How to Make the Most of Your Wedding Website

Everyone is online nowadays. Whether it’s social media, computers, or smart phones, we all spend a decent amount of our days on our phones & online, so why not have your wedding details on a wedding website? It’s is an easy, & generally free, way to give your guests some details that you won’t put on your invitations. The website is more than just throwing up some pictures & telling your guests when & where the wedding will take place. Get into it & get the most out of your website so your guests know all the details!

Basic Essentials
Date, time & location! Even though you may put this information on your invitations, it’s always a good thing to put these basics on your website too in case someone loses the invite. You can even be super nice & put maps or write out directions for your guests if you’re feeling up to it!

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Your Story
We love these!! Although not everyone will read the full story, the guests who do will love to read about all the little details throughout your love story. How you met, how the relationship grew, & of course how he popped the question! The romantic picture you paint will get all of your guests so excited for your big day! Right: Echard Wheeler Photography

Registries
Presents, presents, presents! Where to get them though? Putting your registry on your website is such a help when people are shopping around for your wedding present. Although you never want to make it seem like your guests are obligated to bring a present, you can discreetly put a link to your registry on your website so your guests can have easy access to it.

Logistics
View More: http://stellarexposures.pass.us/beachball17Attire & accommodations! Every guest always asks “What should I wear to the wedding?”, so make it a little easier for them & suggest some things that could go with your wedding theme. If you’re having a rustic, relaxed wedding, you could suggest jeans or if it’s more glamorous, let them know to wear a more formal outfit. Also, if your guests desire to stay overnight before or after your wedding, letting them know of nearby hotels can be a huge help to them. This keeps them from bugging you about where is the best place to stay or having to do all of the research themselves. Another idea is to block off rooms at a local hotel for your guests & let them know that it’s already been done for them!
Left: Stellar Exposures

Online RSVP
This is something that is pretty simple to set up and can be a huge help to your guests who don’t always respond in a timely manner through mail. Some of your guests may also prefer the convenient, cost-efficient way to RSVP.

Using your wedding website in the most effective way possible will take so much stress off the planning process! The little details that your guests worry about will be answered without them even reaching out to you. It’s a great way to communicate with everyone at once so you can have the most stress free planning experience at Lesner Inn!

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How to Prepare for ALL of Your Vendor Meetings

When planning your Lesner Inn wedding, it is important to remember that your vendors are not there to make decisions for you.  We love to offer suggestions when asked but, unless you are dealing with a wedding planner, it is not our duty to make the big decisions.  We’ve recently published a blog to help you prioritize when you should book each of your vendors, but let’s take a closer look at what comes after booking these vendors!

Every vendor’s planning process is different, but here are some of the best tips to make sure that you are prepared for every planning meeting up until your wedding day!

Venue

At Lesner Inn, we have two planning meetings after booking. The first will take place 90 days from the event, and the second will be two weeks out.  If your wedding venue is doing your catering, this is something that you will need to consider before these meetings.

  • 90 Day Meeting: It is best to go into this meeting with at least an idea of details like your menu, floor plan, linens, rental décor, and guest count.  If you have decided that you want a buffet, but can’t decide if you would like to serve beef or fish with your chicken entrée then this is also a great time to sit down for a tasting!  We also ask that you have a general idea of your timeline at the 90 day meeting.  Although we know that this will change several times after you meet with each vendor, we like for you to have a realistic idea of when food is served at Lesner Inn, and the amount of time that it will take from your evening so that this information can be relayed to your other vendors.
  • Final Meeting (2 weeks from wedding): Your final meeting is where all final details and changes must be made to the working contract.  Keep in mind that some of your vendors may require for you to provide a meal for them, so make sure to relay this information to us at this time!

Photographer

Planning with your photographer includes making decisions such as the amount of time they will stay to take photos and what types of photos and poses you are interested in taking.  If you’re unsure of how to respond to these questions, here are some suggestions on what questions to ask yourself before going into the meeting:

  • What is my timeline on the day of, and where is everything happening?
  • What do I want my photographer to capture on my wedding day? (Ex: Getting hair & makeup done, pre-ceremony bridal party photos, sunrise/sunset, first look, ceremony, first dances, cake cutting, reception dancing, special exit, etc.)
  • Where do I want photos to be taken on the day of? If you want photos on Chicks Beach at Sunset then not only should your photographer know, but also your venue/caterer, and MC so that the event can flow seamlessly with no gaps or waiting around.
  • Who do I want photos with? Make a list of specific people that you want photos with to make sure that your photographer will be able to check them off as they go.
  • What kind of photos do I want most? (Candid, posed, group shots, etc.)

Florist

Your florist is going to be interested in several aspects of your wedding design, and you may be overwhelmed with the amount of details they will need.  Here are some of the topics you should be ready to discuss with your florist:

  • What is your color scheme?
  • What linen colors are going to be on the tables?
  • Are there any specific types of florals that you want to be included?
  • Will you be providing your own vases/other containers?
  • What kind of bouquet do you want for you & your bridesmaids? If you’re unsure, then check out this blog from Inside Weddings!
  • Are there any special guests to receive corsages/boutonnieres?
  • How many tables need to be decorated?
  • What would you like for your arch to look like?

Entertainment

Whether you’ve hired a DJ, band, or ukulele player, they’re going to want to know the type of music you will want played during the contracted time.  This includes letting them know that you DO NOT want the “Chicken Dance” played at any time throughout the event.  Additionally, they will need to know your timeline, names of anyone being announced, special dances/games for during the reception and the songs that you want played for each, etc. Don’t forget that 9 times out of 10 your musical entertainment will also be the MC for the event.

Bakery

Obviously this is going to be one of the most enjoyable planning meetings because you get to taste a bunch of sweet treats! Make sure that you are ready to discuss any intricate designs that you want for your cake, so that your bakery can know what you are expecting.

We hope that you are enjoying the planning process and that you keep in mind what this celebration is all about!  Nothing is better than the day you get to walk down the aisle and enjoy a beautiful event with your friends, family, and new spouse!!

The Rehearsal Rundown

We hear it all the time. A few months before a wedding, a couple will anxiously call us asking what time their rehearsal is, when people should get in town, and when they should schedule their dinner. We understand that coordinating flights, travel arrangement and schedules can be hectic so we are here to help! When you book your wedding at Lesner Inn, you are guaranteed one hour for your rehearsal however, we cannot schedule the date and time a year out from the event. Why not? Let us explain.

Let’s say you are getting married on Saturday night and want to have your rehearsal on Friday night at 6:00 PM right before your dinner at 7:30 PM. If we have a wedding starting at 6:00 PM on that Friday night, we unfortunately cannot have two events going on in the same space at once. But fear not! The Waterside Deck and the Sunset Deck are the same layout so you always have the option of using one of the decks for your rehearsal shortly before the other event begins.

We know that not every single couple is comfortable rehearsing in a different space and we completely understand! We try our best to make sure that you get the ideal space and time but sometimes, rehearsals have to be around 3:00 PM or earlier. This is actually a blessing in disguise though! If you have a local bridal party, they don’t have to take too much time off of work. If your bridal party is from out of town, then they have the option of going to check into their hotel, showering, and relaxing from their big day of travel before the rehearsal dinner. Win-win all around!

The last option is to have your rehearsal off-site. If you are having your rehearsal dinner in a place with a large open area, you can easily replicate the ceremony space with your bridal party. Thankfully, the hardest part of a rehearsal is making sure that the first person knows where they are walking. Everyone else just has to follow suit! Your wedding planner or day of coordinator will be a big help during this time to explain the flow of the ceremony and answer any questions that you or your family may have.

If you ever have any questions about booking your rehearsal or your rehearsal dinner with Lesner Inn or one of our sister restaurants, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our sales managers!

Five Unique Guest Book Ideas

A wedding is not complete without a guest book, because how else will you know who to thank for coming? But, how each couple presents their guest book can be totally unique, which we at Lesner Inn LOVE!!! So, for those of you unsure of what you want to do for your guest book, we wanted to help out and share some of our favorite guest book ideas!

For the Wine Fanatics
First off, who doesn’t love a little wine at a wedding? Many of our Lesner Inn couples use wine bottles in their décor, so why not use them as guest books too? Plus, you can save some money on a guest book by just recycling the wine bottles that were going to sit in your recycling bin anyways! Have a bottle or two on display for your guests to sign with a window marker, and let them share some kind words with you!

For the Music Inspired
Is music a huge part of you and your significant other’s relationship? Well, whether you play an instrument or just jam out to some soul music, we love the idea of having an acoustic guitar laid out for guests to sign or even having them sign some of your favorite vinyls!

View More: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trina

Above: Chelsea Anderson Photography

For your Special Theme
There are lots of ways to have your guest book reflect the theme of your wedding! If it’s a rustic or woodland inspired wedding, you could use natural cut wood or a wooden letter of your new last name. If you’re more of a Gatsby gal though, add some black lace to a book or pillow and give the guests a feather pen to write their love with!

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For the Wanderers
If you and your fiancé love to travel, this one is just for you! Put a map of the world in a picture frame and let your guests sign on their favorite city. You could even use a globe and let your guests have fun spinning it around to find the country or city they want to sign!

For the Crafty Originals
There are so many options with this one! Whether it be quilt pieces that you sew together after your big day, letters that guests write and place in a mailbox, or having guests take a Polaroid and place it in a scrapbook to reminisce on, any of these options will let you and your guests bring out their craftiness!

Right: Caitlin Gerres Photography

No matter what you choose for your guest book, your guests will be buzzing with excitement as soon as they walk in the door with all of these unique guest book ideas. Of course, you can always have multiple guest books if you love two or three of these alternatives. After all, it’s your wedding and you can do what you want!

Five Ways to Get your Guests on the Dance Floor

Some people are born for the spotlight while others…well, they tend to wait until the dance floor is filled before they join the crowd. So what do you do when no one will get up to dance at your reception? We have seen lots of tricks at Lesner Inn to get those guests on their feet and thought we would share some of them with you!

Provide dancing shoesLesner-Inn-Party-Wedding-Dancing-Entertainment-Hampton-Roads-Reception
Fancy occasions calls for fancy shoes and unless they dress up on a regular basis, most of your guests will have blisters by the end of the night. Don’t let that be their excuse! Bring a basket of flip flops in varying sizes and have them placed by the DJ once the dance floor opens. This gives your guests the option of kicking off their shoes without having to walk barefoot around the reception all night. Trust us, this is always a crowd pleaser!

The anniversary dance
This one is always a sweet tradition to watch. When the dance floor opens, start the night out with a slow love song and have your DJ ask all married couples to come join you. As the song progresses, have him dismiss couples to stand to the side who have been married for 1 year…5 years…10 years…12 years…15 years. You’ll be left with the couple who has been married the longest and this is a great moment to get advice for a long marriage from them. And now, that everyone is already standing on the dance floor, let the party begin!

Line dancesLesner-Inn-Wedding-Reception-dancing-Virginia-Beach-Fun-Wedding
For those guests with two left feet, sometimes it is helpful when someone tells you what to do so that you are a little more comfortable on the dance floor. Plus it is always hilarious to watch your grandparents learn the Cha Cha Slide!

Glow and foam sticks
Who doesn’t love a prop?! Glow sticks are a fun way to bring the party and get people loosened up. Your youngest guests will obviously love a new toy but you’d be surprised just how many adults go crazy for them. If glow sticks seem too elementary for you, check out LED Foam Sticks. These light up in different colors and at different rates and can be found on Amazon for about $1 each. We won’t tell you how many grown men we’ve seen have light saber duels on the dance floor with these!

Song requests
This one requires a little forethought on your end. When you send out your invitations, include a line on the RSVP card for guests to request a song that will get them on the dance floor. Give this list to your DJ so if he needs a little extra help to get people out there, he knows exactly what they want to hear.

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Of course, having an awesome band or DJ can get the party started but if your guests need a little nudge, we hope these tips will help them to break it down on the dance floor at Lesner Inn!

Photos by Mike Dragon Studios

Wedding Highlights: Jamie & Jill 6/2/2017

Jamie & Jill tied the knot at Lesner Inn on June 2, 2017 in a beautiful ceremony overlooking the Lynnhaven River surround by their family and friends. We spent the year leading up to their wedding day planning and helping them to create their dream wedding. Now that they have had time to relax after the madness of wedding planning, we touched base with them to hear about their big day from their point of view!Love-Pride-Wedding-Lesner-Inn-Waterfront-Virginia-beach-Wedding-Venue

First off, how and when did you meet?

We both teach at the university level and have our Ph.D.’s. It was a job that brought us together. We became instant friends; and were friends for a few years before we started dating.

We love a good proposal story – how did you get engaged?

Well, we actually proposed to each other two weeks apart. Jill proposed first. She planned a fun weekend in Raleigh – seeing Jamie’s favorite singer. Little did Jamie know she would get to meet her favorite singer AND when they got back to the hotel that night, she would be greeted with roses, chocolates, champagne… and, a beautiful ring! Two weeks later, while Jill was at work, Jamie decorated the house with balloons from which she hung photos. In the middle of it all, Jamie proposing to Jill!

Lesner Inn Lesbian Wedding Venue Virginia.jpgWhy did you pick Lesner Inn for your wedding and how long did it take you to find a venue?

Lesner provided us the perfect setting for our wedding… Lesner Hall, with the inside ballroom and outdoor deck, was the perfect setting to make our wedding dreams come true.

What outside vendors did you use and why did you pick them?

  • Fluttering Flowers – we heard so many great things about Debbie, and every venue we visited knew of her and loved her, we just had to check her out for ourselves. Her work was absolutely beautiful.
  • Valerie Betz Photography – Val is one of Jamie’s best friends from High School, so she graciously volunteered her talent for our wedding day.
  • Incredible Edibles Bakery – Jamie needed a gluten free cake, so we contacted those bakeries advertising GF wedding cakes… Incredible Edibles was delicious, so we went with them without even trying any other bakeries.
  • Waterford Event Rentals (Table Cloths/Linens/Napkins) – They were highly recommended, so we used them. The ladies there were wonderful to work with. And, they had the most perfect napkins and table linens to match our colors.
  • Curtis, with Hampton Roads DJ – We found Curtis through an Internet search, gave him a call for more information, and after a short chat we knew he was the right guy for the job.

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What was your vision for your wedding day and did it change throughout the planning process? If so, how?

Right from the beginning, we wanted something “beachy,” with a hint of elegance. And, we got just that – the deck gave us the water and outdoor feel, and the ballroom gave us our elegance.

How did you pick your first dance song and why did you pick it?

Our first dance song, “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran was “our song.” We heard it one day, and felt like it really spoke the words in our hearts. We felt so blessed to have found each other, when neither of us were really looking for love.

What were you most excited about for your wedding day?

Seeing it all come together. We put so much time, energy, and money into planning our special day; we couldn’t wait to see it all come to life. It was just as perfect and beautiful as we hoped it would be!
We also were immensely excited to officially declare our love surrounded by all of our family and friends, those that support us and love us most. It was an incredibly magical moment.

Were there any personal touches that you put on your wedding day that were really special to you?

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One thing that we decided to do was create our own little memorials for those who couldn’t be with us on our special day. Jill’s father passed away several years ago, so she cut a heart out of one of his blue shirts… and, Jamie’s grandfather had passed away in February, so she cut a heart out of one of his favorite jean jackets. We pinned these inside our dresses – as our something old and something blue. We also included other memorial pieces in our bouquets, and on a memorial board for the guests to see.
We also decided to create our own photo booth (which our 16 year old amateur photographer nephew was in charge of). It was a lot of fun finding and painting props, and making the backdrop. As a special gift for our guests, we printed all the photobooth photos and sent them with our thank you’s.
We loved all the little personal touches we added, but our favorite personal touch was writing our own vows. This was something that was really important to us. It was definitely a challenge, but was so worth it. We made each other cry, and our guests! And, now, we have those words to hold onto and live up to forever. 

Are there any funny or silly moments from your wedding day or the planning process that stand out to you?

The entire wedding day was FUN! But this probably was the most memorable “funny moment” — Jamie’s dress was pretty fluffy… 3 bustles were inserted to help hold it all up for dancing (“They are really easy to find,” said the seamstress). Well, it took several people, and their cellphone flashlights, to find 1 of those bustles. We never did find the other 2! Not so easy to find after all!

What advice do you have for other couples planning their wedding?

J+J-105Two of the best pieces of advice we could offer would be: 1) Create a budget and stick to it. Period. You can get really lost in all the little additions or extras that add up. You don’t want to get so caught up in planning the wedding that you lose sight of the most important thing– your marriage and commitment to each other. And, 2) Don’t expect your wedding day to be 100% perfect… but, you can choose to accept any imperfections and just enjoy the day for what it is! The most important things are, of course saying “I do” and being surrounded by those who love and support you. Everything else will likely be a detail you won’t clearly remember. 

Yes! We couldn’t agree with this more. All of your vendors will be working tirelessly to make sure that your wedding day is perfect but sometimes things happen that are out of everyone’s control. Go into your wedding day knowing that – no matter what happens – it will be perfect because you are marrying the love of your life!

Photos by Valerie Betz Photography!

Want to read about more Lesner Inn couples?  Check out Trina & Greg’s Bengali Ceremony & Reception!

CENT$ for CENTERPIECE$

Once the cake has been eaten and the guests have gone home, you are left happily married to the love of your life. And with a lot of boxes of stuff that you have no idea what to do with. If you are like 90% of brides across America, you now have collections of napkins, runners, twinkle lights, and chargers just gathering dust in your attic. Here are a few ways to turn those into cold hard cash!

The most important part about selling online is to make sure that you have pictures of each item. First, sift through all of your wedding photos to see what your photographer captured. It is easiest to sell something from a professional image rather than an iPhone picture of it sitting on your kitchen table. Next, take inventory of the items. Count how many items, take measurements of size and write it all down! This will help you to create an accurate listing when you go to post your items.

There are tons of sites that you can sell your items on but here are a few of the top ones to get you started:

Of course, our old friend eBay is a great option too! Some of these sites do charge a fee on each sale so make sure to check that out when you sign up for each one.  There are also great apps like Offer Up & Let Go for iPhone & Android users!

And hey, this isn’t just for people who are selling items. If you are still looking for the perfect “Choose a Seat Not a Side” sign then don’t down play a good bargain!

Wedding Highlights: Trina & Greg 6/3/2017

Trina & Greg tied the knot at Lesner Inn in a beautiful Bengali ceremony on our Sunset Deck and then partied the night away in Lesner Hall. We loved having the opportunity to learn more about Trina’s culture and get to know the couple throughout the planning process. And we wanted to share more with you! We reached out to Trina & Greg and – amidst her crazy residency schedule – got to hear their side of their big day!

How and when did you meet?View More: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trina

Despite having the same mutual friends for about 10 years before meeting, we finally met a few years ago in Richmond, VA. My friend from high school, Chris, was back in town from the Northeast for his annual college soccer/fraternity reunion weekend. He invited me to meet him and his friends, Greg included, on a Friday night. I decided seeing a good friend from out-of-town warranted a short study break even though I had an exam (medical school) on Monday. Little did I realize how important that study break would eventually be! (We learned shortly after dating that we missed meeting each other by one or two days almost every year for 10 years…) Greg and I hit it off instantly and kept in touch for many months as friends. Greg lived two hours away in North Carolina but visited Richmond often for work and family. We caught up on one of those visits, and the rest is history…

How and when did he propose? (Don’t worry, we cried too)

Greg had the opportunity to take a head soccer coach position at a university in Pennsylvania. We were then five hours apart but visited each other as often as we could. Sometimes meeting in Maryland for a weekend or day trip was the best option due to our crazy schedules. One Friday in late February 2016, we were two weeks into a four week stretch apart. Greg had work obligations the next morning but knew I had the weekend free. He suggested we meet in Annapolis for part of the weekend. He only told me where to meet and what to pack. I was not phased by the lack of detail because he loves to plan surprises. I was just excited to explore Annapolis together and spend [what I thought was] an unanticipated weekend together. I had only been there once before, but Greg was born there and spent many summers coaching at Naval Academy soccer camps. 

We met at the Maryland State House and dropped our things at one of the historic inns. After exploring downtown Annapolis in the afternoon, we headed over to the Naval Academy. We sat on a bench, looking out on the water and city. Greg shared stories about different parts of town, either from family life or summer coaching visits. I was pretty antsy from sitting in the car and suggested we walk more. He asked me to stand with him for a View More: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trinamoment as he pulled me to the center of a huge compass rose on the ground. [The compass rose had turned into a theme for us throughout our relationship for a variety of reasons.] He stood right next to me and said he had to show me a cool tradition before we walked away. He asked me to turn and look west. I looked back across the water as the sun was about to set over the city. He then told me to face north. And last, he said to face east and then watch my shadow. At this point, I was rolling my eyes and laughing, wondering what this strange “tradition” was. That’s when I saw my shadow still standing and his shadow getting down on one knee…

Why did you pick Lesner Inn for your wedding?

We were excited to showcase the local side of Virginia Beach during our wedding. Trina’s family moved close to Chick’s Beach before she started high school. When we come to town, we are usually on/near Shore Drive at the beach or favorite local spots. We stepped into Lesner Inn and instantly fell in love with the beautiful views and the building’s setup. The Sunset Deck provided an outdoor feel with security of a covered deck in case of rainy summer weather. The Lesner Hall was the perfect size and layout for our reception. We also liked the inclusion of tables, linens, catering, beverages, etc. into a package. We were also fortunate that Lesner started offering day-of coordination services at a really reasonable price! 

What vendors did you use and why did you pick them?

Bengali Wedding Bride Lesner Inn Virginia Beach Best Wedding Venue.jpgChelsea Anderson Photography- Chelsea’s images are crisp and very true to life. We could tell how well she would capture the colorful nature of an Indian ceremony. Chelsea is also more than a wedding photographer. She truly believes in marriage and uses her photography to celebrate the concept of marriage beyond the one day of a wedding. Her authenticity is unique! 

Empty Pocket- Band. We found Empty Pocket through Sam Hill entertainment and through the recommendation of a previous Virginia Beach bride. The band’s song list was a full spectrum, much like our music taste, and the singer’s voice is unreal. 

Norfolk Wholesale Floral- Trina’s family had a great experience with them for her sister’s wedding. We actually ended up working with the same florist, Sandie. At our initial meeting, she asked if Trina could show her any photos from Pinterest we had saved. Trina laughed as she said, “I don’t have Pinterest,” and asked about seasonal flowers in the colors we were choosing. We pretty much told Sandie the colors, some of our favorite flowers, and the general look of the arrangements… she took care of the rest!

Bengali Wedding Ceremony Lesner Inn virginia beach 41.jpgBeauty by Sharra- Hair and Makeup. Sharra’s portfolio was amazing and versatile. She included travel fees, which made it feasible for my bridesmaids and me to get ready in the comfort of my parents’ house. She exclusively did my hair and make up. She and another artist split my mother’s and bridesmaids’ hair and makeup. Sharra had such a calming presence throughout the day. She also was very willing to make any adjustments, if needed, so that we all loved our hair and makeup. 

Custom Cake Shoppe- Fantastic customer service and great cake! 

Brahmani Indian Asian Market (Norfolk)- This is Trina’s family’s local go-to for Indian grocery needs. They were able to order gulab jamun and rasmalai in bulk to be served at the reception. 

Coop Design Co (Etsy)- Our guest “book” sign was custom-made by Brianna from an original compass rose design in her shop. The turn around was quick, and we love the sign on our wall! 

View More: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trina

Edison, NJ Indian shops- A large selection of Indian apparel and other goods. Greg’s ceremony outfit was made by Maharani Fashions. Trina’s wedding sari was a banarasi silk sari, which is customary of Bengali brides, from Miss India. 

Studio I Do Bridals-  Ashley, the owner, is a high school classmate of mine. I loved seeing the growth of this local store as well as the inventory she posted through the store’s social media. After trying quite a few dresses that didn’t seem quite the right fit, Ashley found the gown I ultimately chose, a Maggie Sottero gown. The gown was gorgeous and actually comfortable. The style also somewhat blended Indian and American culture, just in the way we wanted our wedding. (Also, I actually bought my prom dress from this store when it was solely All The Rage… and Ashley was there then, too!) 

We loved getting to learn more about your culture and all of the traditions. Can you explain what all of them were for anyone who may not have attended an Indian wedding?

This is a very brief synopsis/explanation but hopefully helpful for those less familiar!

The Vedas (ancient scripture) describe the rituals of Vivaha (Hindu wedding). Some specific traditions vary from region to region, and our wedding was of classic Bengali (of the state West Bengal) tradition. We infused Christian elements throughout to celebrate Greg’s heritage as well. 

Lesner Inn Greg and Trina Indian Wedding92.jpgThe wedding begins with the bride’s mother and friends welcoming the groom with arati (a worship ritual). He then stands on a piri (platform) to wait for the bride. She is carried on her own piri by brothers (in our case, Trina’s cousins and close friend). She holds betel leaves in front of her eyes as the group carries her around the groom seven times. After the seventh time, she removes the leaves from her face to share the first shubhodrishti (first auspicious look). The bride and groom then exchange garlands three times. This all occurs under a chadna (canopy). 

The bride’s father then accompanies the bride, groom, and priest on the mandap (marriage stage). The bride’s father joins the bride’s and groom’s hands above a holy pitcher before the priest ties a knot between their garments. The couple then lights a holy fire before making offerings and circling the fire three times. Next, they take saptapadi (seven steps), where the bride steps on each bowl individually with the groom’s assistance. Each step represents a promise: to unify spiritual thoughts, to seek mutual happiness, to be faithful, to be righteous to one another, to be kind to all creation, to act towards good name and fame, and to seek friendship, affection, and fidelity. Waterfront Indian Wedding Lesner Inn Virginia Beach Trina and Greg 16.jpg

The couple then exchange vows in Sanskrit that mean “Let my heart be yours and yours be mine. Be a full partner in my enterprises; merge your thoughts with mine. May the Almighty make us one.” They pray to the fixed North Star as a symbol of their now permanent tie. The priest presents a seed-bearing fruit as a symbol that will later be shared by the couple. The groom then applies sindur (vermillion powder) to the bride’s forehead/part to signify her as his bride. They then exchange rings before making the final offering and extinguishing the fire. The priest then sprinkles them with holy water before announcing them as officially husband and wife. 

How did you pick your first dance song and why did you pick it?

Civil Wars- Sacred Heart. One day early in our relationship, we both happened to listen to songs in French. Neither of us speak or have studied French, so this was very random. We shared them with each other, and this song ended up sticking as our song. The chorus has a line “Seulement Toi,” meaning “only you.” 

What were you most excited about for your wedding day?

Hard to pick just one! We were excited to start our marriage with stunning views as the backdrop and to share the evening with our closest friends and family. We were also excited to have a ceremony and reception that paid homage to both families’ cultures. 

Were there any personal touches that you put on your wedding day that were really special to you?

Ceremony items: We used Trina’s mom’s wedding sari as the canopy in the ceremony. The piris were built by Trina’s father and designed/painted by Trina for her sister’s wedding. They hope to pass them down as the generations go by. Trina also designed the compass rose [by hand] that was used on our programs and wedding table numbers. 

View More: http://chelseaandersonphotography.pass.us/greg-and-trina

Ceremony structure: We infused some Christian/American elements into our Hindu ceremony- having a traditional bridal party with a procession, exchanging Christian vows, and including a reading of one of our favorite poems. We also included music that represented that fusion: traditional Indian wedding music, The Beatles, Sara Bareilles, and Anoushka Shankar with Norah Jones. 

Spice jar favors: We loved the idea of a practical/useful favor. We ordered bulk Indian spices, small spice jars, and labels/tags to put these together. We were serving the delicious choices from Lesner Inn’s menu for our reception but wanted to [literally] add some Indian flavor for guests. Each jar had a label with the ingredients and a tag with a recipe. 

What was the biggest mistake you made during the planning process? (Not that you made any mistakes!)

We were really lucky to have Alexis and Cayleen as our [ABC] day-of coordinators. Not having them would have been our biggest mistake!! We handed everything over 2 weeks prior. Their detail-oriented work ensured that all went smoothly, especially when they coordinated some unanticipated changes in the schedule during the night. 

What advice do you have for other couples planning their wedding?

Have fun with it! Remember what the day truly means- you are surrounded by family and friends who are celebrating the start of your marriage. Think of each decision, small or big, about representing that notion. And definitely have at least day-of coordination so that you can just enjoy your night without any tasks in mind! 

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Almost three months later, and we still cannot get enough of Trina & Greg’s story!  What a beautiful couple that we were lucky enough to have at Lesner Inn for their wedding!  These doctors are a power couple to look out for, and we can’t wait to see what amazing things they accomplish together!

Photos by Chelsea Anderson Photography!

10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue (and all of the answers!)

On average, we meet with 1,000 newly engaged couples a year and spend 30 minutes or more discussing options for their wedding at Lesner Inn. That means we spent 20.83 days a year (500 hours) talking to potential clients about initial booking. We have found that these potential clients are all asking the same great questions, so we’re here to provide newly engaged couples with the answers! Read on for the 10 questions to ask your wedding venue!

#1: Is my date available?

Unless you are flexible with your date, make sure to ask your venue if they are available before you begin your tour. We hate seeing a couple fall in love with Lesner Inn only to find out that we are already booked on their date. To avoid this, have a few date options in mind before you begin your tour. While we’re on the subject of your date, don’t ever send out a save the date before you book your wedding venue! This puts you at risk for not having your vendor dream team, and of course not being able to have your wedding at your dream venue!

#2: What is the maximum capacity of the space?

We love that we offer two different spaces to accommodate both small and large scale events and it is important for couples to know maximum capacities for both. If you are looking for a smaller space, our Waterside Deck is a great option! With space for a 110 person seated event (plated or buffet), it can also be used for groups as small as 25. For larger events, our Lesner Hall can accommodate up to 200 guests for a plated meal with space for a dance floor too!

#3: What happens if it rains?Rainy-wedding-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach-weather-proof-venue-Echard-Wheeler

This is a great question and so important to ask in a coastal area! Our Waterside Deck is a fully enclosed space so your event can still go on even in the midst of hurricane season. Lesner Hall is an indoor space and our ceremonies are typically on the Sunset Deck which is a covered, open deck. However, unless you have high winds, your outdoor ceremony can still happen! If you have your heart set on tying the knot outside, this is perfect for you because your guests will be kept safe and dry but still have an awesome view.

Above: Echard Wheeler Photography

#4: What is included in my rental fee?

Always, always, always ask this! Not all venues offer tables, chairs, linens and set up and breakdown like Lesner Inn does. This can be a huge cost to factor into your budget. All of our event packages offer a variety of tables, chiavari chairs, linens, set up and breakdown of all of these items, flatware, glassware, chinaware and all catering supplies.  Some of our packages even offer your table decor!

#5: Where do my guests park?

All Lesner Inn events come with a complimentary parking attendant to help direct guests as they arrive on the property and all of our staff parks offsite. We are under the same ownership as Bubba’s, Back Deck, The Shellfish Company and the Lynnhaven Fishing Company so we have plenty of overflow parking. On a Saturday night during peak season, we have 300 guests in the building and never have issues with parking. Why not a valet? We find that valets tends to slow down service when all of the guests are arriving at the same time. You wouldn’t want someone to be late to the wedding because they were waiting in line for their car to be valeted.

#6: Are there any hidden fees that I should watch out for?

Nope! All of Lesner Inn’s costs are clearly spelled out in all of our pricing and menus. We even let you know what the state tax is so you have all of the information you need. We love to create estimates so don’t hesitate to ask your event manager for one. This will show you a breakdown of all costs so you can see everything that you are paying for.

#7: Do you have a preferred vendors list that I have to stick to?

Nope! We think you should be able to build your dream team of vendors and we love to meet new photographers, DJs, florists, coordinators and bakers. There is no additional fee for bringing an outside vendor in so if your dad wants to be the DJ and your sister wants to be the photographer, we think that’s great! But if you aren’t familiar with any wedding vendors, we have a suggestion list to help you start your search for reliable vendors. And the vendors on our list offer discounts to couples that book their wedding at Lesner Inn!

#8: Where do I get ready?View More: http://kirstynmarie.pass.us/sarahmike

Lesner Hall comes with a beautiful bridal suite that lets in lots of natural light. It makes for great pre wedding photos that you can find on our Facebook and Instagram. Go give us a follow and check it out for yourself!

Right: Kirstyn Marie Photography

#9: Do you offer a military discount?

Yes! We offer all military weddings a discount of 50% off of our Silver package as a thank you for your service.

#10: I’m in! How do I book?

Lesner Inn requires a non-refundable deposit of 25% of the estimated cost of your event. Your next payment will be due 90 days before your event and will be 50% of the remaining balance. You will also sit down with your event manager at this time to discuss the details of your event like menu, linens, and floor plan. Two weeks prior to your event, we require all final numbers as well as final payment. Three easy payments and you’ve paid off your wedding!

Did we not cover all of your questions? Give us a call or shoot us an email at info@lesnerinn.com to schedule your tour!

Luxe Tuxes for the Special Men on Your Wedding Day!

We know we focus a lot on the ladies involved in Lesner Inn weddings, but it’s time to let the men shine! The Black Tux has great tuxedos for all of the men involved in your wedding day. If you’re looking for a tux that goes with your summer wedding theme, Black Tux has great rentals to let your men keep up with the latest trends in weddings too!

We’re going back to basics this year with natural tones, and you can make the men involved in your wedding rock this trend! The perfect pair for natural tones, is of course pops of green! Have them keep it simple with a classy tan suit from Black Tux, and bring this trend to life with a green tie & boutonniere like Jonathan did for him & Andrea’s jungle theme wedding!

Winston Veranga Photography

Another fun trend for men is adding prints to their ensemble! We love the green striped bowtie and polka dotted pocket square! How awesome would a floral print accent look with this natural greenery look though?

Green-2017-Wedding-Trend-Virginia-Beach-Waterfront-Wedding-Tracey-Sanders-PhotographyTracey Sanders Photography

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Another one of our FAVORITE classics is blue & blush. Such a perfect pair of colors can be displayed in any way you want, especially when it comes to the suits rented from the Black Tux!

One of our favorite new trends in men’s wedding fashion is sporting a colorful suit! Check out this rose colored suit for the bold groom or wedding guest!

They say that real mean wear pink, but of course we cannot forget how classic a man looks in a blue suit!

Blue-Suit-Wedding-Trend-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn-David-Champagne-Photography.jpgDavid Champagne Photography

There are so many other classic suit styles for the important men on your wedding day, but when they’re deciding on what to wear don’t forget to think about the latest summer trends!