REAL STORIES: Historic Philadelphia? Meet Glamorous Holiday Wedding

December 10, 2010 ,
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It was love at first sight for Lauren and Matt.  But during a Will Farrell show at Radio City?  Bet stranger things have happened.  Celebrating their first anniversary this Sunday, Lauren and Matt chose two historic venues in Philadelphia for their sparkling holiday wedding.

[Photos courtesy of Phil Kramer]

The Philadelphia skyline as seen from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art provides a heady spot for formal group photographs.  “Rocky” jokes aside, what better location in Philadelphia offers such dramatic vistas and playful platforms?  Particularly if you time the formal photography window to twilight hours as Phil Kramer and Tangerine did for Lauren and Matt.  The bride’s choice of sophisticated mermaid gowns, mink wraps and vibrant red bouquets for her bridesmaids brings thoughts of Hollywood costume designer Edith Head to mind.  Lauren’s classic Carolina Herrera gown, white mink shrug and glittering bangle bracelet gave her already incandescent glow that extra bit of glamour and elegance every bride yearns for on her wedding day.  Not to be out done, Matt and his groomsmen, in their impeccably tailored tuxedos and hand-tied bow ties, illustrated that the “boys” could create their own confident fashion statement.  Subtle elegant accessories, pocket squares, glossy dress shoes and tastefully-sized boutonnieres were all they needed!  Seriously, what manly-man needs a coat and scarf on a cold December day? 


The traditional Catholic wedding ceremony took place at Saint John the Evangelist, a 180 year old church run by Capuchin Franciscan Friars.  This church has seen and survived everything over its 180 years – fires, floods, riots, The Great Depression, etc.  But it’s also shared countless family celebrations and religious holidays with the Friars’ well-known open-mindedness and generosity of spirit.   During the nuptial mass, the Keystone Boys Choir filled the church with joyful song and reverent sound.

The simple grasping of hands – whether the bride and groom’s on the altar or the bride’s parents’ in the first pew – was all the expression that was needed to demonstrate the power of the moment. 


The wedding reception took place at The Union League of Philadelphia which dates back to 1862 when it was founded as a patriotic society to support the policies of President Abraham Lincoln.  Celebrated Philadelphia architects Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele designed additions to the main building that, combined, expanded the League to occupy an entire city block.  It’s an impressive landmark for an event, one that impresses locals as well as out-of-town wedding guests.  Lauren and Matt’s wedding celebration spanned across its traditionally decorated rooms named in homage to President Lincoln, such as the Lincoln Library, Lincoln Memorial and Lincoln Hall.  These are truly grand spaces with impossibly high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, polished marble floors, leather furniture, blazing fireplaces and glossy grand pianos.


As guests arrived at the League they were invited upstairs for cocktails where our large winter white place card table immediately set the tone for the glittering celebration.  Nestled in between crystal vases filled with white amaryllis, creamy roses and white hydrangea we placed silver trays holding the client’s place cards.  Later in the evening we placed small wrapped boxes on the trays for guests to take as a parting gift.  Each box held a Faberge egg ornament personally selected and addressed by the bride and groom.  We placed framed family photos on some of the League’s elegant carved-wood antique tables and positioned them in places guests were sure to see them as they moved through the party.

Lincoln Hall, with its portrait-covered walls, twinkling chandelier and dark paneling, is downright cozy when filled wall-to-wall with guests!  


One long oval table was placed in the middle of the room as the table of honor for the bridal couple and their wedding party.  We decked out the glamorous table in ivory ribbon linens, gold micro-sequin chair backs and rhinestone-buckled napkins.  Crystal vases filled with mixed white floral bouquets and pillar candles were placed underneath tall “winter trees” with gilded branches, dripping orchids and sparkling crystals.  The variety of white and ivory flowers we used was endless!  White roses, lilac, orchids, hydrangea, lisianthus, tulips, stock, amaryllis, freesia, snapdragon, tuberose…

Mixing gold and silver together seems just plain wrong to some, but not us, or at least, not always.  When the lights dimmed down those metallic tones just blended into layers of shimmer and shine.  Particularly when the shimmer was tempered with the quiet elegance of ivory fabric and dark rich wood.  

Guests were seated at round dinner tables dressed in elegant textured ivory linens, faceted glass vases filled with mixed bouquets and traditional gold chivari chairs with tufted ivory cushions.  Classic decorative elements were used throughout, including silver candlesticks, cut crystal hurricanes, silver or crystal compotes, and glass-beaded chargers.   The client’s gold menu cards were placed on vintage silver easels on each dinner table.

Lauren and Matt just beamed with happiness throughout the evening and watching them share their first dance together was magical.  As it normally does, humor managed to find its way into the best man’s toast.


Living through one emotion to another during the day made it hard for everyone to “keep it together.”  Every so often, like during Lauren’s dance with her father, the emotion just overwhelmed beyond containment.  

Together with the talented pastry chef at the Union League, Lauren designed her dream multi-tiered wedding cake.  She provided long Swarovski crystal ribbons to line each tier and we added masses of flowers to complete the picture.

We LOVE that Lauren and Matt were willing to brave the chilly December temperatures to take advantage of the festively-lit Philadelphia streets.

Happy anniversary you two love birds!  We wish you many more years of joy and celebration!