Vendor Spotlight | Kim Moody with The Estate at River Run in Goochland, VA
Meet Kim Moody with The Estate at River Run. We have known this family for almost 10 years and are excited to share a little peek into their wold and how they got where they are today.
If you care to share, how did you get to where you are now?
It’s been a LONGGGG journey. I’ve been in the wedding industry full-time as an Event Planner & Floral Designer since 2004. [And did catering and sold wedding gowns for the 9 years prior to that!!] As the turnover in our industry goes – I’m basically a dinosaur! But with experience comes perspective, which is incredibly helpful for our couples at River Run.
After our children were born, I knew the work I was doing as a luxury planner was no longer going to be a sustainable lifestyle. Around 2017 I set out to make adjustments. My husband Andrew and I agreed that owning a venue would be the wisest next steps so that I could maintain my career in the event industry and operate out of only one location. We imagined we would purchase a piece of property with a pretty lake and build an incredible ballroom and a few ceremony spaces. In early 2018, our casual internet searches turned into an all out search of a property. This consumed any “time off” we had (while raising an infant and toddler and running 3 other businesses with a few locations). It was an INSANE thing to do, but we knew we were in too far in this industry to redirect.
In Fall 2018, we received a listing from our agent with the title “Holy Hell” in the subject line. Of course — it was for this property. It was a stretch for us financially, but from the pictures it appeared to be ideal. Better than we’d even imagined. Once we got to see it in person – it was truly unreal how special of a place it really was. The first time I crossed the threshold from the front door tears welled up in my eyes and I knew this was the right place.
We have been on quite a character-building journey since then. But we truly believe we were put here to do this with our lives. In a massive series of supernatural occurrences, here we are. And with the very best set of partners [who also own the beautiful Virginia Barn Wedding facility!!]. Managing this elaborate property, and steering it through the COVID raged waters of the event industry during this tumultuous time has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. Covid began only 6 months after we closed on the venue. We are looking forward to existing in more “normal” times once again. We are BEYOND excited about the future here and know that being the caretakers of this incredible property is what we were put here to do for the next generation to come.
What makes you or your business stand out and why should a couple hire you?
As a property – there really isn’t anything else like it. It’s a grand place that has an “old gentle Virginia” quality about it like the Homestead or the Greenbriar, but on the scale of a massive private estate. The view of the James River is so tranquil and sunsets here are consistently the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The finishes are all so, so stunning – the Italian marble, the hand-carved plaster ceilings, the gold facets, sinks, and columns, every single element of the material selections here are incredible.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry?
Our “friendors” are some of our closest friends. After working in this industry so long, and spending so many weekends together – you can’t help but see the real people under their professionalism. The other venue owner pals and other buddies in this industry really “get” me, and I’m so grateful for their friendship. My wedding vendor pals and I have gone on vacations together, spent so many great times at Lake Gaston, help keep each other accountable as working parents of young children, and share thousands of belly laughs. Only industry friends can have this much fun on a Tuesday night, because when we are all “in season” our weekends belong to our couples.
I am SO grateful of my deeply genuine friendship with each of them. Shout out to each of you – thank you. <3
What’s your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?
There are SO SO SO many things, but #1 is to hire the very best team of vendors you can afford. Go for a team with experience – not pretty Instagram feeds.
Those of us who are busy serving our clients often don’t have the capacity to make it all look perfect on social media, but in the case of a pandemic, or other wedding disruptions or emergencies, we are on solid footing and handling the chaos for our clients. You cannot replace experience in our industry. Degrees, certifications, and talent are all very helpful, but at the end of the day – you want to hire people that are truly acting on your behalf in the best possible way. That only comes with experience.
What’s your favorite moment during a wedding?
Without a shadow of a doubt, when a dad sees their daughter for the first time in their wedding gown. My dad and I have a special bond, we are a lot alike in some ways and polar opposites in others. I always thought this was a special moment prior to having children of my own, but somehow – after having children, the world view of that moment is even more important now. I’ve been in the bridal suite so many times over the years as this is happening, and it chokes me up every. single. time.
What are your favorite wedding trends right now?
Okay…so a year ago this wasn’t even a thing, but it’s the smaller weddings. It has been a BLAST witnessing the really intimate connections between families who have gotten married at River Run during Covid and how private their day is since the head counts have to be so small. It’s truly about the marriage. And THEN getting to maintain the connections with them while they plan their big reception [and sometimes their “do-over” ceremony!] and watching it all evolve! It’s so neat how a few months of being married to each other can uniquely position their viewpoints about what they want to incorporate into their 2nd ceremony to each other, and their celebration that is SO full of joy!!
How do you de-stress?
In the sun, at Lake Gaston, with friends on a raft or on the boat, with a frosty cold one in hand. I don’t get to do this much, but it’s my FAVORITE thing to do in the rare year we can get down there to enjoy it properly. We’ve had some incredible laughs, concerts, boat rides, day-drinking, and nights by the bonfire down there.
What’s a fun or unusual fact about you?
I wrestled in high school. On the boy’s team because female wrestlers were not a thing back then. There were 4 of us in the state and we had to fight so hard for a spot on the team. I worked harder than all of my teammates just to stay on a level playing field with them physically. After the most physically grueling 3-hour practices, when I wanted to shower and crawl into my bed before dinner, I went home and ran another mile or so trying to condition my body to be a step above to be on a lateral playing field with the guys physically. That is probably why I never want to work out anymore. lol.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Hands down – Justin Timberlake and Pink. [Yep – go ahead and judge me!] Seriously though – it was artistically incredible – the lighting, the music, the performances, the beats, the dancing, and Pink in the silks performing as an aerialist. It was amazing. A couple girlfriends and I went during architecture school and we were TOTALLY blown away!
Do you love to travel? If so, what are some must-see destinations?
YES!! This was the biggest perk of waiting a decade after marriage to have children! We went on some grand adventure every few months and it was amazing. Crete and Munich were two of my absolute favorite destinations. BUT the single greatest JOURNEY I’ve been on – was a month-long road trip around the country in our little Prius in 2011 when we saw about 80 of the top 100 American Institute of Architectures Greatest Buildings. That trip was an incredible marriage builder for us about 6 years in, and some of our best travel memories were from that trip before we had smartphones! What an adventure.