Written by Michelle Franzen Martin. Photos by Joey Kennedy Photography.
The weddings and events staff at Omni Bedford Springs Resort helped create the perfect traditional wedding in the country.
On a warm evening in late July, Leslie and Patrick O’Hara exchanged vows before more than 100 family and friends at the wedding grotto of Omni Bedford Springs Resort. Sun peeked through the tall, centuries-old trees that surrounded the venue and danced off the Iron Spring waterfall, the soft cascade of which set the backdrop as the couple held hands and said, “I do.” For the O’Haras, the quiet, secluded grotto, with its naturally sculpted weathered stone, was reminiscent of a quaint European village. It seemed a world away from the couple’s home outside of Philadelphia. The tables were decorated with gold chargers and candleholders that added a bit of sparkle against the crisp white linens. Light pink roses topped the four layers of wedding cake, which was finished in a simple, classic white frosting.
“Leslie and Patrick had a vision,” says Megan Tresnicky, senior catering sales manager,who worked closely with the O’Haras to plan every aspect of the wedding. “In our first interaction, they described how they envisioned the day. In the first five minutes, I knew it was going to be a very sophisticated, elegant affair.”
The Planning Process
As an experienced wedding planner, Tresnicky knows what questions to ask to determine what aspects of the wedding are the most important to each couple.
“I always ask couples how they see the flow of the event: Do they want the tone to be lively, relaxed or traditional? Leslie and Patrick were very excited about the food, and I knew the resort could curate restaurant-quality food in a ballroom setting.”
From there, she began planning every detail of the couple’s dream wedding. She met the O’Haras in person three times over the one-year planning process, and kept in touch constantly via email.
“I have to respect the couple’s time and try to make the in-person planning meetings as thorough as possible,” she says. “When they are on-site, they are touching linens and tasting wine and food. Communication was open, and I suggested she ask any questions right away so she wouldn’t forget—we had hundreds of emails. That keeps the process moving and creativity flowing.”
The O’Haras had a very dreamy and delicate color palette. The groomsmen wore custom suits, and the bridesmaids wore floor-length variations of blush chiffon— a natural elegance, Tresnicky says. Traditionally inspired flower arrangements, made of roses, peonies, dahlias and orchids, added a pop of color to the wedding’s color scheme.
“Leslie and Patrick had a vision for their color palette,” Tresnicky says. “It’s always nice to have a clear direction of what the couple wants for their wedding. Once the florist was brought in to the process, we took floral and design aspects to our pastry chef who designed the cake and the elegant nuanced touches on it. It was the same process with the food and beverage displays. It was about making their dream come to life.”
Throughout the planning process, the couple knew their wedding would be sophisticated and elegant without being too rigid and formal, says Tresnicky, who describes Leslie and Patrick as an “amazing couple” that she really enjoyed working with. Tresnicky was also married at Omni Bedford Springs. Because of this, the couple felt an immediate connection to her.
“I didn’t always know what type of wedding [I wanted], but after I picked the venue and got my dress, every aspect of a traditional wedding folded into place,” Leslie says
“The grotto, waterfall and flowers were some of the most memorable details. We felt like we were on the French countryside rather than in a small town in Pennsylvania. We could not have imagined a better experience.”
The location perfectly fit the couple’s vision: to have family and friends escape the hustle and bustle of the big city and spend a relaxing weekend in the country.
“They wanted their guests to enjoy the amenities during the day and celebrate with them in the evening,” she says. “It was important that their guests were well taken care of and welcomed to the resort. They had an itinerary in mind for the big day, and the resort proved to be the perfect match.”
The Iron Spring, which feeds an organic waterfall that is carved into the stone of the resort’s wedding grotto, enjoyed a bit of notoriety in the early 1900s when its waters were believed to be a health cure due to their high levels of iron. Today, the grotto’s unique history, combined with its natural beauty, makes it the ideal place for an outdoor wedding ceremony—a place where the past and present come together and celebrate the future. “You could spend all day learning about the grounds and building,” Leslie says. “It is all so interesting to hear.”
In addition to the rich history surrounding Omni Bedford Springs, the resort is also a place for peace and refuge. Leslie and Patrick wanted a relaxing venue for their wedding and reception, while at the same time not skimping on luxury and elegance. After getting to understand the couple’s wedding wishes, Tresnicky knew that the grotto would be the ideal place for the O’Haras’ wedding.
“They wanted whimsy—unique and private,” she says. “The backdrop isn’t something you can find just anywhere—it’s one of a kind. The grotto is untouched, authentic nature. With the sound of the Iron Spring babbling, it is truly an inspiring place. It was a very ‘secret garden’ feeling.”
Following the ceremony, the O’Haras’ guests moved into the Colonnade Ballroom, with its beautifully carved marble fireplace and spacious grand veranda. Tresnicky helped the couple select specialty linens, gold chargers, striking candelabras and candles that added a warm glow and a unique personality to the room.
“I spoke to the vendor several times to assure the rental items were complemented by what we have on property,” she recalls. “Working with the couple’s outside vendors closely is one way as a planner that I act as an advocate for the couple. They can always reach me—no matter if they are a vendor, bride or mother of the bride. I am here as that point of contact.”
The couple also showcased their personal tastes through their menu selections, which is in line with the wedding cuisine trend in which food is used as a means of personal expression. Tresnicky customized every component for the couple.
“What I love the most about being a planner is executing events that exceed expectations,” she says. “It’s the details that count. I vow to my couples that I won’t miss a detail, and when I see their reaction on the big day, that is the best part.”
During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed unique hors d’oeuvres such as risotto balls with honey and truffle drizzle, roasted leek and Gruyere tarts and wok-fried shrimp with an Asian glaze. Beautiful displays of Italian meats and cheeses were also plentiful, and for fans of macaroni and cheese, guests were treated to a station where gourmet creations were prepared right before their eyes. One particular favorite was lobster and truffle macaroni and cheese, Tresnicky says. At dinner, guests enjoyed a choice of filet mignon, Chilean sea bass or chicken wellington. Tresnicky did samplings with the couple to be sure that every bite of the menu exceeded their expectations.
For dessert, a custom wedding cake was created by the Omni Bedford Springs pastry team. Much like the wedding itself, the cake was traditional with a personal twist—a chocolate cake with salted caramel mousse as one choice, and an almond cake with pistachio mousse as the other. “The bride and groom both selected their favorites for the wedding cake,” Tresnicky says, adding that she often reminds couples that marriage is all about the compromises.
Now getting ready to celebrate their anniversary in July, the O’Haras look back on their wedding day and the unique elements that made it their own.
“We still get compliments today about how amazing our venue was,” Leslie says. “We could not imagine getting married anywhere else. Everything was topnotch. We will forever be thankful to the staff at Omni, our families and guests for giving us the wedding of our dreams”
Just for You
Whether it’s getting ready for the big day or continuing to celebrate after the reception, couples who are married at Omni Hotels & Resorts enjoy a variety of special amenities and perks.
Complimentary honeymoon stay: Couples who book a wedding at select Omni Hotels & Resorts can receive a complimentary honeymoon stay at one of 14 premier resort destinations including Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas in Mexico, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California, and Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa near Palm Springs, California. In addition to the complimentary stay, the resorts offer special amenities such as breakfast for the honeymooners, poolside cabanas, savings on food and beverage, discounts on spa services and a variety of other welcome amenities.
Special spa treatments: Omni Hotels & Resorts offer a variety of spa treatments—from nourishing wedding facials to a complete bridal package—for brides, grooms and their bridal parties. At Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire, for instance, brides can take advantage of the Bridal Perfection package, which has everything they need to be wedding ready. The package includes special occasion styling, bridal makeup, facial, a manicure and pedicure, Swedish massage and bridal glow body polish. The package also includes complimentary spa facility use for the bride and her fiancé for the entire length of their stay.
Complimentary guestroom and breakfast in bed: The bride and groom can rest and relax the night of their wedding thanks to a complimentary guestroom, where they will find champagne and other specialty treats provided by Omni. The next morning, they can enjoy breakfast in bed. Omni properties also offer wedding party recreation packages. Couples who celebrate their wedding at Omni have access to special rates on select leisure packages. For example, at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, the resort’s Wedding Party Golf Package lets the bride or groom—and their wedding party—ease any wedding day jitters with a round of golf at a cost savings. The package takes care of everything—from green fees and the cart to bag handling and lunch.