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Modern Philadelphia Wedding Film

From innocent grade school flirtation to traveling the world together on a study aboard program, these two have won my heart. It only takes mere seconds into CinemaCake‘s darling film to see why. And after reading the Bride’s story, complete captivation sets in. Press play to see the entire thing!

From the beautiful Bride… Pat & I had been dating for 11 years – nearly half of our lives – when he proposed to me in the Rose Garden of the White House. When he asked if I would be his girlfriend outside the Ancillae Assumpta Academy library nearly a decade earlier, I replied, “Sure.” Our grade school romance consisted largely of blushing cheeks, slow dances at school formals, chocolates on Valentine’s Day, and a perceived mutual acknowledgement of “I like you, you like me.” Very little conversation. We were both exceedingly shy. Our primary means of communication was actually through letters. The Valentine’s Day card that accompanied the chocolates revealed a whole new person that I desperately wanted to get to know.

Miraculously, we carried the relationship through to high school, where it really grew. I discovered that the relationship I kind of happened upon had transformed into something much deeper; the boy that I had an innocent grade school crush on was the man I was falling in love with.

After much debate, with many family members weighing in on whether it was a good idea to go to the same college, we set off for the University of Miami together. And remarkably, in our junior year of college, we spent three months together circumnavigating the globe on a study abroad program called Semester at Sea. 13 different countries on four different continents – we saw the world together.

Ironically, it was after college that we learned to live apart. He got a job in Washington with the White House press office and me at an international bicycle company headquartered in Philadelphia – a constant Amtrak weekend ping-pong that we played for three years. Fortunately, Washington is only a train ride away, but the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship were difficult. We knew we wanted to get married. We had known it for a long, long time. It was mostly a matter of establishing some stability, getting our careers on track. But on that April day, as I walked to the White House for a “press office party,” I had absolutely no idea what was coming.

That morning after the proposal, exuding elation, Pat and I met our parents at their hotel. When we arrived, my mom was seated at a table with wedding magazines sprawled out around her. She looked up from her iPad and asked, “So what do you think about…” And that marked the official beginning of wedding planning – an incessant stream of questions that came with difficult answers and challenging decisions. The 4-hour flower appointments, the tablecloth debates, the impossible narrowing down of the guest list, the bridesmaid dress quest. Wedding planning wasn’t quite as fun as I had hoped.

But it was all utterly worth it. You know when you look forward to something so much, for so long that it inevitably doesn’t live up to your lofty expectations? That was the fear that crept into my mind in the final stretch before July 20th. But I’m supremely happy to say that my wedding – an event I had been planning for a year and a half and dreaming of for the last decade – was more than I could have ever hoped for. Truly. And I wish that line didn’t sound so cliché. When I really take the time to reflect on the day, I become unrelentingly emotional because I loved our wedding day with all my being and want to do it all over again.

My #1 objective for our wedding was that it would be a reflection of me and Pat. I wanted our guests to know what they were celebrating. While nearly impossible to pick a favorite part of our wedding day, I think I’d be safe in saying it was the ceremony. Officiated by my best friend’s father who had watched Pat and I grow up, he read and improvised magnificently from the script so to speak that I had spent so very long working on. I very purposefully selected specific readings that I thought spoke to us best. I catered the response to the readings to address us and our guests. Before the lighting of the unity candle, I wrote of our families’ heritage and history. Pat’s cousins and groomsmen sang – a surprise we left out of the program. When I told people we were writing our own vows, they’d look at me like I had three heads. And our vows were by far the best part of the ceremony. All in all, it was meaningful, intimate, personal, romantic.

We were originally supposed to be married in the Four Seasons’ outdoor courtyard. That’s what made me fall in love with the venue. I was totally enchanted by it. And when I was told the day before the wedding that we couldn’t hold the ceremony outside in light of the forecast, I was somewhat devastated. Though I have to say, the graceful draping, the flickering candlelight, the rose petals scattered along the aisle, the exquisite pattered lighting – it was majestic and all the more intimate. I’ll never forget the feeling of walking into that room, radiating joy, glowing in elation. And to see the tears streaming down Pat’s face. It seems like such a strange thing to say – but it made me so extraordinarily happy. I had hoped there would be something, but never imagined the kind of raw emotion I saw as I made my way to him – so moved I was the reason for it.

There were so many facets of the day that I devoted enormous amounts of time to planning, but the flowers perhaps encompassed the largest chunks of my time; and I simply can’t find the right adjectives to effectively articulate how stunning they were. The centerpieces were spectacular. The escort card tree was striking. The orchid placed in each napkin was delicately gorgeous. My bouquet, which we had tried so many variations of, was perfection. The orchids flowing over the waterwalls were striking. It was as if we brought a garden indoors, which was frankly what I was hoping for. To bring the natural beauty of outside into the elegance of inside. Rhoads Garden, our florist, outdid themselves – surpassed all my expectations.

I always wear and tend to gravitate toward bright colors. I think it’s why I hate the cold, gray winter and savor the vibrant, warm summer. So I knew when picking our colors that pastels just didn’t seem fitting. However, I didn’t want the colors to be overpowering and blinding. So we added the softness of the draping and some ivory and pale pink to the arrangements, along with silver-lavender tablecloths and transparent Lucite chairs (something my Mom insisted on that I wasn’t so sure about yet looked outstanding that day). But it was the pop of deep pinks and purples that I loved and seemed so fitting for summer and the fun and joy of the day.

I tried as hard as possible that night to savor each and every moment and sort of take mental snapshots. While getting ready, I looked around at all of my bridesmaids milling around laughing, smiling, looking stunning. Click. Tiffany Stout (makeup) and Alexey Kats from Architeqt Salon (hair) did a beyond phenomenal job. They made me and my bridesmaids look and feel magnificent. I especially loved my side-swept curls that I think perfectly complimented my Enzoani lace gown. Just after meeting Pat at the top of the aisle, I remember trying to soak in the room, the flowers, the bridal party, the music, and I tried to squeeze in a quick glance at all of our guests. Click. During the reception, I paused and watched all of my flip-flop-clad family members and friends on the mobbed dance floor swaying, jumping, grooving to our fabulous band the LA Starz, who had our beaming guests dancing from the minute the doors opened to the end of the reception (in my opinion, the ultimate indication of a great party). Click. Just before entering the after party next door, I snuck into the ballroom once more to get a final look at the breathtaking room. Click. And during the last song of the night, I took a moment to fully take in my husband and the overwhelming happiness I was feeling at that moment. Click.

I wish I could relive my wedding day over and over again. The good news: We invested a whole lot of time into finding the right people to help us remember the most important day of our lives, with CinemaCake being possibly the best wedding decision I made. They captured the emotions, sights, and sounds (the latter, perhaps the most important and defining) of our wedding in a way that I think so few mediums and people are capable of and in a way that so perfectly and vividly encapsulates the day with depth and vibrancy. We now really do get to relive our wedding day for which I am so thankful.

Cinematography: CinemaCake Filmmakers | Photography: Susan Stripling | Event Planning: The Wedding Factor | Floral Design: Rhoads Garden | Wedding Dress: Enzoani | Ceremony Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia | Reception Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia | Catering: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia | Makeup Artist: Tiffany Stout | Hair Stylist: Architeqt Salaon & Gallery | Live Entertainment: EBE LA Starz

CinemaCake Filmmakers is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Uber Customized Wedding Packages + A Discount!

When we talk about weddings being all about the details here at SMP, we mean it wholeheartedly! From the dress to the table setting to day-of transportation, you simply don’t want to miss a thing. And that, my dears, is where Uber comes in.

Using an incredible mobile technology platform that connects riders with drivers with the click of a button, Uber makes getting anywhere in style easy and convenient. Perfect for both budget-savvy and high-end affairs, Uber offers a luxury black car service that will make getting to and from all your wedding weekend events amazingly simple. Located in over 120 cities worldwide, Uber even has customized wedding packages (including VIP rides for the bride + groom!) which give discounted transportation for your guests.

Head over here for more information and to fill out a form to get started with your custom Uber wedding package! And just for our readers, Uber is offering $20 off for all new users! Simply use code SMPMIDATLANTIC when signing up. 

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Vintage Hometown Winter Wedding

Every couple wants to make their Big Day unique, but this Bethlehem beauty personalized the details in ways you wouldn’t believe. From a display of vintage family wedding gowns, to a stunning Moravian Stars installation as a nod to her hometown, the design moments are (almost) as beautiful as the love itself. Lauren Fair photographed the whole shebang, and you can see for yourself right here.

From the Bride… Our day was truly detailed, personal, and special – I wanted everything to feel like it was truly ‘us’ and also showcased all the things that I love in my everyday life. I’m super sentimental, love all things vintage, have a soft spot for family heirlooms, and am absolutely in love with my historic hometown.

I also wanted to honor the women in my family who have been amazing examples of love and commitment in their marriages. Finally, while I didn’t want to have a large bridal party (I was in a sorority and have the most amazing sisters who I am lucky enough to have in my everyday life almost a decade later), I still definitely wanted to include them as a special and meaningful part of our day.

The three most unique and standout details were my family-heirloom brooch bouquet (that we made just 4 days before the wedding!), the display of my mom and Aunt’s actual wedding dresses, and the Moravian Star light installation I designed as the centerpiece of the reception décor. More details on those below.

Our ceremony décor was simple so as not to take away from the historic quality of the chapel, which was built 1751. I walked down the aisle to a live sung version of “Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore, because we love country music, not Cannon in D. My dad is from Brazil so we also included a certificate signing during our ceremony, as is custom there (the Bride and Groom actually sign their marriage certificate in Brazil during the ceremony with a witness).

The reception was a all-neutral, sparkly, vintage dream scattered with homespun, personal touches. Mis-matched china on English linen and lace runners were the foundation to our tables. Milk glass vases served as the base for our centerpieces with scattered mercury glass votives. Our menus were hand stamped on doilies. Dinner was served family style on vintage china serving platters. I also was sure to incorporate things my husband loves too during our reception. Our cocktail hour space was turned over during dinner to be a bourbon and cigar bar with large lounge chairs and sofas as well as a custom designed Edison bulb light overhead.

Once things got underway with our ‘Best Day Ever’ – it was a whirlwind, as expected. But each time I saw a little detail I had made or planned for, I knew it had all come together to create a Christmas City winter affair that was truly representative of all the things and people that are special to us.

For our colors – everything was neutral: blush, gray, cream, white, sparkly/mercury glass. The bridesmaid dresses were beaded gowns, the sign carrying girls wore sparkle knit dresses, and I switched out of my bolero into a beaded belt for the reception. The girls all had vintage fur stoles, purchased over the years at an annual sale held locally. The groom and groomsmen all wore gray. The only ‘color’ you’ll see is the blue for my shoes, purse, and some of the details on the groom’s suit and his socks to match my sapphire engagement ring and custom designed wedding band. Sapphire is both my husband and step-son’s birthstone, which is why they picked that for my engagement ring!

Bouquet

My brooch bouquet was made from a collection of pins and buttons that were collected from my Aunts, Great Aunts, mom, and grandmother as well as from my groom’s mom, grandmother, and great grandmother. Our family best friend took on the task of collecting them and each was sent with its own story of whom it belonged to and where it came from. It glittered as I walked down the aisle in the candle-lit chapel and continues to sparkle today, on display in our home. It turned out more amazing and special then I ever dreamed – and it’s something that I am able to treasure for years to come as an remarkable collection of compiled family heirlooms that were rarely seen or used (not many people wear pins these days, sadly).

Wedding Dresses

My mom is from a PA farming family of seven – two girls and five boys. Almost all of my Aunt’s still had their wedding dresses and allowed me the honor of displaying them on vintage dress forms at our reception. My oldest Aunt was married in 1951 (we also used her wedding Bible at our ceremony) in a plain Mennonite ceremony. She made her tea-length dress of white satin, including the traditional Mennonite ‘plain dress bib’ that was worn over the dress to show modesty. The other dresses ranged from a beaded taffeta dress with a train to simple satin A-line dress with applique flowers. We also included their actual wedding photos to show what they dresses looked like on their actual wedding day debut. Overall, it was one of the best aspects of our reception décor. My Aunt’s felt honored and like they were a part of the day and they loved that their dresses got another day to shine!

Moravian Stars

Bethlehem, PA is known as Christmas City, USA (we have a hashtag, #christmascityusa, even). I specifically wanted to get married when the town was spruced up for Christmas. During that time, the downtown area is decked in lights with Christmas carols playing full time from speakers. In addition, a time honored tradition (year round really) is to display Moravian Stars as porch lights or even chandeliers. The historic Moravian Chapel, where we were married, installs a large Moravian Star during the holidays at the center of the altar area. It was a simple, but perfect backdrop to our ceremony. I knew that I wanted to include the iconic Moravian Star as part of our reception décor. I searched high and low and found a local shop on Main Street who was willing to ‘rent’ me 50 Moravian Stars for our light installation. I drew out how I wanted it to look and had a stellar team from Sparks Entertainment do the install. It was sparkly, magical, and such a great tie to my hometown love. It was even listed as the #1 picture on Buzzfeed as part of the 12 Best Instagram’s from the Little Town of Bethlehem, PA

Wedding Programs

Also, I made all of the wedding programs that were super fun and spirited – not just your normal run down of what happens in sequence. I also included three addition side-pocket extras: A card detailing who everyone in the wedding party was and a fun fact about them; our thank you note to friends and family; and a vintage hankie for happy tears. I spent about two years collecting over 130 hankies and each one was different – just another keepsake for our guests to remember our best day ever.

Special People Involved

I think something that wedding blogs sometimes tend to miss is that – especially for those of us who aren’t getting married straight out of college – some significant others may have been married before. In my case, my now-husband has an 11 year-old son from his first marriage who was the best man in our wedding. For being 11, he gave the best speech ever at the reception and it’s something that was so special to us (you can hear it in the film). He wrote it himself and didn’t practice with us beforehand so we had no idea what to expect – it was witty, sweet, and honest. His speech and my ‘first dance’ with the best man/now step-son are special memories that we will treasure as a family.

The bridesmaids were all friends from growing up, originally from Bethlehem, PA. But as a way to incorporate the 10 sorority sisters, I had a ‘flash-mob style reading’ of sorts. Each sister read one verse from where she was sitting in the chapel of First Corinthians 13. She simply stood up from her spot, read her verse, and then it moved on to the next reader. While a typical wedding reading, it is more special to us because it’s also part of our sorority’s founding tenants.

Photography: Lauren Fair Photography | Videographer: Willow Tree Films | Floral Design: Patti's Petals | Wedding Dress: Amy Kuschel | Cake: The Flour Shop | Invitations: Bella Figura | Ceremony Venue: Old Moravian Chapel | Reception Venue: Crayola Gallery At The Banana Factory | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Rings: Ascot Diamonds (Custom Design) | Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Catering: Simply Smooth | Catering: Simply Smooth | Hair & Makeup: Apotheca Salon | Lighting: Sparks Entertainment | Grooms Attire: Michael Andrew Bespoke | "Finally" Save The Dates: Jack's Master | Beaded Belt (Brooklyn): Modern Trousseau | Best Man Cufflinks (Starwars Light Sabers): DaRosa | Bride's DIY Wedding Programs: Cards And Pockets | Cake Topper - Best Day Ever: Detroit Paper Company | Custom Printed Hankies: The Polka Dotted Bee | Day-Of Execution/Planning: Sara Muchnick Of Engaging Affairs | Flower Girl Dress: Heirloom Showcase (Custom) | Glass Moravian Stars : The Paisley Sun | Graphic Design (Pennant Flag): The Ritzy Rose | Lace Runners: Ruby Design Decor | Linen Rentals: La Tavola | Menus: K. Batty Design And Stationary Shop | Pennant Signs: Ritzy Rose | Rentals: Maggpie Vintage Rentals | Sign Carry-ing Girls Dress: Nicole Miller | Table Number Pennants: Byive | Veil: Toni Federici

Modern Trousseau is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Bella Figura, La Tavola Fine Linen Rental and Lauren Fair Photography are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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