REAL STORIES: A Kimmel Center Wedding in Center City Philadelphia

January 11, 2011 ,
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What’s not to love about The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts?  It’s probably nigh impossible to find such a dramatic or impressive wedding location in all of Center City Philadelphia.  At least, one that is a contemporary architectural vision in an otherwise traditional urban landscape.  Certainly, Brad and Christiana fell in love with the Kimmel Center with its circular black marble walls, endless slate floors and high domed glass ceiling.   They chose the Hamilton Rooftop Garden for their September wedding and layered classic ivory, summer blue and vibrant green flowers with modern wood containers and organic details for a stylish urban celebration.  The sunflowers were a happy surprise.

[Photos courtesy of Sofia Negron]

These stunning blue and green letterpressed invitations from Two Paperdolls set the tone for the downtown Philadelphia wedding.  Christi’s green and white bridal bouquet was all about texture!  Designed to be loose and natural, we gathered white hydrangea, lady slipper orchids, cream stock, scented geranium and green ranunculus for a “ruffled” composition.


Held against the simple, elegant white sheath wedding gown, the bridal bouquet was dramatic!   Of course, nothing could compare to the magnificent gown Christi selected.  From the front:  simple, classic, understated.  But then, she turned and the entire back of the gown was a deep low V with soft, romantic ruffles to the floor.

The groom’s custom-tailored navy suit, crisp white shirt and green and white stripped necktie felt comfortably festive on a late Summer evening.   The bridal party dressed in different tones of blue: classic navy for the groomsmen and indigo blue for the bridesmaids.  Organically-inspired bridesmaids bouquets were designed using a varied mix of green and blue flowers such as hydrangrea, roses, lotus pods, kermit mums, fern, eucalyptus, lambs ear, coxcomb, scented geranium and spearmint.   Anticipating long hours in sky-rise high heels, Christi invited her girls to wear flip flops for the bridal party photo session.

Taking advantage of the stunning natural light that the glass ceiling provides, guests were invited to a non-denominational wedding ceremony on the Hamilton Rooftop.   A curved aisle led to an ivory draped altar area flanked by tall zinc planters filled with river rock, sculptural iron trees, green orchids and moss orbs.   Modern cylindrial hurricanes and additional moss orbs lined the aisle.

Salvaged farm tables held eclectic natural decor elements, ceremony programs and a delightful guest book composed of photographs.  The farm tables did triple duty during the celebration:  first, as a greeting table for the ceremony; second, as a guest book table and place card display; and last, as a decadent coffee and dessert station.

blue place cards with gold design from two paperdolls

As avid cyclists, when Christi saw our grapevine bicycle in our warehouse it became a MUST HAVE for the wedding.  We placed it next to the farm tables at the entrance and filled the basket with Brad’s favorite bloom: the golden sunflower.

While Wolfgang Puck Catering plied the wedding guests with delicious cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on another tier of the Kimmel Center, a team of caterers, designers and planners turned the Hamilton Rooftop from ceremony setting to dinner dance.  A mixture of square and rectangular dinner tables were placed in a perfect square formation around the space leaving a fully-encircled dance floor in the middle.  Knubby burlap and green silk woven linens provided a subtle textured sage green palette that provided contrast for the natural wood chivari chairs.

Five different centerpiece designs were used in duplicate across the room for balance.  Following the bride’s request for “simple, modern and organic” tablescapes, we used our zinc, modern wood and chrome, zebra wood and antique wooden vessels.  Some tables held multiple containers of contemporary monochromatic flowers; others held a wild mixture of foliage and flowers; still others were designed with precision and uniformity.  No matter the design, we pulled from the same buckets of green roses, green and blue hydrangea, white or green cymbidum orchids, lady slipper orchids, steel blue thistle, green button mums, lotus seed pods, fern, green hypericum berries, horsetail grass, succulents, lady’s mantle, star of bethlehem, green coxcomb, white zinnias and silver brunia.

And, for Brad, every so often, cheerful yellow sunflowers were added for a fresh POP of late summer sunshine!  Manzanita branches were tucked in only in specific designs as an earthy accent but light enough in application to avoid blocking views across the table.

We used zinc votive trays, square heavy glass and stemmed glass cylinders for candle light.  Our antique seed trays were made into monochromatic compartments of hydrangea, moss, succulents, roses, sunflowers, orchids and artichokes.


After a quick city lights photo shoot outside the Kimmel Center, Brad and Christi walk hand-in-hand to rejoin the celebration on the roof.

Wedding Planner: I Do Wedding Consulting
Venue:  Kimmel Center  for the Performing Arts
Caterer:  Wolfgang Puck
Music:  EBE
Photographer:  Sofia Negron
Stationer: Two Paperdolls


  1. I love this color scheme and using it for my upcoming wedding. I wanted to know if you knew where the guys ties were from? Thanks for the help!

  2. As an avid cyclist and lover of sunflowers the photo with the bike and sunflowers is magnificient. Any idea how I can get a print??

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