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Love in the Time of COVID: Top Five Wedding Trends at the Penn Museum

February 09, 2022

Jill DiSanto, Public Relations Director

215.898.2956

jdisanto@upenn.edu

Bride and groom cutting a cake at their wedding
Image: Nina Zhu and David Goldberg cut the cake during their reception in Warden Garden.

PHILADELPHIA — Weddings at the Penn Museum have reflected a changing landscape of celebrating love amid COVID-19. In 2022, big weddings are back and couples want their guests vaccinated, according to the Museum’s Director of Facility Rentals Atiya German. A seasoned event planning professional who has orchestrated weddings and celebrations at the Museum’s historic, award-winning spaces for 11 years, she cites top wedding trends for 2022:

#1 Big Weddings are Back and COVID-19 Vaccinations are as Important as RSVPs
“All of our clients have independently required proof of vaccination from their guests—even prior to the city’s mandate. We're seeing the return of wedding receptions with 200 guests or more,” German explains. “Couples have shifted away from the micro-wedding trend and are looking for spacious, Instagram-worthy venues.With historic architecture, enchanting gardens, and newly transformed galleries, the Penn Museum is well poised to meet those needs.”

One of the only cultural attractions that includes access to its collections during private events, the Penn Museum can accommodate up to 600 guests for larger, elaborate soirees.

#2 Garden Parties
Couples continue to prioritize safety: There has been a resurgence of garden parties, she adds.

The Penn Museum’s Stoner Courtyard features a historic marble fountain, curated gardens, and 250 guests. Enhancing the garden party with an open-air tent rental is an available option.

In addition, Warden Garden offers a hidden oasis in a generous outdoor space. An charming highlight is a koi pond aligned with symmetrical brick pathways leading to the Museum’s Main Entrance, where up to 250 wedding guests will be greeted by the 25,000-pound solid red granite Sphinx of the Pharaoh Ramses II inside the Sphinx Gallery.

Indoor/outdoor locations like these provide extra 'breathing room,’ one-of-a-kind photo spots, and a chance to take a short break—or enjoy a private moment alone,” according to German.

#3 Environmental & Social Responsibility
“Today’s couples are concerned about environmental impact,” German says. “Instead of favors ending up in a landfill, couples have donated money and their floral arrangements to local non-profit organizations after the wedding.”

Plus, conveniences like “grab and go” refreshments or disposable cutlery are a thing of the past and party hosts are opting for a return to “white glove” formality when planning events.

“We’ve noticed an uptick in requests for our exclusive caterer, CxRA, who creates locally sourced delicacies, to return to formal table service for most events, including weddings,” German says.

#4 Weekday Weddings
“Weddings on a weekday were rare before the pandemic, but they’re a hot trend in 2022,” German explains. “Our Simple & Sweet weddings are held Mondays through Thursdays and offer an affordable alternative for smaller affairs with up to 35 guests.”

#5 Shorter Timeframes when Booking Special Events
For many years, couples needed to book a wedding at least one or even two years in advance, but those days are gone.

“After COVID-19, couples ready to say ‘I do’ understand that things could change at any moment,” German adds. “For 2022, they’re booking as little as only six months in advance— which is why we’re seeing so many couples reserving their dates for fall weddings right now.”

For more information on events at the Penn Museum, including private dinners, Sweet 16s, holiday parties, baby or bridal showers, and corporate cocktail receptions, click here. To contact the Facility Rentals department, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; call 215.898.4010 or follow @events_pennmuseum on Instagram.

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About the Penn Museum
The Penn Museum’s mission is to be a center for inquiry and the ongoing exploration of humanity for our University of Pennsylvania, regional, national, and global communities, following ethical standards and practices. Through conducting research, stewarding collections, creating learning opportunities, sharing stories, and creating experiences that expand access to archaeology and anthropology, the Museum builds empathy and connections across diverse cultures.

The Penn Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm. It is open until 8:00 pm on first Wednesdays of the month through March. The Café is open Tuesday-Thursday, 9:00 am-3:00 pm and Friday and Saturday, 10:00 am-2:00 pm. For information, visit www.penn.museum, call 215.898.4000, or follow @PennMuseum on social media.