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New Castle County, Delaware

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The Delaware Art Museum  in Wilmington, Del.

Blue Ball Barn
1914 W. Park Drive, Wilmington, (302) 761-6952, www.destateparks.com/events/blue-ball-barn.

Part of Alapocas Run State Park, Blue Ball Barn—which is visible from Concord Pike and just off I-95—was built by Alfred I. du Pont for his dairy farm. Its name, however, comes from the Blue Ball Tavern, an inn and meetinghouse that once stood near the barn’s current location in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In those days, innkeepers raised a blue ball attached to a pole to indicate that passengers in the inn needed
a ride on a passing stagecoach. 

Renovations on the two-story stone barn were completed in 2007, and in addition to offering event space, the barn is the repository of the Delaware Folk Art Collection, one of three state-owned folk-art collections in the United States. Each of the collection’s 50 artists is represented.

For events, the two-story stone building can handle up to 250. There are four rooms, and the largest is 1,900 square feet. The venue also has a 2,480-square-foot courtyard that can be tented. 

Although the rooms have names such as “Calving Room” and “Hay Room,” culture— not cows—now pervades the Blue Ball Barn.

 

Delaware Art Museum
301 Kentmere Pkwy., Wilmington, (302) 351-8530 (direct line for facility rentals), www.delart.org.

Home to a renowned collection of Pre-Raphaelite art, as well as representatives of the Brandywine School, the museum offers several spaces for rent, prepared wedding packages and custom deals.

Some couples wed in the 6-acre Copeland Sculpture Garden, surrounded by nine pieces of art. They can keep it alfresco with a seated reception for 240 on the North Terrace. Inside, the Catherine A. Fusco Hall seats 130 guests and accommodates 200 for cocktails.

Catering and event services since 2005 have been handled by Sodexo. “We are a full-service facility,” says Liz Deroisier, a general manager with Sodexo Leisure
Services. “There’s only a short timeframe to get the museum up and ready after it closes to visitors. We can take care of all the details, so you just show up and enjoy yourself.”

She’s seen party planners name tables for artists featured in the museum. They’ve used postcards from the gift shop as “save-the-date” reminders. One guest had sugary Chihuly-glass replicas on the wedding cake.

For an additional fee, the museum will open the galleries and provide guides on site. 

 

Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
200 S. Madison St., Wilmington, (302) 656-6466, ext. 7103, (direct line for facility rentals), www.thedcca.org.

With its industrial-chic design—the facility was once owned by Harlan and Hollingsworth, which made ships and railroad cars—the DCCA offers an intriguing ambiance even before you add the contemporary art. “The space really lends itself well to a beautiful lighting design,” says Ashlee Lukoff McCullough, former director of special events. (Meagan Mika was scheduled to take her place.)

DCCA sits on the Wilmington Riverfront, giving it numerous advantages. The center often partners with the Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge, where couples can hold the ceremony. Afterward, guests can take a shuttle to the center or stroll along the riverwalk.

The main lobby, which can hold up to 300 guests, is popular for dinner and dancing. Seven galleries are open throughout the event, which prompted one couple to hold a scavenger hunt. Guests had to use cameras to record their finds.

The high ceilings and opens spaces handily accommodate a theme, such as a boardwalk/seaside setting. Or go with the artistic flow. “With the artwork as a backdrop, you really don’t have to go all out,” McCullough says.