Having an Artful Wedding

An art museum is a unique location for a wedding, whether the couple are creative types or just want an event that stands out from the banquet hall model. The venue contributes significantly to the vibe of the big day, from the look, to the convenience and guest experience, to the vendor choices. Adding art makes a wedding especially memorable and can dramatically enhance the look of the event and the photos of the day.

We spoke to recently wedded couples and vendors we’ve worked with to give you some insight into what it’s like to have your wedding here at the Museum.

THE EXPERIENCE: Kristen and Ryan’s intimate autumn labyrinth vows

imageLaura Briggs Photography.

Kristen Nassif said “I do” to Ryan Lee at the Museum in October 2022. While Nassif and Lee mostly got ready at The Westin at the Wilmington riverfront, final dressing took place at the Museum, just before their ceremony.

This autumn wedding faced extreme weather challenges—a hurricane in the southern part of the U.S.—but in the end, the “I dos” took place where the pair wanted them to: in the former-reservoir-turned-labyrinth, situated at the north end of the Copeland Sculpture Garden.

Nassif and Lee did move the cocktail hour from the terrace inside to the Museum’s East Court, reflecting that the flexibility of the Museum, particularly given the climate challenges, was “really, really helpful.”

Photo opportunities can be a major factor in choosing a wedding venue, and Nassif says, “We took lots of pictures outside, using lots of wall textures and colors.” Taking photos on the indoor Chilhuly Bridge (featuring Dale Chilhuly’s blown glass Persian Window) was also a big draw.

Lee says that most of the photos, taken by Laura Briggs of Kennett Square, show the wedding party in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Family shots were positioned on the front steps, while his groomsmen posed in the labyrinth. His favorite photo, however, is one taken in a gallery. “It’s the background on my laptop,” he says.

Nassif further describes the photographic inspiration, as well as how it fit into their “minimalist-eclectic” design theme. “There’s all the stone and greenery and ivy, then you can also contrast that with the clean modern lines in the museum.”

Their guest count of 75 was “just right” for their reception in Fusco Hall, which featured dancing to DJ Mike Simmons.

Capping off the night was a very popular visit from an ice cream truck, which enabled them to make use of the terrace after all. In lieu of a cake, the UDairy frozen treat complemented the cake bites and chocolate fondue laid out by Brandywine Catering, which catered the plated dinner.

THE EXPERIENCE: The perfect venue for Andrew & Roberto’s perfect day

imageMeghan Newberry Photography. Sculpture: Monumental Holistic VII, 1980. Betty Gold (born 1935). Cor-Ten steel (TM), 168 × 96 × 108 in. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Sidney M. Feldman, 1980. © Betty Gold.

Andrew Lukashunas and Roberto Torres tied the knot in October 2022.

After getting dressed in one of the large conference rooms in the Museum’s education wing, they made their way outside.

Their ceremony was in the Copeland Sculpture Garden, with the wedding procession entering the aisle directly behind the Crying Giant sculpture. A beautiful stone wall in the garden served as the ceremony’s backdrop.

After the vows, photos with loved ones were staged in the grass. Other photos included a snap in front of the Chilhuly glass, and the pair posed in front of the Museum after dark for a romantic shot featuring the windows and two-story arches filled with red light.

This couple was able to make use of the (tented) terrace for their cocktail hour, moving inside to Fusco Hall for a sit-down dinner, with food from Toscana Catering  (which went the extra mile to create custom ocean fare for seafood-lover Torres) and a reception for 120 guests. The couple says they are still getting compliments on the food all these months later.

Christine Jennings of Ever Lively Events served as the day-of coordinator for the wedding. She says that the linens can be so important because the tables take up so much real estate, noting that, “Roberto and Andrew were so open-minded and fun to work with. They leaned into the aesthetics of the Museum.”

In turn, Lukashunas says, “She helped us take some bold colors and blend them into a theme that looked extraordinary.” The orange linens on the terrace tables matched the napkins on the dinner settings, which made for an excellent color pop against the navy-and-white geometric-print tablecloths inside. The fun hues played off the warm golden paint that bedecks the front wall of Fusco Hall, as well as the art in that hall, and were also featured on the cake topper that crowned the cupcake tower.

Floral arrangements, from DiBiaso’s Florist, incorporated bold colors, and were, as Lukashunas called them, “unobtrusive.” With a base of red, orange, and yellow, with blue and green accents, all the flower colors put together flowed into the handful of rainbow-colored accents, such as a cupcake tower and macaron towers provided by Michele Mitchell Pastry Designs

Music for the ceremony and cocktail hour was provided by the Wilmington String Ensemble and Deejay Howard of Blue Root Entertainment

Rumor has it, the wedding party hit the nearby Grottos Pizza en masse once the wedding festivities had concluded, before settling at The Westin for the night.

Lukashunas says, “I cannot stress this enough: we would not change a single thing about our wedding. The Museum was the perfect venue, and … everything went off without a hitch.”

He added, “Lauren McMahon [Museum Event and Rentals Manager] is a delight to work with; she has a wonderful tasteful eye and a calm and cool presence, and her lighting and signage recommendations were perfection.”

With the goal of making wedding preparations easy for the renter,  McMahon says of couples, “Once they choose their vendors, I connect with each of them, and we all work together.”


The Museum has an excellent list of approved caterers and preferred vendors, and will also work with vendors couples may choose outside that list.

Wilmington’s Jamestown Catering is a regular partner of the Museum, and Catering and Events Manager Ashley Ghione says the Museum setting facilitates creative menu planning. “We’ve created menus that vibe with the sculptures that are outside, and others that work with specific eras, themes, and exhibitions,” she says.

While they serve plenty of the familiar wedding fare, such as shrimp cocktail, soup shooters have become very popular in recent years. And sometimes they’ll create a new take on a classic, like Beef Wellington. Jamestown specializes in full-service catering, meaning they will help with anything from coordinating limos to rental of furniture, such as chaise lounges and boho furniture arrangements … and even rugs. Champagne wall rentals are a popular wedding choice, and Jamestown can fulfill such Instagrammable setups to complement the everywhere-art.

Ashley Black is the owner of Fantail Photography in Kennett Square, PA. She says that the Museum offers cool options in terms of indoor and outdoor photography. “Some venues have no indoor options for rain,” she says. “I love the Chilhuly Bridge.” Black also likes the lighting options the Museum’s setting creates, and particularly enjoys shooting at sunset outside the Museum. “It actually accentuates the sunset because it reflects off the glass.” She also finds the Copeland Sculpture Garden presents interesting challenges. “There’s the installation [“Three Rectangles Horizontal Jointed Gyratory III” by George Rickey] that moves with the wind … it makes for a great frame but it’s always moving.”

Flowers by Yukie, winner of well over a dozen Best of Delaware awards, is a frequent florist to the Museum, from weddings to flower-focused fundraisers in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Yukie Yamamoto describes a favorite wedding she helped adorn with blooms, “There was a really long table and I did a high and low flower arrangement. The dance floor was in the middle, and it was surrounded by high tops where guests could watch people dance.”

She complimented the Museum’s offerings, from interior contemporary spaces (which work well with blossoms such as orchids), to exterior green spaces, which can offer a country feel when floriated wooden arches are employed, and noted that there are opportunities to start with flowers outside and later bring them in. She sees the guest count and format as drivers of the floral plan, with sit-down dinners and cocktail buffets dictating different botanical choices.

“You could not have a more beautiful place to have a wedding,” says Yamamoto.


McMahon adds that just about everything at the Museum’s is flexible, except perhaps for start time, as the Museum stays open until 4 p.m. on typical wedding days. The earliest weddings typically begin no sooner than 6 p.m., but both vendors and wedding parties are welcome to arrive earlier in the day for setup, hair and makeup, and dressing.

“We have two conference rooms here that we use as suites for the wedding party. They have natural light, full length mirrors, closets for hanging clothing, and restrooms close by.” Your wedding can last until midnight. You’re welcome to return the next day to pick up items that have been stored on-site.

The Museum works with parties to consider indoor and outdoor spaces, for ceremonies, receptions and photo opportunities. The largest fully indoor space can accommodate a seated dinner for 130, and adding a heated/fan-cooled tent on the Museum terrace can increase capacity to 175. Standing cocktail receptions offer large capacity options as well.

Rain is always a worry for outdoor vows, and the Museum offers an indoor alternative for any ceremony.

With 85 dedicated parking spaces, as well as street parking, arrivals and departures are easy for guests—even if your ceremony requires guests to spend a brief period on the grass, you won’t need to subject your guests to muddy or rocky pathways to temporary parking in fields.

Both main entrances to the museum are easily accessed by shuttles, and ADA accessibility is built into our indoor spaces.

Climate control is very important to the Museum’s regular operations, so guests are neither likely to feel extreme cold nor heat, nor the humidity that is as bad for hairdos as it is for paintings.

The Museum also offers museum passes to share with all of the guests, whether in your favors, thank you notes, or hotel welcome baskets. The couple also receives a one-year museum membership.

Tables and chairs are included in your rental fee, as well as china, glassware, and flatware and access to a kitchen for your caterer. (Some limitations apply.)

Options you can choose to add onto your budget include special lighting (which often is part of a DJ’s offerings), video projection, photo booth, a coat check, and valet.

With a range of options to choose from starting at $1,000, Nassif says the cost of holding a wedding at the Museum is “so reasonable.”

Contact Lauren McMahon to schedule a walk-through and book your artful museum wedding: lmcmahon@delart.org