Most Impor­tant Things to Splurge on For Your Wed­ding

When plan­ning your wed­ding, you will likely have a set bud­get for the event. But, as many brides will tell you, there are some things worth spend­ing some extra change on.


  • Like all things related to your wed­ding, you should do your research on this. Check reviews, pic­tures, blog posts from pho­tog­ra­phers, etc. to get a feel for what the venue is all about, and how it can make your wed­ding day the most spe­cial day of your life. It’s best to rely on sites like The Knot and Wed­ding Wire when look­ing for the expe­ri­ences of other brides. Keep in mind that your venue will be your most val­ued expense, espe­cially if you’re look­ing for perks like a water­front view and excel­lent food and bev­er­age options.


  • While some of you may be think­ing that your dress should have prece­dence over your pho­tog­ra­pher, you’ve prob­a­bly never seen bad wed­ding pho­tos. A great pho­tog­ra­pher can make a $100 dress look like a $1,000 dress, and can make a rainy day look like a mys­tic scene from a Nicholas Sparks movie. Keep this in mind before you decide that a few mediocre shots of you and your new hubby will sat­isfy you on the hap­pi­est day of your life!
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    Tara Liebeck Photography


  • Whether you hire a DJ or band for your recep­tion enter­tain­ment, make sure you do your home­work on the best enter­tain­ment for your style of event. Ask other brides in the area who they booked, look up local reviews, or even search on YouTube to see them in action. Get­ting the best enter­tain­ment you can afford could even get grandma out on the dance floor!


  • Yes of course the dress made the list, but trust us when we say that the expenses listed above are 100x more impor­tant than hav­ing a designer dress. We can guar­an­tee that you will remem­ber hav­ing a great time because of the venue, enter­tain­ment, and amaz­ing pic­tures to show from it, but when you look back ten years at your dress you’ll likely ask your­self what you were thinking!


  • Your décor should not be what’s break­ing the bank for your event. Here at the Lesner Inn we offer an assort­ment of com­pli­men­tary linens for your tables, and after that it’s all about the cen­ter­pieces and place set­tings. Your over­all cost for mak­ing the space look recep­tion ready should be min­i­mal, espe­cially if the space is beau­ti­ful with­out all of the addi­tional glitz and glamour.

blush-neutral-lesner-inn-wedding-virginia-beach-wedding-photographer-photo-16-Amanda Hedgepeth

Amanda Hedgepeth Photography

If you don’t know what to tackle first in your quest for the per­fect day, we highly sug­gest hir­ing a wed­ding plan­ner. Check out our blog Do You Need a Wed­ding Plan­ner? to find out if you should add this expense to the list!

Next-​Day Brunch

Won­der­ing what to do the day after your wed­ding recep­tion? Here at the Lesner Inn, we love brunch and have a great assort­ment of brunch items to kill that wed­ding party hang­over. Plan a next-​day brunch for your close fam­ily and friends to attend. This will also give all of your fam­ily and friends a chance to say their good­byes and well wishes before trav­el­ing back home, or before you make your way to your hon­ey­moon haven for the fol­low­ing weeks. Here are some of the neces­si­ties to have the per­fect brunch after your wed­ding reception:

Mimosas & Bloody Marys

Every­one knows that no brunch is com­plete with­out these crowd favorites! Not only are they the trick to killing any hang­over, but they’re just plain deli­cious! Have these stocked at your bar to get your brunch started off right!

Steak and Eggsbrunch

Have you ever won­dered why steak and eggs is such a pop­u­lar brunch com­bi­na­tion? Well aside from being the best pair­ing of foods since peanut but­ter and jelly, steak and eggs con­tain large amounts of B12 vit­a­mins which is an essen­tial vit­a­min that alco­hol exhausts from your body. This is why no brunch is com­plete with­out this mag­nif­i­cent pair­ing of break­fast and din­ner items.


After a night of drink­ing, fruit is the per­fect way to bring some of the other essen­tial vit­a­mins that crept out of your sys­tem, back in. Have lots of fruits with vit­a­min C avail­able for your guests to liven up their day!


There’s noth­ing bet­ter than a piece of toasted, but­tered bread or a heap­ing plate of crispy, salted home fries to top off your brunch expe­ri­ence. Every­one needs carbs the day after drink­ing and there’s noth­ing to be ashamed of!

When plan­ning your next-​day brunch, don’t for­get this key piece of advice. Noth­ing you eat counts the day after a night of partying!

If you’re inter­ested in host­ing a brunch the day after your wed­ding recep­tion, birth­day, or any other excuse to get your friends and fam­ily together, con­tact one of our sales man­agers to get more information!

Favorite Favors

While you’re not exactly expected to present favors at your wed­ding, doing so can be a nice way to say thank you to all of your guests for attend­ing. Here at the Lesner Inn we’ve seen all types of favors rang­ing from sweet treats to kind memen­tos. What you choose to do is entirely up to you, but here are some of our favorite favors from 2015!


  • If you’re famil­iar with Duck Donuts, then you under­stand why donuts are at the top of our list. Cre­ate a crafty dis­play of all sorts of donuts for your guests to take home and enjoy after the fes­tiv­i­ties are over. Check out this dis­play from a wed­ding we hosted last weekend!

Candy Bar

  • Who doesn’t love candy? Whether it’s choco­late, sour gum­mies, lol­lipops, or any­thing else you can think of your guests will love a bag of sweet treats to go! Check out this awe­some candy bar from ear­lier this year!


  • Okay we get it, we LOVE sweets! But how cute is this s’mores display?

Inscribed Cups

  • You can never really have too many cups! Why not give your guests a gift that will remind them of your big night every time they’re sip­pin on the drink of their choice!


  • I know suc­cu­lents sound like an odd thing to be trend­ing, but check out Pin­ter­est and see just how many wed­dings fea­ture suc­cu­lents in their bou­quets, cen­ter pieces, and even as favors. Check out this adorable lit­tle favor from the other weekend!

When choos­ing your wed­ding favors, just remem­ber they don’t have to be some extrav­a­gant gift that your guests will keep for­ever. Keep it sim­ple and just show them how much their pres­ence meant to you!

Do You Need a Wed­ding Plan­ner?

One of the inevitable ques­tions we hear at the Lesner Inn while talk­ing to clients is, do we need a wed­ding coor­di­na­tor? And while we could go on for hours about why a wed­ding coor­di­na­tor can save your life, we sim­ply say that while you are not required to have one, we highly rec­om­mend it. A wed­ding coor­di­na­tor han­dles all of the poten­tial dis­as­ters that would leave you par­a­lyzed, and all of the minor details that you would never even think to con­front. They tell you all of the do’s and don’ts, and help to ensure that every­thing looks just as you had hoped it would on your big day. They know what works, and what doesn’t, and they are able to pre­vent dis­as­ters before they even hap­pen. I know I’m basi­cally describ­ing a super hero, but that’s basi­cally what they are when it comes to your wed­ding day.

Some of you may be hav­ing a small, low-​key cer­e­mony and recep­tion, in which case you may feel that you don’t need any­one to help you direct or set up for the occa­sion. In this case, if you’re extremely orga­nized and have a great group of brides­maids to help you plan and cre­ate the per­fect feel for your event, you may not need a wed­ding coor­di­na­tor. But what many don’t con­sider is the seem­ingly sim­ple act of walk­ing down the aisle. You need some­one to be avail­able to tell you when it’s go time, which is where a coor­di­na­tor would come in extremely handy.

For any­one hav­ing a large-​scale event, we HIGHLY rec­om­mend that you have add the expense of a wed­ding coor­di­na­tor to avoid the poten­tial con­se­quences of tak­ing mat­ters into your own hands. With hav­ing so much going on, you will need some­one to han­dle the extra stresses and details.

While the staff at Lesner Inn is more than happy to help you with any­thing you may need, our main objec­tive is to ensure your food is com­ing out on time, drinks are flow­ing, and that every­thing is set to make your taste buds explode! With all of this on our plate, it’s impos­si­ble to fill the role of a wed­ding coor­di­na­tor as well.

If your bud­get doesn’t have room to squeeze a wed­ding coor­di­na­tor in, ask a friend or fam­ily mem­ber to fill their place. Before ask­ing this of some­one though, make sure they have some sort of back­ground han­dling a major event, or have at least attended a wed­ding or two. We work with fam­ily mem­bers fre­quently, and while they may not be Bat­man, Robin always ends up com­ing through.

Hur­ri­cane Wed­ding

With hur­ri­cane Joaquin mak­ing his dra­matic exit from the east coast, we reflect on the prob­lems that occurred, and the solu­tions to those prob­lems. If you’re plan­ning a wed­ding close to hur­ri­cane sea­son, there are some things to con­sider and be pre­pared to deal with if a hur­ri­cane (or other poorly timed weather dis­as­ters) muck up your wed­ding plans.


Here’s a shot of our last minute “barn­yard” wedding!

  • Venue
  • If you plan to have your wed­ding out­doors, keep a close eye on the weather. Heavy wind and rain can eas­ily knock out the barn­yard wed­ding that you had hoped for. If the weather doesn’t look favor­able, call around to other venues in the area and find out their avail­abil­ity, it’s always good to have a backup. We were able to help a bride in need this past week­end when Joaquin flooded her barn­yard wedding!


    Keep­ing from the wind and rain with this indoor ceremony!

    Also, if your venue has an out­door deck for the cer­e­mony and an indoor space for the recep­tion, make sure your venue coor­di­na­tors have a plan of action if the wind and rain get too bad to con­tinue with an out­door cer­e­mony. Luck­ily, our Lesner Hall is large enough to set up a cer­e­mony as well!

  • Grand exit
  • Strong winds can eas­ily mess up the sparkler exit you had planned, so be pre­pared to have an alter­na­tive that won’t be smoth­ered by the wind. Glow sticks have a sim­i­lar affect that sparklers would in an image. In any event, you should always be pre­pared to han­dle any­thing life throws at you. Here at the Lesner Inn, we’ve seen it all, and luck­ily we have a great staff who is always on their toes!

    Favorite Fall Wed­ding Color Schemes

    While we are not quite ready to admit it, today is the first day of fall which means that the beachy blues and corals that we love so much are gone and the col­ors of the chang­ing leaves will be here to stay (until win­ter rears its ugly head at least). While you may think that you’re trapped with the sim­ple hues of red for your color scheme, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to stick to the basics! For­tu­nately there are excit­ing ways to use dif­fer­ent hues of fall in your color scheme. In the fall, we’re sur­rounded by deep reds, oranges, and yel­lows while the col­ors of the leaves change. Of course these col­ors are expected at a fall wed­ding, but they don’t have to be your focal point. Lucky for you, suc­cu­lents never go out of sea­son. Suc­cu­lents are a plant that are beau­ti­ful dur­ing any time of year and they give you the oppor­tu­nity to choose any of the col­ors incor­po­rated within them. Let us give you one of our favorite exam­ples for a fall wed­ding. fall colorsOf course the hues of red are in there, but it has per­fectly sub­tle accents like the berries and hints of green, blue, and pur­ple in the suc­cu­lents! How could you go wrong with suc­cu­lents?? Here is another great exam­ple: succulents Another fall trend is using pur­ple and a pink­ish orange together. I know this sounds crazy, but you’d be sur­prised what fun color com­bi­na­tions you can do to cre­ate the per­fect look to your fall wed­ding. purppurporange I mean really how cool is this? Talk about inge­nu­ity!! Another fall favorite is using shades of green with neu­tral mate­ri­als like burlap. A lit­tle bit of deep reds and oranges can go a long way with a sub­tle shade of green! Check out this inspir­ing color scheme: green So if you were wor­ried about how to cre­ate a per­fectly orig­i­nal color scheme for your fall wed­ding, we hope this helped!

    5 Cre­ative Guest Book Ideas

    For many, a guest book is just another piece of clut­ter that will be stored away along with old pho­tos. But, we’re here to tell you that there are some great ways to cre­ate a guest book that you’ll want to keep around. Whether you plan to dis­play it in your home, or use it to acquire some last minute rela­tion­ship advice, here are some cre­ative ideas for your guest book:
  • Sign­ing corks
  • With the stresses of plan­ning your wed­ding, we’re sure you will go through enough wine and cham­pagne to have this guest book ready in time for the big day. Save up all of those wine and cham­pagne corks that you would usu­ally throw away and have your guests sign them. Have a sim­ple shadow box or dec­o­ra­tive vase handy for your guests to place their corks inside, and you have a cute dec­o­ra­tion for your home together that will remind you of your wed­ding day!
  • Describe the couple
  •  E J-431What to do with that old dic­tio­nary that has been replaced by the dictionary/​encyclopedia/​thesaurus that we call Google? Have your guests find a word that describes you and your spouse and sign their names next to it! This will get your guests think­ing and com­pet­ing for the best word, and if you really wanted to turn this into a fun wed­ding activ­ity, you could even send the guest with the best response home with a door prize!
  • Tree trunk plaque
  • Using a wooden plaque instead of a typ­i­cal guest book is another great way to keep your guest book as a cre­ative dec­o­ra­tion. You can find a slab of wood cut from a tree trunk at Jackson Hole Wedding | Amy Galbraith Photography via http://mountainsidebride.comyour local craft store, put a nice fin­ish on it, and have your guests sign it! Hang it in your home or place it on a table and remem­ber all of the fun you had!
  • Polaroid photo book
  • Are you plan­ning on hav­ing a phohanging Polaroid wedding guest book ideato booth at your recep­tion? Even if you’re not, we still LOVE this idea! Have all of your guests use a Polaroid cam­era to snap a pic of them­selves, place it in a photo book, and add a per­sonal mes­sage. For some extra fun place some props on a table for your guests to pose with. This will be a great addi­tion to all of the scrap books you are bound to cre­ate through­out the years and be a reminder of how amaz­ing your wed­ding day was!
  • Time cap­suleFor Time Travelers
  • They say the first year of mar­riage is the hard­est, so have your guests write a thought­ful note to you both and drop it in a “time cap­sule” to be opened on your 1st wed­ding anniver­sary! While these are just a few of the many dif­fer­ent things you can do for your guest book, we’re sure you all have some great ideas as well! Share your favorite with us on Pin­ter­est, or com­ment below!

    Cre­at­ing Your Own Pho­to­booth

    Hav­ing a photo booth is a great way to get some fun and goofy pic­tures at your recep­tion in addi­tion to the essen­tial kiss­ing in the sun­set pic­tures that your pho­tog­ra­pher will inevitably be tak­ing. How­ever, rent­ing a photo booth can be a pricey addi­tion to the over­all cost of your event. But, have no fear, cre­at­ing your own photo booth is a low stress project that you can have fun with while sip­ping on your favorite Chardon­nay. Here are some of our favorite ideas to cre­ate your own photo booth:
  • Find goofy props
  • 11887213_668094903291362_133390108_n
    • Over sized sun­glasses, feather boas, and fake mus­taches are just a few of the goofy props your guests can pose with at your DIY photo booth. Hit the dol­lar store, thrift store, or the back of your closet and see what you can find. Your guests will thank you for the hilar­i­ous pho­tos later!
    Craft a fun frame
    • If you’re crafty, or can safely oper­ate an exacto knife, check out this DIY project with foam boards. Over sized frames are becom­ing increas­ingly pop­u­lar to pose with and can be a fun addi­tion to your photo booth.
    Cre­ate a sim­ple back drop
    • No photo booth is com­plete with­out a back drop, and cre­at­ing one is cer­tainly not an impos­si­ble task. Check out these 15 DIY photo booth ideas.

    Look­ing for more inspi­ra­tion? Check out this DIY photo booth back drop at the Lesner Inn!


    Before the Aisle

    When your wed­ding day finally arrives, you get up at the crack of dawn, pop a bot­tle of cham­pagne, and begin the process of cre­at­ing that nat­ural glow that iron­i­cally requires tedious con­tour­ing. While you are being prepped and pam­pered for the big day so are your brides­maids. Even though this day is about YOU, there are many ways you can make your brides­maids feel spe­cial while prepar­ing for the aisle.
  • Pro­vide a Mimosa or Bloody Mary bar
    • Give your brides­maids the oppor­tu­nity to let loose before walk­ing down the aisle! If you pro­vide the bev­er­ages you can make sure your brides­maids can enjoy them­selves with­out get­ting out of control!
    Treat your ladies to a spa day
    • You want to make sure that your squad looks their best while they’re stand­ing by your side. Treat your ladies to a mani pedi or facial to make sure they’re glowing!
    Hire a team of beau­ti­cians for the big day
    • Every­one likes the feel­ing of look­ing beau­ti­ful with­out lift­ing a fin­ger, so treat your brides­maids to get­ting their hair and makeup done on the day of your wedding!
    Your brides­maids are an impor­tant part of your wed­ding day, so show them how much they mean to you!

    How to Repur­pose Your Flo­ral Arrange­ments

    Whether they’re pot­ted, cen­ter­pieces, or bou­quets, you will likely be using flow­ers for your décor on your wed­ding day. After the big day, most peo­ple will place their flow­ers in a vase when they get home and toss them once they’ve wilted. But, we’re here to tell you how you can keep these unique arrange­ments as keep­sakes. Here are a cou­ple of ideas on how to re-​purpose your flo­ral arrange­ments to last more than just a cou­ple of hours:
  • How to Preserve Your Wedding Bouquet11Frame them:
    • Yes you read that right! You can press your bou­quet, or at least a few of the flow­ers, and keep it in a shadow box or frame along with your save the dates or a pic­ture of you and your new spouse! If you’re not sure how to dry out the bou­quet your­self you can ask your florist to do it for you, or check out this DIY!
    Christ­mas orna­ments:
    • If you’re okay with the idea of part­ing with your bou­quet for a while then you can make Christ­mas orna­ments to cher­ish them once a year. Sim­i­lar to fram­ing your flow­ers, you can dry some of the petals, buds, and leaves and put them in an opaque Christ­mas orna­ment! Every Christ­mas, you and your spouse can have a lit­tle reminder of the day you said I do!
    • Jew­elry is a great way to make small keep­sakes that can last for­ever! Go to any craft store and pick out a sim­ple glass locket that you can arrange some small petals and buds into and cre­ate a fun neck­lace. You can even cre­ate beads from your left­over flow­ers to make neck­laces and bracelets. Check out this tuto­r­ial.
    Any of these are great ideas for a DIY gift to your brides­maids and any other women involved in mak­ing your wed­ding day spe­cial! Trust us, after hav­ing your wed­ding at the Lesner Inn, you’re going to want to have a keep­sake you can look back on!

    How to Choose Your Table Linens

    Dec­o­rat­ing your venue requires plan­ning minor details that can make or break the feel of your venue. You have to choose a theme and make sure that all of your col­ors and décor work together to cre­ate the ele­gant mas­ter­piece you imag­ined in your head. One of the most impor­tant tasks in accom­plish­ing this is choos­ing your linens. While this seems like a sim­ple task, there are many things to con­sider before mak­ing a deci­sion. Here at the Lesner Inn we want to make sure that every­thing about your expe­ri­ence is smooth sail­ing, so here are a few tips to con­sider while choos­ing your linens:
  • Know what color the chairs will be
    • This sounds a bit obvi­ous, but many peo­ple don’t pay atten­tion to what will be in the room on their big day! Know­ing whether your chairs will be black, white, or brown can help you avoid an embar­rass­ing clash of col­ors. Hav­ing black linens with brown chairs cre­ates two dif­fer­ent looks that you do not want to pair!
    Look at the floor­ing of your venue
    • If your venue is car­peted then make sure that you’re not using an over lay that are the same color as the car­pets. Coor­di­nat­ing your col­ors is great, but mak­ing your tables invis­i­ble is not the look to be going for. Also, make sure that you’re not choos­ing an over­lay that clashes with the car­pet! Beware of pat­terned carpeting!
    Keep your cen­ter pieces in mind
    • If you already know what you will be using for your cen­ter­pieces then you can think about the tints and col­ors incor­po­rated within them. For exam­ple, if you’re using flow­ers for your cen­ter­pieces, try incor­po­rat­ing the col­ors within the flow­ers onto the tables. If the flow­ers have a pink hid­den within them, you could use a pink over­lay and to make it all pop and flow together.
    Don’t be afraid to use dif­fer­ent shades of the same col­ors
    • A clas­sic navy blue over­lay with light blue nap­kins never fails when set­ting a table. It’s a time­less look that makes your tables look sleek and put together with min­i­mal effort.
    Don’t be afraid to pair dif­fer­ent col­ors
    • Pair­ing sim­ple neu­trals together can cre­ate a sleek and ele­gant look for your tables as well. Try using beige with nat­ural reds or greens. Doing this also gives you count­less options when it comes to choos­ing your centerpieces.
    Plan­ning your wed­ding day is an excit­ing expe­ri­ence for you and every­one involved. While it can seem stress­ful, ask­ing for help from your bridal party can lift some of the weight off of your shoul­ders. After all, your bridal party is there to sup­port you!11378106_1452500635062808_1932540355_n

    Take a look at some of our favorite table set­tings on our Insta­gram!

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