Brick by Brick
Creating a matrimonial manor
When CHRISSY SWEYER and her husband, PETER, were planning their wedding, none of the venues fit the vision she had for herself, so she designed and opened Wrightsville Manor.
Wrightsville Manor, off Allens Lane on the way to Wrightsville Beach, is a nearly 6,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor event space that Chrissy Sweyer meticulously curated.
“The design process was intense because in order to communicate what I wanted to my architect, landscape designer, and brick mason, I had to draw out every inch of the exterior and interior of the building as well as the gardens,” Sweyer explains. “I feel the result is a beautiful venue that is unlike any other.”
The past few years have been stressful as one would imagine running an event business during a pandemic would be, but Chrissy Sweyer has taken the 120 cancellations the venue has faced in stride.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, Chrissy Sweyer and her team were forced to make difficult decisions to create the once-in-a-lifetime experience for couples and their families.
“Since Wrightsville Manor was a necessary and critical piece of our brides’ wedding days, we had to really push to keep these weddings moving forward and not succumb to a lot of the fear and anxiety over COVID,” she says. “In order for everything to go smoothly for our brides, we absolutely could not pivot from the rescheduling policies we set in place as it would have affected everything.”
Chrissy Sweyer credits her venue director ERIN ST. LEDGER LEA for “her incredible focus, tenacity, and infallible organizational skills” through such a difficult period.
“It was an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but I can honestly say we wouldn’t have handled it any differently, and the feedback from our brides is that their rescheduled weddings turned out even better than anyone imagined their original wedding would be, which is all we could ever ask for,” Chrissy Sweyer says.
No matter what the challenge, she handles the situation with grace as she dedicates herself to providing her clients with the best possible experience.
“We run a very tight ship, and we are obsessed with the details. Every event is different, so there is a little reinventing of the wheel with every event that takes place. All events, but especially weddings, have a unique set of requirements and details that have to be executed and require a ton of back-and-forth communication between us, our clients, and our event planners to ensure our client’s day goes flawlessly,” Chrissy Sweyer says.
Despite the visage of glamour the event space emanates, it all comes as a result of hard work and dedication from Chrissy Sweyer and her team. Luckily, her love of gardening and design helps to keep the space fresh and the venture exciting.
“I think from the outside there appears a lot of glamour, and there is, but this is a commercial property that requires an intense amount of maintenance and compliance. Unless you’re extremely passionate about it, it will exhaust you,” she says.
Chrissy Sweyer’s passion for gardening ensures the flowers are pruned, and the gardens sculpted. She also enjoys adding to and improving the property, so she just designed and built a large brick arched wall that leads to the back garden.
“Designing and adding new features for the venue and getting to see our clients and their guests enjoy it all on their big day is amazing for me,” she adds.
Even though Chrissy Sweyer is the driving force behind the business, Wrightsville Manor is very much a family affair. Peter Sweyer plays an integral part in its success, and she especially loves sharing what she does with their daughter, Scarlett.
“I love nothing more than heading into Wrightsville Manor with her and she being able to see firsthand the attention to detail that must be maintained and the care that we all – me, her father, our venue director, and all our employees – put into each client in order to have the beautiful venue property that’s shared with tens of thousands of people,” Chrissy Sweyer says.
Her background in antique dealing in New York City and Europe, buying and selling pieces at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, gave her the confidence to build this venture from the ground up.
“My advice to anyone in any profession would be that even if you don’t have someone supportive in your life, know that everything is doable,” she says. “Just show up. Showing up is 90 percent of success in life. You’ll figure the rest out as it comes.”
Main photo c/o Peter Sweyer
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