The Slice of Heaven
You’ve Been Looking For
By Marissa McCormick Jordan, Richmond Weddings™
On a gorgeous spring day, the Richmond Weddings™ team traveled to Ashland Road to explore and discover one of Richmond’s hidden gems, Oakdale. We chatted with Chris Stem, Partner, and Mary Jane Spagnolo, Manager, and the one you will be working with during the wedding planning process.
Driving onto the immaculate grounds, the overall ambiance of Oakdale is like something out of a storybook. A pristine white barn sits small in the foreground against the forest behind it. Trees that look like they’ve been there forever, sway in the ever-present breeze. The dark, lush green giving way to those signature Virginia technicolor leaves in the fall. The venue is set up to face the sunset, so you and your guests can watch the yellow sun settle on Hanover Vegetable Farm across the street. And in the corner of the picture sits a quaint and quiet pond with a landing, a magical place to say your “I do’s.”
Chris explains, “You’ll have the trees in the background, lights, and power.” The breeze plays on the surface of the pond as light shimmers off of it, a little slice of heaven. And you’re not just limited to a pond ceremony. With your package you get the entire property, which includes 100 acres of farmland and the 4,000 square foot climate-controlled building.
Just like its quiet surroundings, the building seems like it’s been there forever. While the exterior of it is quintessentially barn-like, the inside gives way to an industrial and totally on-trend space that can accommodate up to 200 guests seated. Vaulted ceilings enclose the stamped concrete, and the walls are suited with full windows, showcasing the countryside landscape. Along with a full bar and bathrooms, there is a bridal suite with enough sinks for all your girls to get ready. It also has a patio where Edison lights hang, the perfect spot for your cocktail hour or a socially distanced dance floor. And their packages come with everything. Mary Jane says, “When it comes to a wedding here, all you have to do is bring in catering.” Along with all the rentals (like chairs, tables, and flatware), you’ll also get a Day-Of Coordinator, golf cart service, bartenders, and even a DJ!
And the cherry on top for Oakdale? Their prime location. Basking in the silence of the farmland, one would never know that you’re less than 10 minutes from both Short Pump and Downtown Ashland. It’s almost boggling to wrap your head around. Chris says, “The location of the property really meant something to us. You’re close to amenities, but you’re far enough out that you can have a beautiful, private, unique wedding.”
When starting this endeavor, one thing was completely clear to Chris and his partners, Jeff Sears and Eric Pair, keep the integrity of the land and showcase its beauty as farmland. The name Oakdale comes from Jeff Sears’ family farm, a little down the way on Ashland Road. Passed down from generation to generation since 1902, it wasn’t just the name Oakdale that continued, but the importance of keeping agricultural integrity. Up until 2018, Oakdale was used to raise cattle and collect hay, leaving the resulting land completely groomed and manicured. “We wanted to stick to that tradition of farming and the fourth generation. Oakdale really ties in how we came together and still holds that family history. We wanted something that had some meaning to it.”
Oakdale is staying safe during the pandemic that has affected weddings and events in 2020. Since they have both the indoor and outdoor space, they can work with couples and the necessary guidelines set by the Governor. Mary Jane says, “You’re welcome to move your dancef loor outside or even your whole reception!” Or maybe you have a few relatives that are uncomfortable sitting inside, “We can put their tables on the patio and open the doors so they’ll still be part of the day.” While 2021 is quickly filing up, Oakdale is offering weekday wedding packages at a discounted price. 2022, on the other hand, is completely open.
There’s a nice sense one gets when coming onto the grounds of Oakdale. Suddenly the hustle and bustle of Richmond life fade away and a sense of serenity replaces it. There’s also the sense that you’re part of something bigger. A lineage of farm owners that are working to preserve the beautiful land that decades of grazing have led to. While some aspects of Oakdale are blatantly beautiful, there are other more subtle details that make this place unlike any other. The quiet moo of a cow in the distance, the rustling of the forest, the breeze playing through acres of wildflowers, the shade of a tree that was around since before you were born.
A slice of heaven and not too far off the beaten path, Oakdale checks off so many boxes as a setting for your wedding. And behind the venue is a group of dedicated families and an experienced team ready to make your wedding dream come true.
All photos courtesy Katelyn James Photography
Oakdale is now taking bookings for 2021-2022 and beyond. Visit their website, www.oakdalerva.com, email email@example.com, or call 804-629-1824 for booking inquiries or more information. 13497 Ashland Road, Ashland, VA 23005