Your wedding is something you plan for all your life. You want it to be unique, you want it to be individual, and you want it to be memorable. That’s why many brides and grooms are turning to our area’s beautiful wineries for their special day.
Many wineries throughout Northern Virginia offer facilities for weddings; some are rustic, while others offer the elegance offered by a comparable banquet hall.
“I always wanted to have my wedding at a winery just for the visual effect,” said Regina Thornwell, a recent bride. “I had seen pictures on Pinterest and knew I wanted it to be held outdoors.” Regina and her husband Tobias Thornwell married October 12, 2015 at Morais Vineyards and Winery in Bealeton, Virginia.
“We looked at a number of wineries in Maryland and Virginia and sampled their wines before we picked Morais,” Regina continued. “We chose this one because it was gorgeous— the love signs and hearts, the horses, peacocks and tractors outside, and the beautiful building with the fountain, wall-to-wall windows and chandeliers. We were able to save a lot of money on decorations—and we liked the wine.”
“I also liked the European look it has. The owners are Portuguese and you felt like you were not even in this country.” Another consideration was the catering. “My family is West Indian and we wanted to use a special caterer.” They could get everything they wanted here.
There were many photo opportunities as well. “We had access to the entire vineyard, and could go into the cellar, the barn, and the vines for pictures,” Tobias said. “The only thing we would do differently would be to extend our reception time,” Regina added. “We took pictures during the day and at sunset, but it wasn’t until we were packing up that we saw how beautiful the building was at nighttime.”
Morais Vineyard and Winery
“Morais Vineyards and Winery owner Jose Morais’ own daughter had married here and they decided it was so beautiful for wedding that they would build a wedding venue,” explained Rachel Ricci, sales manager. “The architecture was designed to replicate a building in Portugal where his other daughter was married, with its Portuguese influence and style.”
Opened in 2012, the Palacio ballroom was designed specifically for weddings. It is set apart from the winery’s tasting building, with a massive sweeping foyer staircase leading up to the bridal suite, a balcony, walls of windows for natural light, dimmers to emulate candlelight, and a separate area for pre-reception cocktails. Outside is a pondside pergola, patio terrace and a lovely fountain courtyard. “This is also a functioning farm,” Ricci added, “so you might see goats, sheep or our peacock named Wilson.” In addition, a charming little white chapel seats up to 35 guests. Guests are free to use their own caterer, who can set up in the facility’s industrial kitchen area, and as with most wineries, a minimum wine purchase is required.
Since Chrysalis Vineyards moved their tasting room to another part of the grounds, the former winery is now used exclusively for special events, like outdoor weddings. The ceremony itself is often held by the pond, a picturesque setting for a rustic country service. Small receptions (50 seated) are held outdoors on Sarah’s patio, surrounded by flowers, mature magnolia and walnut trees, and breathtaking views of the vines.
“With the winery just 60 yards away, depending on the time of year, guests can watch the wine production,” said Laurie Stevens, hospitality and events manager. The Pavilion offers a larger space and grills where caterers can cook and serve from. There is also an area for bands and dancing that overlooks the vines. A renovation completed in June 2016 added a bridal suite, containing a full bathroom and shower.
8 Chains North Winery
The opening of the Compass Rose Ballroom in June 2014 at 8 Chains North Winery introduced another reception facility to the area. “With the compass being our symbol, we designed the Compass Rose Ballroom with a north-east-south-west theme representing the four stages of winemaking,” explained Erin Hunt, events manager. “On one wall we have the French doors that look out onto the vineyard: the growing stage. The next wall is a glass expanse looking into the barrel and production room: the producing phase, and the third wall is a finished space covered with cork bark to represent the corking phase. We are finishing the fourth wall with pictures of the owner in the vines: the planting phase.”
Four locations for ceremonies are available in the lower field of the farm winery, and bridal couples can also take photographs in the vines or the barrel room. The ballroom, seating up to 100 people, is decorated beautifully in a neutral, elegant theme that allows brides to bring their own decorations, although none are needed. An attached patio outside the French doors allows for up to 40 additional seats. In case of rain, a covered patio wraps around the building or guests can use the attached events tent that can also serve as a cocktail area. Upstairs are two bridal rooms for wedding preparation. Weddings can be held any day of the week and the Compass Rose Ballroom is available for other rentals such as bridal showers or anniversary celebrations. A minimum purchase of the old-world style wines is required.
Winery Wedding Guides
Two good resources to help begin your search for a winery wedding include the Winery Wedding Guide and Wedding Venues in Virginia, where you can check the box for Winery/Vineyard to narrow your search.
Weddings are momentous events and merit a unique venue. Consider one of Virginia’s accommodating and picturesque wineries for your special day.
Morais Vineyards and Winery
11409 March Road
Bealeton, VA 22712
23876 Champe Ford Road
Middleburg, VA 20117
8 Chains North Winery
38593 Daymont Lane
Waterford, VA 20197
Winery Wedding Guide
Wedding Venues in Virginia