One of America's most historic cities, Philadelphia, played the backdrop to the beautiful wedding of Emily and Adrian. In the hometown of the now Sydney-sider bride, friends and family from Australia and America came together to celebrate the couple's nuptials. The day was picturesque - a romantic garden atmosphere blended with a unique travel themed vibe, that showed off the couple's globetrotting love affair.
Wedding date: August 6th 2016
Wedding location: Philadelphia, PA
Number of guests: 150
Bridal Party: One maid of honour, six bridesmaids, one best man, six groomsmen and two flower girls
Ceremony time: 4pm – 4:45pm
Reception time: 5pm -11pm
How did you meet?
We met while we were both living in London. One of Emily's friends was dating Adrian's roommate and we shared a common friend group.
How did Adrian propose?
Adrian proposed during one of our many weekend getaways to Europe while we were still living in London. This weekend we were in Portugal and were splitting our time between Lisbon and a small coastal town called Comporta about an hour and a half down the coast. After spending two nights in Lisbon we arrived at our beautiful boutique hotel, Sublime Comporta, and settled in for a quiet two night beach getaway. When we arrived Adrian advised that the owner of the hotel had offered to give us a private tour of some of the local beaches that later that evening by car so that we could get our bearings. I didn't think much of the offer because the majority of the local town only spoke Portuguese and the hotel itself was driving distance from some of the beaches. After setting off on our tour the owner made a slight detour and said he was going to stop off a private beach to see if he could get us access, which he did. When we arrived the sun was setting and there was a picnic laid out on the sand, with wine & cheese for us to snack on. After making sure we had everything we needed, the owner said he would come back in 30 minutes to collect us. It was only then that I realized what was happening. It wasn't uncommon for Adrian to surprise me with romantic surprises which I think is why it took me so long to realize that this surprise was different. We left the beach that night engaged. I couldn't have been happier!
How easy or hard was it to plan your wedding?
The planning of our wedding was made so much easier because we hired Rachel from Creative Eventology. She was a recommendation from one of my mum's friend and I honestly don't know how I would have done it without her; the best money we spent on the event by far. Rachel had amazing relationships with a lot of the vendors which made a huge difference. Adrian and I both work very demanding jobs so we didn't have a ton of spare time to go vetting vendors online. Rachel brought it all to us and we were able to choose which companies, florists, decorators we liked the best. Despite Rachel's expertise the wedding planning was immensely complicated because over the course the planning (13 months) Adrian and I relocated from London to Sydney, Australia and both started new jobs. The stress of the move, resettling to a new city and getting comfortable in our work environments added another level of stress to the process which was hard to handle at times. There were a couple of occasions where I got really frustrated because I wasn't able to go and meet some of the vendors in person or to get a clear visual of how things would look on the day. I relied on conference calls and emails for most of my correspondence, which was difficult given the 15+ hour time difference. The other complicating aspect was that we knew that nearly a third of the wedding would be traveling from overseas in order to attend so we felt an immense obligation to ensure that we had planned enough activities and events for these guests to help make their trip worthwhile. At one point it felt like were spending more time planning the extracurricular activities for guests rather than the wedding itself! One positive I realized that came with planning a wedding 9,800 miles away was that I learned to not stress over the details and to worry mostly about the "big" stuff. We wanted to ensure, above all things, that we threw an amazing party for our friends and family. We needed to have a great band, an open bar, good food and lots of activities planned. One positive that came out of planning a destination wedding was that you learned that you can't stress over all the details; what matters most is your guests' experience, not the table decor.
How many times during the planning of your wedding, did you visit the area/venue?
We visited the venue once over the course of the entire process (13 months).
Tell us about the food choices for your wedding?
The menus included an endive salad with a choice of flat iron steak or jumbo lump crab cake for entree. Rather than having a wedding cake we decided to have cupcakes and seasonal macaroons instead.
Where did the majority of your guests stay?
Our out-of-town guests stayed in various hotels around the Rittenhouse Square area in Philadelphia, with most of the bridal party staying at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco.
Was any transport organised for your guests?
No, but there was transport for the bridal party provided on a vintage Philadelphia trolley from the hotel to the ceremony and again from the ceremony to the reception.
What advice would you give someone else planning a destination wedding?
1) Hire a wedding planner who knows the area and the local vendors.ill save yourself a tremendous amount of time and stress. the cost is more than worth it.
2) Don't sweat the small stuff. focus less on the aesthetic details and more on getting the "big" stuff right - band, food, venue, bar. These are the main ingredients to any good party or celebration.
3) Be generous with your time and, if possible, your money. Attending weddings is expensive for anyone involved, particularly destination weddings. Try to plan fun, social activities where guests can mingle and get to know each other. it gets everyone in the party spirit and its a nice way for you to spend time with your guests before the big day.
4) For anyone getting married, destination wedding or not, make sure you both consciously take moments throughout the day to take a moment and soak it all in. Adrian and I make sure that we took 30 seconds-1 minute a couple of times over the course of the reception to just observe our guests having fun. It's one of my lasting memories of the day.
What did you like about having a destination wedding?
The best part about our destination wedding was that it wasn't a destination for the majority of my family, which ensured that most of my aging relatives and my parents' friends could attend. The proximity to where I grew up meant that my mom and sister were able to go view venues, bands, etc and to help with the general planning process which was super helpful. For those guests not from America (and there were many - nearly half of the total guest list), our wedding gave many people a reason to visit the United States for the first time. Philadelphia's proximity to New York City ensured that guests were able to tie the event in with a larger trip.
What was your favourite part of your wedding day?
Our first dance!
Photography: Lauren Fair Photography
Ceremony: Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia
Reception: The Kimmel Center
Bride’s gown: Anna Georgina
Bride’s shoes: Givenchy
Hair and Makeup artist: True Beauty Marks
Bridesmaid dresses: Amsale
Groom's suit: Scabal - Saville Row, London (custom made)
Groom's shirt: Instichu
Groom's shoes: Antoine and Stanley
Groom's tie: David Jones
Groomsmen’s suits: French Eye
Flower girl dresses: Homemade
Event planner, coordinator and designer: Creative Eventology
Entertainment: Janis Nowlan Band (reception), Philadelphia String Quartet (ceremony)
Transport: Philadelphia Trolley Works
Stationery: Darling + Pearl
Furniture hire: Maggpie Vintage