Oh my goodness, is this wedding crazy gorgeous. Like so crazy gorgeous, I am not even sure what to say. It’s like everything I absolutely adore about weddings (vibrant colors, lush blooms, adorable duos) all wrapped up in one stunning affair held at the always-amazing Horticulture Center In Fairmount Park. In other words, it’s pure perfection captured by Asya Photography and you can see it all right here.
From the Bride… We got married and had our reception at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park. The Horticulture Center was actually the only venue that we looked at. A close friend had seen the venue the week before us and told me that I would definitely get married there; she turned out to be right. We loved the venue so much that we immediately put a hold down for an autumn date and cancelled any other venue visits we had planned. We loved that the Horticulture Center is inside the city limits of Philadelphia but feels so removed and serene. The grounds are huge and we knew they’d provide for gorgeous photos. We wanted to get married in one of the gardens outside, but knew our backup option, inside the display garden of the greenhouse, was an amazing second choice (so much so that we even considered it as a first choice). The small lush greenhouse felt like a magical secret garden with tropical plants, and turned out to be the perfect place for our cocktail hour, with the sun lowering in the sky overhead and fountains trimmed with votive candles at twilight. Our outdoor ceremony was stunning, as our guests had a view of the fountains behind us and the sun-setting picture perfect behind us as we said our vows. Our reception was inside the larger greenhouse in the succulent room. With white lights and plants hanging from the beams, it was a gorgeous setting accented by simple white flowers and candles on the tables. We hung photos of our parents and grandparents wedding days on the lattice wall behind our sweetheart table. All in all, the venue transitioned perfectly with the greenhouse windows, from daylight outside during our ceremony to a twilight cocktail hour and reception under a starlit sky.
We picked a beautiful venue that spoke for itself and added some simple flowers and personal touches. Because there was so much green in the venue we chose dove gray tablecloths and white flowers with pops of green on the table numbers and menus. The color showed up in the beautiful bouquets.
The biggest DIY project that we did was our escort cards. With the help of Dan’s sister we made and canned over 100 jars of homemade applesauce that served as escort cards. We loved the idea of incorporating autumnal elements into the wedding, like apple cider and pumpkin cheesecake. We wanted to do something homemade and I love to cook, so the applesauce seemed really fitting. After the wedding was over our guests had something to remind them of our special day. Many of them called us for weeks afterwards to tell us how much they loved the applesauce… maybe we have a future business!
We looked at a few bakeries but fell in love with Bredenbeck’s in Chestnut Hill. They had so many delicious choices it was really difficult to decide. We chose to have one display cake as well as two additional sheet cakes, which meant 3 flavor combinations: almond pound cake with nutella filling, chocolate chip pound cake with cannoli filling, and butter pound cake with caramel filling. We had little boxes for our guests to take extra cake home, and every single piece went. Our guests told us that this wasn’t wedding cake because it was simply too good. Bredenbeck’s recreates your top tier on your one-year anniversary (rather than us having to store it in the freezer for an entire year), and we can’t wait to savor that nutella filling again.
I tried on dresses a few times, and found it was difficult to decide because every single dress was gorgeous and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted. I went shopping with my mom in Philly and Baltimore (where I’m from) and found a dress I loved but felt like something was a little off—mostly I think it was more trendy than “me” and I wanted to look like myself on my wedding day. My sister-in-law convinced me to try on some more form fitting dresses because I started running a few years ago and she thought I should show off my figure that I’d worked so hard on through endurance running. My maid of honor came with me on a final shopping trip when I found my dress. It was classic with special details and figure flattering. I brought my mom, mother in law, and sister in law back to the store (Bridals by Danielle) to see the dress, and when they all got emotional I was completely confident in my decision. The veil with lace edging was the icing on the cake. I got a lot of compliments and absolutely loved my dress!
I saw the shoes I eventually purchased for my wedding on Style Me Pretty. They were Vera Wang Lavender Label but from last season and were sold out everywhere. They were exactly what I was looking for so a friend helped me hunt them down to a Nordstrom Rack location relatively close to home. They were perfect to me—peep toe flats with beautiful detailing. Half-way through the reception I changed into my sparkly silver Tom’s, which were also a gift to all of the bridesmaids.
Our very good friend’s dad made my engagement ring, as well as both of our wedding rings. The center stone in my engagement ring was from my great-grandmother and Dan had it set in an antique style setting, which was exactly what I envisioned. I used my paternal grandmother’s wedding band during the ceremony and wear it along with a second band that Mark from Engagement Rings Direct made for me. The second band is a diamond and sapphire infinity band. I really wanted unique engagement and wedding jewelry, and find that not many people my age use sapphires. My maternal grandmother used to wear a diamond and sapphire ring that was unfortunately lost at some point; my band reminds me of her. I also wore diamond and sapphire earrings of my mom’s and a diamond teardrop necklace that was my maternal grandmother’s. Additionally I pinned an antique cameo pin on my bouquet that was my paternal grandmother’s. Even though neither of my grandmothers are alive, I very much felt their presence at the wedding as I was so fortunate to wear many of their heirlooms.
A family friend, Nancy, did our flowers. Nancy owns Unforgettable Affairs and stopped working as a florist full time several years ago, but still does a few events a year. We knew she would do an amazing job but she really exceeded our expectations. The bouquets, boutonnières, and centerpieces were exactly what we were looking for. The simple centerpieces surrounded by candlelight were the perfect complement to the already beautiful and floral Horticulture Center.
It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing but there are definitely a few stand out moments. Our first look was incredibly emotional and beautiful; we didn’t talk to each other at all after we went to bed the night before the wedding and it just felt like there was a lot of build up to that moment. Our first look was on a picturesque and quiet side street in our neighborhood. As I walked up the street to greet my groom, one of the groomsmen stood off to the side playing some of our favorite songs on guitar. Tears of happiness streamed down my face and I felt like I was in a dream.
The weather was definitely a memorable component of the day—I had secretly hoped for 80 degrees but the week earlier it had been incredibly cool so I bought a cardigan just in case. Luckily it turned out to be 85!
During the ceremony when our best man and maid of honor walked down the aisle, the best man Alex, who also gave a hilariously memorable toast later in the night, walked right up to Dan and gave him a big kiss on the cheek, one of Dan’s favorite moments of the day.
We first started looking for a ketubah about 6 months before the wedding. We really wanted to get something custom designed that incorporated special elements about our relationship, including our summer camp. We were having a hard time finding an artist we liked that also fit our budget. I started to look on Etsy for artists and kept coming across designs I liked by the same artist so I finally clicked on her shop to learn more about her. It turns out it was one of our friends from camp! She is now working in New York as a ketubah artist and makes stunning watercolor Ketubahs (thepaintedketubah.com). We had a few skype meetings with her and gave her some really basic ideas of important elements and she ended up designing the most gorgeous ketubah. It includes a picture of the chapel at our camp, the pine trees that are omnipresent in the Poconos, and succulents because our reception was in the succulent room. There are tiny corners that are images of the night sky at camp; one of them contains the opening lyric of an old camp song and reads: “We went away when we were very young, to find the person that we would become”.
Our ceremony was really important to us, so we spent a lot of time planning with our rabbi and including traditions that were meaningful to us. One tradition we really wanted to include was havdallah. This ceremony marks the separation between Shabbat and the rest of the week. In this case it also marked the separation between our old lives and our new life as husband and wife. During the ceremony a beautiful braided candle is used that burns brightly because it has multiple wicks. We asked all of our camp friends to participate in this part of the ceremony and they each held a braided candle. It was really beautiful and we felt enveloped in the love of this community. We also took havdallah as an opportunity to turn around and face all of our guests. It was so wonderful to truly engage with everyone during this incredibly intimate moment, being able to give and receive smiles from our favorite people in the world.
During the reception we just loved all the dancing. The horah was terrifying, joyous, and exhilarating all at the same time. Towards the end of the night there was a catwalk dance-off. At the very end of the night our guests cheered for one more song and the band played “Shout”; our friends surrounded us as things got more energetic and we ended the night with friends dancing and singing around us as we danced our butts off, smiling and enjoying every single second of it.
Photography: Asya Photography | Wedding Dress: Bridals By Danielle's | Flowers: Unforgettable Affairs | Cake: Bredenbeck's Bakery | Shoes: Vera Wang Lavender | Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Starr Events | Event Planning: Two Little Birds | Band: Philly Event Group | Groomsmen's Attire: Macy's | Ceremony Music: Amy Beshara | Ceremony And Reception Venue: The Horticulture Center In Fairmount Park | Hair + Makeup: Beautiful Brides Philly