It will be nothing like a typical reception hall wedding.
Local musicians and business owners Lori Donovan and Jeff Roberts willl be holding their unique nuptials at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Musikfest's Liederplatz stage, the same stage where they first performed together.
“We have played on that stage for the last seven years, so when it came to getting married, it was a no brainer,” said bride-to-be Donovan. “It’s a place where all of our family, friends and fans can watch. It really honors where we came from.”
The couple met eight years ago.
“Jeff and Craig Thatcher were performing together at the Christkindlmarkt sponsor's party ... and struck up a conversation,” Donovan said. “A few weeks later, we had our first date.”
Eight months later, the Jeff Roberts Band invited Donovan to provide guest vocals during their show at Liederplatz. Jeff and Lori have performed together there every year since.
During this year's show, Lori will exit the stage for a “costume change” while while Jeff plays an acoustic song he wrote for her— Valentine.
When she returns, she will be wearing a simple off-white, tea-length dress off the rack from Girlfriend’s Boutique, which dressed as well provided the sun kissed glow for her and the bridal party, which includes maid of honor Mary Rose Wilson and Lori's daughters Emma, 13 and Megan, 15, as bridesmaids.
The best man is bass player, Steve Harvilla. Mayor John Callahan will perform the ceremony at about 8 p.m.
“After we are officially man and wife, we will perform another celebratory song with the full band — It Must be Love,” Donovan said.
Then the couple will escape the stage, retreating to a private reception at Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room where 80 of their closest friends and family will present their “backstage passes” to enjoy hors d'oeuvres and fill their ‘fest mugs with Brew Work’s beer.
It will be “low key.” Guests can fill up their mug and “come and go,” Donovan said.
Even the wedding cake - consisting of three tiers of cupcakes - is made for traveling. In case you would like to know, “there will be no cake in the face” Donovan said.
There won’t be a D.J. or dancing at the reception either because the entertainment is taken care of: “Just step outside and there is music.”
If you see a mob of 80 people, dressed in casual wedding attire, with backstage passes hanging from their necks strolling the streets of Bethlehem, they are most likely part of the Donovan/Roberts entourage.
Throughout the evening, guest artists will include: Bev "BC" Conklin and Sarah Ayers (from their days with the trio, "The Girls"), Matt Zeiner (Dicky Betts' former keyboard player and co-writer and leader of The Matt Zeiner Band), Brian Bortz (Fusion Jazz Trio), Pat Wilson (Poppycock Babble) and many others.
Guests can also have free photos taken at a photo booth outside of Granny McCarthy’s. Everyone is free to use the booth, but unless you flash your back stage pass, groupies will have to pay a small fee.
As owners of The Lesson Center Music Studios, which will soon add a third location, Jeff and Lori felt it was very important to include local small businesses in their wedding plans. "The whole wedding is definitely Bethlehem-centric," Donovan said.
The wedding rings were purchased at Cleo’s. The bride’s wedding party is scheduled to have pre-wedding facials at Advanced Aesthetics in addition to their hair and make-up done at Blown Color Studio.
"When it came to the details, big and small, including locally owned and operated, small businesses was a number one priority," Donovan said.
Like most brides-to-be would, she admitted to being "a little nervous, but getting more confident as little things come together. We have a lot going on right now. We’re getting married, running a summer camp for 40 musicians, getting ready for our performance and preparing to open our third store.”
Although this type of wedding doesn’t have the same pressures of a traditional wedding with a sit down reception, Donovan said that she has shouldered the majority of wedding plans and details while Jeff is getting the new location ready.
“He is doing construction,” Donovan said. “Rather than hanging dry wall, I am happy to be planning the wedding.”
Both Donovan and Roberts love Musikfest, Bethlehem and all their fans, which is why they are having this event at Musikfest.
“Everybody’s invited,” Lori said. “It's why we’re doing it. Come out to Liederplatz. No gift required!”