We have to take a minute to brag about this AMAZING couple right here! Kayla & Parker stole our hearts from the moment that we met them. They are two of the most genuine people, & working with them to create their perfect day was an absolute joy! Reflecting on this day makes us so happy that Lesner Inn could be a part of their Virginia Beach wedding, & we hope to work with more couples just like them!!
How, when, & where did you meet?
Parker and I met in 2015 when he moved to Norfolk for the Navy. He was apartment hunting and I was a Leasing Consultant and rented an apartment to him. I told him that day that I would be his neighbor and I don’t think he took it seriously. He found out a few weeks later that I really was his next-door neighbor! He invited me on a date a few months later and the rest was history!
Dating can be awkward, do you have any funny stories from when you first started dating?
I always give Parker a hard time about our very first date! He asked me out to a hockey game and I had said yes. When I walked over to his apartment, there were 2 of his guy friends there too!! So it was a Parker and Kayla with 2 other of his friends date. Parker says “I didn’t know it was a date, a thought it was an….outing”.
Tell us your engagement story? When did it happen?
Our engagement was super simple and perfect! We bought our first home together and we love our sunsets from our backyard. Last June he got down on one knee at sunset, asked me to marry him, and at the same time our dog Gracie jumped in his face and licked him. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!
What made you pick Lesner Inn as your wedding venue?
We definitely wanted something on the water and a place that we could really have everything all at one place: the ceremony, reception, décor, catering, and coordination. When we visited, the view was beautiful and the venue fit the vision we had for our wedding day.
What additional vendors did you choose for your wedding day, and why?
We had a DJ, Florist, and Photographer. We really did not need to hire many other vendors because there was so much included at The Lesner Inn!
What décor & other design aspects of your wedding were most important to you?
We wanted to keep things simple, so we didn’t want too many decorations. We wanted small centerpieces and flowers with greenery to give our reception and wedding a romantic and sweet feel. That was really important to us.
What was your vision for your wedding day?
Simple, sweet, and romantic on the water!
What unique details did you add to your wedding?
Parker’s a twin so for the mother/son dance, Parker had danced with their mom, and his brother Kyle danced with their Grandma. Half way through the song, they switched places and I thought that was really sweet and unique.
What were you most excited for your wedding day?
I asked Parker this question and his first sentence was “To see the love of my life”! I definitely agree. We hadn’t seen each other since the night before and having the wedding day jitters and nerves; all I wanted to do was see him. Once we saw each other both of us were instantly not nervous anymore and we were calm and ready to walk down the aisle!
How did you handle the stress of wedding planning? Were there any major hiccups along the way?
Planning a wedding can definitely be stressful! We planned our wedding in 8 months but for 4 of those months, Parker was on deployment. This did cause some added stress because of limited availability to talk with each other. What was nice, though, was that many of our vendors were able to fit us in before he left and we go to meet in person with our DJ when he got back so it was cool that they worked with us.
Do you have any advice for couples who are planning their weddings now?
Honestly, I would say to try and bundle! We bundled the ceremony, reception, décor, coordination, planning, catering, and much more all at Lesner Inn and that truly made things so easy for us. Having things taken care of all in one place truly made wedding planning a breeze so BUNDLE when possible! Also, doing the first look with each other was one of the best decisions we made. For one, you save time after the ceremony and are able to mingle with friends and family sooner, and two, seeing each other calmed our nerves that day.
We loved being a part of Kayla & Parker’s wedding day & of course celebrating with their friends & family! Lesner Inn takes pride in being inclusive, so that our couples don’t have to search for services from several different Virginia Beach wedding vendors.
Thank you to Kay De Lane Photography for capturing all of these amazing photos!
- What do you provide?
- How long do I have to set everything up and break it down?
- Do you have a preferred vendors list? If so, do I have to stick to that list?
- If my fiancé gets deployed, what is the process we go through to postpone?
Right: Love Simply Photography
- How do I hold my date?
- What is the payment schedule?
- When do you need all final numbers and details?
- How far out should I book?
- What if there’s a hurricane the day of my wedding?
Right: Lia Everette Photography
- Am I required to have a coordinator?
We know wedding planning can be stressful and you sometimes just don’t know the questions to ask certain vendors, but we really hope this list helps with some of the questions you should ask your wedding venue before booking! If you have any more questions, don’t be afraid to speak up. We would much rather couples ask all of their questions upfront than to be confused down the road!
A professional wedding photographer will have years of training & experience taking portraits, candid, & group shots, & should be able to provide you with several examples! Every photographer has their own style of how they shoot & edit photos, & by choosing someone who isn’t a professional, you risk having your photos come out looking like they were taken with your friends iPhone!
Left: Sweet Adeline
Many people think that a videographer just shoots a video & sends it to you after the wedding. However, this is not the case! Videographers are skilled in shooting at the best angles, capturing moments with appropriate lighting, & editing the video after it’s all said & done. Editing a wedding video that makes you remember all of the feelings you felt on your actual wedding day is no easy task. They have years of experience to make your wedding day look like the best day of your life, which it should be!
DJ or Band
When people ask if they are able to bring in a set of speakers & plug in their iPod to play music for the wedding, we can’t help but cringe. Many people who are planning a wedding for the first time think that all your DJ does is put a playlist together & press play, but this is definitely not the case! Your DJ or musical entertainment is your hype man & MC. They make sure that guests are getting excited for every major event throughout your wedding. Who do you think announces you into the reception as newlyweds & gets your guests out on the dance floor?
Stellar Exposures PhotographyWedding Coordinator
Another vendor that couples constantly underrate are wedding coordinators! Too often we hear couples say that their friend or family member, who is also attending the wedding, will be in charge of coordinating the wedding. This is a huge no, no! While your friend or family member may be fully qualified to coordinate, they are guest at your wedding & will want to have fun like the rest of your guests. Nothing is worse than the couple having the pick up the slack when your friend should be making sure that your DJ & catering facility are ready for toasts! Lesner Inn now offers coordination services to make sure that our couples have the perfect Virginia Beach wedding!
Stellar Exposures PhotographyWe cannot stress the importance of professional wedding vendors enough. They have years of experience under their belt, & can guide you in the right direction when planning your dream wedding at Lesner Inn. Our final piece of advice is that you make sure to research the different wedding vendors in your area to make sure you absolutely LOVE what they do!
Lesner Inn has a list of our preferred wedding vendors that we give to everyone that we meet. Our list even includes discounts that vendors offer to Lesner Inn couples, just for booking us for their wedding venue & catering!
Think back to when you were selecting your wedding vendors. You were probably reading reviews to make sure they would be the right person for the job. Leaving reviews on wedding websites like The Knot and WeddingWire are one of the best ways to appreciate the work that your vendors did for you. If you don’t have accounts with either of these top wedding websites, Facebook and Google are also great places to leave reviews! This will not only bring a smile to their face, but will bring them more business in the future!
Write Thank You Cards
Hand written thank you notes are a small token of appreciation, no matter who you’re writing them to. Seeing how happy a client is after their wedding is so satisfying, and at Lesner Inn we like to display all of our thank you notes as a reminder to why we love our jobs so much!
Some of your wedding vendors don’t expect or require a tip, but this is always a nice gesture! If you’re unsure about who should be receiving a tip, this blog from Bridal Guide will help you out!
Give Small Gifts
For those vendors who don’t accept or require tips, a small gift is a great gesture! One of our Lesner Inn couples brought in monogrammed sandals for her event manager to wear on her wedding day. It was such a thoughtful gift and something so easy to have made! Things like candles, coffee mugs or tumblers, or jewelry are also great ideas as small gifts to give your wedding vendors.
Think about how stressful wedding planning is. Now think about doing it for a living! Your wedding vendors do so much to make sure that you are happy with the service they are providing, and deserve a little recognition when it’s all said and done. With that being said, speak up if you feel they could be doing better! Chances are they have no idea how you are feeling, and would love the constructive criticism.
I graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s in History & Sociology, so people always ask me “How did you end up in the wedding industry? What made you want to do this?” My answer is simple. Everything about my job at Lesner Inn makes me happy. I’m constantly surrounded by people and things I love, so why wouldn’t I do this?
I’ll start with my coworkers. The team at Lesner Inn is unlike any team I’ve worked with before. I consider the girls I work with in the office like my sisters. They each hold a special place in my heart. You’ll often find us laughing to tears over absolutely nothing, singing the Lion King Soundtrack, or binge eating sweets. We may share a common interest of everything wedding, but our friendship goes beyond our office. And I’m lucky to have them in my life.
The location. Lesner Inn is located right on the Lynnhaven River, so every day I’m at work I’m reminded of how beautiful our home is. The view is incredible. And the sunsets are breathtaking. When things become hectic at work, it’s nice to take a moment on our Sunset Deck and appreciate where I live and where I work. Not many people can say the same, so I feel #blessed.
The vendors. Or better yet, my friendors. The Hampton Road’s wedding industry is large, and I’m fortunate to have so many friends in the industry. We connect each weekend to work similar clients’ weddings. And we team up throughout the year to host open houses and create stylized shoots. They’ve even supported me through the start of my nonprofit, riseVB, and my fundraising ventures with Beach Ball.
The icing on the cake for me is seeing everything come to life on the wedding day. My relationships with my clients grow throughout the planning process. I become so fond of their story – how they met, how they fell in love… all of the good stuff. But there’s something about the way they look at each other when they’re standing at the arch that gives me all the feels. And I wouldn’t trade that in for the world.
When I think back to how I ended up working at Lesner Inn, planning one of the most epic days of someone’s life, I think back to my first experience working around weddings in Virginia Beach. While I was in college, I spent my summers working at the front desk of a local Virginia Beach hotel. During my time there, I was able to meet so many people who were celebrating their wedding weekend! My interaction with their big day was pretty much non-existent, but I always got to see the team of vendors pile in & work their magic to create what each couple had planned for so long to be the best day of their lives! Watching what each couple found to be their perfect wedding come to life was so fun to watch, & it has easily become one of my favorite parts about my job at Lesner Inn.
Since starting as an Event & Sales Manager at Lesner Inn almost 3 years ago, I have seen so many different color schemes, menu & dessert choices, & newfound traditions that couples have wanted to incorporate to set their wedding apart from the rest. Even though a lot of wedding trends stay pretty constant, most of our couples will have at least one minute detail that is completely unique to their style & tastes. Each of these unique details can make one wedding the complete opposite of another, but regardless of if they choose to have breakfast for dinner, a gelato bar for dessert, or to dance to an unconventional song all of these weddings are perfect in their own ways!
These unique touches make my job SO much fun, especially when even I am surprised on the night of (shout out to Amanda & David Haas for the guest appearance from a T-rex)!
How & when did you meet?
We met during grad school at Stony Brook University about 5 1⁄2 years ago now. He was in PT school, and I was in PA school but we had an overlapping anatomy class the first summer of school and started hanging out and the rest is history!
We love a good story! How did you get engaged? (This is so thoughtful & well planned, great job Billy!)
We had a weekend planned to stay out in the eastern part of Long Island near the wineries (we had done the same thing the year prior as it’s one of our favorite places), but this year he drove us back through Stony Brook (which is on the way) where we first met and proposed on the beach outside of his old house where we used to spend a lot of time together. Then, he surprised me by having my parents come into town from Virginia Beach, so we spent the weekend with both of our families celebrating our engagement!
Why did you pick Lesner Inn for your venue?
My cousins got married at the Lesner Inn about 7 years ago, and I fell in love with the venue at their wedding. After we got engaged, I knew that I wanted to get married there as well. I’m a huge beach/water lover and the setting and view that the Lesner Inn offers is just incredible! One of my favorite parts of the venue is that you can have your ceremony outside on the water, and then walk inside for the reception rather than having your guests have to travel!
What outside vendors did you use & why did you choose them?
I LOVED all of our vendors! We used a lot of the Lesner Inn preferred vendors who I was extremely happy with but then our DJ, Taylor Haycox and videographer, DSP, were outside vendors. Taylor was actually recommended to us by our cousin’s friend, and I am so grateful for that because he was absolutely perfect and all of our guests were raving about him after. We found our videographer on WeddingWire, and his reviews were all great as well as his pricing. He did an amazing job and again we are so pleased with how it all turned out.
What was your vision for your wedding day & did it change throughout the process? If so, how?
Billy and I both wanted our wedding day to be fairly simple. I wanted the color scheme and decor to be very neutral with lots of white flowers and greenery. We went with a dusty blue for the bridesmaid dresses which I thought went well with having our wedding in December. It also fit into the waterfront venue vibe. We pretty much stayed with our vision the entire time with only a few minor changes as we got further into planning. The nice thing about the Lesner Inn (particularly the Sunset Deck) is that the scenery is already so naturally pretty that we didn’t worry about doing much else for our decor. Looking back on the photos, we are so happy with how it all turned out!
We always love different dessert bars. What made you choose to do a donut bar?
Billy was actually the mastermind behind the donut bar! He loves donuts and wanted to do something different for our desserts! We still had the traditional cake, but I think all of our guests loved the donuts the most!
How did you pick your first dance song & why did you pick it?
We both love Ed Sheeran (especially me) and the first time we heard Perfect together we knew that we wanted to do that for our song. We really didn’t even debate about any other songs because we felt that one describes us so well and the music is so beautiful.
Are there any funny or silly moments from your wedding day or the planning process that stand out to you?
I remember at the end of the night walking through the sparklers and it dawning on me how flammable my hair was after all of the hair spray, and then Billy went to dip me and accidentally almost dropped me backwards into the flames. Luckily we recovered well and my hair didn’t catch on fire haha.
What advice do you have for other couples planning their wedding?
I would say to just keep things simple, go with your gut and don’t stress over the small details! The day goes by so quickly and you really have to soak in every moment because it’s gone in a second!
We are SO glad that Becca’s hair didn’t catch on fire haha, that definitely would have been a first! Becca & Billy really did give the best advice for other couples to take in. Trying not to stress is much easier said than done for the biggest day of your life, but the details that seem so big during the planning process won’t be the things that you really cherish after it’s all said & done. So, try not to worry, take in every second, & enjoy your big day!
Photos by Stellar Exposures Photography!
Working at Lesner Inn for the past year and a half has been filled with beautiful views, fun coworkers, wonderful clients and lots and lots of cake! The event planning business has allowed me to grow creatively & professionally and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity that I have at Lesner Inn.
While there are many aspects that I love about this profession, my favorite part is that I have been lucky enough to meet and connect with so many different clients. From the first email, touring, and all the meetings we have before the big day, I am able to get to know so many brides, grooms, and even sometimes the parents of the couple! The wedding planning process is such a happy, fun, and sometimes stressful time for these couples, so being able to meet with them during this time and help their wedding come together is so fulfilling.
I always look forward to meetings because it’s also a time to catch up with the couple about everything that has been going on in their lives during this exciting time. Once all the planning is complete the big day finally arrives, I am able to see all the special moments shared between the couple and their friends and families, which makes the job that much more satisfying!
When I first started college, I knew 100% that I wanted to be a teacher. As my first semester started, I was ecstatic because I was taking my first teaching course! After the first day of classes, I was a little discouraged because it just was not what I was expecting, but I was determined to keep going. Well, throughout the semester, I realized that teaching just wasn’t for me, but I did realize that I loved coordinating events through my Recreation and Leisure class I was also taking. From then on out, I knew I was going to be an event coordinator.
Skip to my job at Lesner Inn, which is amazing!! It is my first job out of college and I could not have asked for a better way to start my career. I love the environment that I work in, but I mostly love how I get to be just a small portion of someone’s biggest day of their life. I have the opportunity to be with them through almost the entire planning process, recommend vendors, help plan their décor, and see their big day come to life, and it’s what makes my career so much fun! Do I connect with some couples more than others? Of course, that’s just because of who they are and who I am, but I still love getting to be a part of their wedding day. The amount of stress I see throughout the planning process is overcome by so much joy on the wedding day, and the fact that I get to be a part of making that joy happen, is beyond measurable.
It’s almost funny to look back and think that I could have been a teacher and experienced a different type of joy, but the happiness that I get from seeing the couples on the biggest day of their lives is what I LOVE. The first kiss as newlyweds, the father/daughter dance, the cake smashing, all of that brings the biggest smile to my face because I had the opportunity to be a small portion of their big day!
Who do I want to experience this with most?
Before throwing a random figure out there for your wedding budget, you MUST sit down with your fiancé & put together a guest list. This list should include everyone you absolutely cannot celebrate your marriage without! You should even have a second list of people that you may want to invite if your budget allows for it, or if people on your “A list” can’t make it. There is no shame in having a B list!
Right: Christina Vanta Photography
When do I want to say “I do” to the love of my life?
Most venues & catering facilities will have a required food & beverage minimum that you need to reach on specific days of the week, months of the year, & times of day. At Lesner Inn, your food & beverage minimum can be significantly less in the months of January, February, March & November compared to any other month of the year. However, keep in mind when selecting your date that Saturday evenings are the most coveted day & time for a wedding reception, so the minimum requirements are going to be higher than they would on a Friday or Sunday!
Where do we want to say our vows & celebrate with our closest friends & family?
Between, food, beverages, favors, desserts, & décor there is a lot to consider when adding another name to your guest list. To create a more educated budget, find out what your favorite venues offer & at what cost. If the cost per person of your wedding venue or catering company doesn’t match up with what you were expecting, don’t be afraid to ask how you can customize their menu to fit your needs. If you don’t want to offer a bar, speak up! As long as you are reaching their minimum for your selected date & time it doesn’t matter how you get there!
Above: Daissy Torres PhotographyWhat do we need to make our wedding day perfect for OUR story?
A lot of people forget about the details that go into planning a wedding. We typically suggest budgeting at least $5,000 for things like cake, florals, DJ, & photographer. Of course the total cost of these vendors can be more or less, but it all depends on your vision. Lesner Inn is a one stop shop for food, beverage, much of couples favorite décor, wedding coordination & even desserts. We also have preferred vendors who offer discounts for couples who book with us if our services don’t quite fulfill everything that you & your fiancé want on your wedding day!
Will you help us make this day everything we want it to be?
After sitting down with your fiancé about the who, what, where, & when, talk to both of your families to find out if they are willing to contribute to your wedding celebration. If so, get a dollar amount so that you will know what you & your fiancé will be responsible for, & how much room is left in your budget to add that donut bar that you really wanted!
Above: Stellar Exposures PhotographyCreating a wedding budget after educating yourself on what you expect for your wedding day will make the whole planning process far less difficult & scary! If you’d prefer an expert opinion over trying to guestimate a cost by yourself, be prepared to answer some of the above questions for your wedding professionals. We want to make sure we are giving you the most accurate information to help you create the wedding of your dreams WITHOUT breaking the bank!
Contact one of our sales managers today to see how we can help with your budget wedding!
Of everything you have available to rent, what would you say would help spruce up a wedding reception the most & why?
As little as it seems, napkins are a huge part of wedding décor! May sound silly, but they’re in every picture of the table-scape & can add a pop of color, fun print or just a little texture to the table. Napkins are an easy, budget friendly addition that can make a difference, even if the client is using linen that their venue provides!
Right: Echard Wheeler Photography
What items do you provide for clients to rent?
We are a full service linen rental company that specializes in allllll things linens! We of course offer the basics, but we have a big selection of specialty & even custom print linens. We’re always willing to order in something new! Not only do we specialize in linens, but we also rent chairs & plate chargers. We have gold, mahogany & white chiavari chairs, as well as white resin folding chairs. We also have both resin & glass beaded chargers. We are currently expanding our inventory, so stay tuned for our newest additions!
Would you say chair sashes or covers are necessary?
Chair covers & sashes are definitely important, but totally not a must have! We may think differently though ;) Let’s say there are 15 tables & 150 guests. A table linen will only be on 15 of the tables, while a chair sash will be on 150 chairs. Makes such a bigger impact to the room!
Have you seen a trend in a specific type or color of linen?
All the neutrals! We see a ton of ivory, blush & gold… but we’re totally not mad about it! Such a romantic color scheme that doesn’t seem like it will ever go out of style. Add a pop of sequins in there & call it a day!
Above: David Champagne Photography
What is your favorite part about weddings?
Hardest question ever… but we LOVE seeing the room transform! Walking into a completely empty venue & walking out a few hours later with lighting, linens, florals, music, etc., it’s such a surreal feeling. Knowing that Waterford has made a small impact in someone’s BIG day is such an amazing feeling. Definitely will never get old!
Left: Echard Wheeler Photography
We couldn’t agree more! We love seeing our wedding venue transform into each couple’s dream & see their eyes grow wide when they see their designs come to life. We adore Waterford Event Rentals & work with them all throughout the year, so if you love what you read today, contact them directly or ask us how to get in touch with them so we can help your wedding vision come true!
More Articles …
- Lesner Inn’s Annual Open House: Featuring 2018 Wedding Trends
- Thoughtful & Even Useful Favors
- Wedding Vocabulary Guide
- Budget Tips for your Big Day!