Jess and Dennis were married on September 30th at Old Saint Mary's church in Philadelphia. The reception took place at the Ballroom at the Ben. This was one of the more upscale weddings I did this year and it did not dissapoint! This couple spared no expense to make their dream wedding come to life.
The bridal party stayed at the Hotel Monaco to prepare for the big day. One of my favorite parts of my job is seeing the excitement on everyone's faces the morning of a wedding. Everyone was very excited for the day to start. The bride and groom both seemed very calm even though they were in for one of the most exciting days of their lives.
This couple met on a blind date! They were set up by Dennis' brother-in-law Steve. Steve met Jessica at a work dinner. He later called Dennis and told him "I met your wife!"
The bridal party took trolleys to the church and the couple said their vows in front of 170 guests. One of my favorite parts of this ceremony was seeing the four ring bearers (yes--- four!) walk down the aisle. They looked super cute in their mini tuxedos.
I also love to see how the groom looks as the bride is walking down the aisle. Dennis looked very excited to see his soon-to-be-bride!
Once the ceremony ended, guests waited outside and did a big bubble exit for the newlyweds!
The bridal party then got in the trolley and made their way through the city, making stops at some of historic Philadelphia landmarks. Uusually I head over to the reception venue during this time, however the couple asked me to stay with them while they were getting photos. I made sure everyone stayed on track, and even held an umbrella for the bride, since there was a little bit of rain during this time. These are some of my favorite pictures!
Once pictures ended, it was time to party! Everyone headed over to the Ballroom at the Ben to dance the night away! The band "Paris" got everyone up and on the dancefloor! One of the fun surprises happened at the reception when Jess surprised Dennis with a Groom's Cake. However this was not an ordinary cake. This cake was made with twinkies, which was a nod to Denni's love of twinkies.
Jess + Dennis' team of Wedding Professionals:
Ceremony Venue: Old Saint Mary's Church
Reception Venue: Ballroom at the Ben
Catering: Finley Catering
Day of Coordinator: Table 1 Events
Photographer: Philip Gabriel Photography
Florist: Gina Conshetti
Invitations: Becca Hadley
Band: Paris (EBE Entertainment)
Lodging: Hotel Monaco
Transportation: Philadelphia Trolley Works
Wedding Dress: Bijou Bridal
Hair: Roxy Brennan
Makeup: C.E. Facial Artistry
Bridesmaid dresses: Bijou Bridal
Tuxedos: Jos A. Banks
Any wedding planner will tell you that need good entertainment, food, and photography. But there are some other key items to consider splurging on to make your wedding day beautiful. Throughout this blog I will explain what things to splurge on, and not splurge on, for your wedding.
If you have it in your budget, spend some money on additional floral arrangements, or larger floral arrangements. They really do make a difference. You should have florals at your ceremony location, on your tables at your reception venue, as well as scattered throughout your reception. Floral arrangements with a bold color, like red, really make your venue pop.
Hair and Makeup.
Please please please hire a professional to do your hair and makeup. Unless you are a hair or makeup professional, you should not be doing this yourself on your wedding day. You should look like the best possible version of yourself on your wedding day. A professional hair stylist will be able to give you the hairstyle you are looking for, while taking into account your veil or headpiece. A makeup artist will have expensive makeup and will transform you to look like the best version of yourself.
A Day of Coordinator.
Once you have your vendors booked, you need someone (not a guest of your wedding) to execute your timeline and oversee your event. A Day of Coordinator usually starts working with you 6-8 weeks before your event and costs a little less than a wedding planner. They take care of the little things you might not even think about. Who is going to bustle your dress? Who is going to load up your car with your gifts and decor at the end of the night?
A second shooter.
A second photographer is definitely worth the investment. Without one, you probably won't see pictures of the groom and groomsmen getting ready in the morning (something that is often forgotten about). A second shooter can get action shots of your guests, while the main photographer focuses on the couple.
Videography seems to be the first thing that gets cut from the wedding budget. But in a few years, you will be so happy that you have that video from your wedding! It's so fun to look back on your wedding to see how you looked, and to perhaps get another glimpse of a loved one who has since passed away.
Draping or lighting.
Depending on the set up of your reception venue, it might be a good idea to invest in draping or lighting. Some venues, like barns, really need some extra TLC. Drapery or string lights can really transform your room into an upscale event.
And here's a list of things to not spend your money on:
Here's the thing about your favors. No one will use them. And if you order 200 beer coozies for your guests, you're going to end up with 100 of them. No one remembers to bring them home at the end of the night. Instead, opt for a late night snack bar.
Wedding Signs and Decor.
While I believe you should have some decor, I see couples get really carried away here. I see brides spending hundreds of dollars on handmade Etsy products. While they are cute, they often go unnoticed. Try to DIY with the decor. Or, if you are not creative, purchase 1-2 items that will be displayed in an area where all of your guests can see.
I am not saying to not have cake! By all means- get a cake! It's one of my favorite parts of the wedding. But a 10-tier wedding cake will go to waste, unless you plan on having 500 guests at your wedding. A 2 or 3 tier cake will be more than enough. Only about half of your guests will actually eat your cake. And while I love tiny details, sometimes the cost of adding details to your cake isn't worth the cost. Instead, have your florist add a few flowers to your cake.
Expensive Bar Packages.
It's nice to provide alcohol for your guests. But the top-tier bar package is probably not worth it. You should provide beer, wine, and some liquor for your guests. You do not need to provide $100 bottle of wines. The standard bar package will be fine.