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These Wedding Venues Are Equipped to Host Your Wedding Amidst COVID-19

Anastasia Romanova

Times have been extremely difficult for all during COVID-19, but especially so for brides and grooms trying to plan their weddings. Michelle Finley, Vice President of Sales of Finley Catering, who oversees three locations in Center City, knows this all too well.

Finley, who is the eldest daughter of Finley Catering owner Stephen Finley, plans weddings and events at the Crystal Tea Room, Ballroom at the Ben and Union Trust. Her team had to move over 500 weddings during the 15-month closure in Philadelphia. Thankfully, they were up to the challenge.

“We have a fourth facility in Newtown Square, Ballroom at Ellis Preserve, that accommodated many of our Center City ‘COVID brides,’ as they have been affectionately termed,” Michelle says. “They didn’t want to postpone their weddings a third or fourth time.”

Planning a COVID Wedding

During the pandemic lockdown, Michelle and her team devised virtual venue tours and spent many hours “meeting” brides via Zoom.

“As cases started to decrease, brides, grooms and their families were in flux as to when restrictions would be lifted in the city,” Michelle explains.

Finally in June of 2021, events were permitted to occur with special restrictions. That’s when Michelle’s younger sister, Stephanie, who is Finley Catering’s Vice President of Operations, sprang into action making sure the team met all the necessary requirements.

“We checked and rechecked and even did extra above and beyond,” Stephanie says. “We wanted to ensure not only the safety of our clients, but of all of our staff in the kitchen and on the floor.”

Both Finley sisters recounted the first day that they held a wedding in the city.

“It was so refreshing and beyond amazing to host a wedding again,” Michelle and Stephanie say. “We were just as excited as the bride and groom!”

Stephanie added that all the management was on hand to welcome the staff back and plans are in progress to start doing business in the “new normal.”

Getting Creative with Accessories

Some of the “COVID brides” created ingenious phrases and catchy additions to their wedding celebrations to ease the past year’s stress of the situation. One of the brides had her bridesmaids carry out a letter that eventually spelled “FINALLY!”

Another bride had her seating arrangements written on a large mirror with both her original and second date crossed out, which then revealed her actual wedding date. Other brides got married on their original dates and planned a fun reception for the new date.

“It was like having two celebrations — a smaller intimate one for the wedding and the actual reception!” one bride who worked with Finley Catering says. “Now we have two anniversaries to celebrate!”

The pandemic has taught everyone life lessons the past year, but it is nice to resume life’s special events with friends and family once again.

For more information on how Finley Catering can help you plan your wedding, head here or call 215-627-5100.