REAL STORIES: Jenni & Jay’s Late Summer Wedding at the Westin Hotel Philadelphia

Featured in the current issue of  The Knot Philadelphia, the wedding of Jenni and Jay had to be one of the most elegant-yet-amusing events we have worked on!  The couple’s clever wit, love of family and modern joie de vivre was evident throughout the wedding celebration.  No matter where they went, what they were planning, or the topic of conversation, they were laughing together and it was a PARTY!   Jenni and Jay enjoy each other and know how important family is to their future.  As you can see from the gorgeous photos, Gabe and Philip Fredericks of Philip Gabriel Photography captured the couple’s candid moments and transparent happiness throughtout the day.

 

The night before the wedding the couple shared an intimate rehearsal supper at The Powel House in Society Hill.  Built in 1765, the Georgian-style mansion was the location where Martha and George Washington celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.  Jenni and Jay enjoyed dinner with their family and bridal party inside the mansion before heading outside to the tented garden to celebrate with dessert and cocktails with their out-of-town guests.   The rehearsal dinner invitations were Colonial-inspired and completely written by the groom in old-English (off the top of his head!).  The cocktail napkins, signage, menu, cocktail selections, music and decor were all designed to reflect back to the Colonial-era but with the extra kick of wacky humor only the bride and groom could supply!

The ceremony took place at historic Old Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Society Hill.   The Church was established in 1763 and was the first cathedral of the Diocese of Philadelphia. George Washington, John Adams and other members of the First Continental Congress attended St. Mary’s for Sunday Vespers in 1774. Printer and publisher, Matthew Carey, Commodore John Barry, General Stephen Moylan, George Gordon Meade’s grandfather, George Meade, and Michael Bouvier, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ great-grandfather, are all buried in the church cemetery.

Jenni loved the idea of plum, lavender and burnished gold tones in modern shapes mixed with vintage elements. If we could bring in organic, locally grown and “alternative” natural elements – all the better!   That theory included the bridesmaids who wore stunning short grape satin gowns with antique gold trim.  Their bouquets were composed using Roses, Lady’s Mantle, mini Calla Lilies, Viburnum berries and Scented Geranium. 

And then there was the totally COOL ringbearer.  Nobody rocked their tux like he did. (not to mention the sneakers).

Formal photos (and not-so-formal “formals”) were taken in historic gardens throughout Society Hill and Independence Park, including the Magnolia, Rose and 18th Century Gardens.  All of the gardens provided Gabe and Phil the texture, greenery and structure they wanted for the variety of candids and formal photos.

While the bridal party moved through Society Hill taking photos, the guests were invited to the bride’s parents’ boat, the Five Keys, for the first of two cocktail receptions.  Once they arrived, Jenni and Jay were welcomed on the dock like rock stars!  Their dog Tuck was waiting on board for the last of the formal photos with the bride and groom.

Well, almost the last photo.  The photographers took some spectacular shots as everyone made their way back to the buses and cars.  From here, it was on to the Westin Philadelphia for the reception!

Once at the Westin, guests were invited to the Ballroom Foyer for the main cocktail reception.  The bride and groom had taken some hilarious photos months before the wedding that later proved to be the perfect surprise place cards.  Conservative and traditional on the outside and shockingly humorous and sweetly sentimental on the inside! 

The Grand Ballroom at the Westin Philadelphia was soft, warm, romantic and funky enough for Jenni and Jay!  The hotel’s round tables were replaced with wide  rectangular tables which were dressed with custom made Lavender Magic Satin linens.  Fruitwood Chivari Chairs with Raisin Velvet Cushions were used, as were ivory hemstitched linen napkins and Amethyst Water Goblets.  The warmth of the hotel’s parquet wood dance floor worked perfectly, as did the plum velvet drapery panels we installed behind the stage.  Amber and soft purple lighting was installed around the perimeter of the ballroom which added additional layers of romance and warmth to the intimate setting.

Jenni and her mother Karen wanted the dinner tables to feel lush and full but approachable and conversation-friendly.  We designed low arrangements that balanced candles with interesting  mixes of locally grown and imported flowers.  An eccelectic combination of contemporary and traditional vessels held both flowers and candles:  Zebra wood boxes, glass rectangular vases, square glass in dark weathered iron stands, vintage gold and plum hand blown glass vessels. 

The “funky but fun” centerpieces were true conversation starters!  Countless varieties of flowers and organic materials were used to make sure that each and every table was truly original in style, texture and design in the lavender, plum, purple, magenta and green tones selected by the bride.   Blue Bird and Cool Ocean Roses: purple, green and white Hydrangea; Scented Geranium; magenta Anenomes; Schwartzwalder and Picasso mini Calla Lilies; plum, white, magenta and purple Ranunculus; chartreuse Lady’s Mantle; purple tulips; lavender clematis; Privet and Viburnum Berry;  varieties of Hosta Leaves; magenta Dendrobium Orchids; Hens and Chicks, as well as other succulents; chartreuse Cymbidium Orchids; purple and magenta Coxcomb;  miniature Italian Artichokes; mauve Pepper Berry; Lotus Seed Pods; purple Agapanthus; Snow Berry; miniature purple Kale; Blue Thistle;  Jade Tricillium; Smokebush; chartreuse Euphorbia; Wheat and Red Grass;  Ornithigalum; chartreuse Amaranthus; Copper Head; Figs on the Branch; Plum Tree Leaves; Scabiosa; Acorns on the branch; purple Dahlias; Fiddle Head Fern; Bromeliad; and King Allium.  Whole Pears, Plums and Grapes were tucked in here and there for low texture.  We used locally-made beeswax pillar and votive candles wrapped in green moss or placed in large glass hurricanes.

A stem of a fragrant herbs grown in our Greenhouse, such as Lemon Balm, Rosemary or Mint, was tucked into each napkin fold to add a touch of color and fragrance at each place setting. 

After the dinner dance came to close in the main Ballroom, the bride and groom invited their guests to a casual after party with karaoke, favorite bar snacks and comfortable seating.

3 Responses to REAL STORIES: Jenni & Jay’s Late Summer Wedding at the Westin Hotel Philadelphia

  1. karen says:

    Melissa-thank you for another wonderful Mckee wedding. It was perfect from start to finsh!

    • evantinedesign says:

      Thank you for the lovely note Karen! it has been, and will continue to be, a true pleasure entertaining with you! Happy Holidays and much love to the ever-growing family!

  2. Meg says:

    Outrageous, elegant and a showstopper! I was there but truly missed many of these fine touches that were apparent but overlooked by so much for the senses to see.

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