It was a dark and stormy day when we arrived, sopping wet, at Bristow Manor for their Bridal Show. I'd seen the golf club online and admired the historic building (much like Stoneleigh Golf Club), proximity to airports and hotels, and affordable price. I found out they were having a Bridal Show through the Knot and figured it would be a good time to check out the venue and see some local vendors. One of my college friends was visiting that weekend and she was a good sport to come along with M and I and take pictures for us!
|The entrance to Bristow was open and welcoming, despite the monsoon-like rain|
We were a little... underwhelmed. While ceremony pictures looked lovely between the majestic columns, we weren't loving the whole "turn around and walk toward... a hedge? A street?" right after we were married. In addition, the hedge didn't really block traffic noise or sights (though in all fairness, it wasn't a particularly busy road). Still, we didn't rule it out immediately, we wanted to see the rest of the manor first.
|It really is a lot nicer from this angle! [source]|
Actually, it was a little too cozy. With vendor stands lining every wall and about 6 tables in the middle, the reception hall felt packed! We had a hard time imagining 12 ten-top tables plus buffet lines, dance floor, etc in the space. I can easily imagine a smaller wedding (maybe under 100) held here, but it felt a little cramped for our 125 person wedding. We did like the brick patio off the front of the pavillion (not pictured) and had it not been raining that could have relieved the tight-space issue. But every bride needs a rain plan, and being inside Bristow during that torrential downpour made us realize that space would be really tight if it we had the "good luck" of rain on our wedding day.
*All pictures are personal photos unless otherwise stated
The Inn at Kelly's Ford
We stumbled across the Inn at Kelly's Ford almost by accident. It was recommended to us as a B&B to stay in on our wedding night by the owner of the venue we chose. As I was searching their website, I noticed they also did wedding, and since we were still open to looking, we decided to check out their wedding package as well as their accommodations. I don't have any personal pictures because my camera died (always bring extra batteries!) but they have a lot of pictures on their website.
The Inn has two reception sites, Ripley Hall and the Area. The Area, which holds about 400 guests, was much too big for our wedding and already booked for the date we wanted:
|This place was huge!|
Also, the very back corner of the room had a fireplace and cozy chairs, which was a nice touch for any bride who has been bitten by the "lounge-furniture" bug. Too cool, right?
The Inn at Kelly's Ford is an equestrian center, so the entire site was full of rolling hills, pastures, and views of the Rappahannock River. We could have our ceremony in one of several picturesque locations, from a fountain outside the reception hall to a gazebo overlooking the river:
|Ripley Hall (left) and the Area (peak and right wing) with fountain in front|
The Inn has 6 cottages which would be perfect for the bridal party to get ready, or for the bride and groom to stay in on the wedding night. Their honeymoon suite, The Silo, was modern and unique (a two story suite housed in, yes, an old Silo) but I wondered about navigating the spiral staircase in a wedding dress.
|Top floor of the Silo|
Did you start seeing closer matches to your "dream venue" as your venue search continued? Was it a tough choice between two venues at the end, or were you completely sold on a location?
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