My Wedding 2

May 9, 2011

As I might have mentioned at the announcement, Brian and I were considering going somewhere far and only inviting immediate family for our wedding. Somewhere like Napa Valley. Or going somewhere really far and doing it alone. Like an island in Crete. As time goes on, I'm getting the feeling from most people that they'd prefer to keep it close and be able to attend. So I'm looking at more local options as well.

My biggest obstacle was finding somewhere in Pennsylvania that both Brian and I liked. Every time I pictured our wedding in the nearby area I always felt underwhelmed. Nothing against Pennsylvania, I just didn't want it to look exactly like other weddings I've been to in the past. But I think I might have found a nearby place that I don't hate.

I think my taste is either very grand or very quaint, like a barn or vineyard but not much in between. This place leans more toward the grand but I looked into their prices and they're pretty standard.
It has several different scenic views for the vows as well as the reception. I love the look of the alter scene in the first photo of this post.
If you know of any beautiful place near central Pennsylvania I'd definitely love to hear your suggestions. Or if any one out there has had her wedding at the Water Works I'd love to hear about it too.
And if money weren't an object. This is where we'd be getting married with ALL our friends and family.

28 {comments}:

Marcie Abney Carroll said... Best Blogger Tips

I too have been researching places for a wedding and have been astonished by the prices! I'm thinking small getaway wedding with just immediate family as well, with everybody pitching in as gifts to offset the cost. The Waterworks looks gorgeous. (Trust me, I'm pretty sure you've got more local options than I do!) Good luck with your reception hunt and I can't wait to see the photos!

Amelia L. said... Best Blogger Tips

While I haven't personally had a wedding at the Water Works, I used to intern at the museum/will return there in a few months.

It's an absolutely breathtaking location, but then again I'm a little biased...

I've seen lots of weddings and wedding shoots there and while they all seemed really lovely, I think the location would work best if it was a smaller wedding based on the size of the location and the available parking - unless you're planning on using the Water Works Restaurant for catering in which case I'm sure they'll use their valet company (which uses the art museum garage during high volume events).

Feel free to contact me if you wanna know anything else, I could go on forever...

Almost forgot! There are a couple of amazing gazebos on a little cliff between the Water Works and the art museum where I think a few magical photos could definitely be taken. There's also an esplanade right next to the river that's absolutely gorgeous. I'll stop now..

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

My husband and I were living in Philadelphia when we got married and I loved Longwood Gardens, but I've seen in pics that you've already been there.
In the end we decided on far far away and got married in Venice, Italy where we had originally met in college. It was only the 2 of us (we didn't have any kids to worry about) and no family was invited. (too much divorce drama on both sides) Looking back I think it was the best decision we could have made! After saving up for over a year we could afford to stay in Europe for 6 weeks and go wherever we wanted. (staying in hostels and cheap hotels mind you) The hardest part was not having my dad give me away, but the trade off was still wonderful. Make yourself happy first and worry about the other people later. This is for you!

AmyBean said... Best Blogger Tips

Here's an idea if you two really want to go it alone but you don't want people to feel left out: elope to Greece or wherever you want to elope to, and then have a reception for family and friends when you get back home. Then everybody's happy -- you get the intimate ceremony you want, but your family and friends get to celebrate with you.

Lindsay said... Best Blogger Tips

The Water Works is beautiful! My husband and I considered it, but it was way over our budget. We ended up having our wedding at the Fonthill Museum in Doylestown. It's a little farther from central PA, but it's awesome there and relatively cheap (as far as weddings go). We even had the museum open so our guests could check it out during our cocktail hour. They have an exclusive caterer for the museum and they're pretty good and flexible if you have special needs (we had a few vegetarians and a vegan). Here's their website:

Good luck!

Marissa said... Best Blogger Tips

The Fonthill Museum is a pretty neat place! I attended a wedding at the Pen Ryn Mansion, spectacular & I know they had a pretty tight budget. The Mercer Museum is a really unique place, too, in Doylestown.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@Amelia L.
Is there anyone I should email about more pics and options? It was really tough to even get the pics for the post as their website only has streaming slideshow photos.

I'd love to hear more about the gazebos.

And yes, our wedding would be really small (well, small compared to most weddings). I think no more than 50 people. Maybe even around 40. I saw that their minimum is 40 guests for some of the areas, I guess to make the reception worthwhile cost-wise.

One thing is for sure that I want to have it outdoors during the warm months. Do you know how far in advance I must book?

Brian's sister is getting married in December and her reception site wasn't available for over a year out!

Lidi Di said... Best Blogger Tips

I don't know where exactly in Pennsylvania you are, but there is a a very unique place called Fonthill Mansion that has beautiful weddings.

Seamore Tomato said... Best Blogger Tips

I love waterworks. Fonthill would be gorgeous too.

Good luck!

Sarah said... Best Blogger Tips

I've been wondering when we would get a peek at your wedding plans! I cannot wait to see all the unique things you do with that great creative mind of yours!

LC said... Best Blogger Tips

I live in Central PA and these are some of the more popular wedding venues I've been to..
1. The Civic Club on Front Street in Harrisburg. The gardens are beautiful and it is right on the river.
2. The Peter Allen House in Dauphin, PA is also very beautiful, but not in the city so much quieter. I was at an outdoor October wedding here and the scenery looked amazing.
3. Hunter's Valley Winery in Liverpool, PA. A coworker got married here and said they've since built a nice pavillion.
4. A little out of the way in Saylorsburg, PA is the Harmoney Gardens. My father got married here in January and the location is absolutely beautiful. My only complaints are that it was somewhat hard to find.
Hope this helps!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

do what YOU want to do!!! if you want to stay close then stay close, but if you want to go away somewhere special, then do that! in my experience, you end up actually pleasing so few of the people that you're trying to please anyways, that they should be please just by the fact that you're pleased by whatever you decided to do!

Gaidig said... Best Blogger Tips

The waterworks are gorgeous, though I've never walked down the hill to them, I've seen them from afar.

A friend of mine got married at her little local meeting house and then had her reception at the Mercer Museum. It was lovely, and the museum was open during the event. It was really cool, and unusual.

I would bet that there are some unusual venues near you that you aren't aware of because they aren't often used for weddings. My old dance group in Philadelphia uses a barn on an estate that they an agreement to work in exchange for using the space.
I wonder if you could come to some similar agreement.

I also wonder if it would be possible to rent out a space on a college campus. The place that comes to mind for me is the amphitheater at Swarthmore.
The adjacent Clothier Hall is a great hall with a stage that we use for dances, too.

Loren said... Best Blogger Tips

A friend of mine just had her wedding at a smallish local theater (couple hundred seats). And the reception in the entrance hall. It was pretty amazing. The theater provided them with a small 'romantic' set & some killer lighting. The reception hall had marble pillars & plenty of room for a dance floor. This was in Kentucky not Pennsylvania. But the summer would be the perfect time to talk to a local theater about this since a lot of them don't do performances in the summer so you wouldn't have to buy out every seat in the house ;)

Ashley said... Best Blogger Tips

How fun! We had a small wedding too (60 guests) and everyone still tells me what a wonderful evening it was. :) The venue you're considering looks beautiful!

Laurel said... Best Blogger Tips

Waterworks is beautiful! I run by there all the time on the river trail and always think it would be a great place to get married if you wanted to have a large, elegant wedding. I'm sure it is a very popular location in the spring/summer so you'll probably want to contact someone ASAP about booking.

I have a friend getting married in Bartram's Garden (just southwest of Philly) in June. More along the quaint line--I haven't been there yet but it looks absolutely beautiful. The ceremony and reception will be outside but during the cocktail hour guests will be able to explore the museum and grounds.

Melinda said... Best Blogger Tips

My husband and I got married at Lauxmont Farms in Wrightsville almost 7 years ago. It was the perfect location for us! I remember it being relatively expensive but we spent barely a dime on decorations because the location offered all of the beauty we needed. Here a link to their website: Good luck and all the best on finding the perfect spot for you!

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

I thought about Longwood too! But I read on their website that they don't cater to weddings. They said they do allow wedding photography but not wedding parties.

I thought, you're missing out on a gold mine!

veronika, tick tock vintage. said... Best Blogger Tips

i live in philadelphia and pass it all the time. it's a pretty place, but it's literally right across the river from a major highway (76) and it's on the schuylkill river path (lots of rollerbladers, bikers, etc). expect lots of gawkers.

Cyndi loves to stitch said... Best Blogger Tips

As a mother who wouldn't go somewhere exotic if my kids chose to do that I would be very sad to miss out on their wedding. My oldest daughter almost did that and I was terrified that she'd actually go through with it. Fortunately she decided to stay close to home for the wedding. I have no problem with a small intimate family type weddings. Am rather averse to weddings that are huge,(I am not a crowd person either!!!) My thought is save the beautiful exotic destination for your honeymoon.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

oh gosh, I remember that now about the gardens. I'm from just outside Gettysburg and the most of the weddings (not at church) were held at the Links golf course. nice but not thrilling.

The Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum hosts weddings! ;)

One of my photographer friends worked at The Cameron Estate Inn at Mount Joy and said that was very pretty.


The Box Hill Mansion at Regents Glen.

but I have never been to them and have not ideas about pricing.
Good Luck!

Michelle said... Best Blogger Tips

If you're thinking on the quaint side...Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster. My brother and sister in law got married there (outside) and had the reception in the barn.

Nicole said... Best Blogger Tips

The Waterworks are beautiful! I also wanted to suggest a couple of other places- Winterthur is actually in Delaware but isn't far from Philadelphia and it is amazing, it is close to Longwood Gardens. Rosemont College is beautiful but it is a smaller venue, also Chanticler in Wayne is one of my favorite places on earth, it is beautiful and just a tiny bit quirky but I am not 100% sure they do weddings.

Liz said... Best Blogger Tips

A friend of mine is getting married at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. I've never been to a wedding there before, but I've been inside the Capitol and I think it would be a very grand place to get married. I think it must be fairly easy to book too, as my friend only got engaged a few months ago and is having a Saturday wedding in June.

Good luck! I didn't realize you were in central PA. I'm glad to realize I'm reading a blogger whose near-by. Seems like all the other bloggers I read are in Texas or the West Coast. I feel like I have a new neighbor. :)

Ariel said... Best Blogger Tips

Do you know about terrain?

It is def. on the quaint side, but beautiful. Maybe to far for you, but I thought I would include it.

Erika said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Kathleen, I don't know if you know this website but is a place I think you'd love dedicated to wedding, colour schemes and all that jazz.

Amelia L. said... Best Blogger Tips

@Kathleen Frances

I remember there's a Fairmount Park number we used to give people who were interested in outdoor events at the Water Works. I think the number at the bottom of this page may be it:

Oh, the gazebos are absolutely magical! There's the rustic pavilion that's about halfway up to the Mercury pavilion. The rustic pavilion looks like something out of Harry Potter (in a very good way) and the Mercury pavilion is more classic - white with pillars and gold accents.

Hopefully the number above is the right one to help you out with your questions. I also suggest just making a day of it and going to visit with the fam. The interpretive center (shameless plug) is always free, really informational, and there are free science activities every Saturday. Combine it with a small picnic at one of the gazebos/pavilions + maybe a visit to the art museum, and I'd say it's the perfect Philadelphia getaway :]

Good luck with everything!

Sascha said... Best Blogger Tips

I was married in a teeny tiny town in Italy with only 19 in attendance. we later had a party for everyone else back in the States. It was really cheap to do the Italy wedding. Surprisingly cheap. My photographer was a student from Milan and he charged like $500 and gave me the film (12 rolls, before digital was popular 11 years ago). Amazing photos. The cake was $65. The flowers were the most because we were married in an Italian church and we bought extra for the priest to enjoy on Sunday services two days later. They were a big spend at something like $250.00. Of course the dollar was strong when went. I don't regret a thing though. It is amazing to say I've been married in a 10th century church.

Whatever you choose will be amazing I'm sure!

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