KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - In 2016, brides and grooms in Montgomery County, Pa., will spend an average of more than $40,000 for their big day, according to data from The Wedding Report, a Tucson, AZ, online research firm. If current trends continue, the cost will rise an average of $400 per year, indicating an outlay of more than $43,000 by 2020.
A resource of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB), however, is stemming the tide.
Since August 2015, it has offered the planning/consulting services of Lindsay Ancarrow, Social Sales Manager. Her role within the VFTCB is point person for all-things wedding, whether a couple is in need of something basic like a venue or something extraordinary like a horse-drawn carriage for transportation.
Montgomery County, Pa., is gaining traction as a wedding destination, according to The Wedding Report. Total wedding sales in the county are projected to be $180 million for 2016, with $880 million projected over the next five years. Montgomery County is currently ranked in the top 100 out of more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. in the number of weddings, average cost and total sales.
As a result, the VFTCB has added Destination Montgomery County Weddings to its growing family of brands with the intention of marketing the county's multitude of assets, attractions and venues. With corresponding digital and printed advertising, the brand focuses not only on the wedding night but also on things to do for the entire weekend.
Since August, the organization has booked 1,325 wedding-related room nights, an increase of over 1,200 compared with the previous year. With a projected increase in average spending per wedding and number of weddings in the county, the VFTCB expects that number to increase even further in the next year.
Local businesses are experiencing growth in the market firsthand.
Robert Ryan Catering, for example, is seeing its best year yet in terms of venue reservations, with its Philander Chase Knox Estate booked solid through the entire fall season. The site dates back to the 1700s and is nestled within picturesque Valley Forge National Historical Park.
The Valley Forge Casino Resort is also on track to have an increase of more than 34 percent in room nights booked for weddings this year over last year.
"Montgomery County has been discovered as the go-to destination for weddings," says Jennifer Galle, chief marketing officer for the casino-resort. "We've seen that preference clearly reflected in our business."
In promoting Montgomery County's multifaceted nuptial assets, the VFTCB cites that, county-wide, couples can access:
- 239 churches in every denomination
- 150 wedding venues that range from historical homes to unique museums
- 85 florists, ready to create perfect bouquets
- 82 photographers who can artistically preserve happy moments forever
- 81 jewelers with dazzling wedding bands
- 54 golf courses for a one-of-a-kind bachelor outing
- 38 custom bakers that specialize in stunning wedding cakes
- 17 breweries and wineries for toasting the happy couple
- 10 B&Bs and inns for an intimate honeymoon
Detailed information on booking a Montgomery County, Pa., wedding is available at http://www.valleyforge.org/weddings-celebrations/.
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The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pa., as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 400-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Board's award-winning website, valleyforge.org, serves visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and residents, as well as hosts The Pursuit, a nationally recognized, twice-weekly blog. The VFTCB recently added Valley Forge Sports, Montco 360, Montgomery County Weddings and Patriot Trails to its portfolio of brands.