By Erin Pearce – Have you ever planned a wedding? Even if you haven’t…I’m sure you’re aware of how challenging and stressful it can sometimes be. Who do I invite, what will I wear, what will we eat, what will we dance to, what kind of cake will we eat, what kind of flowers do I want and perhaps the most difficult of all…where will it be?
Sometimes, answering that last question doesn’t have to be so difficult. For my husband, Jason, and I, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was the obvious answer. It just clicked. We both previously worked for the National Park Service and had long personal connections to the area and its history. In the summer of 2011 we both had the privilege of working at the Eisenhower National Historic Site. It was here that we met, got to know one another, and developed a quirky love of all things Ike and Mamie Eisenhower. I had to move home to finish school that fall, but as soon as I had the opportunity, I moved right back to Gettysburg to involve myself more in its history lessons and of course, get to know my future husband better.
By the fall of 2015, we knew we were meant to be. Jason had friends lure me out to the Eisenhower Farm under false pretenses so that he could propose to me…on the 251st wedding anniversary of my other favorite presidential couple, John and Abigail Adams. It was incredibly romantic and perfect for us as history buffs!
What would our Gettysburg wedding look like? For me, it meant outdoor vista views and history! We decided to get married on our dating anniversary (one date to remember…smart, right?) which meant we would be having the event on a Wednesday in mid-July, a rather warm time of year here in Gettysburg. We decided that our guests could probably handle the heat for a short ceremony, but we should treat everyone to some air conditioning for the reception. We were lucky enough to discover that the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center was growing their events and weddings opportunities and would even have the museum open for us throughout the reception.
Despite having a mid-week wedding, our friends and families were excited to come to Gettysburg for our big day. With so much to do in the area, we could keep everyone occupied with museums, the battlefield and shopping – all the while accomplishing all the last-minute details without too many people in our way. Most of our guests took advantage of the location and ended up booking vacation rental homes all throughout Adams County so that they could have mini family reunions and save some money by staying together. My parents even stayed at the Little Round Top Farm in town, so they could have a space for the bridal party to get ready and host a morning after brunch for everyone.
On the day of the wedding, as the thermometer passed 100°, my bridesmaids and I headed downtown to eat breakfast and get our hair, makeup and nails done. From there, we went back to the rented farmhouse to relax, have some lunch and wait for the photographer to arrive. The farmhouse provided such a beautiful and historically inclined backdrop for photos and more than enough space for everyone to get changed and ready for the afternoon’s event!
The view from the local farm was just gorgeous! Everything went perfectly. We had supplied enough water to keep everyone hydrated throughout the ceremony, and enough bubbles to celebrate our first married kiss against the picturesque backdrop. The greenery and flowers throughout the property added a beautiful Adams County charm to our photos.
My new husband and I used the short drive from the farm over to the Visitor Center to reflect on the day so far and what we were hoping for out of the reception, plus spend some time in blissful air conditioning so as not to be dripping with sweat for our first dance! Our DJ played us right into our first dance, followed by our father/daughter and mother/son dances. We didn’t want to have a huge dance party for our reception, just a nice dinner followed by time to explore the museum and learn more about the history of the area as well as spend time with friends and family. The Visitor Center made this happen just wonderfully for us. With the exhibits open, our guests were able to wander through the exhibits and experience the history making personal connections and memories for themselves and with us.
The Visitor Center also did a fabulous job with our centerpieces and working with myself, my florist, and the bakery where we got our cake from to coordinate everything on the day of the wedding so that we wouldn’t have to. We just dropped all our pieces off the day before the wedding and they took care of it all! Our cake was beautifully displayed in the rotunda in the middle of the Visitor Center which made for a stunning conclusion to our evening.
Once everyone had enjoyed their share of cake and had learned something new, the evening came to a close. We said goodbye to those who had early flights and see-you-later to those who would be sticking around for a couple more days. When we headed out to our car, we noticed it had been masterfully decorated by my friends and family who had discovered all the goodies one could purchase at Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium earlier that day. We drove off into the evening to spend our night together at the Federal Pointe Inn, which just happened to be the building where my new husband had attended his first years of elementary school. History truly was all around us that day, just the way we like it!
If you’re interested in planning your own Gettysburg wedding, check out DestinationGettysburg.com for area resources and to help you plan!