hortly after a couple becomes engaged, the well-wishes and congratulations begin – followed by the inevitable questions of when and where the wedding will take place. It wasn’t so long ago that a couple would select from maybe a couple wedding venues in their hometown and then check that task off the to-do list. That’s simply not true anymore. Each wedding is special and every bride wants her big day to be spectacular.
If you or a family member are planning a wedding in or around the Northern Neck, consider the opportunities endless. From small and intimate gatherings to large and lavish affairs, few places boast the singular charm and elegance this area has to offer. With its rich heritage and history, beautiful scenery and unique reception venues, you will find the perfect romantic backdrop for your special day. The following three very unique and distinct venues are sure to deliver any couple the wedding day of their dreams.
Located just outside the port town of Urbanna, which is bounded on the north by the Rappahannock River, Hewick Plantation was established in 1678. The property is listed in both the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register and on the National Register of Historic Places.
With its 17th century manor house, a lane of majestic oaks, acres of manicured lawns, English boxwoods, and colonial gardens, the property is well-suited for the most memorable of ceremonies and receptions – from simple to elaborate.
Rachel Sanders is the Marketing & Special Events Director for Hewick Plantation. She and her team are constantly striving to recreate the elegance of historic southern pageantry. “Hewick Plantation features what many would say is a most magnificent entrance with a long pea gravel driveway lined with ancient oak trees leading to the beautiful home,” Rachel says. “The grounds, featuring a boxwood garden, herb garden courtyard and expansive lawn, are impeccably maintained throughout the year.”
The venue has hosted a variety of popular festivals which Rachel says has opened the doors to many couples from near and far who are considering it as a wedding venue. “Each spring we host the annual RE Strong Run, a festival that honors Ruth Ellen Hurley, the late beloved wife of Hewick Plantation owner Walt Hurley. She passed away with breast cancer in 2014.”
The event, which raised $50,000 for the Massey Cancer Center at VCU, celebrates the lives of those who have bravely battled cancer. “This event opens Hewick Plantation up to the community so everyone can spend a day enjoying the serene surroundings and experience why Hewick was such a special place to Ruth Ellen.”
Another signature event for Hewick Plantation is the Arts in the Middle festival. “The 2015 event saw over 1,500 visitors who enjoyed fine art creations from over 100 vendors. The driveway was lined with potters, artists and craftsmen showcasing their beautiful works of art. Festival guests were overwhelmed by the beauty and history of the property.”
Rachel says that she looks forward to hosting many special events in 2016 and beyond, keeping the history of this unique property alive for years to come. Perhaps your big day will be one of those events.
Good Luck Cellars
Eleven years ago, Paul and Katie Krop shared a vision of creating a vineyard and winery out of a parcel of land that had been used for mining top soil, sand, and gravel. Their vision is now reality. Good Luck Cellars, located in Kilmarnock, is a vineyard and winery site (where all wines are grown on site) of magical beauty and serenity. The venue is a lovely backdrop for any manner of wedding receptions, from elegant sophistication to down-home rustic. “We have even hosted a farm-themed wedding,” Katie says. “The bride was the granddaughter of a famous farmer here who created the Northern Neck Farm Museum. She and her attendants all wore cowboy boots.”
Against the winery/vineyard backdrop, decorations included the bride’s grandfather’s antique tractor on the property. Inside, the off-white table linens were covered with burlap runners. Mason jars incorporated wheat accents. “It was wonderful, just lovely.”
Good Luck Cellars maintains a preferred vendor list and the Krops are happy to help clients select caterers, florists, photographers, disc jockeys or other musical entertainment. With tables and chairs onsite, there is no need for rentals. “We can accommodate up to a 200-guest wedding,” says Katie. “We also have abundance space on the covered porches, seating an additional 60 people.” Not surprisingly, Katie and Paul say that their most popular wedding season is April-May and September-October.
The spectacular setting of Woodland Manor, owned by Linda Ludeke, is also a must-see. Located a stone’s throw from Tappahannock, this grand location offers the elegance associated with a stately 1790 southern estate. The property is situated on a knoll surrounded with 200-year old trees and boxwoods and the manor itself is a charming home of federal style. The home was built with a wide central hallway, a floor plan of two rooms over two rooms with an English basement, along with two chimneys and five fireplaces. Original heart pine wood floors and the original mantelpieces add to the charm. With multiple unique ceremony and reception spaces, this venue provides an elegant location for weddings, from small and intimate to a larger guest list of 200.
Linda purchased the home in November 2014. With her daughter Erica Hutchison’s knowledge of the wedding industry and son Brett Ludeke’s photography expertise and marketing background, it was a natural business endeavor for the three, who call themselves the “dream team.” Erica owns Black Creek Flowers, a full-service florist in Mechanicsville specializing in weddings. Her brother Brett is a photographer.
“My brother and I partner with our mother to offer special package deals,” Erica says. “That’s the selling point. We know the property and we also know what vendors expect because we have been in the business. We enjoy meeting new vendors and forming new relationships with them. My mom always had a dream of finding an old brick Federal-style house to turn into a wedding venue. I think the authenticity of the house is one of my most favorite aspects. The house is gorgeous and decorated to a tee, not too stuffy, just perfect. It is very unique and feels like home but at the same time it is elegant.”
Clients can bring in their own caterers or rental companies without any restrictions. “We love watching folks customize our venue to suit their own personality and vision. Every wedding is different.”
As your big day approaches, no matter which venue you select, the Northern Neck is the ideal setting for your big day. The natural beauty of the area combined with its quaint towns and exquisite waterways make it a destination like no other.