Dream Weddings in the Potomac River Valley
March 3, 2020 | Veronica Stoddart
From sophisticated elegance to customized theme weddings, you can say, “I do,” any way you want at Lansdowne Resort and Spa
Picture your dream-wedding day: the perfect venue in a show-stopping setting, the exquisite food, the gorgeous flowers, and the memorable music. That day can easily become reality at Lansdowne Resort and Spa, thanks to Leslie Eyster, Director of Catering and Conference Planning, and her team of four. Each year they plan and execute about 60 matrimonies in a variety of settings around the resort — for anywhere from 50 to 550 guests.
“We love weddings!” gushes Eyster, as she describes how her team customizes each matrimony to a couple’s wishes. They have created traditional weddings, culturally specific weddings, themed weddings, and more. No fantasy is too extreme, no request too small. Want your special day to pay homage to Harry Potter, Star Wars, Games of Thrones, or Beauty and the Beast? No problem. They’ve created exactly such themed celebrations. Prefer a nuptial that honors your Jewish, Persian, or Indian heritage? Yep, they’ve done those too. Want to go traditional with elegance and style? You bet. Those are always popular.
They have arranged for brides to arrive in a Cinderella carriage and an elaborately decorated palanquin litter. Grooms have arrived on horseback, atop an elephant, and even in a helicopter. They’ve supplied Harry Potter wands as guest favors, place cards with Cinderella carriages, and themed guest books. They even dangled a wedding cake from the ceiling to fulfill one bride’s (rather unusual) request.
Social media is by far the biggest source of inspiration for most weddings, says Eyster: Pinterest for details and favors and Instagram for the overall theme and look.
When it comes to fixing unexpected problems, Eyster and her team are always at the ready. “I’ve sewed the mother of the bride’s dress when it ripped and I got a banana for a bride to help her calm down because she was so nervous,” she says.
Lansdowne has four primary wedding venues. “Our most popular outdoor spot is the Bridal Terrace, which can accommodate up to 500 guests,” says Eyster. It has stunning views of Lansdowne’s beautifully landscaped grounds in the rolling hills of the Potomac River Valley.
Following the ceremony, you can continue your celebration in one of the three elegant ballrooms. The Clubhouse Ballroom, which holds 200, is located in the Golf Club at Lansdowne. “It’s unique because it is set aside from the main building and gives a rustic country club feeling with windows and a walkout terrace with panoramic views of the mountains and the Potomac River.”
“We’re super excited about the Lansdowne Ballroom, which was recently renovated,” says Eyster of their largest wedding venue, which holds up to 550 guests. “It’s a traditional ballroom with a grand foyer for cocktail hour and access to an outdoor terrace area, too.”
The Terrace Ballroom is the newest venue, geared to more intimate 80-100-person weddings. It also has floor-to-ceiling windows and access to the outdoor terraces. “We host a lot of rehearsal dinners in this space,” says Eyster.
All the ballrooms can serve a variety of meals — from formal plated dinners to more casual buffets and stations. “We’ve had a crab cake station, risotto station, meat carving station, and mashed-potato station,” at some nuptials, says Eyster. The hors d’oeuvres options, alone, number 31. “We also offer late-night bites for after-dinner parties, such as chicken and waffles, which is a hot trend.”
The catering team can easily accommodate special dietary and custom menu requests. For example, “we had a couple that met on the Coffee Meets Bagel Dating App, so that was their late-night snack,” says Eyster. “And we had a groom from Philadelphia who wanted mini cheesesteaks for cocktail hour. For rehearsal dinners, we’ve done everything from luaus and barbecues to comfort food.”
The most popular time of year for weddings is May through October, with October being the busiest month, says Eyster. The normal lead-time is about a year, but if you're a procrastinator, the team has your back. Lansdowne will work with your limited time frame if there’s availability.
“Our biggest selling point is the location and the one-stop-shop,” says Allison Huppert, Catering Sales Manager. “Everything is on property so the wedding party can stay for the weekend and make it a mini-vacation. Most couples will make a weekend stay out of their celebration and Lansdowne includes a complimentary stay the night of the event in their wedding packages.”
Plus, the range of facilities ensures that you and your guests will have plenty to do — from the two lighted tennis courts and three pickleball courts to 45 holes of championship golf in three courses, the pampering spa, and four pools.
Finally, does the happy couple want to end their special day with an explosion of fireworks? How about photos on a romantic bridge? Dream it up, and it’s possible.