Real Wedding: Claire & Matt

Today’s gorgeous, classic Philadelphia wedding comes to us from photographer Kate Murphy – wait until you see the cake! And I love the vine motif, from the invitations to the cake topper – what a simply lovely idea!

Says Claire, “My gown had pockets which were perfect for carrying two handkerchiefs that had belonged to my grandmothers and were embroidered with their names. It helped me feel connected to an older generation of my family who are no longer with us.”

Says Claire, “At the very beginning of the ceremony, instead of the more traditional Who gives this woman to be married? our officiant asked Who welcomes Claire as a daughter and a loving friend and wife to Matthew, to which Matt’s family replied We do. She then asked the same of my family, and they welcomed Matt. That feeling of inclusion and community was really important to us and set the tone for the rest of the ceremony.”

The groom’s favorite part of the day? “The kiss! And walking back down the aisle together as husband and wife.”

A little advice from Claire, “As the wedding day drew closer, I remembered a piece advice a dance teacher told me years ago before a recital, No one else knows what it’s supposed to look like. So, for example, when my homemade table numbers didn’t turn out quite the way I had pictured them, and the peach flower arrangements arrived with yellow roses, I reminded myself they wouldn’t look wrong to anyone else’s eyes. Honestly, I was so caught up in the emotion of the day, that lots of little details which felt so important in the months prior, were simply overshadowed by an overwhelming sense of joy.”

Why did you choose this venue for your wedding?  Though we weren’t raised here, Philadelphia is where we met and started our life together, so it seemed a fitting place to celebrate our wedding. The majority of our guests were from out of town. With that in mind, we tried to keep arrangements as simple as possible by holding both the ceremony and reception at the same location, which was within walking distance of hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing spots. We were thrilled to hear how much everyone enjoyed exploring our adopted city. We aimed to select a wedding site which felt quintessentially Philadelphian and captured the sense of history and beautiful architecture we appreciate about the city.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The venue guided a lot of our design decisions. We didn’t have a theme per se, but the idea I kept coming back to during the planning stage was classic. The ceremony and cocktail hour were held in a beautiful walled garden, so even though we were in center city Philadelphia, we still felt connected to nature. That secret garden feel was reflected in the design of our invitations and on the vine ribbon tied around our napkins. Later in the evening, our guests moved inside to a ballroom for dinner and dancing. The sea glass colored walls in the space reminded me of an inspiration board I’d seen on Snippet and Ink (Board #473: Antique Peach & Blue), which in turn led us to select peach for our floral arrangements.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  By holding our ceremony and reception at the same location we were able to eliminate transportation costs, and avoided purchasing separate ceremony decorations and a ceremony site fee. We used chairs and tables provided by the venue, which cut out rental fees and meant we could avoid dealing with drop-off, set-up, and pick-up logistics. And instead of renting votive candles, I purchased them online in bulk, at a third of the quoted price.

What was your favorite part of the day?  I felt bowled over by the enormity of the day during the toasts, both the ones given in our honor, and the ones we offered. I’m not very comfortable with the idea of public speaking, but as I stood, surrounded by our friends and family, I was so glad I decided to give a speech.

What was the best advice you received as a bride? And what advice do you have for other brides?  Something I read along the way (I wish I could remember where) was “Years from now, few guests will remember how your napkins were folded, but they will remember how they felt at your wedding.” As someone who likes to craft, and is politely referred to as “particular,” that was a helpful piece of advice for me to hear. It helped me keep my priorities in the following order: 1. Get married . 2. Be a gracious hostess. 3. Worry about the fussy details. For instance, I didn’t have the time (or money) to devote to assembling welcome bags, but I wrote a brief note to each guest letting them know we were looking forward to seeing them. DIY details, while fun and potentially enjoyable, have the potential to take on a life of their own; at the end of the day, if the stress they are causing you outweighs the enjoyment they will bring your guests, it may be time to reassess.


Philadelphia Wedding Menu

Hors d’Oeuvres: Shrimp with Crushed Garlic and Lime Juice, Mozzarella and Sun-dried Tomato Tartelettes, Bacon-wrapped Scallops with Horseradish Dipping Sauce, Yukon Gold Potato Pancakes with Apple Onion Compote, Turkish Lamb Kefta Kabobs with Pomegranate Molasses and Minted Yogurt, Cheesesteak Spring Roll with Spicy Ketchup // Appetizer: Boston Bibb Salad with Candied Pecans, Apples, Stilton and White Balsamic Dressing // Entree: Chicken Breast stuffed with Duxelle and Mushroom Dijon Sauce; Seared Merluza with Saffron Corn Coulis; Artichoke Strudel with Parmigiano-Reggiano // Dessert: Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercreams



Photography: Kate Murphy / Venue: The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in Philadelphia / Bride’s dress: Anne Barge purchased at Lovely Bridal / Engagement ring and wedding bands: Tiffany & Co. / Groom’s suit: Canali / Groom’s tie: Brioni / Save-the-dates: Felix Doolittle / Invitations: Bella Figura / Flowers: Carl Alan / Ceremony music: Dave Baker / Reception music: Heath Allen / Catering and cake: Jeffrey A. Miller Catering

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