The iconic slogan, “Virginia is for lovers” turns 50 this year, and – especially in the Shenandoah Valley– it may be more true than ever. Couples seeking romantic getaways or a beautiful site for a wedding are choosing the Valley in ever-increasing numbers.
1n 2017, in the Washington, DC metro area, the average cost of wedding was about $44,000, assuming 130-140 guests. While exact comparisons are difficult, and travel costs factored in, a storybook wedding in the Shenandoah Valley can easily be more like $5,900 to $12,000.
While the cost breaks alone bring many couples to consider the Valley for their wedding, there is more to it than dollars. Wedding photos where the Blue Ridge Mountains are the backdrop for the ceremony make for priceless memories. A long list of recreation and entertainment options gives wedding guests a mini-vacation as well as a chance to be part of your special day. And the growth of wedding venues in the Valley has generated all the planning and wedding-service help you need.
Were you even aware you can get married in Shenandoah National Park? Or Luray Caverns? Other options include museums, hotels grand and modest, B&B, inns, resorts, scenic landmarks, vineyards, and out-of-the-way cabins. A list of such choices appears here. Just few unique examples include:
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchesters hosts indoor and outdoor ceremonies, with the seven-acre Glen Burnie Gardens particularly alluring for anything from intimate ceremonies to large receptions. Ample parking, and just minutes from historic Old Town Winchester, the MSV is a picturesque site to make your vows.
Want to pull out all the stops? The Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center in Harrisonburg may be just the place. Get a first-hand look at the hotel at their Shenandoah Valley Wedding Expo on August 11th. Meet wedding vendors and planners, sample delectables from the restaurant, and tour the guest rooms and wedding facilities.
Montfair Resort Farm in Crozet offers special Monday — Thursday, 12-hour Ceremony and Reception Weekday Wedding rates, among other options. Montfair’s Victoria Sours told us, “Montfair Resort Farm is a charming, one of a kind wedding venue to share your special celebration with family and friends. Located just 30 minutes from Charlottesville, our relaxed atmosphere and flexible indoor/outdoor ceremony and reception spaces feature dramatic mountain and lake views, a spacious event lodge with fireplace and tented deck, and onsite accommodations for up to 54 guests.” More details on all their wedding packages are found here.
Peaks of Otter Lodge near Bedford accommodates weddings of up to 100 guests. Their outdoor ceremony venue is complemented by captivating views of Abbott Lake and Sharp Top Mountain. The lodge is located at milepost 86 right on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Opt for a simple champagne toast and cake-cutting, or a full-buffet and seated dining.
Of course, not everyone is ready for a wedding, and for them the Shenandoah Valley is rich in romantic getaway weekends. Think seclusion, hot tubs, fireplaces, an enticing Virginia wine, and see what happens. Many cabins, inns and resorts offer special romance packages in the Valley. Keep up with new offers here.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation will be celebrating 50 Years of Love with special experiences across the state. For 50 days, from June 21 to August 10, businesses all over Virginia will be offering special events, packages and discounts. Click here to review what’s already booked.
With any luck, we’ll be doing this again in 2069.
Banner photo by Caroline Myers, courtesy Skyland in Shenandoah National Park