Willows Proposal: 'To-The-Manor-Born' Experience

The Willows has the capacity to host three weddings in a weekend, says a local contractor.

The deadline to submit a proposal to Radnor Township for the Willows mansion and cottage was Friday, Oct. 5.

One person who submitted a proposal is Robert McManus, a contractor and Radnor Township resident. McManus told Radnor Patch  that he wants to provide a "To-The-Manor-Born" experience.

"Very, very, very few of us grew up at a manor with pleasant activities... long views, afternoon tea and fun filled nights of live music, dancing and an evening dip in the pool. But if my proposal is adopted, that experience would be possible for anyone who books the Willows for a wedding...or who attends a monthly township event."

McManus said "I see no reason at all why the Willows can't have a robust wedding venue for one, two, even three weddings all in the same weekend. My proposal speaks to this future model...a model that has proven lucrative for other venues. A model that can be realized with a few logistical changes already suggested in a previous open space study the township commissioned years ago."

"Fellow University of Pennsylvania alum Charles Barton Keen designed Rose Garland and the Clubhouses off most of the area country clubs.  Aronomink, Overbrook, St. Davids, Valley Forge are all elegant places that host weddings and social events year round. We just have to remember Keen's vision and embrace this "To-The-Manor-Born" idea...and we too can escape our stressful world for a day, a night... or a weekend."


Caterer Tells His Plan for Willows Mansion

Sara Pilling October 08, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Very cool proposal.
Catherine October 08, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Very cool but the demand is not there, even here on the Main Line. Ask the GM of any of the country clubs listed about their wedding reception and company party bookings: They are way, way down from past years. I hope the township does its research before going with this one
Barbara White Waterman October 09, 2012 at 01:29 AM
I like Jeff Miller's idea for " The Willows." It makes perfect sense to re-novate the house to accommodate larger functions. But please don't ruin the beautiful and the character- Just enhance and make it more efficient ! The grounds are spectacular. Last time I was in the area I hiked up the hill to the porch , and enjoyed the scenery. My father was President of Board of Commissioners and worked tenaciously to get Radnor Township to acquire the property. It is so nice to drive on Darby -Paoli Road and enjoy the landscape.
Robert McManus October 11, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Catherine, I agree family formations are down. This is an economic reality. But new wedding facilities and updated mansions are making lots and lots of money. And none of these facilities are estates! Radnor has more than a mansion. We have an actual estate with a robust history. All we need to do is update the mansion and tell it's story. And the brides and their mothers....will come. Robert McManus
Robert McManus October 11, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Barbara, Jeff Miller is a smart caterer. Mr. Stevens has made lots of money at his Lake House. Open Aire Affairs is a proven commodity. And here are the buts: Brides/Moms like to pick their own caterers. Thus Jeffrey, while good, (I used him for my wedding) would restrict the Willows to his service. Plus we don't need Jeff to expand the solarium and establish the Rose Garland Restaurant. The Willows already has a commercial kitchen and is zoned for 175 diners. Mr. Stevens nets over a million a year at his Lake House on Lake Nockimixon. He did 50 weddings his first year in business and he does 65 now. So perhaps he is looking to make sure competitors keep out of his territory...because his marketplace is now mature? His part of the world simply does not have the population Radnor and neighboring townships have. Delco is one of the most dense counties in the entire state. In short, the township does not need Mr. Stevens as much as Mr. Stevens needs the Willows. OpenAire Affairs wants to add the Willows to it's "stable" of venues that "need tents." So what would motivate Open Aire Affairs to sell the Willows over their Winery in Erwinna? their Smith Playground?, their Pearl S. Buck Estate? Answer? Nothing! We can buy our own tent and pay for it for an entire year with one 5 hour wedding reception! This is why Open Aire wants the Willows. Happily...we don't need them! With the estate back drop, the tent is booked 40 events per year. RMcManus


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