When Arlington residents John and Kathryn Rhadigan purchased the renowned wedding/party/celebration location, The Abbey Estate, in Waxahachie in December of 2019, the transaction served as the culmination of a variety of family goals.
“A celebration venue has always been a part of our ‘Chapter Two – Empty Nest’ plans,” says Kathryn, who spent more than 20 years coordinating fundraising galas, banquets and receptions – just the sort of events for which The Abbey Estate is ideally suited. Additionally, John has served as one of the most requested Master of Ceremonies/Auctioneers in DFW for more than 30 years. Again, the venue seemed a perfect fit.
“It doesn’t hurt,” Kathryn adds, “that we both LOVE a good party!”
Once the Abbey was acquired, Kathryn and John commenced tailoring the storied site to match their respective family members’ talents and tastes. She takes care of venue operations, and John is responsible for finances and property maintenance. Friends and former coworkers rotate for events, and the Rhadigans’ two young-adult children pitch in when their professional schedules allow.
While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on conventional weddings, it has given the Rhadigans time to work on property updates and to create and host COVID-compliant Elopement and Micro-Wedding Packages (celebrations for under 50 guests). Eventually, the couple wants to add a Beer Pavilion and Graffiti Garden. “We also look forward to welcoming retreats and small-ticketed events to our annual schedule,” Kathryn notes. “Most of all, we look forward to future celebrations without masks or social distancing!”
While all forms of revelry will eventually take root at The Abbey Estate, it will always be known as “a great place to get married.” To that end, brides and grooms will discover, if they haven’t already, that there is a familiar face eager to help them exchange vows.
“Shortly before we purchased The Abbey, John was thrilled to serve as the officiant at the wedding of a dear family friend,” Kathryn says. “We never imagined how useful his ordination papers would become! When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, our venue was limited to events of 10 guests or less. We had dozens of distraught couples whose long-planned celebrations were put on indefinite hold and who were looking for refunds. When one sobbing bride told me that she and her fiancé were going to the courthouse to get married because her grandmother had already embroidered their wedding date on a pillow – an idea was born. We immediately started offering complimentary elopements – complete with a local sportscaster officiant and cake and champagne reception – if couples agreed to move their larger celebration to a later date. It worked! I’m pretty sure most venue elopements don’t include vows, cake and impromptu Q&A’s about the Rangers. But ours did at The Abbey Estate!”
For more: theabbeyestate.com