As you might guess, we get a lot of questions from wedding couples when they tour our place. We thought we'd put a few on the website to help you with questions you might have before you visit!
Q: I noticed a lot of changes from your earlier packages, why did you change them?
A: Most of the changes were as a result of feedback from our wedding couples and their families and an attempt to simplify things a bit. We do not charge more for a Saturday than a Friday...the price is the price and stays the same no matter what day of the week you book.
Q: Do you require us to have particular caterers?
A: That is entirely up to you. We have listed several vendors we have worked with before whose work we appreciated, but it is your day. We do require all of your vendors to be licensed and insured. Ask them if they are first thing when you are considering them. You can give them our email address and have them send us copies or have their insurance companies send copies. We have had to change this policy due to the risks inherent in using unlicensed/uninsured vendors.
Q: What if we need extra time?
A: Each package has a twelve hour time frame in which to prepare and celebrate your day...from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. which is usually ample time. The 10:30 p.m. cut off is out of respect for our neighbors. We want to be good neighbors. You do have a 3 hour rehearsal time the day before to drop off things and have your rehearsal...no decorating until the next day however. We do some prep work in the morning before you decorate...putting out the lounges with pillows, blowing off the Pavilion and dance floors, etc. Plus, we do have critters out here in the country and we don't want them exploring your decorations in the middle of the night!
Q: Are there extra fees in addition to the ones you mention in the package?
A: I'm glad you asked! I usually discuss them with couples when they do a tour instead of putting them on the website, mostly because they are not fees I charge, but are required nevertheless. You will need a banquet license for the day of the event from ABC. We used to be more flexible, but we find every wedding (whether they were going to have alcohol or not) ends up having alcohol in some form. There is a link to the Virginia ABC in the Vendors We Love section of the website. The current cost is $40. There is also a link for event insurance on the website. We prefer Markel insurance because they are fast, flexible and reasonable, but it is your choice. You will need a $1,000,000. policy for the day(s) of the event with Carl & Paula Stafford listed as also insured. Usually it is less than $200. We do require a $300 security deposit which will be returned to you after the wedding if there is no damage or extra fees you incurred.
Q: How do you feel about having children at the weddings?
A: We love children! And, of course, being out in the country lends itself to family gatherings of this sort. The country is a benevolent place if treated with caution and respect, but we depend on the adults in attendance to keep track of the children and make sure they are safe. We ask that you not bring children in or near our home as we are not childproof. We have a pool (with locked gates), , steps coming up to the house (and going down!), creeks that can be fallen in to, and a lake. Children are the responsibility of the adults in charge of them and need to be monitored closely so as to keep them from getting hurt or injured or throwing rocks and injuring someone else. (I don't know why, but kids always want to throw rocks at each other and use sticks to fight or use fences like a jungle gym!) Otherwise, there is dancing, food and games and the kids generally love the atmosphere here. If you have a lot of kids attending, there are some wonderful groups and businesses that specialize in entertaining kids while the grown ups are having their own fun. They are worth checking in to and we highly recommend them. We find most adults want to enjoy themselves and having someone watch the kids frees them up to do so.
Q: Are there any places to stay on your place or nearby?
A: We are not equipped to lodge any guests here on the property, but there are many really wonderful places very close by...historic Inns, B & B's, quaint cottages, and regular hotels like Holiday Inn Express. We get a lot of people from southern Maryland, Fredericksburg, and Northern Virginia and I tell them that we do not have Northern Virginia traffic so a 16 mile trip, takes about 15-20 minutes here. We have links on the Vendors We Love page for lots of lodging options within 20 minutes of us. Orange is about 12 miles away, Madison about the same, Culpeper 16 miles away and Charlottesville 35 miles away. The Charlottesville airport is on this side of town, so it isn't very far.
Q: Do you do weddings in the winter?
A: We are not yet equipped for winter weddings. Our season generally runs April 1 to Oct 31 though it is obviously chillier at the beginning and end of the season. We have side walls on the Pavilion, a stone fireplace and several propane heaters to ward off the night chill. If you want, you can rent extra heaters. Of course, a bonfire is always a good thing!
Q: Do you have WiFi or decent cell service?
A: Unfortunately no. We are nearly off the grid out here and cell phone service is sketchy at best....certainly not speedy! And WiFi...ahhh, WiFi...we have satellite internet at the house, but it isn't the best either... The upside is that you wanted a country wedding and that is one of the nice things about it (not being "connected" all the time) and one of the aggravations of living out here!
Q: I have an Aunt who has difficulty walking. Do you offer any types of facilities or assistance?
A: We want anyone who wants to come to your wedding to be able to do so, so we provide an alternative bathroom for them as well. Plus, we have a golf cart that can take your Aunt directly to her seat at the ceremony and then back up to the Pavilion.
Q: Speaking of bathrooms, what kind of facilities do you have?
A: Well, we are out in the country so we use portajohns...clean, white and silver portajohns with interior lights. We make all the arrangements for the portajohn's timely arrival and we cover their cost. We also attend them throughout the event and provide countrified wash stations with flowers and trees to pretty them up a bit. If you want something nicer, you are free to rent a toilet trailer. They run around $1500. We do have accommodations available for people in wheelchairs or who are unable to use the portajohns. They are not for general use though.
Q: What do we do with leftover food from the caterers?
This comes up nearly every wedding with delicious leftover food that nobody wants to go to waste. Come prepared for leftovers and you can also tell your guests to do the same. Bring coolers with ice, baggies or plastic containers to store the food in and you'll be in good shape. You've already paid for it, so enjoy the next day for lunch or dinner! We had one wedding where the wedding party chose to go to Kings Dominion the next day and they packed coolers with the leftovers to take with them. I thought that was a brilliant idea!