You could say Olivia had been planning her wedding all her life. Olivia is the granddaughter of one of Lancaster’s grand dames of weddings – Vivian Abel, who with her husband, Bob, was at the forefront of the weddings-with-a-farm-setting concept when they opened Pheasant Run Farm Bed & Breakfast in 2001. Olivia’s mother, Deeann, has been heavily involved in the business, as well, hence, the observant Olivia has seen weddings of nearly every style over the past 20 years. “I grew up around weddings. They’ve been part of my life,” she explains.
When it came time for her to plan her own wedding, there was no question that it would be held at Pheasant Run. However, Olivia envisioned going in a direction she had never seen Pheasant Run brides utilize – formal, black-tie, elegant. “I thought the contrast would be interesting,” she says.
When Shannon proposed in December 2018, they agreed a long engagement would provide them with the opportunity to plan their wedding at a leisurely pace and consider where the next stage of their lives would take them.
Then, Covid happened. Their world fell apart. Olivia spent the last semester of college attending classes remotely from home. The Class of 2020 was deprived of a graduation ceremony. And, the wedding …
what were they going to do about the wedding?
The two also received real-world lessons about life, as both their families own and operate small businesses. All of Pheasant Run’s spring events were canceled. Reservations for the bed & breakfast slowed to a trickle. “We had a few outdoor ceremonies here, but no receptions,” Vivian explains. “Olivia’s wedding was really our first for 2020.” The pandemic continued to wreak havoc, as summer and fall weddings were reimagined, rescheduled or canceled.
Shannon’s mother, Cindy, and her sister operate Village Greens Miniature Golf Course in Strasburg, which was launched by their golf- and nature-loving father, Oscar Peters, in 1972. While Village Greens makes for a perfect Covid outing, new procedures had to be put into place (once it could open), including reserved tee times on weekends, reduced capacity, increased sanitation measures, mandatory masks in public areas, the removal of seating along the two courses and the list goes on. “It was a lot of work for them,” says Shannon, who worked at Village Greens during high school.
On May 20, the two realized they had arrived at a turning point and had to decide whether to reschedule the wedding or proceed and abide by the state’s guidelines, which as of June 5 (yellow phase) would allow social gatherings to include no more than 25 people.
Olivia is the daughter of Deeann and Paul Hertzler II. She is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University (Economics & Business Management). Shannon is the son of Cindy and Jim Fairchild. He is a 2019 graduate of Penn State University and is a nuclear engineer with General Dynamics Electric Boat in Connecticut.
Their Meet Cute
The two, who attended different high schools, met in 2011 through 4-H. Their mutual love of horses prompted them to become members of the 4-H Rough Riders Horse & Pony Club. They began dating and continued their relationship at Penn State.
Olivia had a definitive vision of the perfect proposal. “I always thought the Old Main Lawn at Penn State would be an amazing place to get engaged,” she says, adding, “And, there had to be a misty rain falling!” On December 23, 2018, Shannon took Olivia to dinner (she was convinced he would take that opportunity to pop the question). However, it seems Shannon had been paying attention; dinner was just a decoy. As they walked across the Old Main Lawn under a star-filled sky, Olivia suddenly noticed Shannon was no longer by her side. She stopped, turned and found him on bended knee.
As for the ring, Olivia’s doodles often included renderings of her dream engagement ring. Shannon took mental notice of them and when it came time to select a ring, he worked with a designer at Kay Jewelers to bring Olivia’s ideas to life with a custom design.
Let the Planning Begin
Olivia and Shannon consulted Pheasant Run’s date book and ultimately chose June 20, 2020 as their wedding day. They booked the nearby Pequea Church for the ceremony. The long engagement would provide them with plenty of time to plan their wedding – their vision entailed the church ceremony, cocktail hour on the patio at Pheasant Run and a seated dinner for 125 inside the barn. It would also allow Olivia to concentrate on her last year of college. “We were going to have a busy couple of months,” Olivia says of her May graduation, the June wedding and then making the move to Connecticut and finding a job or perhaps furthering her education.
Olivia and Deeann began shopping for a dress in early spring 2019. Their quest took them to three stores, where she recalls “trying on everything they had.” Nothing clicked. One day, Olivia and her sister, Violet, were at a downtown coffee shop and decided to stop by In White just as the store was preparing to close for the day. Olivia was instantly drawn to a dress in the window. “I loved its silhouette and simple elegance,” she says of the strapless silk ballgown. Olivia made an appointment and returned with Deeann and Violet. When she slipped into the dress and got “that feeling,” Olivia announced she had found her dress.
The dress perfectly lent itself to the formal, black-and-white color scheme Olivia devised for members of the wedding party and the invitation suite that Renee Connors would be designing. The wedding’s white and blush-hued florals would complement the theme through roses, peonies, eucalyptus and flowers cut from the farm’s gardens.
An Unwanted Guest
As February 2020 gave way to March, COVID-19 was making its relentless advance across the world. Pheasant Run was forced to close as it was deemed a nonessential business.
Hoping for the best, Olivia and Shannon proceeded to mail invitations to their 125 guests in mid-April. “People didn’t know what to say or do,” Olivia explains of the response they received. As April progressed, the families realized changes might be necessary. “It was hard to stay positive,” Olivia admits. Added to the stress was the fact that Shannon was now living in Connecticut. He and his groomsmen had to order their tuxes online through Men’s Wearhouse. “They came in three days before the wedding,” Shannon recalls.
A New Plan
By May, Olivia and Shannon realized they would indeed have to come up with a Plan B. They ultimately decided they would go ahead and get married on June 20 in the presence of immediate family members at Pheasant Run. “We just wanted to get on with our lives,” Olivia says. Still, the decision was heartbreaking. “Our dreams and work were just gone,” she shares. “I stayed in bed and cried for two days.”
Once the decision was made, Olivia swung into high gear. “We had one month to re-plan our wedding. I talked to all my vendors to get a sense of where they stood and what our options were.” Fortunately, nearly everyone was game to participate. However, they had to find a caterer. Vivian suggested they contact Enck’s Custom Catering, which is frequently onsite for Pheasant Run weddings. Enck’s was happy to accommodate Olivia and Shannon. “Ken [Enck] was so upbeat and positive,” Olivia recalls.
Olivia credits her second cousin and bridesmaid, Alicia (Hertzler) Ehrhart, for helping to put her on a positive path. Olivia talked all the new plans through with Alicia, who was in the process of planning her own wedding. “She was just the best sounding board,” Olivia says. As for having to pivot from a church ceremony to one outdoors, Olivia recalls Alicia pointing out that “being in a big church and looking out and seeing all the empty pews would only make me envision the wedding I had originally planned.” As she continued bouncing ideas off her cousin, Alicia’s enthusiasm for the idea of a micro-wedding made Olivia grow more excited. At one point, Alicia told Olivia she was ready to scrap her own plans and go in the micro-wedding direction.
Olivia and Shannon received some good news when the state announced Lancaster County would move to the yellow phase of reopening on June 5. That meant they could have 25 guests at their wedding. According to Olivia, despite knowing that the situation was completely out of her control, having to break the news to 100 family and friends that they would not be attending a wedding on June 20 was the “hardest thing I had to do.”
That sense of dread prompted Olivia and Shannon to come up with a Plan C. With her parents and grandparents support, Olivia and Shannon will be having the wedding reception they originally planned on July 10, 2021 at Pheasant Run. Special “Save the Date” cards that bore the headline “Love is Patient” were designed and sent to the 100 guests in order to update them on the new plan. They were also presented to the 25 family members who attended the June 20 nuptials. The wedding party will once again don their gowns and tuxes. “I got the idea from a friend who got married in May and held her reception in September,” says Olivia.
Olivia and Shannon were deeply touched by the manner in which family and friends stepped in to ensure their big day would be special and filled with memories. For example, Olivia has known floral designer Kim Kauffman (KimRik Garden Center) for years through 4-H. Caleb Lianza and Janet Hershey, whose college majors lend themselves to videography, created a special commemorative video for them. Family friend, Bernie Hershey, created clear masks for all the participants and guests. A friend recruited The Prince Street Quartet, which is composed of area high school students, to provide music. After the wedding, the newlyweds left Pheasant Run in Paul Hertzler’s beloved Mustang. “I took my driver’s test in that car,” Olivia says of the personal connection.
Finally, Shannon’s parents took charge of the purple-themed rehearsal dinner that was also held at Pheasant Run. For the occasion, Jim Fairchild prepared his beef stroganoff that is a favorite of Shannon’s, while Cindy decorated the space with flower-filled bottles she had collected over the years. “It was personal, fun and happy,” Olivia says.
June 20, 2020
Olivia got her wish for a rainy backdrop – unfortunately, it fell on her wedding day and not on the night she got engaged. “Oh, it was a horrible day!” Vivian attests of the monsoon-like rains that fell during the day but gave way to an incredible sunset as Olivia and Shannon prepared to leave.
As luck would have it, the rain slowed enough to allow the ceremony to proceed outdoors. “I looked outside and saw that people were busy wiping down the chairs,” Olivia recalls.
It also became obvious that the dinner would not be able to be held outdoors, so Plan D was executed and the seven tables were moved indoors. To ensure everyone’s safety, all the doors were opened to allow for air circulation. To further meet Covid guidelines, guests from the same household were seated at the same table. “Three to five people were seated at each table,” Olivia explains.
The tables were covered with white linens Vivian had on hand from previous events. Black napkins carried out the wedding’s color scheme. White and gold-rimmed china from a previous family event topped the tables, along with sterling flatware, crystal glassware, black-and-white name cards (designed and crafted by Olivia, Alicia and Violet) and simple floral arrangements. “Because we only had 25 people, we were able to splurge and serve filet and crab cakes instead of the chicken dish we originally planned,” notes Olivia. The string quartet provided background music. Their first dance was to Shania Twain’s Forever and For Always. The white velvet cake, which included a strawberry-buttercream filling and was served with fresh strawberries, was made by Elizabeth Pinkerton.
“You know, everything ended up just right,” says Olivia. “We had a wonderful day. We got to have conversations with everyone. The guests could relate to each other and to the speeches our sisters gave. We took pictures with everyone. We did a commemorative group photo. We got to take pictures with the horses. It was perfect!” The only missing elements were Shannon’s sister and brother-in-law, who live in Seattle.
After nixing the idea of going to Hawaii, Shannon and Olivia arrived at the idea of taking a three-week road trip across the United States. “We had such a good time,” Olivia says. Upon their return, the two bought a house in Connecticut. “And, we got a puppy!” Olivia reports.
Photographer: Ruth E. Blazer Photography
Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Vivian Abel and Deeann Hertzler
Bridal Gown: In White
Attendants’ Gowns: David’s Bridal
Groom/Groomsmen Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse
Floral Design: Kim Kauffman, KimRik Garden Center
Linens: Pheasant Run Farm/Special Occasions
Catering: Enck’s Custom Catering
Cake: Elizabeth Pinkerton
Officiant: Chris Shelly, Lampeter Church of the Brethren
Invitation Suite: Renee Connors, Designs by Renee
Music: Prince Street Quartet (Alarie Hurst, LeeAnna Russo, Anne Leaman, Laura Leaman)
Guest Favors: Miesse Candies