The long weekend has passed us by and I hope you all enjoyed the last taste of what has been a sweet summer. September is finally here with the fall season fast approaching – I can already smell the pumpkin spiced lattes, can you? To finish the summer out with a bang, I enjoyed a weekend jam-packed with wedding celebrations in the great city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The bride, Hope, and I met the first day of college at Harvard University. We became inseparable due to our shared passion for laughter and life despite the inevitable challenges of a competitive college. As I shared in my toast at the wedding last Saturday, she has the ability to lift others up with the power of her unconditional love and compassion. While her style, beauty and grace is quite evident at first glance, it is her loyalty as a friend and love for others that shines brighter than her exterior magnificence. Calling the bride my very best friend is truly an honor that I will forever be grateful for.
Following college, Hope traveled to the nation of Iraq over 25 times in just a few short years. During this time overseas, she completed numerous government related projects in dangerous regions of the Middle East. While overseas and working in a war-torn nation, she was introduced to a brave United States Marine who was assisting with various security matters related to her particular mission. This handsome young man and Special Forces Officer was named Nick and he knew that Hope was the lady of his dreams within moments of meeting her. Despite the chaos and destruction of war, their love found a way and never once fettered – they have been together since the moment they met back in 2008. Their magical love story culminated this weekend when family and friends traveled to Philadelphia to celebrate the union of their marriage. Nick and Hope currently live in Philadelphia as Nick pursues his MBA at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. With such a romantic love story, the wedding was destined to be out of the ordinary and over-the-top. And it sure was… Let me take you through the wedding weekend, from the Matron of Honor perspective of course, as we recap this magical weekend and thank the wonderful people that made it all possible.
The Rehearsal Dinner – Del Frisco’s
The weekend kicked off in the world renown vault space of Philadelphia’s best steakhouse in town – Del Frisco’s.
Located near city hall, inside a historic landmark that was once First Pennsylvania Bank, Del Frisco’s offers an unforgettable Philadelphia steakhouse atmosphere. Magnificent balconies draped in plush red fabric overlook the sweeping main dining room. A breathtaking three-story wine tower serves as the centerpiece of the restaurant. Downstairs boasts private dining and reception areas, including the Vault Room.
Downstairs in the vault, guests enjoyed cocktails and a three course dinner surrounded by the various wine collections held securely behind the eye-catching steel door. The bride donned a gorgeous Lela Rose dress with vintage inspired jewelry from Beholden. Her signature long blonde hair was pinned up into a dramatic high-bun for a very striking look. Guests enjoyed a treats table that featured masculine elements of the party highlighted the hosts for the evening – the groom and his family. Some of the items included on the display were Cuban cigars, custom matchbooks with the words “Burn Baby Burn“, as well as an incredibly elaborate Wall Street grooms cake. I had my fair share of martinis and nibbled on a delicious shrimp salad to start. Most guests had steak, of course, but fish or chicken was an option as well.
Following the delicious dinner, we indulged in Del Frisco’s famous banana bread pudding (served warm) with vanilla ice cream. Guests then proceeded for more libations in the Ritz hotel lobby. At the conclusion of the rehearsal evening, the groom kindly hosted everyone on the rooftop of the Ritz Residences (where he and his bride live) for some late night cigars and scotch. And yes ladies, I happily puffed away and finished my Cuban without any help from the husband.
Pre-Wedding Prep Party (Ladies Only)
It was an early start for the ladies on September 5th 2015. We were swept away to a mini ballroom space within the Ritz-Carlton hotel where pink champagne, macaroons and gift baskets awaited us. The bride, notorious for her thoughtful gift-giving demeanor and party hosting skills, put together a lavish daytime celebration before the wedding commenced later in the day. We enjoyed our favorite girly tunes, a buffet of deliciously prepared meals, and of course some primping including hair and makeup services.
After enjoying a memorable bachelorette weekend hosted earlier that summer in Nantucket, Hope thought it would only be fitting to shower us with Nantucket Baskets filled with wedding day treats: a custom designed bridal belt to wear with our blush gowns, diamond stud earrings, comfortable blush jelly Jack Rogers for later in the evening, and a hand-painted seashell with our individualized anniversary dates.
Love the party ideas or some of the bridesmaid gifts you see in this post? You can find this lovely flower market wine cooler and parchment check platter at Mackenzie-Childs. Rimmed with gold sugar, the diamond cut champagne flutes are designed by Waterford Crystal and can be found at most department stores.
All picture frames photographed in the bridal suite are Olivia Riegal – you can find the best prices on these luxury frames by shopping at the Addison Collection online. The Nantucket sea shells were hand-painted by one of the bride’s favorite artists on the island; her name is Jeanne van Etten. Her studio is located on the corner of Fair and Main Street in downtown Nantucket, but if you can’t make the trip on island, you can find her work online here. Bridesmaids wore the Annabelle Dress by Beholden in the color blush pink. The bride was dressed in a jaw-dropping blush and beaded Monique Lhuillier gown.
The Wedding Reception at the Ritz
After saying their vows inside the Church of the Holy Trinity (at Rittenhouse Square), we were transported over to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for cocktails, dinner and of course, dancing. Hooray for the wonderful couple, indeed! Down we walked through a candlelit space to the lower level of the luxury hotel. Here we found our escort cards below an exquisite floral tree with hanging candles and details. Guests, including Ladyhattan, were mesmerized by the tablescapes throughout the ballroom – crystals, blush florals, white orchids, candles and even feathers filled the space with the couple’s personality and style.
Friends and family from near and far danced the night away together in celebration of a couple that is loved by all. Enjoy a few personal photographs below for an inside peak at one of the most glamorous weddings the city of Philadelphia has ever seen. And for you beaming brides-to-be, make sure to checkout all the vendor information highlighted below to make the wedding of your dreams come true too!
To my best friend, Hope, thank you for giving me the honor of being part of such a special celebration. To see you experience the ultimate happiness this weekend was one of the most memorable and joyful moments of my life as a friend, and as a sister. And most importantly, to all the fabulous people and vendors in Philadelphia who made my best friend’s dream wedding come to life – thank you! A huge thank you to Lauren James Events for putting together an absolutely flawless weekend – you are incredibly talented women and it was an honor to meet you this weekend. I look forward to following many more glamorous wedding to come from you in Philadelphia and beyond!
- Event Planning – Lauren James Events
- Venue Reception and Guestrooms – Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia
- Bridesmaid Accessories and “day of stylist” – Whitney Alyssa
- Bridal Party Transportation – Secrets Limousine Service
- Father of the Bride Transportation – Premier Luxury Rentals, Inc.
- Guest Transportation – Philadelphia Trolley Works
- Bridal Party Hair – Jason Matthews Salon
- Bride’s Hair – Kait Ruzic
- Make-up – Julie Kate & Co.
- Floral Design and Lighting – Jamie Rothstein
- Photographer – Tyler Boye
- Band – EBE Paris
- Wedding Cake – Van Earl’s Cake
- Invitations and Paper Signage – CHICK Invitations
- Video Coverage – CinemaCake
- Plasma TV’s for Reveal – PSAV
My close friends Caitlin and Lucas have a track record of making incredible “guest experience videos” at the various weddings they have attended around the world. Check-out this highly entertaining video sharing glimpses from the weekend in Philadelphia!
To an amazing celebration and many more to come!