As one of our brides once told us, this process is only as hard as you want it to be. You will spend hours searching for the perfect dress, writing witty vows, crafting centerpieces, and picking out a playlist. Sometimes this all just seems too overwhelming and you need to take a step back. Remember the reason you are getting married. You are committing yourself to your partner in front of your closest friends and family and at the end of the day, that’s all you really HAVE to do. It is easy to be swept up in Pinterest boards and bridal magazines but remember that in the end, this is your day. It will never be exactly like anyone else’s and that makes every single wedding special and original.
Echard Wheeler Photography –>
If it all seems like too much and you don’t know where to start, check out your contract! Lesner Inn provides a planning guide for brides to have a checklist to work with. Your event manager will also help you with a floor plan and picking out the layout of where tables need to go. Don’t be afraid to email one of the girls in our office to ask a question – that is what we are here for! We will meet with you about 3 months away from your wedding day to touch base and make sure things are on track. We will help you to fill out the planning guide and get those pesky floor plans worked out. Then we will sit down with you two weeks before the wedding to finalize these details. While it can seem overwhelming when you are sitting up late at night furiously pinning images to a Pinterest board, remember that you are going to love your wedding day because you are marrying the love of your life.
Don’t be afraid to take a step back from the planning process and have a date night with your fiancé. Enjoy being engaged. Go to happy hour with your girlfriends and catch up on their lives. Log some time at the gym to blow off some steam. Catch up on your DVR and don’t feel guilty. Just because you are planning a wedding doesn’t mean that you need to drop everything else in your life.
So…to bride who feels like she is treading water and can barely keep her head above water, just breathe.
Weddings today are all about representing both the bride and groom’s tastes and style rather than just the bride’s. When planning your wedding, always remember that it’s just as much his day as it is yours!
One social media account we are constantly updating is our Instagram account, @lesnerinn. Through our Instagram, you can get a better idea of the breathtaking views and functionality of the spaces we have to offer. Also, you can catch a glimpse of our favorite wedding moments, like first look shots or how they’ve decorated our venue. By following us, you will also be able to get weekly advice on how to ensure that your big day runs smoothly with our “Tip Tuesday” posts. Every Tuesday, we post a helpful tidbit, that we’ve learned through the countless weddings we’ve hosted, about how to enhance your special day.
Now maybe you want a behind the scenes look at the Lesner Inn?Thankfully, we live in a world where everything is posted, hash-tagged, geo-tagged, and shared for the world to see. Yes, checking out our Instagram account is a great way to see what our venue has to offer, but an even better way to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have your wedding at the Lesner Inn is looking through our geo-tagged photos. This offers those special pictures of the groom with his groomsmen before the wedding, the ring bearer breaking it down on the dance floor, and the guests enjoying drinks on our beautiful decks.
Check out the beautiful décor, fun times on the dance floor, special moments between brides and their grooms, breath-taking views from our deck, and more by following us on Instagram!
While the traditional wedding cake has not been completely replaced, alternatives have paved their way into the wedding dessert industry. Many couples forego the formality and cost of a traditional 3 or 4 tier wedding cake and opt for a fun, lighthearted and delicious dessert substitute – like a tower of homemade powdered or glazed donuts – instead. While the donut tower may seem unconventional, it’s a unique way to set your special day apart from the rest, and it still amuses the bouche.
While the bride (or groom) may want the traditional wedding cake and/or cake cutting experience, but the groom (or bride) yearns for the donut finale… don’t fret! Compromise is KEY in marriage. Top your donut cake with a top tier. This way, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds and still get the cake cutting photographs :)
You DO-NUT say no to a donut to-go! At The Lesner Inn, we’ve seen donuts as a favor on a number of occasions. It’s such a great idea! After a night filled with eating and drinking, there’s nothing better to end your night or start your morning with than a sweet treat. PS. How cute is the sign and the set up?! Je l’adore!
Donuts are quite the crowd pleaser. Guests (& vendors) are always happy when they get to indulge. Check out Danny (Astro DJ) & Dustin Lewis (photographer) enjoying some Duck Donuts with the new Mr. & Mrs. Binkowski, at their wedding at The Lesner Inn in October! I mean, you don’t need to twist our arms. We will never turn down a donut (especially not one from Duck Donuts!
NO, thank YOU. After all, you are the glaze to my donut ;)
1) The processional
While we love watching flower girls timidly make their way down the aisle, there’s something about sending grandparents down the aisle that brings a huge smile across our faces!
Dustin Lewis Photography –>
2) The vows
We love when couples write their own vows! There is so much more meaning to your words when they are original, and come from the experiences you’ve shared together!
3) The announcements
When the grandparents have been seated and your vows have been said, your bridal party will be ready to take the stage and be announced to the reception hall. Typically, bridal party announcements will occur in pairs or, in some cases, awkward groups of three. However many people you have in your bridal party, why not choreograph a dance with the whole group!?
4) The garter
The tradition of the groom removing the garter from under the bride’s dress is just as awkward for your audience as it is for you, so why not roll with the awkwardness and make it comical!? We loved this doctor routine this groom pulled off with his groomsmen while finding his bride’s garter!
5) The bouquet & garter recipients
Possibly even more awkward than the groom removing the garter from under the bride’s dress, is the poor soul who has to take the garter and place it under a potential stranger’s dress. Instead of following tradition, why not reverse rolls and have the woman place the garter on a man’s leg? It eliminates the awkwardness and makes it a fun joke instead!
6) After dinner entertainment
For all of the karaoke bar goers out there, why not bring the fun right to your reception? Have your DJ provide everything you need for some late night karaoke once all of your guests are out of cool dance moves!
We love seeing people go above and beyond at their weddings to show their guests, and us, that they know how to have fun! When thinking about your wedding traditions, don’t forget to mix it up with some of these fun surprises!
Late night snacks are a popular trend for 2016 weddings, and will help your guests get the good night sleep they deserve after all of the dancing and drinking they will be doing in celebration of you and your new spouse! When thinking of what to offer, it’s important to figure out whether you want to offer savory, sweet, or both to snack on at the end of the night. Remember, they most likely just enjoyed some delicious wedding cake, so a lot of our couples choose from our savory bites for their guests. We offer a wide variety of mini snacks that will help re-energize your guests to keep them dancing until the end of the party. Listed below are the various snacks you can choose from:
Bites: Chicken Tenders, Mac & Cheese Bites (pictured left — VA Photography), Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Mini Grilled Cheese, Parmesan French Fries, Mini Cheese Burgers, and Mini Hot Dogs in a Blanket
Treats: Candy Bar, Milk & Homemade Cookies, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Ice Cream Sundae Bar, Popcorn Station, Homemade Brownies, Key Lime Pie, and Apple Pie
Although offering late snacks isn’t mandatory to make your reception great, it’s an added bonus for you and your guests at the end of the night. You won’t regret purchasing these delicious treats from the Lesner Inn!
sure the bride has something old, new, borrowed and blue. Did you know there’s a common tradition that deals with your very own wedding cake?
When creating the beautiful dessert for all your guests to enjoy, it’s custom to save the top tier of the cake to eat one year after the wedding. This longstanding tradition started as a way to save money. Couples would save the top tier to use as the cake to celebrate the christening of their first child. Today, couples typically pull the cake from their freezer to celebrate their one-year anniversary. Whether it brings good luck to eat it on your anniversary or bad luck to eat it early, how do you keep the cake for a whole year in your freezer?
1.) The first option is to just not do it. Most bakeries will recreate the top tier for you for an added on fee when you buy your wedding cake or offer a reduced price if you contact them again a month before your anniversary. One of our brides purchased her cake from Twisted Sisters Cupcakes, and the cost of their cake includes a top tier cake to be picked up at their one year anniversary.
2.) Now, if you’re dedicated to saving the tier there are a couple of ways to keep it fresh. One way is to freeze the tier, unwrapped, until it’s frozen hard. Then, vacuum seal it, and place it back in the freezer until you’re ready to eat it.
3.) Another way to save it is to have a container ready at the reception. As soon as you can, place the container in a refrigerator. Once settled after your big day, wrap the container in tinfoil and place it in the freezer.
4.) If you don’t have a vacuum sealer or forgot the container, another things to do is wrap the cake in multiple layers of plastic wrap. Think about an unusually large amount of plastic wrap, and start there. Then, place it in a small box or container and store it in your freezer.
Whatever you want to do, let your event manager know, and we’ll help you the best we can. Whether it’s cutting the top tier for guests, or saving it for your one-year celebration, there’s always a way to have your cake and eat it too.
Photo credit to Ashley Lester Photography
Although every situation is different, we believe it is always best to send the couple a wedding gift. A couple planning their wedding is usually limited to the people they invite. You received an invitation because they truly wanted you to come and witness their special day. It never hurts to send something to acknowledge the relationship that the couple has with you, and values enough to invite you to witness them say “I do”.
Depending on the relationship between you and the couple, there are so many options of things to send. When returning an RSVP card, a handwritten note congratulating the couple is a touching way to acknowledge their special day. If you aren’t planning on sending a gift from the registry, tucking in a gift card to their favorite restaurant or a store on their registry is a nice touch.
If you’re planning on buying them a gift, start the search after you return your RSVP card. Although late is better than never, it’s best to have the gift to the couple by the wedding day or very soon after. As for the gift, it’s customary to buy something directly off the registry. Another common trend has been giving money for a Honeymoon Fund. Whatever it is, know that the couple will greatly appreciate your gift no matter if it’s modest or grandeur.
1) Let’s start with a love story… how did you and Nick meet? “Brace yourself because this is about to get really cheesy. Before Nick and I officially met we would always pass each other in the hallways at school. I immediately thought he was attractive but there was something else about him that was mysterious and unique. Nick and I officially met during one of our high school lunch blocks in 2007 when he asked to sit with me at my lunch table. The rest is history!”
2) When did he propose? “Nick and I love everything about Washington, D.C. We enjoy taking trips up there to watch our favorite sports team play, the Washington Capitals, or just to sight see. On January 4, 2015, Nick and I went to D.C. to celebrate our eight year anniversary at a Capitals game. Before the game we decided to walk around a bit. When we were near the monuments Nick asked if we could sit down for a minute. Being the stubborn person that I am, I kept saying I didn’t want to sit down because the benches were wet. Nick put his rain jacket down on the bench for us to sit on and asked me to put my phone down and look up. Next thing I know he asked me to marry him! I was so happy and excited that I kept staring at my hand in shock throughout the whole hockey game! He completely caught me off guard but it was so perfect. Shortly before our trip I had told a close friend, who was recently engaged herself, that if Nick proposed I would want it to be in DC so it could not have been more perfect!”
3) How far in advance did you start the planning process? “We got engaged in January and got married in October so I didn’t have too much time to plan. We knew that it was ideal to have a full year to plan but we also knew that we wanted a fall wedding so we just went with it We started the planning process as soon as we got back from DC! Buying a wedding planner book was extremely helpful because it kept me on a timeline and also brought small details up that I probably would have accidentally overlooked.”
4) Who were your vendors and why did you pick them? “This will be the lengthiest section because we LOVED our vendors. We absolutely fell in love with the Lesner Inn the minute we walked into the Open House. That’s actually where we met our photographer, Dustin Lewis, too. We liked him so much that we picked our wedding date based off of his availability. We picked Danny from Astro Entertainment after meeting him at the Vow Bridal Event. Nick and I are both pretty shy and we loved how outgoing he was. Danny and Dustin are both friends so seeing them work together at our wedding was awesome. They’re so creative and fun and bring good energy with them wherever they go. Dustin also referred us to our photo booth company, SnapQube (are you seeing a trend here?), who we adored. We still love looking at all of the photo strips in the album that they made for us. Waterford Event Rentals was next door to Dustin’s office at the time so we stopped in there to talk with the girls. They referred us to Kelly Gish, who did all of our flowers and centerpieces. The girls at Waterford spent so much time helping us fine-tune exactly what we wanted. They truly went above and beyond anything we could have hoped for. Kelly created the most beautiful flower arrangements I have ever seen for our wedding. She helped us with so many design aspects of our wedding and we can’t thank her enough. We used Duck Donuts and Carolina Cupcakery for all of our baked goods and they were fabulous. Neither one of us are cake people so the donuts and cupcakes were a perfect fit. All of our vendors were awesome and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
5) What were you most excited about for your wedding? “Marrying my high school sweetheart of course! But other than that I was so excited to have almost everyone we cared about in one space. Getting all dressed up and feeling like a princess didn’t hurt. I was super excited about the photo booth, donuts, and sparklers too. Nick and I both just wanted all of our guests to have a good time.”
6) Where did you get most of your inspiration from? “A wedding planner was outside of my budget so most of my inspiration came from Pinterest. I created separate boards for all of the major details that I wanted to focus on. Some of the boards included signs, flowers, centerpieces, groom/bridesmaid attire, etc. I would constantly pin away and then at the end of the week I would take a look at my boards. Eventually I saw a certain style that I was consistently going back to so I deleted any pins that strayed away from that style. It sounds silly but it helped me focus. Before I started doing that my ideas were all over the place. My florist, Kelly Gish, also helped me tremendously. She knew what kind of flowers I wanted and she helped me to work my colors and all of the other design aspects that I wanted around that. She thinks outside of the box and I love it.”
7) Did you have any Pinterest fails along the way? “Let’s just say that things on Pinterest look way easier than they are in real life! I had several Pinterest fails but thankfully none that were too catastrophic. The worst one was probably my seating chart. My bridesmaids actually put my seating chart together as I was getting my hair and makeup done the day of the wedding!”
8) What advice do you have for brides who are planning their own wedding? “I think it is very important to be realistic of your budget and what you are capable of. Don’t be afraid to call for backup or to ask your vendors for their opinion. Putting together a DIY wedding can be overwhelming so I found it the most helpful to break everything down into smaller tasks and to tackle one task at a time. It can be daunting to do it all on our own but try not to get lost in the little things. Focus on the big picture and don’t forget why you are doing it all in the first place. Don’t blink because it flies by!”
9) If you did it all over again, what would you do differently? “If I did it all over again I wouldn’t stress as much! No matter what you can’t please everyone and at the end of the day all that matters is that you are getting married! The only vendor related change I would make is to include a videographer. I thought it was something we could do without but when they say it will be over before you know it they are not kidding! I’d love to be able to play it all back in slow motion.”
10) What was your favorite memory from the wedding? “I have so many! I adored having both of our grandmas as our flower girls. That meant more to us than anything. Plus we didn’t tell everyone so it was priceless seeing everyone’s reaction. I also loved walking into the reception with my husband to Blink 182’s song ‘The Rock Show.’ Our first date was a concert and we love Blink 182. We were all about breaking traditional rules and just having fun with everything!”
Stay tuned for more spotlight weddings as the 2016 wedding season kicks off!
All photos credited to Dustin Lewis Photography!
What are we supposed to wear?This is the question that many guests struggle over. Is it a sundress and sport coat afternoon? Or a black tie affair? There are a few ways to address this concern in your invitation. The easiest way is to indicate the attire on the bottom of your invitation. A simple “black tie attire”, “casual attire”, or “cocktail attire” will do the trick. A quick Google search will give you a wide selection of phrases to pick from. But for the bride who does not want to clutter her invitation with lots of words, there are more subtle ways to get the message across. Darker colors are more formal than light pastels, thicker invitations are more formal than thinner. Make sure your font reflects the overall atmosphere too. If you are having more of a laid back wedding, stay away from flowing scripts and calligraphy.
When am I getting my invitation?Typically guests should expect a save the date 6 – 9 months before the wedding (even sooner than that if it is a destination wedding) and the formal invitation 2 – 3 month prior. Lesner Inn requires a final guest count 2 weeks before the wedding so make sure you build in enough time to call guests who have not RSVPed yet! 3 weeks away from the wedding is usually a safe bet.
What do we need to include with the invitation?This is up to you. We have seen invitations that are as simple as a time, date, and place and some that have multiple cards stuffed into the envelope. At bare minimum, include an RSVP card along with pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelope. It is a small gesture but it goes a long way in making sure your guests send those cards back promptly. If you are having a plated meal with more than one entrée, make sure to allow space for menu selections.
Can my boyfriend come too? Are my kids invited?This is always a question that brides ask us. When making your guest list, consider that some people may have plus ones and others may not. If your guest does not know anyone else at the wedding but you and your S.O., consider giving them a plus one. The same goes for married or engaged couples, they typically will expect a plus one. As far as boyfriends or girlfriends or wedding dates, that is completely up to you! This is your wedding. The kid issue is always hard to address as well. If you are inviting the whole family, address the invitation to ‘The Johnson Family’. If you do want their kids to attend, simply address is to “Mr. & Mrs. John Johnson”. Some brides will even make a polite request that their wedding be an adult-only affair.
What is your wedding website?In the past few years, we have seen a HUGE increase in couples with wedding websites. For non-millenials, it may seem a little silly but wedding websites are a great way to present guests with information instead of answering text message after text message. You can include your registry, ceremony info, hotel blocks, and a little more information about the bride and groom. Many guests enjoy getting to know your significant other before watching you walk down the aisle to a stranger. Give them some fun facts so they get to know your loved one a little better.
But how do you tell guests about this? You can publicize it on your Facebook, include it on your save the date or even send a small card with the website in your invitation envelope.
More questions? Talk to your stationary company! We guarantee they have heard every question in the book!
Erin (right) took her mother’s wedding dress and revamped it for her Lesner Inn ceremony & reception — Ashley Lester Photography
Many dresses these days could be shortened or altered to turn them into cocktail dresses but we have to ask…where is everyone wearing these white dresses? You can’t wear it to a wedding so unless you make a habit of attending black tie galas, it would be hard to sport again. Consider dying it a fun color or the classic black.
Have a professional photoshoot
You could always do the trendy “Trash the Dress” session but what about a thank you to your parents if they paid for the big day? Take cues from a group of sisters who all got together in their wedding dresses for a professional photo shoot for their parents as a show of gratitude. All 5 sisters zipped their dresses back on to document a moment that their mom and dad will cherish forever.
Rachel Blackwell Photography
Donate the dressFor the altruistic bride, consider donating your dress. We have rounded up 3 great charities that accept pre-worn wedding dresses for you to consider. Brides Across America – Donates dresses to military brides Every Girl’s Dream – Provides dresses to brides undergoing financial hardships in the Southeast Michigan area Wish Upon A Wedding – Grants weddings and vow renewals to couples facing serious illness or life altering circumstances
If you plan on baptizing your future children into your church, consider turning part of your dress into a christening gown for them. You can use it for your big day AND their big day!
No, we don’t mean wear it to work. Though that could be fun too… What about taking the skirt of your dress to a seamstress and have it tailored into a fun tulle skirt? You could knock your husband’s socks off on your anniversary with a flirty, fun fashion piece. Bonus points if he recognizes it.
Put it around your neck
There are plenty of vendors online who will turn a small part of your dress into a pendant for a necklace. Check out The Lace Studio on Etsy!
Remember the special day every Christmas by taking a scrap of lace or a part of your veil and memorialize it in a glass ornament.
If your dress is still stylish, take it to your nearest bridal consignment store to make back some of your money. Shops will accept dresses as long as they are in good condition and have been professionally cleaned. You can recoup 50% of their sale price if it sells! For Virginia Beach brides, check out Silk Bridal for a fantastic selection of gently used and runway dresses.
Create a garter or bouquet binding
For mom’s who have daughters that can’t wear a family dress, you can create a garter for them or use some of the fabric to wrap the stems of her bouquet. That checks something old off of the list!
Donate it to a theater
Many high school and professional theaters will gladly accept a dress to expand their costume department. And how would it be to see your dress take on a whole new life?
Your wedding dress will always be special to you but being able to create a keepsake, earn some cash back, or make someone’s dream come true can be even better!
More Articles …
- Your Top 5 Catering Questions Answered
- Because 3 Days are Better Than One
- Spring Color Palettes
- Winter Wedding on the Water