In 2016 I got married at the beautiful Cairnwood Estate. I chose Cairnwood Estate because I wanted to get married someplace with historic charm that was still within driving distance of our home in Pennsylvania. I had known about Cairnwood as a wedding venue for many years, and after I got engaged it was the one, and only, place I took my family to see as a venue. I knew it was the perfect place for our wedding because it reflected our unique relationship, and our mutual love of travel, history and exploration.
Cairnwood is part of the Bryn Athyn Historic District. We only utilized Cairnwood for our wedding, but I will briefly touch on the other buildings since they can all be visited on the same day.
Cairnwood was constructed during America’s so-called ‘Gilded Age’ from 1892 – 1895 for the Pitcairn family. As a cofounder of Pittsburgh Glass, and through longstanding connections with the Pennsylvania Railroad, investments in oil, coal, and natural gas, John Pitcairn was one of the leading industrialists of his time. The house was designed by Thomas Hastings, of the prominent New York architectural firm Carrère and Hastings. The country house was designed for entertaining and it saw many events hosted there by the Pitcairn family and the local community. In 1980, Cairnwood was gifted to the Academy of the New Church and it stood empty for a number of years. Thankfully it was beautifully restored to reflect its first period of history (1895 – 1916) starting in 1994. Cairnwood Estate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008 and it is now run as non-profit. Today it is open to visitors who want to learn more about the house, and is available to rent out for events all year round.
Cairnwood Mission Statement: “The mission of Cairnwood Estate, as a National Historic Landmark and independent member of the Academy of the New Church organization, is to restore, preserve and manage the home of John and Gertrude Pitcairn as an educational, cultural and hospitality center serving the local and national community.” http://www.cairnwood.org
Glencairn was built between 1928 -1939, and was once the home of Raymond and Mildrid Pitcairn. The structure now serves as a museum that features religious art and history.
Bryn Athyn Cathedral
The main church building was constructed between 1913 – 1928, and dedicated in 1919. It is a gathering place for worshipers of the New Church. The main Cathedral is Gothic in design, but there are also Romanesque buildings to the north and south.
The Bryn Athyn Historic District makes a great day-trip from Philadelphia or the surrounding area. You can explore all three of these beautiful buildings on your own, or take an organized tour. Just be sure to check the operating hours.