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Virginia's well-known travel tagline - "Virginia is for Lovers" - is encouraging for couples planning a wedding in Old Dominion. Any season, any budget, any personal preference - whatever you want in your Virginia wedding, the commonwealth provides everything you need, and more! Let's take a tour of this historic, romantic, and beautiful state from a wedding planner's perspective.
The eastern portion of Virginia features miles of pristine coastline courtesy of the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. A river, a bay, and an ocean - that pretty much sums up the rich and diverse natural landscape (and seascape) which defines the state's eastern seaboard. Bay-area cities, Arlington, Hampton, Newport News, Roanoke and Norfolk, all have gorgeous shoreline vistas, numerous wedding venues, and photo hotspots as well. Virginia Beach is on the top of many people's "favorite beach towns" lists, and it's not hard to see why - the city's boardwalk and beach-area attractions put plentiful wedding possibilities in play (just watch out for the Atlantic hurricane season). Historic Richmond has it all: a burgeoning restaurant and pub scene, wedding venues galore and close proximity to classic Southern plantation settings. The Shenandoah Valley is rich with rolling hills and history around practically every bend and across every winding country milepost. Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, is an architectural gem and adds early American ambiance to any wedding photo shoot. Blacksburg, nestled in the Appalachian foothills, is home to Virginia Tech University and superb scenery, particularly in the autumn months. The state's southwestern corner features some of the most majestic peaks in the entire Appalachian Mountain range. Charming rural landscapes and countryside charm define the region, and small towns like Wytheville have more amenities than you might think. For an inexpensive wedding celebration in Virginia, don't forget the area along the I-77 corridor. Something to consider for weddings in this part of the state - access to Interstate 77 allows quick commute to Charlotte, North Carolina (and its endless amenities), if you're having relatives and friends in from out-of-state.
Virginia has a reputation as a summer vacation spot, but it's one of the few states that offers both seaside fun and an interior winter wonderland. Regardless of when you're planning your wedding, great consideration should be given to when your wedding will be. Geography is a critical factor for year-round Virginia wedding plans. Higher elevations (in the north and southwest) can create sticky (and slippery) situations for winter weddings, and you should always be aware of the Atlantic hurricane season (which runs from June through November on a yearly basis), if you're considering a Chesapeake Bay-area celebration. Virginia wedding color palettes vastly vary, but try to integrate your tones with the surrounding scenery. Yellow, blue, green and white are popular for weddings near the coast, while orange and red blend effortlessly with autumn weddings in Virginia's valleys and mountains. No matter your eventual wedding location in the commonwealth, you'll be able to enjoy any style, in any hue - at the end of the day, it's all up to you!
As we've already discussed, it's hard to top Virginia's mix of stunning natural scenery, historical relevance and multi-season wedding planning versatility. Here's something else you might like, too: weddings in the state, on average, cost a little less than the $30,000 national average. For the most part, weddings are more expensive in the Chesapeake Bay region, the area around Washington, D.C. and some areas in the Shenandoah Valley. They are less pricy in the southwestern and southern parts of the state. All told, the typical Virginia wedding will cost about $200 per guest, which is anywhere from 5-10% less than the average U.S. wedding. More encouraging info: Virginia wedding vendors rank among the best in the nation. Tasty gourmet wedding reception dining is par for the course, thanks to a vast & varied assortment of Virginia wedding catering services. Have you decided on a wedding soundtrack? Wedding DJs throughout Virginia cue up practically any playlist you can imagine, from folksy southern and bluegrass tunes to contemporary hits. And don't let logistics get in the way - Virginia's popularity as a wedding destination has created a competitive and affordable Virginia wedding transportation marketplace, with everything from classy carriages to stretch limos. Bottom line: it's not hard to have a wedding that's both elegant and affordable in Virginia.
All circuit courts in Virginia issue marriage licenses; you need to apply for your license at a circuit court. Thankfully, they're located in every county, all across the state. Cost is $30 per couple. No blood test is required, so the process is fairly quick and hassle-free. Once you receive your Virginia marriage license, it's good for 60 days. Smart couples planning a Virginia wedding will get the ball rolling quickly, assuming the wedding is within two months of application.