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Real Weddings: Shaun & Tiffany 9*27*13

Posted in: Ballroom Weddings, Uncategorized
Real Weddings: Shaun & Tiffany 9*27*13

Teenage sweethearts Shaun & Tiffany have to be one of the most adorable couples I have worked with.  The couple chose the anniversary of their 10 year  relationship to start on their next chapter as husband and wife.

While the couple resides in Florda, both are originally from (and met) in the area and wanted to have their nuptials close to family and friends.  I was honored that they chose the Ballroom.  They had their  ceremony at the gazebo at Josiah White Park, right in the bustling downtown area.  As I consider all of the downtown area part of my venue, I was on hand to assist them in their rehearsal and ceremony.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the park as they exchanged vows,  professing just how much they mean to each other.  It was truly a beautiful ceremony!

They took advantage of the many photo opportunties in Jim Thorpe, at the Train Station, in front of the ASA Packer mansion and even right in the middle of our busy downtown intersection.


And then it was time to party at the Ballroom!


Thank you Tiffany & Shaun for choosing the Ballroom to be a part of your special day.   I wish you both a lifetime of  love and happiness together!


Food at the Ballroom by Through the Looking Glass

Photography by Roxie Trainer Photography


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Three Good Reasons to Have a Seating Chart

Posted in: Uncategorized, Wedding Planning Advice

I get that many couples want to do away with the formality and want it to be a relaxed affair. So, when  one of my couples told me that they just didn’t want to have any “rules” and that included not having assigned seating, I didn’t have a problem with it.  However, about 10 minutes into the reception, as people began claiming their seats, I suddenly began to see the error of such a lax attitude toward assigned seating.  Here are just a few reasons why you should have a seating chart:

  1.  They’ll fight over you – yes, that’s right. You are the guests of honor and everyone wants to sit with you.  Make it easier by assigning people to your table. There’s your bridal party for one. However, if you have bridal party members with spouses or children, it might be best for you to just seat your bridal party throughout the room with their spouses. That leaves parents and grandparents and/or siblings that should be seated with you.
  2. They fight with each other – Ah, yes, family politics.  Even though you’re all related, they may not all get along.  At this particular wedding I was asked to move and shuffle chairs because one part of the family didn’t want to end up sitting with some other family members. There was a 20 minute game of musical chairs – all while trying to keep it from the couple (it’s my job, after all).  No worries, they never knew and everyone found a spot but it was awkward.
  3. The odd man out – So, where does the odd person – the single friend, or the friend from work that doesn’t know any of your other friends sit? When you have to find your own seat, there is the awkward “is this seat taken” situation.  Help this person avoid any of that awkwardness by assigning them a seat and even sitting them with people that you know they will get along with.
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Rehearsal Dinner and Out of Town Guests

Posted in: Uncategorized, Wedding Planning Advice
Rehearsal Dinner and Out of Town Guests

Last year, in the spring, my fiancé and I went to South Carolina to attend one of his cousin’s wedding. We drove quite a long way and got there the Thursday before the Saturday wedding.  Since the Bride’s family was mostly from Pennsylvania, almost the entire side of her family had traveled to be there.   Of course, on Friday night she had her rehearsal followed by a rehearsal dinner at a local restaurant.  My fiancé, my son and I,  along with his parents were not invited.  His Grandmother (also the Brides grandma) and her companion were.  I remember my fiancé’s mother being upset that they were excluded from the rehearsal dinner.  But, as I explained, our lack of invitation was not meant as a slight or disrespect. We simply had no business being at the rehearsal dinner. After all, we were wedding guests, we were not members of the bridal party or the Brides immediate family (brother, sister, grandma and parents).

What exactly is the purpose of a rehearsal dinner?  As The Knot elegantly put it, a rehearsal dinner is an intimate setting for the two families (immediate families that is) to mingle before the big event.   It’s often what immediately follows the rehearsal (hence the name, right?) where the wedding party works out the order in which they will walk down the aisle and where the parents of the Bride, Groom will be during the processional, ceremony and recessional.    A lot of times there are a few toasts and it is often the time when couples give gifts to their attendants as a thank you for being such an integral part of their day.

Intimate is the key word here.  Even in weddings where half, or even the vast majority, are traveling from out of town to attend, inviting more guests to the rehearsal and thereby the dinner immediately following, removes the whole “intimate” feel and intent.  Having a full room of almost all the guests makes it, well like having two weddings in one.  Then there are the costs.  Weddings are not cheap affairs.  Many couples today are footing the bill themselves for their nuptials and so adding additional guests adds to their costs.

Some of my brides are at a loss, feeling obligated to entertain guests that travel to be a part of their day and many ask me how to handle the entire rehearsal dinner invite issue.  So, here are some guidelines on who to invite, when to invite out of town guests and what to do with those guests that do travel but aren’t invited to the rehearsal dinner:

1.        Those who should be at your rehearsal dinner are

  1. Your Parents
  2. Your Siblings (and their spouses)
  3. Child attendants and their parents
  4. Bridesmaids
  5. Groomsmen
  6. Grandparents (it has become typical to have them attend)

2.      Exceptions to the rule – I would say that there are exceptions to the rule of only inviting the “immediate” family.  For example, if you have an out of town family member who is staying at the residence of the Bride, Groom or their parents, then indeed they should be invited.  It’s awkward for that person to then be left at the home alone.

3.  What to do with out of towners

  • If you have a lot of out of town guests, you might want to leave them a little package at their hotel when they check in that has a list of your favorite local restaurants in town (making sure to list some affordable options – just in case they are traveling on a budget) or suggest activities they may be able to participate in and enjoy around town or during any down time when wedding activities aren’t taking place.
  • If you really feel that you want to have something that includes your out of town guests, you could have a post rehearsal cocktail get together at a local restaurant or bar. Schedule it for a time after dinner and perhaps have a few finger foods available for guests.

I can assure you that the vast majority understand they are not there for the rehearsal dinner, but there for the big main event.


At the Ballroom we go above and beyond just your reception. We consider the entire downtown district of Jim Thorpe part of our venue and can help you make arrangements for out of town guests, suggest rehearsal dinner venues, wedding ceremony locations and much more! To schedule a consultation with our planner call us today at 484-629-5070. 

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Why Weddings Cost More

Posted in: Uncategorized, Wedding Budget, Wedding Planning Advice
Why Weddings Cost More

If anyone understands tight budgets, it’s me.  I have often blogged and given advice on how and where couples can save some money on their wedding.  With the Ballroom, I’m very aware of costs and how it effects couples.  It is why we don’t charge things like cake cutting fees or champagne pouring fees.  Each facility has their own reasons for charging those things, but I couldn’t justify it for the Ballroom and so I don’t charge it. I even allow for a ceremony at the facility for no additional charge.

As small business owners and wedding vendors, we often find ourselves having to defend our prices. Understandable in a tough economy.  A good vendor will know the value of the service they offer and will be able to convey that to their perspective couples. Today,  I felt compelled to justify pricing  when a recent article was published on Huffington Post which talks about how venues and vendors often charge more for a wedding than, say a family reunion or any other party.  It even goes so far as to suggest that you not tell your vendor that you are looking to book a wedding. I’m not going to deny that weddings do , indeed, cost more than booking  a straight  party. But, what the article fails to mention is why weddings cost more. And the simple explanation is that weddings are a lot more work with a lot more involved than in an any occasion party.

First, from a venue’s point of view,  there is an extra staffing requirement because the couple often require special and focused attention as the guests of honor. That extra attention also applies to their wedding party. For example,  a couple takes their cocktail hour to take photos in and around the facility with their wedding party while guests partake in cocktails.   As a result, the coordinator and/or one of the staff members will stay with the couple and the bridal party to fetch them drinks and  food to keep them happy.    This attenton is often given throughout the entire evening. There is also more coordination involved because a wedding has many elements that do not exist with other parties that includes the couple and bridal party entry  , champagne toasts, first dances, special dances, cake cutting and bouquet and garter toss.  Food and staff movement must be coordinated around these series of events (for example, champagne must be poured and ready at the right moment for the toast after the bridal party entry). These elements simply don’t exist or require attention during  a family reunion, sweet 16, anniversary party or dinner party. There is also much more detail involved in setting a room for a wedding vs . a general party.

The same also applies to photographers and DJ’s.  Weddings are simply more work. There is a more detailed list of shots that must be taken by the photographer as opposed to just general photos.   Often times the photographer will be very mobile with the couple to get as many beautiful shots in the wedding surroundings as possible.  They must be sure to capture all those moments in a wedding party.   As for DJs, they are tasked with creating , along with the couple, a special play list that must be played at the right times and during the right moments. It’s not a simple matter of putting on the music and getting people to dance. They create the atmosphere and flow (along with the coordinator) of all the elements involved that do not exist for other types of parties.

So, yes, weddings do cost more but with good reason.  Vendors are not charging more to take advantage of you, they are simply charging more because there is more work involved and a higher level of service is required and expected than with other events.   Being dishonest with your vendor when you call to get a quote for your event will only get you  inaccurate pricing as well as a mismatch in your expectations and the vendors.  Another area wedding  planner wrote a very good blog about talking to Wedding Vendors that  addresses the issue of pricing.  It’s some really good advice and perspective worth a read.


Looking for a unique and beautiful location for your wedding? The Mauch Chunk Ballroom offers flexibility and service.  Call our planner today at 484-629-5070 to learn about our different packages for your special day. 



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Wedding Lite™ – A Cost Saving Alternative without Sacrificing Elegance

Posted in: Uncategorized
Wedding Lite™ – A Cost Saving Alternative without Sacrificing Elegance

Through my experience as a wedding planner , and particularly since beginning the work I do with the Mauch Chunk Ballroom,  a theme that seems to be a common thread with all the couples I meet is that they want a beautiful wedding (who doesn’t) but as times are tough and  money is tight , so many feel that the wedding of their dreams is out of reach.  How do you  have a beautiful, elegant and classy wedding that is easier on the budget without appearing as such?  Well, I’ve been thinking about it for months trying to come up with the right solution; a cross between a scaled down affair with the air of elegance that accompanies an all out wedding.

One day, while perusing through the various magazines I skim through for ideas and inspiration, I came across  what is being described as the latest fad in weddings. It was called the Cocktail Reception.  Immediately, my brain started turning over ideas.  Being the IPhone geek I am, the phrase “lite” came to mind; you know , what the “free” version of otherwise paid for apps for the Ipod, IPhone and IPad are often referred to as.  The brilliant idea of a  Wedding Lite™ package came to mind.  Of course, it’s not free, but it is a lighter on the pocketbook .

So what exactly is a cocktail wedding?  It is exactly as it sounds.  It’s the cocktail hour spread out over three hours and includes finger foods, drinks, and, if you so choose, music. Of course, with a reception wedding there are certain rules you need to follow.  A few:


  • Rather than 5 hours, your reception should be limited to 3 hoursCocktail
  • Time of the day should be between the two biggest meals of the day, or after dinner; say mid afternoon at 2 or after 6pm.
  • Your invitiations shoud read: Join us for Cocktails after the ceremony with lite fair.  It should be clear that a meal will not be served. You don’t want your guests to show up hungry
  • This isn’t a sit down affair, so seating is arranged to accommodate for 70% of the guests attending.  This allows for less costs associated with dressing the tables with linens, etc.

My next step was to get together with Dorie, the chef at Through the Looking Glass, to prepare the menu that we would present. Dorie choose a combination of cold stationary platters like Crudite, for guests to nosh on and an amazing assortment of robust appetizers.

And, with that,  I’m happy to announce my Wedding Lite™ Package at the Mauch Chunk Ballroom!

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Vendor Spotlight: Rendon House

Posted in: All About Jim Thorpe, PA, Uncategorized, Vendor Spotlight
Vendor Spotlight: Rendon House

This month, on my Vendor Spotlight, I wanted to highlight one of the many B&B’s that we have in town for two reasons;  The first, it’s absolutely beautiful , the second is that not only is it available as a B&B but is currently on the market for sale !  Yup, you can purchase your own slice of Jim Thorpe and own this beautiful gem!

Many of the couples that come to the Ballroom to get married are from other locations in PA or the tri-state area and they are attracted to our venue and our town because of how beautiful and romantic it is (how could Victorian architecture not be romantic?).  So, naturally, many of their guests will be arriving from other destinations and are looking for some places right in town to stay.  The Rendon House is literally right in the middle of town steps away from the Mauch Chunk Ballroom and all the other historic landmarks in the area.

There are three rooms available for guests inside the home,  each with their own bathroom and named after a former occupant of the home. Rates are $95 to   $125/night depending on the season  and comes complete with a three course sit-down breakfast.  Yum!  Rendon House is also Vegan friendly.

Because it is listed for sale, there is a beautiful Virtual Tour of the B&B that you can look at at the Realtor’s site below.  For more information or to book a reservation call 570-325-5515 or visit their website

If you’re interested in possibly purchasing the B&B, please visit Keller Williams Realty Listing.

The Rendon House is located at 80 Broadway.


Want to turn your wedding into a weekend of adventure? Why not consider Jim Thorpe and the Beautiful Mauch Chunk Ballroom for your nuptials!  To schedule an appointment to view the space and for a free wedding planning consultation call 484-629-5070. 

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