Milk and Cookies
A milk and cookies bar is a fun and simple idea for having an alternative dessert rather than your standard wedding cake. It is also super easy to do yourself if you enjoy baking (or have a family member who does)! Lesner Inn provides an assortment of cookies for our milk and cookie bar with chocolate chip, m&m, white chocolate macadamia nut, and oatmeal raisin to name a few. Create a beautiful arrangement with these cookies, and include an old fashioned milk jug to complete the display! Photo by Echard Wheeler Photography
Candy Apple Bar
This dessert bar is such a festive idea for Fall weddings. It’s super easy to set up, all you need is one Crock pot with caramel and one with chocolate, and numerous toppings for guests to pick from. Some of the most popular toppings for candy apples are things like chopped peanuts, mini M&Ms, and crushed Oreos, just to name a few! We also recommend having some sliced apples for the guests who don’t want a whole apple.
We love having popcorn bars as a late night snack at Lesner Inn weddings! Choose between regular buttered popcorn or kettle corn and let them do the rest! We offer butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and M&Ms as toppings, but we encourage you to bring in whatever your favorite popcorn topping is!
Martini Mashed Potato Bar
Having a mashed potato bar is a fun idea that lets your guests personalize their dinner instead of everyone just getting the same plated meal. Some of the basic toppings would be crumbled bacon, sour cream, chives, and shredded cheese. And who doesn’t like something served in a martini glasses?! Photo by Luke & Ashley Photography
Another great dessert bar, or even a late night snack, would be to have an ice cream sundae bar. We offer vanilla and chocolate ice cream with a variety of toppings! Choose your favorite flavor, and add things like chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, rainbow sprinkles, various cookie and candy bits, and chopped nuts for your perfect ice cream sundae!
If you want to make your wedding day personalized to taste, having a food bar is definitely the way to do it!
Written by: Lindsey Basnight
Edited by: Cayleen Javorsky
Right: Tara Liebeck Photography
Save The Date
Having your dog as an extra model in your save the date announcements is a sweet way to include them for everyone to see. This is a great idea for the couples that do not necessarily want their pet at the venue during the wedding or for the furry friends that might not have the best manners in public.
This is the most common way we see couples including their pet but also one of the cutest! Having your dog walk down the aisle instead of a typical flower girl is something that makes your wedding stand out. But if you already have a flower girl in mind your dog could always be a flower girl escort and have the flower girl walk them down the aisle. Make sure to have your dog dressed for the part with extra flowers from the bouquets! Brandon Dugan Photography
If you have a male dog and don’t want to make them the flower dog this is another great way to have your dog play an important role in your wedding. For this you can also have the flower girl walk them down the aisle, just make sure the rings are tied tight to the dog’s collar!
From Our Pup to Yours
Having dog biscuits as extra wedding favors for guests that also have a furry friend at home is a cute detail for your fellow dog lovers. It is also super easy to either make the dog treats or just buy treats and wrap them up for guests to take home with them.
However you decide to make your furry friend part of your big day make sure to have a trusted friend in charge of your pup and to take home at a certain time in the night to make sure you and your new spouse can focus on all the fun!
Written by: Lindsey Basnight
Edited by: Cayleen Javorsky
1. Having guests sign bottles of wine
For all of our wine lovers out there, this is perfect on so many levels! You and your fiancé can pick out a few bottles of wine to have each guest sign and write a note on with sharpies. Picking out the wine together will be a fun distraction from the stresses of wedding planning! You can either keep it simple and choose your favorite go-to bottles of wine, or pick out bottles that have a name or label that may be meaningful to you as a couple! You can then open each bottle on your one, three, and five year anniversaries and reminisce on memories with your guests on your big day while you sip on a nice glass of wine.
2. Jenga Pieces
This creative idea is great for our newlyweds with a love for game night! Jenga is a great game to put out for entertainment while friends and family are over. Getting all your guests to sign or write a note on a piece will make it special every time you play!
3. Shake it like a Polaroid picture
Who doesn’t like a fun selfie?! With this guest book idea you really get to see each guest’s personality! All you have to do it set up an area with a Polaroid camera and let the selfies begin!
4. Advice Coasters
Another fun way to remember all your guests on your big day would be to have specialty coasters made with a spot for your guest to give you some newlywed advice and then sign their name. This is such a fun idea because whenever you are enjoying a cold beverage you can read over all of the fun advice that all your friends and family wrote!
These four “guest book” ideas are some of our favorites that we have seen from past weddings. On your big day having small touches such as a unique guest book can make it so memorable for your guests!
Written by: Lindsey Basnight
Edited by: Cayleen Javorsky
Both of our spaces are perfect for a wedding in any season, but fall can be especially beautiful! Our Lesner Hall is designed with neutral colors, allowing couples to use linens, uplighting, centerpieces and more, to completely transform the space into the perfect fall inspired reception. With the Lesner Hall comes our beautiful outdoor Sunset Deck, which allows your guests to enjoy the cool fall breeze on the water. Our Waterside Deck is a more casual space with romantic lighting from paper lanterns and twinkle lights, and rustic floorboards. With just a few fall-themed decorations, you can really enhance the overall atmosphere of the room for your event. Opening the deck’s windows will also bring in the crisp fall air as your guests dance the night away!
Ross Costanza PhotographyThinking of fall makes us all excited for the savory, comfort food that comes with it. Working with our chef, you can offer your guests your perfect fall feast! An additional fun idea would be to add a candy bar at the end of the night, transporting your guests back to one of the best fall holidays, Halloween. Another fall food addition would be to offer pie instead of wedding cake! Nothing says “fall” more than a homemade apple or pumpkin pie, except maybe candy apples!
Kinstler PhotographyFall weather can be great with warm days and cool nights, but it also comes with some pretty unpredictable weather. Although hurricane season can cause some problems in the Hampton Roads area, the Lesner Inn offers the perfect mix between an indoor and outdoor venue for you and your guests. We won’t let the rain ruin your perfect day!
Another fun fall addition can be at your wedding’s bar! Consider adding some fall signature drinks to the menu for your guests. Although our bartenders can make any classic drink from our house and premium liquors, work with your event managers to offer some great fall beverages. Consider offering Spiced Rum with Apple Cider or even an Apple Cider Mimosa! Another great addition for guests of all ages would be a Hot Chocolate bar. These small additions can really emphasize your overall fall theme!
If you’re having trouble decorating, we have some great rental items to create the perfect fall look. First, choose from our table linens to bring in your fall color scheme. Between our house and specialty linens, you can choose from over 70 colors! With gold being a very popular fall color, consider renting our gold Chivari Chairs for an added pop of shimmer on your wedding day. For centerpieces, our rustic lanterns will offer the perfect fall flair. Add an autumn twist to our floating candles by adding small branches to the vase! We offer so many great items to rent; we’d love to help you select the perfect ones for your wedding night.
Kinstler PhotographyIf you’re looking for the perfect fall wedding venue, you’ve found it at the Lesner Inn! Between our venue spaces, food and beverage options, and centerpieces to decorate with, we can help make all of your fall wedding Pinterest board dreams come true!
Assigning Guests to a Specific Seat
This is the most formal seating chart that will also take the most time on your part. This arrangement works best if you’re inviting a lot of people from very different groups! You know your guests best, and assigning your guests to specific seats allows you to sit people with common interests next to each other. It will also guarantee that couples and families won’t be split up. This type of plan also gives you the opportunity to keep people separated who may not get along. To let your guests know where to sit, create a seating chart, so guests can find the right table where their place card sits!
Dustin Lewis Photography
Dustin Lewis Photography
Assigning Guests to a TableThis is the most common seating arrangement we’ve seen at Lesner Inn. Assigning your guests to specific tables will guarantee that parties and couples won’t be split up, reducing guest anxiety! This also allows you to place people who are like-minded together. You are able to create group tables for your family members, your friend group from college, your coworkers, and everyone who attends your wedding. Set up place cards with table numbers written on them or a seating chart to let guests know what table they’re assigned! This option is also great for allowing guests to sit next to whomever they want at their table.
No Seating ChartLetting your guests have free reign on picking their seats can be great, but there are some things to keep in mind when you decide to nix the seating chart! You should reserve a table or two for you and your fiancé’s families. Parents and grandparents want to be seated close to you, so they can see everything that’s going on throughout the night! Also, add extra seats to your seating plan. This will help to make sure parties and couples don’t get split up for dinner, when there’s only one seat here and there throughout the room. Keep in mind; if you want to have a plated meal, you have to have a seating chart designating which guests are at which table so we can deliver the correct meal to them!
Caitlin Gerres PhotographyUltimately, you want your guests to feel comfortable with who they’re sitting with at dinner. Your tables should encourage conversation throughout the night between your guests. Knowing your guests and the relationships they have with one another will help you decide which type of seating arrangement is perfect for your wedding reception!
5. You Can Still Cut the Cake. Cutting your wedding cake is such a fun tradition that makes for great pictures! While your guests enjoy their cupcakes, order a small cake for you and your new spouse to cut into. You definitely don’t have to pass up this tradition just because you wanted to serve cupcakes. Work with your baker to get the best price for what you need and want on your wedding day!
4. Order to Match Your Guest Count. Although bakeries can tell you how much cake to order for your guest count, there’s a good chance you will have lots of cake left over. Cupcakes allow you to order perfectly for the amount of people that are attending your wedding. You will most likely only need one cupcake per guest. This also allows you to save money and eliminate post wedding waste.
Luke and Ashley Photography
3. Offer Guests a Variety of Flavors. With a traditional cake, you usually only offer three to four different flavors of cake, because there typically aren’t more than four tiers. With cupcakes, the options are endless! You can create cake and filling combinations that reflect different events in your life. You can also frost your cupcakes with different colors to match your color scheme. Just remember, if you offering more non-traditional flavors, order some extra cupcakes so your guests can enjoy and try the flavor they want!
2. Easy for Your Guests. Offering cupcakes makes everything so easy for your guests! First, depending on how you display them, this is the quickest way to serve dessert to your guests. Cupcakes are also easy to eat! Since a lot of guests will be making their way to the dance floor, they’ll be able to bring their cupcake along without worrying about making a mess.
David Champagne Photography
1. Many Different Display Options. A classic cake can really only be displayed one way, but not cupcakes! You can display them on a cupcake tier, on your cake table, or at each of your guest’s place settings. There are so many different types of cupcakes tiers and ways to display them at your guest’s seats; the possibilities are endless!Cupcakes are such a fun, chic option for your wedding day! They really make everything easier for you and your guests. If you think your guests might end up being full from all the delicious food you offered for dinner, you can offer them packaged cupcakes to take home after the reception, too. Between the variety of flavor options, fun display arrangements, and added ease to your wedding planning, you really can’t go wrong! Plus, who doesn’t love a good cupcake?
Elizabeth Henson Photography
Having a photo booth at your wedding reception offers a great opportunity to get both funny and loving pictures of all your friends and family throughout the night. With your photographer’s lens positioned on you, the photo booth gives your guests the chance to shine. It also gives them something fun to do while you’re taking post ceremony pictures or later in the night when they’re feet hurt from dancing! But, what kind of photo booth is the best?
Here at the Lesner Inn, we’ve seen everything from DIY photo booths to the very professional set up done by companies like SnapQube. With a DIY set up, you can create whatever type of photo booth you want. Supplying the back drop, props, and camera can be more work than you think, but will help capture some funny and creative guest moments. If you find that DIY creations can be time-consuming and stressful, hiring SnapQube can make sure all of your photo booth needs are met. With SnapQube, they will print photos for you and your guests that will let you cherish those wedding reception memories forever!
Dragon Studio Photography
Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, make sure to have some fun props, and you will be sure to get great shots by the end of the night. Your guests will love the photo booth just as much as you do, and it will help make the night unforgettable! This is one trend you definitely don’t want to miss.
Think back throughout your relationship. Do you already have a song that represents a memory between the two of you? Many couples choose songs that they heard on their first date or even a song that they first danced to when they started dating. Finding personal connections like these will make your first dance even more special!
Another way to find the perfect song is to find a genre or artist you both like. Hop onto your iTunes or Spotify account, and start exploring! Once you target an artist, start listening to their music and select a song that you both enjoy. If you want to perform a more choreographed ballroom dance, instead of a typical slow dance, ask a dance instructor what they think would work best.
If you don’t feel like searching for hours for that one perfect song, Spotify recently released the most popular first dance songs in the world. There’s a reason why these ten songs are used so much, and it’s because the lyrics and music combine together beautifully to match the love you have for each other on your special day! Check out the list below:
- “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
- “At Last” by Etta James
- “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne
- “All of Me” by John Legend
- “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
- “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
- “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
- “Everything” by Michael Buble
- “Better together” by Jack Johnson
- “Amazed” by Lonestar
Whatever song you and your fiancé end up choosing, we know that song will hold a special place in your heart forever.
Stay within your Budget. Set a budget for how much you want your centerpieces to cost per table. Whether you’re renting through the Lesner Inn or a third party company, this will help you save money on your overall wedding costs. Making a budget for your centerpieces will also help you figure out if it’s worth it to try some DIY ideas for your wedding!
Keep It Simple. Centerpieces shouldn’t distract your guests from why they are at your wedding. They are there to add to the atmosphere and theme you’ve created! Limit your colors and the amount of decorations on the table to keep your centerpieces from being too busy. Your centerpieces should reflect your personality, but if there is too much going on, your guests may get detracted.
Don’t Obstruct Your Guests’ View. Between speeches, cutting the cake, first dances and other traditions, there are so many special moments that your guests don’t want to miss. You also don’t want to discourage conversation because your guests can’t see across the table. Consider having small centerpieces that fall below eye level or tall skinny designs above eye level. When in doubt, test out your centerpieces at your own dining room table to see if they block your view!
Add Light. If your wedding reception is at night, adding tea lights and candles will create a new dynamic to your centerpieces. It will also add to the atmosphere of the room as the sun goes down outside. If your centerpieces are water-based, floating candles can be a great addition too!
Melody Gillikin Photography Know Your Space. Although there are a couple options for table sizes, our standard table is an eight foot round table. Once you have your table set, there’s limited space for your centerpieces before your guests feel too crowded.Your guests will be at their table for a good portion of the night, so you want them to feel comfortable the entire time! With our tables, it’s a good idea to keep your centerpieces around one square foot to reduce overcrowding.
When in doubt, leave it up to us here at the Lesner Inn! We have beautiful options to decorate your tables, with the option of mixing and matching some of your favorites. All of our centerpieces are simple, include light, and are the perfect size to not crowd guests or obstruct their views. For an additional cost, we can also add either silver or gold table numbers for assigned seating.Whatever you choose, don’t hesitate to ask your event manager for our opinions; we all have even more detailed ideas on how to create the perfect centerpieces!
Melody Gillikin Photography
Remember, you know yourself better than anyone else, so some of these things might not make it into your Wedding Day Emergency Kit. It’s always better to be prepared than to look back and be upset that your nail polish chipped right before you walked down the aisle or your eyes were red and itchy all night at the reception. What’s the best part? All of these items are great to have around the house anyway, so you might as well bring them along for your wedding day too!
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