The One With Timeless Elegance | St. John Vianney Church & The Union League of Philadelphia | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tess & John’s Wedding Day Highlights

After John proposed to Tess on the side of a cliff in Costa Rica they knew when they planned their wedding day that they needed to go big or go home! After they chose to hold their day at The Union League of Philadelphia it was certain that their day would be filled with elegant perfection!

I didn’t realize it, but there is a hotel at the Union League!  In fact, that is where John and his groomsmen got ready.  When we entered the room and we asked John how he felt his answer was simple and to the point. he said “Let’s get this going, I want to see Tess”.  From that point forward everything executed with military precision but also with incredible amount of laughter and joy.  In the bedroom attached to his suite, John put on his uniform and then headed out into the suites second room to open a gift from his “wife to be” and have a toast with the boys.  Tess’ gift to John was a map constructed of wood with spaces for bottle tops from craft breweries.  With the gift was a card filled with Tess’ sentiments but also including wishes of looking forward to populating the board with John.  After a few toasts, words of wisdom, and a few fun gifts from his groomsmen, everyone reported outside for photos.  With photos behind them the guys boarded a limo and headed to the church to wait for Tess and the girls.

Once Tess and her ladies arrived back from the Novello Salon (thanks to Megan and Kara for her bridal look!), the day really started to pickup and the emotions of the day started to settle in with Tess. Though her favorite detail was her “something” blue shoes, we thought it was incredibly sweet that she was pinning a locket with her grandparent’s photos into the folds of her dress. Did I say dress? The gown Tess chose had brilliant blush undertones – the Blue Willow Collection (Violet) from Anne Barge, purchased from Elizabeth Johns, was certainly a sight to see in person, We snapped a few photos of her adorable flower girl wearing Tess’ wedding shoes and eyeing up her gown.

Tess’ Mom and sister helped her into her bridal attire. Once dressed, Tess shared a first look with her Dad before the bridesmaids, in their Alfred Sung dresses, boarded the Mid-Atlantic Limousine party bus for the church. It was very important for them to arrive on time – Tess was so excited to get towards the “it’s happening!” moment of the day! Meanwhile, at St. John Vianney Church – John was hoping to just keep “it” together as he anticipated the moment that Tess would walk down the aisle towards him.

The ceremony performed by Msgr Donald Leighton shared with their guests the union of the bride and groom in the presence of God. Tess and John kept eyeing each other up during the ceremony and truly had the biggest smiles on their faces when they were holding their hands and promising their hearts to one another. They exited the church to applause and knew the rest of the evening was going to be a great party! I know on their anniversary every year they will enjoy watching Tess make her way down the aisle as they watch Cinema Cake‘s highlights from their wedding day.

One of the best parts about getting married at the Union League in Philadelphia is the right to use the iconic entryway staircase as the backdrop for their portrait session. Many brides dream of using the stairs, but only the Union League couples can photograph there! It’s easy to see why these two are a perfect match – it’s very evident they just love everything about one another. We also made use of the famous Broad Street median – it’s a favorite photo for our Philadelphia couples to recreate and put their own twist on!

The details in the ballroom at the Union League of Philadelphia just take your breath away. The historic ballroom, from 1862, has an over-all distinguished storybook elegance which was highlighted by the choices in decor from the newlyweds. Carl Alan Floral Designs provided the centerpieces and floral decor for the reception space. From the aurous chiavari chairs to the warm gold tones of their table arrangements – the ballroom was the definition of timeless wedding elegance.

One of the funniest moments from the entire day was the moment that the newlyweds went to cut their amazing cake (it was half classic white elegance mixed with a more devious chocolate dripping exterior). Though they tried hard to cut it exactly properly – it turned out to be a tad animalistic – I love the photo of the two of them sneaking a glance at each other as they taste their first bite of cake! They followed this cutting of the cake with a surprise performance by John to Tess – he sang one of her favorite “Frank” songs and was backed up by the Janis Nowlan Band – besides getting married, this was probably her most favorite moment from the day (I mean, why wouldn’t it be, a man in uniform serenading you? Sounds just about perfect!).

To the newlyweds – we had the most magnificent time and we are so happy to have the two of you in our lives! Three cheers for the newlyweds! (oh, and your amazing favors from Dopplebock Homestead Brewing Co. were promptly taste tested – passed with flying colors! What a great idea for a favor).

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