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This New Year’s Eve Wedding Sparkles in the Brandywine Valley

Photos by Versano Photography

A Brandywine Valley wedding celebrates the arrival of a new year with winter glamour and an abundance of festive touches.


Sam and Sonia DeMarco initially planned for an October wedding, but when they were looking at available dates, they saw that Dec. 31 was available. “On the drive home, we both brought up how fun a New Year’s Eve wedding would be,” Sonia recalls. “Friends and family were all so excited to have a reason to get all dressed up for NYE.”


The couple envisioned a timeless theme with a hint of New Year’s Eve sparkle. They opted for a formal winter vibe—black accentuated by pops of gold. Since the reception would last into the early hours of 2023, having an on-site hotel with all-inclusive packages made the most sense. A quaint suburban setting was also important to the couple.

bride sonia and bridesmaids
SoniaLocated just outside Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the Mendenhall Inn perfectly fit the bill. The village of Mendenhall was incorporated in 1881 and named after its leading citizen, Elwood Mendenhall, though the original inn was torn down in 2002. A barn on the property was converted into a restaurant in 1982. Eight years later, the Hionis family added a 70-room hotel. “The grand stairwell and chandelier were huge draws for us,” Sonia says of the Mendenhall’s ballroom. “We wanted a wow factor.”

bride sonia and groom

Sonia and Sam first met in 2014 on a high school senior week trip to Wildwood, New Jersey. Years later, they were engaged in Cancun, Mexico, on a getaway they planned in honor of Sonia’s birthday and her graduation from nursing school. “He gave me my birthday card, and while I was reading it, got down on a knee,” says Sonia.

wedding venue

For thee wedding, guests donned fun New Year’s themed hats and crowns at the reception, and sparklers lit up the evening by Mendenhall’s iconic staircase. As a surprise nod to the classic Philadelphia New Year’s Day tradition, a Mummers string band made an special appearance to kick off the party after dinner.

wedding cake

When the party was over and 2023 had been rung in, guests retired to the inn’s comfortable rooms. “My favorite part of the day was dancing into the New Year with my husband, family and closest friends,” Sonia says.

bride and groom