Museum News


Tie the Knot in the Enchanted Garden!


The Enchanted Garden at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum is covered in snow as we write this, but soon Spring flowers will bring this lovely space to life, and with it, love will blossom too in the form of 15 planned weddings so far this year.

“You have weddings, at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum?” you might ask with wonder.  Yes, definitely yes!  We do!

The engagement season has been in full swing since December, and we are getting more interest in the Enchanted Garden as a wedding site than ever before.  Why is this?  Brides tell us they are drawn to the garden because of its intimate setting, as well as its quirky and historic background.  The bounty of nature and lovely plantings makes it even more desirable as a venue for that most special and lovely event in a bride or groom’s life. In these tight budget times, it is one of the most affordable spaces to host a wedding in Richmond.

So what do you get when you chose the Poe Museum as your wedding site?  For starters, you get the satisfaction of knowing you are creating a memorable experience for you and your guests.  As history goes, it is hard to beat the site itself, in business as a cultural center of Richmond since 1922.  As the only literary museum in the state of Virginia, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum has a sense of sophistication and an ambiance that you look for in a wedding site.  It is ideal for ceremonies and receptions, and our Bookings Coordinator Amber Edens will be glad to assist you in making arrangements for all the details that will make your wedding day a big success.  Call or email Amber Edens today to begin the joyful process that ends with the two simple words, “I do!”

You can contact Amber at:
amber@poemuseum.org  or  (804) 648-5523

Tours of the garden available Friday-Sunday 12pm-5pm by appointment.




Today Marks Edgar Poe’s 177th Wedding Anniversary


The bride, Virginia Clemm, in a drawing by A.G. Learned

On May 16, 1836, Edgar Allan Poe and his young fiancée Virginia Clemm were joined by a few close friends for a small wedding ceremony at a home near Capitol Square. According to different sources, the event took place at either Mrs. Yarrington’s boarding house at Eleventh and Bank Streets or the home of Amasa Converse at Eighth and Franklin Streets. The guests included Virginia’s mother and Poe’s aunt Maria Poe Clemm, Poe’s boss at the Southern Literary Messenger Thomas White, White’s daughter Eliza, a pressman named Thomas W. Cleland and his wife, the printer of the Messenger William McFarlane, an apprentice in the Messenger office named John W. Fergusson, the owner of the boarding house in which Poe lived Mrs. James Yarrington, one of Virginia’s friends Jane Foster, and a few others.

William MacFarlance, one of Poe's wedding guests

In addition to the number of guests associated with the Southern Literary Messenger, another magazine writer, Rev. Amasa Converse, performed the ceremony. In addition to editing the Southern Religious Telegraph, Converse was a Presbyterian minister. He later recalled Poe’s bride as “polished, dignified and agreeable in her bearing… [possessing] a pleasing manner but…very young.” Of course, Virginia was half the age of her twenty-seven year-old groom, but Converse noted she had given “her consent freely.” Unfortunately, her father’s death a few years earlier had prevented him from giving her his permission to marry, so, earlier on his wedding day, Poe had signed a marriage bond verifying Virginia was twenty-one and able to marry without her father’s consent. Cleland co-signed the document.

Rev. Amasa Converse, who performed Poe's wedding ceremony

In a 1904 letter to T. Pendleton Cummings, Rev. Converse’s son F.B. Converse wrote that Poe “was married by my father…in my father’s parlor…at the Southeast corner of Main and Eighth Streets, Richmond…Edgar Allan Poe came to the house, and the wedding was performed in the parlor, my father standing, according to the impressions which I have received, near the mantel piece and Edgar Allan Poe and his bride coming in at the front. There were very few persons present at the wedding, my mother and the members of the family, and perhaps one or two more companions, which they brought with them.”

John Fergusson, another of Poe's wedding guests

Poe collector James H. Whitty later interviewed Jane Foster about the wedding, and he reported, “Mrs. Jane [Foster] Stocking was present at the wedding, which took place in the parlor of the Yarrington home, where Poe boarded, Mrs. Stocking, then but a slip of a girl, was full of thrills with thoughts of seeing so young a girl, like her own self, getting married; and also like Virginia, she was so little, that she found her best view of the ceremony was from the hallway door, where she obtained a reflection of the entire scene through a large old-fashioned mirror, which tilted forward a bit from over the mantle. All the boarders of the home, and all the poet’s friends, including Mr. Thomas W. White and his daughter Eliza, were present. Virginia was attired in a new traveling dress, and…hat. After the ceremony and congratulations the newly wedded entered a hack, waiting on the outside, and went to a train for Petersburg, Va., where they spent their honeymoon…Mrs. Stocking at the time of the wedding was both young and shy, and on the occasion she said, that she could only look, and look about in bewilderment — for in that short ceremony of a few minutes she was picturing her little companion of the day before suddenly transported into matured womanhood; like in the fairy tales, she was wondering why Virginia didn’t grow taller and look different, à la Cinderella; that’s what bothered little Jane Foster the most; but Virginia looked natural, and never changed an iota.”
After the ceremony, the guests ate wedding cake baked by Mrs. Clemm. Then some of the guests accompanied the newlyweds to the train station where they boarded a train to their honeymoon at the home of magazine editor Hiram Haines in Petersburg.

Possible site of Poe's wedding, Mrs. Yarrington's boarding house on Bank Street

A few days later, on May 20, the Richmond Whig reported, “Married, on Monday May 16th, by the Reverend Mr. Converse, Mr. Edgar A. Poe to Miss Virginia Clemm.” Other papers in Richmond and Norfolk carried similar announcements.

Hiram Haines House, where Poe stayed on his honeymoon

Contemporary accounts attest that Poe was a devoted husband to his adoring wife. Their friend, the poet Frances Osgood, wrote, “Of the charming love and confidence that existed between his wife and himself, always delightfully apparent to me, in spite of the many little poetical episodes, in which the impassioned romance of his temperament impelled him to indulge; of this I cannot speak too earnestly — too warmly. I believe she was the only woman whom he ever truly loved.”

Poe and his wife would be married for eleven years before Virginia succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four. Poe followed her just two years later. Though both died in different cities, their remains were reunited over thirty years later, and they are now buried together in Westminster Burying Grounds in Baltimore.

Today marks the 177th anniversary of Poe’s wedding, and it seems appropriate to conclude this post with Poe’s poem “Eulalie,” a tribute to the joys of married life:

EULALIE — A SONG.

I DWELT alone
In a world of moan,
And my soul was a stagnant tide,
Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride —
Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride.

Ah, less — less bright
The stars of the night
Than the eyes of the radiant girl!
And never a flake
That the vapor can make
With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,
Can vie with the modest Eulalie’s most unregarded curl —
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie’s most humble and careless curl.

Now Doubt — now Pain
Come never again,
For her soul gives me sigh for sigh,
And all day long
Shines, bright and strong,
Astarté within the sky,
While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye —
While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.

If you are interested in learning more about Poe’s marriage, visit the Poe Museum to see a display of artifacts owned by Virginia Clemm Poe. You can also learn more about Poe’s honeymoon in Petersburg at the May 23 Unhappy Hour when Jeffrey Abugel, author of Edgar Allan Poe’s Petersburg, will be here for a book signing.




Poe Museum attends bridal show


On January 8th, 2012, the Poe Museum had the privilege of being an exhibitor at the Richmond Bridal Showcase. Held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, the showcase was attended by thousands of brides-to-be. The list of events included fashion shows and raffle prizes, the latter of which the Poe Museum was involved with in contributing giveaways, such as free bridal portraits in the Enchanted Garden. The museum’s booth (see image below) was well visited, with curious brides stating their surprised interest in the fact that the Poe Museum is such an attractive wedding venue. I even saw some familiar faces from the Bridal Showcase at Poe’s 203rd Birthday Bash this past weekend! Overall, the show was an excellent way for the museum to meet potential brides and network with professionals in the wedding industry.

There is still availability to have your wedding at the Poe Museum in 2012. However, after the Bridal Show interest in remaining dates is higher than ever. With time short, don’t wait to book your wedding in the Enchanted Garden. Contact me at jamie@poemuseum.org for more information.




Wedding Fun at the Poe Museum


Some fun pre-wedding photos from a wedding that took place at the Poe Museum on the evening of September 9th, 2011.

An unusual wedding photo

Some cute little imps paying the bride a visit.

It’s great to see the fun ideas people come up with!

Speaking of fun ideas, why not share your captions for this photo in the comments section for this post?




Facebook Page for Weddings at the Poe Museum Goes Live!


I am pleased to announce the launch of a Facebook page exclusively dedicated to Weddings at the Poe Museum! I encourage everyone to check it out and spread the word. Expect more content in the future.

You can find the page by following the URL listed below:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Weddings-at-the-Poe-Museum/231773503505926?sk=info




The Enchanted Garden as a destination wedding location: Spotlight on Canadian couple Ali and Aaron.


According to a recent survey, May is the 3rd most popular month to have a wedding, claiming the dates of nearly 10% of wedding ceremonies. Though June and August are more popular overall, these two summer months are some of the hottest in the year. With the Virginia humidity, those getting married outside often prefer to tie the knot in the more mild weather of the spring or fall, making May the peak of our wedding season.

The Museum’s Enchanted Garden is a popular wedding spot among Richmond locals, but Virginians aren’t the only ones who comprise the Garden’s wedding demographic. Couples will travel from other states throughout the country just to get married at the Poe Museum. Sometimes couples will even journey from other countries for the experience, making it something of a pilgrimage wedding destination.  On May 10th, 2011, Canadian couple Ali Nikolic and Aaron Thompson were married in the Enchanted Garden of the Poe Museum. The Lumsden, Saskatchewan residents trekked across nearly 2000 miles of both Canada and America before arriving in Richmond, VA. With only prior email correspondence, I met the couple in person Monday May 9th, the day before their wedding. It was immediately apparent that Ali was a huge Poe fan; it wasn’t so much the portrait tattoo of the writer on her arm that gave her away as it was her obvious excitement to be at the Poe Museum.

The wedding itself was an intimate affair, with around a dozen people in attendance. Some came from as close as Virginia Beach; others fresh off the planes from Canada. All the men wore turquoise ties with the image of a gold raven. The day was sunny with a pleasant warmth not in the least bit stifling. Everyone was in the best of spirits, and I don’t think the weather should take too much credit for this. Ali and Aaron had even expressed that they wouldn’t have minded being wed under an overcast sky during a spring rain, which were the weather conditions that had been predicted earlier in the week. The couple said such a thing would be suitable atmosphere for Poe. But the rain never came, and the ceremony went on. Sitting the desk of the gift shop of the Old Stone House, I heard the sounds of the joyful applause of this small yet exuberant gathering of people, and looked out the window just in time to see Ali and Aaron pulling away from that consummating kiss. Shortly after the ceremony, before the couple left for the reception, I asked to take a picture of the two of them at the shrine; and here they are, Ali and Aaron, husband and wife.

Interested in the Poe Museum’s Enchanted Garden as a potential venue for your wedding? We allow rentals of the Garden year round! Email me at jamie@poemuseum.org for more information.

-Jamie




It’s almost wedding season!


Hello All,

Fountain in the Enchanted Garden

Here is the very first wedding post! I know many of you brides are wanting to see pictures of the garden during a ceremony to give you a better idea of the way it will look and so on,  so here are some photos! These were taken by Seth Roberts Photography for Jade and Matt’s wedding September 2010.

The Enchanted Garden before the ceremony

Guests before the ceremony

Walking down the aisle

Ceremony

Wedding Party infront of the Poe Shrine

Jade and Matt

Matt and Groomsmen in the Enchanted Garden

Jade and Wedding Party

Jade and Matt with Poe

More to come! We’re booking up quickly for the rest of the year, send me and email if you are interested in an appointment to see the garden and more information. erika@poemuseum.org

Seth Roberts Photography contact information:

Seth & Emily Roberts
(804) 562-8861
www.sethROBERTSphotography.com
seth@sethrobertsphotography.com

Enjoy this beautiful Richmond day!

-Erika