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We understand that there are a lot of factors that come into play even when planning a simple wedding so we’ve put together these answers to our couples’ most Frequently Asked Questions to help you determine if an elopement, vow renewal or microwedding ceremony at my at-home ceremony space, Promise Ridge, is right for you.

Xo

Alisa Tongg, Celebrant

Frequently Asked Questions:

Tour

When can we come see the venue? 

Because Promise Ridge is my home, I don’t do tours—it would require extra expense/personnel to prepare the grounds for non-ceremony visitors and I want to keep Promise Ridge an easy and stress-free experience. I am happy, however, to schedule a consultation to speak on the phone, Skype or Facetime, to explain my process for creating a personalized ceremony and answer any questions that will help you feel comfortable with this as your ceremony location.

Microwedding Ceremony

What is in the microwedding ceremony?

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The short and sweet microwedding ceremonies performed by celebrant Alisa Tongg are designed to make everyone in attendance feel like they are an important part of the moment, not like a passive member of an audience. All microwedding ceremonies start with a ring blessing, have the option for the couple to share their own promises from the heart, and end with all the nearest and dearest promising to love and support the couple in their journey in the days and years ahead. The particulars of each ceremony are dependent on what couples share in their responses to the ceremony questionnaire. The day after the wedding, Alisa sends newlyweds the final version of their wedding ceremony, with every word said during their ceremony.

Engagement Shoots + Photography Workshops

While I am very flattered that people feel such a connection to the natural space and gardens I’ve created, we do not host photoshoots, photo workshops and/or engagement shoots. Promise Ridge, the Living Wall garden and ceremony space, is part of my private home where I live with my family. It would require extra expense/personnel to prepare the grounds for non-ceremony visitors and I want to preserve Promise Ridge for ceremony.

Capacity

I see that there is a 20-person capacity at Promise Ridge, does that count my fiancé/fiancée and me? What about infants and children, do they count toward the 20? 

Because of the limitations of the natural space along the edge of the ridge, there is a 20-person capacity to groups who gather here for ceremony and celebration. Every human who gathers for the ceremony counts toward that capacity. There is no wiggle room. 

We don’t, however, count the professional vendors working the event (i.e. celebrant, photographer, private chef, cinematographer, acoustic musician, etc.) toward that number. All vendors must be approved by Celebrant Alisa Tongg.

Are there certain timeslots? 

We can conduct ceremonies any time of day, so there are not predetermined time slots per se.

The time the sun sets is the biggest factor in advising couples about when to start their event. Promise Ridge microwedding ceremonies include 90 minutes onsite, if a couple is intending to add reception-style catered features (like special dances, a sparkler exit, seated dinner, cake + bubbly, etc.) you can simply add up all of the corresponding time needed to accomplish your celebration goals, to figure out how much time you will need to extend after ceremony. The average couple extends 2.5 – 3 hours, making the total event time here 4-4.5 hours. When trying to determine the best time to plan your event here, type into google, “sunset stroudsburg {the date of your wedding}”. We recommend that 30 minutes after sunset is the latest you would be here. Take that hard end time (sunset time + 30 minutes) and subtract your total event time. That will give you a ball park idea of when your arrival will be and what time to tell your other vendors (photographer, florist, musician) to plan for.

Pets

Our puppy is part of our family, is Promise Ridge pet-friendly? 

Yes, leashed well-behaved dogs are welcome to join at Promise Ridge gatherings. Here on the Ridge, there are a multitude of stimulants (other wild animals, wind, potted plants) so you’ll want to have someone designated to be in charge of your furry friend for before and during the ceremony. The kindest way to include your pup in your wedding celebration, is to have them present for photos before the ceremony and then to have a dog sitter take your puppy back home or to your hotel. It is very exciting being on the ridge, so often even then most calm well-behaved dog, is higher strung in this environment.

Pennsylvania Marriage License

Where do we get a Pennsylvania Marriage License? 

A marriage license from any Pennsylvania county can be used in any county in Pennsylvania. Our favorite for ease of application process (they started a virtual application program at the start of the pandemic) is Bucks County. Our favorite for prettiness of the keepsake marriage certificate artwork is our own, Monroe County. You’ll want to reach out the Clerk of the Orphans’ Court in whichever county you decide to start the process for applying for a marriage license about a month before your ceremony date.

Children

Do kids count toward the capacity? 

Yes every human counts toward the 20 person capacity limit. In order to have a truly magical ceremony experience, we recommend that all toddlers and rambunctious little ones have an adult designated with the responsibility of their safety along the edge of the ridge, so that the couple can focus and be present in the moment.

What Happens If It Rains?

We’re thrilled about all the protection our new beautiful pavilion provides from the elements.

Kristen Bryan Pavilion love and light studio

If it is non-stop rain when you’re here for your ceremony, we’ll simply move the ceremony seating under cover of the overlook pavilion and let the mountain views be your ceremony back drop. Many couples who have been here during on/off rain, venture out along the ridge and in front of the Living Wall during breaks in the sprinkles for some pretty epic photographs. *The amount of vendors here for any event is important to consider especially if it is a rainy day. If it rains, everyone and everything will be moved under cover of the pavilion, taking up footprint of available space you and your family have access to.

Self-Uniting Marriage License

We have a self-uniting marriage license and want to have a friend officiate, is this something allowed? 

Promise Ridge is the at-home ceremony space of Celebrant Alisa Tongg, and is only available for couples whose ceremonies she officiates.

How do most people use their 90 minutes on site?

People usually use their time here like this:
 
  • 0:00 Couple arrives with photographer, first look, dress portraits in Mural Room
  • 0:30-:45 Guests arrive and make their way out to Infinity Deck for ceremony (whatever this time is, is the time you should put on your invitation)
  • 0:50 Ceremony (15 minutes for Elopements, 20 minutes for microweddings)
  • 1:10 Photos with family, groups etc.
  • 1:30 everyone heads out to dinner somewhere, or for couples extending their time here for a family style gathering, this is when cocktail hour, cake and bubbly and/or sit down dinner begins.

Is there a place for us and our families to get ready?

Most people come here camera ready (meaning hair and makeup are done) so that they don’t use a disproportionate amount of their 90 minutes onsite getting ready. Instead, they prefer to use their time here taking photographs, being in the moment and of course, getting married!!! Couples tend to use the Mural Room as their personal space to leave their belongings and take formal portraits. 

Advance Booking

How far in advance can I book my ceremony with Alisa Tongg Celebrant at Promise Ridge?

The Promise Ridge ceremony experience is designed to be easy and non-stressful for couples and their families, so we limit booking to up to one calendar year in advance.

Accessibility

My grandmother uses a cane, how accessible is Promise Ridge for someone with mobility challenges?

  stone steps at promise ridge MaeCo Photography

Promise Ridge is accessed through a garden, a slightly sloped path on a lawn and five large natural stone steps. Guests witness ceremonies (and pose for family photos) from the vantage of the Infinity Deck, which is sturdy and level. We’ve had guests with prosthetic legs and those who use canes and walkers, all enjoy a ceremony and celebration here. Because of the large stone steps, roots and natural stone outcroppings along the natural ridge, Promise Ridge ceremony space is not the best fit for guests in wheelchairs or motorized scooters. The guest bathroom is ground-level.

Music

We really want to have a first dance, is that possible? How does that work? 

Our number one recommendation is that couples hire a professional acoustic musician to provide the soundtrack and dreamy vibe of their big but micro day. Working with a professional musician adds one more layer of care and customer service because they will help orchestrate all those important moments so that you don’t have to be directing everyone.

Our second choice recommendation is that couples prepare a playlist of the songs they want to be a part of their day (for walking up the aisle, first kiss, family photos, and important dances etc.) bring a Bluetooth speaker and designate your coolest friend to be music coordinator for the celebration.

DJs and other outside event-hosts, are not permitted.

Photographers 

Who do you recommend for photographer? Do we have to choose someone from your list?

We’re fortunate to be near so many talented, kind and skilled photographers. We can absolutely recommend everyone listed below on account of their past performance making Promise Ridge couples gleeful. If you have a photographer, who is not on our Approved Photographer Vendor List, in mind, they will need to be approved first by Alisa.

Video/Film

Do you have recommendations for filmography?

Live Streaming / Virtual Wedding Capabilities 

For couples who want guests to be able to participate in the day, hear vows, witness a first dance and toasts – check out:

Florists

Are there recommended florists who can create bouquets, boutineers, and some other special arrangements for our gathering afterward?

Hair and Makeup

Is there anywhere nearby that I can have my hair and makeup done?

Of course, here is a list of salons that specialize in bridal styles.

Accommodations

I think we’ll make a holiday out of this, where should we stay? 

Promise Ridge is located in the Pocono Mountains in the town of Stroudsburg. Condé Nast Traveler Magazine recently designated the Delaware Water Gap as “the most beautiful place” in all of Pennsylvania, and we agree, there are several charming B and Bs, historic hotels and a ton of vacation rentals within minutes.

Transportation

Nearby Restaurants

We want to meet up with a larger group of friends to celebrate after our intimate ceremony, is there a place nearby that is good for moving our celebration to?  

Absolutely, here is a list of our favorite establishments  that will be able to take care of a group.

Videographers

 

 

These are our favorite and consistently dreamy filmmakers, *indicates photo and film packages are available.

More Info & Booking

All of this sounds great, how can I book a date and find out more about extending time after ceremony for a catered celebration?

We’d love to help you start planning your Promise Ridge microwedding or elopement! Please submit an inquiry through the form on our website when you are within a year’s time of the desired date. If you are flexible on the particular date, please include desired month, season and/or day of the week you are open to, and we will respond with all of the available dates that meet your criteria. Due to the volume of inquiries for Alisa Tongg’s Celebrant services and Promise Ridge availability, we only respond to inquires that meet our booking standards (ie: capacity and are not for more than a year away.)