Was this your experience? You were newly engaged and had wonderful images dancing in your head of what your PERFECT wedding day would look like. You had the ultimate vision of what you wanted your wedding to be… And then reality hit when you began looking around at all of the venues and vendors. The pricing was far beyond what you had ever imagined, the rules and restrictions were extensive and the “cookie cutter” feel of things almost tempted you to elope.
We are John and Kelly Heckman, the owners of Winridge Manor Bed and Breakfast. The scenario above is exactly what happened to us when we got engaged. John and I met in August of 2012 and by March of 2014 we were ready to say “I do”! We were so excited to begin our lives together and began planning for our dream wedding…. but things did not run as smoothly as we hoped for.
Being the Type A personality that I am, I ended up researching over 30 different venue options in three different states! (Sound familiar?) Not a single one of them “spoke” to what we dreamed of. Fortunately, along one of our many journeys we had seen this romantic log cabin that sat next to a peaceful pond and was surrounded by a picturesque pasture. (See the Back Woods Cabin on VRBO in Narvon, Pa. The owners rent it out as a vacation rental and wedding venue) The setting was everything we had hoped for! We called the owners, and, though they had never hosted a wedding on their property before, they agreed to rent the space out to us. We were thrilled! (Thank you, Lisa Jo and Merv Martin – We are forever grateful!)
(Kelly and John’s Bridal Party)
Our wedding was truly romantic – Our family and friends told us it was the best wedding they had ever been to 🙂 HOWEVER, it took a LOT of work since we did everything ourselves. (Well, not all of it. We are VERY grateful for the help of many family members and friends who helped us set up and decorate in the days prior to the wedding!) We really enjoyed the DIY aspect of our wedding because it added our personal touch to the day. However, it was still costly and the hours spent on researching, booking vendors, organizing the details, the crafting and the actual preparation for this production were too numerous to count.
Since our ceremony and reception were held on rural beautiful horse fields, we needed to order a tent with tables/chairs and a dance floor. We also hired our own BBQ Caterer, DJ and Photographer. For dessert, we ordered yummy pies from a local Amish Bakery and arranged to have Root beer Floats served to all our guests. . We wrote and printed all of our invitations, programs and Thank You’s. It was fun – but it was also stressful.
The ordeal of carting everything we needed to set up for the wedding from New Jersey to Pennsylvania was quite a production! Ultimately, we ended up renting a 25 foot rental truck and bringing two other cars full of decorations. Looking back, would we have changed things? Not for the world! However, in retrospect, it certainly would have been quite pleasant to have had someone else who did all of the planning and organizing for us 🙂
(Our “Happily Ever After” spectacular sunset!)
At the time we were married, we had NO idea that we would eventually own our own wedding venue! However, in 2016 we decided to completely switch careers and purchased Winridge Manor Bed and Breakfast and Event Venue in Madison Heights, Virginia. It has been a wonderful experience! We absolutely love having the opportunity to help orchestrate unique weddings for our Winridge Manor couples. Since our own wedding experience really enlightened us, we vowed to always treat our Winridge Manor couples, and their families, like royalty. Our Winridge Manor motto is “Your Day, Your Way” and our goal is to alleviate all of the stress and headaches that can be associated with wedding planning. We offer a variety of packages for our couples to pick from, including a DIY option. However, regardless of what package they choose, prior to their wedding, we spend countless hours conferring with them and going over all of the details for their special day. When their day finally arrives, their only job is to relax and enjoy every second! Our staff, who arrive bright and early early, armed with carefully composed directions from Kelly, diligently work to create their fairy tale wedding.
Are you or someone you know looking to create a “Happily Ever After” wedding experience? We would love to meet you and show you everything that Winridge Manor offers! Please contact Kelly to schedule a tour at (434) 333-5207.