Delicious Decisions

Planning a wedding or any large event comes with an endless possibility of options. It’s sort of like one of those “choose your own adventure” books from back in the day! In this day and age there is no right or wrong way to plan your wedding day, which can give you a lot of room for creativity. One of the more fun (and tasty) choices you get to make leading up to the big day is deciding on your food! There are a few options for styles of food service, and we wanted to make sure our couples knew about the different styles. We hope you enjoy this delicious blog post!

(Featured image: Paula Player Photography)

(Tom Daly Photography)

Seated Dinner:

Oh yes, the classic seated dinner.  This is the most formal service style.  With a seated dinner, every guest has a seat and is served their meal from the catering wait staff.  If everyone is going to be served the same meal, you technically wouldn’t need to have assigned seating..but you could if that is what you prefer.  

(Sarah Der Photography)

Seated Dinner with Choices:

Some people decide to give their guests a choice between a few meals such as beef, chicken, or vegetarian.  Typically, you would ask for their meal choice at the same time they turn in their RSVP. If you are doing choices it is helpful if everyone has an assigned seat.  You could then pass along your seating chart to your catering manager who will ensure that your guests get the correct meal.

(Chelsea Schaefer Photography)


A buffet is a meal consisting of several dishes where a guest can serve themselves.  Guests like a buffet because they can dictate what does and doesn’t go on their plate.  The picky eaters can make sure they only get foods that they know they like.  The big eaters can make sure they get enough fuel so they can dance all night long!

(Raygan Michelle Photography)

Family Style:

This is when food is placed on the table in serving dishes from which those eating may help themselves. Family style has similar benefits to a buffet, such as getting to choose what food/how much food you want to eat.  A perk is it is a little bit more formal than a buffet. Keep in mind when doing family style there isn’t much room for elaborate center pieces and you can’t always fit as many people at a table. 

(Melissa Durham Photography)


This is when your caterer sets up multiple stations of food throughout your reception space.  Similar to a buffet, but it is split up so it is not one long table of food.  Stations are fun because it gets your guests moving and mingling with others.  It can also be as formal or as casual as you want it to be.  The good thing about stations is that you avoid the one long line that often forms at a buffet. You can either have a stand alone station like a salad station where you can serve yourself, or you can have a chef-manned station like a carving station!

(Nick Kessler Photography)


Imagine the food service that you get during cocktail hour, just extended through the entire length of the reception.  This is the newest trend, a cocktail-style reception! Servers will pass hors d’oeuvres all throughout the night. If you decided to do this for your actual dinner, the items passed would need to be a little more substantial than your average cocktail hour items.  Some ideas for foods that can be passed are salads in a cup, soups, shrimp and grits, sliders, truly anything! This is fun because the servings are usually smaller, but you get a larger variety of items, therefore you get to try more fun things! This is more popular for corporate events, but can be a great option for a brunch-time wedding!

2017-08-22T16:10:47+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|

Sarah & Jon

Today we are SUPER excited to share Sarah and Jon’s wedding day with you! It might look a little familiar because it was recently featured on Style Me Pretty, which we are SO excited about! These two lovebirds got married on June 3rd of this year with a ceremony at our Mountain Grove location followed by a reception at The Lodge.  Sarah & Jon decided to have a first look before their ceremony on the one lane bridge on the property.  This is definitely one of our favorite first look locations! After the two tied the knot they invited guests down to the Lodge for a cocktail hour.  The weather was absolutely beautiful so their guests made the most out of the porch and outdoor cocktail areas.  After a few rounds of corn hole, everyone came back inside for dinner.  The Lodge was decorated with gorgeous drapery from Blue Ridge AV & Lighting, it really softens up the place! We loved all of the shades of gray and silver they used for decor.  Did you notice that the bridesmaids all had different dresses? We love this trend! Everything was picture perfect.  Thank you Sarah & Jon for sharing your big day with us! Enjoy these photos from Meredith Sledge Photography.

2017-08-09T02:08:48+00:00 August 9th, 2017|

Shindig Weddings & Events

Everyone dreams of a stress free wedding but when you’re planning it yourself without an event planner, things can take a turn from glorious to stressful faster than you can say “I do”! There are many choices, decisions, timing and logistical questions to be answered, having someone who is experienced and can navigate all of those questions along the way is worth their weight in gold! We recently worked with wedding planning expert, Katie from Shindig Weddings and Events, whose detailed approach pays off big for her clients. While working with Katie, we got to know her a little better and loved how she navigated the wedding planning process –  we think you will too!


Q: How did you get the “wedding bug”?

A: I first starting working for Shindig Weddings & Events back in 2013. I was extra hands on wedding day just trying to make a few extra bucks, and while it was a very fun weekend job, I swore I never wanted to be “the one in charge.” Well it only took a couple of wedding seasons to completely change my mindset. I love the organization, the eye for detail, and the relationship building that planning weddings demands. It has every dynamic that I need in a job, and once I figured that out, I dove in headfirst!


Q:  What is your favorite aspect of the wedding planning process?

A: Our company offers very comprehensive approaches to wedding planning. I love the time that this level of service allows us to spend with each of our clients. The relationships we build with our brides & grooms, their families, and other wedding vendors is what really keeps us going. Every wedding is unique, and celebrating that from weekend to weekend is a priority for us!


Q: What is your hidden talent?

A: I make an excellent Moscow Mule. My husband and I love to wind down each day with a cocktail. We go through phases, and right now, we are totally hooked on Moscow Mules. It’s all in the ginger beer, and we are convinced we have found the best!


Q: One thing you wish you could tell every bride who is planning her wedding?

A: Trust your wedding planner. Planning a wedding is tough, and you have hired us to help you, so please let us help you. We are all on the same team. We want your wedding to be just as beautiful and perfect as you do. Releasing will help you as a bride to enjoy your wedding day so much more!


Q: We often think of wedding planners as the hands behind the magic curtain, what is the craziest thing you have done in an effort to “make it happen” on day of?

A: Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? Somedays I truly think I have see/done it all, and then something new happens! That is the excitement of the job. I am actually a little wary to share anything too detailed here because most of these types of stories would make a bride panic.


The thing that I have learned is that something is bound to happen on your wedding day. But when you have surrounded yourself by wedding vendors you trust, they can take the crazy in stride and deal with the hurdles as they come because they are so well-prepared in every other area. And 9 times out of 10, the bride & her wedding guests never know anything happened in the first place!


Q: When you aren’t working on the weekends, what can we find you doing for fun?

A: If I am not working a wedding, you can most likely find me with my husband and our pup. We would likely by working on a home improvement project or swimming at the river. Time with family is very important to us, so when that free weekend does come along, we absolutely make the most of it!

2017-07-20T20:39:30+00:00 July 20th, 2017|

Maggie & Bryan

We are so excited to share this wedding with you all! Maggie & Bryan had such a beautiful wedding here at Mount Ida Farm! They celebrated with us for FOUR days, yep…you read that right! They were here from Thursday-Sunday staying overnight in the beautiful Mount Ida Manor. Saturday, June 3rd was the big day.  They had a lakeside gazebo ceremony followed by a reception in the Event Barn. They chose an elegant color scheme including blush, blue, and mint. And do you notice anything different about the Event Barn?! These are the first photos we have received since we changed the floors and we are IN LOVE! Maggie & Bryan also did one of our favorite exits ever with LED tambourines.  Enjoy these photos from their big day!

Photography- C. Tyler Corvin Studio

Catering- Harvest Moon

Cake- Mahila Creations

Coordinator- Samantha Ehredt

DJ- Derek Tobler

Floral- The Arrangement Co.

Hair & Makeup- Beauty Expert

Lighting- MS Events

Officiant- Two Becomes One Ministry


2017-07-18T18:42:30+00:00 July 18th, 2017|

Wood Grain & Lace

Today on our Meet the Friendors blog series we wanted to talk about one of our preferred vendors, Wood Grain & Lace! Wanna learn more about them? Check out their Instagram or website!

Christine Greenberg

Describe the Wood Grain & Lace Brand:

We chose the name Wood Grain & Lace to represent an organic, natural element paired with a nod to a vintage aesthetic. Our design is classic with elements from nature and a level of sophistication and trend without being overdone.

What character traits make up an ideal client for a Wood Grain & Lace couple?

We tend to attract clients who want a wedding planner who will give it to them straight. We want to be straightforward with budget expectations, design costs, logistical concerns and always lend an open ear to any family drama that may occur. We want them to feel like they’ve hired a very knowledgeable friend to help them navigate the wedding waters. Personalized design is important, but creating a seamless event through planning is what our experience lends to our clients.

Our past clients are cool, thoughtful, practical and very in love. And trusting that when you invest in a wedding coordination team, you get to let go and really enjoy the event you’ve planned.


How did you start your wedding planning career?

Our owner, Christine Haines Greenberg, began planning in 2011 by happy accident. In 2014 she decided to open up a bridal boutique and realized she wanted to grow her event coordination team. The company continues to grow and we coordinated our 100th event this summer.


Have you gotten the opportunity to travel with Wood Grain & Lace? If so, what’s your favorite city/state to work in?

We really shine in our local market (Richmond, Charlottesville + DC) because we know our community, we have a strong network of vendors and we can help our clients get the best value for their dollar. But we’ve planned events in NYC and Austin, Texas for family friends. The challenge of out-of-state event planning is fun, but we love being the masters of our local market.

What’s your opinion on having a first look versus waiting to see each other until the ceremony?

We seem to change our minds about this every season! We used to always encourage a first look (from a logistics standpoint) because it allows more time for photos before the wedding and tends to keep the couple calm. But there is nothing better than, after months of getting to know a couple, to see their eyes fill up with tears when they see each other.

So, I think it depends on how large the wedding party is and if it would be less stressful overall to knock some photos out before the ceremony.

You can always do a first look with a parent and/or the bridal party and get some of those photos out of the way as well.

Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with our future brides?

Would saying “hire a wedding planner” be too obvious?

I hired two of my coordinators to handle my wedding day, and I think that was the first and last day of my entire adult life that I was truly able to just coast through the day. I knew my florals had been delivered, I knew the reception space was setup, I knew my guests had been greeted at the ceremony site, I was able to just be present as I got ready with my ladies and my mom and I was able to be present during the first look with my husband. It was so nice to truly practice what I preach.

Our other piece of advice would be to pick a planner that suits your personality. We are type-A and organized, but we don’t take this so seriously. It’s just a wedding. We will help you make it beautiful and seamless, but you don’t need to blow your life savings on a day. Life keeps going.

Hire professional vendors instead of your friends. And trust that those vendors have your best intentions in mind. They want you to be happy and have a beautiful event for their portfolio.

And if you have a creepy, drunk uncle or bridesmaid drama or step parent issues, LET YOUR PLANNER KNOW. It’s our job to prevent mishaps before the occur. We’ve seen it all, I promise.


Photos (except headshot): Nick Kessler Photography

2017-07-14T01:11:39+00:00 July 14th, 2017|

Katie & Nick

We are so excited to share Katie & Nick’s wedding WEEKEND with you all! They decided to celebrate with us all weekend long and rented three of our homes; Mount Ida Manor, Aventador, and Blenheim Farm.  We loved having them, their family, and friends here with us all weekend long.  We absolutely love these photos from their wedding, but especially love photos of the Mount Ida Manor! Congratulations Katie & Nick!

2017-07-11T21:16:43+00:00 July 11th, 2017|

Mount Ida Manor

Described as “one of the most important late 18th century plantation houses in Virginia” by the Senior Architectural Historian, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Mount Ida was built c. 1795 by William Cannon, on a hill overlooking the south side of the James River near New Canton in Buckingham County, Virginia. The site was near the northwest corner of Cumberland County and across the river from Bremo. In 1805 Cannon sold the property to the legendary land baron David Ross, who subsequently sold the property to William Leitch, a Buckingham merchant. Around 1850, Leitch, laden with tobacco export wealth, added a major addition to the east side of the house, as evidenced by the difference in siding, window size and interior trim. The intricate, extraordinary interior woodwork with its elegant and unique composition was designed by a master builder, modeled after patterns found in two early 18th century architectural treatises, William Pain’s Science of Architecture and Asher Benjamin’s Practical House Carpenter. While Leitch family lore contends that Irish immigrants performed the work, scholars are of the opinion that the work may been done by the same skilled craftsman who markedly similar woodwork at Woodlands (1789-1794), originally in Amelia County and since relocated to Goochland County. The interior of Mount Ida has been compared to that at Plain Dealing Plantation (circa late 1780’s), another exemplary plantation home a few miles away in Keene.

Exterior view of home

In 1986, Mount Ida was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and in 1987, was listed by the U.S. Department of Interior on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1995, with the condition of the house rapidly deteriorating, the Department of Historic Resources agreed to a process whereby the house would be meticulously disassembled, each part numbered, documentary photographs taken, measured drawings prepared and the house moved to a preapproved location. If such a move was satisfactorily completed, the Department agreed it would be relisted on Virginia Landmark’s Register and re-nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. It is believed that such action never before occurred with a listed Landmark.

Kitchen and living room

The new location of Mount Ida is the old Dawson/Brockenborough plantation, once known as Bell Mount. The farm consists of approximately 422 acres with Hardware River frontage for nearly a mile. Nearby, to the south along the river, lies Jefferson Mill, an 18th century flour mill once owned by Thomas Jefferson’s father, Peter Jefferson. Mount Ida has been reconstructed over the foundations of the ruins of Mr. Pleasant Dawson’s home, built on the site in 1799. In 1881, the home was bought by Thomas W. W. Brockenborough, a relative to the first president of the University of Virginia, and then sold to a timber company in 1956 which subsequently bulldozed the home and cut the timber on the property.

Master Bedroom

In 1995 and 1996, Mount Ida was reclaimed as pasture and the foundations of the old Dawson/Brockenborough house unearthed. The Department of Archeology of The College of William &Mary conducted an archeological study of the site and the ruins discovered the original hard wrought iron chimney arch used in the first fireplace of the 1799 home. This arch and original brick from the Dawson ruins were used to recreate the fireplace in the basement family room of the Mount Ida addition, allowing a fireplace to rest at this location for two hundred years. In early 1998, the Department of Historic Resources announced Mount Ida’s preliminary approval by the staff for eventual relisting on the Landmarks Register. With the relocation and restoration now complete, Mount Ida awaits confirmation of this prestigious designation.


The manor home consists of approximately 10,500 square feet of living space on three floors and approximately 1,500 square feet of porches and decks. The original house, built in 1795, includes the front door, hall and the portion of the house to its left. The historic addition to the right of the front door was originally built from 1830-1845. Exterior brickwork is all historic brick from Mount Ida, reclaimed and moved with the original house. The mortar color was meticulously matched to the original mortar with the bonding pattern and “penny” mortar joints faithfully duplicated from the original construction. Original elements include all sashes, jambs, doors, heart pine floors and most door hardware. Where window glass replacement was necessary, antique window glass was reused from early windows salvaged from other old houses. The walls are conventional hand-applied and -finished plaster, consistent with the historic construction. The basement ceilings were raised slightly to increase headroom and to accommodate modem HVAC climate control ductwork and utilities.

The modem addition, the wing to the rear of the original structure, has an exterior brick foundation constructed of new hand-molded brick, custom blended to match the historic brick of the original structure. Floors include recycled antique heart pine from century-old timbers, Athane pattern and Fontenary Clay Limestone and Van Delmonico marble. Other features include Marvin thermo pane loE2 high-efficiency windows and doors, custom-designed handmade cabinetry, solid brass hardware and a wood-paneled wine cellar, specially insulated with a custom refrigeration unit for temperature-controlled wine storage.

Exterior elements of the woodwork, cabinetry and moldings were designed by Floyd E. Johnson, FAlA, noted conservation architect who assisted on the restoration of Monticello and many other famous classical Virginia estates. Modern conveniences include a state-of-the-art security system with all sensors and wiring in the historic portion concealed in frames to preserve historic integrity, 18 pair underground telephone service adequate for up to 18 individual lines or high-speed data service, most rooms wired with “Category 5” telephone cable and jacks, and all key rooms wired with RG-6 coaxial cable for television or local area network computers.

Mount Ida is climate-controlled by a six-zone Trane High-E system and humidistat environmental system for the preservation of art and antiques. Water lines are type “L” solid copper. Roofing and gutters are of 16-oz. solid red copper. Of the thirteen working fireplaces, the historic fireboxes were reconstructed with original brick to exact size and joint configuration found prior to relocation while the new fireplaces utilize modern fire brick. All to meet fire and energy codes. The master bedroom fireplace is gas-fired with remote control.

Photos: HD Bros

2017-07-06T14:16:51+00:00 July 6th, 2017|

First Looks at Mount Ida Farm

We’re sure you have heard of the old tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other on the wedding day until the bride walks down the aisle.  Some even go as far to say it is bad luck to see each other before that moment. Traditions are forever changing when it comes to weddings, and there isn’t really a rule book when it comes to these things.  A tradition that has picked up in the past few years is the bride and groom having a “first look” before the ceremony. There are many reasons why we support having a first look before the ceremony, but here are just a few!

  1. You start your wedding with a private moment between you and your partner. The whole day is filled with love and support from so many friends and family, but if you think about it…couples don’t typically get too much one on one time with each other during your actual wedding. Plus, that moment of first seeing the love of your live on your wedding day can be just between the two of you (and your photographer, but you won’t even notice they are there!) You can really soak in those last few moments together before you become husband and wife (or husband & husband or wife & wife 😉 ) Plus, seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day should be a memory you cherish forever, but some brides get so nervous walking into their ceremony because they aren’t used to walking in such an intricate dress. Time after time again we hear brides say they don’t even remember the look of their husband’s face when the entered the ceremony because they were so nervous they would fall!

2. You get your jitters out before your big moment! Seeing each other before ceremony can definitely help calm your nerves. Give each other a hug and kiss.  Laugh together. Cherish those last few moments together before you are united as husband and wife

3. Photos! Not only are the actual “first look” photos absolutely adorable, but if you see each other before the ceremony it gives you the opportunity to get a lot of your photos out of the way! Go ahead and get all of your couple photos and bridal party photos out of the way.  That way, you only will have your family photos to do after ceremony.  Hey, maybe you will even get a chance to make it to your cocktail hour! If you save ALL of the pictures to after the ceremony sometimes you can have issues with not having enough sunlight, especially if you are a winter bride and we don’t have much daylight.  

We even reached out to Will Walker from William Walker Photography to hear a photographer’s point of view on first looks.  This is what he had to say:

“‘First Looks’ are a great way to de-stress what have the potential to be stressful timelines.  Maybe you’ve got an early Spring or late Fall wedding and the sun is going down earlier in the day, leaving little to no light after the ceremony for family photos AND photos with the wedding party.  They are also a great way to break up photo sessions so you get to enjoy more of the wedding day that you’ve worked so hard planning.  Imagine being able to enjoy time with your guests and only have your photographer steal you away for a few moments at sunset to get some of those incredible centerpiece images.”

Featured image: Tom Daly Photography

2017-06-30T03:26:26+00:00 June 30th, 2017|

Lee & Carter

Lee & Carter were wed at Mount Ida Farm last Fall on November 5th, 2016. Their ceremony was at the Mountain Grove ceremony site, with the gorgeous Charlottesville skyline as their background.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd while these two lovers promised forever to each other. After the ceremony, they invited their family and friends down to the Lodge for reception.  Their table settings were gorgeous, and their head table was complete with a long piece of greenery running the whole length of the table. After dinner, they danced the night away.

***This wedding was before we added the stage***

2017-06-27T20:39:29+00:00 June 27th, 2017|

Stephanie & Steven

Stephanie & Steven got married last fall on October 29th, 2016. The leaves were falling, the sun was shining, and it was just the perfect Fall day in Charlottesville.  Our gorgeous bride, Stephanie, along with her bridesmaids dressed in plum got ready in our bridal suite.  Guests were greeted at the Mountain Grove ceremony site and got to witness Stephanie & Steven promise forever to each other. After they said “I Do”, they invited family and friends to join them at the Lodge for a delicious dinner and a night of dancing.  They ended the perfect night with a bubble exit.  Congratulations Stephanie & Steven!


Planning: Samantha w/ Best Day Ever Events

Lighting: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting

Photographer: Ward Photography

Cake: Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe


2017-06-20T14:17:21+00:00 June 20th, 2017|

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.