November 29, 2023

You made your voices heard once again, voting in 94 categories for your favorite wedding professionals. This year, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the A-List survey, we’re honoring repeat winners who have topped their categories every year. In 2012, the first survey included 32 categories, but it has grown to nearly 100, including more local vendors and service providers. Here are this year’s best of the best, presented in an extended edition of the A-List.


New Wedding Venue: Jolene Family Winery

Just east of Richmond in Quinton off the Pocahontas Trail is one of Virginia’s newest wineries — and this year’s best new wedding venue. “We’ve only been open for a year, so this means so much to us,” says Taddy Mikelaites, creative director and events manager. “We have some beautiful ceremony spots, whether it’s overlooking the vineyards or the lake, and our wines are really nice, too.” 

2. Common House Richmond 

3. The Estate at River Run

Hotel Venue: Quirk Hotel

Couples and their guests are tickled pink with Quirk Hotel, housed inside a circa 1916 building that formerly served as a luxury department store. The boutique hotel in downtown’s Arts District is known for its chic decor, with pops of pink. Couples can choose to host their reception outside in the marble-tiled courtyard, inside in the stylish lobby mezzanine or above the city at the rooftop bar. 

2. The Jefferson Hotel

3. Linden Row Inn

Honeymoon Getaway in Virginia: Charlottesville

Set against the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but only about an hour’s drive from Richmond, Charlottesville’s mix of history, culture and outdoor experiences makes it a popular stop for honeymooners looking for a getaway without a long flight or driving trip. Wine country is a big draw for couples — there are more than 40 wineries within a 25-mile radius of Charlottesville. And with hiking, golfing, horseback riding and unique shopping, there’s plenty to do.

2. The Jefferson Hotel

3. The Omni Homestead Resort

Place for Engagement Pictures: Maymont 

Perched on a hillside beside the James River, Maymont is one of Richmond’s most picturesque places for engagement portraits. The 1893 mansion and 100-acre estate provide a range of breathtaking backdrops. Choose from the serene Japanese Garden and its waterfall, the Italian Garden’s stonework and statuary, or one of several other sites that include features such as magnificent stone stairways, centuries-old trees and gazebos built in a variety of architectural styles.

2. Historic Mankin Mansion

3. Libby Hill Park 

Local Site to Pop the Question: Libby Hill Park 

One of the city’s most Instagrammed spots is also one of its most popular for proposals. Particularly magical at sunset, Libby Hill Park offers panoramic views of the James River and the downtown skyline. This view is credited with inspiring the city’s name — when gazing down at the James River from here in 1737, planter and surveyor William Byrd II was reminded of the Thames River in Richmond Hill, England. 

2. Maymont

3. The James River

Barn/Farm Wedding Venue: The Barns of Kanak

Couples love the bucolic setting of The Barns of Kanak, 30 miles south of Richmond in Prince George County. As the name implies, this 200-acre farm includes rustic barns and scenic outdoor spaces, as well as a cottage and farmhouse for overnight stays. “We try to make it as easy as possible, so the couple and their families really enjoy the day,” says Diane McCormick, who runs the venue with her husband and daughter.  

2. Oakdale

3. Alturia Farm

Multicategory Winner: Lunch and Supper

Couples can give their guests a taste of Richmond at Lunch and Supper, voted a favorite for bridal luncheons, rehearsal dinners and bridal showers. Located in the hip area of Scott’s Addition and complete with a patio garden and private event space, Lunch and Supper serves up Southern comfort food, local beer and craft cocktails.

Rehearsal Dinner Location 

1. Lunch and Supper

2. The Jefferson Hotel 

3. Historic Mankin Mansion 

Bridal Luncheon Location 

1. Lunch and Supper

2. The Jefferson Hotel 

3. Historic Mankin Mansion 

Place to Hold a Bridal Shower  

1. Lunch and Supper

2. The Jefferson Hotel 

3. Historic Mankin Mansion

Multicategory Winner: Historic Mankin Mansion

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the icing on the cake for Historic Mankin Mansion is sweeping 14 categories in this year’s A-List survey. Paula and Martin Ramirez, co-owners and proprietors, observe love in everything they do, from restoring the 1900s estate to hosting events at the property. The team prides themselves on attention to detail and behind-the-scenes work to make everyone feel the love. “We realize we host more than a wedding,” Paula says. “Our events bring together two families, some who have never met, and others who haven’t seen one another in years.”

Outdoor Wedding Site 

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. Cousiac Manor

3. Maymont 

Most Romantic Ceremony Site  

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. Dover Hall 

3. (Tie) Linden Row Inn; The Mill at Fine Creek; Virginia House 

Hidden Gem Wedding Ceremony Site  

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. Virginia House 

3. (Tie) The Barns of Kanak; The Estate at River Run; Historic Polegreen Church; Lakeside at Welch Estate; Linden Row Inn; Tredegar Iron Works; Wilton House Museum 

Wedding Venue With Unique Personality  

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. Dover Hall 

3. (Tie) The Estate at River Run; Linden Row Inn

Wedding or Reception Site at a Historic Museum or Location  

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 

3. Tredegar Iron Works 

All-inclusive Venue 

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. The Jefferson Hotel 

3. Amber Grove 

Reception Venue for a Small Wedding 

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. Lunch and Supper 

3. Linden Row Inn 

Best B&B in Virginia for a Wedding 

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. (Tie) The Clifton; Linden Row Inn 

3. The Virginia Cliffe Inn 

Most Budget-friendly All-Inclusive Site 

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. The John Marshall Ballrooms 

3. (Tie) Hollyfield Manor; The Mill at Fine Creek; The Renaissance 

One-stop Wedding Weekend Location 

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. The Jefferson Hotel

3. (Tie) Dover Hall; The Estate at River Run 

Best Place for an Elopement in Virginia 

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. Libby Hill Park 

3. (Tie) Charlottesville; Linden Row Inn; Quirk Hotel

Reception Venue for a Large Wedding

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. The Jefferson Hotel 

3. (Tie) Dover Hall; The Estate at River Run; The John Marshall Ballrooms 

Under-the-radar Reception Site  

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. Linden Row Inn 

Location for a Microwedding 

1. Historic Mankin Mansion

2. (Tie) The Estate at River Run; Linden Row Inn 

3. (Tie) Blue Bee Cider; Texas Beach/North Bank Park; Upper Shirley Vineyards

Repeat Winner: The Jefferson Hotel

The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond’s only AAA five-diamond hotel, has hosted weddings since 1895, and it has been voted best for farewell brunches and newlywed suites since the categories were introduced in 2013 and 2014, respectively. This year, it was voted a top choice for welcome receptions as well.

Tobacco businessman and philanthropist Lewis Ginter commissioned Carrère and Hastings, two of the most distinguished architects of America’s late 19th-century Gilded Age, to build the Spanish Baroque-style hotel. Over the years, numerous famous guests have stayed at The Jefferson, including Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, James Brown, and Elvis Presley, as well as 13 U.S. presidents.  

“The Jefferson is special because with so many wedding services and breathtaking event spaces all under one roof, our experienced team of planners can create a truly unique experience tailored to each couple and their guests,” says Jennifer Crisp, director of communications.  

In 2013, the hotel transformed its 262 guest rooms into 181 rooms and suites, featuring entry foyers, dressing areas and marbled baths that feature TV screens inside vanity mirrors. For couples looking for an opulent and pampering newlywed room experience, the Jefferson Suite encompasses 1,400 square feet and includes a grand piano, fireplace and balcony.  

The on-site restaurants and intimate ballrooms are ideal for farewell brunches with close friends and family, while the rotunda provides an awe-inspiring setting for a welcome reception, with its grand staircase, stained-glass ceiling, massive columns and gold-leaf ornamentation.  

“From engagement parties to farewell brunches and everything in between, The Jefferson provides an elegant backdrop, exceptional service and memorable food and beverage for every occasion,” Crisp says.

Newlywed/Bridal Suite 

1. The Jefferson Hotel

2. Historic Mankin Mansion 

3. (Tie) Dover Hall; Linden Row Inn 

Place to Hold a Welcome Reception 

1. The Jefferson Hotel

2. Historic Mankin Mansion 

3. (Tie) Linden Row Inn; Quirk Hotel; The Tobacco Company Restaurant

Farewell Brunch Location: (TIE) The Jefferson Hotel; Lunch and Supper 

Farewell brunches are becoming more and more popular, as couples want bonus time to celebrate with out-of-town friends and family. Richmond Bride readers gave top honors in this category to Scott’s Addition’s Lunch and Supper and downtown’s Jefferson Hotel. While Lunch and Supper is known for casual comfort and The Jefferson for refined elegance, both exude Southern hospitality and charm.  

2. Historic Mankin Mansion

3. Linden Row Inn/Parterre Restaurant


Multicategory Winner: Pressed in Books

Kellie Tuohy of Pressed in Books has been making jewelry since 2015, but as her clients began requesting custom pieces using their wedding flowers, she wanted to develop a unique line of preserved-flower gifts. Now she dries bride’s bouquets, boutonnieres or a selection of individual flowers, preserves them in resin, and forms delicate ring dishes or 20-inch wall hangings with custom-built frames. “People give me their bridesmaid bouquet or sneak flowers from the wedding,” she says, “and then surprise the bride later.”

Locally Made Item for Bride’s Gift (From Partner) 

1. Pressed in Books

Place to Purchase Personalized/Monogrammed Gifts  

1. Pressed in Books

2. Tweed

3. Pencraft + Post

Locally Made Item for Groom’s Gift (From Partner) 

1. Pressed in Books 

Local Maker for Custom-made Wedding Gifts

1. Pressed in Books 

2. Huger

Local Shop for Groomsman Gifts: Mongrel 

Co-owner Stan McCulloch says they didn’t want to fill Mongrel’s shelves with just any product. “It [should be] something we would want to give as a gift or receive from somebody.” McCulloch says the shop’s most popular men’s items include whimsical socks, bourbon-scented candles, Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix, and Fulton & Roark’s solid cologne in a pocket-sized tin.  

2. (Tie) Trend; Tweed

Place to Purchase Celebration/Gift Boxes: Gifted RVA

Through Gifted RVA, Lindsay Force gives couples a one-stop-shop for Richmond goods and gifts. Snack boxes with Three Sisters cheese straws, Navy Hill club soda and Chocolate Cravings bars are always winners, especially for those with smaller budgets. Force then adds in a keepsake, like a Richmond postcard or magazine, and styles the boxes to coordinate with the couple’s invitation. 

2. Etsy

10-Year Repeat Winner: Tweed

After graduating from Randolph-Macon College, Kate Stottlemyer loved the idea of working in her family’s home decor store, but she didn’t want to return to her small New Jersey hometown. So she stayed in Richmond, got married and started a family. By 2003, she realized the city was the perfect place for a second location of Tweed. 

Stottlemyer set her sights on Short Pump — which was mostly farmland at the time — because she saw an opportunity to establish a presence in an area that would soon be growing. 

“So we kind of just took the template that my mom had built [in New Jersey], and opened it here,” Stottlemyer says. “Pretty quickly, we realized this was a different market. People were having more fun, and it’s a bigger market.” 

They pivoted to focus on gifts for all celebrations and interests, from weddings and babies to collegiate-inspired, home decor and entertaining.  

“We wanted to be a store where you can find that perfect gift for everybody on your list — including yourself,” Stottlemyer says. 

Tweed has been voted No. 1 for bridesmaid gifts all 10 years of the A-List survey by readers of Richmond Bride. Its offerings of meaningful mementos may have contributed to the achievement. The shop carries a variety of classic bridesmaid gifts, like photo frames and drinkware. Stottlemyer and her team also work to forecast coming trends, such as weekend bags filled with event necessities and keepsakes. But she says their personalization options — such as vinyl, embroidery or engraving — allow brides to add a memorable touch that turns any item into a keepsake. 

“My hope is that people, when they come in, they feel like they have a connection, and that we care about what we’re doing,” she says. “That we care about their wedding, and we love to hear the details. By the time their event is happening, we feel like we’re part of it.” 

Local Shop for Bridesmaid Gifts  

1. Tweed

2. Trend

3. Mongrel

Fashion & Beauty

Multicategory Winner: Avenue 42 Salon

Nationally acclaimed full-service salon Avenue 42 Salon has specialized in wedding day hair and makeup styling since it opened in 2012. A full-time bridal coordinator works with each bride to place them with the artist who will best achieve their desired style. “We have a team of artists who truly enjoy bridal styling,” says owner Natalie Gordon Dunton. “It’s not for everyone, so having a group of artists who are happy and having fun really makes an impact on the client.”

Salon-based Hair and Makeup 

1. Avenue 42 Salon 

2. Nicole Laughlin Makeup Artist and Co. 

3. (Tie) 1213 Hair Studio; Cam Carson & Co.; Elle Style Studio; FBJ Weddings; Sara Parker/Tigers Eye Hair Studio 

On-location Hair and Makeup Services  

1. Avenue 42 Salon 

2. FBJ Weddings 

3. Amanda M. Perry 

On-location Hair Stylist  

1. Avenue 42 Salon 

2. FBJ Weddings 

3. Amanda M. Perry

Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids Richmond

This boutique offers one of the largest collections of bridesmaid dresses from the world’s leading designers. Clients can opt for an in-person or virtual appointment with an expert stylist who will guide them through the fabrics, colors and styles to find the perfect look. “We love to work with brides to bring their wedding vision to life while making each individual bridesmaid feel special in their dress on the big day,” says Elizabeth Rand, owner of Bella Bridesmaids Richmond.  

2. Tiffanys Bridal

3. (Tie) David’s Bridal; Lex’s of Carytown

Multicategory Winner: Men’s Wearhouse

With four locations in the greater Richmond area, Men’s Wearhouse has been offering quality products and personalized service for nearly four decades. Rent, buy or go custom with a variety of suit and tuxedo styles, fits, and colors from top designers. Then receive custom alterations from the stores’ in-house master tailors. In addition to a large selection of accessories, Men’s Wearhouse also offers groomsmen gifts that can be personalized and purchased individually or in sets.

Groom/Groomsman Apparel  

1. Men’s Wearhouse  

2. Alton Lane  

3. (Tie) The Groom’s Corner at Tiffanys Bridal; Jos. A. Bank 

Groom/Groomsman Accessories  

1. Men’s Wearhouse 

2. The Groom’s Corner at Tiffanys Bridal

Wedding Jewelry Other Than the Rings: Emily Warden Designs 

Owner Emily Warden’s handcrafted fine jewelry is custom made using traditional metalsmithing and fabrication techniques with ethically sourced materials from around the world. “Our goal is to combine the customer’s vision with our creative aesthetic,” Warden says, adding that Emily Warden Designs plans to release new, one-of-a-kind pieces for the 2021 holiday season.  

2. (Tie) Cowardin’s Jewelers; Tiffanys Bridal

Multicategory Winner: Diamonds Direct

Diamonds Direct practices a “vertically integrated concept” that allows it to be involved in the entire diamond process, says regional marketing manager Nicole Rubino. The showroom features loose and mounted diamonds, engagement ring mountings by top designers, diamond and gemstone fashion jewelry, wedding bands, pearls and more. Products are backed with guarantees and warranties, including the company’s signature 110% lifetime upgrade.

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

1. Diamonds Direct 

2. Sun & Selene 

3. Fink’s Jewelers

Custom-designed Rings  

1. Diamonds Direct 

2. Emily Warden Designs 

3. (Tie) Cowardin’s Jewelers; Fink’s Jewelers; Sun & Selene

Manicures: Escape Nails & Spa

Brides can choose from one of three Escape salons in Short Pump, Midlothian and Tuckahoe. Each offers more than a dozen manicure and pedicure services and a handful of spa packages, featuring top-of-the-line products served in an upscale, tranquil environment.    

2. (Tie) ATiR Natural Nail Care; Carytown Nails and Spa; Holy Chic + Co 

3. (Tie) Fusion Nail Spa; Perception Organic Spa

Spa Treatments: Luna Aesthetics and Spa

Luna Aesthetics and Spa provides clients with personalized skin care treatments and at-home routines. “We take a holistic approach that takes our clients’ physical and mental health, along with their lifestyle, into account,” says owner Chelsea Martin. Luna’s staff have expertise in both the integumentary and lymphatic systems, offering connective tissue facial massages in addition to skin treatments ranging from microdermabrasion and dermaplaning to chemical peels.  

2. Sugar & Hive Beauty Bar  

3. Scents of Serenity

Skin-care Services: Sugar & Hive Beauty Bar

When this open-concept beauty bar was forced to close during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff used the time to plan for the future, says founder Summer Layton. “We set out to modernize the way treatments are delivered,” she says. “Now, we have a team of professionals with a strong clinical background, including several master estheticians.” Updated offerings include laser facials, injectable treatments and body sculpting in addition to mainstays such as spa facials and HydraFacials. 

2. (Tie) Anywhere Beauty by Shae; Luna Aesthetics and Spa

Repeat Winner: Bombshell Brazilian Waxing & Beauty Lounge

Since the “best pre-wedding and honeymoon tanning” category was added to the A-List survey in 2015, Bombshell Brazilian Waxing & Beauty Lounge has taken the top honors every year. This candy-colored salon with pinup style has locations in Carytown, Short Pump and Midlothian, and also one in Las Vegas. Co-owners Melissa and Scott Black started the business in 2009, establishing a full-service salon offering a range of pampering, grooming and tanning options. Services include waxing; haircuts, color and blowouts; sugaring hair removal; skin care; and manicures, pedicures and nail art.  

Bombshell offers professional airbrush tanning. The high-quality HVLP spray tan prevents creasing and streaking and has no harmful UV ray exposure. Tanning sessions are also customizable so clients can choose what suits their needs, such as opting for a half-body service for just a touch of color on their legs or arms.  

Melissa Black says her staff has focused on upholding exceptional customer service despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are constantly striving to give five-star service to our clients while consistently training our team on why it’s so important,” she says. “Throughout the pandemic, it’s been key for us to make sure that everything at Bombshell feels the same, from the moment the client comes in until they leave. This is a place to relax and enjoy yourself as we practice the highest levels of sanitation and safety without [it being overwhelming for the client].”  

The lounge plans to launch new heated spray tan machines, first at its Carytown location, offering clients optimal comfort as they receive their service. “No more dreading the first few sprays of cold solution on your back,” Black says. The lounge has also expanded its tanning solution selections with more natural colors and organic-based ingredients. 

Pre-wedding and Honeymoon Tanning 

1. Bombshell Brazilian Waxing & Beauty Lounge 

2. Cam Carson/Cam Carson & Co. 

3. NudeFX

Alterations: Seams Alterations

Seams Alterations owner Claudia Villegas has two decades of experience as a master seamstress, having worked with premier bridal shops in the Richmond area including the former Jingles Bridal Salon. “I make an effort to understand each of my brides,” she says. “Creating a custom experience helps me to intuitively make suggestions or give them options that they may not have been aware of before their appointment.” Villegas recently moved her business to a spacious new studio near Midlothian’s Brandermill neighborhood.

2. Fariba’s Bridal Alterations & Custom Design 

3. AG Alterations

Multicategory Winner: Urban Set Bride 

Urban Set Bride is an appointment-only bridal gown boutique in Church Hill that offers an intimate, curated shopping experience. Co-owner Christine Haines Greenberg says her all-woman team aims to be authentic, transparent and casual about the dress shopping process. “Many bridal shops create way too many hurdles [for brides] to see their inventory, make an appointment and understand who the owners and team are,” she says. “We always have every sample gown we carry listed on our website and social media. Our clients deserve to have a warm, no-pressure shopping experience.”

Bridal Gown Salon  

1. Urban Set Bride 

2. Annalise Bridal Boutique 

3. Tiffanys Bridal 

Bridal Headpieces 

1. Urban Set Bride 

2. (Tie) Annalise Bridal Boutique; Tiffanys Bridal

Local Shop for Wedding Guest Attire: Mod & Soul 

Mod & Soul owner Jasmina Zulic opened her brick-and-mortar storefront in 2016 in the heart of Richmond’s Arts District. An extension of Zulic’s online store, the cozy shop sells trendy, boho-inspired clothing, accessories and home accents from local and small boutique brands. “Our clothing features curated, classic styles that work for several seasons, have flattering silhouettes and can be dressed up and down,” Zulic says. Mod & Soul is in the process of expanding its special-occasion clothing selections and styling services.  

2. Macy’s 

3. (Tie) Lex’s of Carytown; Tiffanys Bridal

Multicategory Winner: Tiffanys Bridal

The oldest still-operating bridal store in Richmond, Tiffanys Bridal maintains high standards of customer care while keeping the needs of the modern wedding party in mind. “Busy customers can quickly make an appointment online, but upon arrival, our personal stylists take the time to get to know them and help them find exactly what they’re looking for,” says Ashley Townsend-Simons, marketing manager. She adds that the shop is always getting in new apparel and often has trunk shows, either in person or virtually. “We have models of all shapes and sizes showing how these gowns look on real women,” she says.

Mother of the Bride Apparel  

1. Tiffanys Bridal  

2. Macy’s 

Flower Girl Dresses  

1. Tiffanys Bridal 

2. David’s Bridal

Photos, Videos, Music & Lighting

Multicategory Winner: Ashley Dorton Photography

Even as a child, Ashley Dorton loved being behind a camera, documenting life’s important moments. While she uses a range of photography styles, Dorton is known for her personal passion. “What sets me apart is my commitment to spreading positivity and creating genuine lifelong connections with the couples I serve,” she says. “Skills are cheap, but passion is priceless.”

Bridal Portraits  

1. Ashley Dorton Photography 

2. Carbone Photo Co. 

3. (Tie) Aurelia Studios; Kenzi Flinchum Photography (formerly Kenzi Creates Co.) 

Engagement Photo Session 

1. Ashley Dorton Photography 

2. Carbone Photo Co. 

3. Aurelia Studios 

Bridal Boudoir Photography 

1. Ashley Dorton Photography 

2. Carbone Photo Co. 

3. (Tie) Joanna Hartsook Photography; Kenzi Flinchum Photography (formerly Kenzi Creates Co.)

Event Lighting: (TIE) The Lighting & Sound Co.; Rent-E-Quip

The Lighting & Sound Co.’s classically trained designers, professional technicians and operators have set up thousands of events across the country. They understand the importance of lighting at a wedding. “Good lighting brings out the very best in the food, the guests, the decor and, of course, the couple,” says Logan Adams, director of operations. It’s a sentiment mirrored by Rent-E-Quip’s David Darby, a wedding and event specialist who says they work with clients to provide exceptional lighting services using state-of-the art equipment. 

2. Lighting Professors 

3. (Tie) Leap Light + Sound; Party Perfect

Wedding Day Photography: Carbone Photo Co.

Stephen Carbone founded his photography company, Carbone Photo Co., in 2019 and has made it a family affair, assisted part-time by his wife Jennie. “Most would describe our style as photojournalistic, capturing moments as they are with a keen eye to detail and emotion,” Carbone says. “Our work captures the natural elements of the scene, allowing our clients to cherish and relive these moments for years to come.” 

2. Ashley Dorton Photography                  

3. Aurelia Studios

Multicategory Winner: Shelley Greene/Harmony of Virginia

Harpist Shelley Greene founded Harmony of Virginia in 1999 and has been bringing beautiful music to weddings ever since. Greene obtained a bachelor’s degree in harp performance from Johns Hopkins’ prestigious Peabody Institute, and she says she was the first African American woman to do so. “I started playing professionally at age 17, and have probably played at more than 2,200 weddings,” Greene says.

String Instrument Group, Duo or Soloist  

1. Shelley Greene/Harmony of Virginia 

2. Somerset Quartet 

LGBTQ-Friendly Vendor 

1. Shelley Greene/Harmony of Virginia 

2. Rent-E-Quip 

3. Historic Mankin Mansion

Multicategory Winner: Mod Motion

Owner Morgan Robertson combines her passions for romance and filmmaking through her company Mod Motion. For the past seven years she’s been preserving couples’ big days on film in the Richmond area. “There are a lot of old-school wedding videos out there, but I have a modern, stylistic approach,” Robertson says. “It’s important to keep up with the latest trends and technology.”


1. Mod Motion 

2. RVA Productions 

3. (Tie) Derek Fowler Productions; Mark Yeattes/Yeattes Productions 

Local Photography/Videography Provider Offering Event Streaming Services 

1. Mod Motion 

2. The Lighting & Sound Co.

Wedding DJ: DJ Big Entertainment 


Roy “DJ Big” Richardson is all about making the big day memorable for his clients. “I get the chance to be a part of a special couple’s life, even if it’s just for a short period of time,” he says. “I absolutely love interacting with the couple and their guests. The laughs and the fun-filled spirit that takes over is priceless.” 

2. Historic Mankin Mansion 

3. Sean McNamee/Xtreme Disc Jockeys 

Top Band: Bachelor Boys Band

The Bachelor Boys have topped the category for best wedding band again this year. Couples love the high energy and ability to customize the setlist, which includes classical, rock ‘n’ roll, Motown and Top 40 options. Choose from the three-piece band that’s fit for ceremonies or smaller receptions, up to the 14-piece band that can keep the dance floor going all night long.  

2. The Adrian Duke Project 

3. Dance Candy 

Photo Booth Company: Richmond Photobooth

Wedding photo booths have been an increasingly popular trend, providing a special memento while entertaining guests with good old-fashioned fun. At the onset of the pandemic, owner Andrea Maradiaga started brainstorming new and improved props that were easier to clean. “Our new prop collection is lots of fun,” she says. “We’ve been very grateful to be busy with back-to-back events while continuing to develop even more props in our collection.” 

2. Badass Photo Booth

3. (Tie) Hott Shotz; Pix R Us

Decor & Details

Repeat Winner: Paisley & Jade

The furniture rentals category was added to the A-List survey in 2013, and Paisley & Jade has been voted best each year. Co-owned by friends Morgan Montgomery and Perkins Morgan, Paisley & Jade offers vintage and hand-built specialty furniture.   

“We were both working in events, and we saw a need that led to an interesting niche,” Morgan says. “Nine years ago, we took a leap of faith and started our own business.” 

Morgan says sometimes white folding chairs and traditional tables work just fine, but many clients are looking for a unique touch to their event. Morgan and Montgomery started amassing vintage items to rent to clients. They’ve gone from a storage unit with just the two of them to a warehouse of furniture, decor and accessories with around 20 employees. 

Paisley & Jade scours local estate sales and artsy Instagram groups to find pieces, from Victorian settees and midcentury chairs to farmhouse tables and Bohemian rugs. “We love creating that wow factor for guests when they first arrive,” Morgan says.  

Paisley & Jade recently launched a workshop and hired artisans to build custom pieces, from altars to whimsical cocktail bars that can easily be assembled and fit through narrow doors commonly found in historic venues.  

“But our bread and butter has been in creating intimate lounge spaces that are warm and inviting,” Morgan says. “When we see the photos after the wedding, the lounge areas are always full. Friends and family are reconnecting, relaxing and catching up. That, to us, is what it’s all about.”

Furniture Rentals

1. Paisley & Jade 

2. Rent-E-Quip 

3. Classic Party Rentals

Multicategory Winner: Donnie Newton 


In the past six years, Donnie Newton has officiated nearly 300 weddings, from traditional ceremonies in outdoor gardens to themed weddings at The Poe Museum. “Couples today often want to write their own vows and make their ceremonies really personal,” Newton says. “I’m open to helping them with a set script or incorporating their own wishes. I’ve seen it all.” 


1. Donnie Newton 

2. Mary Lee 

3. (Tie) Jeremiah Dillon; Anne Joyce Heath 

LGBTQ-Friendly Officiant  

1. Donnie Newton 

2. (Tie) ElopeRVA; Anne Joyce Heath; Hollie Woodruff

10-Year Repeat Winner: James Limousine

James Limousine has topped the limousine category all 10 years of the A-List survey. Providing high-end transportation services since 1992, the Richmond-based business delivers a range of chauffeured options for weddings, including getaway cars, airport transfers for friends and family, and rides for bachelor and bachelorette parties.  

“The company has seen a lot in the past 30 years, but nothing quite like COVID,” says Hope Newcomb, co-owner and CEO. “Couples are making up for lost time now, and we’re not only booking weddings every Saturday but on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, too. We’re glad to be back to 30 employees again.” 

The James Limousine fleet includes Lincoln stretch limos, Mercedes vans, Yukons, Suburbans, Expeditions and more. Personal touches include bottled water, ice and a wedding day emergency kit, complete with a sewing kit, toiletry products and first-aid items. 

“Our drivers are known for their service, punctuality and professionalism,” Newcomb says. “Each must go through chauffeur training and pass background checks — it’s more involved than you think.” 

Newcomb says she’s relieved to see weddings back in business following the peak of the pandemic. “We’re doing more bachelorette parties to Virginia’s wine country, driving wedding parties to group dinners, things like that,” she says. “Of course, we’re doing everything with COVID-19 safety and health precautions in place.” 

James Limousine has been there for its clients through the biggest moments in their lives, from proms and weddings to corporate events and funerals.  

“We really pride ourselves on the quality of our vehicles and our drivers,” Newcomb says. “We listen to our customers and customize everything to meet their needs.”  

Limousine Company

1. James Limousine 

2. Richmond Limousine

Multicategory Winner: Faye Street Studios 

Emily Ripka is a one-woman shop, turning out custom invitations and place, table and save-the-date cards through her business, Faye Street Studios. Though Ripka has an eye for stationery design, she believes compatibility with clients is equally important. She says she’s honored to land again on this year’s A-List survey. “Richmond has some crazy-talented wedding professionals, and being recognized among people I look up to is amazing.” 

Stationery/Invitation Shop  

1. Faye Street Studios 

2. Kara Anne + Co. 

3. Merrymaker Fine Paper 

Locally Designed Invitations/Local Invitation Designer 

1. Faye Street Studios 

2. Kara Anne + Co. 

3. Merrymaker Fine Paper

Best Alternative Transportation Service: (TIE) James River Transportation; RVA on Wheels, Trolley; RVATukTuk 

When it comes to the best alternative modes of transportation for weddings, Richmond Bride voters are split between James River Transportation, RVA on Wheels’ trolley service and RVATukTuk. James River Transportation offers luxury buses, vans and sedans to transport couples and their guests. “Rather than a party bus, we want to provide higher class, safe and reliable vehicles,” says Stephen Story, president. There’s nothing like a classic trolley car to conjure old romance and nostalgia, and RVA on Wheels has white or green options that are great for photos. “Our trolleys have social seating, where some rows face each other, making it really fun for transporting guests or the wedding party,” says Operations Manager Hendley Davis. RVATukTuk provides three-wheeled, all-electric, open-air limo service in downtown Richmond. “We do guest transports, getaway cars, and even microweddings, where our driver can officiate the ceremony,” says co-owner Lyndsi Austin. 

2. James Limousine

Multicategory Winner: Rent-E-Quip

Family-owned and -operated since 2000, Rent-E-Quip provides the tent, dance floor and everything in between. “We’re in the business of helping people on one of the most important days of their lives,” says David Darby, wedding and event specialist. “We take the gravity of that into all we do, from how we clean and prepare our inventory to how we listen to our clients and help them make the right selections.”

Service Provider for Small or Backyard Weddings  

1. Rent-E-Quip 

2. Lunch and Supper 

3. Party Perfect

Tent Rentals  

1. Rent-E-Quip 

2. (Tie) Classic Party Rentals; Party Perfect 

3. Commonwealth Event Co. 

Linen Rentals  

1. Rent-E-Quip 

2. Classic Party Rentals 

3. (Tie) Paisley & Jade; Party Perfect

Audiovisual Provider 

1. Rent-E-Quip 

2. RVAV 

3. The Lighting & Sound Co.

Multicategory Winner: Pencraft + Post

A favorite again this year, Pencraft and Post creates hand-lettered place cards, chalkboards, signs, custom balloons and more. Owner Deirdre Gill has plenty of creative ideas, but she’s open to anything. “We say yes a lot,” she says. “We are always down to learn, grow and try new things to bring our clients’ visions to life.” 

Locally Owned Etsy Shop to Purchase Accessories or Decor  

1. Pencraft + Post 

2. Pressed in Books 

Calligraphy or Hand-Lettering Artist

1. Pencraft + Post  

2. (Tie) Faye Street Studios; Letterful 

Floral Design: Tommy’s Garden

Tommy Autry of Tommy’s Garden says brides are getting more creative when selecting their blooms. Popular choices this year include Gerber daisies, narcissus, hydrangeas, orchids, tulips and peonies. Over its 23 years in business, Tommy’s Garden has sourced flowers from almost every continent, but Autry loves partnering with local farmers. “Virginia especially has some of the most gorgeous dahlias,” he says. “Brides love supporting our farmers and are open to using more local varieties, colors and textures, which has been really cool.”  

2. Vogue Flowers

3. Pappy June’s Bouquets

Multicategory Winner: Colleen Cook/CCS Events

Colleen Cook has been helping couples plan and execute their wedding visions for 20 years. “Couples want their day to emulate their personality or beliefs, and they want to share that with their friends and family,” Cook says. “We help personalize the event to represent what makes them them, whether it’s fun, formal or a fusion of cultures.” 

Event Designer/Planner 

1. Colleen Cook/CCS Events 

2. The Hive Wedding Collective 

3. (Tie) Glint Events; Marylee Marmer Events

Day-of Wedding Coordinator  

1. Colleen Cook/CCS Events 

2. The Hive Wedding Collective 

3. Historic Mankin Mansion

Food & Beverage

Virginia Beer to Serve at Your Wedding: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery  

For couples looking to showcase RVA at their wedding, Hardywood’s locally sourced brews fit the bill. The traditional American-style Richmond Lager is clean and crisp, appealing to hopheads and casual drinkers alike. The brewery’s canned Suncrush sparkling ales are also crowd pleasers in flavors such as tangerine, ginger lime and black cherry.  

2. Triple Crossing Beer 

3. (Tie) Center of the Universe Brewing Co.; Devils Backbone Brewing Co.; The Virginia Beer Co.

Bartending Service/Mixologist: One for the Road

To craft a perfect cocktail, Brittany Nicole Jones and Ryan Wirt of One for the Road combine a couple’s palate with peak seasonal ingredients. No wedding is the same, but bourbon often steals the show. “I’m not sure if that’s because bourbon is still taking the world by storm,” Jones says, “or if Ryan and I love whiskey so much that we end up guiding guests in that direction.” 

2. Cocktails With Class 

3. (Tie) Groovin’ Gourmets; Mosaic Catering + Events; The Sugar Cube Mobile Bar Co.; The Watering Hole

Multicategory Winner: Pearl’s Bake Shoppe

Laurie Chapman-Blakey of Pearl’s Bake Shoppe says wedding cakes have been taking a more rustic turn with trends like textured frosting, fresh wildflowers, and touches of gold. But she says one of her most incredible pieces was a groom’s cake for her godson — a pirate’s chest filled with gold coins featuring the bride, and a treasure map showing their path to love.

Wedding Cakes  

1. Pearl’s Bake Shoppe 

2. Louisa’s Homemades 

3. (Tie) Fat Rabbit Cakes; The Mixing Bowl Bakery; Sugar & Salt; Sweet Fix 

Wedding Cake Alternative 

1. Cupcakes/Cake Pops from Pearl’s Bake Shoppe 

2. Doughnuts from Sugar Shack 

3. (Tie) Dessert Bar by Louisa’s Homemades; Tres Leches Cake from Kuba Kuba 

Groom’s Cake  

1. Pearl’s Bake Shoppe 

2. (Tie) Fat Rabbit Cakes; The Mixing Bowl Bakery; Sugar & Salt 

10-Year Repeat Winner: Mosaic Catering + Events 

While dining trends come and go, Ryan Traylor, director of catering for Mosaic Catering + Events, says traditional comfort foods continue to withstand the test of time. The same could be said for Mosaic. For the 10th year in a row, the company has been voted the best caterer in the region.  

When helping a couple plan their menu, Traylor says the story of their relationship plays a crucial role. Did they meet over a slice of late-night pizza in New York City? Go to school in South Carolina or fall in love in the Bahamas? Or is there a signature dish they’ve always made together?  

“That’s always the best part,” he says, “finding out what a couple’s unique stories are and putting them on the menu.” 

Mosaic can also bring elegance to basic comfort foods. For instance, for someone who loves corn dogs, Mosaic chefs might take gourmet sausage, wrap it in a blue-cheese-and-bacon batter, and serve it deep-fried with Champagne mustard.  

“There’s always a way to take something silly and make it cool and fun and interesting,” Traylor says. 

They also offer a one-stop production shop with lighting, decor, draping, audio and visual equipment, and furniture. Whether a couple is looking for a glamorous environment with a crystal chandelier and white draping, or something more rustic and elegant that embraces the natural surroundings, Mosaic’s team can make it happen. 

Ultimately, the team is what Traylor believes sets Mosaic apart. “Every event is looked over by at least eight to 10 different people to make sure everything we promise is properly executed,” he says. “There are so many people that a couple may have no contact with, but who play an integral part in their wedding.  

“Our people are our biggest asset.” 


1. Mosaic Catering + Events 

2. Lunch and Supper 

3. Cater 2 Events

Virginia Wine to Serve at Your Wedding: Jolene Family Winery 

From dry and bold wines to off-dry and sweet, Jolene Family Winery has something for everyone. “Our Lakeview White, a blend of vidal blanc and chardonnay, is very popular,” says Taddy Mikelaites, the winery’s events manager. “It’s a light, refreshing option with tropical notes that will appeal to most guests. It is full and flavorful with considerable viscosity.” 

2. Barboursville Vineyards

3. King Family Vineyards

Food Truck for the Reception: The Grateful Grill RVA

Barry Tatum of The Grateful Grill RVA has noticed a growing interest in casual and outdoor weddings — and not just due to COVID. “It’s a shift toward the far less formal culture of the current generation,” he says. The Grateful Grill’s creative grilled cheese sandwiches — featuring ingredients like Carolina barbecue and sun-dried tomatoes with a balsamic glaze — definitely fit the bill.  

2. Gelati Celesti

3. River City Wood Fire 

Locally Made Spirits to Serve at Your Wedding: Belle Isle Moonshine

When you need to serve a crowd with mojitos, margaritas, frosé and sangria, Belle Isle Moonshine is versatile enough to handle it all. Kick it up a notch with a spicy mule using their Honey Habanero infusion or take the easy route with a selection of ready-to-drink canned cocktails. 

2. Cirrus Vodka

3. Virago Spirits

Pre- & Post- Wedding

Pre-Wedding Fitness Training: The Bar Method Richmond

This boutique fitness studio offers challenging but safety-conscious barre classes led by knowledgeable teachers. “All instructors take anatomy and physiology classes and are trained in proper hands-on and verbal adjustments, which allows us to get clients into safer form faster,” says Nikki Davis, owner of The Bar Method Richmond. Brides and their guests can take advantage of a discounted rate of $135 per month for three months of unlimited classes.  

2. Orangetheory Fitness 

3. (Tie) American Family Fitness; BOHO Studios; Pure Barre; ReDefine RVA

Honeymoon Travel Experts: Champagne & Cabanas Travel

Champagne & Cabanas Travel founder Ciera Pope uses detailed research and her personal travel experience to provide honeymoon planning services that are customized to suit couples’ needs and visions. “I am diligent in finding options that I feel will exceed the expectations of my clients,” she says. “I practice clear communication about the booking process and take a very transparent and honest approach.”  

2. Journeys Inc.

3. AAA 

Gown Preservation: Puritan Cleaners 

Puritan Cleaners provides gown cleaning and preservation using the latest systems and processes. Once cleaning is complete, the gown is packaged in a nitrogen-filled preservation box with a built-in window display so brides can take a peek without causing any damage. “We understand that a gown isn’t just fabric,” says Puritan vice president Norman Way. “It represents a moment in your life that deserves the very best attention to preserve the memory.” 

2. Tiffanys Bridal

Wedding Dance Instructor: Rigby’s Jig Dance Studio 

For couples who want to wow the crowd with their dance moves, look no further than Rigby’s Jig Dance Studio in the Willow Place shopping center. Choose from the basic wedding package, which includes five one-hour private lessons, or the wedding plus package, which features eight one-hour sessions. Both options are offered in-person and virtually for any skill level. “We treat our clients like family and welcome them through our doors to join our community of dance,” says owner Eleanor Robertson. 

2. Arthur Murray Richmond 

3. (Tie) Fred Astaire Dance Studios; Off and Dancing!; Veronica Nugent/Simply Ballroom Dance Studio 

First-Home Neighborhood in the Richmond Region: Church Hill

The oldest neighborhood in Richmond, historic Church Hill overlooks the city from its towering perch in the East End. It has a breadth of Queen Anne, Italianate, Gothic, Colonial and Greek Revival-style homes at a range of prices. First-time homebuyers are drawn to the area for its blend of community and its proximity to downtown, as well as ample spots for outdoor recreation, local restaurants and boutique shopping.  

2. Museum District 

3. (Tie) The Fan; Lakeside


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