by Mary Beth Schwartz
Couples getting married in 2012 are increasingly paying attention to the top trends of Hollywood. They read about celebrity weddings in the news and watch them on reality shows. Top celebrity wedding planners recently revealed to The Wedding Channel (www.weddingchannel.com) some of the hot wedding trends. For the wedding cake, hand-painted designs are popular rather than tier after tier. Textural, leafy bouquets are in, with lots of mixed-in greenery. Invitations can serve many purposes, for example, an airline ticket for a destination wedding, or an invite that folds as a fan for balmy summer nuptials. Greedy wedding registries are out. Instead, guests are asked to donate to charity registries. And for the wedding style, brides favor country-chic, waterfront weddings, as well as Napa nuptials.
Bucks County bride Nicole (Evans) Bartolacci recently chose the historic Pen Ryn Estate for her wine vineyard themed wedding. The mansion is complete with river vistas, gardens, and a tree-lined drive. “I wanted something unique. I fell in love with the site—with the water in the backdrop, the feeling of the house. It just felt right. I enjoyed attending one of Pen Ryn’s monthly bridal shows, as well. We got to sample the menu and meet with vendors. And Patty the wedding planner was wonderful,” Bartolacci says.
Nicole Evans and Matthew Bartolacci first met as sophomores at Neshaminy High School. After graduation, the sweethearts attended separate colleges, but continued their relationship. The year after they graduated, Matthew proposed to Nicole. Almost a year later, they married at the Pen Ryn Estate on July 1, 2011.
“I chose a summer wedding because I am a teacher in the Central Bucks School District.
I teach the fifth grade at Warwick Elementary School. I was so excited to get married—I chose the first weekend of the summer,” Bartolacci says.
Nicole was supported by college friends, her best friend from Neshaminy High School, and family members. The flower girls were cousins Ella Hennessey and Alexis Modeen. Her brother, Ryan Evans, was the Man of Honor. The wine colored bridesmaids were from Priscilla of Boston, and Nicole got her Victorian style bridal gown with lace appliqués and beading from former Anne Bailey’s of Fountainville. Nicole’s mother, Teri Evans, got her bridal gown from Anne Bailey’s years ago.
Matthew was joined by his ushers, which included three Best Men—brothers Damian and Christian Bartolacci, and best friend since Kindergarten, Kevin Belmont. The ring bearer was Jack Hennessey, Ella’s twin brother. Nicole’s father, Skip Evans, walked her down the aisle. The men called on Schweon’s Clothing & Formal Wear in Feasterville for formal wear.
After the 6:30 p.m. ceremony conducted by Father Dexter Lanctot, guests began the cocktail hour. They circulated through the different rooms of the mansion, including the library and gallery, taking in the original woodwork, oil paintings, and beautifully restored fireplaces. Celebrity wedding planner JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions (www.elegantoccasions.com) specializes in destination weddings, tented weddings, and city weddings. Many of her brides want guests to have fun with fare. Funky square plates and tables are in. Mini comfort foods, such as mini mac and cheese, or hot tomato soup shooters with mini grilled cheese, give a new twist to routine appetizers. Instead of a having candy bar during dessert—opting for a donut or cupcake station. And for after parties, serving hamburgers and fries with a Coca-Cola bar.
The culinary team of Pen Ryn Mansion, as well as Belle Voir Manor, provide wedding guests with fine dining and white glove service. The facilities at Pen Ryn Mansion seat up to 300 guests, while those at Belle Voir Manor seat up to 400 guests. The bride and groom can choose from an impressive list of options—ice sculptures, a greeting cookies and lemonade station, several types of coffee and dessert stations, sit-down dining or a choice of unique food stations, butlered or stationed hors d’ oeuvres, a top shelf open bar with bartender, a bridal suite, champagne toast, even custom wedding cake. Nicole and Matthew’s guests had the choice of a salmon dish or a savory stuffed chicken breast with a pesto sauce. Their wedding cake had alternating layers of chocolate chip and raspberry swirl. Cymbidium orchids were strategically placed on the cake. These orchids also were found in the girls’ bouquets. Also on the cake were silver pearls made of fondant icing. The cake rested on an antique silver cake table provided by Pen Ryn.
Centerpieces at the reception were created by florist Petals Lane of Philadelphia. Every other table at the wedding reception had a unique centerpiece to create levels of design. The company also did the flowers on the ceremony pergola, as well as the bride’s gorgeous bouquet of wine colored calla lilies. Accompanying the centerpieces were boxes of chocolates that can be paired with wine, and bottles of wine. Skip Evans made a Chardonnay and a Cabernet, labeled The Evans Family Vineyard. Matthew made the monogrammed labels.
Nicole and Matthew wanted upbeat music for the evening dance party reception, which was provided by Barcelona of EBE Events & Entertainment, Philadelphia. Their First Dance as husband and wife was to Wedding Song “Hold On” by Michael Bublé. According to The Knot (www.theknot.com), 2012 couples are choosing new entertainment options. When it comes to wedding videos, it is not something brides are watching after the wedding. Couples are filming their love stories like the classic When Harry Met Sally and then screening the video at the wedding. All the while, the guests are being filmed while watching it. The trend in wedding photography, according to The Knot, is to steer away from overdone effects, such as odd angles and added filters. Instead, photographers are shooting turn-of-the-century-inspired wedding portraits with a formal, classic approach. One shot to consider—a panoramic wedding portrait where every wedding guest is in the photo. Nicole and Matthew called on photographer Nina Perini for their wedding photography.
Today, Nicole Bartolacci reflects on her wedding day and recounts special moments. “We did a reveal. The first time my husband saw me was walking down the aisle. We set up a private spot and the photographer got his reaction on film. It was an amazing moment. To make the day extra special, I wore my great grandmother’s diamond from her wedding ring on my right ring finger. Around my bouquet I had one of my grandmother’s rings passed down from my great grandmother. Another memory I truly treasure is walking down the aisle with my father. It was so special. And at the end of the reception, the band played Don’t Stop Believin’ from Journey. All of our guests were on the dance floor. We were in the middle of the circle. Seeing all of the love and support from everyone was so special,” Bartolacci says.
For their honeymoon, Matthew and Nicole spent 10 days at the resort Sandals St. Lucia. Brides in 2012, according to The Knot, will not be settling on just one dream destination, but instead, they will be opting for a round-the-world getaway to several far-flung locales.
Come this spring, The Search for the Greatest Groom by Philadelphia magazine will result in one lucky groom and his bride winning a winter 2013 wedding at the Pen Ryn Estate, courtesy of Visit Bucks County (www.visitbuckscounty.com). Now is the time to start planning your dream wedding at the Pen Ryn Estate. The Pen Ryn Mansion & Belle Voir Manor on the Delaware, located at1601 State Road, Bensalem, PA. For more information, call 215-633-0600 or visit www.penrynestate.com.
Mary Beth Schwartz is a freelance editor who frequently writes for bridal and regional magazines.