog­ra­phy and artis­tic vision would be the per­fect match for us.
  • Our video­g­ra­pher, Intel­lect Media, we met at a bridal show. After look­ing at sam­ple videos online from sev­eral dif­fer­ent ven­dors, the pro­duc­tion qual­ity of Intel­lect Media’s video was rem­i­nis­cent of a big-​budget Hol­ly­wood film. After meet­ing with both Mar­cus and Eric, we knew their pro­fes­sion­al­ism and knowl­edge of their craft would be the per­fect way to cap­ture our love story on our spe­cial day.
  • I met our florist Deb­bie from Flut­ter­ing Flow­ers at a bridal show also. Her flair for flo­ral arrange­ments and gen­teel per­sona was a win­ning combination.
  • Based off of the rec­om­men­da­tion from sev­eral ven­dors we sought out Deb from Incred­i­ble Edi­bles for our cake. We went into the cake tast­ing and Deb was so accom­mo­dat­ing and help­ful in decid­ing what “sweet treats” we would offer our guests.
  • We knew from the begin­ning we wanted Astro DJ to pro­vide the enter­tain­ment for the evening. Rod­ney Charles had been a DJ for a friend’s wed­ding the year prior. His style and choice of music meshed per­fectly with our idea for a “great night”.
  • I met Water­ford Event rentals at a bridal show. After meet­ing with Rebecca who was so help­ful and kind, I knew that I had to use some of their beau­ti­ful linens to “com­plete” my wed­ding look!
  • I met Soirees by Lau­ren at a bridal show. I hired them for day of coor­di­na­tion and they helped me to feel like a guest at my own wedding!
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What was your vision for your wed­ding day & did it change through­out the process? If so, how?
The vision for my wed­ding day was to have a beau­ti­ful, fun-​filled day that I would not for­get! Through­out the process, some of my ideas changed slightly — but over­all, I kept my “end frame” in sight which was to focus on mar­ry­ing my best friend and cel­e­brat­ing one of the best days of my life!

Did you have a theme? If so, how did you choose it?
Our theme for the wed­ding was “Old Hol­ly­wood”. We chose this theme because Justin is a huge fan of films (he has a col­lec­tion of over 1800 blue rays) and I love any­thing glam­orous and from that era. We used cin­e­matic ele­ments such as each table was a name of a film, hav­ing a “pop­corn” bar, etc. Our col­ors were black, gold, ivory, and blush to bring in those “Old Hol­ly­wood” ele­ments.

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What were you most excited about for your wed­ding day?
We were most excited to have all of our fam­ily and friends in one room to help us cel­e­brate this huge mile­stone in our lives.

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (54)Were there any per­sonal touches that you put on your wed­ding day that were really spe­cial to you?

On our cake, we had two brooches that were from each of our grand­moth­ers who had passed away. We were very close to them so this was a way of hav­ing them there. We also had our grand­par­ents wed­ding pho­tos on the cake table as a trib­ute to them.

Are there any funny or silly moments from your wed­ding day or the plan­ning process that stand out to you?
Every­one danc­ing and enjoy­ing the music at the recep­tion to include two elderly fam­ily mem­bers groov­ing on the dance floor with their walk­ers.

What advice do you have for other cou­ples plan­ning their wed­ding?
Our advice is to enjoy the “jour­ney” of wed­ding plan­ning. It is easy to get caught up in the stress and “per­fec­tion” that a wed­ding has to be but remem­ber the most impor­tant thing is that you are get­ting mar­ried. No one will notice if the dec­o­ra­tions are not in the right order or if a bow is not cor­rect, what your guests will take away from a wed­ding is the over­all feel­ing of fun and enjoy­ment they expe­ri­enced.



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They def­i­nitely hit the nail on the head with that advice! Plan­ning can become stress­ful if you let it, but just enjoy­ing every bit of the process is what makes it so fun. At the end of the day the most impor­tant thing is that you are mar­ry­ing your best friend sur­rounded by the peo­ple who love you most!

Pho­tos from Dustin Lewis Images!


How to Make the Most of Your Wed­ding Web­site

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

Basic Essen­tials
Date, time & loca­tion! Even though you may put this infor­ma­tion on your invi­ta­tions, it’s always a good thing to put these basics on your web­site too in case some­one loses the invite. You can even be super nice & put maps or write out direc­tions for your guests if you’re feel­ing up to it!

Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Website-how-to-diy-weddings-virginia-beach.jpg Your Story
We love these!! Although not every­one will read the full story, the guests who do will love to read about all the lit­tle details through­out your love story. How you met, how the rela­tion­ship grew, & of course how he popped the ques­tion! The roman­tic pic­ture you paint will get all of your guests so excited for your big day!
Right: Echard Wheeler Pho­tog­ra­phy

Reg­istries
Presents, presents, presents! Where to get them though? Putting your reg­istry on your web­site is such a help when peo­ple are shop­ping around for your wed­ding present. Although you never want to make it seem like your guests are oblig­ated to bring a present, you can dis­creetly put a link to your reg­istry on your web­site so your guests can have easy access to it.

View More: http://stellarexposures.pass.us/beachball17 Logis­tics
Attire & accom­mo­da­tions! Every guest always asks “What should I wear to the wed­ding?”, so make it a lit­tle eas­ier for them & sug­gest some things that could go with your wed­ding theme. If you’re hav­ing a rus­tic, relaxed wed­ding, you could sug­gest jeans or if it’s more glam­orous, let them know to wear a more for­mal out­fit. Also, if your guests desire to stay overnight before or after your wed­ding, let­ting them know of nearby hotels can be a huge help to them. This keeps them from bug­ging you about where is the best place to stay or hav­ing to do all of the research them­selves. Another idea is to block off rooms at a local hotel for your guests & let them know that it’s already been done for them!
Left: Stel­lar Expo­sures

Online RSVP
This is some­thing that is pretty sim­ple to set up and can be a huge help to your guests who don’t always respond in a timely man­ner through mail. Some of your guests may also pre­fer the con­ve­nient, cost-​efficient way to RSVP.

Using your wed­ding web­site effec­tively will take so much stress off of the plan­ning process! The lit­tle details will be at your guests fin­ger­tips, leav­ing you to worry about the big details at Lesner Inn!



How to Pre­pare for ALL of Your Ven­dor Meet­ings

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

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

Venue

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

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

Pho­tog­ra­pher

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

Florist

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

Enter­tain­ment

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

Bak­ery

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

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



The Rehearsal Run­down

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

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

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

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

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

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



Five Unique Guest Book Ideas

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

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

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

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

Above: Chelsea Ander­son Photography


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

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

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

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






Five Ways to Get your Guests on the Dance Floor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pho­tos by Mike Dragon Stu­dios





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What were you most excited about for your wed­ding day?

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


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

Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Details-Something-Old-Blue-Waterfront-Wedding.jpg One thing that we decided to do was cre­ate our own lit­tle memo­ri­als for those who couldn’t be with us on our spe­cial day. Jill’s father passed away sev­eral years ago, so she cut a heart out of one of his blue shirts… and, Jamie’s grand­fa­ther had passed away in Feb­ru­ary, so she cut a heart out of one of his favorite jean jack­ets. We pinned these inside our dresses – as our some­thing old and some­thing blue. We also included other memo­r­ial pieces in our bou­quets, and on a memo­r­ial board for the guests to see.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Pho­tos by Valerie Betz Pho­tog­ra­phy!

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



CENT$ for CEN­TER­PIECE$

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

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

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

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



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

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: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trinaWe 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: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trinaCoop 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: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trinaHard 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?
Rainy-wedding-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach-weather-proof-venue-Echard-Wheeler

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: http://kirstynmarie.pass.us/sarahmike
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!


Green-Wedding-Natural-Jungle-Theme-Lesner-Inn-Winston-Veranga-Photography

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


Black-Tux-Wedding-Trend-Lesner-Inn.jpg

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!



Blue-Suit-Wedding-Trend-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn-David-Champagne-Photography.jpg

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!





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