We are in love with today’s wedding from Kate Headley and Pineapple Productions. Rita and Andrew are such a loving (not to mention hilarious) couple living in Philadelphia. Although a destination wedding was something she had in mind, they chose to put family first and decided that no where was better than home in Philly. From the gorgeous Vera Wang gown all the way to the romantic and cascading florals, this wedding will inspire the modern whimsical bride.
Photography by Kate Headley.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I received two pieces of advice that were helpful. First, early on in the process, my sister Susan told me that I was like Sally in When Harry Met Sally. In terms of wedding planning I was the worst kind of bride: I was high maintenance, but I thought I was low maintenance. She said, “It’s your wedding. Don’t say you don’t care when you obviously do. If you have an opinion, share it.” I’d like to think I got better with that as the process went on. Susan may tell you otherwise.
The second piece was on the day of the wedding. Our wedding was huge thanks to the fact that we both come from giant Irish Catholic families. We started out trying to achieve the impossible task of greeting everyone. I think we had made it to two tables when my sisters told me to give it up. It was our wedding and we should have fun, and if people wanted to say hi to us, we would be easily identifiable what with my white dress and all.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Being married is way better than being engaged. Wedding planning forces you to focus on all the things you want as an individual which may conflict with the things that your spouse wants. Given that it is such an important day, often people get defensive when they’re not on the same page in terms of plans. After the wedding, you’re a team. It’s not about what I want, but about what we want. Also, all the time you spent together planning you can spend doing anything you like to do together. For us it usually means watching Chopped on the Food Network and critiquing food without actually tasting it.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Andrew’s family has a tradition where at every sacrament someone wears his grandmother’s cross. As Andrew had given me a necklace the morning of, I incorporated it into my bouquet. I loved it because Andrew’s mom and sister wore it at their weddings and Andrew wore it as a baby at his baptism, as will our children, so that was pretty special.
The ladies’ lush bouquets were adorned with long blue ribbons that complemented the mixed blue bridesmaid dresses.
“We are Catholic, and in the laws of the Church and my mother, a couple may only be married in a Roman Catholic Church. By a priest. Preferably with a host handed out. Or at least saltines. Apparently every other couple in Philadelphia has the same belief because although we were engaged in October and were planning the wedding for the summer, every church was booked for all the Saturdays the following summer except for St. John the Evangelist. We booked it after a quick Google Image search. Luckily it was even more beautiful in person, and the central location near the hotels didn’t hurt.”
Your ceremony in three words. Religious, traditional, musical. Not to brag, but multiple guests said it was like “attending a royal wedding.” Their words, not mine. This clearly was in spite of ourselves because as our planner told us, “your wedding is way classier than you guys are.” Mission accomplished.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Our faith is pretty important to us, so in planning the ceremony we wanted to make sure it was warm, but also prayerful. The readings and the music really helped with that. Our officiant and close friend, Father Jim Shaughnessy, allowed us to use readings outside of the set Catholic marriage readings, which I loved.
What were your ceremony readings? For the first reading, we chose a reading from the Book of Ruth 1:16-17 (I really encourage you to look it up; very moving). For the second reading we used the Arrupe Prayer by Fr. Pedro Arrupe (again, very moving). Jim reserved the right to choose the gospel since “I’m the one who has to preach on it anyway,” but he ended up choosing the Wedding at Cana, which is pretty classic.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? When my brother, my MOH, was told by my sisters that as my main attendant he was responsible for arranging my veil when I was on the altar. So as soon as I sat down, he came up, took my Vera Wang veil, balled it up, and shoved it behind my seat as he whispered, “Now you won’t trip on it!”
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? We were very fortunate in that my parents paid for the wedding, since Andrew and I are eyeball-deep in debt thanks to medical school.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Absolutely not. As our planner knows, it was all I could do to show up at our wedding on time, let alone do anything myself. I know enough about taste to know that I don’t have much and Arney has loads, so I left most design decisions up to her.
“I had always pictured that when I got married I would have a destination wedding to make the event even more special since it was removed from every day life. When the time came, Andrew and I realized that since family is so important to us, we wanted to make it easy to get to. The majority of our family and friends are in the Philly area, so Philly was the clear option, and when Cairnwood was recommended to us, it was the clear option. Only 40 minutes away from Center City, but as my brother-in-law Dan put it, it seemed as if we were in another country. It felt like we were living in a Jane Austen novel! Just with an open bar, and more Motown.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our planner, Arney and I used to laugh about this when I was trying to come up with a theme. I had been talking to my sister on the phone and we agreed that an outdoor wedding would be beautiful. As would bistro lighting. As would a garden…The list went on, and when Kathryn and I tried to describe it, the theme ended up being called “Summer Fairy Garden Party Endless Love.” Arney narrowed that down to “traditional whimsical.”
Event Planning and Design by Arney Walker of Pineapple Productions.
Did you have a signature cocktail? We did. We wanted to call it the “Andrita” (Andrew + Rita, get it?). However, I’m not sure we remembered to put up signs calling it anything, so only we called it that. It was muddled cucumber, gin, lime, simple syrup, ginger beer float.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We are both very family-oriented and have giant families with lots of little cousins, nieces, and nephews. On top of that, Andrew is a pediatrician and loves kids, so we knew we wanted the little ones to be able to attend, but still wanted their parents to be able to unwind. Therefore, we had a special kids room with games, goody bags, and kids food (mac and cheese, etc.) and hired babysitters. Some parents preferred to let their kids play during dinner then bring them to the dance floor later on, but a lot of kids wanted to stay in the play room all night!
What was your wedding menu? First Course: Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad with Tomato Gazpacho Shooter // Surf and Turf Entree: Pan Seared Diver Scallops and Barolo Braised Short Rib, Red Wine Demi Clace, Crisp Parmesan Polenta Cake, and Garlic Broccolini
Catering by Stephen Starr Catering.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had passed dessert “tapas” which included: Petit Pots de Creme, Pistachio Biscotti, Dulce Sea Salt Tarts, Seasonal Macarons, Coconut Panna Cotta, and Lemon Rosemary Parfait.
We then had a layer cake with two flavors: lemon cake with raspberry filling (Andrew’s choice as I hate fruit), and vanilla cake with Nutella filling (Nutella – I rest my case). I guess marriage is about compromise.
Cake and desserts by Bredenbecks Bakery.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? Our first dance song was “At Last,” originally sung by Etta James. I used to sing it to myself all the time when I started dating Andrew. Sure, everyone else uses it, but that’s because it’s the greatest love song of all time. Sorry not sorry. Father/daughter dance was to “Always” by Ella Fitzgerald. Mother/son dance was to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.
Reception Music by Nation.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The speeches! One of my favorite parts of getting married is that from the rehearsal dinner to the reception, everyone loves to get up and tell you how great you are, and how they always knew that you and your spouse would end up together. It never gets old.
My brother-in-law, Dan, the best man and the “funny one,” gave a hilarious speech making fun of my husband’s nerdy college days. My brother, John, my maid of honor (he insisted on being called “maid”) is a songwriter and producer and wrote a song for me called “Sister Rita”. Every hope I had had of achieving graceful tears rather than snotty, heaving sobs was gone.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? For me? No. For Andrew? His only regret was not having bagpipes. BAGPIPES.