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By Jessica Green | August 25, 2015 | Lifestyle
Philadelphia brides planning an autumn wedding look to dramatic venues, gorgeous gowns, and special amenities to help create their perfect day.
Philadelphia newlyweds steal a loving glance outside Independence Hall.
With its colorful leaves and crisp air, fall already boasts a scenic backdrop for a wedding. Whether your vision is full of classic features and traditional touches or you and your to-be desire something more modern and detailed, Philadelphia sets the ultimate scene. And while your venue choice puts your vision in place, it’s all the small elements that make your day unforgettable. To enhance that vision, we filled these pages with all those special details—invitations, cake designs, dresses, flowers, and hotels—to make your dream wedding a reality.
1. Heel, Manolo Blahnik ($1,125). Saks Fifth Avenue, 2 Bala Plaza, Bala Cynwyd, 610-667-1550
2. Wedding band in 14k rose gold with .29-carat round-cut diamonds ($1,050). Golden Nugget Jewelry, 800 Chestnut St., 215-925-2777
3. Wedding gown, Berta Bridal ($8,200; detachable train is $1,100). The Wedding Factor, 114 N. 21st St., 267-861-0409
4. The wrought-iron Meudon Gate in the Rodin Museum garden is a popular spot for wedding ceremonies.
5. “Grecian-style” invites, The Papery. 1219 Locust St., 215-922-1500
6. Embellished necklace, Maria Elena ($712). The Wedding Shoppe, 503 Lancaster Ave., Wayne, 610-293-1299
“Nothing says Philadelphia like a wedding at the Art Museum,” says Angela Malicki of Angela Malicki Events (347 Nutt Road, Phoenixville, 267-253-0573). “The [couple] can host the wedding inside or under a tent to create the ambience [they] dream of.” The main building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., 215-763-8100) is the most popular area for weddings, with a seated dinner for 120 guests or a cocktail-style reception for up to 350 guests. Smaller weddings can be held in the Perelman Building, which, according to Camille Focarino, CSEP director of special events at the museum, “provides a contemporary yet classic feel in a sky-lit Art Deco space.” The third venue space is inside the Rodin Museum (2154 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., 215-763-8100). “Weddings at the Rodin Museum have a more intimate feel,” says Focarino. “It offers a pristine garden and fountain surrounded by romantic sculptures from Auguste Rodin. The centerpiece of the Rodin Museum is the white alabaster sculpture of lovers in embrace, aptly titled The Kiss.” A bonus for all space options: Catering is done exclusively by Stephen Starr Events.
Decorating any of these museum spaces is as simple as romantic up-lighting and tall tree-like centerpieces, says Malicki. “[It] brings the outdoors into an intimate setting—think Rittenhouse Square with the trees blooming.” She also suggests renting furniture and creating a lounge that overlooks the city (from the Art Museum) or the flag-filled Parkway (from the Rodin).
These grand surroundings often evoke the same sense of wonder that brides and grooms experienced there as kids. “Couples that come to the museum are often enamored with its cultural verve, and have childhood memories of being here,” says Focarino. “[A wedding here is] inspiring and sophisticated. The art and architecture offer an unparalleled setting for a special occasion. From the avant-garde to the classical, a couple’s personal style can be tailored with signature cuisine and design.”
1. Pearl clutch, Judith Leiber ($2,295). Neiman Marcus, King of Prussia Mall, 610-962-6200
2. 18k white-gold 3.81-carat diamond earrings, Gabriel & Co. ($9,955). Bernie Robbins Jewelers, 507 New Road, Somers Point, NJ, 609-927-4848
3. Pump, Christian Louboutin ($695). Saks Fifth Avenue, 2 Bala Plaza, Bala Cynwyd, 610-667-1550
4. Wedding gown, Theia ($1,595). La Belle Mariée, 14 Summit Square Shopping Center, Langhorne, 215-860-6400
5. A real production: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts provides a dramatic wedding venue.
6. Gold cable cigar band cuff links, David Yurman ($650). King of Prussia Mall, 610-265-6370
Home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Perelman Theater, and the Academy of Music, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (300 S. Broad St., 215-670-2300) is pitch-perfect for the city bride. The Kimmel Center features two venue options: the Perelman Theater, which provides the largest space, with room for 350 for a seated dinner, and the Hamilton Garden on the atrium rooftop. The atrium is a favorite of Christiane Lehman, owner of wedding planning firm Truly You Events (1530 Locust St., 610-745-8830). “With floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides of the space, the natural light pours in on the hardwood floors to create a modern, clean canvas for any special occasion,” she says.
A memorable wedding Lehman helped orchestrate took a cue from the garden feeling of the Atrium. “Eight-foot-tall trees with twinkle lights lined the aisle and warmed up the ceremony space beautifully,” says Lehman. “For the dining tables, we worked with Garces Catering, the exclusive caterer for the Kimmel Center, to create an interesting, modern reception layout with a mix of rectangular and round tables.” The end result was a wedding that mixed city and garden together equally.
1. 16.14-carat pear diamond center cut set in platinum engagement ring, Forevermark (price on request). Morton & Rudolph, 1900 Marlton Pike E., Cherry Hill, NJ, 856-424-1101
2. Floral arrangement, Petit Jardin en Ville. 134 N. Third St., 215-923-1600
3. Velvet bow-tie, Commonwealth Proper ($125). 1839 Chestnut St., 267-319-1741
4. Wedding gown, Nicole Miller ($2,200). Nicole Miller at the Bellevue, 200 S. Broad St., 215-546-5007
5. Earrings, Adornia ($895). Joan Shepp, 1811 Chestnut St., 215-735-2666
6. From 60 guests to 600, Valley Forge Casino Resort can accommodate any size wedding.
Valley Forge Casino Resort (1160 First Ave., King of Prussia, 610-354-8118) is a vacation destination for locals and out-oftowners alike. So it’s no surprise that the large ballrooms and extensive party options also make for a great wedding locale. “Valley Forge Casino Resort offers weddings for any style and budget,” says Jennifer Galle, chief marketing officer of the resort. “What makes us unique is the ability to offer five different ballrooms, overnight accommodations, and entertainment all under one roof.” The ballrooms range from intimate (maximum 125 guests) to grand (up to 590 guests), with each offering elements like a grand staircase in the Venue Ballroom and large windows in the Valley Forge Park Ballroom. Valley Forge has also recently welcomed some changes. Valley Beach Poolside Club, an open-air bar with private cabanas, a beach, and entertainment stage, is ideal for entertaining wedding guests before October. And Luke Palladino’s new steakhouse—LP Steak—will seat up to 205 people inside the resort, and with a mix of fine dining and to-go menus, it is the ultimate spot for a rehearsal dinner or post-wedding meal.
The resort is also all-inclusive—a feature that Shannon Wellington, owner of Bottle Pop Party Company (20 Brandywine St., Chadds Ford; 158 N. Third St., 610-324-3091), a wedding, event planning, and design firm, says is the biggest perk. “We love all-inclusive locations like Valley Forge Casino Resort for the couple that needs convenience and a five-star wedding,” she says. “Your guests can stay at the hotel on site, go crazy at the clubs for your bachelorette party, meet up for dinners, and celebrate your entire wedding day without leaving the resort.” To make the day-of stand out from the rest of the weekend’s activities, Wellington recommends using your individual style. “We suggest getting creative with your color scheme and theme,” she says. “Lighting will also play a huge part in the vibe you’re going for and will make your florals shine.”
1. Higher ground: The Trump National Golf Club, seen here from the course’s 18th hole, boasts panoramic views of the Philadelphia skyline.
2. Wedding gown, Carolina Herrera ($7,990). Elizabeth Johns, Suburban Square, 46 St. James Pl., Ardmore, 610-649-8100
3. .26-carat micro-pavé emerald diamond center quilted engagement ring, A. Jaffe ($2,200). Benari Jewelers, 3606 W. Chester Pike, Newtown Square, 610-355-1800
4. Pink ombré cake, Bredenbeck’s Bakery. 8126 Germantown Ave., 215-247-7374
5. Fragrance, Miss Dior ($185 for 0.5 oz.). Saks Fifth Avenue, 2 Bala Plaza, Bala Cynwyd, 610-667-1550
An elegant clubhouse wedding with a view of a golf course is sure to pull at the preppy couple’s heartstrings. Trump National Golf Club (500 West Branch Ave., Pine Hill, NJ, 877-450-8866), located on the highest point in Southern New Jersey, boasts a ballroom with crystal chandeliers and a view of not only the golf course below but the Philadelphia skyline. “The couple looking for a classic venue will find a sweet spot in this beautiful country club setting,” says Phyllis Jablonowski, owner and CEO of Eventricity (115 Tennis Ave., Glenside; 4700 Drexelbrook Dr., Drexel Hill, 215-886-0202). “Photos on the grounds’ indoor and outdoor spaces create a beautiful and welcoming entry.”
Trump National offers two main packages that include an hour of hors d’oeuvres and a list of hot and cold bites (think assorted mini quiches and shrimp cocktail), open bar, Champagne wedding toast, and a dinner selection consisting of options like Tuscan chicken and almond salmon. To decorate the space, Angela Malicki of Angela Malicki Events (347 Nutt Road, Phoenixville, 267-253-0573) suggests going big. “[Use] lush, large seasonal arrangements that complement the room [and] fabulous linens and table décor,” she says. Jablonowski suggests taking advantage of the views by mixing high and low centerpieces. Of course, all these details only add to the biggest feature of the space—the golf course. “[It’s] great for the guys who want a golf outing before the big day,” says Malicki. After seeing the vast views, we think the bride may want to take a swing, too.
National bridal retailer BHLDN is at the forefront of fall trends, offering blush tones and two-piece gowns.
Classic silhouettes, like the princess-inspired ball gown and fitted mermaid, will always be in style, but this season Philly brides look to couture catwalks for extra wedding day inspiration—starting with color.
“Gold, pink, and blush [tones] are huge for fall,” says Nilah Petschelt, owner of Nilah & Company (36 W. Eagle Road, Havertown, 610-853-9822), a bridal boutique best known for its elaborate, oneof- a-kind veils and headpieces. Lindsey Robers, merchandise manager at national bridal retailer BHLDN (multiple locations), says that the popularity of color reinforces the fact that today’s brides aren’t afraid to explore options outside classic whites and creams. “She’s willing to wear soft blushes, ivory tones, and subtle metallic hues,” says Robers. “The look stays rooted in bridal, but adding a touch of color creates dimension and really pops in photos.”
To create this look, gown designer Irina Sigal (2038 Locust St., 215- 772-1121) advises adding a colored overlay. “Some girls have straight dresses and ask to have a detachable sheer skirt in tulle or chiffon,” says Sigal, whom the who’s who of Philadelphia call for custom dresses of all kinds. “This is where the color trend is fabulous because we can use shimmery fabric or light pink to put over the gown, creating a watercolor effect.” For brides who like the trend but still want to embrace white as their main color, accessories are the answer. “For the more traditional girl wearing white, we see a lot of blush or pink-colored shoes with roses or other adornments to add a little bit of pop,” says Sigal. “And there’s always the Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, and Badgley Mischka metallic glitter shoes, which have become a staple.”
But brides aren’t stopping with just color—crop tops and two-piece dresses, too, have made their way from the runway to the aisle. “We are seeing a lot of two-piece dresses,” says Sigal. “[They] usually consist of a lace bustier and full skirt made up of organic fabrics and neutral-toned layers.” Robers adds that separates allow brides to customize their look even further. “There are incredible options, ranging from corsets and camisoles with skirts, or lace toppers over strapless dresses,” she says. And while the trend may seem to attract more contemporary tastes, conservative brides are also giving separates a second look. “We’re seeing it in a boho chic version, but more formal fabrics, something [with a] tulle or satin skirt with a lace crop top, make it a little dressier and formal,” says Petschelt.
Pantsuits are also having a matrimonial moment, emerging as the chic alternative to the pared-down “second dresses” usually worn for the reception or other wedding events. “Pantsuits can be worn at the rehearsal dinner or at brunch the morning after the big day, especially for a destination wedding,” says Petschelt, who adds that brides are embellishing the menswear-inspired look with statement accessories. “They are all about the shoes and oversized jewelry like cuff bracelets in crystals, rhinestones, and diamonds.”
More subtle style trends for the season include back detailing— “embellishments, lace, embroidery, and peekaboo backs continue their popularity this fall,” says Robers. “The front of the dress is classic, a little modest even, until the bride turns around and reveals this amazing back. It adds the perfect amount of drama and fashion-forwardness.” And including small additions, like incorporating the lace of your mother’s dress into the hem or bodice of your own, is a trend that Sigal has seen grow each season. “We get at least two calls per week asking what we are able to do with their mother’s gown—the answer is anything.”
From custom Playbills to Philly-favorite soft pretzels, for The Ritz-Carlton, catering to wedding parties is all about detail and gift-giving finesse.
Every bride-to-be knows there’s so much more to a wedding than just the ceremony. From floral arrangements to frosting flavors, every finishing touch needs to be flawless. To help brides and grooms celebrate, Philadelphia hotels have been stepping up their game, providing luxe amenities of all kinds for the happy couple and their wedding guests—and the more personal, the better. “Everyone has such a different idea of what’s important to them, so we look for suggestions to ensure they are part of the day,” says David Brennan of The Wayne Hotel (139 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, 610-687-5000).
At The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia (10 Avenue of the Arts, 215-523-8000), the staff specializes in small gestures. “Through conversation over the course of a few months with one of our brides, we found that she had a passion for Broadway. She enjoyed keeping Playbills from the shows as mementos, so we recapped the day in a Playbill for her to enjoy after the big day,” says Bradley Pacana, The Ritz’s director of sales and marketing. Wedding guests also get to enjoy the Ritz’s giftgiving finesse in the form of a Philly favorite: Soft pretzels in the shape of the couple’s last initial are handed out as a goodnight snack.
Newlyweds staying at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel (1200 Market St., 215-231-7212) return to their bridal suite to find an unexpected present: embroidered pillow cases. “We have an onsite seamstress who embroiders ‘Mr. and Mrs. So and So’ in red thread along with the date of their wedding,” says catering manager Andreea Denes. “While the reception is taking place, our staff sets up the pillow cases, sprinkles the floor of the suite all the way to the bed with red rose petals, and sets out chocolate-covered strawberries and Champagne. This is all included in the wedding package, along with the complimentary suite for the night.”
The Sofitel can accommodate 300 reception guests in its grand Paris Ballroom with the same panache as it accommodates the bride and groom in one of its suites.
Monogrammed robes are just one of the many extras available to couples who indulge in the Pick Your Perks promotion at Hotel Palomar (117 S. 17th St., 215-563-5006). The more rooms the bride and groom book, the more perks they are able to enjoy during their stay, including complimentary suite upgrades, breakfast in bed, and specially priced in-room spa services. Couples who luxuriate in spa and salon services at The Rittenhouse Spa & Club—Hair by Paul Labrecque (210 W. Rittenhouse Sq., 215-546-9000) are also gifted monogrammed robes to take home as plush wedding presents. Aside from pre-wedding prep—updos, makeup, and nails for the ladies, and, in the barbershop, haircuts and straight-razor shaves for the men—many couples work with the spa and salon to coordinate special services throughout their wedding weekend. “Couples can set up a day of private services in our spa suite so that guests receive mini treatments, as a welcome, to kick off the festivities,” says Rittenhouse Spa & Club Director Laura Lambert. She adds they can also collaborate with the team at Lacroix to orchestrate brunch, mimosas, decadent desserts, or anything else the bridal party or its guests might crave.
Still, tried-and-true touches remain staples for the couple-to-be. At The Wayne Hotel, brides and grooms are met at check-in with welcome bags and gourmet in-suite refreshments like cheese plates and Champagne. The Sofitel Philadelphia (120 S. 17th St., 215-569-8300) greets the new couples with a suite filled with sweet treats and chilled Champagne as they return from their wedding. The Ritz- Carlton keeps the courtesies coming after the reception, offering a rose petal turndown as a surprise. “As the evening is winding down, the bride might ask if we can move some of the flower arrangements into the suite,” says Pacana.
And any Philadelphia wedding wouldn’t be complete without some local flavor—literally. Just as the Ritz-Carlton passes out soft pretzels, the Loews offers Philly cheesesteak stations, water ice martinis, and local beer selections as part of its customizable menus. Couples here can also opt for the ultimate ode to Philadelphia: signature wedding cakes adorned with sketches of the Philadelphia skyline.
photography by pictures by todd photography