I was fully prepared to gush and gush over that gorgeous Monique Lhuillier gown (because, seriously? It’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on) but then my eyes landed on the florals from Robertson’s Flowers and I got tongue-tied. The flowers are equally unbelievably stunning. And once I started taking in the whole shebang, all I could say was this is a pretty, pretty wedding. So pretty, I’m sure you’re dying for the link to the gallery (especially once you hear Ashley Bartoletti Photography was the lady behind the images)!
David and I met six years ago, when he took a job at a University near mine (we both teach) and we found ourselves coaching competing debate teams. I know, it is pretty much the nerdiest “how we met” story ever! But despite the explicitly competitive nature of our relationship, we became very good friends nonetheless. Within a year we started dating and we have loved each other ever since. I think part of the reason our relationship works so well is that we share the same passions. We love teaching, we love talking about politics, and we love inspiring our students to do this same. So it was largely our nerdiness (i.e., academic pursuits) that inspired our vintage library/speakeasy wedding.
We decided to get married in Philadelphia (my hometown) and after about 5 minutes of research it was clear that the iconic Bellevue Hotel (now “Hyatt at the Bellevue”) in Center City, Philadelphia would be our first choice for a venue and the only place we would really consider. Built in the late 19th Century and then re-modeled from the 1920’s to the 1930’s, we loved the old architecture and classic details like the grand staircase, the ornate ceilings and railings, the huge windows, and the beautiful balconies overlooking the whole city. The “Rose Garden Ballroom” on the 19th floor (where we held our ceremony and reception) was previously the rooftop garden for the hotel (before the hotel was re-modeled) and had almost a ‘Great Gatsby summer dinner party’ vibe which we just loved.
So we decided to go with the 1920’s-30’s Art Deco feel of the venue and make this the inspiration for our wedding. And the truth is, everything about the wedding seemed to fall into place almost immediately. I fell in love with the first dress that I tried on—a blush colored beaded tulle gown by Monique Lhuillier. So we decided to stick with a muted/vintage color scheme and then started working on flowers and design that would pull everything together, like old books and vintage mercury glass for our centerpieces.
One of our all time favorite parts of the wedding design was our invitation! We found an artist who made vintage-inspired movie-poster invitations, customized with the bride and groom’s names, venue location, etc. They came out just beautifully so we also decided to have a large poster printed (of the same image) to greet people when they got off the elevators for our wedding. We then had our wedding programs, menus, and escort cards all made with the same color, design, and art deco font. It was all so beautiful.
When our wedding day finally arrived we were so excited to be surrounded by all of our dearest family members and friends. We had about 140 people in attendance, which turned out to be a great number—very manageable but still very festive. I think that for both of us one of the most memorable parts of the wedding was the ceremony itself. A very good friend of David’s officiated the wedding so the ceremony was very personal and just very us. We also wrote our own vows, which we did not share with each other until the actual ceremony. What we loved about it was that it really gave our guests a chance to see exactly who we are and why we love each other.
After the ceremony was over, the party got started. And boy was it a party! The décor was beautiful, food was exceptional, drinks plentiful, and the band was OUT OF THIS WORLD. The party was literally raging before we even made our grand entrance and it lasted all night long. Every song was a hit and made people feel so good that they couldn’t resist getting onto the dance floor. It was so much fun! Of course the dance party was broken up by beautifully touching toasts and special moments like smearing cake all over each other’s faces.
Honestly, I always thought people were kind of crazy when they said that their wedding day was the best day of their lives. It is stressful to plan and there are so many details to manage and so many decisions to make that it is just impossible to imagine that the day could ever be as exceptional as it could be. But our wedding really exceeded my wildest dreams. It was 100% absolutely the happiest day of my life. And I am so immensely grateful to everyone who helped us make it happen (our family members and friends, our wedding planning, venue hosts, designer, and band) and to our wonderful photographer for capturing all of our special moments so that we will never forget what an amazing day it was.
Photography: Ashley Bartoletti Photography / Flowers: Robertson’s Flowers / Event Design: Robertson’s Flowers / Event Planning: The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants / Ceremony + Reception Location: Hyatt at the Bellevue, Rose Garden Ballroom / Band: EBE Paris / Invitations: The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants / Shoes: Coloriffics, Jayla / Dress Designer: Monique Lhuillier, “Candy” (color: “blush”) / Bridesmaid Dress Designer: J.Crew / Men’s Fashion: Jean Yves, Steel Tuxedo / Hair and Makeup: Bella Angel / Cake: Classic Cake