A soaring cathedral in the pastoral Pennsylvania countryside would make a picturesque wedding spot for any couple, but it just so happens that Erin Anderson and Glenn Prichett had more than stunning photos in mind when they chose the Bryn Athyn Church outside Philadelphia as their ceremony site. Glenn's great-grandfather, architect Raymond Pitcairn, designed the cathedral in 1913; his grandfather served as the church's bishop, and the family had lived in Cairnwood, the stately mansion next door. "There was a lot of family history, which made it a special place for us to get married," explains Erin. "The walk out of the church was my favorite part."
Knowing that great sounds complement great architecture, the couple made music an important theme of their day. During the traditional ceremony on October 3, 2004, a friend played a classical six-string guitar. After the "I dos," a bagpiper serenaded Erin and Glenn on the lawn outside the church. The newlyweds and their 200 guests walked the short distance from the cathedral to Cairnwood, where a blues band rocked the old halls—and featured cameos by Glenn's relatives and by the harmonica-playing groom himself.
Of course, wonderful music goes well with wonderful food, so the couple planned a cocktail hour with cherry-smoked shrimp, classic clams casino, and seared tuna on potato pancakes served by butlers. Dinner was then presented at stations scattered throughout the house. "The party's flow was extremely important to me," Erin explains. "We had the food and music flow through the rooms and outside." The menu featured crab cakes, a seafood grill, and a beef carvery, but the meal's centerpiece was a whole roasted pig with an apple in its mouth. For dessert, in addition to the wedding cake, guests tasted a variety of flavored cheesecakes with sauces.
As the sun set, the crowd danced until midnight on the terrace, which was lit with pillar candles and decorated with willow twigs. Behind them, the cathedral loomed large, a movie-perfect symbol of the family's past and the couple's commitment to a shared future.
Learn From Erin and Glenn
Take formal photos before the ceremony: "It was so nice to have that over with, so we could relax and enjoy the rest of the day," says Erin.
Don't put away your guestbook: Erin and Glenn keep theirs on display at their new home, as an ongoing record of their life together.
Go for unforgettable toasts: Ask the show-offs in your family to speak. Glenn's trilingual brother toasted the couple in English, Italian and German. "People were blown away by his speech," Erin notes.
Bring the rings to the altar in style: The couple (especially Glenn) loves to go fishing, so the ring bearer carried their wedding bands to the altar in an old-fashioned fisherman's basket.