When you run a Bed & Breakfast in one of the most historically significant plantations in Virginia and you have a passion for history, it only makes sense to have a Civil War themed vow renewal for your 30th wedding anniversary, and decide turn it into a weekend long reenactment open to the public with soldiers, tents, concessions, cannons, and the nation’s top ranking leaders of that time – President Lincoln, General Grant, and General Lee.
Michelle and Brett are the owners and innkeeper of Belle Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast in King George, VA. It’s historical significance? It just so happens to be the birthplace of President James Madison. It was also used during the Civil War with it’s location right on the Rappahannock River across from Port Royal; and the man pursuing John Wilkes Booth even slept in the main hallway overnight while on his chase. I think it’s safe to say this place has history coming out of the woodwork. To be the stewardess of this location steeped in such rich history is a tremendous honor and an answer to a longtime calling of Michelle’s. Her passion for history, especially the history of this home, is evident when you listen to her speak about the plantation, and it’s not just for the Madison family era … she treats all the families that have called this plantation home with dignity and respect.
The Civil War Weekend kicked everything into gear. There were so many wonderful living historians, vendors selling wares and trinkets, demonstration tents showing how people lived back then, and in the field was a tent city set up by the soldiers as it would have been during the Civil War. Like most reenactments, the soldier’s stayed in their tents and in “character” the entire weekend – even in the rain. The passion and dedication these reenactors and living historians have is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The vow renewal was open to the public, and while period dress was encouraged, it was not required. Following the ceremony, there was a Gone with the Wind ball you could purchase tickets for that included beverages, cake, music – yes, staying true to the time period, dancing, good clean fun and a lot of laughter. Plus, you got to hob-nob with President Lincoln, and Generals Grant and Lee.
It was truly the celebration of the year, and one for the memory books! To cover such a large weekend celebration, there were two photographers: Ninja Pix and Amanda Day Photography. Ninja Pix is owned by Buddy Secor. Buddy’s a Volunteer Photographer for the National Park Service and I’m sure you’ve seen his work shared by NPS. Amanda Day is a local photographer who just so happened to get married herself at Belle Grove Plantation!
Photographs by Ninja Pix (Buddy Secor):
Photographs by Amanda Day Photography:
Venue | Belle Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast, King George, VA
Coordinator | Tammy Anderson, Event Coordinator at Belle Grove Plantation
Officiant | No Ordinary Ordained
President Lincoln | Ron Carley
General Ulysses S. Grant | Curt Fields
General Robert E. Lee | Thomas Lee Jessee
Bridal Dress | Shannon Reinhardt & Melissa Sullivan (bodice); inspiration came from portrait of Louise Corcoran Eustis on display at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, VA.
Bridal Necklace | Melissa Sullivan
Maid of Honor Dress | Victorian Choice
Bouquets | The Floral Palette
Cake | Rebekah Naomi Cake Design
Hair & Make-Up | Nikki Lewark