Top Philadelphia Wedding Planners
BY WENDIE PECHARSKY
Tent set up outside the Horticulture Center at Fairmount Park
There has been an explosion of creativity surrounding wedding planning, as couples look to conceive truly one-of-a-kind events. We spoke to four of Philadelphia’s top wedding planners to find out what has come to the forefront of this season’s celebrations.
|Setting prepared by The Wedding Planner|
Settings With Style
“Wedding décor is becoming highly personalized and unique,” says Kathy Bado of The Wedding Factor (267-408-6025; theweddingfactor.com). “Couples are renting furniture and bringing in chaise lounges and the like to give their venue a special homey ambience.” Brides are also using specialty items like mirrored or butcher-block tabletops, sofa groupings and lighted cubes for side tables, says Bado. Another way couples create intimacy is by using fabric drapes or paper banners and streamers to carve out “rooms within rooms.” This works especially well in venues like renovated warehouses or large ballrooms, which can have a cavernous feel, says Beka Rendell of Styled Creative (116 Arch St.; styledcreative.com). “The use of paper products has exploded,” says Rendell. “It has evolved way past Japanese lanterns. Oversize paper flowers are also very hot. Often they will be hung installation-style behind the band to create a focal point.” Rustic décor is another popular trend, according to Gina Sole of The Wedding Planner (301 S. 18th St.; instyleplanners.com). “I often hunt around for outdoor spaces full of trees and lush greenery where we can set up tents and fire pits,” she notes.
Colors from the Catwalk
Wedding trends often follow the inclinations of fashion and interior design, says Rendell. This fall, that means neutrals and metallics, with pops of color for accents. “We are not seeing the traditional burnt oranges and ambers that usually signal the season,” she says—rather, a lot of ivory, cream, copper, heather gray, olive and silver. “It’s a look of understated elegance,” says Lynda Barness of I Do Wedding Consulting (215-262-8188; idoplan.com). “Most brides want colors that are classic and timeless. They want something that will look good down the road.” However, even the most formal settings are often enlivened by the use of bold hues like electric blue, orange and crimson for napkins, chargers and centerpiece containers, says Sole.
Go for the Glow
Lighting is one trend that literally has transformed the classic wedding reception, albeit in a very subtle way. “Pink or amber light that is projected onto the ceilings and walls is not something your guests will notice, per se, but it adds to the overall effect of the room and makes it look beautiful—and is great for photography,” says Barness. Popular techniques include up-lighting columns, pin-spotting centerpieces and using a wash of color (or colors) on the dance floor. Some couples are even opting for elaborate installations using wall-size screens on which images can be projected. These images can be fixed or rotating, depending on the effect they want to create. “For their cocktail hour, one couple had a wall of falling water; another chose to be married in front of an image of a snow-covered birchwood forest,” says Rendell.
Mix it Up
Multiple musical genres are the rule of the day when it comes to weddings, says Bado. Couples are choosing to tailor their tunes to specific intervals, for example, using a live jazz group during dinner, a salsa band while dessert is served and a great club DJ for an afterparty-type finish. Other options include strolling violinists and even intricate productions by musical performance artists. Says Rendell, “I had a couple who wanted to use an Earth Harp for their cocktail hour.” (For the uninitiated, an Earth Harp is a large-scale architectural instrument whose base rests on a stage or on the ground and whose strings stretch out over the audience and attach to an adjacent structure. Performers wear rosin-covered cotton gloves and run their fingertips along the strings to generate a cellolike sound.)
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ART OF LOVE (TABLE); PHILIP GABRIEL (TENT); SUSAN STRIPLING (PIES)