Event Planning, Weddings

An Artistic Affair: An Elegant Museum Wedding

April 8, 2016

Elegant museum weddings in big cities are all the rage recently. However, the price attached to these weddings isn’t always the most affordable. Here in the heart of Berks County you can have both an affordable and breathtaking museum wedding. For history and art lovers: If you want a wedding that is fun, modern and creative than the Reading Public Museum is the perfect space for an artistic vibe. The rooms available to rent are the Stone Terrace Tent, Ground Floor Atrium, First Floor of The Museum, Second Floor of The Museum, Second Floor Founders’ Gallery, The Arboretum, and of course the Neag Planetarium. You’ll have exhibits as your backdrop, which are not only jaw-dropping but the perfect conversation starter for your guests!


Second Floor Art Gallery Ceremony


Auditorium Wedding Brunch Reception









Dr. Levi Mengel was the founder and first director of the Reading Public Museum which was originally located in the third floor of the Reading School District’s administration building. The Museum, now located in West Reading, was selected and donated to the Reading School District by Ferdinand Thun, Henry Janssen, and Gustav Oberlaender, three Wyomissing textile magnates and friends of Dr. Mengel, breaking ground in 1925. It welcomed its first visitors in 1929 at its present location thanks to the Reading School District. Art objects of importance have come to the Reading Museum from all over the world. Having a wedding or special event at a venue of such importance could not be any easier with the help of The Museum’s Director of Event and Exhibition Rentals, Stephanie Hafer-Shaak, and Event Rental Coordinator, Laura Oswald.


Masterpiece Events Premiere Party in the Second Floor Art Galleries


Masterpiece Events Premiere Party in the Second Floor Art Galleries









Stephanie Hafer-Shaak, a Berks county native, joined the Reading Public Museum in March 2011.  As the Director of Event and Exhibition Rentals, she oversees The Museum’s Event Rental Department in addition to coordinating The Museum’s touring exhibition program.  Prior to her work at The Museum, Ms. Shaak served as the Special Events Coordinator for the Greater New Jersey Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in Princeton, New Jersey.  She holds a BA in History and a BA in German from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA.  Ms. Shaak is heavily involved in the community, volunteering with the Junior League of Reading, the Penn Corridor Initiative, and many committees within her church.  She is also an alumni ambassador for Gettysburg College and composes a column for the institution’s quarterly alumni magazine.

Laura Oswald joined the team at The Museum as the Event Rental and Planetarium Assistant in June 2014.  She took on the role of Event Rental Coordinator in October of last year and has truly embraced the new position.  Within this role, she oversees the booking, planning and execution of all external events such as weddings, children’s birthday parties, holiday parties, and baby showers.  Before finding her passion for event planning, Ms. Oswald, born and raised in Reading, was in education and child care at the Albright Early Learning Center.  She holds a BA in Art Education from Albright College in Reading, PA.  In her free time, Ms. Oswald enjoys spending time with her two dachshunds, Hershey and Buddy, and her one-year old nephew, Kerrigan.

Another interesting little tidbit that Stephanie shared is that whenever she is giving a tour to a potential client she always notes that they should not fall in love with a specific painting in the room their event will be taking place. This is because there is a good chance that that painting will not be there on the day of their event. Since they are a working Museum it is important for them to constantly rotate their artwork to increase foot traffic. This is just another amazing advantage to having your wedding at a museum. You can almost guarantee that someone else’s wedding photos will not have the same backdrop as yours!


Planetarium bar set up


The beautiful Museum Atrium









The Museum also features the Neag Planetarium, a unique venue like none other in Berks County. Treat your guests to an enchanting celebration under the stars with the planetarium’s state-of-the-art audio and visual technologies. Who wouldn’t want to get married under a beautiful star dome? Another perk to that is that you don’t have to worry about the weather when planning for any contingencies. With a choice of dining or dancing under the stars, The Planetarium can accommodate up to 250 guests. This is by far the most popular room to rent for all of The Museum’s events, which is why it is also the second most expensive at $2,000.


Planetarium reception area


Front of Neag Planetarium


The Reading Public Museum should definitely be on the top of your list of wedding venues to visit as they also offer a Stone Terrace Tent and two gardens for outdoor ceremonies. The spacious Tent is a whopping 3,200 square feet and a fairly new addition that can seat up to 200 guests with space for a dance floor. You can rent this beautiful tent for just $3,500. The terrace has a breath taking view of The Museum’s botanical garden. The garden is the perfect backdrop for an outdoor ceremony!


Arboretum wedding ceremony


Stone Terrace Tent wedding reception








As mentioned above, museum weddings in big cities are quite expensive. To show just how expensive, let’s compare some museums in the City of Brotherly Love! The Philadelphia Museum of Art starts at $190 per person for their seated wedding packages and this price does not include the facilities rental fee either! Anybody else’s mind blown by this number? We certainly were. The Penn Museum also comes in with a high price tag starting at $150 per person.

Masterpiece Events is the highly preferred caterer for The Museum. Whether you’re planning your dream wedding reception, special occasion, or corporate event or meeting we consider your celebration a work of art! We take great pride in offering Masterpiece Events’ fine quality traditional and contemporary cuisines exclusively at the Reading Public Museum. Masterpiece Events’ planners will help you with your food and beverage selection and you’ll receive service from our well-trained in-house special event staff. Make it memorable. Make it a Masterpiece!

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