Paydirt indeed: Panorama wins permission for bigger weddings

Couples searching for that perfect wedding spot can add one more full-size contender to their short lists, as Panorama Farms in Earlysville recently won approval for a permit to hold special events for up to 200 people on the 850-acre farm that is best known for hosting off-road cycling and running events. Central Virginia’s status as a national (and arguably international) wedding destination has sparked a lucrative market, and the Murrays of Panorama Farms can get a bigger slice of that cake thanks to the Albemarle Board of Supervisors’ June 6 go-ahead.

“Ninety percent of the business will be focused on weddings,” said Margaret Murray as she answered Supes’ questions about why Panorama needs this permit, points of access to the area, and of course, what the neighbors think about Panorama’s plans to regularly host weddings and receptions.

As she explained her family’s shift from athletics to weddings, Murray cited a thriving wedding industry around Charlottesville and the fact that wait lists stretch to two years at some of the more popular wedding-hosting vineyards. The Murray family has owned Panorama Farms since 1953, and in addition to providing a top-notch cross-country running and biking race venue— the farm is the UVA cross-country team’s home course— the Murrays started an eco-friendly compost company in the mid-1990s called Panorama Paydirt.

Clients will be able to choose between having their ceremonies and receptions outdoors or in Panorama’s rustic barn that has catering space and bridal dressing suites— but no AC or heat.

The permit approved June 6 limits the number of events per year to 24, places restrictions on outdoor amplified sound and lighting, and caps the guest list at 200, up from a previous limit of 150.

Murray noted that the increased head count is aimed at keeping Panorama competitive with other wedding venues and that the typical size of a wedding on the farm is more in the neighborhood of 100-125 people. In order to avoid any irked neighbors, Murray said she planned to send out neighborly e-mail updates detailing when to expect increased activity in the area at the start of wedding seasons, usually fall and spring.

Everything in the permit is reversible, and no paved parking lots or new construction are in the cards, for now at least. Board members recognized the Murray family’s long history of stewardship and voted unanimously to approve the permit.

Read more on: panorama farms


Would be nice if you all could list that "short" list, it is complicated to find a place in this area to host a wedding

Really interesting article for C-ville's thriving hospitality industry!

Catering space? When I was there for a wedding I all I saw was a room with a couple tables, no sinks or anything. They don't even have running water out there. Pretty spot, but it has a very long way to go before it can compete with even the most basic of vineyard based wedding venues.

Interesting article. I think a follow up article on venues for weddings around the area by the article author would make an excellent piece. I am curious about where else and how they compare.

It would have been nice if someone had asked the neighbors. We live on the only access road to the farm/venue. It is a dirt road with a 'suggested' speed of 25 mph. The previous events have resulted in a large volume of speeding cars. The 200 guests, catering vans, assorted people associated with these events that translates into a lot of traffic. Our dirt road was NOT designed for this. I, for one, am not happy with this decision.

i got married at panorama and it was fabulous. margaret is great to work with and really knows what she's doing. she'll treat you better than any vineyard spot in three counties.

as for catering space, there's plenty. it's tucked away so you don't notice it. clever, huh?

How is that clever? Just like any other venue except they don't give the caterers much to work with. I used to work for a catering company when I was in college, and I can assure you, venues like this piss of caterers and cost clients money because of the additional hassle they require.

How many is a "piss of caterers"? It must be like a "gaggle of geese"

I misspoke earlier...the speed limit is 15mph. So this evening I am outside my home and over 15 cars go speeding down my dirt road to leave the venue/farm. By speeding I mean at least 30mph in a 15mph zone. Now, we are covered in dust. Go inside, you say? Why should I stop enjoying my own yard because someone wants to get married. Slow down!