My Wedding and Pennsylvania Vendor Round-Up

My Wedding and Pennsylvania Vendor Round-Up

Note: All my wedding photos or other photos herein are by TM Weddings unless otherwise stated

My wedding on January 9th, 2022 at Catalpa Grove, 2022.
We got married!

A month ago, I tied the knot! My wedding took place at a site that previously belonged to my family as an amusement park and campground. Regardless of what ended up being bad timing for the wedding due to weather and ye olde pandemic, my husband and I are really pleased with the vendors and services we chose to make our wedding come to life.

If you have a wedding on the horizon, or just enjoy wedding content, here’s the rundown of who we used and where we went.


This section is rather short since engagements typically do not involve much fuss. We got engaged last March on an overcast day. The weather was both warm and cool, but that fluctuation may have been due to my fluctuating nerves.

The elements of the engagement breakdown are as follows:

Engagement Ring: Bixlers in Allentown, PA

My engagement ring while at Leaser Lake.
Engagement ring photo by me, ring by Bixlers.

Bixlers has expanded greatly since its inception in 1785. They label themselves as “America’s Oldest Jeweler” and their birth was in our own state of Pennsylvania. Their showroom is in Allentown, which is where my husband went to pick out my engagement ring.

My husband has no qualms with his ring-buying experience and he found a ring that suited me perfectly.

I can’t fully speak for him on this experience, since I wasn’t present. However, he told me later that the process was educational, interesting, and ultimately successful.

Find them on their: Website // Instagram

Engagement Location: Leaser Lake in New Tripoli, PA

Leaser Lake in March of 2021 on the day of our engagement.
Leaser Lake on the day of our engagement — photo by me!

I’m not listing this location as an advertisement for a romantic hotspot to springboard your marriage journey! Leaser Lake is a Commonwealth-owned park in New Tripoli that has sentimental value for me and my husband. He was familiar with it because he used to fish there with his dad, who passed away in 2010.

Personally, I think most parks serve as a lovely backdrop for proposals. It’s not glamorous, but if you enjoy being outdoors, it’s a lovely place to visit — for engagements or otherwise!

Engagement Photos: Linderman Library at Lehigh University (Pictures by TM Weddings)

Linderman Library at Lehigh University.
I asked Tony to get this stained-glass ceiling in one of our engagement shots and he delivered!

I admit we had a hard time finding a photographer. Because our wedding took place in Schuylkill County, we thought it would be easier to get someone from that area to do photo and video work.

However, we contacted nearly a dozen photographers or videographers and many did not even respond. The few that did were not available. Finally, my husband looked for someone in the Lehigh Valley, and we found TM Weddings.

We were fortunate because we had lost a lot of time, but our photographer, Tony, was even able to squeeze in our engagement photos three short weeks before the wedding.

We chose the beautiful, 140-year-old Linderman Library for our engagement photo session. The atmosphere lent itself to our academic interests and love of old stone buildings with stained-glass windows and lots of books.

My husband contacted an appropriate authority for permission to do the session inside the library. Fortunately, classes were not in session, so we weren’t invading too many students’ study efforts. We were still asked to be conscientious of anyone who might be there utilizing the space as, well, a library.

The indoor space lacked natural lighting more than I would’ve liked, but Tony made it work and we eventually braved the chilly outdoors for some shots around campus.

Outside on the Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem, PA.
A brisk walk for engagement photos that were entirely worth the few moments of cold.

Rehearsal Dinner: Hops Lehigh Valley in Fogelsville, PA

In case you aren’t aware, there isn’t a whole lot going on between Tamaqua and the Lehigh Valley on Route 309. The one place we thought would work wasn’t available, but my sister tracked down Hops and they were able to schedule their backroom for us on such short notice.

The backroom wasn’t big enough to run through the ceremony in a realistic way, but we were able to practice well enough. The food and service were good. It was reasonably priced for a party of 15+ people.


Now we get to the good part! Like I said before, my husband and I ended up being pleased with all of our vendors. In my somewhat limited experience with weddings, that’s not always a give-in. So, without further ado, our wedding vendors!

Wedding Location: Catalpa Grove at Lakewood Park in Barnesville, PA

My wedding at Catalpa Grove at Lakewood Park in Barnesville, PA.
The beautifully woodsy Catalpa Grove on an icy January day.

My great-great-grandfather and his brother opened Lakewood Park at the start of the 20th century. It became an amusement park until it closed in the mid-80s. The land sat unused and unloved until the current owners purchased it. In addition to the event venue, they have a campground and cabins (which we utilized) for guests all year-round.

The owners and wedding coordinator were incredibly nice to work with. They were supportive and helpful, even with the last-minute changes we threw at them. Catalpa Grove itself is a beautiful A-frame building that’s predominantly wood and gives a great, foresty feeling to the place.

The cabins were lovely and convenient. The closest ones are probably less than fifty feet from the venue. My husband and I, and some other family, friends, and members of the bridal party, also got cabins. We had some icy weather on our wedding day, so people having a place to stay so close to the venue was wonderful.

Even though the weather was rather frigid, the remaining snow on the trees just outside the venue made a wonderful backdrop for some photos. There are lots of natural, tree-filled spots for photos in any season and I definitely recommend taking advantage of what the grounds have to offer, even if the weather gives you goosebumps.

Find them on their: Website // Instagram

Wedding Rings: Bixlers in Allentown, PA

Our wedding rings from Bixlers in Allentown, PA.
Our simple wedding rings with just enough detail to add interest.

We also chose Bixlers for our wedding rings in addition to my engagement ring. Picking out the wedding rings was my first time there. My knowledge of jewelry is limited, but I would consider Bixlers to be a higher-end jewelers.

However, they had some more affordable options, especially for wedding bands which cost a surprisingly lower amount than the engagement ring!

I also got my engagement ring cleaned while we were there. It had been in my possession for eight-ish months and I couldn’t believe the difference when it was brought back to me post-cleaning.

Wedding Caterer: Francesco’s from Shenandoah, PA

Food from Francesco's in Shenandoah, PA.
A delicious array of food from Francesco’s.

In addition to the difficulty of pinning down a photographer, we also struggled with a caterer. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go through twelve caterers before we found Francesco’s.

Francesco’s specializes in authentic Italian food, but I would say their menu has a fairly wide appeal. We included Chicken Francesco (aka chicken Francese), broiled salmon, vodka penne, and a roasted root vegetable medley among other items, and had it served buffet style. My husband noted that the service was “invisible”, meaning they were unintrusive, thorough, and efficient.

The food was excellent and Francesco was accommodating and helpful throughout the planning process.

Find them on their: Website

Wedding Flowers: Flowers & Friends from Pitman, PA

Beautiful flowers for my wedding from Flowers & Friends in Pitman, PA.
Melissa of Flowers & Friends provided such lovely bouquets.

Technically, this was my third experience with Melissa, who runs Flowers & Friends. In each experience, including mine, she was a delight to work with and incredibly supportive. I requested a handful of last-minute additions and she pulled through splendidly.

I don’t have the best concept of pricing for events, even now after the wedding has passed; but I felt that Flowers & Friends provided wonderful flowers at a reasonable price.

I only met with Melissa once to discuss floral plans. I was rather shy and unsure of what I wanted, so I appreciated how well she both guided me and gently coaxed some details for what would make me happy.

Find them on their: Website // Facebook

Wedding Cake: The CakePros from Schuylkill Haven, PA

Our celestial wedding cake from CakePros in Schuylkill Haven, PA.
Our wedding cake design was from a reference photo that CakePros captured beautifully.

Like Flowers & Friends, I already had some secondhand experience with CakePros. They had done my sister’s wedding (as did Flowers & Friends) and it looked delightful and tasted great. I expected CakePros to provide a similar service and felt confident they were a good choice, but they actually did better than I expected.

Our cake was so pretty. We sent them a reference photo and asked for a few adjustments, but I honestly feel that the decorators at CakePros simply have excellent visual sensibilities. I’m not sure they could ever make an ‘ugly’ cake. I shouldn’t have been surprised as I had been following them on Instagram since my sister’s wedding and had seen all of their wonderful designs. Maybe it’s just different when it’s the cake you wanted and it turns out so enchanting.

All three cake flavors were delicious. They do other events outside of weddings and are highly skilled at recreation and accommodating all kinds of design requests. I would recommend them for birthdays and other special occasions beyond weddings.

Find them on their: Website // Instagram

Wedding Bartender: Drink and Be Married from Bloomsburg, PA

For some reason, it was harder for me to picture how much people would drink than eat. I had never thought about it before! Not to mention my husband and my tastes differ from many. Rae was friendly, accommodating, and guided us through the process.

Their service was seamless and she made a fantastic White Russian for our signature drink.

Find them on their: Facebook

Wedding Beer Supply: Lakeside Park Beverage from Barnesville, PA

Lakeside Park Beverage has been around for years and is conveniently a 30-second drive from Catalpa Grove. Drink and Be Married worked with them several times before, especially for any events at Catalpa Grove.

Like Drink and Be Married, Lakeside Park Beverage knew how to gauge necessary amounts, taking another morsel of stress off the plate.

Find them on their: Facebook

Photographer and Videography: TM Weddings from Macungie, PA

Our bridal party on Catalpa Grove's patio in ugly-feeling but beautiful-looking weather!
The duo from TM Weddings graciously snuck in some outdoor shots in unpleasant weather — couldn’t be happier with the backdrop!

Finding a photographer was one of the most disheartening ventures of our wedding-planning journey. We contacted several photographers and videographers in the Schuylkill County area, assuming it would be easier since that’s where we were getting married.

Honestly, I have no idea what was up with simply getting no replies from so many people. The one or two people that did reply were very nice and simply busy on our day of choice. I won’t try and ascertain what lead to the response drought, but finally, my husband looked up Lehigh Valley wedding photographers and found TM Weddings.

Our photographer, Tony, shot both our engagement and wedding photos. His friendly demeanor comforted me and my husband, and he balanced moving photos forward without being overbearing or obnoxious. Our videographer took more of a backseat approach to subtly capture the day and it worked wonderfully.

The videographer from TM Weddings being a nice lad.
Our videographer being sweet and letting my nephew look through the camera while filming.

I really can’t believe we got so fortunate in this area when we only found them a month before the wedding. I’m glad things worked out the way they did, I love how our photos turned out and they were terrific to work with.

Find them on their: Website // Instagram

In Conclusion

First, an extra shout-out to all of the vendors for traveling to the wedding venue during a mild ice storm (especially TM Weddings, who had to drive from the Lehigh Valley).

Second, I don’t advise holding a wedding during an ice storm. Or a pandemic. However, given the circumstances and some rather upsetting stepping stones along the way, I am happy and satisfied with how my wedding turned out.

It’s comforting that I can genuinely recommend every vendor and service I used. We found some really kind, supportive people to bring the day together, and I’m sure many people who have been through weddings can testify that this is not always the case.

If you are in the middle of a wedding-planning journey in the Schuylkill County or Lehigh Valley area, please consider these vendors!