Heather + Stephen – The very first GHI Wedding – August 23, 1997

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The Golden Horseshoe Inn has been around for a very long time…192 years to be exact, it was built in 1827!  I like to think that a building that has stood the test of time is the perfect spot to start a marriage that will stand the test of time!  There is not much that we know for sure about our amazing property, but legends, and ghost stories abound!  (I definitely have a few of my own!)  As far as we can tell, Stephen and I were the first couple married at the Golden Horseshoe Inn.  Back in 1997, the thought that we would one day run a wedding business in the very spot where we were getting married, wasn’t even a twinkle in our eye!  My dad Alan has owned the Golden Horseshoe Inn (which we now rent from him) for about 30 years, and in the beginning it was his pottery shop and gallery space.  That’s what it was when we were married there…we pushed the displays to the sides, and moved some things around, and voila – a wonderful space for our big day!  The internet was barely a thing back then, so wedding planning mostly consisted of choosing the baker in your town (ours was ah-mazing!!!), your two favorite colors (I chose blue + peach) and picking a date, that was pretty much it!

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Our day was absolutely lovely, but looking back, I can certainly see the advantage of having a team, and a wedding planner behind you!  (My family helped me out, and they were thoughtful and so incredible, but I know it was a TON of work for them, and keeping my starry-eyed 22 year old self organized was probably no easy feat!)

Stephen and I met when I came to spend the summer in Virginia, and landed myself a role in a Shakespeare summer theatre production.  These productions took place in the summer evenings, with a stage built out from the ruins of the old Governor’s mansion (which burned down in the 1880’s on Christmas day) at a beautiful Vineyard and Winery.  It was a magical place to spend the summer, and a magical place to fall in love!

Stephen had actually seen my photo in an article about me in the local paper, and said to himself “that’s the girl I’m going to marry”, before we ever met!

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My dress cost $300 from David’s bridal, and my veil went missing when the UPS drivers went on strike that summer (it did finally arrive just in time!)

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My flowers were from the very same florist we still use today – Southern Blooms, in Madison, VA.

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Lots of couples comment on the cute little bridge that sits in the garden at the Golden Horseshoe Inn.  That bridge was dreamed up and built by my dad, and it is where Stephen and I said our vows!  It still makes me secretly smile to see photographs of new brides and grooms (like the couple above) on that same bridge, and years after our wedding, to watch our little girls play there.

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Cheers to all the GHI weddings, past, present and future!!!