Invi­ta­tion Edu­ca­tion

Did you just get engaged? How many peo­ple have already asked you when the big day is? From day one of your engage­ment, you will be answer­ing ques­tion after ques­tion from friends and fam­ily. And once the invi­ta­tions go out, pre­pare for more ques­tions. Here are some tips to take into con­sid­er­a­tion when cre­at­ing your invites.

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 69 months before the wed­ding (even sooner than that if it is a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding) and the for­mal invi­ta­tion 23 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!

10 Things to Do With Your Wed­ding Dress After the Wed­ding

The first dance is over, the hash­tag is no longer trend­ing and the wed­ding album has finally been printed. Now what do you do with your dress? You always have the option of pre­serv­ing your dress to save it for your daugh­ters or grand­daugh­ters. But what if it won’t fit them? What if you have boys? What if it is no longer in style? For those of you who don’t think preser­va­tion is in you gown’s future, here are ten dif­fer­ent ways to reuse or recy­cle it.

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Erin (right) took her mother’s wed­ding dress and revamped it for her Lesner Inn cer­e­mony & recep­tion — Ash­ley Lester Photography

Dye it

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 Sisters Wedding Dress

Rachel Black­well Photography

Donate the dress

For 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

Chris­ten­ing Gown

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!

Every­day Wear

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!

Christ­mas Orna­ment

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.

Sell it

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!

Your Top 5 Cater­ing Ques­tions Answered

As most of our brides know, Lesner Inn is more than just a venue – we are a full ser­vice cater­ing facil­ity. By pro­vid­ing all food and alco­hol, we take care of a big part of your wed­ding check­list. When we show new brides around the venue, we get end­less ques­tions and we thought we should share some of the often asked ones with you to help with planning!
  1. What is the dif­fer­ence between a con­sump­tion bar and a host bar?
This is prob­a­bly the ques­tion that we are asked most often. A host bar is your tra­di­tional open bar where you pay per per­son, per hour for as much or as lit­tle as they want to drink. Whereas, with a con­sump­tion bar, you pay for a set amount of alco­hol and once that is fin­ished, you can switch to a cash bar. Now depend­ing on the price of the beer, wine and liquor you are offer­ing and how much your guests drink, this could last all night or only for a few hours. It is up to you how much money you want to put toward the bar and you know your guest’s drink­ing pref­er­ences bet­ter than we do!
  1. Why should I get a food pack­age? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to have an a la carte menu?
While it is true that an a la carte menu can be cheaper, you are pay­ing for a set amount of food and once it is done, that is all you are get­ting – even if not every­one had a chance to get a plate. In order to avoid this mas­sive faux pas, we sug­gest pay­ing for a food pack­age. Our food pack­ages offer an hour of con­tin­u­ous ser­vice which means we will keep cook­ing to keep up with your appetite. Lov­ing the bacon wrapped scal­lops? We are going to keep mak­ing them for that full hour so you can enjoy as many as your heart desires! Our pack­ages also include a bridal bag, a bev­er­age sta­tion of water, iced tea and cof­fee, a champagne/​sparkling cider toast, and cake cut­ting ser­vice. Some venues will charge about $2/​person just to cut your cake! We would rather save you some money and include it to cre­ate the total package.
  1. What is a ven­dor meal and do I have to feed them?
Yes! Your pho­tog­ra­pher has been with you all day while you get pam­pered and primped, your DJ has been on his feet pump­ing music for your guests, and your coor­di­na­tor has been run­ning around try­ing to make sure your grand­mother is in the right place for the start of the cer­e­mony. While you are pay­ing for their ser­vices, you want to make sure they have the sta­mina to keep up with the party. No one wants a DJ with low blood sugar or a faint­ing pho­tog­ra­pher. Many ven­dors include a meal in their con­tracts too so you need to make sure that you are ful­fill­ing all of their require­ments. Lesner Inn will make it easy on you and we can pro­vide boxed meals OR we offer guest meals for ½ price for your ven­dors. We know they deserve a quick snack on such a big day!
  1. Buf­fets, plated meals, sta­tions, heavy hors d’oeuvres…which is most popular?
Ah this one is tricky. Do you and your fiancé love snack­ing through­out the night? Then maybe heavy hors d’oeuvres is up your alley. Do you pre­fer to cre­ate your own plate and load up on your favorite dishes? Then a buf­fet or sta­tions fits you per­fectly. Or do you want to make sure your guests stay in their seats through­out the meal? Go for plated then. It all really depends on YOU. We can’t tell you what you pre­fer, this is one time where we have no pro­fes­sional opinion!
  1. I’m aller­gic to….can you work around that? My aunt is a veg­e­tar­ian, do you have any­thing she can eat?
Yes! We have seen prob­a­bly every allergy and sen­si­tiv­ity walk through our door. When you meet with your event man­ager, they can show you our veg­e­tar­ian, gluten free, vegan, and shell­fish safe options. If we don’t have a menu already made for your par­tic­u­lar request, our chef would be more than happy to accom­mo­date any aller­gies. On your big day, you don’t want to be wor­ry­ing about your guests, let us take care of it!

Obvi­ously this doesn’t cover all of the ques­tions that you may have but that is what we are here for. Feel free to call our office at 7574811122 or email us at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any concerns!

Because 3 Days are Bet­ter Than One

How often have you heard “it’s over before you know it” or “the night flew by” from recently mar­ried cou­ples? After months or even years of plan­ning, the hap­pi­est day of your life can turn into the quick­est day of your life. But, if you’re smart, you plan to keep the party going! These days, wed­ding cel­e­bra­tions don’t last just one day… they go on for an entire week­end. Because three (or in this case, 4) days are bet­ter than one. As some­one who’s attended many of these week­end long cel­e­bra­tions, let me tell you, they’re super fun and def­i­nitely a great idea for when you have a lot of out-​of-​town guests. By hav­ing this week­end of fun, you’re giv­ing all of your out-​of-​town fam­ily and friends who came all the way out to cel­e­brate with you a chance to see you for more than just for a brief hello, and thank you for com­ing! Here’s the break down for your week­end wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion!

Thurs­day night - The Wel­come Party:

This is most often hosted by some­one in the bridal party, a fam­ily friend, or some­one in your extended fam­ily. Either way, it’s a party to wel­come all out-​of-​town guests, and get every­one pumped up for the week­end fun. They can be as casual as a back­yard cook­out, or a meet & greet at a restau­rant or bar.

back deck wedding virginia beach

Fri­day night - The Rehearsal Din­ner: Bubba's rehearsal dinner virginia beach

The rehearsal din­ner is typ­i­cally the night before the wed­ding, but the loca­tion and vibe of this gath­er­ing can range from casual to classy. We’ve had cou­ples hold this at their home with a sim­ple home cooked meal, or get together at a restau­rant to keep it stress free! Con­sider hold­ing your rehearsal din­ner at Bubba’s, a Vir­ginia Beach local favorite for seafood!

Sat­ur­day Night - Cer­e­mony & Recep­tion:

It’s show time! Say “I do” with a view in either of our beau­ti­ful spaces on the water - Lesner Hall & Sun­set Deck or Water­side Deck!


Dustin Lewis Photography

Sun­day - The Next-​Day Brunch:

A next-​day brunch is a great time for the bride & groom to say their thank you’s & farewells again before they jet set on their hon­ey­moon. Not to men­tion, it’s a great way to cure that hang­over with some mimosas or bloody marys!

Back deck brunch wedding

We know that plan­ning a whole week­end of enter­tain­ment sounds stress­ful, but, we’ve got you cov­ered! The Lesner Inn has pack­ages if you book your wed­ding week­end with us! You could have your Rehearsal Din­ner at Bubba’s, fol­lowed by your Cer­e­mony & Recep­tion at The Lesner Inn, & your next-​day brunch at The Back Deck. We offer 5% off your food items for both Bubba’s & The Back Deck – and would dis­count your room rental at The Lesner Inn!

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact a Lesner Inn sales man­ager at (757) 4811122 or by email at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Spring Color Palettes

Though the charm of Vir­ginia Beach lingers year-​round, along with spring comes an addi­tional burst of beauty in our Beach City. Sand pushes up on the dunes, grass returns to its nat­ural green, and the green­ery begins to boast their loveli­est buds. We can’t help but be cap­ti­vated by this city when it comes to life in the spring and now, with wed­ding sea­son in full bloom, we’re pulling inspi­ra­tion from last spring’s Lesner Inn wed­dings! If you’re wed­ding day is right around the rose bush, check out these color palettes for inspiration!




Win­ter Wed­ding on the Water

With the first day of spring only 2 days away, we find it fit­ting to say good­bye to win­ter by putting the spot­light on Sharise & Richard’s beau­ti­ful win­ter wed­ding on the water!

Sharise & Richard held their recep­tion at The Lesner Inn, after tying the knot at Hamp­ton Uni­ver­sity Memo­r­ial Chapel on Decem­ber 19, 2015. They rented the entire venue, host­ingLesner-Inn-Weddings-Virginia-Beach-Winter-Wedding-Waterfront-icicles cock­tail hour in our Water­side Deck, fol­lowed by the recep­tion in our Lesner Hall. Say­ing it wasn’t one of the most beau­ti­ful wed­dings we’ve seen in our build­ing would be a flat out lie. Sharise, her mother, & the team at Mor­lina Events did such a great job plan­ning every detail! Every­thing from the DIY cen­ter­pieces, to the snow that fell out of thin air dur­ing their first dance was perfection!

The cou­ple picked a palette of cherry red, navy blue & sil­ver for their wed­ding design.

Their first dance as Mr. & Mrs. was to “Let it Snow,” as snow lit­er­ally fell out of thin air – thanks to Stage Right Light­ing!


Mr. & Mrs. John­son were able to get a pic­ture with every guest who attended the recep­tion. How could you not be tempted to take pic­ture after pic­ture with the crys­tal back­drop pro­vided by Stage Right Light­ing, and the breath­tak­ing view from our Lesner Hall and Sun­set Deck? Not to men­tion their sweet­heart table, which was cov­ered by a glitz sequin linen pro­vided by Water­ford Event Rentals.


We would like to thank all of the ven­dors who par­tic­i­pated in mak­ing this event so suc­cess­ful, and we hope you all con­sider them while plan­ning your wed­ding!


Pho­tog­ra­pher: Bryan Myhr Photography

Wed­ding Plan­ner: Mor­lina Events

Linens & Chair Cov­ers: Water­ford Event Rentals

Uplight­ing, Snow Fall, Crys­tal back drop: Stage Right Lighting

Trend­ing in Wed­dings: Lively Liba­tions

Whether or not you’re serv­ing alco­holic bev­er­ages at your wed­ding, there are so many up and com­ing trends with bev­er­ages that we hope you con­sider while plan­ning your wed­ding at the Lesner Inn! From the cer­e­mony to cock­tail hour and cock­tail hour to the recep­tion, here are our favorite trends for wed­ding libations!


We love the idea of serv­ing bev­er­ages dur­ing the cer­e­mony, espe­cially on a hot sum­mer day! Keep your guests refreshed with a glass of iced tea, lemon­ade, or infused water while they sit on our Sun­set Deck wait­ing to greet the bride!

Or, for win­ter wed­dings, pro­vide your guests with a mug of hot cocoa while they keep warm in our heated Water­side Deck!

Cock­tail Hour

Also trend­ing in wed­dings is hav­ing mul­ti­ple sig­na­ture drinks dur­ing cock­tail hour (and in some cases for the whole evening) rather than just one or two! Sig­na­ture drinks are a fun way to pro­vide your guests with bev­er­age options they may have never tried before! It will remind them of your wed­ding every time they order it at their local bar!

Lesner-Inn-Weddings-Virginia-Beach-Specialty-DrinksHeather Hughes Photography

Another huge trend is hav­ing scotch & bour­bon tast­ings dur­ing cock­tail hour! Instead of just min­gling around cock­tail tables, your guests can pre­tend like they’re actu­ally learn­ing about fancy scotch and bourbon!


When your guests migrate upstairs for the main meal, have wine brought to the table! One bot­tle of red, and one bot­tle of white will keep the class at an all-​time high dur­ing din­ner service!

Once the party really begins, show off your home­town by stock­ing the bar with local beer and wine dur­ing the danc­ing and entertainment!

lesner-inn-virginia-beach-weddings-beveragesRoss Costanza Photography

Try adding san­gria to any of these essen­tial por­tions of your wed­ding day! It can be made for any sea­son, and is such a refresh­ing liba­tion at any time of day!

Ask one of our sales man­agers how we can cre­ate the per­fect bev­er­age menu for your event by con­tact­ing us at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 7574811122!

Top Rea­sons to Have a Brunch Wed­ding at Lesner Inn

While some may not think of IHOP’s National Pan­cake Day as a hol­i­day, we find it to be one of the best faux hol­i­days around! Break­fast is not only the most impor­tant meal of the day, but it’s also a meal where you can get cre­ative with your food and bev­er­age options! From the clas­sic break­fast of eggs & bacon to the trendy chicken & waf­fles brunch, there are so many dif­fer­ent ways to cre­ate a brunch menu. In cel­e­bra­tion of National Pan­cake Day, here are some of our favorite rea­sons to have a brunch wed­ding at the Lesner Inn!

The Set­ting
The view of the Lynnhaven River on a sunny day, from either of our decks, is so pic­turesque you will have some of the most beau­ti­ful wed­ding pho­tos to reflect on.

best-day-time-wedding-virginia-beach-lesner-inn3.jpgJason Jarvis Photography

The Cost
Typ­i­cally, hold­ing an after­noon event with us at the Lesner Inn is more cost effi­cient than hav­ing an evening wed­ding. This all depends on your guest count and the menu items that you choose, but the over­all cost is expected to be less than an evening wed­ding based on our food and bev­er­age min­i­mums!

Hav­ing a wed­ding in the day­time can also save you money on fancy uplight­ing!

The Food
Our recently updated brunch wed­ding menu has some fun and trendy brunch ideas that will have your guests think­ing you’re a break­fast genius! The sta­tions pack­age is by far our favorite, fea­tur­ing clever sta­tions like the chicken & waf­fles and break­fast taco sta­tions, and of course clas­sic sta­tions for omelets, ham & bis­cuits, and so many more!

The Drinks
Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas are arguably the smartest drink con­coc­tions ever cre­ated. Not only do they cure your rehearsal din­ner hang­over, but they get the party started all over again!

The Dessert
Instead of stick­ing to the tra­di­tional tiered wed­ding cake, you can bring donuts in as an lesner-inn-weddings-brunch-donutsalter­na­tive! We sug­gest Duck Donuts because their maple bacon donuts are just sim­ply amaz­ing! Pick up a cou­ple dozen donuts of dif­fer­ent fun fla­vors, and arrange them on a cup­cake stand!

OR why not have a cake made out of stacked pan­cakes or waf­fles? GAME CHANGER!

The Party
Just because an after­noon event at the Lesner Inn must end by 3:00 PM doesn’t mean the party has to end. Bring your guests to one of our neigh­bor­ing restau­rants, Bubba’s or the Back Deck, for your after party! But then again who said you have to use our brunch menu in the morn­ing? Break­fast for din­ner is always a good idea!

To receive more infor­ma­tion about our venue, please con­tact us at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a call at 7574811122

Trend­ing in Wed­dings: Metal­lic Accents

A trend that is on the rise, and has been for quite a while, is the use of metal­lic accents in both minor and major details through­out the wed­ding. From décor to per­sonal acces­sories, metallics have been present at sev­eral wed­dings at the Lesner Inn over the past few months.

Table LinensLesner-Inn-Wedding-Venue-Metallic-Virginia-Beach.jpg
One of our favorite wed­dings was in May of 2015, where Kim­berly & James were the first cou­ple to take part in the metal­lic trend here at the Lesner Inn! Their décor fea­tured gold sequined table linens from Classy Event Rentals in our Lesner Hall, paired with flo­rals in white and shades of pink. This bride was ahead of the curve with this trend, and set the bar high for Lesner Hall events! Thank you Amanda Hedgepeth Pho­tog­ra­phy for cap­tur­ing this photo!

More recently, Sharise & Richard used a sil­ver sequin linen at their sweet­heart table for their win­ter won­der­land wed­ding! Check out this adorable photo of the cou­ple from Bryan Myhr!



lesner-inn-metallic-trend-virginia-beach-pendant-lights.jpgAt our 2016 Open House, our Water­side Deck was dressed in metallics with every­thing from the light­ing to the table décor. Stage Right Light­ing pro­vided these beau­ti­ful gold metal­lic pen­dant lights (pic­tured left) to accent the cock­tail tables in the space. How­ever, cou­ples are using rogue chan­de­liers and pen­dants as accents to any area! Hang them from the arch dur­ing your cer­e­mony, in a trendy lounge area, or even over your guest tables!

Check out the metal­lic table linens used at our Open House below, pro­vided by Isha Foss! Thank you to Matt Boozer Pho­tog­ra­phy!


Angelique & Drew used these beau­ti­ful gold metal­lic chairs for their cer­e­mony on our Sun­set Deck! These chairs are such a fun and sim­ple way to bring a lit­tle some­thing extra to your event space for much less than if you were to rent them through an out­side ven­dor! We will set them up for you in your cho­sen event space for $3 per chair! These metal­lic gold chairs even look great in our Water­side Deck! Thank you Dustin Lewis Pho­tog­ra­phy!

Lesner-Inn-Weddings-Virginia-Beach-metallic-sprinkle-cakeEven wed­ding cakes are being decked out in metallics! But don’t worry, they’re edi­ble! Check out this cake from Cakes by Crys­tal!

Sky­lar Watt Pho­tog­ra­phy

Brides­maids Dresses
Metallics don’t stop with décor though! We saw beau­ti­ful metal­lic brides­maids dresses at Brooke & Kris’ May 2015 wed­ding! What a fun way to tie this trend into your wed­ding! We wish we could have worn these trendy brides­maids dresses for our friends’ wed­dings!


Table Décor
Who knew that we were trend­ing when brought gold glit­ter table num­bers and rus­tic metal­lic lanterns into the mix? Avail­able to rent at your Lesner Inn event, we’re here to help you stay on top of the lat­est wed­ding trends!

gold table number

Keep check­ing in with us to see what’s on the rise, and what’s already passed in wed­ding trends!

2016 Wed­ding Flower Trends

Well, it’s national flo­ral design day and we’re turn­ing to the top florists to pre­dict what trends we will be see­ing at the Lesner Inn in 2016! Our venue has seen over a decade of flower trends come through the doors. From the clas­sic calla lilly to brooch bou­quets, we’ve seen it all. With that said, we are REALLY excited to see what 2016 has in store. Want to know what top florists are pre­dict­ing the trends of this year to be? We have you cov­ered.

Sea­sonal and Wild Blooms
With the recent push for farm to table, we aren’t sur­prised at all by this pre­dic­tion. In the past, brides often met with the florists with a spe­cific idea of what they wanted in their bou­quet. We would see sun­flow­ers in Decem­ber and tulips in the fall – no mat­ter the sea­son, we saw every type of flower. Green­houses now allow florists to grow almost any flower at any time. But is this really what peo­ple still want? We are see­ing a rise in sea­sonal and wild bou­quets and florists are say­ing the same thing. Mod­ern brides want locally raised flow­ers and untamed arrange­ments. Keep an eye out for a more nat­ural look this year. Lots of ferns, wood­land inspired bunches, and light greens will be more in demand. Not sure what is in sea­son dur­ing your wed­ding? Check out our chart below to see what flow­ers are avail­able.

Flowers by Season

Stray­ing Away From the Round
No more bul­bous bou­quets, brides want free flow­ing flow­ers. Florists pre­dict that there will be many more cas­cad­ing bou­quets com­ing down the aisle in 2016. Arch­ing branches, sprigs of herbs and flow­ing rib­bons are all the rage right now.

Angelique and Drew by Dustin Lewis 48
Dustin Lewis Photography

In addi­tion to break­ing away from round bou­quets, brides are also break­ing away from the tra­di­tional round guest table. Fam­ily style din­ing on long farm tables, ele­gant king tables and ban­quet style guest seat­ing are asked for all the time. Inter­ested? Lesner Inn has rental tables that fit per­fectly with this trend. Sprawl­ing table gar­lands top these off nicely. Check out Isha Foss’s cre­ation in the Lesner Hall for Angelique and Drew’s Octo­ber wed­ding below.

Angelique and Drew by Dustin Lewis 73
Dustin Lewis Photography

You Can Look and You Can Eat?
The door is open­ing for more than flow­ers. Plants, herbs, berries and fruits are start­ing to make an appear­ance in today’s arrange­ments. While we don’t think walk­ing down the aisle with a cor­nu­copia of fruit is trend­ing quite yet, small touches of berries, mint, petite fruits and rose­mary are def­i­nitely on the up and up.

A Walk in the Woods
Guest tables with small pot­ted trees, ferns and suc­cu­lents are a great way to bring in nat­ural ele­ments with­out break­ing the flo­ral bud­get. Autumn and Matt’s Sep­tem­ber Water­side Deck wed­ding showed us that in the best of ways with their Sher­wood For­rest theme. What a cool way to incor­po­rate apples, moss and bare trees! The bride and groom saved some cash by pur­chas­ing all of their sup­plies from Chesa­peake Whole­sale Flower Mar­ket and with the help of Cherry Blos­som Plan­ning Fac­tory, cre­ated these awe­some accents for their recep­tion

Dustin Lewis Photography

For brides who want a more sub­tle wooded look, look at what Ash­ley and Nick did for their fall wed­ding. Kelly Gish Flo­ral Designs hit this nail on the head with their cen­ter­piece cre­ations. We love the drift­wood branch used to stage the flow­ers and greens. What a neat way to tie in surf and turf!

Sean Holder Photography

Well, there they are! We are look­ing for­ward to see­ing all of these on our tables this upcom­ing year and get­ting to work with such awe­some flo­ral design­ers again.

Navy Life to Navy Wife: How to Incor­po­rate The Ser­vice into Your Cer­e­mony

With Hamp­ton Roads hav­ing such a strong mil­i­tary pres­ence, it should come to no sur­prise that we have seen numer­ous mil­i­tary wed­dings and tra­di­tions. We know that not every mil­i­tary fiancé is well acquainted with the tra­di­tions of their sig­nif­i­cant other’s com­mu­nity, so we thought we could lend a help­ing hand to those of you plan­ning (or attend­ing) a mil­i­tary wed­ding.

What are we all wear­ing?
Dress whites? Mess Dress? Class-​A? None of this makes any sense to those of us out­side of the armed forces so let’s break it down a lit­tle. For offi­cers, evening dress is com­pa­ra­ble to Military-Weddings-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn-Sunset-Lynnhaven-Rivercivil­ian white tie and tails. This is extremely for­mal attire. Din­ner uni­form – or mess dress — is sim­i­lar to civil­ian black tie. Look­ing for some­thing semi-​formal? Go for ser­vice dress whites or ser­vice dress blues. In the Navy, dress whites are worn most often in the sum­mer and dress blues are worn in fall and win­ter. Lesner Inn has seen mostly dress whites and blues but every once in awhile we have some­one step up the for­mal­ity to mess dress. Either way, we think they always look hand­some and we love a man in uni­form — espe­cially against a sun­set over the Lynnhaven River.

To glove or not to glove?
Tra­di­tion shows that all ser­vice mem­bers wear gloves – grooms­men, users, saber and sword bear­ers. The only excep­tion to this is the groom and the best man as they will be han­dling rings.

Do they still need bou­ton­nieres with their uni­forms?
No. You should not be wear­ing a bou­ton­niere on any mil­i­tary uni­form. Bud­get­ing bonus if you have a few mil­i­tary grooms­men and don’t need to pur­chase these!

Where is every­one sit­ting?
In the event that par­ents can­not attend, the bride or groom’s com­mand­ing offi­cer and their spouse may sit in the front row. If par­ents are present, the com­mand­ing offi­cer may sit close to the fam­ily. All fol­low­ing mil­i­tary guests should be seated accord­ing to rank.

Do I get a dis­count?
Yes! Lesner Inn offers 50% off of the room rental fee for all mil­i­tary wed­dings and func­tions. Being the daugh­ters of men and women who have served our coun­try, we know what you and your fam­i­lies have gone through to get to this spe­cial occa­sion. It gives us so much joy to be able to show our appre­ci­a­tion to those of you who have served our coun­try!

Let’s talk about the arch of swords
Every mil­i­tary bride is excited about this and we LOVE see­ing pho­tos of it on our stair­way and Sun­set Deck. We turned to the experts at The Knot to explain this to you:

The arch is a sym­bolic act that ensures the new­ly­wed cou­ple safe pas­sage into their new life together, but it should only be per­formed for com­mis­sioned offi­cers. As soon as the cer­e­mony is over, the ush­ers line up on either side of the aisle to the chapel steps. At the head usher’s com­mand — “Draw sabers (cut­lasses)” — the ush­ers raise their blades, edge up, into the air, care­fully form­ing an arch­way. If there are civil­ian ush­ers in the wed­ding party, they also line up and stand respect­fully at atten­tion while the arch is formed. The new­ly­weds pass under the arch­way, and at the com­mand — “Return sabers (cut­lasses)” — the ush­ers return their weapons to their sides. They then turn and escort the brides­maids down the aisle. If weather per­mits, the arch may be formed out­side the entrance to the cer­e­mony site. Though spe­cific com­mands and pro­to­col may dif­fer based on the mil­i­tary branch of the com­mis­sioned offi­cer, the arch is a mil­i­tary wed­ding tra­di­tion highlight.

Cut­ting the cake
Want the biggest slice of cake pos­si­ble? Slice it with a sword or saber. It is a com­mon mil­i­tary tra­di­tion for the bride and groom to cut the first slice of cake this way. The groom will unsheathe the sword and with his hand over the bride’s they will cut the first cer­e­mo­nial piece of cake.

What is that song that is always sung?
Go to any mil­i­tary wed­ding and you are bound to see this hap­pen. All of the sud­den, the dance floor clears, a chair is brought out for the bride and ser­vice­men gather all around her. No, this is not the garter toss – it’s time for some karaoke. Since the pre­miere of Top Gun, men have got­ten down on one knee to ser­e­nade the wife of their fel­low ser­vice­man with The Right­eous Brother’s Clas­sic “You’ve Lost That Lov­ing Feel­ing”. We love watch­ing the guys belt this one out to a blush­ing bride – it never gets old!


There are many more small tra­di­tions that vary from ser­vice to ser­vice but these are some of the more com­mon ones that we see on a rou­tine basis. When in doubt, you can always check with your local base pro­to­col offi­cer with any questions!

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