After a year of being engaged and debating what kind of wedding we wanted, we are excited to be planning our wedding at Trump Winery in Charlottesville VA, scheduled next August!!
Charlottesville is full of both history and charm. Home of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, University of Virginia, and of course, home to those quintessential, bucolic rolling country hills surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the small town has everything a wedding would want and need! Charlottesville is about a 2.5 hour drive from the DC Area and northern VA. Once you arrive, you definitely feel “away”. With delicious restaurants, an historic downtown outdoor mall which is very dog friendly and goes for blocks, gorgeous farms and mountains just outside town, and you even get to see stars at night and breathe in the fresh country air… I could stay forever…
Yet- no one needs to get on a plane or drive for over a day to get there! It’s too far to drive back and forth after an evening wedding, so guests will have to stay over for one night, and get the feeling of being a little far away from your typical DC hustle and bustle.
Finding a gorgeous venue in Charlottesville was not hard. Choosing between the venues was really hard! They each had such amazing features; I really had to narrow down the style of what I wanted my wedding to look like.
There were so many options between the country clubs, the high end bed and breakfast hotels, cute-farmy barn-rustic venues, the country vineyards with outdoor tent options, and the more upscale vineyard with indoor reception options.
In the end, for me, I wanted a few things: gorgeous country scenery, a vineyard backdrop, inside reception (i.e. air conditioning- important in august!), and an organized staff and event manager at the venue. I love any excuse to go down to Charlottesville so I thought this would be the perfect way for me to be constantly having to drive down there for ‘something’, while being able to just do the round trip in one day if necessary.
In a small town like Charlottesville particularly, which is very popular for weddings, and peak wedding season runs from April through mid-November, I have quickly learned that vendors need to be secured quickly. There are less vendors available than in a city like the DC-metro area. So, if you decide to plan your wedding in Charlottesville, even if it’s a year or more away, you need to know exactly what you want and the style you want the wedding to have. The nice part about Charlottesville is that there are so many talented artists, from caterers and chefs, to florists and cake decorators… so it’s a great place to have a wedding just for that reason!
A ‘semi-destination’ wedding has many features of a destination wedding! The climate is different (it gets cooler there at night than in DC), there is a different culture of doing things, so working with vendors requires you to understand that, and the small town feel means that everyone does know each other, and things are far enough away that you end up communicating mostly by email and phone.
Charlottesville luckily, is a friendly town where the vendors, venue managers, event planners, florists, caterers, musicians, etc. have all been working together for years and can happily recommend each other. This has been helpful since I haven’t had time to hire an event planner yet. The vendors have helped me learn the ‘lay of the land’ and their own strengths and preferences.
Next I will be securing room blocks for the hotel and also a planner to pull everything together. Luckily, Charlottesville has lots of hotel options for every price point. Another thing to remember about planning a wedding in a college town is to avoid college weekends. You’re fine through the summer mostly, but avoid move-in dates and football weekends. Luckily Charlottesville also has a lot of cute bed and breakfasts to make guests feel right at home and treated for a special weekend!
Looking forward to seeing this all pull together
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