How to Have a Wedding for Under $10,000

Imagine a Friday evening wedding overlooking the Lynnhaven River from our beautiful Waterside Deck. Your arch is decked out in lush greenery, and you and your squad walk out with blooming accessories at sunset. The DJ has his best mood music playing, with romantic lighting to really set the tone. Your skillful photographer snaps every kiss, and even every ugly crying face. The night continues with lavish dinner and bar services for you and your closest friends & family. After cutting the cake, you dance the night away to your favorite oldies and escape into the night under a magical flurry of sparklers!

While we know this all sounds too good to be true, we are here to tell you that it is possible! All you have to do is be realistic about your guest count and what you plan to offer your guests, and here is how to do it!

Vistaprint Stationary:  $75
Save the Dates (70 copies)
– Invitations (70 copies)

Transportation:  $200
– The Virginia Beach Resort & Conference Center not only will give your guests a discount for a block of rooms, but they even have a shuttle service that goes for $200 for the entire night!

Lesner Inn Ceremony:  $650David-Champagne-Photography-Fluttering-Flowers-Florist-Virginia-Beach-Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Venue-1
– One hour towards total event time
– Set up & breakdown of ceremony chairs
– Use of Lesner Inn’s white arch

Lesner Inn Room Rental:  $750
– Three hours towards total event time
– Tables & cotton linens
– Chivari chairs
– China, glassware, & flatware
– Mirror tiles & candle votives
– Easels

Food & Beverage from Lesner Inn for Eighty Guests:  $4,200
– Cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres (one platter & two hot/cold hors d’oeuvres replenished for a full thirty minutes)
Two entrée buffet served with a salad, starch, vegetable, and bread rolls
– $1,000 consumption bar
– Cake cutting, champagne/sparkling cider toast, beverage station, & tasting bag for the newlyweds after the event


Wedding Favors:  $100
– Candy bar provided by Lesner Inn

Daissy Torres Photography:  $2,000
– Six hour coverage
High resolution images, print release, proof gallery, & $200 print credit
– Additional $150 print credit for Lesner Inn couples

ASTRO DJ:  $750
– Four hour coverage – Ceremony & reception music with MC
* ASTRO DJ works with couples of all budgets, and even offers discounts for Lesner Inn couples! Just talk to one of their sales managers!

Fluttering Flowers Florist:  $900
– Greenery & floral accents for arch
David-Champagne-Photography-Incredible-Edibles-Bakery-Lesner-Inn-Wedding-Cake-Virginia-Beach.jpg – Bridal bouquet
– Five bridesmaids bouquets
– Six boutonnieres
– Five floral centerpieces including decorative lanterns
* Florals included are year round (seasonal florals may be added at an additional cost)

Incredible Edibles Bakery:  $250
Cake to feed fifty guests

Total:  $9,875

5 Ways to Make Your Guests Feel Special or Involved at Your Wedding

Unless you get lucky and have guests that all live locally, attending a wedding can be a big commitment for your guests to make. After you add airfare, accommodations, and transportation, it sure does get a little pricey. Make sure you go out of your way to remind them all how special they are to you and that you appreciate their efforts! Not sure how to do this? Here are five ways that you can thank them for being there.

  • Say it! – This might seem clear but sometimes the most obvious things are what we miss. Take a moment during your welcome to thank everyone for taking the time to be there. If you know someone went really out of their way, point it out! If that person doesn’t know very many people then it will give them something to talk about at their table.
  • Anniversary Dance – This is always a favorite and helps to get the dance floor moving too! Have your DJ invite all of the married couples on the dance floor for a dance with you and your significant other. After about a minute, have him dismiss couples that have been married 1 year, 5 years, etc. You will eventually end up with the longest married couple on the dance floor! Ask them for their best marriage advice. Don’t forget to take a picture together!
  • 348Favors – We have seen so many different types of favors at Lesner Inn but couples still surprise us with original ideas. Some of our favorites? Hand painted bottles of limoncello, succulents and jarred honey! Send your guests home with something they’ll remember.
  • Give Them An Honorable Job – On the day of the wedding, there are a million things to get done. Oftentimes your guests are just as excited about your big day and want to help in any way possible. Do you need ushers or greeters still? This is a great way to make someone feel like a guest of honor.
  • Hotel Welcome Bags – When your guests check in to their hotel, have a goody bag at the front desk ready and waiting for their arrival. Stuff it with coupons for local restaurants, a note from you, candy, snacks, sunscreen…anything! Guests will feel pampered immediately upon arrival.

There are so many more ways to make your guests feel special.  But just remember, the smallest thank you goes a long way.

Wedding Highlights: Melanie & Steve 5/29/2016

We feel that Melanie & Steve’s one year anniversary is as good a time as ever to look back on this amazing day. We asked them to sit down and reflect on their awesome wedding day at Lesner Inn and they gave a little advice for future brides and grooms too!

Starting at the beginning…how did you two meet?

We met at Deer Valley YMCA Family Camp outside Pittsburgh, PA on a hot summer’s day. Steve first caught my eye one morning before breakfast; we were both outside for a brisk morning run around the lake.

And the moment that he popped the question?

After 5 years of dating, over President’s Day weekend, Steve proposed to me *literally* ON the frozen lake where we met.

We’ve seen the pictures from this and, trust us, it was an epic proposal! When you started the venue search, what made you pick Lesner Inn?

We elected Lesner Inn for our beautiful sunset wedding and reception after falling in love with the location and interacting with the fabulous staff. You can’t beat this venue! Delicious food, beautiful marina view, and all-inclusive with one location to provide both the wedding ceremony of your dreams and reception for the ages.

It takes much more than a venue to pull off a beautiful wedding. Who else was involved?

I highly recommend all of our vendors: Norfolk Wholesale Floral, Dustin Lewis (photographer), DJ Rodney Charles (Astro DJ), Stowe Haven Strings (string trio), Incredible Edibles (cake), Duck Donuts, Maya Couture (wedding dress), Makeup School by Sarah Rillon (bridal makeup)

Melanie and Steve really had the A-team of wedding vendors! Check out the photos at the end of the post to see more! We are always interested to see what song a couple picks for their first dance. What made you pick it and why?

I was very stressed about finding the perfect first dance song- it seemed to be the most challenging aspect of the entire wedding planning process (ridiculous, I know…). Just over a month before the wedding, at 5:30 am, I was driving my sister’s car to work (her pre-set radio stations are quite different from my own). This is when I discovered our song!! Pearl Jam “Just Breathe” I was immediately put at ease and knew on the spot this was our song.

What were you most excited about for your wedding day and why?

I was most excited to have a huge party with all of my closest friends and family, most of whom drove/flew a great distance to celebrate with us.

Were there any personal touches that you put on your wedding day that were really special to you? (We have to preface this with saying how impressed we were with how personal their wedding was)

Personal touches…soooo many! Let me name a few- Steve and I named each of our tables after places that were important or significant to our relationship (ie. Berkey Creamery, Pippin Hill, Caribou Coffee, Garmisch, Charleston, etc.). Signature drink- we elected to serve “Anchors Aweigh” which was inspired by our favorite drink from State College, PA (root beer schnapps, coke, jagermeister)- this was not your traditional signature wedding drink, but was completely us and turned out to be a huge hit! We also used Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy (my favorite from Ocean City, NJ) to attach the guest’s name tags for table settings. Wedding favors: individually decorated Limoncello bottles for each guest from our time in Naples, Italy.

What was the biggest mistake you made during the planning process? Not that we think you made any!

Mistakes….I never make them….ever 😉

Ha, a girl after our own hearts. What advice do you have for other couple’s planning their weddings?

Once you arrive to the reception- leave all expectations at the door and just have fun! The wedding/reception will fly by so try your best to live in the moment and enjoy yourself, your guests, and of course: your new spouse!!

We could not agree more!!! It is so great to see a bride who can be present in the moments during her wedding instead of worrying about the little things. What was your favorite memory from the wedding?

I have a tie for first place in favorite memories from the wedding. I loved the serenade to Top Gun’s “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” my husband and his buddies surprised me with, aviators and all. We also broke out a ton of glow-in-the-dark necklaces and wands when “Sandstorm” came on- the child in each of us came out and everyone came on the dance floor to join in. Quite the compliment!

We loved being able to a part of a couple’s special day and cannot believe it has been a whole year since that energetic dance party! Scroll down to see some of the photos that Dustin Lewis took on their big day!

Let’s Talk Floor Plans

We know that we fall in the rare category of people who truly enjoy a good floor plan. When we see a couple that has really nailed their table arrangements, our hearts flutter. But…we know that it isn’t so easy for everyone. One of the more difficult things that a couple has to do before their wedding is figuring out their floor plan. Oftentimes you don’t have your RSVPs back until a month before your wedding. This leaves you with very little time to decide if your conservative Uncle Tim is going to love or hate the chance to sit with your fiancé’s free spirited sister for dinner at an intimate family table. So let’s talk floor plans.

The first major David-Champagne-Photography-20170129-0163decision you need to make is if you will be having a seating chart or not. Cocktail style receptions (with limited seating to encourage guests mingling) don’t need one because not everyone will have a seat. If you aren’t having a cocktail style reception, but still don’t want to deal with a pesky seating chart, you can go rouge and let guests pick their own seats. (This doesn’t work for a plated meal though!) If you decide to do this, we recommend putting a few extra seats out that way your college friends aren’t pulling chairs from every table so that all 12 of them can sit together. We also recommend making sure to mark a reserved section for family. Since they will be taking formal pictures with you and your significant other after the ceremony, you want to make sure that your guests haven’t taken all of the seats close to the action. Nothing is worse than seeing a family member pushed to the back of the room because they didn’t get in early enough to reserve themselves a seat.

David-Champagne-Photography-20170129-0029If you decide that assigned seating is for you, you have to decide what kinds of tables you will be using. Our standard tables are 72 inch rounds which comfortably accommodate 10 guests but can squeeze up to 12. Keep in mind that if you will be using chargers in your décor, we recommend staying as close to 10 guests as possible to allow for more space for the chargers and flatware.

Another option you have are king tables or long banquet tables. These are great ways to create a unique layout and also allows for you to put more people together. We often see couples that opt for a sweetheart table (just the two of them) and use a long banquet David-Champagne-Photography-20170129-0047table for their bridal party instead of splitting them up. Banquet tables and king tables are also great for larger families so that they can all sit together too! This is a great way to make sure all of your family feels honored without having to worry about splitting them into smaller groups.

Looking for something other than rounds or long tables, or even something to go along with these tables? Square tables really help to create a visually interesting space. They can accommodate 8 – 12 guests and are very trendy in weddings lately. No need for all of your tables to match either – mix it up with all of these options to best fit different groups of guests!

Just remember, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that your guests are at your wedding.

Photography: David Champagne

A Friendly Reminder to the Stressed Out Bride or Groom

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 or groom 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 couples to have a checklist to work with. Your lesner-inn- wedding-virginia-beach-waterfront-sunset-best-wedding-venue-hampton-roadsevent 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 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 friends 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 or groom who feels like they’re treading water and can barely keep their head up, just breathe.

lesner-inn- wedding-virginia-beach-waterfront-sunset-best-wedding-venue-hampton-roads-married

Wedding Highlights: Angela & Jeff – 11/26/2016

About the Bouleys:

Angela & Jeff met through mutual friends on an intLesner-Inn-Sunset-November-Wedding-Virginia-Beach-Waterfront-Receptionramural kickball team in April of 2014.  While they didn’t make it to home base after the first kick, this couple sure has proved that they are meant to be!

 “We found love on the kickball field. Although it wasn’t that easy.”

As it usually does, it all started with a little small talk.  They found out where each other were from, their common interests, and hobbies, and found themselves talking intently about sports.  It was then that Jeff said a nearby waiter walked by and told him “you better not let her go man”… clearly this waiter knew a blossoming relationship when he saw it.

Angela and Jeff saw each other frequently in their circle of friends through events unrelated to kickball, but it was Angela who made the first move.  She went out on a limb, and sent Jeff a text asking him to go to the beach.  Being their first time without a “chaperone” Jeff was nervous.  But their day at the beach went so well that it led to dinner later that night!Lesner-Inn-Sunset-November-Wedding-Virginia-Beach-Waterfront-Reception-2

At dinner, Jeff wasn’t feeling well so he decided not to order when the waiter asked what he would have.  The night continued and they went their separate ways.  When Jeff woke up, he was feeling worse than he did the night before, and had to go to the hospital.  He was hospitalized for a week, but was still sick for weeks after he was discharged.

While Jeff was sick, he felt that he had ruined him and Angela’s time together.  But, his future best man Nick gave him some great advice and told Jeff to give her a call to let her know how he was doing… and the rest is history!

Jeff proposed in between the sand dunes at the Outer Banks in April of 2016.  Then, on November 26, 2016 they celebrated their marriage at Lesner Inn!

About the Wedding:

Angela and Jeff’s ceremony was Lesner-Inn-Sunset-November-Wedding-Virginia-Beach-Waterfront-Reception-6held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
in Norfolk, followed by the reception at Lesner Inn.  After making their grand entrance, they moved right into their first dance as husband and wife and – with the help of a talented violinist – danced to a rendition of Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love”.

Not wanting the formality of a plated meal, Angela and Jeff opted for our Sea Breeze Stations so that guests could help themselves to a hearty salad, martini mashed potato Lesner-Inn-Sunset-November-Wedding-Virginia-Beach-Waterfront-Reception-3bar, carving station, and a crab cake station. Obviously supplemented by sweets from our great friends – Urban Cupcakes.

The night went on with a full open bar for this party crowd, and the dance floor was never empty with Cheap Thrills on the mic!  With a full dance floor all night, the party didn’t stop until their bubble exit on the grand staircase.

Check out some of the talented vendors below that made their dream wedding come true:Lesner-Inn-Sunset-November-Wedding-Virginia-Beach-Waterfront-Reception-8

Venue & Catering – Lesner Inn
Day of Coordination – ABC Coordination
Photography – Dee Akright
Transportation – Legacy Limousines & Luxury Coaches
Florist – Norfolk Wholesale
Cake – Urban Cupcakes
Entertainment – Cheap Thrills
Photobooth – The Traveling Photobooth

Fall 2017 Weddings!

Apparently spring is creeping up rather than springing upon us this year, & while it is hard to imagine bypassing spring & summer it is time for us to get serious about fall!  By now you have your bridal party accounted for, vendors selected, & party pants ready for the big day!  But, before you can say your “I do‘s”, you have to make one more commitment… & that’s to your color scheme.

Our favorite way to stay up to date with upcoming color trends is through  Here you will find the hottest trends for every season, & even know the highest trending color of the year, which  you can see here!


We LOVE the mixture of pastels & deeper purples & blues coming into play this fall, and hope to see how you use these colors for your fall wedding at Lesner Inn!


Echard Wheeler Photography

The Under $10K Club: hosting a wedding at Lesner Inn for $10,000 or less!

Being one of the top wedding venues in the Hampton Roads area, we see couples walk through our doors with budgets & guest counts all over the spectrum!  One of the most difficult tasks when working with these couples is reminding them to be realistic when it comes to their menus & guest count.  Thankfully, we’re experts on that particular subject & know how to work the system.  That’s why we’ve put together a few of our favorite examples of what a wedding at Lesner Inn can give you & your guests for $10,000 or less!

Friday Evening Ceremony & Reception
Peak Season
Waterside Deck
50 Guests

$6,164.50 – See how we did it!

Friday Evening Ceremony & Reception
Off-Peak Season
Lesner Hall & Sunset Deck
100 Guests

$9,564.50 – See how we did it!

Saturday Afternoon Ceremony & Reception
Peak Season
Waterside Deck
50 Guests

$7,283.50 – See how we did it!

Saturday Afternoon Ceremony & Reception
Peak Season
Lesner Hall & Sunset Deck
100 Guests

$9,798 or $9,294.50 for Military couples – See how we did it!

Saturday Evening Ceremony & Reception
Peak Season
Waterside Deck
100 Guests

$9,692 – See how we did it!

Sunday Afternoon Ceremony & Reception
Peak Season
Waterside Deck
100 Guests

$8,904.60 – See how we did it!

Sunday Afternoon Ceremony & Reception
Peak Season
Lesner Hall & Sunset Deck
150 Guests

$10,000.13 – See how we did it!

Sunday Afternoon Ceremony & Reception
Peak Season
Entire Venue
100 Guests

$10,141.50 or $9,532 for Military couples – See how we did it!

Sunday Evening Ceremony & Reception
Peak Season
Lesner Hall & Sunset Deck
150 Guests

$9,984.50 – See how we did it!


So, when it comes to planning an entertaining & elegant wedding day with your closest family & friends, while keeping costs low, make sure you contact one of our sales managers by calling 757-481-1122 or by emailing us at!

Top First Dance Songs of 2017

Whether its rock & roll or blues, classical or country, r&b or reggae, or any other genre of music you can think of, the song that you and your fiancé choose as your first dance can determine the mood of your wedding reception.  There are no rules when it comes to selecting this song, in fact we had one of our awesome Lesner Inn couples dance to the instrumental music from their favorite Star Wars movie this past year!  Considering there are no rules, many couples have trouble selecting the song for their first dance, so we thought we would help out by compiling a list of our all-time favorites, new & old:

10. I’ve Had the Time of My Life – Jennifer Warnes & Bill Medley

9. Kiss Me – Sixpence Non the Richer

8. Head Over Boots – Jon Pardi

7. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green

6. The Story – Brandi Carlisle

5. Photograph – Ed Sheeran

4. You & Me – Dave Matthews Band

3. Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You – Frankie Valli

2. Everything – Michael Bublé

1. Fresh Eyes – Andy Grammar


The song that you share with your loved for your first dance should be one that you treasure forever, so make sure it’s a good one!  We would love to hear your first dance story, so share your first dance song with us below!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Lesner Inn!

Happy first married Valentine’s Day to all of the AMAZING couples that tied the knot at Lesner Inn this past year. Your marriage is celebrated everyday but today, we are all celebrating a little harder for you!



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