Today Eyes on the Street's Help Desk takes on a new kind of planning question: wedding planning.
Donna Ludwig is helping daughter Danielle and her fiancé Nick plan their wedding. The lovely couple lives in Bridesburg and they're interested in having their wedding ceremony in Pennypack on the Delaware in September 2013. So Donna wrote in wondering what they should do in order to use the park's gazebo as their venue.
"We been to the fields many of times and since they both are athletes and play a lot of softball they want pictures on the field," Donna writes. They're thinking that a "wedding in the gazebo and the fields for pictures would be ideal."
Great question, Donna. This gazebo sure is a nice spot overlooking the Delaware River, and I can see it now. So where's a mother-of-the-bride to begin? What's involved in planning a public park wedding?
I put the question to the Department of Parks & Recreation's Barry Bessler, the Department of Parks & Recreation's Chief of Staff for Parks and Facilities.
Bessler told me that Parks & Rec recommends only two park spots for weddings: the gazebo at the Waterworks and the Azalea Garden. Of course, couples can ask to use other sites, but be warned: some provide more privacy than others.
For anyone considering a park wedding the first step is to submit Parks and Rec's special wedding photography/ceremony application [pdf] form. These applications are posted on the department's website in January for events in the coming year. So because Danielle and Nick hope to marry next fall, they have to wait until January to submit the 2013 form. These applications are handled by the Special Events Office, and it's also a good idea to call over to that office (215) 685-0060 to discuss your plans.
Besides filling out a form and paying an event fee, I asked Bessler what else Danielle and Nick should be considering as they imagine using this public space for their private ceremony? The public.
Pennypack on the Delaware has heavily used athletic fields and trail system. Bessler stressed that the couple should understand that their big day "might be on the same weekend as a soccer tournament, a softball tournament, or a fishing event." And there is no keeping the public away.
"Somebody is going to be walking their dog along the path as the wedding party is walking to the gazebo. They need to be aware that this is a very public place."
Eyes on the Street’s Help Desk is here to help you get answers to tricky questions. Feel free to ask your questions about a particular site, development, project, or city services. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Help Desk” in the subject.