Today we spotlight Venue Coordinator & Event Sales, Shalese, and Owner Robert from Madison at the Mill. Shalese used to work for us over at Richmond Weddings™️ so we’re excited to tell you what she’s been up to since leaving!

madison at the mill richmond weddings

Tell us a little about your company.
Robert: Madison at the Mill is a wedding and event venue in Orange, VA with an industrial look. The Mill is a historic silk mill that my father, Kent, bought and restored in the 80s. In the past, the Mill has housed and still houses some corporate offices, local businesses, restaurants, pretty much everything. In 2015, we renovated one of the largest empty rooms for a wedding, and Madison at the Mill was born. We host weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, Quinceañeras, corporate events, fundraisers — you name it, we can do it.

Shalese: We like to say our look is “industrial chic.” It’s a really unique, cool space. While you can feel the more industrial vibes with the original hardwood floors, piping in the ceilings, and Edison bulbs, we also added more than 10 chandeliers, white walls, and shiny granite all over to give the space a glamorous feel. It’s a really customizable space, too. We’ve had couples come in and blow us away with their ideas!!

How did you get started in this business?
Robert: We had always had parties for family and friends in what is now Madison at the Mill, but it wasn’t until our foreman’s son was getting married that we saw its full potential for weddings. We renovated the room for that wedding and realized we had something pretty awesome here. Everyone loved the space, and we’ve been booking weddings and events ever since.

Shalese: I was the assistant editor for Richmond Weddings™️ (HEY!) until mid-July, and I’ve been photographing weddings since 2012. I’m KIND OF in love with the wedding industry, so I couldn’t be happier to work with my boyfriend and share this venue with people!

What’s your favorite wedding story?
Robert: I still like to think back on the first wedding we had here in 2015. It was such a culmination of hard work by our foreman, the team, and my family, and a lot of the guests had seen the progress from what the space used to look like. It was cool to see how everyone reacted to the new look.

Why do you like working with weddings?
We love how excited the couples are! It’s really special to get to be a part of making the wedding planning process less stressful and more FUN. We like to think that couples feel more relaxed after they talk with us and realize their wedding will be well taken care of. We also really love seeing how all of our couples bring in their ideas to make the space their own.

What is the most difficult situation you have faced with a wedding and how did you resolve it?
We always hate when we’re booked for a date that a couple really wants, but we try to throw in some extras to make it easier for them to choose another date if they’re flexible!

From a vendor’s perspective, what is the one best piece of advice you can offer to engaged couples?
Use your Richmond Weddings™️ planning tools and hire at least a day of coordinator! It will make the set up and clean up process so much less stressful on you and your families. Also . . . splurge on a really great photographer!! 😉

How far in advance should couples book your services?
We’re already booking about a year and a half out, so we recommend putting a deposit on your date ASAP!

What inspires you the most / where do you find inspiration?
Shalese: The folks who work with us at the Mill. Robert’s family owns a construction company and a wood shop, and it just amazes me to see the things they can do. The wood shop downstairs actually made all of our tables from recycled wood, and people FLIP for those!! Since I’m not the kind of person who can see a big empty room and envision what it CAN be, that kind of vision always blows me away. I really believe that everyone has a gift, and we work with some really gifted people! The Mill is a true testament of that. You’ll just have to come see the work and love they put into this space in person!!

What do you like to do when you are away from work?
Robert: Shalese says I have a lot of hobbies. I play on a paintball team in Richmond, and I’ve gotten pretty into long range target shooting.

Shalese: Oh my gosh, with the Mill and photography and some writing projects, I don’t think I’m ever really “away” from work! But I do love getting some quiet time to read or watch trashy TV that Robert hates. 😉

What would we be surprised to learn about you?
Shalese: When Robert and I went to London and Scotland in March, it was my first time leaving the country and my first time on a plane since I was about 6 years old. I was fairly stressed about the whole flying ordeal, but it really wasn’t so bad! I’ve been watching flight prices for our next trip ever since. We’ll see where we go next!

I’ll tell you guys Robert’s, too. In the Silk Mill Grille, a restaurant in the Mill, there are these nice murals on some of the wall space. There’s one in particular with this cute little blonde boy with a fishing pole. I joked with Robert when we first started dating and said, “Oh, is that painting based on you?” I was 100% teasing, but he was like . . . yeah it is, actually. The artist painted it from one of his photos. So if you come visit us and eat there, see if you can find Robert’s painting!