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This has become the new tale as old as time: The 2020 pandemic postpones wedding. Couple reschedules. Ongoing restrictions force another reschedule. And another.

Take heart! There’s a happy ending to this wedding story. And, it can be yours, too, especially at outdoor-ready venues and those with ample space to offer plenty of room to spread out. Get inspired with Tracy and Steve Carr’s engagement story, and then revel in their wedding, held on June 25, 2021.

Three dates — how did you handle it?

Tracy and Steve Carr: There was so much uncertainty! We could have done an event earlier, and been really careful, but we didn’t want to ask family and friends to get together if it would have been risky for them. So, we kept rescheduling. We made the decision in very early 2021 to finalize a spot at a time, when few had access to the COVID-19 vaccine; we didn’t have a lot of confidence that an indoor venue would work. We knew we had found the right place when we saw Duportail House in Chesterbrook, and we realized we could do the whole thing outside. It’s a really cool farmhouse from 1740 right on the edge of Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Tell us about the big day!

We got as lucky as humans could be: no humidity, no wind, no rain! One guest joked that at least one thing had to go right for this wedding!

It’s no secret that we did a small ceremony in May 2020 at The High Point, because we couldn’t wait to be a married couple. It was still early in the pandemic, so we were all still figuring out what was considered safe. We had 10 people there, and they stood on distanced spots for the ceremony. Even Tracy’s dad walked ahead of her to give her away. There were even homemade cupcakes — but no one ate them. 

This time, at our big event, we got to do all the things — including the first dance. We held the ceremony at the historic barn, then dinner and dancing was under a big tent. At 120 guests, it was a slightly smaller wedding than originally planned, but it was awesome to be able to have a real wedding and reception.

How did you feel after the event?

There was such a feeling of relief. Everything was so perfect. It’s weird; we’d been thinking about it for more than two years! We learned to manage our expectations throughout and then be grateful that we got so lucky — it poured the day after our wedding! Now that we have “free time,” we’re looking to buy our first house.

Tell us about the catering at Duportail House?

We’ve been to a lot of weddings over the years and the food by Robert Ryan Catering & Design was amazing. Many people told us it was the best wedding meal they’d ever had! Some of the favorites were from our hors d’oeuvres menu: mozzarella wrapped in Parma ham with sweet basil pesto, Thai shrimp spring rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce, slow-cooked brisket with horseradish barbecue sauce on brioche, and watermelon and tomato skewers with feta cheese and sherry vinaigrette… That’s just a few! Also, the filet and crab cake combo entree had smashed red bliss potatoes with sour cream and Parmesan cheese, plus grilled squash and zucchini planks — summer on a plate!

How did the events team make the day special?

We got a lot of TLC from the Robert Ryan events team. Marjory Rohrbach and Leigh McIntryre worked together to coordinate the day and make sure anything “last-minute” was handled; we didn’t have to worry about a thing! The wait staff — we remember Kayla Ryan — was super-friendly. The team made everyone feel like royalty.

What advice do you have for couples who were — or, are — on the ‘reschedule treadmill’?

It’s totally worth it — 100 percent! Keep planning until you get your day. At times we questioned whether it was worth it to keep trying, thinking maybe it was better to cut our losses and move on since we were legally married. We’re so glad we moved forward! Keep going; it will be worth it.

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Robert Ryan Catering & Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a 5-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

All photos by Joel Thomas Photography