Nobody plans for a pandemic. Especially the very same year YOU plan your perfect wedding – or a landmark anniversary party – or a college graduation party – or a notable birthday celebration.
If you’ve had to say “I do” to a way-smaller wedding or other major celebration that you had hoped to have this year – you’re not alone. From micro-weddings to mini-monies, newly intimate gatherings have become the norm. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be great.
Photo by Hoffer Photography/The Radnor Hotel
The truth is, big weddings are absolutely amaaaazing. But like all amazing things, they come with certain challenges. Large weddings can put a ‘not now’ sign on a newlywed home purchase – they can turn happy couples into sparring partners, and let’s face it, putting the wrong people together on the seating chart can lead to hurt feelings and a much bigger bar bill.
Over the past few months, bed and breakfasts, inns and other unique outdoor venues in Delaware County have found a way to give brides and grooms the best of both worlds: a socially appropriate and yet truly personalized wedding, that can deliver just as much magic as any large affair.
Photo by Indian Orchards
And Here’s the Kicker:
While you’re planning a one-of-a-kind intimate, customized wedding to take place over the next 6 months or so, you can also book a humdinger of a first anniversary party for the following year. Think about it… you could probably do both for less than the price of one big traditional wedding.
But First Thing’s First:
If you’re planning a ‘smaller’ celebration between now and next summer, here are a few ideas to make it a meaningful celebration that your family and closest friends will remember for years to come:
· Reserving space for smaller weddings, parties and ceremonies can be made with much less advance notice than a large event. Explore PartySpace and sites like VisitDelcoPA.com and pick a dozen or so unique and unexpected places that catch your eye and your imagination – like B&B’s, wineries, orchards, inns and even art centers – then start contacting them.
· Hire a great videographer to capture more than just a 20-second ‘congrats message’ from your guests. These people love you the most…so let them tell you all the reasons why! Some story-tellers will get teary, and some will share funny, crazy ‘cover your eyes’ kinds of stories. But odds are, the final video will make for truly popcorn-worthy viewing for years to come.
· Be fearless. If you and your soon-to-be hubby or wife share a passion for a certain movie, art style, hobby or sport…make that the theme for your micro-wedding or mini-mony.
· Let everyone dress in themed attire. Your best friends and family will have a blast dressing for a Goth wedding – an American Bandstand revival – or a great literary love story theme like a Romeo & Juliet celebration…. (minus the poison).
· Florists are also artists. Most would love the chance to create one-of-a-kind themed bouquets and centerpieces. For example, say “I do” in a beautiful gazebo, decorated in vines, flowers and rose petals like Edward and Bella’s ‘Twilight’ garden setting.
Kenny’s Flower Shoppe’s newly ‘intimate’ wedding and event business in Media, Delaware County, is in full bloom!
Photo by Kenny’s Flower Shoppe
“At first, everyone was upset at the thought of having to hold smaller versions of their most special and momentous occasions,” noted Joyce Walker, owner of Kenny’s Flowers. “But virtually all of our customers since March, have spoken with nothing but joyful amazement at how their events have been more personal, memorable and cherished than they could ever have imagined.”
In just the past few months, Kenny’s has provided flowers for more than 37 weddings alone – and Joyce appreciates that most of these customers have become friends.
“Each floral design from pew decorations, to tablescapes, to a Cinderella -like showcasing of our new Copper Arch was planned meticulously,” Walker noted. “Outdoor designs were produced with the same love and detail; including thistle-filled lanterns and other larger scale ‘nature’ elements that were lovingly chosen to reflect these smaller, more organic celebrations of commitment and devotion,” she said.
Photo by Kenny’s Flower Shoppe
· Let your ‘artistic self’ come out to play. Small affairs unleash the talents of scrapbookers, graphic designers and arts & craft lovers. If you have 50 or less guests, make your own invitations. These could become treasured mementoes.
· Historic Venues or Inns and B&Bs come in all types and sizes – and some can even host the rehearsal dinner, as well as house the groom, groom’s family and groomsmen – or the bride and her family and bridesmaids. The newest B&B to open in Delco is the Gifford-Risley House, where a recent groom, his groomsmen, and his family not only stayed, but hosted the rehearsal dinner…
Photo by The Gifford-Risley House
The Gifford- Risley House is an 1877 Gothic Revival-Chalet style B&B located in Delco’s County-Seat Town of Media. Featuring 7 historic and stunningly decorated guest suites, each to a different period theme, owners Monika and ‘Z’ Rehoric, actually opened their doors just as COVID arrived. So their official Open House was finally held in September – the same month they hosted a gorgeous Rehearsal Dinner as well as housed the groom, his parents, and groomsmen for four days.
“We’ve hosted couples, wedding parties, and families who are attending local newly ‘downsized’ events, and virtually all have expressed how personal and memorable the experience was,” notes Monika, adding that wedding parties usually utilize the entire house, and the unique décor of each room, as the backdrop for photos.
Photo by The Gifford-Risley House
“It’s the perfect place,” Monika explained, “for brides and their bridesmaids to stay and get ready for the ‘big day’…sharing memories and making new ones in a perfect place that they can have all to themselves.”
Philly and the Countryside also offer gorgeous outdoor landscapes that provide stunning tent-able experiences on the Delaware Riverfront, in historic arboretums and even in a century-old organic orchard.
Photo by Samantha Jay Photography/The Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia
· Whether you’re a couple looking to ‘set sail’ for adventure… or you’re planning a graduation party with a beach-bound theme — The Corinthian Yacht Club in Essington offers breathtaking floor-to-ceiling views of the Delaware River or moonlit Commodore Barry Bridge from every room. Watch ships glide by from the spacious dining room porch or from under the shady awning of a waterside lawn tent. This Delaware County waterfront wedding venue is also maritime museum containing one of the region’s largest private collections of maritime art!
· Outdoor landscapes like Tyler Arboretum in Media have always been among the most gorgeous, natural and tent-able places for weddings and other celebrations. An ideal tented wedding venue in Delaware County!
Photo by Tyler Arboretum
· Even unique wedding venues like the 122-year-old estate home of the Community Arts Center in Media, also known as The Duke Sculpture Garden at Dixon Mansion, offer historic indoor and outdoor ceremony and photo opportunities, including a secret garden where you’ll find a stunning stone tower that resembles a Medieval Castle Turret.
Imagine inviting your guests to a century-old orchard bursting with nature’s fruit and verdant scents… like Indian Orchards Farm which encompasses 40 acres of farm land and lush forest – with a 1794 Guesthouse, with a fully equipped kitchen for catering, and a 200 year-old barn.
Photo by Indian Orchards Farm
Since 1913, Indian Orchards Farm, a small family-run farm in Media, Delaware County, has produced organically-grown fruits and vegetables, plus their own honey and cider in the fall. Rare and intoxicating scents fill the air from early spring through fall, including the smell of ripening heritage apples (from 100 year-old trees), to peaches, plums, and lush fields of blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry bushes.
Tented events can be held on the grounds, or on a large, stone terrace, with beautiful open stairs leading to a flowing fountain overlooking a picturesque Meadow and Pond.
Photo by Indian Orchards Farm
Until a Covid-19 vaccine is widely available and used, smaller parties and events will be the norm, well into 2021. So you might also consider a beautiful, boutique style hotel wedding venue in Delaware County, many of which feature private gardens, a gazebo, patio, pond, or an outdoor fire pit with intimate seating – all of which could be ideal for bridal vows and photographs. 2020 Forced many Wedding Couples to “Break from Tradition” – and many chose The Radnor Hotel in Radnor, PA.
Vice President of Sales for Main Line Hotels, David Brennan explained that, “We offered couples the option of holding an intimate ceremony on their original date while also planning a big celebration with a Vow Renewal on their first Anniversary.”
Brennan added “While some couples wanted to wait for a future date when all their friends and loved ones could gather to celebrate their marriage, they also realized there was no reason that pledging their ‘love’ had to wait – so the Radnor Hotel developed both mini-mony and elopement packages starting at $950.”
Photo by Lily & Lime/The Radnor Hotel
“It’s also possible that this could actually become a future trend,” Brennan added. “Our wedding couples over the past 5-10 years have led the way in adding wonderful, non-traditional elements to their wedding in order to personalize the day. This new trend takes things a step further by broadening the options that couples have in order to marry – and our beautiful ceremony area, gardens and newly renovated Ballroom at The Radnor Hotel await them!”
Photo by ProPhoto/Drexelbook
And don’t dismiss the idea of allowing your first-choice venues a chance to make your newly intimate wedding just as special and elegant as you dreamed it would be. Large wedding venues in Delaware County like the Drexelbrook Catering and Event Center in Drexel Hill can adjust its space to both serve meals and provide a dance floor large enough for up to 100 people, and still be totally compliant with current social distancing rules.
Opportunities for small wedding magic and adventure abound, no matter where you live. Check local tourism bureau websites like VisitDelcoPA.com for listings of vineyards, waterfronts, parks, accommodations and other attractions. Call to make sure they are open and that you adhere to their photo policies.
If you have more questions about planning Micro meetings, events, or weddings email the author Barbara Lehman, Direcgtor of Communications, Visit Delco at email@example.com or call 215-872-1308.