A rustic, ‘country’ wedding in Philadelphia? Is that even possible? Yep! You bet it is!
A few years ago I photographed the wedding of Liz & Justin’s good friends in Munich. I was so excited when Liz wrote me inquiring about an Engagement Session last summer. That session was awesome, so check it out here incase you missed it. Soon after that, they asked me if I’d be interested in shooting their wedding in Philadelphia! That was a no brainer for me, so naturally my answer was ‘heck yea!’
Liz is a country girl from Pennsylvania, and Justin is Austrian. They are high school sweethearts and met when Justin did an exchange year at Liz’s high school. They both then studied in Philadelphia before eventually making the move to Munich. Because many of the guests were going to be flying in from Germany, it wouldn’t have been so easy to get the guests out to the country, so Philadelphia made perfect sense. They did such an awesome job planning they’re wedding, that they managed to have their country style wedding in the big city :)
I got to meet some of the guests the night before the wedding at the rehearsal dinner. Justin’s best man’s family owns a Sushi & Hibatchi Restaurant. What a FUN night this was!! We were all picked up at the hotel by a big yellow American school bus that drove us to the restaurant, where we were treated to a delicious Hibachi dinner featuring various appetizers. This was a real treat, especially for the German guests who aren’t familiar with Hibachi. Everything was perfect, the service was so friendly, the food was amazing and the restaurant had a really cool feel to it. If you’re in the area, stop by Yokohama in Maple Shade, New Jersey :)
Now on to the wedding :) We started off at the Penn’s View Hotel where the girls and guys each hat suites to get ready in. This hotel definitely fit with the rustic feeling Liz & Justin wanted for their wedding. It was so charming and really made you feel like you stepped back in time, or at least out of the big city :) Liz, her mom and bridesmaids were styled by 2 wonderful ladies who did an amazing job: Liz Perez did their hair, and make-up was done by Pretty by Elina. They worked so fast and managed to give 8 beautiful ladies 8 completely different looks!
While the girls were finishing up getting ready, I snuck off with Justin and his 6 groomsmen for a little photo session. We stayed pretty close to the hotel and got some great shots between there and Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest street in America. I had so much fun with these guys, and because they cooperated so well, I promised them we would stop at the bar before heading back to the hotel :) Once they were happy with beer in hand, I went back to see how the girls were coming along. Everyone was pretty much done and they all looked AMAZING! After Liz put on her beautiful dress made by Cymbeline and the guests cleared out of the lobby it was the girls turn for a pictures. They all looked gorgeous! I loved the J.Crew dresses the bridesmaids had on, and how about the beautiful bouquets?! Kerry from Fabuflorals did an awesome job with the flowers!! Before we knew it, the wedding Trolley was there to pick us up and bring us to the church.
Liz & Justin’s ceremony was held at the St. Augustine Church They decided against a first look session because they wanted that moment when Justin see’s Liz walk down the aisle to be special, and judging by Justin’s reaction as Liz walked down the aisle with her proud dad, it was a moment they will never forget.
After the ceremony, most of the guests enjoyed a little champagne reception while I hopped on the Trolley with the bridal party and got a head start to their reception location, Knowlton Mansion. Knowlton Mansion is a gorgeously restored estate from the 19th century. Their grounds are just stunning. Once you are there, you forget that you are in a big city, it is just so peaceful! We took some time for a few photos of the entire bridal party and then I had Liz & Justin to myself for the first time that day! A gorgeous couple, beautiful grounds and amazing evening light made my job really easy :)
Soon after we headed inside the bridal party was introduced and had their grand entrance, after which Liz & Justin went into their first dance to kick off the evening. After dinner was served and the cake was cut, the party officially started. There was so much for the guests to do…hang out outside by the fire pit, grab a cigar and wine from the awesome wine cellar, have some silly photos taken in the photo booth, or dance the night away on the dance floor. Speaking of the dance floor, I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever seen men have THIS much fun dancing..ever! The DJs from Synergetic Sounds definitely did a great job with keeping everybody going, right up until closing time at 2am when the night ended with a sparkler exit and a Trolley ride back to the hotel.
Liz & Justin, Thank you so, so much for letting me be a part of your wedding day! I loved meeting your wonderful families and guests who made me feel so welcome. All of your hard work in planning paid off because from what I saw, everyone had an awesome time! I hope your day was everything you imagined it to be and more, and is a day you will never forget! Look at all of these smiling faces of people who love you, and traveled from near and far to spend your special day with you! :)