The early bird often catches the worm when it comes to many venues in our area. You’ll find that the most beautiful wedding locations are often booked for most of their Saturday well before wedding season begins. We just learned the other day that The Market at Grelen in Somerset, the early bird also gets a $1,000 discount off their venue fee!

What struck us the first time we visited Grelen is that the property has so many different spaces that are close together, so guests can move around easily during an event. There’s a beautiful lawn that can accommodate a tent or a ceremony en plein air:

Image by Lucy O Photo

Image by Lucy O Photo

A berry patch for intimate portraits…


A large green house with room for a seated meal…

Image by Jen Fariello Photograhy

Image by Jen Fariello Photograhy

A open area with an L-shaped potting shed that would be perfect for cocktails…

A berry shed for portraits or an escort card display…

Image by Lucy O Photo

Image by Lucy O Photo

And a large patio with sweeping views of the hills around the property…

Image by Jen Fariello Photography

Image by Jen Fariello Photography

The Market at Grelen is also adding a 4,500 square foot, clear-top tent with a bluestone floor and patio this April, so Grelen brides will have still anther area for their reception. A new bridal suite opens in April as well. The Market at Grelen also offers overnight accomodations at their Spotswood Lodge.
This is the first of many profiles of Charlottesville-area wedding vendors. If you are a wedding vendor who would like to be featured or if think a vendor you used for your wedding deserves a spotlight, email Jeannine or Stephanie today!


Bridal portraits used to be a required component of the wedding planning process for many brides, especially in the south. These days, many couples seem to be opting for engagement sessions instead. While love those love shoots of couples, we are so excited when a beautiful bridal portrait session comes our way. We are so thankful that Rosey Slocum of Vision of Rose Photography shared this lovely bride’s portrait shoot with us and we especially love that bride Cara had an equine friend join her!

From Rosey:

Bridal portraits are… a time for the bride to wear her gown and just revel in the moment of how it feels to be a bride! On the wedding day, everything goes by so fast and for bridals, they get to slow down and just be beautiful and feel beautiful! It’s such an intimate time for a bride. It truly is one of the most sentimental style of portraits a woman can ever have taken of herself, aside from maternity. Marriage is a pivotal part in any person’s life, it’s the beginning of something new, and for Cara, capturing these moments for her was seriously my pleasure.

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When you share that you are engaged, the first thing people usually ask is “when are you getting married!” and after that, they want to know WHERE. Living in this area is so wonderful because we have every type of wedding you could want – there are formal ballrooms in hotels and clubs, sleek spaces in urban areas, gorgeous vineyards of all different styles, properties with lush gardens, cozy inns full of charm, and even rustic barns in the country.

We have four pieces of advice to help you on the road to selecting your beautiful Charlottesville wedding venue.

1. Have a vision.

If you don’t have a wedding stye or theme in mind before you begin your wedding search, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the options available. There’s a reason Charlottesville is an extremely popular place to get married. We have tremendous diversity when it comes to wedding venues, all of them beautiful and appealing in their own ways. Some of the really basic things to consider:

-do you want to have you ceremony on-site?
-do you want most of the affair to be held indoors or outdoors?
-do you envision a formal, semi-formal, or informal wedding?

Having answers to these questions will narrow an enormous list down to a large, but not overwhelming one. While any space can be transformed with lighting, flowers, and rentals, there’s less impact on the budget when the style of your event matches the style of your wedding. In the words of our friends at Southern Blooms, embrace your space.

2. Research Online

Wedding planning takes up a lot of time and energy. While you could set up venue visits with every location that fits your requirements, you’d spend weeks crisscrossing the region for one appointment after another. Use venue websites and their social media channels to learn more about the features each venue on your list provides. Look up real weddings on wedding blogs like this one to see what ceremony and reception spaces look like. Use wedding vendor review websites and message boards to learn from other brides as well.

3. Don’t Just Tour, Ask Questions

You’ll want to make a few venue visits appointments, but don’t go just to be escorted around the property. Go to your venue visit armed with questions about logistics.

We also think it’s smart to make an informal visit, ideally on the day of a wedding, if your venue is open to the public. Have a glass of wine on the patio at the vineyard or have lunch in the restaurant of that club or hotel. Can you picture yourself getting married there? You can also get a sense of what getting to the venue will be like for your guests since you’ll probably arrive hours before they will.

3. Ask for References

We all like to think that we are excellent researchers, but we can’t stress how important it is to connect with a few brides and/or grooms who got married at your venue. Ask them what they loved about their wedding at your prospective venue and what they would change. Did anything not go according to plan? Were there any surprises, good or bad? Would they get married there again?

It can be a little odd reaching out to a total stranger to quiz them about their wedding, but you’ll find that past brides and grooms are often very happy to talk about their weddings!

Best wishes as you embark on the search for your perfect Charlottesville area wedding venue!

Best of 2014: Dominique Attaway Photography

by Stephanie MarieFebruary 20, 2015

We continue celebrating our sweetest local photographer friends with Dominique Attaway Photography! 2014 was a year of joyful couples, beautiful venues, and romantic moments for Dominique! She shares her favorite memories from the past year with these 15 gorgeous images–>

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A Romantic Winter Newlywed Session

by Stephanie MarieFebruary 18, 2015

Your wedding day doesn’t have to be the last time you and your groom get in front of a professional camera– in fact, we’re advocates of portrait sessions throughout the entirety of your marriage! Newylweds Elizabeth and Kyle did just that with this session by Ashley Parsley Photography; to celebrate their first home and their just-married […]

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Dissecting Your Bridal Party

by Stephanie MarieFebruary 16, 2015

One of the most exciting parts about planning your wedding is choosing the people who will stand beside you on your wedding day and throughout the planning process. Being part of a bridal party is a privilege! And one that comes with various duties and obligations. Before you start planning the elaborate way you’ll ask […]

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Jennifer Aniston’s Charlottesville Wedding

by Jeannine SmithFebruary 13, 2015

News broke earlier this week that Jennifer Aniston is getting married in Cabo San Lucas in the next few days and that had us remembering the time someone convinced a whole lot of people that the star got married in Charlosttesville. The story started one weekend in July of 2013. Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber […]

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The Wedding Planned in One Month from Sarah Bradshaw Photography

by Jeannine SmithFebruary 11, 2015

Military couples planning a wedding have a factor to consider that most of us can’t imagine. Along with venues and caterers, they have the very real possibility that orders could take them away for the period when they are planning on getting married. Instead of facing the prospect of the groom not being present for […]

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Five Brides Share their Wedding Budget Advice

by Jeannine SmithFebruary 9, 2015

After a proposal, it’s so tempting to get swept up into the excitement of wedding planner. There are blogs to read! Pictures to pin! Magazine pages to tear out! Binders to be made! The reality is that the budget conversation needs to happen early on so those Pinterest inspiration boards don’t represent a wedding that […]

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Sweet Engagement Session at Old House Vineyards

by Stephanie MarieFebruary 4, 2015

One of the best things about featuring engagement sessions? Learning about the love stories of each couple! The whos, whats, and whys of how a couple came to launch on a lifetime adventure is magical– even when the stories are super simple. High school sweethearts Morgan & Kevin might have had a traditional start– but […]

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