Lifestyle, Photography, Projects Tie the knot at Maymont Park
Maymont is a Victorian country estate in Richmond, Va. founded by James Henry Dooley and his wife, Sallie May Dooley in 1886. It is a signature Richmond location which boasts an original mansion built in 1893, 100 acres of pastures, a Nature Center, a farm and several event venues. The park has been rated as a top wedding destination by local publications because of its romanticism, accessibility and numerous options for the big day. Popular destinations for engagements and weddings include the Japanese Garden and Italian Garden, both original to the property. Future fiancés can plan an engagement along with the event staff, who can keep the secret until the question is popped. Each couple that gets married at Maymont are taken down to their wedding venue by horse and carriage, no matter which wedding package they choose. Couples chose from an approved list of caterers for their reception. Prime wedding season is April through October. The most popular seasons are spring and fall, and last year Maymont hosted almost 70 weddings.
Maymont is popular among Richmonders for nostalgic reasons, Bartley Mullin, Maymont Foundation event coordinator, said. “Usually people have some emotional tie or childhood memory in the park. We’re all about building on memories.”
Maymont began as a plot of pastureland purchased by James Henry Dooley and Sallie May Dooley in 1886. The 131-year-old estate has been ranked as a top wedding destination by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Richmond Bride Magazine for areas such as best wedding venue, best outdoor wedding site, best place for engagement pictures and best place to pop the question. Photo by Alexa Nash.
Receptions take place in the two rooms inside of Garden Hall, which includes a patio for entertaining and two changing rooms inside. This venue is a piece of the original property, and has been renovated to fit modern accommodations. Photo by Alexa Nash.
This indoor and outdoor reception venue can fit 250 people cocktail-style comfortably. It is attached to the Nature and Visitor Center, and is usually tented for the wedding season. Couples can add the Nature Center as a part of their reception venue for an additional cost. Photo by Alexa Nash.
Maymont’s primary bridal dressing room is located in the Stone Barn close to the Hampton Street entrance to the park. The bridal party is allowed in two hours before the ceremony to leave time for hair, make-up and putting on the gown. Some brides chose to have a first look photography session, when she sees her groom for the first time before the ceremony. The two-hour time frame allows for such a session. Photo by Alexa Nash.
The stepping stones in the koi pond is a popular location for wedding photographers to place the couple. It is a signature location of Maymont, Mullin said, and the location is easily recognizable in pictures. Mullin said that he has never heard of anyone falling into the water despite not having much room on the stones. Photo by Alexa Nash.
Maymont’s history with the citizens of Richmond has a factor in being chosen for a wedding day. Mullin said that families encourage their daughters or sons to get married at Maymont because of all the memories they had shared there. The Stone Barn is the first large structure a visitor sees when entering the park, and is used as a wedding venue and reception area. Photo by Alexa Nash.
The Moon Bridge, located in the Japanese Garden, is the most popular place for engagements. Bartley Mullin, Maymont event associate, said that its popularity is due to its secludedness and close proximity to a waterfall. Wedding ceremonies have also been held just in front of Moon Bridge, with the wedding party standing on the bridge itself.
The koi pond is a main feature of the Japanese Garden. Couples stand in front of this traditional-style hut on the bank of the pond while a few guests sit surrounding them. The couple typically stays in the garden for portraits as it is easily accessible and private. Photo by Alexa Nash.
The Italian Garden is another popular place to pop the question. The flowers in this location are redesigned every two years. Mullin said the flowers that are currently planted in the gardens were designed by a horticulturalist who planned to get married there, and planted flowers that matched her wedding theme colors. Photo by Alexa Nash.
The gazebo located adjacent to the Italian Garden is a spot that is frequently used for engagement photographs. It ranks third on the most-popular list for engagements, Mullin said, because it is a more trafficked area by visitors of the park. Maymont can also work with couples to plan an engagement, such as setting up secret picnics on a hill to surprise a fiancé-to-be. Photo by Alexa Nash.
The Maymont Mansion is the most expensive location to say “I do” on the property. The couples do not get married inside, but instead on the front steps and porch of the historic house. Photo by Alexa Nash.
Ms. Dooley’s passion was in horticulture, and she had planted and cared for over 200 trees on the property. This large tree in the middle of a pasture on the property is nicknamed the “Alice in Wonderland” tree, and is a popular spot for the wedding ceremony. An evening wedding is popular in this location as the sun sets behind the tree. Photo by Alexa Nash.
The pillars and walkway leading up to the rotunda in the Italian Garden is a popular venue for the wedding ceremony. The couple can decide how long they wish their walk to be, and their guests are seated alongside the walkway. Rose bushes are located along the right side of the walkway, which are estimated to bloom by May. Photo by Alexa Nash.