REAL STORIES: Laura & Jeff’s Classically Modern Wedding at The Rittenhouse

May 19, 2010 ,
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An endearingly sweet couple, Laura and Jeff celebrated their beautiful wedding at The Rittenhouse Hotel in downtown Philadelphia.  Photos courtesy of Laura Novak.

Dressed in a frothy organza Melissa Sweet “Harlow” gown, matching organza shrug and embroidered Saffron veil, the bride’s only other accessory was a traditional bridal bouquet of Lily of the Valley, Stephanotis and Vendela Roses.  The stems of her bouquet were fully wrapped in a piece of her wedding gown gathered by her wedding planner, Melissa Paul, at the final fitting.   The groom’s boutonniere was simple-yet-distinctive:  just two Stephanotis blooms wrapped in double-faced black satin ribbon.  

One of our FAVORITE photographs from the day, the bride and groom shared a lovely moment in Rittenhouse Square Park.  Formal (and not-so-formal) photographs of the bridal party were taken in this historical park in the hours just prior to the ceremony.

The bridesmaids were dressed in a variety of long black evening gowns and cashmere pashminas kept them warm on the chilly afternoon.  The bridesmaids’ bouquets were composed of ivory, champagne and butter Roses, blush pink mini Calla Lilies and white Hyacinth.

Guests entered the gold and crystal Grand Ballroom and were greeted by a gorgeous setting filled with light pop music played on classical instruments, soft billowing drapes, fragrant flowers, romantic lighting and TONS OF CANDLES!   The bride’s processional was Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” played at a very slow tempo on the hotel’s grand piano and was accompanied by a string quartet.

A large showy display of floating candles and flowers were placed at the back of the aisle on two long contemporary wooden tables.  Whenever candles, mirror, glass and water are put together – miles of magical reflection happen!  This display not only fills the negative space at the back of the ballroom but it provides an incredible backdrop for the aisle.

The couple was married under a suspended Chuppah covered densely with ivory, white and blush flowers.  Our classic white pedestals held fragrant flowers along the aisle and black Chivari chairs were set in a perfect square grid for guest seating.

The Papery provided several personalized “questionnaire” cocktail napkins provided light entertainment during cocktails.  The black and cream motif was inspired by the couple’s beautiful Elum letterpressed wedding invitations provided by Pen and Paper in Bryn Mawr.  Additional papers, such as ceremony programs, place cards, favor tags and menus, were provided by the creative team at ZN Designs.

When choosing the hotel for their wedding, the bride and groom fell in love with the intimate ballroom with its crystal chandeliers and wall sconces, mirrored panels and gold upholstered walls.  “Monochromatically opulent” yet “classically hip” were words and phrases spoken in design meetings!   How that translated in our world?  Square tables were dressed in gold satin linens with matching napkins, clean-edged white square chargers and bread & butter plates, black Chivari chairs with nubby gold cushions, and tons of glass vases filled with flowers and floating candles.  ZN Designs’ cream letterpressed menus with black floral details were placed at each place setting.

Some tables, such as the Sweetheart Table shown above, had collections of vases with submerged flowers, as well as mixed bouquets of flowers and floating candles.  Gorgeous imported blossoms from around the world were used, such as:  white Amaryllis, Oriental Lilies, miniature Calla Lilies, Tulips, Roses, Ranunculus, Orchids and Lisianthus.  The primary color scheme of the flowers was warm ivory with touches of antique, butter, champagne, blush and soft gold.  Small pops of raspberry pink in Cymbidium Orchids and Peonies made for unexpected bright touches throughout the room.  The bride also wanted to see plenty of soft natural green in leaves and stems.   No room is complete without ambient and dramatic lighting, such as the soft amber uplighting and filtered pinspots we placed throughout the ballroom.  The existing chandeliers and sconces were dimmed very low and added that little bit of sparkle every ballroom requires!

The Night Kitchen used the whimsical lace on the bride’s wedding gown as inspiration for the wedding cake design.  Raspberry-hued flowers were placed around the cake for a pop of color.  The family’s heirloom silver cake knife – used by five generations – was placed on the cake table.

As a surprise for the groom, the bride asked The Rittenhouse’s talented pastry chef to create a Detroit-themed groom’s cake.  That’s a tough one!  The city’s skyline was meticulously created using molded chocolate and the rest of the chocolate-fudge cake was decorated in sweet smelling fondant.  Detroit-natives are die-hard Lions fans and Jeff was no exception!

Guests were invited to choose sides before the evening was over!  LOVE and DETROIT sugar cookies were provided as a edible wedding favors.  A sweet end to a sweet evening!  Video One Productions captured the entire day from start to finish and Lori Maslowski at The Rittenhouse designed an amazing menu for the event!  As always, it was our pleasure to be a part of Laura and Jeffrey’s wedding celebration!


  1. Such a dream come true 🙂 Thank you again to Brian, Melissa and the whole Evantine gang!

  2. Such a dream come true 🙂 Thank you again to Brian, Melissa and the whole Evantine gang!

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