Why Elope?

It’s a big decision to go small for your wedding day!  There are a ton of reasons folks elope: * Family is spread out all over the USA/world and the logistics of getting everyone together would challenge the most seasoned international event planner. * One or both of the spouses are in the military. * The bride or groom is actually quite shy and doesn’t want to be put “on stage”. * The idea of all the detailed planning gives the bride and groom hives. * Saving $$ for the honeymoon or a big investment, like a house! * Only two opinions and no family drama to manage. * The couple believes exchanging wedding vows is a moment to be shared just between the two of them. My husband, Sam, and I choose to elope in 2001 when the trend was secret scandalous elopement or big fat wedding.  So, we went through a lot of the emotions involved with choosing an elopement-style wedding even before “small” was a thing. We understand and believe: 1) going small is a tough decision to make and 2) a wedding of any size is a meaningful life event that should reflect both the bride and groom’s desires. For us, our choice was a Virginia Inn even before thoughts of owning one entered our heads. If you think eloping is what you want to do, there are many ways of going about it. Here are three blogs I hope help you plan your perfect day: 1. Make sure you understand how to elope. 2. Research the cost to elope. 3. Celebrate your elopement or...

How Much Does It Cost to Elope?

The cost of eloping can be under $100 and it can be over $10,000. It really depends on what YOU want your special day to include. Here are some helpful hints from the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast.  Once you know the answers to these questions, you should be able to start planning your elopement. Understand what is included in the price of the package * What does the facility take care of?  What if you want them to take care of everything?  What if you want to customize and be more hands on? * Does the package include the officiant? Sometimes finding the officiant is the hardest part – is that taken care of?  Does he/she allow customization of the ceremony if you want to include your own vows or traditions? * Do you want to include guests? Some facilities see an elopement as just two people as opposed to a small wedding. If you want guests, including a four-legged member of your family, make sure your facility allows it. Here at Holladay House we can have 2-20 people and your pet. Frilly Details (that can cost extra) * What can the bride and groom wear? Ladies may wear anything from full length bridal gowns to colorful dramatic dresses to simple day dresses they can wear time and again!  Gentlemen may wear anything from business casual to suit + tie to a tux.  Wear what will make you the most comfortable on YOUR day! Need some ideas? Check out our photo album here. * Cakes?  You bet!  Engraved tableware?  Sure!  Special items, like unity candles?  Absolutely!  Color scheme? ...

How to Elope

So, you’ve made the big decision to go small! Congratulations! That is the first step in preparing for your dream day. But… now what do you do? Getting married in Virginia is quite easy! You need a license, an officiant and a location. Follow our check list on how to elope to make planning your special day easier. License You will need to visit a Virginia Courthouse to get your marriage license.  You must both be present, have your photo IDs, and payment for the fee ($30 in most courthouses). As most don’t take check or credit card, please bring cash. You don’t need a blood test, you don’t need a witness, and you don’t need your divorce papers (if applicable). Before you go to the Courthouse, check the hours of operation, especially around Federal holidays. Some courthouses require the name of the officiant who will be marrying you, but most do not. For a comprehensive list visit: http://www.vdh.state.va.us/vital_records/marry.htm.  Your license is valid that day for 60 days. Officiant You must be married by an officiant that is licensed by the Virginia Court. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have someone unlicensed perform the ceremony – you just need to have your licensed officiate step in at the end to say the legal phrase that makes you official. The officiate takes care of signing the license and sending it back to the courthouse as well. Your Best Friend Brian, Uncle Larry or Aunt Martha can do the rest (PS: Holladay House works a great officiant, Don Hughes.) Location You can almost elope at any location. Your backyard, at a...
The Best Place to Elope in Virginia

The Best Place to Elope in Virginia

Eloping or having a small wedding isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It is still an important day in your life that you will cherish for the rest of your life. The best place to elope or have a small wedding in Virginia is Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange, VA – Voted as one of USA Today’s top hotel fireplaces in the USA to get married. Personalized experience As of the beginning of 2016, Sharon at the Holladay House B&B has helped 196 couples say “I Do” and not a single ceremony was identical to another. You want someone who really cares about your day as much as you do and someone who understands all the reasons you chose to “go small” — like an old friend you don’t have to explain “the whole story” to because they know you so well. With a smaller event, little details mean a lot and stand out more. Sharon and Sam believe that just because a couple decides to “go small” that doesn’t mean they have to let go of including important details, and people or pets, for such an important life event. That’s why we encourage customization and allow for some guests to be included at no extra charge. All-Inclusive Elopements The Holladay House has made it easy to have an elopement. Whether it is just the two of you or a small group of 20 of your closest family and friends, our customized all-inclusive packages include what you need. Our Traditional Elopement package is $599 (plus tax) and includes: • A large and relaxing fireplace suite •...
What Holladay House and The Ritz Have In Common…….

What Holladay House and The Ritz Have In Common…….

The Holladay House parlor fireplace is a little bit of a celebrity around here. During its long life, it’s witnessed a lot a history–and created a little of its own. Like making the cut as one of USA TODAY’s Top 40 Hotel Fireplaces in the US. Or providing an elegant backdrop to the beginning of many long, happy marriages. Or even participating in a tragic scene in which one Shadow Elswick, aged about three years, caught her whiskers on fire in a moment of cat foolhardery. ………OK, so Shadow hasn’t actually caught her whiskers on fire (yet). Still, if she keeps poking her face into the fireplace when the flames are doing their thing, the kitty who greets you at the inn could be a sadder, wiser, and less bewhiskered girl than she is today. That being said, the bit about the USA Today is true, which means that the Holladay House fireplace falls in with fireplaces found at places like, ahem, The Ritz-Carlton. In the world of pyromania, I think that makes us part of the cool crowd (or, you know, since it’s a fireplace, the “not-cool” crowd. But whatever.) The part about the weddings is true as well. Over a hundred couples have said their vows in front of the parlor fireplace over the years, exchanging their rings in the glow of the candlelit mantle. Still others have curled up on the parlor sofas nearby, drinking locally brewed coffee and fine wines, playing board games, and catching up with old friends in the warm comfort of home-away-from-home. So, let’s talk about the fireplace. What makes it special-er...
……And More From Shadow Elswick

……And More From Shadow Elswick

Following Shadow Elswick’s internet debut (where we got a glimpse into some of Shadow’s daily exploits) her fan base has been clamoring for more interaction with her whiskered mug. I caught up with her again recently to get a better perspective on this sly cat—what she’s thinking and feeling, what she wants out of life, and all the fascinating (and unexpected!) things that make her tick. She spoke candidly with me via “kennel-phone” (that’s cat-speak for “cell”) a few weeks ago, demonstrating that there’s more to this little cat than mere kibble and claws. Me: What was the last book you read? Shadow: I’m fascinated by cookbooks right now—I just finished Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Wow, it’s amazing all the different ways you can prepare squirrel—baked, roasted, fried. I’m just blown away. There’s a Creme Bavaroise recipe I cannot wait to try. I’m trying to convince Mom to let me try out my paw on some breakfast dishes for the guests, but she says it’s unsanitary and also that I’m not strong enough to lift a cast-iron skillet (or tall enough to reach the stove). So far I haven’t been able to find any cat-sized sterile gloves, so we’ve moved that discussion to the back burner, you might say. Me: If you could have a sit-down discussion with one person from the past, who would it be? Shadow: Oh, Katherine Hepburn. For one thing, I feel like I’m her living feline embodiment—all that graceful athleticism and sparkling wit in one lithe package. It’s hard work being this charismatic all the time, so I’d like to...
Antiques to Junktiques

Antiques to Junktiques

My mom is the queen (or at least reigning princess) of junk-shopping, and goes to thrift stores the way most people pop into the grocery store: weekly making her rounds to check on new arrivals. One of my earliest memories involves trotting along behind her as she assembled my entire wardrobe with yard-sale purchases (I vividly remember neon-colored, lightning-patterned shorts–but then, it was the 90’s, and I was still young enough to feel pretty cool about it.) As I grew older, she taught me that junk-store shoppers need not feel burdened to keep the same furniture forever, and it became a running joke–“always check for a chair before you sit!” as my mom cruised through a never-ending cycle of refinished kitchen tables/dressers/couches/bedframes/anything not nailed down. Consequently, when it came time to write about a junk-shop & antiquing trip around Orange, I knew who my Go-To Chick would be.          Gypsy Willow http://www.visitorangevirginia.com/index.php/home/listing/gypsy_willow The little-bit-of-everything shop! Just when you think you’ve reached the end, you find another cubby to explore. Quaint ceramics, eclectic framed art, clothing (some vintage), clocks, saddles—you don’t know what you’ll find in this “previously enjoyed” gift shop. A fun shop to explore, located at 212 Byrd Street. The Painted Lady Hand-painted furniture, knickknacks, and art—this store feels a bit like an antique store, but with a twist. All painting is done by the owner, who updates classic furniture into unique and personal works of art. Located on East Main Street.   Melrose Antiques http://www.melrosefineantiques.com Huge gallery-style antique store, filled to the brim with quality 18th & 19th century furniture (much of it imported from England), statues, and upscale...

Holladay House Celebrates 25 Years

To a house that’s been around almost 200 years (witnessing, in the course of its long life, Civil War battles, weddings, and generations of residents) its latest gig as a bed & breakfast is practically still in its infancy. Still, time passes quickly, and, this year, the Holladay House will celebrate 25 years of running with the “inn-crowd”. Two and a half decades ago, Pete Holladay decided to re-purpose the old Federalist-style family home/doctor’s office into a bed & breakfast. Flash forward through a few years, a few owners, and a few renovations, and you’ll find the inn still operating, stronger than ever, under the care of owners and innkeepers Sharon & Sam (and Shadow, a crack security team of one). This year, it looks forward to hosting a steady stream of old friends and newcomers as it hits the 25th anniversary of its latest “inn-deavor.” In celebration, the innkeepers have put together a year-long “thank you” to the guests who have made it possible. On the 25th of each month, visitors staying at the Holladay House will receive (or be invited to participate in) the following activities. Sunday, January 25, 2015: Rename the Garden Room contest Wednesday, February, 25, 2015: Craft VA beer and cheese reception for guests at the inn. March 2015: Celebrating your own anniversary? Take 25% off your second night stay. Saturday, April 25, 2015: ½ price appetizers at Elmwood at Sparks Monday, May 25, 2015: Free kayaking ride with Rapidan River Kayaking Company. Thursday, June 25, 2105: A gift basket filled with local treats. Saturday, July 25, 2015: Free 2-hour Montpelier tour. Tuesday, August...

New Year’s Resolutions….

I think it goes without saying what New Year’s Resolution #1 was this year (as usual). If you need a hint, linger in the checkout line of your local grocery store for about five or six seconds. The magazine racks and book displays have rectified their philandering ways from over the holidays (evidenced by cutesy cookies sprinkled with colored sugar, six-layer coconut cakes, and beautifully decadent chocolate cream pies.) Now reformed and back on moral high ground, these same magazines are now promoting (with grins bent into grim, determined cheerfulness) how to make all the joyous calories you inhaled over the past month “just go away”. OK. So, like the rest of us, you’ve avowed to lose weight/get in shape. In which case, you need to make it interesting–make it count for something more worthwhile and life-affirming than merely how bikini-ready your buns are by Beach Week. When you’re ninety, looking back at your life from a creaky pinnacle that stretches for miles in hindsight, you’ll realize there are better memories to be made than huffing and puffing along with a workout video. Here are a few ideas, all located an easy drive from the Holladay House. #1: Hike Old Rag This is a multi-terrain trail that will challenge your stamina, your mountain-goat moves, and your view of the world at once. Not for novices nor for the faint of heart (as the saying goes) though I once hiked it while possessed of both unfortunate accoutrements. Prep your hike with tips and helpful info here. #2: Play Paintball I think anyone who’s ever watched a war movie (or the...
I’m Dreaming Of An Orange Christmas…

I’m Dreaming Of An Orange Christmas…

Some of us will be shopping (and wrapping, and cleaning the house) until the wee hours of Christmas morning–which, if you have the constitution for it, is as chaotically fun as it is stressful. For the rest (those whose stockings are already hung by the fire with care) this weekend is the perfect chance to take a breather, enjoy some holiday music and lights, and let the folks at Holladay House worry about what’s being served at the breakfast table. Below are two cool events happening this Saturday & Sunday, as well as a collection of seasonal decorations from around Orange (all located within walking distance of Holladay House.) A Blue & Gray Christmas Come meet a Civil War-era Santa Claus, attend a 1860’s church service, take a historical walking tour of downtown Gordonsville, and experience living history displays and ghost stories. Cap it all off by attending the Gordonsville Holiday Ball, where you’ll have the opportunity to join the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Era Dancers in partying like it’s 1863. Find out more here. A Musical Winter Wonderland The elusive (but talented) Orange Community Band & Chorus has finally released the dates for their holiday concert schedule. The choral performance will be December 20th at 4:30 PM, at the Orange Presbyterian Church. (There are a lot of historic churches within walking distance of the inn; Sharon will point you towards the right one!) Meanwhile, the band concert will be held December 21st at 7:30 PM at Orange County High School. Check it out here. And now, a few photos from around Orange…..              ...