Wedding Planning

February 7, 2011

Where do I begin?

I’ve been so busy doing all kinds of wedding related errands, I haven’t had time to blog about what I’m doing during this very important time in my life… so I’m going to back-date my blog and take you on my journey with me, starting with the hunt for a venue.

After the initial excitement of becoming engaged, Dan and I realized if we want to get married sometime this Summer or in early Fall, we’d better start planning!

The first thing Dan and I had to decide was where and when we wanted to get married so we set up lots of appointments with potential wedding spots. Originally, I had it in my head that I wanted to get married at the Dorrance Hamilton garden atop the Kimmel Center.

We set up an appointment with the Kimmel Center’s super nice sales rep Casey, who took us up there to see the space.

The problem with the Dorrance Hamilton Garden was that it was built like a greenhouse, which essentially makes it unusable from June through September. I kept wishing that it would be usable in the summer.

Meanwhile, Dan and I started to settle in on a date. Dan asked me if I wanted to wait until September or October to get married so that we could hold our party at the Kimmel Center. My gut reaction was that no, I didn’t want t wait, so we decided to get married in the summer.

But when? Initially, we thought it might be festive to have a Saturday night wedding; but then we realized if we wanted to have a Jewish wedding (which we do) we’d have to wait until the end of Shabbat (the Sabbath) to hold our ceremony. That would be at sundown — and in the summers in Philadelphia, sundown can be as late as 9pm! so now that we knocked out the summer Saturdays, we decided to get married in the summer on a Sunday… and then we realized that on the 4th of July holiday weekend, lots of people will have off on Monday July 4th, so we finally settled on Sunday July 3rd.

Unfortunately, that meant the Kimmel Center greenhouse would have to get crossed off the list. (We were told that in the heat of the summer it could get as hot as 110 degrees up there, even though they had air conditioning units!) Casey told us they were going to doing some renovations to fix the temperature problem, but that project wouldn’t be complete in time for our wedding.

Casey then showed us The Academy of Music.

It was beautiful, but was it for us? Something to consider.

Our next stop was The Waterworks which is known for it’s weddings. We met with the sales rep Sofia. We had high hopes for the Waterworks. It shares space with Fairmount Park. However, Sofia informed us that not only would we have to pay for all party items separately (tent, chairs, silverware, plates, etc.) we would not have access to the indoor restrooms and would have to rent port-o-potties.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I literally had nightmares about the cost of a wedding. Dan told me I was talking in my sleep about being graded on the number of guests we were going to invite. He told me from then on, it would be his job to try and keep my wedding stress level low.

My parents were also really great about keeping the stress relatively low; they told us to just gather all the information from the venues and we would discuss it together.

We quickly decided that after the stress of the Waterworks meeting, that venue was not for us. In fact, maybe we should start looking at hotel venues because it help keep the cost down to not have to order everything separately into the venue (hotels already have tables, chairs, plats, silverware, etc). Not only that, but it would be very convenient for out of town guests to stay in the same building where we’d be holding our party… plus even in-town guests could stay late and rent rooms if they wanted to party with us until the very end!!!

So off we went to check out the Ritz Carlton hotel. The lobby is magnificent there, but unless you want to rent it out for $50,000, they won’t let you use it for your wedding. The space was okay, but Dan and I didn’t love that the ballroom is in the basement; it’s the former money vault of this former bank.

Up next: The Hyatt at the Bellevue. Dan and I stopped here on our first date, so we really kind of wanted this place to work for us, since there was a little sentiment attached to it. While it was beautiful, the space wasn’t really our personalities, so we kept on looking.

The day went to see the Loews Hotel was in the middle of the week. Dan had a very busy day that day and was tired. I know he didn’t really want to stay long. He later told me he thought we would see the venue quickly and check it off our list and go home… but when we saw it together, Dan and I both realized this was the place for us. It was a modern ballroom, art deco style with high ceilings and windows. It was a hotel very close to our condo in the middle of town, and it was the first place where we could actually envision ourselves getting married.

We saw a couple of places after that including Cecaphe, Tentenza, the Curtis Center, and Top of the Tower; but really there was no comparison after we decided we liked the Loews. THIS WAS THE PLACE!!!! Our first obstacle was complete… well, we still had to book it, but we had made our decision.

When it came down to booking the Loews, there was a little bit of confusion. Luckily, the catering manager was an amazing help and was creative in helping us figure out a way so that we could all get what we wanted. We wanted to have our party in the Millenium Ballroom but also utilize the 33rd floor for cocktails. Meanwhile, another sales rep booked the 33rd floor for a wedding. The catering manager quickly pulled me out of my disappointment when he suggested we have an after party up there instead of cocktail hour. I perked up right away — I hadn’t thought of that! What a party this would be!!!!!!

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