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Destination I Do
Friday, December 2, 2022

Tie the Knot in Virginia

Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of various




When you think “destination wedding” the first thing that comes to mind may not be Virginia. However, we are here to tell you not to underestimate the hospitality and numerous activities of this historical state! 

If you’re considering hosting a wedding in Virginia, look no further than Rockbridge County. Just about an hour drive southwest of Charlottesville sits the small yet bustling town of Lexington, Virginia. Home to two colleges, a plethora of small businesses, and the most welcoming community, Lexington is sure to charm your socks off. 

The best time of year for a destination wedding here are the months of October and November when the trees dawn their fall colors and the entire state is shrouded in hues of yellow, orange and red. 

Accommodations & Venues

While the town of Lexington and the greater Rockbridge County may seem like the kind of place where it’s best to look for an Airbnb, there is no shortage of cozy, unique and upscale accommodations. 

 


The Georges
Perhaps the most luxurious in town (and ideal for large groups) is The Georges. Made up of four different buildings speckling Main Street, The Georges fuses all the luxuries of modern living while honoring the history of its location. Should you choose to make your home here for your wedding week, you and your guests can enjoy a scrumptious complimentary breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, TAPS. And after a long day of exploring the Virginia countryside, come back to total relaxation in one of the 33 elegantly designed and decorated rooms. The state-of-the-art bathrooms beckon you to be pampered with a freestanding soaking tub, spacious shower, heated floors, towel-warmer and lighted mirrors. Cozy vibes extend to the rooms themselves, featuring delightfully comfy beds and covetable design elements. 



Inn at Forest Oaks
The newly acquired Inn at Forest Oaks is a magical, historic estate that transports guests to simpler times. Shrouded in antiques (all collected by the owners themselves), the property offers six unique guest rooms. The estate welcomes guests from all over the world to enjoy the beautiful countryside and wake up to the smell of cinnamon buns (courtesy of the on-site bakery!) 

 

House Mountain Inn & Irvine Estate
If the idea of having your whole crew stay in the same place, why not rent a whole lodge and get your wedding venue in one? At House Mountain Inn and Irvine Estate - that’s possible! These two cozy lodges both offer an escape that is quintessential “Virginia countryside.” The Inn event areas include a ceremony site outside with the natural beauty of the Allegheny Mountains and a spring-fed pond. Receptions can occur in the 3200 square-foot ballroom and/or the outdoor pavilion - both shrouded in rustic elegance. On the other hand, the Irvine estate is a one-of-a-kind property and offers a first-class event facility boasting a panoramic view of the spectacular surrounding hills and valleys. Perhaps the most compelling element of this these properties is the fact that packages include a devoted wedding planner! 



The Seclusion
Another stellar venue to check out is The Seclusion. One step onto the property and you'll understand where the name comes from. Tranquility bekons guests to this property, featuring I ntricate architecture and decor, like the three cupolas perched atop the building or its massive barn doors. A bride and her crew can get ready in the building’s cozy second-story bedroom, complete with all the mirrors, chairs and outlets a girl could dream of. In contrast, the men may choose to spend their afternoon in the property’s new speakeasy! The best feature is not within four walls though, it's the outdoor ceremony space that overlooks the tree-ladened, rolling hills of Rockbridge County. After “I do’s,” take the party to the spacious porch for cocktail hour then inside the grand hall for dinner and dancing.

 

Big Spring Farm
If you’re considering tying the knot in Virginia and want to wed by the water and party in a barn with rustic charm, Big Spring Farm is waiting for you! Located on a large plot of land just 10-15 minutes from town, this venue is a gem for its quaint feel, large green pastures and a spring-fed lake.

Activities

Outdoor activities truly abound in Rockbridge county. A great way to kick off a wedding weekend here is by familiarizing yourself and your guests with Lexington’s rich history by taking a tour with Lexington Carriage Company. On this tour, you will pass by the old residence of a well-known civil war general and learn about other prominent families who helped establish the town as “Gilbert Campbell's Ford” in 1778. 

 

No matter where you meander in Rockbridge county, you’ll be met with breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley. But, a trip here isn’t complete without a drive along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway and a visit to the landmark that Rockbridge County’s name comes from, Natural Bridge State Park. The park is home to a 215-foot tall bridge carved into a limestone gorge by Cedar Creek. After marveling at nature’s architecture, you may be compelled to come back after dark for more oohs and aahs on a ranger-guided stargazing expedition. 

Other great group activities available in the area include taking in the smells of Lavender Fields at Tantivy Farms, indulging in delicious cider and walking the orchard Labrinth at Halcyon Days, or visiting some of the Shenandoah Valley’s best wineries like Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery and Ecco Adesso Vineyards.


Eats

There are numerous restaurants and breweries in Lexington to entertain your palettes with as well. Pure Eats is a great morning stop to enjoy donuts or a hot breakfast before heading to the farmer’s market (open only on Wednesdays from 8 am to 12:30 pm.) Heliotrope serves up some of the most interesting and tasty brews a beer enthusiast could desire, including experimental sours with flavors like gram cracker and marshmallow! For an upscale night on the town, pop over to Southern Inn Restaurant for traditional fine dining or piano bar, Haywoods, for grill courses incorporating local and regional ingredients.

If you’re searching for the ideal place to host a destination wedding with all the warmth of a small town without worrying about a lack of resources, we stand behind Lexington and Rockbridge County, Virginia. After all, as they say, "Virginia is for Lovers!"

 Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Brent McGuirt (1); Steve Shires (4); Lauren Ertl (2,3,5-11)

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