The Blue Ridge Mountains might just be the most compelling reason to get married in the Charlottesville area, and it only takes one gander to understand why.
One of the best things about C’ville is that it offers both a stunning countryside with rolling hills and mountain views and a lively downtown culture. Show your guests what Charlottesville is all about by hosting weekend festivities in each area of the city.
Perhaps the biggest draw for destination brides and grooms in C'ville is returning to their alma mater, the highly esteemed University of Virginia. There’s just nothing quite like returning to Grounds to say “I do.” Wahoowa!
Charlottesville is definitely the Napa Valley of the East Coast, so it’s no wonder winery weddings are popular here. You'll find over thirty local venues where you can get married amongst the vines!
It’s a decision that some young women dream about for years, wondering just what fate has in store for her. Looks, personality, degrees of compatibility...all these elements cycle through her imagination. Will she have to compromise? Is the right fit out there somewhere? Oh, the search for The One. Wait—did you think we were talking about soul mates? Sorry, friend. No. We’re talking about The Dress. Find your sartorial match made in heaven at one of Charlottesville’s fabulous bridal shops, where your fairy godmothers of fashion are waiting to outfit you in the gown you were born to wear. (While you’re there, dress up your whole wedding party to match; you’ll see your entire wedding vision really come to life.) Then gild the whole ensemble with help from your local ring and jewelry specialists, where those eye-catching details, from wedding bands to a “something new” necklace, will secure the look you’ve been searching for. Then sit back and breathe a sigh of relief...whew. The hunt is over.
Unless you are a model or a celebrity (and if so, well then congrats to you), the twenty-four hours surrounding your walk down the aisle might be the most photographed day of your life. With all those cameras flashing, you’ll want to be sure you’re looking mighty fine, so book an appointment or two with local hair and makeup professionals well in advance to work through the finer details of your wedding appearance. They’ll help you achieve that polished, but not too “done” affect so that you look like you...just a really, really stunning version of you. What could be better? Reward yourself for all that hard work of being gorgeous with a trip to one of Charlottesville’s pampering salons, preferably with your best buds in tow, to get that relaxed, glowy vibe that comes from a killer facial and massage. Oh, and remember when we said this was the most photographed you’ll ever be? Same message applies for your hands, so get those digits in front of a nail technician while you’re there. (Trust us, “ragged cuticles” is not a hot look.)
It’s time to set the scene: where will you and your love tie the knot? In Charlottesville, we’re suckers for outdoor ceremonies featuring our old friends the Blue Ridge Mountains or a stunning local vineyard. If a beautiful church is more your style, consult this list of local favorites. Once you’ve secured a spot, make time to meet with Charlottesville wedding officiants, then choose the person who you feel understands you and your partner best. Soon enough you’ll be walking down the aisle to carefully chosen tunes played by talented local musicians and heading off into wedded bliss. These local experts are the best way to make sure you have the “I do”s of your dreams.
I had the honor of serving as Mayor of Charlottesville from 2008-2012 and was... Read More
Looking for the right recipe for your reception? Not to worry: Charlottesville wedding planners are here to help! They’ll organize your affairs and make sure your vision goes off without a hitch while you two concentrate on having the time of your lives. They may even have some spot-on ideas for wedding venues and fabulous caterers who know a thing or two about local food, beer, and wine. C’ville is also home to lots of bands and DJs whom you can trust to keep your party going. When the night threatens to wind down, rouse your nearest and dearest and move the after-party to the Downtown Mall, where you’ll have your pick of bars and clubs in which to while away the night.
Show off the best of the Charlottesville food scene at your fabulous rehearsal dinner. Aside from being a reward for standing up through the rehearsal itself, this dinner is a great opportunity to introduce your nearest and dearest. That way they’ll be fast friends when they meet again on the dance floor tomorrow. If your wedding is formal, consider dressing down for a rehearsal dinner at Blue Mountain Brewery, one of the local craft beer hotspots. Choose between an upstairs private room or the outdoor pergola area with its twinkling lights and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’re in the market for some urban ambiance, head to The Local in downtown Belmont, with room for up to 60 people in each of their three upstairs rooms. Wherever you choose, your families and friends will be all toasts and smiles by the end of an evening filled with fine local food and drink.
Don’t let your guests go just yet—we’re sure they’ve still got a few champagne toasts left in them. A day-after brunch is a great way to gather those classic wedding stories you’ll be telling for years. Plus, it’s a fabulous excuse to show off more of the C’ville food scene. If you’re going for a casual roundup of friends and family, head to Ace Biscuit & Barbecue and attempt a takeover of the outdoor patio. We love the Ol’ Dirty Biscuit and their chicken and waffles. If elegant and refined is the way you’d like to say your fond farewells, try The Boar’s Head. Bonus points if your guests are already in residence! Of course, we’ve got suggestions in spades; check out our recommendations below for local spots with scrumptious spreads that can help you plan brunch for a crowd.
Saying goodbye is a lot easier when you've got a plate of light and fluffy ginger pancakes before you. Enjoy everything from pan-fried trout to house roasted granola at Keswick Hall's award-winning restaurant while taking in the view of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains through Fossett's floor-to-ceiling windows.www.keswick.com
That envelope, standing out like a diamond amidst the bills and junk mail, is the first piece of information your guests will receive regarding your wedding. The invitation is an insight into your affair’s personality, offering clues about such fundamentals as formality, mood, size, and setting. It’s a gift, really, and can be as pretty as any present—if done well. Don’t waste the opportunity to make a first impression with your invites; enlist the design expertise of a local invitation and paper goods boutique to help craft an original, considered, and cohesive paper suite that truly plants the style seeds for your complete wedding vision. Of course, if your budget allows, going the extra mile to have your stationery hand-calligraphed will pack a majorly sophisticated, not to mention personalized, punch. Charlottesville’s talented calligraphers can do just about anything with a pen and ink, so whether your vibe is clean and modern or elegantly casual, consider adding an extra touch of artistry to your wedding stationery. That envelope will shine all the brighter for it.
Get your host on and greet your out-of-town guests with fully stocked wedding welcome bags filled with brag-worthy Charlottesville goodies and pertinent wedding weekend information. We love the idea of starting the celebration and orienting them to the area all at once. Offer friends and family a sip of something local like Shenandoah Joe coffee or a miniature bottle of Trump Vineyards’ Blanc de Blanc. Snacks are always a great go-to, like a bag of salted almond bark from C-ville Candy Company or a more savory treat, such as Route 11 potato chips. Make sure to include handy travel tools like a map of the area, a list of your favorite local restaurants, and a wedding itinerary to help guests plan out their time. Finish it off with a quick thank-you note printed on local stationery from Gridlove. Your guests will love the personal touch and feel welcomed to the Charlottesville scene.
We’re sure you’re up to your eyeballs in wedding scheduling and décor, but set aside a moment to pick out a wedding favor from one of our Charlottesville-based artisans that will set your reception apart. Your friends and family will love a treat like a hot, fresh Carpe Donut ice cream sandwich, known as the “Frodo.” If you and your partner like a little spice in your life, a bottle of Virginia Gentlemen bourbon hot sauce will hit the spot. Prefer a more interactive present? Hire a caricature artist to create take-home portraits of your guests. For further inspiration, check out some of these local vendors below.View Local Wedding Favor Ideas
In Charlottesville, wedding guests will never want for things to do. If they’re outdoor lovers, suggest one of the many great nearby hikes. (For a challenge, we suggest Old Rag; for something easier, how about Humpback Rock? No matter their comfort level, adventurers will see some stunning views!) For foodies and oenophiles, how about a winery tour, or one of the walking food tours available on the Downtown Mall? There’s truly something for everybody in C’ville. Check out the local Visitors Bureau for more great ideas.
A favorite landmark for UVA students and Charlottesville locals alike, Carter’s Mountain Orchard offers more than apple picking. Enjoy live music, wine tastings, and homemade cider donuts from April to December. How do you like them apples?www.chilesfamilyorchards.com
If you’re visiting Charlottesville in the summer, take a scenic drive to Chiles Peach Orchard, the companion site to Carter’s Mountain. Pick scarlet strawberries in early summer and succulent peaches starting mid-June and beat the heat with Chiles’ homemade ice cream.www.chilesfamilyorchards.com
We’re really spoilt for flavors here in Charlottesville and nowhere more so than at the Bold Rock Cider Barn where apple, pear, and honeydew ciders attract thousands of visitors each year. Sip on your flavor of choice in the Apple Chapel while taking in the panoramic Blue Ridge from whence your cider came. If you don’t make it out to the cider barn, be sure to taste this Virginia favorite at places like Carter’s Mountain, Chiles’ Orchard, or any C'ville restaurant or bar.www.boldrock.com
As far as our favorite warm-weather activities in Charlottesville go, wine tastings and vineyard tours are number one with a bullet. While you could easily spend hours at any one of these establishments, book a tour of the area’s best wineries and spend an afternoon traveling amongst the region’s most popular.www.charlottesville.org
Charlottesville is heralded as a great foodie town, so don’t miss the chance to suggest some fabulous local restaurants to friends and family. If they’re staying in Belmont, suggest MAS Tapas or tavola. On the Downtown Mall, we can’t get enough of Zocalo and Commonwealth. Away from downtown, check out Ivy Inn or Blue Mountain Brewery. There are so many to choose from, each deliciously unique in its own right, whether you prefer white tablecloths or picnic tables. Take a peek at The Charlottesville 29, a local food blog, for recommendations and reviews on the very best restaurants in the area.
Drawing globally from all of the regions that fall within this latitude, Parallel 38 capitalizes on small bites and shareable plates with a heavy Mediterranean leaning. Add that to an amazingly extensive wine list, and you’ve got yourself a winning hot spot for big groupswww.p38cville.com
A modest building on Route 29 North, Milan shocks customers with magnificent homestyle Indian dishes created by Punjab native Charanjeet Ghotra. After years of culinary success in Virginia, Ghotra opened Milan in 2002; its popularity makes it evident as to why he named his restaurant the Indian word for “meeting place.”www.milan-indian-cuisine.com
At some point, your guests are going to need some sort of horizontal surface to sleep on in between wedding events. Score major hosting points by getting in touch with some of your favorite C’ville hotels to reserve room blocks for guests savvy enough to plan in advance. We suggest picking a few different accommodations at different price points—preferably close to your wedding or reception venue—so everyone can select something within their price range. If you’re getting hitched downtown, the Omni is conveniently nestled against the west end of the Downtown Mall. If you’re looking for a cozier vibe, the South Street Inn is another nearby option. UVA brides and grooms might suggest the charming Dinsmore House. The variety of accommodations is so extensive that we’re sure you’ll find a fit for the wedding party and everyone on your guest list. Have a look through our suggestions for a sweet spot to stay in Charlottesville below.
Around-the-clock oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, cozy accommodations, and immediate access to the Saturday morning farmer’s market are just a few perks of staying in the South Street Inn. Expect professional care with a personal touch (did we mention the cookies?).www.southstreetinn.com
There are a wealth of different engagement shoot backdrops in Charlottesville, from the beautiful brick buildings on the historic Downtown Mall to the endless vineyards and mountain views just outside of town. We love photos in the apple orchard and by the big red barn at Carter Mountain Orchard, particularly when the fall foliage lights up the hillsides. If you’re into a waterfront locale, try Chris Greene Lake, a county park with beautifully maintained trails and eponymous lake, complete with picturesque fishing pier. We also checked in with the experts and our Charlottesville wedding photographers delivered: check out their favorite engagement shoot locations before you head out to strike a pose with your betrothed.
Bachelorette parties in C’ville are simply a blast. There are options for people planning every style of celebration, like cheese tastings at Flora (the delightful cheese counter at Timbercreek Market), a chauffeured wine tour, catching a show at the Jefferson Theater, or a lingerie party with the local lovelies at derrière de soie. Consult our Charlottesville bachelorette party ideas to find some inspiration about how we C’ville girls like to get down. We’ve got you covered from the moment your feet strike the Downtown Mall ‘til your head hits the pillow at your great local accommodation.
Gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts. If your bachelor party is happening in Charlottesville, you’ve got it made. Get started with beers and pub food on the outdoor patio at Kardinal Hall. There are so many options for brewery, winery, and even distillery tours that we hesitate to share just one, so you may as well try a few with the Hop-On Beer Tour. If you’re into the outdoors, head out for a round of golf at Birdwood Golf Course at the Boar’s Head or hike Old Rag, rock scramble and views included. Great restaurants are easy to find here; go for drinks and farm-to-table fare at The Whiskey Jar or hit up Beer Run for incredible nachos and a beer list worth drinking your way through. Have a look through our C’ville bachelor party ideas for further inspiration.
Where would we be without the immensely talented pool of Charlottesville wedding vendors? Their passion for planning, commitment to their couples, and incredible ingenuity is what makes the local wedding scene as remarkable as it is, and it's the unique team behind every wedding working together that makes each event an affair to remember. Their combined experience and expertise is second to none, and we want you to benefit from it while assembling your dream team of vendors. Check out our Spotlight Series for in-depth Q&As with the best of the best in the industry, and make sure to read the articles they've contributed to Borrowed & Blue for the most reliable wedding tips and tricks, straight from the source.
Charlottesville is a fairly small city, so large local events can really throw a wrench into your wedding weekend. Consequently, it’s best to get guest accommodations sorted out well in advance. Take note of some of our big events that will bring people to town, like UVA football games on fall Saturdays, local marathons, and the Virginia Film Festival. A little advance reconnaissance will mean your guests will be able to stay close by without worrying about the hassle of event traffic or overbooked accommodations. We’ve compiled a list of major annual events it would be best to avoid.
From hosting rockstars like Paul McCartney to thousands of Wahoo fans come basketball season, JPJ is usually packed to max capacity more than a few times a year. Expect crazed fans, tour busses, and general hoopla to create a lot of congestion on Route 29 during these big events.www.johnpauljonesarena.com
As thousands of new and returning students flood the streets with station wagons packed to the gills, expect heavy traffic and crowds at the University and surrounding residential areas.
When planning something as complex and significant as your wedding day, sometimes you just want friendly experts to step in and share some pearls of wisdom. Lucky for you, we know people (we’re sitting right here—wink wink). And we’ve got your back: insider tips, exhaustive research, and inspiring takes on all aspects of the planning process, compiled here specifically with your wedding location in mind. You’re just a few clicks away from wedding planning peace of mind…You’re welcome! (No thank-you note required.)
Check out some other useful local online resources to get you acquainted with all-things Charlottesville, from travel guides to the local restaurant scene to great local wedding blogs run by our friends in the industry: