Posts Tagged ‘budget wedding’

The Willows Radnor Township.jpg

The Willows historic mansion is visible in the distance. A bridge connects the park to a small peninsula that juts into the lake, shaded by a gorgeous willow tree. It’s the perfect spot for an intimate wedding ceremony.

If you are looking for a short and sweet wedding ceremony with just you, your beloved, and a handful of guests, The Willows is one of the most perfect, picturesque places to do so in Philly’s western suburbs.

Radnor Township has a park called The Willows (430 Darby Paoli Road; Villanova PA 19085). If you type the address in Google Maps, and select Satellite view, you will see that the park is centered around a small lake with a view of a historic mansion.

Jutting out into the lake is a small piece of land with an enormous flowering willow tree (hence the park’s name, presumably!) It’s all the space you need for a group of 3 to 10 people to stand in a semi-circle and watch you become married!

Here is The Willows on  GoogleMaps.

The Willows park is a 47.5-acre estate purchased by Radnor Township in 1973 from the Zantzinger family. Situated at the end of a long, winding driveway is the beautifully restored three-story mansion. The mansion was built in 1910 by John Sinnott Jr. and Rose Garland.

The mansion still contains many of the original architectural features that add to the historical value of the property. The cottage (or gatehouse) was a multipurpose building. It housed estate employees, stabled horses and other animals of the estate, as well as cars. It was the first point of contact visitors made to the estate.

Today, the property also contains a nature trail, picnic areas, and restrooms open to the public.

For more information on visiting the park, as well as information on reserving the park for a larger more-formal event, visit the township website here: www.radnor.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/The-Willows-29.


The Willows Radnor Township.jpg

Read Full Post »

(This is a continuing article from the blog post above.)

Here are some simple words of advice as you shop wedding officiants:

●    Never hire someone to officiate your wedding if you don’t like them as a person. Make come calls, and check your chemistry – and your gut! Do you like them? Do they seem intelligent and sincere? This is a wedding officiant; not an auto mechanic. Chemistry does matter.

●      I know you have questions for the officiant, but do you like the questions the officiant is asking you? I recently officiated a wedding for a couple who had met with another rabbi for the first time, to discuss their wedding. This rabbi apparently only had two questions for them in their meeting: A) How much money do you have? (Obstensibly because the No. 1 problem in marriages is money) and then B) How is your sex life? (That’s just so wrong … I don’t even know where to start. Save my incredulity for another blog post, I guess.)

●      Does the officiant treat your liturgical requests like something they genuinely want to provide? Or do they have the attitude that you are bugging them by asking them to depart from what they usually do, or act disapproving that you are departing from “tradition?” (Personally, I think life is too short and weddings are too important to get into all this.)

●     Will the officiant be able to communicate well with your guests, and in particular your parents, who probably care a lot about who their kids’ wedding officiant is?

●      Check the person’s references. I have a ton posted on my web page, and I’m always happy to give out email addresses of previous clients to anyone who asks.

Other Ways to Save on Your Budget

No one becomes a rabbi or a minister because they want to be rich. More than anything, we love working with people and helping them honor the major milestones in their lives.

At the same time, we also have to make a living. Ours is a precarious career that does not afford the protections many jobs provide: health insurance, retirement plans, paid sick leave.

If you find an officiant you like, but are hesitating over the price, take a simple look at your larger wedding budget and see if it is as “fixed” as you think it is. Here are two simple cost-saving ideas:

  • You can buy a hand-held chuppah for $250 versus renting a free-standing chuppah for $800-$1000. You can pay for the cost of your officiant just by using a less-expensive chuppah (and the hand-held ones, by the way, are beautiful!) Alternately, if your venue has an arch with flowers build into the décor somewhere, that can count as an arch, and that would come at no extra cost!
  • Reconsider your venue. There are beautiful venues out in Glen Mills that can be rented for $3000. That’s a far cry from the $6000 or $10,000 routinely charged in Center City. In fact, some of the most beautiful weddings I have attended have been the lower-budget varieties, including a few that were held in the backyards of friends’ homes.

I’m sure you can find more great budget advice out there, too. Those are just two easy ones that come to mind.

Good luck on your search. As we say in Hebrew, Hazak, hazak, hanithazek: May we all go from strength to strength!

For more on Jewish weddings, please see some of my other posts:

“How can I make my Jewish or interfaith wedding unique, funny or even funky?”

Read Full Post »