Thursday, May 14, 2020

Creative, beautiful, budget-friendly wedding options

Well, it's pretty obvious that due to the coronavirus, large weddings with formal sit down receptions may not be the best option for a long while. By now, most couples who had a big Spring wedding planned have had to put the celebration on hold, postponing or just cancelling altogether.

We've got some ideas on how to craft a smaller wedding that is unique, memorable, and perhaps more personal and intimate than the traditional big celebration. Most everyone's finances have taken a hit, so a site like may have helpful tips to help save money, and this page link has discounted wedding deals from a wide range of vendors. Here are more ideas which are also budget friendly and "green" as much as possible. Here we go ...

Consider an "elopement"
I put the word in quotes because it no longer means what you may think. This is also sometimes called a "minimony" and might have a virtual component for those who can't attend. Nowadays an elopement is a small wedding (perhaps with only the two of you - up to 25 or so guests). A smaller event means you can choose a unique setting - park, beach, mountain panorama overlook, rooftop, country chapel - let your imagination fly!

from a February elopement here at Loafer's Glory (thanks Annie & Josh for the picture)
You can skip the big caterer's bill (maybe opt for a BBQ, or casual format like a cookout), nix the wedding favors, and cancel the band (a play list from a cell phone with a speaker works just fine). Think about what's most important to you, and spend your cash on that (photographer and/or videographer, fancy attire, incredible honeymoon, for instance). If you just can't whittle down the guest list, maybe a ceremony just for the 2 of you, followed by a party at a later date is the answer. You'll have the ceremony pictures and video to share with everyone later. Another benefit to a smaller ceremony in a unique spot is that you can probably have guests stand for the I Do's. No chair rental needed.

Re-think the dress
Of course, if you've been dreaming of the perfect dress since you were 5, then that's a critical item and you need to find that dress! If you're open to ideas, here are some current trends:
- white pantsuit with a capelet or gorgeous wrap if it's cold (here are some capelet ideas)
- less expensive dress, maybe not even white, that you can wear again
- vintage (reused or recycled) dress - or check out to view or sell designer wedding dresses
- rented dress (yep, the internet makes everything possible)
- matching bridesmaids dresses are not necessary, they don't even need to be the same color - pick something that fits your color scheme and can be worn again - for example has some "convertible" dresses in lovely colors, many under $100
- for the groom - blue is the new black, so it may be cheaper to buy a suit that will get used again vice renting the tux. If it's a summer wedding, the jacket may not be mission critical anyway. Maybe a themed shirt style with slacks (hawaiian, Southwest, cowboy?), or a classic vest and shirt might be just the thing.

Flowers can break the bank
If you've chosen a gorgeous outdoor spot to say the "I Do's" a bunch of pricey florists' blooms may not be needed. You can browse for hours online looking at other ideas. Go to pinterest for example, and start your own wedding board to save the ideas you like most. (Here's our pinterest board).
- Wildflower bouquets are lovely and free if you pick them yourselves. Apple blossoms or dogwood blooms are unique - use whatever's in season, even a clutch of pretty Fall leaves and grasses.
- Most people have pine, cedar, boxwood or other green foliage in or near their back yard to fill out the arrangements or use as table decor. We're lucky - we also have lots of ferns.
- Consider a simply decorated wedding arch, or white draping on tree branches to make a backdrop.
Use what you've got - crates, wheels, wildflowers, grapevines
- Taller potted plants or garden shrubs (azalea, spirea, roses for example) can be effective as a backdrop (take them home and plant them). Or, pick a spot with a fence, pond, tall trees, boxwood hedge, rustic barn wall for your ceremony photo background.
- Most farm or barn wedding venues will have some things around which make great decor - apple crates, wooden wheels, bales of hay. Wineries and distilleries might have some barrels. Ask your venue.
- Hang a favorite family quilt on the wall behind you for the vows if you've got an indoors country theme in mind.
- Go bohemian - colorful rugs placed to make the promenade with various heights of lanterns and some greenery up front look great. The rugs will make a dance floor in a pinch, too. Here are some multi-use dress ideas. A recent bride rocked a unique creation by Meghan Fabulous.
- Lanterns work better than the tiny open votive candle holders which are hard to keep lit in an outdoor setting.
- Hang jars from varying lengths of twine or ribbon from a tree branch and fill them with flowers.
- Make a ribbon "curtain" to stand in front of for the vows.
- If you are having an evening wedding, lights make a bigger impact than flowers after dark. Mini string lights are very inexpensive and make a big impact.
- Don't splurge on the ceremony chair decor - you can even skip that. Aisle decor can be lovely with just small galvanized buckets and baby's breath or wildflowers or fall leaves at the aisle ends of every other row (put water in the buckets, and rocks so they don't blow over). Reuse these flowers for the reception. Likewise, bouquets can be used on the cake table or for reception decor. Have vases with water available for a quick set up.
Simple and lovely - the bouquets were used for cake table decor
- Hydrangeas and some other popular flowers don't last very long unless constantly in water. Silk flowers will last indefinitely, so consider high quality artificial blooms. You can mix silk with real. Nobody will ever know. Dried floral bouquets are currently back in style, too.

Let your friends and family help
Most everyone will value the opportunity to help make your dream wedding come true. Borrow decor, mismatched chairs, benches, request pictures for decor or a "wish you could be here" display. Ask your gardening friends what they've got blooming. Know a baker or cook? They'd probably love to help! The less you have to do on "the day of" the better for you. Have someone serve as coordinator to help things go smoothly.

Less expensive ideas for small wedding food might include a s'mores bar, donuts, pies or cupcakes in lieu of an expensive cake. It's possible to skip the dinner meal altogether, unless you need some food to soak up a lot of booze for a big party.

Registries don't have to be about appliances and dishes
Many folks have already blended their households by the time they get married, and don't need traditional wedding gifts with a store registry.
- Consider requesting honeymoon money, or pick a charity for donations. Maybe guests' presence is present enough.
- If you've got a private elopement planned, but want to have an after party to celebrate - gifts could be in the form of food or beverages (think pot luck if you're having a picnic or barbeque format), or assistance with party costs (alcohol is a big expense).
- If you're going the after party route - have a slideshow of your wedding, or the video, to play for party guests. If anyone has as projector - hang a screen or even a white sheet up and start the show! A popcorn bar or s'mores bar would be a great companion activity for the movie.

Music for the moment
Most folks' cell phones play music (make a personalized play list). Those work just fine with some inexpensive portable blue tooth speakers. Make your own play list, or choose some music and task a friend with playing tunes for the processional, during the ceremony if you like, and for the reception. Here's an example playlist . I got this off a good reference site .

Many of these ideas translate to our venue, most have been tried here at a prior wedding, and the pictures in this blog were taken here. We work hard to accommodate wedding wishes, within the couple's budget. The pricing schedule in 2020 varies from $100 per hour for venue rental to $1500 for rental of the whole 190 acres for the whole weekend, with lodging. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss how we might make your dreams come true!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Favorite wedding stories (so far)

We've hosted several weddings here and each one was special and memorable - truly that "perfect" wedding desired by the bride and groom. We have our own happy memories of each. Here are four of our favorite recollections. Come make your memories here, too!

Party on the mountaintop

Well, this whole wedding weekend was just a blast! The bride and groom are our friends, so we were invited as guests as well. We're still talking about the mountain-top party! We transported tables, linens, chairs, hors d'ouevres and (of course) lots of beverages up the mountain to our sunset patio, for a "welcome to the wedding" party about 5 pm on Friday. The endeavor required our Pioneer UTV (aka a side by side atv), several SUVs, and our trusty old brown Chevy van. Some wedding guests hiked up, some rode up - on any available seat. A play list had been created ahead of time on a cell phone, so the music was personalized and had everybody dancing in short order. 

The highlight of the crazy impromptu party was the grand entrance of some late arriving (long flight) guests. They had driven to the lodge, found no one, and didn't quite know what to do, other than find a drink and grab a porch chair to wait for somebody to show up. Well, it's very quiet here in WV, no city noises, so they heard the music from the mountaintop across the way. They hopped back in their vehicle, followed the lane that looked most recently travelled and came screaming up - honking their horn, laughing, spinning tires. The group was complete!

Dinner was to be a "cook out" casual meal back down at the main lodge. Let me just share that everyone forgot about dinner until about 9 pm! 

Hay bale hullabaloo

We hosted a smaller, formal wedding here and the bride and groom chose to get married (Jeff officiated) up at the top of the mountain patio. (Obviously a much-loved spot). They had been here for motorcycle trips, and also gotten engaged here so we were tickled that they wanted to say the "I dos" here, too. As fancy clothes were involved, the wedding party was driven up the mountain. The ceremony was beautiful and on the way back to the lodge, there were several picturesque photo stops along the way. The hay bales intrigued the bride, and she decided to use them as a photo prop. She hopped up on one, talked the groom into coming up, too, and the resulting shot is one of our favorites taken on the farm. 

The "lost" wedding guests

For this weekend wedding, a lot of young folks brought their tents, so all could visit together for a couple of days in a casual outdoorsy fashion. Most tents were erected near the main lodge, but a few couples ventured a little farther out on the 190 acres. This was early Fall, so the weather was perfect for sleeping outside. 

A great wedding evening was enjoyed by all. The bride had chosen a black and white color scheme, a lovely outdoor spot for the ceremony, and the reception was self-catered with vegetarian and vegan food brought in from DC. Gluten free and vegan cupcakes stood in for a traditional wedding cake. A personal playlist provided the musical backdrop for evening's entertainment in the picnic pavilion. The party here can go on as late as you like! No one objects. 

The next morning, coffee was made, breakfast was prepared and eaten, and the clean up began. Most everything was packed up, the entourage ready to depart, when someone noticed a couple of the guests hadn't been seen. A search was started, and they were eventually found in a back field - still asleep in their tent! It's going to take them a long time to live that one down!

Glitter and glam

This was our largest wedding, which involved lots of tables and chairs, a DJ and dance floor with light show, a huge party tent, and a lot of planning and organization by the bride, groom, and family and friends. Everything went off without a hitch, and this was one of our loveliest occasions. The tablescapes were lovely, the flowers and wedding attire stunning, the food excellent, the signature cocktails most festive. All in all a glam event, with many unique and special touches. 

The "glitter" part of the tale is not what you're thinking, I bet! Here's what I mean - after the ceremony, the couple exited thru a sparkler arch (think saber arch with sparks rather than weaponry), and had a fireworks salute. This was another weekend wedding, so after the dressy duds were exchanged for comfy clothes, the party continued around the bonfire with late night s'mores. Some of the guests walked up to one of our "star gazing" hills for a clear view of the glittery night sky and held a meditation session to end the busy and (happily) stressful day. You can't do that in a big city!

The memories here have continued for this couple (now friends). They've stayed here 5 times - the last trip with their newborn son! The chance to welcome guests like them is one of the reasons we're running the resort and event venue.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to host you here soon - come and make some memories of your own!
Teresa, Jeff and Xena-dog

Something old, something new - what the heck did I get myself into?

(Here's a link to a fun article about the trials and tribulations of finding the perfect wedding dress. Thanks, Meghan Fabulous, for the mention as the wedding venue!)
Something Old, Something New… What the Heck Did I Get Myself Into?
Making women feel beautiful is at the core of everything I do. I put a little bit of my heart into each design. From an intricate gown to a simple pair of earrings — every item comes from a place of love. If you’re wearing Meghan I want you to feel like a superstar.

So when my boyfriend’s sister asked me for advice to help her choose a wedding dress, I jumped at the opportunity. I knew I could make her feel like a queen. I just didn’t realize what I was getting myself into… READ MORE

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Fine Tuning the Plans

We've almost got the plans perfect. A huge "thank you" to our customers and friends for participating in our survey to let us know what they'd like to see included in the build, suggestions for improvement and etc. Here's a recap on the survey comments. The build is still planned for Oct 2020 to April-ish 2021.

- An inside area, warm, for a reading nook was requested. We'll make this happen, probably with a gas fireplace and maybe a t.v., inside the great room/kitchen space.
- Covered parking for motorcycles, and a paved area for bike parking. We can do the covered space, not sure about the paved area.
- Hostel style lodging for drop ins - our insurance doesn't allow for a hostel, but we will try to keep the basement bunkroom (next to the basement bathroom) for motorcyclists travelling thru. However, we are not set up for drop ins!!! So, we still need reservations!
- Better lighting in the basement. The basement bunk room will be coming off Airbnb, and only rented to motorcyclists who want to stay just one night, or used for wedding and event overflow. The existing basement bathroom won't generally be used at all.
- The bath house area remains the same - 2 public sinks, 3 toilet/sink rooms, 3 showers with dressing areas. Included in this # are 1 ADA compliant toilet/sink room, and 1 shower.
- The outdoor kitchen is not a very popular idea, but we'll likely build it anyway for maple syrup processing, jam making, preparing "cook out" meals for guests.
- There'll be a 1/2 bathroom in the tower, or below it a level or 2. Most folks didn't mind going down a flight of stairs to get to it. Shower will be accessed at the basement level bath house. I'm trying to leave space for a gas fireplace in the tower room, as well as a small kitchenette!
- Balconies at tower and guest suite are a definite YES!
- Overwhelmingly, folks are happy to pay us for dinners and full breakfasts.
- Pop up dinner idea was considered to be a good one, so we'll explore that option with area chefs, locations - seeking opportunities and ideas!
- Fridge space was requested. Everyone can use the kitchen in the addition. The morning coffee bar will be located in there, too. And we can serve meals either inside there, or outside in the summer.
- Heat, electricity was requested for the snug camping cabin. We plan to keep this as a solar off grid cabin. It is our most frequently rented space! Those who need heat/electricity can chose one of the other lodging options.

I think that was everything suggested. Again, thank you for participating! We've got our "final" visit with Lineage Architects today, and we're stopping in at PWD Windows & Doors to tour their showroom and make some decisions.

Stay tuned!!! Teresa, Jeff, Xena

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Lodge addition - our dream build
Our log cabin on the hill will soon have a gorgeous addition (in 2020/2021) which will firmly cement us into the realm of Innkeepers, and venue hosts. Hospitality has long been the focus here (we ain't called "Loafer's Glory" for nothin!). Ananias Pitsenbarger and family hosted lots of folks, including passersby in the 1800s-early 1900s, as a stopover on the (once) main road to Mt Solon and Harrisonburg VA. After all the Pitsenbargers died, Jeff's Mom and Dad, Bill and Betty, loved the place, built our current log cabin, and entertained friends and family almost 30 years ago. After their passing, Jeff and I have continued to open up the place as a retreat for family and friends, then as an Airbnb lodging destination, and lately as a wedding and event venue (in addition to nightly lodging).

We just simply need more space to host folks, and better support weddings! We have lots of repeat customers, and still make room for family and friends, of course. Oh, and Jeff needs a HUGE garage and workshop for all the motorcycles, neon signs, elk head, and a whopping, gargantuan Dunlop tire cabinet which we got from a good friend (thanks, Andrew!). Plus we'll add a bath house, and laundry center, great room, another guest suite, observation tower with beds, prep kitchen for receptions.

The schematic drawing (above) is part of our initial planning process, and we are so happy to be working with Lineage Architects in Verona, VA. Somehow Pennie Garber has been able to cull through my random and sometimes wacky thoughts for the addition, and craft a logical (but still unique) plan for us. We're still fine tuning plans, and I'll post more about that process as we go along. 

The build will start in Oct 2020 with the guidance and skills of Laurel Hill Construction in Franklin WV. We are thrilled to have Jay and crew building our dream! We hope to be finished by April 2021. 

Stay tuned! We'll post again as we get the plans firmed up. 
​Jeff, Teresa and Xena