One of the best ways a couple can celebrate their nuptials is by treating their closest friends and family to a full-on wedding retreat that spans an entire weekend (or more). At Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, visitors are surrounded by all the rustic luxury of a countryside hideaway, paired with a wealth of activities and amenities to fill any destination wedding itinerary. Just a short drive away from Dulles International Airport, Middleburg is a quaint and historic village that feels like its own world from a past era. With everything from dozens of nearby wineries to local antique shops and restaurants, Salamander Resort and Spa is the perfect “home base” for any wedding experience in Washington metropolitan area.

The town of Middleburg is rich in history, and Salamander Resort gets its name from Mr. Bruce Sundlun – a WWII war hero whose code name was “Salamander.” Famous for retrieving his troops from Nazi-occupied Belgium, Bruce was also a successful businessman and politician who formerly owned the 200-acre farm, where Sheila Johnson now resides.

“While Salamander Resort & Spa is a luxury resort that pulls equestrian and nature elements from Virginia’s Piedmont Region, Founder and CEO Sheila Johnson wanted Resort guests to feel as though they were staying in someone’s home,” explains Lindsay Forseth, the property’s Director of Weddings & Special Events. “Comfortable furnishings, fireplaces, and a cozy and well-appointed library make you feel like you are staying at a private Virginia estate. Equestrian touches fill the resort and guestrooms, including horse bit accents on linens and throws that have been personally designed by Sheila, incorporating hints of the seasons and equestrian life.”

Salamander Resort provides a true wedding retreat in that couples can host an entire wedding weekend without having to leave the property. There are 168 guest rooms to accommodate a sizeable guest list, allowing couples and their loved ones to soak in as much quality time together as possible.

“We recommend arriving a few days early to enjoy Resort amenities before your guests arrive and wedding events start,” Lindsay advises. “A fun way to relieve pre-wedding jitters is with a Tree Top Zip Tour or a relaxing trail ride. Additionally, our team of massage therapists and estheticians at Salamander Spa will customize a treatment regimen to your needs so you feel relaxed and rejuvenated for your big day. Popular pre-wedding treatments are some of our results-driven facials using Biologique Recherche and Hydrafacial. A couple of relaxing Swedish Massages or our Calming Antara Ritual are also some of the favorites to help calm the nerves for both bride and groom. We also recommend the bridal hair and makeup trial a couple of weeks prior so that the stylist is prepared for the day of the wedding, and we do offer additional hair and makeup services for the bridal party. After the wedding, a relaxing Couples Massage is always a big hit for the bride and groom.”

Salamander’s scenic event venues include the Grand Lawn, which faces the property’s gorgeous oak tree; the Middleburg Lawn with magnolia trees; and the Equestrian Center with a mountain backdrop – three stunning locations for outdoor wedding ceremonies.

“For cocktail hour, our Culinary Garden is second to none,” Lindsay adds. “It is such a unique venue, surrounded by herbs and vegetables while your guests enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres and beverages. The Middleburg Ballroom is an ideal location for an indoor reception. Dramatic 24-foot ceilings, natural décor, fabric wall coverings and amazing chandeliers make this venue a breathtaking space. For an outdoor reception, the Middleburg Terrace can be tented for a beautiful dinner and dancing under the stars.”

Between activities and celebrations, visitors can enjoy the lively atmosphere of Gold Cup Wine Bar and enjoy a signature cocktail called the “H” – a refreshing combination of Hendrick’s Gin, cilantro, cucumber, ginger, jalapeno, and simple syrup. Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill, the property’s signature fine dining restaurant, is also open for breakfast and dinner on select evenings, providing the ultimate date night spot with sweeping views of Virginia’s countryside.

“I love everything about this resort,” says Lindsay. “Its beauty, location, amenities and of course – the amazing service professionals that make this property a true home away from home!”

>Written by: Lauren Malamala