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This story is exactly what we need right now. It’s a story of love and joy, but also a story of hope and perseverance in the middle of a global pandemic. More specifically, it’s a story of celebrating love right now despite troubling times — with a promise to host a party at another time!

Photo by Karen Brucker Photography

Donita Brady and Leigh Ronnan were married on July 25, 2020, in an intimate minimony. Here’s how they met, knew it was right, fell in love and then rode the “marriage date change” rollercoaster together. We can’t wait to see the full reception take place in May 2021!

Photo courtesy of Donita and Leigh

Tell us a little bit about your engagement story — how did you meet?

We met playing softball for a league in Philadelphia. Donita was fairly new to the area, and joined the league to meet new people. Leigh had played in the league for numerous years, and as luck would have it, Donita was placed on Leigh’s team. We first became friends, and started dating in December 2018 after attending a holiday-themed bar crawl. We made it “official” on January 1, 2019, after ringing in the new year with friends at the Mummer’s Parade.

Photo courtesy of Donita and Leigh

What things do you have in common (or, not!) that, together, make your relationship a great fit?

One of the things that we have in common is that we both value science. Donita is a researcher and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Leigh is a registered nurse at Phoenixville Hospital. Donita’s scientific and brilliant mind is one of the first characteristics that really drew Leigh to her. Donita also really admires Leigh for her work, because even though she works in medicine, she always says she could never work with actual people!  We also really enjoy traveling together. Donita (pre-COVID-19) travelled a lot for work so Leigh would often tag along; we would take extra days to explore. We love going to different restaurants throughout the city, trying various whiskeys, and sports and The Challenge on MTV.  One main difference, though, is that Donita is super-organized and efficient, and Leigh is a lot more relaxed and “go with the flow,” but that has helped balance each of us out.  And the worst difference of all, is that Leigh is an Eagles fan and Donita likes … the Dallas Cowboys.

Photo by Karen Brucker Photography

When did you know this was serious?

We knew that our relationship was serious pretty instantly. We found ourselves wanting to spend all of our time together. We even told some of our friends in February/March 2019 that we talked about getting married.

How and when did you get engaged?

Donita proposed to Leigh on April 5, 2019. Leigh had told Donita that she wanted to be proposed to after just waking up in the morning, still in bed.  And that’s exactly what Donita did!  

Why did you choose Robert Ryan for your original wedding date (and the date, please)?

We chose Robert Ryan catering for a few reasons. Firstly, we fell in love with the venue, especially the room with the mahogany bar and leather furniture. We also loved the area, and were excited about going out in town after the reception was over. The packages were really affordable, and we’d heard so many great things about the food. Our tasting dinner definitely proved all of the amazing things we heard were correct! Our favorite part of the venue was the caboose, and we were so excited to use that for our bridal party. We decided we would do a first-look so we could all enjoy it together. Our original date was set for April 4, 2020.

Photo by Karen Brucker Photography

What did you like about working with your event planner to plan the original date — and, the reschedules and minimony?

KT Mallory was our event planner and she was nothing less than amazing and helpful. She had an answer for every one of our questions, no matter how small. She was always ready to help, and we could tell that she loved everything about Robert Ryan Catering & Design, which made us feel comfortable and excited with our decision to hold our wedding with them. When we were extremely emotional and stressed about possibly rescheduling, she remained so professional and supportive throughout the process — even though it was uncharted waters for all of us.

Photo by Karen Brucker Photography

When COVID-19 hit, did you originally think the date could go on as planned?

When it hit, we were only a few weeks away for our big day. Donita, being as practical as she is, knew that our original date most likely wouldn’t happen. I, on the other hand, took a little more convincing, especially when I couldn’t really see though my disbelief and sadness.

When did you realize you’d have to change the date?

Once the governor started instituting restrictions on indoor gatherings, then we knew that was it.

Would you be willing to share those emotions and the decision-making about the reschedule?

We were devastated. We had done so much planning and everything was ready to go. All we had to do was wait a few more weeks, but our whole plan came crashing down. It was also extremely stressful to then have to notify our guests, as well as to decide when to reschedule.

Photo by Karen Brucker Photography

Why did you decide to stick with Robert Ryan Catering & Design for the reschedule?

We loved our experience working with them and wanted to stick with all of the decisions that were already made. We originally had our new date set for July 25, 2020. We then had to reschedule once again until May 22, 2021 because of all of the restrictions still in place.

How has the Robert Ryan Catering & Design team helped since you decided to reschedule?

They have been so flexible with us. We even had to change our venue completely because their contract with Columbia Station ended at the end of May 2020. They negotiated with the owners atThe High Point in Malvern so that we wouldn’t have to put out more money to go there. They even let us have our minimony there and set up physically distant chairs and beverages for our guests. Chef/owner Mark Ryan was even there that day making sure we had everything that we needed.

Why did you decide on a minimony? 

We simply knew that we wanted to be married.  We didn’t want to wait almost another year to make that happen, especially since we are trying to start a family.

Photo by Karen Brucker Photography

So, how was it?

Our wedding day was perfect for everything it was able to be. We decided to have our families and bridal parties there for the big day. Even though it was hot, our guests rallied for us and never complained. Luckily, limited outdoor dining was possible at that time, so we rented out the patio at Avola Kitchen and Bar in Malvern and had dinner served for our guests. It was a beautiful day, and we felt so lucky to have had it among all the craziness that has been going on. And, most importantly, we are just thrilled to finally be married.

Anything else that you’d like to share?

We just want to thank everyone for how supportive they were during this time. We also want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of this blog, and we can’t wait to celebrate again next year!Donita and Leigh, we can’t wait to celebrate with you and share your The High Point reception on our blog! 

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We know that 2020 has made life stressful, especially for those who have had topostpone the big day. We’re here for you to put your plans in motion when the time is right. We’re in this together! Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers when you’re ready to find your place or to reschedule your special event. Did you know an event at home might be an option?


Robert Ryan Catering & Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news, and recipes from our executive chef.

Nina Malone

Featured photo: Karen Brucker Photography