Budget Tips for your Big Day

We know that most engaged couples are on a budget. Of course, the budget varies from couple to couple but we see that most couples tend to have a number that they would like to stick below. With that in mind, we have come up with some handy tips to make sure you & your fiancé have a beautiful wedding, but stay within the budget!

A major way to cut the cost of your wedding is to cut your guest list. I know, I know, you want every family member & every friend you’ve ever met to come spend this special day with you, but this is one of the easiest ways to cut costs if you’re trying to stay within a budget. You can also look into having your wedding during the off-peak season. There are plenty of days in the early winter & spring months that would be beautiful for your big day! Off-peak months differ for each venue, but at Lesner Inn our off-peak months are January – March & November, so start thinking outside of those “normal” wedding months!

View More: http://elizabethfriskephotography.pass.us/lesner-inn-style-shoot

Elizabeth Friske Photography

Another idea for cutting costs & staying within your budget is to use in-season flowers. Talk with your florist to see which flowers match your colors, but are still in season. You never know, you may be surprised with some gorgeous flowers you never heard of! You can also discuss using more greenery than flowers for centerpieces & arch décor. Greenery is gorgeous & is a perfect go-to when you want to cut flowers, but still have stunning designs!

Budget-Wedding-DIY-Waterfront-Wedding-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn-Caitlin-Gerres.jpgNothing is trending more right now in the wedding industry than a DIY wedding for couples with a wedding budget. We know that you obviously can’t DIY everything, but there are a few things that you can DIY to keep costs low. Using wine bottles as vases for your centerpieces can be so cute & inexpensive (try dipping them in paint or glitter to match your color scheme)! DIY the seating chart or welcome message by finding an old window, mirror, or chalkboard to write on. If you’re up for it, you can make all of your own signs so your guests are turning every corner to see your creativity! These are only a couple of ideas, so hop onto our Pinterest board to see what other DIY projects catch your eye for your wedding day!

Caitlin Gerres Photography

Want pretty stationary but your eyes grew wide at the cost? Think about making your own Save the Dates & Invitations! This can be a super fun way to pull out your artsy side & customize your stationary. Don’t think you’re creative enough to make your own? There are plenty of websites that offer templates that you can use for a much smaller dollar amount than going through a company. You even get the perk of printing your own stationary & not have to wait for it in the mail! Save even more money by having your guests RSVP on your wedding website or an app instead of paying for all of paper & postage for the responses!

Reach Out to Talented Friends & Family
If you have any friends or family members that are talented in photography, baking cakes, or something else related to a wedding, you can keep costs low by hiring them instead of a professional! On the contrary, we know you want to save money but just keep in mind that if you’re super picky about something (which you’re allowed to be, because it is your wedding), then you may want to leave the vendor work to the professionals. Of course, if you’re totally confident in your friend or family member because they’re spectacular at what they do, then definitely ask them to help out to save some money! At Lesner Inn, we have a preferred vendors list that we give to each of our couples, but we always make sure you know that you can use whomever you’d like for their vendors, so a friend or family member is always an option!

You may not be able to use all of these ideas, but you can use one or two or even think of some of your own to stay within your budget! There are so many ways that you can save a few bucks but still have a beautiful wedding. The most important part is that no matter if you go over budget, take some “traditional” things out to save money, or don’t have professional vendors, at the end of the day, you get to marry your best friend & that’s what you will remember the most!


Best of 2017!

We’ll be honest. We think that we have the best job on Earth because every day is a party at Lesner Inn! Every Monday, we meet to recap the weekend’s events & have been keeping a running list of some of the most memorable weddings of 2017. At the end of each year, we sit down to go over all of these lists & pick our favorites to share with you, our past, present, & future couples!

We hope you enjoy scrolling through some of the most beautiful, touching & even comical moments from Lesner Inn over the past year!

Best Something Old

As the saying goes, you must have something old, something new, something borrowed & something blue on your wedding day. Courtney nailed it with her something old by altering her mother’s wedding dress for her own wedding. Her mom did not get to see the dress until the day of & the result gave us all chills!

Below: Love Simply Photography


Best Something Borrowed

Continuing along the path of something old, new, borrowed & blue, Liz’s something borrowed pulled at our heart strings when she wore a bracelet from each of her grandmothers. We love that she tied in both sides of her family on her wedding day!

Below: Beth Hamilton Photography


Best Something Blue

Elizabeth made sure not to forget a single bit of blue on her wedding day & we loved her take on a coastal wedding. They even kicked off the day with blue champagne!

Below: Echard Wheeler Photography


Best-Cake-Waterfront-Venue-Lee-Yen-photographyBest Cake

This amazing creation by Whipped Up by Mimi quite literally takes the cake for the year! We see so many different styles of cake but we were head over antlers for this rustic naked cake. Oh & those antlers…they’re pure white chocolate!

Right: Lee Yen Photography

Best Cake Smash

Tim & Kate cracked us up from day one & that didn’t stop after they said “I do”! These two have such a laid back style & didn’t feel the pressure of wedding planning one bit. Kate clearly wasn’t worried about what Tim’s white shirt would look like after she smashed cake into his face, and we found it hysterical!

Below: Echard Wheeler Photography


Best Dessert Alternative

Amanda & Surge aren’t big cake people so, instead of a traditional wedding cake, they brought in Confetti Gelato! We knew that we loved this sweet couple but, when they told us that they were skipping the cake & going for gelato instead, we knew that they were meant to roll with the coordinators at Lesner Inn!

Below: Wasin French Photography


View More: http://ashleypetersonphotography.pass.us/cammaratawedBest Cake Topper

Justin & Ariel weren’t messing around when they picked out their cake topper!  We got such a kick out of this one that we had to award it best cake topper of 2017!

Left: Ashley Peterson Photography

Best Bridal BouquetBest-Bridal-Bouquet-Virginia-Beach-Wedding-Venue-Luke-and-Ashley-Photography

Kelly Gish, you are the florist of the year with this incredible bouquet! We loved Nelson & Nicole’s color palette for their wedding & the flowers were just the cherry on top of a beautiful day. Check out those small pops of purple nestled in the arrangement!

Below: Luke & Ashley Photography

Best Ceremony

It’s rare that a bride & groom can surprise us with something new, but we are pretty sure that this is our first couple to get married ON the water. Morgan & Jake sailed out into the Lynnhaven River with their immediate families to tie the knot while their guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the Waterside Deck. This beautiful moment is definitely the most unique ceremony of 2017!

Below: Lee Yen Photography


Best First Look

Mike, you HANDS DOWN had the best reaction of any groom seeing his bride for the first time when Alishia walked down the aisle. We are so glad Dustin Lewis captured this moment!

Below: Dustin Lewis Images


View More: http://kellydierphotography.pass.us/lesch-wilson-bridal-partyBest Kiss

The moment that we saw this photo, we knew that it had to be awarded the best kiss of 2017. We love that this groomsmen got down on his hands & knees to give Jonathan a boost to his bride!

Right: Kelly Dier Photography

Cutest Ring Bearer & Flower Girl

Alright, so these two actually weren’t from the same wedding but we were so taken with them that we had to award them cutest ring bearer and cutest flower girl. Kayleigh & Wayne created this “Ring Security” badge for this little guy to make sure that everyone knew what his main job was. And even though it took a little nudging from their coordinator, Kyle & Amy’s flower girl strutted her stuff down the aisle once she realized that she was the center of attention!

Left: Jason Jarvis Photography  –  Right: Dragon Studios

Best Décor

Style Events did it again with one! Meghan & Craig had a beautiful wedding with long banquet tables, stunning linens from Waterford Event Rentals & romantic florals from Palette of Petals. Their use of creative floor plans & floating florals on the arch wins them the best décor of 2017!

Below: Echard Wheeler Photography


Best Theme

We will be the first to admit that we were a little confused when Tim & Kate told us that theme of their wedding was going to be America. But these two are the goofiest, most fun-loving people so we knew that we were in for a treat. They tied the knot on Memorial Day weekend & requested that all of their guests wear white with patriotic flair, had Statue of Liberty centerpieces, & danced to God Bless the USA for their first dance while their guests surrounded them waving American flags. Hands down, the best theme of the year!

Below: Echard Wheeler Photography


Best StationeryBest-Stationary-Wedding-Stationary-Ideas-Wasin-French

One of the parts of the planning process that we rarely get to see is the invitation suite. Every once in a while though, a couple will bring them in so the photographer’s can snap a few photos of them. We loved Nelson & Nicole’s trendy invites with the agate textured background!

Right: Wasin French Photography

Best Traditional Wedding

We see all sorts of family, religious & cultural traditions at Lesner Inn. This year we were lucky enough to be able to learn about the Bengali culture during Trina & Greg’s wedding ceremony. They incorporated both of their traditions into their marriage ceremony & you can read much more about the traditions and customs in their wedding spotlight here!

Below: Chelsea Anderson Photography


Best Exit

Oh hello beautiful Lynnhaven River! We love when couples utilize the water for a boat exit or entrance &, even though it was a misty day, Thomas & Lauren still sailed away in style. This boat exit won the best exit of 2017!

Below: Dragon Studio


Best-First-Dance-Ballroom-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach-Reception-Kelly-Marie-PhotographyBest First Dance

Tyler & Rachael’s first dance gave us all the feels & when we saw this photo from Kelly Marie, we knew that they stole the spotlight for 2017. What is better than a handsome man in uniform spinning his new wife around the dance floor?

Right: Kelly Marie Photography

Best-Sunset-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach-Winston-Veranga-Photography.jpgBest Sunset

Lesner Inn is FAMOUS for the epic sunsets that you can catch every evening from the venue. While there were 365 contenders, Jon & Andrea win the award for the best sunset photo of 2017!

Left: Winston Veranga Photography

Best Party Crowd

Everyone looks forward to a wedding for the drinking, dancing, & love. Jordan & Nicole’s guests were no different but these guys REALLY came to party! Check out the top right photo, even Grandma got in on that open bar action!

Below: David Champagne Photography


Best Dressed

This category is a liiiiittle deceiving, but it is going three years strong now! We aren’t quite sure what makes guests want to strip down on the dance floor, but anyone who does definitely deserves to win best dressed!

Below: Dragon Studios


Best-Rainy-Wedding-Rainy-Weddings-Bryan-Myhr.jpgBest Rainy Wedding

Rain on your wedding day isn’t what most couples hope for, but sometimes Mother Nature has another idea in store for us. Kent & Haley rolled with the punches so well when it started to pour right before their ceremony, but luckily our Sunset Deck is covered so you can still have your outdoor ceremony, even with a little inclement weather. Because of their positive attitudes all day, they get the award for best rainy wedding of 2017!

Left: Bryan Myhr Photography

Best Groomsman Photo

Guys can be goofy… but this crew really had us giggling! We love that they took posing into their own hands by stealing the bridesmaid’s bouquets.

Below: Jason Jarvis Photography


Best Squad Pic

Amanda & Matt got busted with their squad when the First Landing State Park rangers jumped in on the action. Nothing says a party like some flashing lights & sirens!

Below: Dustin Lewis Images


Best Personal Touch

Jamie & Jill hid a little personal touch inside of their wedding dresses. Here is what they told us when we asked about these blue hearts:

“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.”

You can read more about their wedding on their wedding spotlight.

Below: Valerie Betz Photography


2017 came & went so quickly, & we cannot thank the people & vendors we worked with this year enough for making our weddings such a success!  We can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store, & to meet all of the wonderful, beautiful couples who will tie the knot at Lesner Inn with us in the years to come!

Wedding Highlights: Amanda & Matt 8/5/2017

Sunset-Deck-Ceremony-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach.jpgAmanda & Matt got married at Lesner Inn on August 5, 2017 on our Sunset Deck.  The ladies at Lesner Inn had the pleasure of coordinating their wedding, where we had a great time getting to know them & their families!  After learning a little bit more about them, we love how much of their wedding details match up to the details of their love story!  We hope you enjoy the details as much as we did!

How & when did you meet?

We met the summer before my third year of pharmacy school. I was meeting a friend at the bar and her boyfriend invited Matt. As we started talking,  I tried to describe this amazing drink I had just discovered- a Margarona. We decided to order a round of margaritas and coronas at the bar to make our own. Little did I know that the margarita need to be frozen to prevent spillage.  I spilt it all over the bar. For months, Matt had me listed as margarona in his phone.

How & when did you get engaged? (We know, this story is so sweet!)

We got engaged in Jamaica in October 2016. Matt was waiting for the perfect time to propose. It rained every evening we were there. We were walking to dinner one night, umbrella in hand, when he pulled me aside. I was walking fast in an attempt to get to dinner (I really love food). He finally grabbed my arm and said “If you would just slow down for a minute, I’m trying to ask you to marry me.”

What made you pick Lesner Inn as your wedding venue?

I knew I wanted to get married on the water, but I didn’t want the unpredictable weather to be a factor. The Lesner Inn had amazing reviews. It turned out to be the perfect location. We were able to have the ceremony/reception at the same location. The food was phenomenal and the views were amazing.


What vendors did you choose for your wedding day & why did you choose them?

  • Photography- Dustin Lewis– A friend recommended him. He had previous experience photographing at the Lesner Inn, and great reviews. He was so easy to work with and our photos were stunning!
  • Mary’s Flower Works– Another recommendation from a friend/family member. She did an amazing job.
  • Astro DJ– Astro DJ had great reviews. They were quick and responsive to emails. They even let one of the guest sing karaoke to “ICE, ICE, Baby”.
  • Flawless/Blushtones– I researched hair and makeup artists for months. This was one of the more important details to me. They had great reviews. I knew after the hair/make-up trial, that I had chosen correctly.

Margarita-machine-wedding-signature-drink-Lesner-Inn-Virginia-Beach.jpgWe LOVED your Pittsburgh cookie table!  What is the story behind this tradition?

My husband is from Pittsburgh. I’m not sure of the origin of the tradition, but a true Pittsburgh wedding is not complete without dozens of homemade cookies. Matt’s mom came down a week early to get all the baking done.

What was your favorite detail (big or small) from your wedding & why?

Renting a margarita machine. Our signature drink was the “Margarona”, and our guests loved it.

What made you decide to use a steel drum band for your ceremony & cocktail hour entertainment?

I wanted to create a “beachy” vibe. The sound of steel drum bands reminds me of the Caribbean.


How did you handle the stress of wedding planning?  Were there any hiccups along the way?

I am a type “A” person. I sat down and created a list of everything that need to be done and scheduled time each week to complete the task. Most of the wedding planning was done in a couple of months. This allowed me to focus on the small details. We had one hiccup the day of. The shuttle bus forgot to pick up the guests. Luckily Cayleen and Alexis were able to handle the situation. I highly recommend a day of coordinator for this exact situation.


Is there anything that you wish you had done differently or that you had thought of in advance?

I wouldn’t change a thing.

What advice would you give other couples getting ready to plan their wedding?

Stay organized and book vendors as soon as possible. Remember, something is bound to go wrong the day of, but in the end it won’t matter.

What great words of advice!  Even if you do everything right in the planning process, just remember you can’t always expect the unexpected.  All you can do is roll with the punches, and make sure that you hire the help of coordinators to handle any issues that may arise!

Photos by Dustin Lewis Images

Wedding Highlights: Courtney & Justin 10/28/2017

Courtney & Justin said “I do” at Lesner Inn on October 28, 2017 with family & friends all around. The year before the wedding, we spent a lot of time getting to know them, laughing with them, & helping to plan their big day. Now they are back from their honeymoon enjoying life as Mr. & Mrs., & we just couldn’t wait to share their story with you!

How & when did you meet?

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (25).jpgJustin and I met at Old Dominion University in the fall of 2007. I reached out to my friend, who was also Justin’s college roommate at the time, because I was in desperate need of tutoring for an accounting class. Justin wasn’t great at math – but with his charming personality we hit it off!

How & when did you get engaged?

We got engaged at the Old Dominion Homecoming game on September 24, 2016. Justin wanted to propose right where it all began! He popped the question in front of the “Big Blue” lion statute. We were met with applause and cheers from fellow Monarchs who were there celebrating the “big game.” ODU even posted the news on their Facebook page!

Why did you pick Lesner Inn for your venue?

We looked at other venues but when we arrived at Lesner Inn we knew this was “it”! The location provided the perfect atmosphere for us to say “I do”!

What outside vendors did you use & why did you choose them?

We had amazing vendors that truly made our day so spectacular!

  • Our photographer, Dustin Lewis, was recommended from the Lesner Inn “preferred vendor list”. After meeting him, we knew his personable approach to photography and artistic vision would be the perfect match for us.
  • Our videographer, Intellect Media, we met at a bridal show. After looking at sample videos online from several different vendors, the production quality of Intellect Media’s video was reminiscent of a big-budget Hollywood film. After meeting with both Marcus and Eric, we knew their professionalism and knowledge of their craft would be the perfect way to capture our love story on our special day.
  • I met our florist Debbie from Fluttering Flowers at a bridal show also. Her flair for floral arrangements and genteel persona was a winning combination.
  • Based off of the recommendation from several vendors we sought out Deb from Incredible Edibles for our cake. We went into the cake tasting and Deb was so accommodating and helpful in deciding what “sweet treats” we would offer our guests.
  • We knew from the beginning we wanted Astro DJ to provide the entertainment for the evening. Rodney Charles had been a DJ for a friend’s wedding the year prior. His style and choice of music meshed perfectly with our idea for a “great night”.
  • I met Waterford Event rentals at a bridal show. After meeting with Rebecca who was so helpful and kind, I knew that I had to use some of their beautiful linens to “complete” my wedding look!
  • I met Soirees by Lauren at a bridal show. I hired them for day of coordination and they helped me to feel like a guest at my own wedding!

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (30)

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

The vision for my wedding day was to have a beautiful, fun-filled day that I would not forget! Throughout the process, some of my ideas changed slightly – but overall, I kept my “end frame” in sight which was to focus on marrying my best friend and celebrating one of the best days of my life!

Did you have a theme? If so, how did you choose it?

Our theme for the wedding was “Old Hollywood”. We chose this theme because Justin is a huge fan of films (he has a collection of over 1800 blue rays) and I love anything glamorous and from that era. We used cinematic elements such as each table was a name of a film, having a “popcorn” bar, etc. Our colors were black, gold, ivory, and blush to bring in those “Old Hollywood” elements.

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (49)

What were you most excited about for your wedding day?

We were most excited to have all of our family and friends in one room to help us celebrate this huge milestone in our lives.

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (54)Were there any personal touches that you put on your wedding day that were really special to you?

On our cake, we had two brooches that were from each of our grandmothers who had passed away. We were very close to them so this was a way of having them there. We also had our grandparents wedding photos on the cake table as a tribute to them.

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

Everyone dancing and enjoying the music at the reception to include two elderly family members grooving on the dance floor with their walkers.

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

Our advice is to enjoy the “journey” of wedding planning. It is easy to get caught up in the stress and “perfection” that a wedding has to be but remember the most important thing is that you are getting married. No one will notice if the decorations are not in the right order or if a bow is not correct, what your guests will take away from a wedding is the overall feeling of fun and enjoyment they experienced.

Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach (12).jpg

They definitely hit the nail on the head with that advice! Planning can become stressful if you let it, but just enjoying every bit of the process is what makes it so fun. At the end of the day the most important thing is that you are marrying your best friend surrounded by the people who love you most!

Photos from Dustin Lewis Images!

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!


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

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.

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!

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!


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!


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.)


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?


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.


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!


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.



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.


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?


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!