It’s Friday, I’m in love. I’m in love with the California vibe this couple brought to fabulous Philadelphia. I’m in love with the high school sweetheart start. I’m in love with every single inch of the fabulous decor, courtesy of The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consulting. And I’m especially in love with the gorgeous couple, captured phenomenally by Joy Moody Photography. Fall in love this Friday morning in the full image gallery!

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The first time I ever spoke with the boy who would one day become my husband was when he asked me to our high school junior prom over the phone (interrupting Dawson’s Creek, to be exact). Yep, Benny is my high school sweetheart. After first dialing the wrong number, he finally got it right and nervously set our first date for May 19, 2001 – tuxedos and all.

We haven’t left each others’ sides since posing for those first prom photos. Over the next 10 years, we made it through graduation, college, first jobs, an ill-advised move to the suburbs (and then back to the city), and buying our first house.

After a delicious dinner at one of our favorite Philadelphia restaurants, we went for a stroll through Rittenhouse Square, lit with Christmas lights for the season. Under the giant, sparkling spruce tree, he dropped to one knee. In my excitement (after 10 years, who wouldn’t be beyond thrilled?) I yelled “I can’t believe you’re doing this!” Apparently, this exclamation disrupted his carefully memorized speech, resulting in a panicked “uhh… do you want to do this?” to which I replied “YES! Let’s do this!”

The proposal may not have been right for everyone, but it was perfect for us. It hearkened back to that first awkward prom invitation and captured our unbounded excitement and joy.

We got right to work planning our big day. We knew we wanted a joyous, relaxed, fun, and relatively small wedding with all of our close family and friends. And we wanted a day that would reflect our relationship and personalities. Having always loved the simple, clean style and laid-back nature of the California coast – but recognizing that Philadelphia doesn’t share the same forgiving climate – we began to search for a venue with both a beautiful outdoor space and a stunning indoor space (with a great backup plan for rain). Luckily, we found the Fairmount Horticulture Center, a garden and greenhouse constructed for the Bicentennial celebration in 1976. The greenhouse is full of tropical flowers and plants, lending a natural and soft air to our October wedding. We knew the venue was “the one” when we discovered that Starr Events would be providing the catering. Anyone who has been to Philadelphia has likely eaten at a Stephen Starr restaurant, including us – we got engaged after eating at one! It was fate.

As we planned our wedding, we incorporated details about our relationship into the experience, from the “Let’s Do This” signature sign (referring to our proposal story) to the custom drink, “The High School Sweetheart.” As a nod to the California inspiration (fueled by Style Me Pretty on a daily basis), we included rustic materials like twine and wood for the hand-painted signs, weathered pails for the aisle, hurricanes made from self-cut (and supplied) wine bottles, strands of capiz shells, driftwood, and hanging balls made of recycled cork (sourced from Anthropologie). So as not to compete with the natural beauty of the Horticulture Center, we also created our own centerpieces featuring sea glass votives, cream-colored candles, and succulents grown on the roof of my parent’s northern California home and lovingly shipped to Philly. With the help of our friends at the Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants, we were also able to incorporate fresh flowers matching the bouquets into our centerpieces. A personalized selection of wines from the Central Coast of California was the icing on the cake (well, other than the icing on the cake… to which we also added real succulents and a pair of lovebirds from Etsy as cake-toppers).

With the help of all of our amazing vendors, we were able to bring California to Philadelphia. We had a great party while we were at it, all captured in timeless photography by the fabulous Joy Moody and on video by Well Spun, coordinated by a collaboration between the Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants and Starr Events, and with a soundtrack supplied by our band Deja Groove.

Planning: The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants / Photography: Joy Moody Photography / Videographer: Well Spun Weddings / Caterer: Stephen Starr Events / Venue: The Horticulture Center / Cake: Whipped Baked Shop / Entertainment: Deja Groove Party Band / Florals: Flowers by Blossom / Makeup: Make-up by Cheekadee