Today, weddings are as unique as the couples who plan them. The tried-and-true format of a wedding has become more personalized, as couples elect to incorporate family and cultural traditions, sentiment, personal beliefs, spirituality, hobbies, interests, talents, fun and perhaps even pets into the most important day of their lives. As you will discover, it’s those personal touches that help to create heartfelt and memorable events – for couples and guests alike.
It’s also pertinent to point out that Lancaster County has become a premier destination for weddings. One-of-a-kind venues, incredible scenery, top-notch catering firms and talented professionals are captivating couples in search of a beautiful place to get married.
Lauren & Travis
A Destination Wedding | May 6, 2017
Lauren DeTroia, who is the daughter of Mike and Lois DeTroia of Barnegat, New Jersey, is an account clerk at Towson University in Maryland. Travis Rowe, who is the son of Scott and Sharon Rowe of Fallston, Maryland, is in automotive sales.
Both attended Towson University and met through mutual friends. Their first date in March of 2014 involved ice skating followed by dinner at a Chinese restaurant. They became inseparable and soon adopted a French bulldog, Manny, who immediately became the sidekick of Moxon, who is Travis’ boxer/English bulldog.
On Christmas morning 2015, Travis presented Lauren with a large box to unwrap. It was filled with a succession of smaller boxes. Finally, Lauren arrived at what she thought was the box, only to find it empty. When she looked up to question what was going on, she found Travis on one knee. He proceeded to present her with a beautiful mahogany box inside of which was a sparkling diamond ring. Lauren’s sister was charged with the job of recording the proposal on her iPad, but she was so nervous that she couldn’t keep it level. “You have to tilt your head to watch it,” Lauren notes.
Let the Planning Begin!
Travis had always wanted to get married in a barn, so they plugged “barn wedding venues near us” into Google, only to discover barn venues weren’t really a Maryland thing. Lancaster County offered the most options. Finding a central location was also important – Lauren’s family and friends would be making the trip from New Jersey, while Travis’ would be arriving from Maryland. They visited six venues and settled on Ironstone Ranch. “We knew immediately that Ironstone was the one,” Lauren reports. “The white picket fence and the long road you drive up are enchanting. And, being animal lovers, we liked that you get to see horses, llamas, donkeys and two Texas longhorns!” Guests arrived from New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and even El Salvador, where Travis’ aunt is involved in missionary work.
The ceremony took place in the apple orchard, while the reception was held in the Main Barn on the ranch. Everyone had a wonderful time – even the rain couldn’t put a damper on their spirits!
The venue perfectly lent itself to Lauren’s rustic-elegance theme. It also meshed with the romantic ambiance she wanted to create. Vintage accents and a proliferation of florals helped to carry out the theme. Her favorite rustic touch was the dessert table that saw cupcakes spilling out of a tipped-over barrel.
Lavender with mint, sage and tan accents perfectly complemented the early-May landscape.
Lauren achieved simplicity by utilizing baby’s breath and lavender. She notes that her favorite floral accents were the bouquets on the ceremony arch, which was draped in white linen.
Lauren and Travis elected to go with a naked cake that featured cherry filling and vanilla frosting. Guests could choose among chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cupcakes.
The newlyweds danced to In Case You Didn’t Know by Brett Young.
The Unique Factor
Lauren remarks that in all her life, she’s never attended a wedding in which guests could mingle with horses, donkeys, Texas longhorns and a pig.
Lauren says it was the moment they entered the reception through two large barn doors and witnessed their guests and the space come together for the first time. “It was both overwhelming and exciting,” she recalls.
Advice from the Bride
“Have fun! Don’t stress over every little detail and decision. It will all come together in the end,” Lauren says. The cover of the magazine proves her right. Instead of feeling downtrodden about the rain, Lauren, Travis and photographer Thomas Beaman used it to their advantage to capture some gorgeous – and humorous – photographs of them and their guests embracing the fact that a little rain on your wedding day brings good luck to a marriage.
Following their wedding, the Rowes set off for Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Photography: Thomas Beaman Photography, Lewisberry
Venue: Ironstone Ranch, Elizabethtown
Wedding Gown: Tesi Bridal & Formal, Northfield, New Jersey
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair Styling: Hair by Amy J., Owings Mill, Maryland
Makeup: Picture Perfect Makeup by Chrissy, Abingdon, Maryland
Floral Design: Lavender & Locks Floral Design and Flower Farm, Elizabethtown
Catering: C&J Catering, Harrisburg
Cake/Cupcakes: Sweet Confections, Harrisburg
DJ: Lance Kopp with Mixed-Up Productions, Middletown
Travis definitely got his wish when he shared with Lauren that he’d like the wedding to be held in a barn.
Lauren provided her father with a special tie that included a heart-felt message.
The couple couldn’t resist posing with one of the farm’s donkeys.
Containers filled with air plants served as party favors.
Carriages were the mode of transportation for the wedding.
Simplicity ruled the floral story – attendants’ bouquets were composed of baby’s breath.
Sparklers provided the newlyweds with a rousing send-off.
Christina & Matt
Amore in the City | October 8, 2016
Christina Olindo is the daughter of Michael and Mary Olindo of Sellersville. Matthew Hoover’s parents are Jim and Sharon Hoover of Lancaster. Christina is a reading specialist at the Landisville Primary Center in the Hempfield School District. Matthew is a fifth-grade teacher at Hans Herr Elementary School in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District.
Christina started her career as a student-teacher with Lampeter-Strasburg. After graduating from college in 2012, she became a teacher in the district. It was not uncommon for her to stay late and work on lesson plans. Unbeknownst to Christina, her fellow teachers were conspiring to improve upon her social life. One colleague had just the solution: Christina would be perfect for her brother, Matt. Christina went along with Melissa’s matchmaking plans, and a blind date was arranged. Their first date took them to the Lititz Pretzel Fest.
Obviously, Melissa’s intuition was on target. Two years later, Christina and Matt were in Sea Isle City, where her parents had rented a beach house. She had just completed the most difficult course in her master’s program and was excited to be going to her favorite place in the world: the beach. Soon after they arrived, Matt suggested they take an evening walk on the beach. He was anxious to find shells for a bulletin board project he had devised for his classroom. Or, so he said!
At one point while they were searching for shells, Christina turned her back and Matt took the opportunity to place a special shell in the sand. When she reached it, he instructed her to pick it up. On it he had written, “Will you marry me?” Matt then dropped to one knee and presented Christina with an engagement ring. She said yes, and, according to Christina, “Of course, we took a selfie.” Matt then gave Christina two more shells on which his parents had written personal messages that welcomed her to the family.
The two then returned to the house where a celebration ensued. “It was a perfect moment,” Christina recalls. “We were surrounded by loved ones, and we were in such a beautiful place! Who could ask for more?”
Let the Planning Begin!
There was no question where the ceremony would take place – Historic St. Mary’s Church in the city, where both Christina and Matt attended mass. As for the reception venue, Christina and Matt liked the idea that their guests could simply walk from the church to the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. As there would be a significant number of out-of-town guests, the venue negated the need for driving somewhere unfamiliar. And, since there would be a lull between the end of the service and the start of the reception, the downtown area would provide guests with an opportunity to explore its galleries, shops and restaurants.
However, according to Christina, what really impressed them about the facility was the William Montgomery House, a historic mansion that was preserved and incorporated into the Marriott. The couple utilized the mansion to prepare for the ceremony and to relax before the reception. They returned on Sunday to continue the celebration and enjoy a festive brunch with their wedding guests.
Christina and Matt both hail from Italian families, which meant the reception would “be a big, food-filled and fun party!” The resulting theme – That’s Amore! – would honor long-held family traditions, yet incorporate Christina and Matt’s vision, and in doing so, make it a day they would always remember.
Maroon and gold.
Once again, a colleague was involved! Floral designer Darlene Noll is the mother of one of Christina’s co-workers. “Her arrangements reflected both my personal style and the beautiful fall season,” Christina says.
Selecting this item for the wedding is what interested Matt the most. He ended up liking so many of the flavors that Colebrook Bakery presented during the tasting appointment that they decided to go with multiple cakes: chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, lemon cake with raspberry frosting, and white cake with chocolate-fudge frosting.
As with the cake, choosing just one song proved to be difficult – she likes show tunes and belting divas, while he’s into alternative and rock. So, they decided to “mash-up” the first dance and begin with Etta James’ At Last and then go back and forth with selections that represented their individual tastes. They ended with Frank Sinatra and Just the Way You Look Tonight.
The Unique Factor
Five elements helped to make this wedding unique:
#1. Matt is a huge fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and, as a surprise, Christina reached out to the team in an effort to buy rally towels in bulk. She wanted guests to be waving them as they entered the ballroom. Incredibly, she was told there was a stash left over from the previous year stored in a warehouse in South Philly. She could have all she wanted … for free. All she needed to do was retrieve and transport them herself. “It looked amazing to see over 200 people waving their towels as we entered,” Christina recalls. And, the towels served as a fun wedding favor.
#2. It wouldn’t be an Italian wedding without the Tarantella. Immediately after the first dance, all the guests formed a circle and danced to a musical mix of three Italian songs – including the Tarantella – which provided a fun kickoff to the party.
#3. Christina and her best friend, Gina, sang in their high school musicals. Gina was not only a bridesmaid, but also the wedding singer. “It was extra special to have someone we love do that for us,” Christina notes.
#4. Matt and Christina had their students compose marriage-advice letters and used them to decorate the cocktail tables. Guests enjoyed reading them; the content of the letters “proved that many of our students are wise beyond their years,” says Christina.
#5. For “something old,” Christina wore her mother’s veil during the reception. “I had the long cathedral veil for our church ceremony, but my mom’s veil was shorter, so it was perfect for dancing. It felt incredibly special to have her pass that on to me from her own wedding day.”
Christina names the ceremony as her most memorable moment. Her parents walked her down the aisle of the church and “when we met Matt at the end of the aisle, the four of us exchanged hugs, and then my dad placed my hand in Matt’s. It was so emotional. The promises and vows we exchanged in front of God, our family and our friends were the most important – and memorable – part of the day.”
Advice From the Bride
Christina says that while the to-do list is lengthy, a bride should strive to “find joy in each task, and enjoy each moment” of the journey. She also encourages couples to “reach out to family and friends for help, and utilize the talents and skills of those around you. It will make your day all the more unique and special.”
Because of their teaching schedules, the Hoovers scheduled a mini-moon to Scottsdale, Arizona, and then enjoyed a belated honeymoon to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, when the school year ended.
Photographer: Scott Josuweit of Nathan Desch
Videographer: Complete Weddings + Events, Lancaster
Reception Venue: Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square
Reception Coordinator: Jenny Mercandetti, Lancaster Marriott
Ceremony Coordinator: Camrin Edwards, Reading
Wedding Gown: Casablanca Bridal from Berni Bridal & Formal, Skippack
Attendants’ Gowns: Morilee by Madeline Gardner from Stephanie’s Bridal & Formal, Pennsburg
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire: Central PA Tuxedo, Lancaster
Hair Styling/Makeup: Essentials Studio Salon and Spa, Lancaster
Floral Design: Darlene Noll, Personal Floral Design, Mountville
Catering: Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square
Cake: Colebrook Bakery, Manheim
DJ/Band: DJ Joel, Complete Weddings + Events, Lancaster
Organist: Mike Bitts, Lancaster
Rehearsal Dinner: Greenfield Restaurant, Lancaster
The maroon aspect of the wedding was reflected in the attendants’ gowns and florals and the groomsmen’s ties and boutonnieres.
The cityscape provided opportunities for some dramatic photography by Scott Josuweit.
Three signature drinks were on the menu.
The gold aspect of the color scheme was carried out in the invitation suite, goodie bags and table linens.
Guests received their table assignments in the form of Lancaster Caramel bags; the treats pay homage to the fact that Milton Hershey launched his career in Lancaster.
Pre-reception cocktail tables were topped with marriage-coaching messages from Christina and Matt’s students.
Matt’s beloved Philadelphia Phillies were part of the wedding – guests waved Phillies towels as the newlyweds entered the reception.
Courtney & Billy
A Country Wedding | October 1, 2016
Courtney Steiner, who is the daughter of Keith and Jane Ann Steiner of Fishers, Indiana, works for Soho Properties (sales/marketing in relation to new development in real estate) in New York City. William (Billy) Longenecker, Jr., who is the son of Bill and Betsy Longenecker of Lititz, is the product line manager for Clever Devices (paratransit) in Woodbury, New York.
Courtney explains that like so many young transplants in Manhattan, she and Billy met online through a dating app. Billy asked Courtney if she wanted to meet up to play tennis and get some ice cream. Courtney says little did Billy know that tennis and ice cream were two of her favorite things! It was a “match,” and the two spent the rest of the summer exploring New York City.
Billy proposed to Courtney in Cape Town, South Africa. It just so happened that they were in South Africa for Courtney’s best friend’s wedding (Courtney was the Maid of Honor). After spending the day seeing the sights and scaling Table Mountain, Billy proposed to Courtney in front of all their friends at the V&A Waterfront in the middle of lovely Cape Town.
Let the Planning Begin!
Lancaster County provided the backdrop for this combination hometown/destination wedding. They ultimately chose Drumore Estate for the ceremony and reception. “The gardens, grounds and outdoor spaces at Drumore are spectacular. We knew that we would have several options for our ceremony and reception, rain or shine,” Courtney explains, adding, “Thank goodness for that, because we had to go with our rain option.” Long-distance planning also influenced their decision. “Karyn Regitz, the owner/operator, was a true professional, and we knew that we were in good hands,” Courtney adds.
The season, the venue and the rolling, tree-covered hills of Southern Lancaster County perfectly lent themselves to Courtney’s vision of a classic fall garden party.
Navy blue with gold, orange and hunter green accents.
Courtney’s vision for her bouquet included bright oranges, yellows, pinks and greens. She chose orange calla lilies for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. It was important to Courtney that protea – the national flower of South Africa – be incorporated into the centerpieces, since South Africa provided the setting for Billy’s marriage proposal. Courtney remarks that floral designer, Sandra Porterfield, took her “loose inspiration and totally exceeded everyone’s expectations.” As a finishing touch, Courtney and Billy sourced numerous fall wildflower bouquets from local Amish artisans to place along the aisle for their ceremony.
Courtney and Billy chose a white cake design with floral accents. Guests were able to choose between lemon cake with blueberry filling and vanilla cake with chocolate icing.
Green Eyes by Coldplay.
The Unique Factor
Every wedding has a hiccup that creates lasting memories. In the case of Courtney and Billy, their pastor had recorded the wrong time for their ceremony. “By the time the ceremony was scheduled to start, the pastor was nowhere to be found!” she recalls. The couple improvised and, according to Courtney, “Instead of making everyone wait, we decided to open up the bar and start cocktail hour. All of our guests loved this – old friends got to catch up, family members connected, and everyone enjoyed drinks and food before the ceremony started. By the time we got going with the ceremony, all our guests were happy, relaxed and full.” Courtney says because of all the compliments they received, she is convinced that a pre-ceremony cocktail hour should be a new trend.
While rain is not a welcome guest at a wedding, Courtney says that in this case, “The overcast weather and misty rain gave our photos a beautiful glow. Kate Jeffreys did a fabulous job of utilizing the unique conditions to capture the magic of the day.”
“There are so many!” says Courtney. “Weddings bring together all the most important people from all over. Seeing all our friends and family was what made the day so special.”
Advice from the Bride
Courtney relates that on the day of her wedding, a bride should “relax and let the professionals do their jobs.” She advises couples to “prepare ahead of time, communicate your expectations and implement a few unique details, but don’t micromanage the process. Your day will be better for it. Also, if you can, surprise your guests with cocktail hour before the ceremony – they will love it!”
Following their wedding, the Longeneckers headed for St. Maarten in the Caribbean.
Photographer: Kate L. Jeffreys Photography, Lancaster
Venue: Drumore Estate, Pequea
Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Karyn Regitz and Scottie at Drumore Estate
Gown: Country Threads by Gail, Manheim
Attendants’ Gowns: Weddington Way
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair & Makeup: Tangles Salon, Lancaster
Floral Design: Sandra Porterfield Designs, Holtwood
Linens: Karyn Regitz, Drumore Estate
Catering: Karyn Regitz, Drumore Estate
Cake: Bella Manse, Lancaster
DJ/Band: DJ Mast Productions, Lancaster
As the newly married couple made their way down the aisle, guests saluted them with bubbles.
The aisle was lined with wildflower bouquets. The flowers were grown by the Amish.
Floral designer, Sandra Porterfield, contributed to the orange aspect of the color scheme with colorful cala lilies.
Protea, the national flower of South Africa, also figured into the floral design. The floral choice was significant – Billy proposed to Courtney in South Africa, where they were attending a wedding.
Kelly & Daniel
A Wedding at Home | May 20, 2017
Kelly Kendig is the daughter of Dennis Kendig of Lancaster and Janola Landis of Culleoka, Tennessee. She is a floral designer at Floral Designs of Mount Joy. Daniel McCaughey, who is the son of Dennis and Susan McCaughey of Lancaster, is the merchandising lead at Western Power Sports in Elizabethtown.
The two met eight years ago when they were both employed by That Fish Place–That Pet Place. “Dan began working there a couple of months after I started, and everything took off from there,” Kelly recalls, noting they began talking in December 2009 and were officially a couple by February.
On December 19, 2015, Dan invited Kelly to accompany him on an early-morning hike – as in soon after sunrise – that took them to the Chiques Rock overlook. Kelly recalls that the morning was “very cold, but it was incredibly peaceful and beautiful. We had the whole trail to ourselves.” Upon reaching the overlook, Dan proposed.
Let the Planning Begin!
Kelly considers the home of her aunt and uncle, Tamara and John Morrow, as her childhood home. “I was lucky to live under that roof for many years of my life,” Kelly adds. “It’s the one place I’ve always felt at home.” She describes the property – family and friends call it “The Mountain” – as a work in progress. “They started with this small shack and transformed it into a gorgeous house,” she says of their Southwest-inspired, art-filled home that has grown and evolved over the years. The property also features amazing landscaping. She always thought it would be a picture-perfect location for a wedding.
Interestingly enough, Dan’s mother, Sue, had the same impression. “The first time she came over to the house, she approached me and said it would be perfect for a wedding someday.” Fortunately, the Morrows were thrilled to make Kelly’s dream of getting married there come true. “There’s tons of love and memories there,” she says.
As Kelly and Dan both love the outdoors, woodsy became the theme for the wedding. The surrounding woodland and various gardens lent themselves to the theme. “As we did our planning, we just kept envisioning an intimate, relaxed atmosphere and a beautiful backdrop of trees and flowers,” Kelly explains.
Mother Nature’s canvas was accented by coral and baby blue, as well as hues of purple and green.
Kelly, who has a degree in ornamental horticulture, reports that this aspect of the wedding was the one she most looked forward to planning. Dan, who has grown to appreciate flowers, gave Kelly full reign, saying he was open to any and all of her ideas. Two friends – Jim Showers and Donna Chillas – gave Kelly and Tamara full access to their gardens. “I cannot express how grateful I am to Jim and Donna for the plant material they provided from their beautifully groomed gardens,” Kelly says.
Floral Designs of Mount Joy owner, Jill Erb, provided most of the flowers for the bouquets, plus all the other floral material, which in Kelly’s opinion, “made everything come together in such a beautiful fashion.” While all the ceremony and reception pieces coordinated, different themes were used throughout the property. For example, table centerpieces, which were designed and made by Kelly, utilized tree branches that were collected in the woods. Moss, succulents and air plants were attached to the branches that rested atop large hosta leaves.
The bouquets (and buffet table) deviated from the woodsy theme and exuded a garden vibe. “My bouquet had lots of different garden flowers,” she says of the hydrangea, roses and peonies she utilized. Her bouquet also had tropical touches that were derived from air plants, cushion protea, succulents and pitcher plants. Her attendants’ green-themed bouquets were designed to include “many different foliages.”
The arch, under which the ceremony was conducted, was in Kelly’s estimation a “beautiful compilation of all the different themes.”
The topper cake (raspberry swirl cake with chocolate filling and vanilla icing) continued the floral motif, as the team at The Flour Child artistically decorated it with flowers using a watercolor technique. Guests could choose from three cupcake flavors – marble cake with vanilla icing, cinnamon cake with “spicing” and raspberry swirl cake with chocolate icing.
I’ll Be by Edwin McCain.
The Unique Factor
The guest list was limited to 64, which, according to Kelly, made for an “incredibly intimate night. Everyone told us all night long how comfortable they were and how much fun they were having. So many of our guests told us this is what a wedding is supposed to be about.”
Kelly explains that she considers her cousin, Paige, to be her little sister. To Kelly’s surprise, Paige performed her own acoustic rendition of Anyone Else But You during the reception. “The song rings very true for me and Dan,” Kelly explains. “Paige was only 15 at the time and had never performed in front of anyone. She completely surprised us; it was so special to watch her sing in front of that many people. It brought Dan and me to tears.”
Advice from the Bride
Kelly advises couples to “take in the entire day! Everything gets a little hectic in the final hours leading up to the big moment, but no matter what, you still end up marrying your best friend, and that needs to be your focus.” Her only regret is not hiring a videographer. “Having the photos is wonderful, and while there are some cell phone videos that were taken that night, I wish we had a video of the entire event.”
The newlyweds honeymooned in Portland, Maine.
Photographer: Jill Erb, Angela Sullivan and multiple friends
Wedding Gown: Alfred Angelo Bridal
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire: Target
Hair Styling: Crystal Hemcher
Floral Design: Floral Designs of Mount Joy
Linens: Floral Designs of Mount Joy
Caterer: Get Smok’d BBQ
Cake: The Flour Child, Columbia
Kelly created the centerpieces for the dining tables using foraged tree branches, succulents, moss and air plants.
Kelly was moved to tears when her cousin, Paige, whom she considers to be her little sister, performed an acoustic rendition of a favorite song during the reception.
The arch, under which the ceremony was conducted, united the woodsy and garden floral themes.
The team at The Flour Child carried out the floral theme of the wedding by employing a watercolor technique to decorate the cake.
Art provided added decorative touches for the wedding.