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Category: Weddings

6 Steps to a Perfect Staunton Wedding

You’ve dreamed about your special someone and the day you’ll say “I do,” but now that the time has come to plan the big day you’re not so sure where to start. For overwhelmed brides and grooms (and parents of brides and grooms), we’ve come up with these six simple steps for staging your beautiful Staunton wedding. So whether its  a grand affair or a backyard BBQ, we’ve got the inside info on everything from the food to the favors. Let us help you plan it right! See our six steps for planning the perfect destination wedding in Staunton. 

Time of Year

You simply can’t pick a bad time to have a Staunton wedding, but each season has its advantages. In winter, you have chilly, but generally mild weather, and uninhibited views of the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance. Spring brings Staunton to life with amazing floral displays, and our parks and private gems like the gardens at Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room will really dress up for your photos. You can’t beat the long, warm days of summer, especially if you’re reserving an outdoor venue, and autumn brings a special magic to town with its crisp colors and pastoral harvest scenery.

The Venue

Whether you want a formal wedding and reception, a casual affair, or a rustic adventure in a barn, Staunton has your perfect reception venue. The ballroom at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center is the epitome of formal elegance. Romantic Gaie Lea boasts an exquisite background for your vows and your photos. It also sleeps 15, so it’s perfect for the wedding party to share an extended weekend. Another option for an estate-style wedding is the Inn at WestShire Farms. For those looking for a rustic wedding, check out the Round Barn at the Frontier Culture Museum. For those who want to have their wedding at a winery or brewery with a view, consider Barren Ridge Vineyards or Stable Craft Brewing. They both offer indoor and outdoor event spaces, incredible views, and access to delicious libations. Coming this spring, Staunton Station, located at the train station, offers the perfect mix of historic charm and downtown amenities. For more ideas, see 12 Distinctive Staunton Wedding Venues.

The Drinks

If you’re planning to mix up a signature cocktail for your big day, check out a site like Brides.com for ideas. Be sure to pair it with some of Virginia’s best local wine from Ox Eye Vineyards. Don’t forget to include local craft beer in your reception offerings. Check out Redbeard Brewing Company, Bedlam Brewery, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing for some delicious craft beer. Shenandoah Hops can offer a wide selection of premium beers. 

The Food

Staunton offers a wealth of options for wedding fare. Try trendy and casual from Peck’s BBQ or even hire a food truck or two. Venues like the American Hotel have highly rated onsite caterers.  Independent caterers like Mike Lund Food and Eric Stamer Catering will work with you to provide a gourmet and farm-fresh menu. Don’t forget the cake! Work with the Paris Cake Company to design the wedding cake of your dreams.

The Favors


Gone are the days when tacky mints wrapped in gauze served as wedding favors. You can take your pick of elegant reminders of your special day. Treat your guests to customized chocolates from the Cocoa Mill or cookies from Sweet Nana Cakes. Go local with Virginia peanuts or pancake mix from Virginia Made. Give your guests or wedding party candles from Redwood and Co. If they enjoy the “finer things in life,” give them cigars or flasks from Beverley Cigar Store.

The Stay


After the ceremony and the party are over, you and your partner will want to escape to your own private retreat. Staunton’s lodging choices range from luxury hotels like the Blackburn Inn to a stellar lineup of bed and breakfasts including Frederick House. The newest members of Staunton’s hotel scene are a Tru by Hilton and a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott; both opened in the fall. Check out all the options

Now that you’re armed with some concrete ideas about your happily ever after, get out there and start planning.  Before long, you’ll be enjoying the wedding of your dreams! And don’t forget, we’re here to help

10 Great Places to Stage Your Staunton Proposal

Are you planning to propose to your sweetheart sometime soon? Why not plan a Staunton proposal? We have the right combo of beautiful views, romantic restaurants, and cozy lodgings to make it a proposal to remember. Here are ten stunning backdrops to set the stage for your special moment. You might want to return to the scene for your wedding!

Gardens at Woodrow Wilson Birthplace

The Garden Club of Virginia built the brick-terraced, Victorian-inspired gardens at the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace in the 1930s. The gazebo is a quiet, private spot easily accessed during a stroll through Staunton’s busy downtown. Free and open to the public during regular business hours.

Barren Ridge Vineyards

Why not pop the question as you pop the cork on a bottle of wine at Barren Ridge Vineyards? The picture-perfect views will provide a spectacular proposal setting, and you can enjoy a picnic on the terrace as you watch the sunset. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights will set the mood. 

Swannanoa Castle

Swannanoa Castle’s marble towers rise on the crest of Afton Mountain. Built in 1912 as a summer residence for a railroad tycoon, it has since lived a variety of lives. Crumbling, but still magnificent, it’s now a hauntingly beautiful setting for your special moment. Tours are offered on some spring and summer Saturdays.

Gaie Lea

If you’re interested in involving your friends and family in your special day, you might rent an entire estate like Gaie Lea.  The beautiful historic home features a lake and grounds that command views of the surrounding mountains. The house sleeps 15, enough space for your entire crew!

Andre Viette Nurseries

Andre Viette Nurseries would be a great proposal destination for a couple who enjoys the outdoors and gardening. Explore the extensive display gardens to see rare and uncommon plants and trees. Visitors are invited to wander the grounds even if the garden center is closed. Visit again in the summer to see (and purchase) Viette’s world-famous day lilies.

Thornrose Cemetery

If you and your significant other enjoy quiet strolls and history, you might consider beautiful Thornrose Cemetery as an unusual spot to propose. Built in 1849 on the garden model with careful attention to landscape and architectural design, it was historically a place for people to picnic and enjoy the outdoors. Today, the cemetery retains its parklike atmosphere.

Humpback Rocks

You won’t find much privacy at Humpback Rocks, but the exhilarating two-mile hike and spectacular west and north-facing views over the Shenandoah Valley are worth sharing. Plus, you might be able to get a helpful stranger to snap your engagement picture!

GYPSY HILL PARK

Want to casually propose while you’re doing some other fun activity? Gypsy Hill Park has 214 acres of possibility. Fish in Lake Tams, ride the miniature Gypsy Express train, play a round of golf, attend a summer baseball game or concert, or just sit on a bench and watch the ducks. And if you’re looking for a secluded nook with a view, Gypsy Hill Park offers those, too!

 

Grand Caverns

National Natural Landmark, Grand Caverns, is the second-oldest show cave in the country. A destination for lovers of nature and history (the cave was visited by both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War), the caverns would be part of an unusual and memorable proposal experience.

 

Sears Hill Bridge

One of Staunton’s most beloved landmarks, the recently restored Sears Hill Bridge leads from the wharf district to scenic and secluded Woodrow Park. Both bridge and park command outstanding views of the railroad tracks and downtown Staunton. Afterwards, it’s only a short walk to flash that ring at a nearby restaurant like The Depot, Byers Street Bistro, or Table 44.

Don’t forget to enlist a friend or a local photographer to document your Staunton proposal!

12 Distinctive Staunton Wedding Venues

Valentine’s Day has us thinking of proposals and weddings in the not-so-distant spring and summer months.  For day-dreaming girlfriends and Pinterest-frenzied fiancées, we have a dozen uniquely distinct Staunton wedding venues for your consideration (and pinning!).

HISTORIC :: WOODROW WILSON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY
If you’ve never seen the historic gardens at Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace, you’re missing a ready-made, gorgeous, historic ceremony setting. The gardens are one of 13 maintained by the Garden Club of Virginia, and feature two gazebos in a quiet, private spot easily accessed from Staunton’s busy downtown.

Accommodating up to 150 people, the historic gardens are available for four hours and $1,200. Many brides choose to host the reception between the gardens and terrace, an expansion that can be realized for only $400 more.

The caveat with any use of the Woodrow Wilson historic site is membership. The League of Friends is the donor backbone to support the privately funded site, and membership in The League allows for facility rental. Fortunately, “a complimentary Family membership is included in the rental fee for non-members,” according to the Facility Rental guidelines, which is valued at $100 and provides free unlimited admission, discounts, and more.

ROMANTIC :: GAIE LEA
Multiple ceremony and reception options make Gaie Lea (Old English for “Happy Meadows”) quite the contender when it comes to all-in-one wedding venues. Two hundred acres ensures privacy at any of the sites, which include a pavilion overlooking a pond, a hilltop pool for cocktail hour or reception, a formal English boxwood garden, a stone patio and fire pit near the pond for cigars and bourbon or a s’mores snack, the estate home itself, and whatever else your imagination leads you to on the expansive property.

Treat your wedding party or immediate family to an overnight at the estate. Fifteen guests can be accommodated in the six large guest rooms.

COLLEGIATE :: MARY BALDWIN UNIVERSITY
Whether you’re an alumnae or simply appreciate the beauty of a meticulously manicured college lawn, you’re in luck. The views from Mary Baldwin may be some of the best Staunton has to offer.

Real Mary Baldwin College Weddings:

 

DRAMATIC :: AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER
You’ve never seen a venue like the Blackfriars Playhouse, and you likely never will. The world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, this is the place for any romantic, Shakespeare aficionado, or one who is into old English architecture. The details at Blackfriars are impressive. Floral arrangements (unless very large) would be a waste in this space.

Real Blackfriars Wedding and The American Hotel Reception: Janice + Brian

 

CLASSIC :: STONEWALL JACKSON HOTEL

For those seeking an all-inclusive approach to their wedding day, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel may be the perfect Staunton fit. This historic hotel has recently been refreshed with new (almost) everything. Your facility rental includes tables, linens, place settings, dance floor, candle centerpiece … the works. Toss in a few rooms for your bridal party and out of town guests (yours is free, by the way!), plus the Hotel catering and that doesn’t leave you with a great deal to worry about. Classically beautiful and worry free!

Real Stonewall Jackson Hotel Weddings:

> Wedding Brochure

 

UNFORGETTABLE :: FRONTIER CULTURE MUSEUM
Indoors or out, with a barn or under the sun … you have many choices at the Frontier Culture Museum, and your guests (up to 400) are in for a real treat, should you spring for a group rate admission for them to explore the grounds.

The Lee S. Cochran Pavilion is open air for warm months and tented for cooler months. A catering kitchen makes prep and delivery super easy while museum staff takes care of setting up and taking down the tables and chairs. The Lawn is a great place for the ceremony itself.

The Octagonal Barn is two levels (you may access both or one) and boasts a small amphitheater for your use as well. This space also includes a catering kitchen.

The Lecture Hall is a sleek, converted dairy barn with soaring ceilings and dinner seating for up to 100. Or, clear it out and dance the night away! Caterer’s staging area with sink is available.

MORE STAUNTON WEDDING VENUE OPTIONS: