Step­ping Out of Tra­di­tion

While wed­ding tra­di­tions in the past seemed to be set in stone, it seems that more and more cou­ples are mak­ing it their goal to break these tra­di­tions. Things like not see­ing each other before the cer­e­mony, wear­ing a white dress, or rice show­ers upon exit are becom­ing less and less com­mon, and more fun and excit­ing alter­na­tives are on the rise. For your guests, attend­ing a wed­ding that breaks tra­di­tion gives you imme­di­ate cool points, and gives you brag­ging rights for years to come! Here are some of Lesner Inn’s favorite breaks in tradition!

Can’t See Each Other Before Ceremony

best first look - Jessica and Gary Ochs - Amanada Hedgepeth

This age old tra­di­tion dates back to when mar­riage was con­sid­ered to be more of a busi­ness deal than a sym­bol of eter­nal love. When arranged mar­riages were the norm, the bride and groom wouldn’t have even met before the cer­e­mony. The tra­di­tion of not see­ing each other was actu­ally born because the fam­i­lies didn’t want the bride or groom to back out of the “trans­ac­tion” if they weren’t attracted to each other. Side note, this is also the intended pur­pose of the veil. Makes you really sec­ond guess whether or not to par­tic­i­pate in this tra­di­tion, right? While some cou­ples have not put this tra­di­tion in the past where it belongs, many are see­ing it as an adorable photo oppor­tu­nity! It can be dif­fi­cult to pho­to­graph the moment you first see each other with a crowd of peo­ple all try­ing to see the same thing your pho­tog­ra­pher is. We love the idea of mak­ing this more of an event for the bride and groom so they have an inti­mate mem­ory of the first time they saw each other on their wed­ding day. — Photo Credit Amanda Hedgepeth Photography

Drinks Start After the Ceremony

Who decided that the fun can’t start before the cer­e­mony? When your guests begin to arrive and take their seats, why shouldn’t they be offered a light bev­er­age to get the evening started? Whether it be a cham­pagne punch, beer, wine, or all of the above nobody ever turned down a nice refresh­ing bev­er­age! If you don’t want to offer alco­hol before the cer­e­mony, you can always offer infused water, iced tea, lemon­ade, hot choco­late, or any other fun drink you can think of to start the night off right!

Flower Girls lesner-inn-weddings-virginia-beach-flower-girls.jpg

Tra­di­tion­ally, the flower girl is a young girl who scat­ters flower petals to give the bride and groom luck in fer­til­ity. This tra­di­tion, like most of these wed­ding tra­di­tions, orig­i­nated from super­sti­tion back when the Earth was thought to be flat. We think it’s time to go out with the old and in with the new with this tra­di­tion, or in this case out with the new and in with the old? One of our favorite plays on tra­di­tion was when grand­par­ents were fea­tured as flower girls and ring bear­ers dur­ing the cer­e­mony! The crowd went wild, and we at the Lesner Inn still talk about this moment with our clients! — Photo Credit Dustin Lewis Photography

White Dress


White was adopted as the tra­di­tional color for a bridal gown in the Vic­to­rian era, as a sym­bol of purity and inno­cence of girl­hood. As tra­di­tions change, it becomes less com­mon for brides to be looked down on for avoid­ing the cookie cut­ter white dress. Instead, brides are opt­ing for gowns in ivory, nude, and even sub­dued pink. We love this break in tra­di­tion, and encour­age brides to opt for a dress they love over stay­ing within the nar­row lines of tra­di­tion! — Photo Credit Caitlin Ger­res Photography

Grooms Attire lesner-inn-weddings-virginia-beach-groom-attire

The bride isn’t the only one who is expected to fall within a tra­di­tional mold for attire. The groom is expected to wear a white but­ton down shirt, with a vest, and over­coat on the wed­ding day! How­ever, we see more and more grooms com­ing out with a more casual look, opt­ing for the but­ton down with just the over­coat or vest, or just the but­ton down with rolled up sleeves! We know this is great news for the grooms­men when it comes to a sum­mer wed­ding! — Photo Credit Ross Costanza Photography

Wed­ding Cake

When we think of a wed­ding cake, what comes to mind is a tra­di­tional three tiered cake rep­re­sent­ing the engage­ment, wed­ding, and eter­nity rings. How­ever, if you’re not a cake lover then spend­ing hun­dreds of dol­lars on a cake for the sake of tra­di­tion prob­a­bly isn’t the best way to bud­get your wed­ding. Many cou­ples are switch­ing to cup­cakes, but we’ve even seen alter­na­tives such as donuts, tiramisu, and pie! Try switch­ing it up for your sweet treat!

View More: Innn weddings virginia beach dl cake

  • Photo Credit Lind­sey Fau­vre (left) and Dustin Lewis Pho­tog­ra­phy (right)
  • Throw­ing Rice

    Okay, we will admit this tra­di­tion has been long gone! But we just love talk­ing about all of the fun exits that can be done instead of throw­ing rice or flower petals! One of our favorite, and most com­mon, exits are sparkler exits! They make for such amaz­ing pic­tures! And of course we can’t for­get how amaz­ing boat exits are off of our dock onto the Lynnhaven River!


    David Cham­pagne Photography

    Tra­di­tions are just like your every­day trend, chang­ing over time with one bold move that leads the pack!

    You CAN Have Your Cake and Eat it Too: Six 2016 Cake Trends

    2016 is show­ing us at the Lesner Inn that the tra­di­tional but­ter­cream frost­ing wed­ding cake is on its way out the door. While we still love the clas­sic com­bi­na­tions of fruit-​filled cakes with fluffy icing, there are some new kids on the cake table.

    Sprin­kle Cakes

    One of the more pop­u­lar trends com­ing in wed­ding cakes are sprin­kles. Yes, the same thing that you coated your ice cream sun­daes in as a kid. We first started see­ing a rise in cakes that were coated in sprin­kles like one of our fall brides did (pic­tured above). But now we are see­ing more and more fun­fetti cakes (sprin­kles on the inside) mak­ing their way onto plates. No one ever said fun­fetti was just for kids! Lesner Inn Weddings Virginia Beach sprinkle cake
  • Photo Credit Sky­lar Watt
  • Dirty Iced Cakes

    Not every­one is as crazy about icing as we are. And now there is a solu­tion for you non-​frosting folks. Dirty iced cakes! The name is weird but the con­cept is great. Instead of two coats of icing, bak­eries stop after the crumb coat. In tra­di­tional cakes, the crumb coat serves to even the sur­face to smooth on your frost­ing – sim­i­lar to what paint primer does for walls. Be on the look­out for these as they are becom­ing ever more pop­u­lar among mod­ern brides.


    Sin­gle Layer Cakes

    While cup­cakes have been the hit of the decade, cou­ples haven’t been able to take part in the time-​honored tra­di­tion of cake cut­ting with these bite size sweets. Prob­lem solved with sin­gle layer cakes. These small cakes allow you to still have the cer­e­mo­nial slice with­out hav­ing the cost of a giant tiered cake.

    lesner inn weddings virginia beachlesner inn weddings virginia beach

  • Photo Credit David Champagne
  • Gold Leaf Accents

    Do you want a lit­tle bit of sparkle with­out going over the top? Gold leaf accents are top­ping many pop­u­lar wed­ding cakes these days. This adds a bit of flair to your cake and is a nice change from fon­dant and flowers.


    Photo credit one​fab​day​.com

    Reflect Your Personality

    We were in love with this cake from one of Water­side Deck wed­ding this past win­ter. The bride sur­prised her hus­band – who is a Mar­vel maniac — with a cake to show both sides of their per­son­al­ity. He was blown away by this cre­ation by Car­olina Cupcakes.

    lesner inn weddings virginia beach superman cakes

  • Photo Credit Emma Fair Photo
  • Break Out of the Cake Box

    No one ever said you HAD to have cake at your wed­ding. Colleen & Mark weren’t big cake peo­ple and nei­ther were Ash­ley & Nick. Colleen opted for pies for her Decem­ber wed­ding and Ash­ley brought spe­cialty donuts to a whole new level with her Duck Dough­nuts dessert table. She even got mini boxes of dough­nuts for all of the ven­dors – a sweet treat that we thor­oughly enjoyed!

    View More: Innn weddings virginia beach dl cake

  • Photo Credit Lind­sey Fau­vre (left) and Dustin Lewis Pho­tog­ra­phy (right)
  • There are so many dif­fer­ent fla­vors, styles, and types of desserts you can choose from, that it’s easy to get bogged down. Don’t let it stress you out though! In the end, pick what­ever appeals to your sweet tooth. As far as every­one else goes, lis­ten to Marie Antoinette…let them eat cake!

    Tips to Keep Your Lit­tle Helpers Calm

    We’ve all been to those wed­dings where the flower girl can’t stand still and just wants to be with her mommy. Or the ring bearer can’t stop fid­dling with his too trendy for a tod­dler sus­penders once reach­ing the end of the aisle. These things can be dis­tract­ing, and can take the focus off of your vows and the over­all ambiance of the cer­e­mony. Luck­ily, we’ve seen a thing or two, and have some of the best tips to keep all of your lit­tle helpers calm dur­ing your ceremony!

    Start train­ing early

    • While your bridal party may just need one rehearsal to get the rou­tine down, your flower girl and ring bearer may need a lit­tle more train­ing. Show them videos of other wed­dings to give them an exam­ple of how they are expected to act, or even throw a pre­tend wed­ding where they get to act out what they should be doing!

    Make sure they’re comfortable

    • If a child doesn’t like the tutu or vest you dress them up in, they won’t hide their emo­tions. So, to pre­vent a half naked or cry­ing child from walk­ing down the aisle, try mak­ing them a part of choos­ing their attire. If you give them a choice, they will be much more will­ing to cooperate.

    Give them a lit­tle some­thing to keep them occupied

    • One of the best tips we’ve heard for flower girls at the Lesner Inn, is to put skit­tles or another of their favorite can­dies at the bot­tom of the bas­ket. This gives them some­thing to work for while they’re toss­ing the flow­ers, and keeps them occu­pied and will­ing to stand still dur­ing the ceremony!

    Keep their par­ents close

    • For any of those shy or attached chil­dren, have their par­ents sit­ting towards the front so they don’t feel uncom­fort­able. A famil­iar face can always calm a child down!


    • After all, there will be cake at the reception :)

    Angelique and Drew by Dustin Lewis 18

  • Dustin Lewis Photography
  • Pre-​ceremony Cel­e­bra­tions

    We know how it is. Your wed­ding day is a cel­e­bra­tion, an all day cel­e­bra­tion, and what bet­ter way to cel­e­brate than pop­ping cham­pagne before the cer­e­mony? Well, thank­fully, we’re here to help you accom­plish all of your cel­e­bra­tion needs!

    After many long and tedious hours of test­ing out cham­pagnes from our wine dis­trib­u­tors, we have cho­sen the best cham­pagnes to get your pre-​ceremony cel­e­bra­tions going! I know, we made such a great sac­ri­fice to bring these cel­e­bra­tory drinks straight to you, but it’s the least we could do to show you all how much we love cel­e­brat­ing you and your very momen­tous occasion!

    Check out how we can help you and your bridal party cel­e­brate before the cel­e­bra­tion, by click­ing the menu below!

    Pre­cer­e­mony Celebrations

    Angelique and Drew by Dustin Lewis 75.jpg

    Thank You!

    With the year 2016 ahead of us, we would like to say a quick thank you to all of our cou­ples in 2015 who took the time to review their expe­ri­ences with us. It means the world to us that so many peo­ple felt that their expe­ri­ence was worth shar­ing with other poten­tial brides and grooms! As we reflect on 2015, we think it’s impor­tant to pat our­selves on the back for being rec­og­nized on Wed­ding Wire, The Knot, and for the first time in Vir­ginia Liv­ing Magazine!

    wedding wirethe knotVirginia Living

    The Lesner Inn has been rec­og­nized for three years in a row as one of the best venues in the Hamp­ton Roads area rated by cou­ples on Wed­ding Wire. We have also been rec­og­nized on the Knot as best of wed­dings for the past 2 years, by our past brides and grooms. Now, for the first time, we have been rec­og­nized by Vir­ginia Liv­ing Mag­a­zine as one of the top wed­ding ven­dors in Vir­ginia Beach!

    We can­not wait to see what the future holds for us, and we hope to keep these streaks going by pro­vid­ing excel­lent ser­vice to all of our couples!

    Best of 2015

    As 2015 comes to a close, we here at Lesner Inn want to take a moment to reflect on what a great year it has been with both our social and wed­ding events. We have seen some of the most spec­tac­u­lar and cre­ative uses of our spaces, most touch­ing moments, most beau­ti­ful pho­tographs, and so many other things that made 2015 at the Lesner Inn so mem­o­rable! For those of you who were mar­ried with us in 2015, we hope this first year of mar­riage has been bliss­ful and we wish you all the best in years to come, and for those of you who held a social event with us, we hope to help you host an event again in the future!

    Best Cake Display:

    • Here at the Lesner Inn we see our fair share of beau­ti­ful – and deli­cious – cakes! But, by far the most beau­ti­fully exe­cuted cake would have to be from Jacque­line and Tim­o­thy Cleary’s wed­ding! Check out this awe­some cake by Cakes by Crys­tal, and thanks to Sky­lar Watt for cap­tur­ing this gor­geous cake!
    Best cake Jacqueline & Timothy Cleary - Skylar Watt

    Best Hash Tag:

    • Com­ing up with a clever hash­tag is not an easy feat. Most cou­ples end up with a basic hash­tag like #meet­the­smiths. But Melinda Lack­ore and William Zack­owski were able to come up with the clever­est mash up of names in 2015 for the hash­tag #the­biglack­owski! If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Big Labowski then you should appre­ci­ate this hash­tag as much as we do! Great job Mr. and Mrs. Zack­owski! Thanks to Eliz­a­beth Friske for cap­tur­ing their beau­ti­ful day!
    Lesner Inn Weddings Virginia Beach

    Best Flower Girls:

    We want to hire these two as full time flower girls! They stole the show with their dash­ing escort of a ring bearer when they entered the recep­tion hall. With some liq­uid courage from the sparkling cider, they tore up the dance floor at Ash­ley and Gary Jeager’s recep­tion and showed us that lit­tle feet sure can move! Thanks to Sky­lar Wyatt for cap­tur­ing their antics all evening — they def­i­nitely won best flower girls of 2015!

    Lesner Inn Virginia Beach WeddingsLesner Inn Weddings Virginia Beach

    Best Theme:

    • Cre­ative wed­ding themes are one in a mil­lion at Lesner Inn, but Ann Marie and Brian Ambler really took their marathon theme and ran with it! Being a cou­ple who love to get their exer­cise in by the mile, Ann Marie and Brian made sure to incor­po­rate their love for run­ning into their day of love for each other. The thought and effort they put into this event makes them so deserv­ing to be rec­og­nized for the best theme of 2015! Shout out to Daisy Tor­res for cap­tur­ing these shots!

    Lesner Inn Weddings Virginia beachLesner Inn Weddings Virginia Beach

    Best DIY:

    • Ros­alie and Troy’s Pin­ter­est per­fect wed­ding set the bar high for cou­ples who love DIY projects! From the guest book to the pho­to­booth, their cre­ativ­ity and crafti­ness amazed us all. Take a peek at some of her unique touches below. Shout out to Shan­non Mof­fit for the awe­some photographs!
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  • Best Exit:

    • Boat exits are def­i­nitely the most styl­ish way to leave the Lesner Inn, and we have to give the best exit of 2015 to Laura and War­ren Adkins for this awe­some shot of our build­ing and their guests send­ing them off! Thanks to Tara Liebeck for cap­tur­ing this image!
    View More:

    Best Toast Moment:

    • Cindy was such a joy to work with in the months pre­ced­ing her beau­ti­ful wed­ding day, and the team at the Lesner Inn has noth­ing but won­der­ful things to say about her. That being said, it comes to no sur­prise that the best toast goes to Cindy & Kyle from their wed­ding last May. Cindy fell to her knees being so over­whelmed by the love her friends and fam­ily shared for her and Kyle, and we have to thank Caitlin Ger­res for cap­tur­ing this mov­ing moment!
    best toast - Cindy and Kyles Wedding by Caitlin Gerres Photo

    Best Guest Book:

    • Guest books are always a great oppor­tu­nity to show off your cre­ativ­ity at your wed­ding, and are much more than just remem­ber­ing who was there. That’s why we love how Autumn and Matt Har­vey took the oppor­tu­nity to get some last minute advice and well wishes from their guests with their “Wish­ing Tree” guest book! This cre­ative guest book def­i­nitely takes the title of best guest book of 2015! Thanks to Sean Holder for these great shots!
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  • Best Flo­rals:

    • Choos­ing your bou­quet and flo­ral arrange­ments for your wed­ding can be an essen­tial piece of décor not only down aisle, but dur­ing the recep­tion as well. Recently, many brides have been choos­ing suc­cu­lents as a part of their flo­ral arrange­ments! Suc­cu­lents truly stole the show this year when it comes flo­rals, and nobody pulled off this trend bet­ter than Ash­ley and Nick Bankowski! We have to admire how beau­ti­ful these nat­ural col­ors look together! Props to your florist Kelly Gish, and to Dustin Lewis for get­ting these beau­ti­ful shots!
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  • Best Some­thing Borrowed:

    • When think­ing about the age old tra­di­tion of some­thing old, some­thing new, some­thing bor­rowed, some­thing blue, what nor­mally comes to mind are sim­ple trin­kets that just barely make the cut. But, Erin Lang­lands’ some­thing bor­rowed stole our hearts with a touch­ing trib­ute to her mother. Erin, with just a bit of revamp­ing, wore her mother’s wed­ding dress and looked absolutely stun­ning, tak­ing some­thing bor­rowed to a whole new level! We wish you all the best in the years to come! Great shots by Ash­ley Lester!
    lesner inn weddings virginia beach

    Best Water­side Deck Décor:

    • The Water­side Deck is known for its casual charm, so trans­form­ing this space into some­thing more ele­gant can be a bit of a chal­lenge. But, we have to give credit to ODU stu­dent, Brooke Web­ster, for sin­gle hand­edly putting her sorority’s hol­i­day party together in our Water­side Deck at The Lesner Inn. With use of the amaz­ing linens from Water­ford Event Rentals, she cre­ated a win­ter won­der­land with sequins and cheer­ful hol­i­day décor! Thanks to Brooke, her fel­low soror­ity sis­ters & their dates were able to have an incred­i­ble night on the water! Great job Brooke!
    lesner inn weddings virginia beach waterside deck

    Best Lesner Hall Décor:

    • Trans­form­ing your recep­tion hall from a uni­ver­sal space, to a space that looks like it was cre­ated just for you on your wed­ding day takes a lot of work! It takes plan­ning, trial and error, and a lot of patience! Lucky for us, we’ve worked with some of the best in the busi­ness and have seen some of the most beau­ti­ful com­bi­na­tions of color in our Lesner Hall. Our favorite for 2015, how­ever, would have to be from Kim­berly and James Speck­hart! We love the gold sequined over­lays, and soft pink flo­rals! Great job to you and your team, and thanks to Amanda Hedgepeth for these gor­geous shots!
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  • Best Day Time Wedding:

    • Jenny & Denny’s wed­ding was, for many rea­sons, one of our favorites of the year! They tied in so many of their culture’s wed­ding tra­di­tions, while incor­po­rat­ing more mod­ern tra­di­tions as well! From a car­i­ca­ture artist dur­ing cock­tail hour, to tra­di­tional Indian dances dur­ing the recep­tion Jenny and Denny pulled off the best day time wed­ding we’ve seen in 2015! Their col­or­ful décor filled the room with so much love and joy, which def­i­nitely can be one of the many sources of the smiles across Jenny and Denny’s faces through­out the day! Shout out to Jason Jarvis for these amaz­ing photos!
    lesner inn weddings virginia beach
  • lesner inn weddings virginia beach
  • lesner inn weddings virginia beach
  • Best First Dance:

    • If you’re won­der­ing how to pull off the most roman­tic first dance, just ask the Johnson’s how it’s done. Sharise and Richard John­son con­tracted Stage Right Light­ing to “let it snow” dur­ing their first dance at their win­ter wed­ding. The effect was breathe tak­ing and showed us all some­thing we never thought we would see in the Lesner Hall! Way to keep us on our toes Johnsons!
    Best first dance

    Best Bad Weather Photo:

    • When Mother Nature isn’t on your side, be lucky that your pho­tog­ra­pher always is! Rain or shine, they’re there to cap­ture those pre­cious moments that you don’t want to for­get! Even with some dreary weather, Melinda and William Zack­owski were able to score this beau­ti­ful shot by Eliz­a­beth Friske and have an all-​around beau­ti­ful cer­e­mony and recep­tion with us at the Lesner Inn! Such beau­ti­ful pic­tures are def­i­nitely deserv­ing of the best bad weather pho­tos of 2015!
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    Best Sun­set Photo:

    • The Lesner Inn has a rep­u­ta­tion for gor­geous sun­sets, which obvi­ously makes for incred­i­ble pic­tures! So when it comes to choos­ing who was able to snag the most unfor­get­table sun­set pic on their wed­ding day, we have a lot to choose from! But, by far the most mem­o­rable photo from 2015 was cap­tured by Expo­sure Pho­tog­ra­phy of Amanda and Marc Foreman!
    best sunset photo Amanda and Marc Exposure

    Best First Look:

    • Best first look of 2015 has to go to Jes­sica & Gary Ochs! One of the very many rea­sons we love our job and work­ing in wed­dings is to see the grooms face after he sees his wife for the first time on their wed­ding day. This moment makes us all real­ize that true love does exist and we love to share these beau­ti­ful moments with you! Shout out to Amanda Hedgepeth for the awe­some capture!
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  • Best First Kiss:

    • The antic­i­pated words “you may kiss the bride” can strike both excite­ment and ter­ror in the hearts of brides every­where. The pres­sure is on to have the most per­fect kiss, and Caitlin and Brett Anti­nori sure make this moment look as if they had been prac­tic­ing all of their lives! These two were such a joy to work with, and we’re so happy to have had such an exem­plary cou­ple here with us! Best wishes to you both, and thanks to Alex Mor­ing for snap­ping this pre­cious moment!
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    Best Wed­ding Photos

    • Wed­ding pho­tos are one of the most impor­tant things a bride and groom will take away from their wed­ding day. From pic­tures with your squad to inti­mate pic­tures of the bride and groom they are pic­tures that you will look back on for years to come. Dustin Lewis is an amaz­ingly skilled pho­tog­ra­pher who we have the plea­sure of work­ing with fre­quently at the Lesner Inn, and he was able to cap­ture the most beau­ti­ful moments at Angelique and Andrew Mitchell’s cer­e­mony and recep­tion! This beau­ti­ful cou­ple made Dustin’s job easy, but nonethe­less deserve to be rec­og­nized for hav­ing the best wed­ding pho­tos of 2015!
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    Cham­pagne Cock­tails

    Cham­pagne and cel­e­bra­tions go hand in hand. Whether you’re cel­e­brat­ing a grad­u­a­tion, birth­day, engage­ment or mar­riage, or even just the hol­i­days there will likely be cham­pagne involved. How you serve your cham­pagne how­ever, doesn’t have to be the same old cookie cut­ter way every­one else does! Here are our favorite ways to serve cham­pagne for any celebration!


    • This mix­ture of vodka, cham­pagne, and cran­berry juice will spread some hol­i­day cheer! Serve in your favorite styled glass with ice and an orange twist on top!

    Man­darin Cocktail

    • This sim­ple cit­rus con­coc­tion will have you ready to cel­e­brate just about any occa­sion on a sum­mer day. Just mix man­darin liqueur and cham­pagne in a cham­pagne flute and gar­nish with a clemen­tine peel to get the party started!

    Iced Toddy

    • If you like apple cider and bour­bon then you’ll love this! A mix­ture of apple cider, bour­bon, all­spice dram, and cham­pagne com­pletes this fall favorite!


    • If you’re look­ing for a spin on a clas­sic cock­tail then the G&C is the per­fect cham­pagne cock­tail for your cel­e­bra­tion. Shake up some cran­ber­ries and a pinch of sugar with gin and lime juice and top it off with a splash of champagne!

    Sim­ply Sweet

    • If you love cham­pagne, but are look­ing for a fun and cre­ative way to dress it up, keep it sim­ple by plac­ing a stick of rock candy in a cham­pagne flute. It adds just a bit of sweet­ness to the bit­ter tang of champagne!


    • For a fun and fresh cock­tail just a bit of pear vodka, St. Ger­main, and cham­pagne will do the trick! Gar­nish with a pear slice and you have a refresh­ing bev­er­age to cel­e­brate any occasion!

    8R3A0373 - Colleen and Jason - Amanda Manupella

    Photo cred­its: Amanda Manupella

    Here at Lesner Inn, we love to hear what­ever cre­ative cock­tails you can dream up. If you want to spice up your cel­e­bra­tion, ask one of our event man­agers how we can make your dream cock­tail hap­pen at your sched­uled event!

    Happy hol­i­days!

    Way to Incor­po­rate Loved Ones Who Can’t Attend the Big Day

    For a num­ber of rea­sons, you may have a loved one who won’t be able to attend your wed­ding. Of course we wish they could be with us to share our hap­pi­ness, but there are many ways to feel close to these loved ones on your spe­cial day. From small trin­kets to sen­ti­men­tal dresses here are some of our most cher­ished ways to remem­ber those who can­not attend.

    Remem­brance Charms

    • If you have a favorite pic­ture of some­one you deeply care about, have a small charm made and have it attached to your bou­quet, shoes, or made into jew­elry. You could even do cuff links for men!


    • Did your fam­ily have a spe­cial song that would get every­body on the dance floor? Ded­i­cate a song to those fam­ily mem­bers who can’t attend, and invite the rest of your fam­ily in to par­tic­i­pate in the fun!

    Mem­ory Table

    • Have a table ded­i­cated to remem­ber­ing those who you and your fiancé have lost. Dis­play some pic­tures of your favorite mem­o­ries with them, or even just a sim­ple por­trait of each individual.

    Some­thing Borrowed

    • Every bride needs some­thing bor­rowed before she walks down the aisle, why not make it some­thing that has great sen­ti­ment? If you remem­ber look­ing at your mother, aunt, grand­mother, or even great grandmother’s wed­ding pho­tos and think­ing how beau­ti­ful they looked in their dress, see if they still have it. Some of the most beau­ti­ful wed­ding dresses we have seen have been restored to reflect a more mod­ern time, while still being a piece to remem­ber some­one you care about. You could even do some­thing as sim­ple as choos­ing pieces of jew­elry owned by a loved one.

    View More:

    Pho­tographed by Ash­ley Lester

    Skype Them In

    • For those friends and fam­ily mem­bers who are unable to attend your wed­ding due to sick­ness, dis­tance or deploy­ments, have some­one Skype them in for the cer­e­mony or recep­tion using a phone or tablet. There is a time and place for tech­nol­ogy at a wed­ding but we def­i­nitely give this one the seal of approval.

    We hope that all of your loved ones are able to attend your spe­cial day, but if not, smile and reflect on all of the won­der­ful mem­o­ries you’ve shared!

    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!
    • View More:

      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!

    More Arti­cles …

    • The Knot Best of Weddings - Hall Of Fame: Lesner Inn
    • The Knot Best of Weddings - 2017 Pick
    • The Knot Best of Weddings - 2016 Pick
    • Lesner Inn Catering Club, Best Wedding Venues in Virginia 2016
    • Lesner Inn Catering Club Reviews