The first time my fiancé and I visited the Williamsburg Winery, we met with the wine maker and had an exclusive tour of the cellar—barrels and barrels of French oak containing juice from harvests long ago destined to become some of Virginia’s finest wines. We then toured the winery’s inn, the Wedmore Place, an establishment that echoes the c’est si bon of European living. I knew immediately that this would be the place we’d be married. We wanted a simple wedding for two, a planned elopement wedding—a hybridization that I’m sure you will find inspiring.
Customarily on the day of a wedding, the bride and her maids meet at a spa or salon for some H&M, hair and make-up. I thought about doing that but then quickly realized that I lacked maids. In any case a spa treatment for two sounded much more exciting, which brought my husband-to-be and me to the Williamsburg Salt Spa. The cave, made entirely of salt, provided the ultimate relaxation haven. Lying upon heated floors among 40 tons of salt is a euphoric experience—especially when you realize the health benefits of spending an hour in a salt spa, such as regulating blood pressure, clearing sinuses, and harmonizing your body’s acidity level.
For the second time, driving into Williamsburg Winery and to the entrance of the Wedmore Place, I felt as if I had left the state, even the country. The Old-World feel begins the moment you step out of your car and walk towards its brick façade. Under high ceilings and rich wood, the Wedmore’s hospitality is genuine and makes you feel like a contessa.
Our room, the Venetian, complete with vaulted ceilings, a glowing hearth, and a loft-style bedroom was the backdrop to our ceremony. Many others, I’m sure, have been joined in holy matrimony here. The room itself lends a perfect setting for a small ceremony of 15 or so, complete with a grand entrance for any bride-to-be—a staircase that weaves its way down to the spot where the minister will wish you both the very best in your new life together. Twenty-eight rooms, each named after a province or area in Europe, are individually designed with antiques imported from all over Europe to reflect that region’s culture. I assure that you shall find the chamber that more than fulfills your needs or, at the very least, your visual pleasure.
“Eat, drink, and be merry” is a philosophy deeply instilled at the Wedmore Place and Williamsburg Winery. Their gifted winemaker, Matthew Meyer, together with their inventive executive chef, Tim Westby-Gibson, will ensure a merry experience. Imagine a bold glass of Trianon—a 100% cabernet franc from three distinct vineyards—alongside a sautéed duck leg confit with a port and goat cheese sauce, haricot verts, and butternut squash ravioli. The Café Provencal is a quaint and delicate setting that pays homage to the dainty side of life. Beautiful Toile du Jouy-patterned accented chairs and antiques, dried lavender, and a calm view suggested we’d stumbled into the French countryside, complete with 16th-century charm.
After that weekend, my husband and I left with an everlasting feeling of contentment. It was a blissful time, as though we truly escaped and life stood still for a day. A more perfect wedding I could not fathom. Whether you will be reciting nuptials or not, you will rediscover that joie de vivre that is often left behind in your everyday life when you visit the Williamsburg Winery and the Wedmore Place.
For more information, visit www.williamsburgwinery.com and www.williamsburgsaltsapa.com. Special thanks to Bob Weber, Williamsburg Winery marketing director; Douglas L. Johnson, marriage officiant; Chef Robert Cilizza, Sheraton Norfolk Waterside; Sandy Coburn, Norfolk Wholesale Floral; and Agnieszka Adamska, owner, Williamsburg Salt Spa.