Would you like a wedding package valued at $80,000? Thought so.
The owners of Dover Hall Experiences, which operates within Dover Hall, the stately 38,000-square-foot English Tudor-style castle perched among 55 acres in Goochland County, and bartizan, their recently opened restaurant in West Broad Village, are offering one lucky first responder or active military couple the wedding of their dreams through Operation ido.
Eligible couples (only one person has to be active military or first responder) can enter to win a grand-prize package that includes a rehearsal dinner at bartizan, followed by a ceremony, reception and overnight stay at Dover Hall. The package also throws in money for event planning services, photography, video, flowers, transportation and a DJ, as well as a wedding dress and wedding bands.
Apply at doverhall.com/operationido between now and Feb. 27. The top three contenders will be announced Feb. 29 and then public voting opens on Dover Hall’s website from March 1 through 11. The winning couple will be announced March 13. Short videos explaining why the couples deserve to win are encouraged.
Weddings must take place before Sept. 16, 2021.
Jamie Ashenburg, vice president of operations for Dover Hall, bartizan and Seven Lady Vineyards, said Dover Hall Experience owners Jeff Ottaviano and Chad Hornik have both served in such roles — Ottaviano was a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Alabama; Hornik served for two years during the first Gulf War in the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky.
The idea to help these communities “really spoke to them,” Ashenburg said, adding that the 2021 deadline gives couples, who may be dealing with unusual schedules or deployments, about a year and a half to plan.
That was the point, Hornik said. While the grand-prize package specifies the services and vendors, “we wanted to make it feel like your typical, normal wedding,” with all the excitement that goes with planning the big day. There are no strings attached, he said, such as having to get married in the middle of the week. He said they’re planning to make Operation ido an annual event.
“Our facility here is world class,” Hornik said about Dover Hall, which was formerly a private residence. There are 56 weddings planned there for this year. “To give back to all those men and women doing the work now, it’s a huge honor for us.”