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Planning a Wedding/Honeymoon

( Planning a Wedding/Honeymoon: So Many Choices & So Little Time.

“Will you marry me?” “Sure. Why not? I don’t have any plans for Tuesday.”

Statistics indicate that the planning horizon for a traditional wedding and honeymoon average 18 months. However, with demanding careers and other obligations that eat away at the 24/7, it seems outrageous that a wedding (elaborate or simple) should take more than a few hours to arrange, and 5 working days to implement.

Pop-Up Wedding

Las Vegas has created the “pop-up” wedding model. In less than an hour and a $55 fee, the love-birds can obtain a marriage license, and for under $1,000 the to-be-wed couple can order (with only a moments notice) a choice of chapel and music, a floral cascade and boutonnière, candlelight ceremony, dance, toast and flute glass, plus a ceremony, reception photos, marriage certificate holder, a DVD of the event, plus a one – hour reception with beverages, wedding cake and serving set, a guest book and garter set as well as a limo to their honeymoon hotel.

Taking the tacky out of the Vegas wedding-in-a box, and turning it into a sophisticated and memorable affair is not at all difficult, if the right locale is selected. Two glorious choices are Loudoun County, VA and New York, NY.

Loudoun County, Virginia: Pop-Up Weddings in Hunt Country

Think Polo (sponsors include Cartier and the Ritz Carlton), and fox hunts, elegant wines (Global standards, not local), and gourmet dining, and you have the perfect setting for an elegant wedding and/or honeymoon that can be planned in less than a day, and implemented in under a week.

Starting in Leesburg, VA (and surrounding towns) you can arrange for pre-marriage counseling by contacting Theresa Beeton (CCSW), run next door for the dress and groom attire (Le Reve Bridal House), meander to the charming Caulkins Jewelers where Stanley, the kindly, gentle owner will warmly tell you about the 56 years he has been in business, and show you a fabulous 2 karat diamond with a platinum setting ($19,000) and a wedding band (for him) for under $600.

Getting into your limo direct the driver to Holly Heider Chapple for flowers. On your way to her showroom, give her a call (meetings are by appointment-only). Depending on your schedule you can spend 10 minutes or 2 hours selecting bouquets (bride, bridesmaids, mom and mom-in-law) table floral arrangements, gentlemen boutonnières, and petals for the flower girl to pave the way to married bliss. My preference is to look at the available flowers, pick the colors and leave the rest to Holly.

Now we need a place for the ceremony and party. My two favorite locations are the Breaux Vineyards (Purcellville, VA) and Patowmack Farm (actually a gourmet restaurant with an organic garden for growing fruits, vegetables and herbs) that overlooks the Potomac River (Lovettsville, VA). With only a 20 minute conversation between the owners/managers and chefs, you can arrange a pre-wedding flight of Virginia wines with appropriate appetizers, gourmet/organic buffet or a more formal sit-down breakfast/lunch or dinner, music (from a trio to a big-band-sound), as well as a priest or rabbi to perform the ceremony.

What’s left to deal with? Oh yes: Something old/new/borrowed/blue. No problem – walk through the Black Shutter Antique Center (Leesburg, VA), and you will find over 20 rooms filled with quality antiques and collectibles. If you call the charming ladies that manage the Center in advance of your arrival, and tell them what you are looking for, they will happily pick through the thousands of pieces on display, and set up a “private showing” – which will save you so oodles of time.

The only item remaining on the to-do list: Where do you and the “others” rest and sleep before/ after the big moment! The Red Fox Inn in Middleburg, VA (established c.1728) is a delightful option. This smoke-free country hotel is located mid-way between Alexandra and Winchester. Unless you are a died-in-the wool Yankee – you will not mind that the Inn served as both a headquarters and hospital for the Confederates. Reserve the Belmont Suite that includes a living room, baby grand piano, powder room, step-down bedroom, king-size four-poster bed overlooking gardens and a full bath ($325 per evening).


For guests flying into Loudoun County (Dulles Airport) and forgot to bring a present – not to worry…this area is full of wonderful shopping. For terrific paintings by talented local artists visit with Lawrence Thomas at his Gleedville Art Gallery. Prefer the gift of time? Stop at Ketterman’s. For a gorgeous leather piece arrange with Pampa’s Corner in Middleburg, VA for a private showing. If the bride and groom are into outdoor sports, a quick purchase can be made at the Leesburg Plum Grove Cyclery (think $$$$ - high end bikes only).

New York City

Whether you decide to marry in Virginia and honeymoon in New York, or vice-versa, two outstanding locations in Manhattan require consideration. Prefer small and intimate? A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Inn at Irving Place reminds me of the Victorian townhouse where my wealthy auntie lived (and still supervises the comings and goings of staff and family). If preferences run more to Broadway, showbiz and over-the-top dramatics, the number one choice has got to be the Millennium Hotel and the landmark Hudson Theatre.

Charm in an Old-World Setting

The Inn was built in 1834 and reflects a graceful combination of two landmark townhouses. With 12 guestrooms and junior suites the spaces are furnished with antiques reminiscent of the Edith Wharton New York era. While the setting is from a by-gone-period, all the amenities are up-to-date, including teleport Internet access and remote climate control.

From a tea party to a rehearsal dinner, from a wine tasting and pairings to a formal sit-down wedding dinner, the Inn is equipped to handle all the details that make a wedding/honeymoon stressful. I was assured by Shawn Rettstatt (General Manager) – that once the date/time for the event(s) are selected, you can turn the entire event over to him and his trusty staff. They have handled so many important occasions, that their database is more than current. From the rabbi or minister (on call) to a designer for the wedding gown, wedding ring, florist and musicians, you can turn over the details of the moment to Shawn, and actually enjoy the event.

Hello Broadway

At the opposite end of the spectrum is a wedding at the Hudson Theatre, followed by a few nights at the Millennium Hotel in the very heart of New York. Think


• Loudoun County, VA

Black Shutter Antique Center:
Breaux Vineyards:
Caulkins Jewelers, Inc: 703 777 2208
Gleedville Art Gallery:
Holly Heider Chapple Flowers, Ltd:
Ketterman’s Jewelers: 703 777 0033
Le Reve Bridal House: 703 777 3757
Pampa’s Corner: 571 331 8542
Patowmack Farm and Restaurant:
Plum Grove Cyclery:
The Red Fox Inn:

• New York City, NY
Millennium Broadway Hotel:
The Inn at Irving Place: by eTN
Keli Cypriano
PH: +1-808-637-9659

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