The Penn Museum Offers An Affordable Wedding Alternative
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2013—Last year, according to CNNMoney, the average cost of a wedding was $28,400. It's enough to make some pause before saying "yes" to that romantic proposal.
For those with lots of love but less disposable income, the Penn Museum in Philadelphia now offers a unique alternative for the betrothed: WEDDINGS, SIMPLE and SWEET, a simple ceremony in a world-renowned museum, all for a very sweet price: $500.
For just $500, couples can book their wedding at the Penn Museum Mondays through Thursdays between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, based upon gallery and room availability. Locations for "I do's" include the awe-inspiring Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery, with 3,200-year-old pillars and a 15-ton Sphinx from Memphis, Egypt; the light-filled Mosaic Gallery, featuring ancient Roman mosaics and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto inner gardens; and the newly renovated Kinter-Dietrich and Widener gallery spaces. Ceremonies may run up to 45 minutes, and couples may invite up to 25 guests. The Museum provides seating and a basic sound system, if needed. Before or after the ceremony, the wedding party may spend some time taking photographs in the Museum.
A few simple extras are available at reasonable rates: if the couple lacks an officiant, the Museum can provide a certified officiant to perform weddings, based on availability, for $50. For an additional fee, the couple can conclude the ceremony with a champagne toast.
Atiya German, the Penn Museum's Director of Facility Rentals, came up with the concept of WEDDINGS, SIMPLE and SWEET, after conferring with many young couples eager to have an elegant ceremony within their means. "We are happy to work with couples on far more elaborate weddings and receptions—which have grown increasingly popular here at the Museum," noted Ms. German, "but we wanted to provide a genuine, and genuinely memorable, wedding experience for people who, for all kinds of reasons, aren't open to an expensive event. We think we can make that happen here in a big way."
Each WEDDING, SIMPLE and SWEET comes with a very special gift: a one-year Dual Penn Museum membership for the couple.
"It's part of the package," noted Ms. German. "We hope, with the unforgettable memories they make, our newlywed couples will remain members for many years to come."
The Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.
The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Wednesday, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered select Wednesdays. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military (and free for military families over the summer, through participation with the Blue Star program); $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.
Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop and Pyramid Shop for Children offer a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at www.penn.museum. For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.
Photos, top to bottom: A wedding couple in the Penn Museum's Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery, surrounded by 3,200-year-old, monumental columns from a pharaoh's palace, the largest Sphinx in the United States in the foreground (photo: Sophia Negron); a simply elegant set up for wedding guests at the Penn Museum; a wedding couple in the Penn Museum's inner gardens (photo: JDN Photography).