Choosing the Right Seating Plan for Your Wedding Reception

It’s safe to say that no one is ever truly prepared for the stresses that come from planning a wedding. Even some of the seemingly simple decisions will require extra care when you and your fiancé are planning. One thing that you should designate a lot of time to is your guests’ seating arrangement. Before creating your floor plan, figure out which type of seating arrangement will work best for you, your guests, and your reception.

Assigning Guests to a Specific Seat

This is the most formal seating chart that will also take the most time on your part. This arrangement works best if you’re inviting a lot of people from very different groups! You know your guests best, and assigning your guests to specific seats allows you to sit people with common interests next to each other. It will also guarantee that couples and families won’t be split up. This type of plan also gives you the opportunity to keep people separated who may not get along. To let your guests know where to sit, create a seating chart, so guests can find the right table where their place card sits!

Dustin Lewis Photography

Assigning Guests to a Table

This is the most common seating arrangement we’ve seen at Lesner Inn. Assigning your guests to specific tables will guarantee that parties and couples won’t be split up, reducing guest anxiety! This also allows you to place people who are like-minded together. You are able to create group tables for your family members, your friend group from college, your coworkers, and everyone who attends your wedding. Set up place cards with table numbers written on them or a seating chart to let guests know what table they’re assigned! This option is also great for allowing guests to sit next to whomever they want at their table.

No Seating Chart

Letting your guests have free reign on picking their seats can be great, but there are some things to keep in mind when you decide to nix the seating chart! You should reserve a table or two for you and your fiancé’s families. Parents and grandparents want to be seated close to you, so they can see everything that’s going on throughout the night! Also, add extra seats to your seating plan. This will help to make sure parties and couples don’t get split up for dinner, when there’s only one seat here and there throughout the room. Keep in mind; if you want to have a plated meal, you have to have a seating chart designating which guests are at which table so we can deliver the correct meal to them!

Caitlin Gerres Photography

Ultimately, you want your guests to feel comfortable with who they’re sitting with at dinner. Your tables should encourage conversation throughout the night between your guests. Knowing your guests and the relationships they have with one another will help you decide which type of seating arrangement is perfect for your wedding reception!

Fall Weddings on the Water

Summer may be cooling down, but wedding season is heating up. Fall weddings are becoming more and more popular with brides and grooms. Although most people think of barn weddings for the fall, having a fall wedding on the water offers so many great benefits for the bride, the groom, and their guests. Considering the gorgeous views and added benefits of our venue, having a fall wedding at the Lesner Inn just makes sense!

Both of our spaces are perfect for a wedding in any season, but fall can be especially beautiful! Our Lesner Hall is designed with neutral colors, allowing couples to use linens, uplighting, centerpieces and more, to completely transform the space into the perfect fall inspired reception. With the Lesner Hall comes our beautiful outdoor Sunset Deck, which allows your guests to enjoy the cool fall breeze on the water. Our Waterside Deck is a more casual space with romantic lighting from paper lanterns and twinkle lights, and rustic floorboards. With just a few fall-themed decorations, you can really enhance the overall atmosphere of the room for your event. Opening the deck’s windows will also bring in the crisp fall air as your guests dance the night away!

Ross Costanza Photography

Thinking of fall makes us all excited for the savory, comfort food that comes with it. Working with our chef, you can offer your guests your perfect fall feast!  An additional fun idea would be to add a candy bar at the end of the night, transporting your guests back to one of the best fall holidays, Halloween. Another fall food addition would be to offer pie instead of wedding cake! Nothing says “fall” more than a homemade apple or pumpkin pie, except maybe candy apples!

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Kinstler Photography

Fall weather can be great with warm days and cool nights, but it also comes with some pretty unpredictable weather. Although hurricane season can cause some problems in the Hampton Roads area, the Lesner Inn offers the perfect mix between an indoor and outdoor venue for you and your guests. We won’t let the rain ruin your perfect day!

Another fun fall addition can be at your wedding’s bar! Consider adding some fall signature drinks to the menu for your guests. Although our bartenders can make any classic drink from our house and premium liquors, work with your event managers to offer some great fall beverages. Consider offering Spiced Rum with Apple Cider or even an Apple Cider Mimosa! Another great addition for guests of all ages would be a Hot Chocolate bar. These small additions can really emphasize your overall fall theme!

If you’re having trouble decorating, we have some great rental items to create the perfect fall look. First, choose from our table linens to bring in your fall color scheme. Between our house and specialty linens, you can choose from over 70 colors! With gold being a very popular fall color, consider renting our gold Chivari Chairs for an added pop of shimmer on your wedding day. For centerpieces, our rustic lanterns will offer the perfect fall flair. Add an autumn twist to our floating candles by adding small branches to the vase! We offer so many great items to rent; we’d love to help you select the perfect ones for your wedding night.

Kinstler Photography

If you’re looking for the perfect fall wedding venue, you’ve found it at the Lesner Inn! Between our venue spaces, food and beverage options, and centerpieces to decorate with, we can help make all of your fall wedding Pinterest board dreams come true!

Why We’re Obsessed With Cupcakes

It’s safe to say that here at the Lesner Inn, we have a sweet tooth that will just never be satisfied. So many cakes and desserts have come through our building, and we definitely have our favorites. Looking back on all the weddings, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re absolutely obsessed with having cupcakes at your wedding reception!

5. You Can Still Cut the Cake. Cutting your wedding cake is such a fun tradition that makes for great pictures! While your guests enjoy their cupcakes, order a small cake for you and your new spouse to cut into. You definitely don’t have to pass up this tradition just because you wanted to serve cupcakes. Work with your baker to get the best price for what you need and want on your wedding day!

4. Order to Match Your Guest Count. Although bakeries can tell you how much cake to order for your guest count, there’s a good chance you will have lots of cake left over. Cupcakes allow you to order perfectly for the amount of people that are attending your wedding. You will most likely only need one cupcake per guest. This also allows you to save money and eliminate post wedding waste.

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Luke and Ashley Photography

3. Offer Guests a Variety of Flavors. With a traditional cake, you usually only offer three to four different flavors of cake, because there typically aren’t more than four tiers. With cupcakes, the options are endless! You can create cake and filling combinations that reflect different events in your life. You can also frost your cupcakes with different colors to match your color scheme. Just remember, if you offering more non-traditional flavors, order some extra cupcakes so your guests can enjoy and try the flavor they want!

2. Easy for Your Guests. Offering cupcakes makes everything so easy for your guests! First, depending on how you display them, this is the quickest way to serve dessert to your guests. Cupcakes are also easy to eat! Since a lot of guests will be making their

David Champagne Photography

way to the dance floor, they’ll be able to bring their cupcake along without worrying about making a mess.

1. Many Different Display Options. A classic cake can really only be displayed one way, but not cupcakes! You can display them on a cupcake tier, on your cake table, or at each of your guest’s place settings. There are so many different types of cupcakes tiers and ways to display them at your guest’s seats; the possibilities are endless!


Cupcakes are such a fun, chic option for your wedding day! They really make everything easier for you and your guests. If you think your guests might end up being full from all the delicious food you offered for dinner, you can offer them packaged cupcakes to take home after the reception, too. Between the variety of flavor options, fun display arrangements, and added ease to your wedding planning, you really can’t go wrong! Plus, who doesn’t love a good cupcake?


Let’s Talk About Photo Booths

When it comes to wedding pictures, you want a photographer to capture every special moment of the day. From the minute you wake up and throw on your monogrammed robe, to the moment you see your fiancé for the first time or make your grand exit, you will want every moment documented! While the photographer is focused on you and your new spouse, it’s difficult to get shots of all your loved ones who made sure to attend your big

Elizabeth Henson Photography

day. This is where a photo booth can play a huge role on your wedding night!

Having a photo booth at your wedding reception offers a great opportunity to get both funny and loving pictures of all your friends and family throughout the night. With your photographer’s lens positioned on you, the photo booth gives your guests the chance to shine. It also gives them something fun to do while you’re taking post ceremony pictures or later in the night when they’re feet hurt from dancing! But, what kind of photo booth is the best?

Here at the Lesner Inn, we’ve seen everything from DIY photo booths to the very professional set up done by companies like SnapQube. With a DIY set up, you can create

Dragon Studio Photography

whatever type of photo booth you want. Supplying the back drop, props, and camera can be more work than you think, but will help capture some funny and creative guest moments. If you find that DIY creations can be time-consuming and stressful, hiring SnapQube can make sure all of your photo booth needs are met. With SnapQube, they will print photos for you and your guests that will let you cherish those wedding reception memories forever!

Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, make sure to have some fun props, and you will be sure to get great shots by the end of the night. Your guests will love the photo booth just as much as you do, and it will help make the night unforgettable! This is one trend you definitely don’t want to miss.

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

The first dance is a long standing tradition that has evolved over the years. Today, brides

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Luke and Ashley Photography

and grooms can select from millions of songs to play during their first dance to match their personal styles! With so many songs out there, how do you find one that’s just right for you and your fiancé?

Think back throughout your relationship. Do you already have a song that represents a memory between the two of you? Many couples choose songs that they heard on their first date or even a song that they first danced to when they started dating. Finding personal connections like these will make your first dance even more special!

Another way to find the perfect song is to find a genre or artist you both like. Hop onto your iTunes or Spotify account, and start exploring! Once you target an artist, start listening to their music and select a song that you both enjoy. If you want to perform a more choreographed ballroom dance, instead of a typical slow dance, ask a dance instructor what they think would work best.

Angie McPherson Photography Ciera Darian Reception-19
Angie McPhearson Photography

If you don’t feel like searching for hours for that one perfect song, Spotify recently released the most popular first dance songs in the world.  There’s a reason why these ten songs are used so much, and it’s because the lyrics and music combine together beautifully to match the love you have for each other on your special day! Check out the list below:

  1. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
  2. “At Last” by Etta James
  3. “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne
  4. “All of Me” by John Legend
  5. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
  6. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
  7. “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
  8. “Everything” by Michael Buble
  9. “Better together” by Jack Johnson
  10. “Amazed” by Lonestar

Whatever song you and your fiancé end up choosing, we know that song will hold a special place in your heart forever.

The Ultimate Bride’s Day of Emergency Kit

After experiencing countless weddings, we’ve seen it all from blistered feet to tiny dress stains. Accidents happen, and unfortunately, some things are just unavoidable on your wedding day. Every wedding expert will tell you that a Wedding Day Emergency Kit is crucial on your big day! If you’ve never been a part of a bridal party, or even attended a wedding, you may be at a loss on what to put in your own kit. Here at the Lesner Inn, we’ve compiled a list of items that can save you before and after you walk down the aisle!

The Lesner Inn’s Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Remember, you know yourself better than anyone else, so some of these things might not make it into your Wedding Day Emergency Kit. It’s always better to be prepared than to look back and be upset that your nail polish chipped right before you walked down the aisle or your eyes were red and itchy all night at the reception. What’s the best part? All of these items are great to have around the house anyway, so you might as well bring them along for your wedding day too!

Tips for the Perfect Centerpieces

Centerpieces can really make or break the overall look of your wedding. They are the missing piece that pulls your color scheme, table linens, and overall theme together for your reception! Although there’s no limit to what your centerpieces can be, we do have some suggestions to help create a memorable night and amazing atmosphere for you and your guests.

Lynnhaven Pillar with Rafia

$15 Lynnhaven Pillar

Stay within your Budget. Set a budget for how much you want your centerpieces to cost per table. Whether you’re renting through the Lesner Inn or a third party company, this will help you save money on your overall wedding costs. Making a budget for your centerpieces will also help you figure out if it’s worth it to try some DIY ideas for your wedding!

Keep It Simple. Centerpieces shouldn’t distract your guests from why they are at your wedding. They are there to add to the atmosphere and theme you’ve created!Limit your colors and the amount of decorations on the table to keep your centerpieces from being too busy. Your centerpieces should reflect your personality, but if there is too much going on, your guests may get detracted.

$15 Rustic Lantern: optional seashells, starfish, and netting

Don’t Obstruct Your Guests’ View. Between speeches, cutting the cake, first dances and other traditions, there are so many special moments that your guests don’t want to miss. You also don’t want to discourage conversation because your guests can’t see across the table. Consider having small centerpieces that fall below eye level or tall skinny designs above eye level. When in doubt, test out your centerpieces at your own dining room table to see if they block your view!

Add Light. If your wedding reception is at night, adding tea lights and candles will create a new dynamic to your centerpieces. It will also add to the atmosphere of the room as the sun goes down outside. If your centerpieces are water-based, floating candles can be a great addition too!


Lesner Inn Floating Candles with table number
$15 Floating Candles: choice of accent gem of clear, white, light blue, dark blue, red or sea glass (table number and mirror tile not included)
Lesner Inn Hurrican Globe
$15 Hurricane Globe: optional seashells, starfish, netting and previously burned candle || Melody Gillikin Photography

Know Your Space. Although there are a couple options for table sizes, our standard table is an eight foot round table. Once you have your table set, there’s limited space for your centerpieces before your guests feel too crowded.Your guests will be at their table for a good portion of the night, so you want them to feel comfortable the entire time! With our tables, it’s a good idea to keep your centerpieces around one square foot to reduce overcrowding.

When in doubt, leave it up to us here at the Lesner Inn! We have beautiful options to decorate your tables, with the option of mixing and matching some of your favorites. All of our centerpieces are simple, include light, and are the perfect size to not crowd guests or obstruct their views. For an additional cost, we can also add either silver or gold table numbers for assigned seating.Whatever you choose, don’t hesitate to ask your event manager for our opinions; we all have even more detailed ideas on how to create the perfect centerpieces!

Just Breathe: For the Bride who is Struggling to Keep her Head above Water

You’re engaged! When is the wedding? What does your dress look like? Who is your photographer? Where are you going on your honeymoon? The questions never end! While some people love having the spotlight on them and relish every single minute of the planning process, we know that not every bride enjoys it. And you know what? That’s okay.

As one of our brides once told us, this process is only as hard as you want it to be. You will spend hours searching for the perfect dress, writing witty vows, crafting centerpieces, and picking out a playlist. Sometimes this all just seems too overwhelming and you need to take a step back. Remember the reason you are getting married. You are committing yourself to your partner in front of your closest friends and family and at the end of the day, that’s all you really HAVE to do. It is easy to be swept up in Pinterest boards and bridal magazines but remember that in the end, this is your day. It will never be exactly like anyone else’s and that makes every single wedding special and original.

If it all seems like too much and you don’t know where to start, check out your contract! Lesner Inn provides a planning guide for brides to have a checklist to work with. Your event manager will also help you with a floor plan and picking out the layout of where tables need to go. Don’t be afraid to email one of the girls in our office to ask a question – that is what we are here for! We will meet with you about 3 months away from your wedding day to touch base and make sure things are on track. We will help you to fill out the planning guide and get those pesky floor plans worked out. Then we will sit down with

Echard Wheeler Photography

you two weeks before the wedding to finalize these details. While it can seem overwhelming when you are sitting up late at night furiously pinning images to a Pinterest board, remember that you are going to love your wedding day because you are marrying the love of your life.

Don’t be afraid to take a step back from the planning process and have a date night with your fiancé. Enjoy being engaged. Go to happy hour with your girlfriends and catch up on their lives. Log some time at the gym to blow off some steam. Catch up on your DVR and don’t feel guilty. Just because you are planning a wedding doesn’t mean that you need to drop everything else in your life.

So…to bride who feels like she is treading water and can barely keep her head above water, just breathe.



Incorporating More of Your Groom’s Style into the Wedding

It’s safe to say that new brides have been thinking about their wedding day since they were little girls. Whether it’s imagining the perfect dress, thinking of possible color schemes, or having a detailed Pinterest board, girls know what they want for their big day. Although we’ve seen grooms who are very active with the wedding planning process, a lot of guys just don’t get as into it as their brides do. So, how do you incorporate your man’s style into your big day?

  1. Food Tasting

The saying goes, “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Plan a food tasting with your man, so you can pick your food together! Our chef can prepare anything offered on our menus to create a fun lunch date for you and your groom. After the tasting, pick your favorites to prepare an amazing menu for your friends and family!

  1. Incorporate His Passions

There are so many ways that you can incorporate your man’s passions into the reception. If he really loves craft beer then have him select some local brews to be served at your wedding! Does he love his job? One of our grooms is a firefighter, and had some of his coworkers bring the fire truck to Lesner Inn before the ceremony. The bridal party ended up taking some amazing pictures in front of it! Another groom is a dentist, and took the garter removal to a whole new level with his dental assistants at his side. Adding these creative personal touches can really help create lasting memories of your special day!

Flores Boyer at Leser Inn by Melody Gillikin
Melody Gillikin Photography
  1. What to Wear

Men’s fashion is slowly becoming more playful and fun, so why not let your groom and his boys have some fun too? A very common trend is wearing fun socks under their dress pants. They can even play around with their attire with fun patterned ties and bow ties, cool pocket squares, or even interesting hats! Give your groom free reign, and he won’t disappoint.

Groomsmen socks at Lesner Inn by Tracy Sanders.jpg
Tracy Sanders Photography
  1. Groom’s Cake

Groom’s cakes are another wonderful way to show your groom that it’s his day too. A groom’s cake is different from a wedding cake because it is designed and decorated however you want, without needing to match a specific wedding theme.This can be a fun surprise for your groom, or something that he’s designed all on his own.

Weddings today are all about representing both the bride and groom’s tastes and style rather than just the bride’s. When planning your wedding, always remember that it’s just as much his day as it is yours!

Find Us on Instagram

Looking at venues can be a long and painful process. There are so many places in the Hampton Roads area to choose from, and each offers unique services. Obviously, you don’t want to have to drive all over the city exploring every possible venue. So, how do you search numerous venues without driving all over Hampton Roads, and narrow it down to just one perfect venue?image2.PNG

One social media account we are constantly updating is our Instagram account, @lesnerinn. Through our Instagram, you can get a better idea of the breathtaking views and functionality of the spaces we have to offer. Also, you can catch a glimpse of our favorite wedding moments, like first look shots or how they’ve decorated our venue. By following us, you will also be able to get weekly advice on how to ensure that your big day runs smoothly with our “Tip Tuesday” posts. Every Tuesday, we post a helpful tidbit, that we’ve learned through the countless weddings we’ve image1 (3)hosted, about how to enhance your special day.

Now maybe you want a behind the scenes look at the Lesner Inn?Thankfully, we live in a world where everything is posted, hash-tagged, geo-tagged, and shared for the world to see. Yes, checking out our Instagram account is a great way to see what our venue has to offer, but an even better way to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have your wedding at the Lesner Inn is looking through our geo-tagged photos. This offers those special pictures of the groom with his groomsmen before the wedding, the ring bearer breaking it down on the dance floor, and the guests enjoying drinks on our beautiful decks.

Check out the beautiful décor, fun times on the dance floor, special moments between brides and their grooms, breath-taking views from our deck, and more by following us on Instagram!