Hi all, Kiersten here! As the Director of Cinema for AGP, and someone who has been in the wedding business for over a decade, nothing was stranger to me than being a bride myself. I’m here to tell you all the ups and downs (or so I thought) of my Water Works by Cescaphe wedding day, and how in the end, my pictures turned out STUNNING!
As I mentioned, I’ve been in the wedding business and friends with Ashley and the team for the past decade. What I left out, is that between my Stepdad and my Mom, the three of us have a combined fifty years of experience in the wedding industry (that’s like – way too much if you ask me!). Combined, we have seen all the “trends”, and had many different “visions” in our mind of what my day would eventually look like. Let me tell you – nothing could have prepared me for what actually happened, and that friends, is what makes your big day SPECIAL!
Getting Ready at the Notary Hotel
My husband and I picked The Notary Hotel for ourselves and our guests because of the robust Philadelphia history that it housed, both being history nerds ourselves.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building dates back to 1926. It was designed by prolific architect Philip Johnson (who also designed the original Philadelphia Convention Hall) in the Classical Revival Style. For decades, the City Hall Annex was where a Notary’s stamp was given to signify the start of a marriage (perfect, right?).
My bridal party, mothers, Nonna and I got ready in the Logan room at The Notary, as Jonathan enjoyed some quite time in our suite upstairs. While waiting for Ashley and team, the weather seemed to be getting worse, as we watched out the windows, we saw rain turn into snow. Did this stress me out? As a type A personality to the T (which really helps from a videography perspective let me tell you) you bet this stressed me out!
But as soon as Ashley arrived, we put a plan of action together that included not only the outside pictures I had originally wanted, but some back up ideas in the lobby of the stunning hotel downstairs.
Portraits at the Merchant Exchange Building & Philadelphia Art Museum
You know how they say, just do it? That is exactly what we did. In snow and winds, our bridal party went with us to Merchant Exchange Bank, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Ashley and team scaled the steps to get us stunning snow photos. Were we cold? Yes! Were my teeth chattering when I got back onto the Trolley? Yes!
Am I grateful to Ashley and the team for scaling the steps of the Art Museum in a nor’easter to capture stunning photos of us, no questions asked? There are no words to describe how grateful I am. Trust me, if I can offer any advice, it would be to get out of the trolley and TAKE the picture! We were able to warm up just fine when we got to Water Works by Cescaphe.
Water Works by Cescaphe Ceremony & Reception
As our guests arrived, they were greeted by the wonderful Cescaphe staff, and a very fun Champagne lady (which yes, I fought for valiantly – how COOL IS SHE?). After our final makeup touch ups, our brilliant makeup team who had been with us all day (which was a blessing as we battled the nor’easter) left us and we lined up to walk down the aisle for the Water Works by Cescaphe ceremony. Luckily, I am blessed to have two fathers, who both walked me down the aisle in front of most of our family and friends. The family who was not able to travel to us, due to whatever reason, were luckily able to join us via our live stream.
And just like that… the petal cannon went off and our ceremony was over. I remember that I exchanged vows with my now husband, and I remember staring staunchly at my brother Brian (a groomsman) so I didn’t look at Jonathan and sob, but it wasn’t until I watched the video after the fact that I took in everything that happened.
As we were introduced into our Water Works by Cescaphe reception, we were both ready to relax, and focus on our guests (the most important part of the day!). We had a wonderful dinner, amazing speeches by my Man of Honor and Jonathan’s Best Woman, and I shared two great dances with my Dads. After the formalities wrapped, we spent the night in the photobooth, eating all the foods, and dancing with all our friends and family!
If I can give any advice, it’s to go with the flow of your day, because in the end, if you have a good support system, everything will be perfect! Yes, you don’t believe me now, I didn’t believe this either, but trust me – just try it!