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