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I’ve already mentioned a couple of times that we’re going to get married at a lake house.  I’m super excited because as a non-traditional venue it gives us a lot more control over everything than anything else we would have found.  Starting out, David told me some things that would be important to him for our wedding and one of those things was that we get married somewhat close to the home we’re building together.  I happily agreed, thinking (naively) that with Richmond and D.C. both within an hour’s drive from Fredericksburg finding a venue would be a piece of cake.

Then several things happened.  First, we realized that going much north of us into Northern Virginia (aka: the D.C. metro area) made everything prohibitively expensive.  There also aren’t many plausible venues available in Fredericksburg City for a wedding of the size we’re planning.  There are a few country clubs (too formal), lodges (too informal), hotels (not for me) and private estates (crazy rules!) but we couldn’t seem to settle on anything.  My parents had generously offered to pay for our wedding location, and we wanted to be doubly cautious that we were getting the most for our money.

I had found a lovely venue (Ingleside Vineyards) that was just close enough but a little on the expensive side, but oh it was perfect!  I was finding a way to broach the topic with my parents – we could pay half and they could pay half? We could get married on a Sunday, or a Friday? – when I got news that my parents had lost their house.  See, my dad is in commercial construction in the D.C. area and that industry got hit really hard by the recession.  He’d found a new job after about nine months working side jobs for friends who’d pay him under the table, and we were venue-hunting about four months after he’d gotten his new job.  And so on.  Needless to say that finding a venue for our wedding was the farthest thing from my mind for a while.  And then it was the holidays and then it was February and OHMYGOODNESS that’s-less-than-a-year-and-we-still-don’t-have-any-idea panic started to set in (I’m an early panicker – can you tell?).

So we buckled down and heard through the grapevine about a lake house that had hosted weddings before.  Lake Anna is a beautiful area in Spotsylvania County that’s a large attraction in this area of the state.  There are public parks, campgrounds and private lake houses galore!  When we pulled up the gravel road to the Tiki House we knew we might have scored on a really awesome deal.

The house sits back off the main road right on the lake.  There’s a little cluster of four houses behind and to the right of it (we’re getting married after Labor Day, so there’s little chance of other vacationers crashing our party) but the Tiki House is by far the largest and closest to the lake.  Although it doesn’t look it in the pictures, the yard is quite large.  We’re going to have to do some shifting around to get the dance area set up (it’s going to be where the ceremony chairs will sit) but it’ll easily accommodate our crowd.  I’ve tried to sketch out the basics of how we’re planning on setting up the yard below.  (And don’t judge my paint skills! They’re amazing (: )

non-traditional venue lake house

As you can see, the area is basically a blank canvas.  To us this clearly means an opportunity to DIY as much as we can.  David and his dad are going to build our tent, we’re going to craft our own dance area as well as some other decor stuff we’re still working on finalizing.  It was an easy house to fall in love with since it provides so many of the things we need.  Space for catering? Check.  Rehearsal dinner location? Check.  Somewhere to stay the night before the wedding? Check!


non-traditional venue lake house


We ended up renting the house for Thursday through Sunday for $1600 (including a security deposit).  I know it'll be a little more work to have to provide everything ourselves, but we feel at ease with the price (important), how ‘us' it feels (very important), and how well it'll work towards the vision we're going for.

non-traditional venue lake house

Mostly, just look at those lake views.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

PS: These pictures were taken in January – things look a lot more alive now!

PPS: That two-story dock? An outdoor, built-in bar.  Score! 😀

non-traditional venue

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  • Meg

    Wow Jenna the Tiki House looks great and what a good deal! You will really be able to make it your own.

    • jenna

      Thanks! It's (slowly!) coming together 🙂

  • wow! that's a pretty venue, and the price is perfect. I love that idea in the magazine

    • jenna

      Thank you!!

  • amanda m.

    I really hope you get this comment and respond!!! (Through email would be perfect) I am considering the tiki house for my wedding and am wondering if you could share your experience and any photos with me. It would really help with my decision.


  • kalina

    Hi! I’m considering the tiki house for my wedding and was hoping you would be willing to share some photos of how yours turned out and the set up you went with. Any information would be greatly appreciated 🙂 🙂 Thanks!

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