This southeastern Pennsylvania region, just a short drive from Philadelphia, is an idyllic spot to host a wedding any time of year. Heres a photographers perspective on how to plan your dream wedding in Chester County.
Whether you grew up in Chester County, Pennsylvania or just fell in love with it on a visit, it’s easy to see why so many couples tie the knot here. From bustling city centers like West Chester to charming towns like Malvern, Kennett Square and Devon, to the rolling countryside, the county is replete with so many different lifestyles and landscapes all within a quick drive of one another.
Situated just outside of Philadelphia and a short drive from Wilmington, Delaware, Chester County is a bucolic slice of paradise. Wending through the country roads, you’ll find horse-dotted pastures and rolling green hills that eventually lead to brick-lined downtowns bustling with boutique shops. A burgeoning craft brewery scene has given Chester County major drink creds, while award-winning chefs pushing the culinary limits have made it something of a foodie haven. Combined with numerous picturesque wineries—some in historic bank barns—couples have a wealth of options when picking a place to wed.
Choosing A Wedding Venue
One of the greatest things about Chester County is the sheer number and type of wedding venues to choose from. Among the most important—and first things—couples land on when tying the knot, there are many aspects to consider. How many guests do you want to host? What season will you hold your wedding? Can a venue accommodate both indoor and outdoor functions? Do you want both your ceremony and reception at the same location? If not, how far is it from one to the other?
Rustic, Historic and Fairytale Like Venues
Once you’ve answered the big questions, you then have to consider the look and feel of the space. Some couples prefer venues that are blank canvases, awaiting their vision. Others like venues that are already photo-ready and need just a few minor touches. Luckily, there’s no shortage of either and you can choose from rustic and historic venues like the Brandywine Manor House which dates back to 1740, to fairytale venues like West Chester’s Greystone Hall, befitting royalty. Gardens, estates and inns are also plentiful.
Amazingly Beautiful Country Clubs
Country and golf clubs are top notch, too. We especially love Penn Oaks Golf Club. Surrounded by lush nature and an impressive golf course, outdoor ceremonies can take advantage of a gazebo—perfect for entwining with flowers or beautiful on its own—and hold cocktail hour on the terrace, with its sweeping views of the surrounding course. Or opt for an indoor ceremony in the enclosed patio, with its vaulted ceilings, ethereal fairy lights and plentiful natural light. Downingtown Country Club is equally lovely thanks to its elegant clubhouse and bountiful green space.
Hotels and Something Unique
Whether you’re looking for a hotel for guests or a convenient all-in-one venue, you can’t go wrong with Malvern’s The Desmond Hotel, which also boasts an excellent culinary team. For a more unique venue you can’t go wrong with the Phoenixville Foundry. Founded in 1882, it pays homage to its early industrial steel roots.
Do I Need A Wedding Planner?
Weddings are big undertakings and they take a year or longer to plan for good reason. There are numerous moving parts and dozens of details to arrange. Wedding planners can be lifesavers when it comes to a decidedly stressful process. Many venues offer coordinators, who work with you on catering, cakes, florals and more, but for venues that don’t, you can work with a planner from day one or choose to bring someone in just for the big day. A day-of coordinator takes all the stress away from the couple, letting you enjoy your celebration while someone else sweats the rest. If you decide you want a planner—in any capacity—book early, as the best ones go quickly. Here are a few planners we have loved working with:
Choosing Your Wedding Caterer
While many venues have preferred caterers or even their own catering teams, there are those venues that give you lots of options. Food is one of the most important elements of cocktail hours and receptions, so you want it to be memorable. Before choosing one, consider what kind of cuisine you want served—if you’re looking for something ethnic, vegetarian, or just something a little bit different. Also decide if you want a buffet, a multi-course sit-down meal, or heavy passed hors d’oeuvres. The same goes for dessert—do you want a wedding cake, a dessert bar, an ice cream station, or something else entirely? Some caterers and venues include a cake in their package, while others will let you bring in an outside baker. Here are a few amazing caterers in the Chester County area that we highly recommend you checking out.
Finding A Wedding Videographer
When your figuring out how to plan your dream Chester County Wedding brining in a videographer may be a great asset. A common question with wedding coverage is whether or not you actually need a videographer, especially if you’ve hired a great wedding photography team. The answer is it depends, but we love working with videographers, as they create another fantastic way to remember your wedding day. If you ever want to relive your vows—the very words you said to one another—then your answer should be a resounding yes. Great videography adds another whole element. It also makes for a great piece to bring out at big anniversaries or down the road to show your children or even grandchildren.
When hiring a videographer, go with someone you feel comfortable with personally and whose work you love. Like your photographer, you’re going to be spending a lot of your day around your videography team, so you want someone you feel comfortable with. And make sure you let both photographers and videographers know your plans. It will also help both teams coordinate, so they’re not in each other’s shots. We work closely with some amazing videographer teams to truly capture the emotion of your wedding day. Here are a few of our favorite Videographers!
When you think of wedding photos, what do you picture? Likely one of two things—photos of a couple exchanging vows or a gorgeous portrait of the couple in a jaw-droppingly beautiful setting. The former is par for the course, but the latter requires skills and a bit of advanced planning. If you’re holding your ceremony and reception at separate locations, consider adding a stop for the wedding party in between to take portraits and candid photos. In Chester County, there’s no shortage of spots. We love Marsh Creek State Park and Valley Forge National Historical Park. If you’re an alum of any of the many prestigious universities and colleges, they also make great backdrops. Or consider one of the many vineyards nearby. We’ll help guide you so you get exactly the photos you want.
If you’d like more helpful tips for planning your dream wedding in Chester County visit our Resource page below