Kara and Sam met while studying abroad in London, they both lived in two different countries, but somehow found their way back to each other’s hearts. This “International Love” story shows us just how powerful love is! Pen Ryn Estate was a befitting choice for many reasons, but most importantly this historic site was the perfect location to gather their family and friends traveling from all parts of the world. We’re so excited to share this extraordinary wedding thanks to Asya Photography who captured every beautiful element, and to the lovely team of wedding vendors who made it complete!
How They Met:
“We met in London while completing our Masters degrees at the London School of Economics. We weren’t in the same course – Sam was studying Management and Strategy, while Kara was studying International Political Economy – but we were introduced by two friends. Although we’re from two countries – Kara from the US and Sam from Switzerland – we immediately had a connection, and this connection quickly grew! After spending a year studying in London, Kara stayed on in London to work for a few years while Sam moved back to Zurich (but found himself very often in London for work!) We moved together to NYC around 3 years ago.”
About the Venue | Pen Ryn Estate:
“We agreed to have our wedding near Kara’s hometown (which is in South Jersey), with many friends and family members flying from around the world to join us (We had 18 countries represented). Our venue needed to fit a few criteria: it needed to be a historic venue, showcasing America’s interesting history; it needed to be near downtown Philadelphia, where our guests would stay (again, to see some of our country’s most historic sites!); and we wanted a beautiful outdoor ceremony. Nature has always been an important part of Sam’s life (he grew up in the Swiss mountains), and so it needed to play a role in the day. The Pen Ryn Estate was absolutely the perfect venue for this. We held our ceremony outside before utilizing the Pen Ryn Mansion for our cocktail hour and reception. It was the perfect mix of beautiful nature, a historic feel, and a fantastic place to have a party”
Best Wedding Memory:
“Our wedding ceremony was truly unforgettable. Neither of us being religious, and wanting a day truly customized to us, we decided to ask a friend whom we met in London at the very beginning of our story, Danny Gaynor, to be our celebrant. However, due to Pennsylvania’s history and marriage laws in the state, this decision meant that we needed to have a self-uniting wedding ceremony. In other words, we applied to marry ourselves, and had our friend guide us and our guests through the process. This was truly the best decision we could have made for our wedding day.
The ceremony was a perfect mix of funny and touching – it focused beautifully on sharing our story and brought our international love theme to life, acknowledging the mix of attendees present. In front of family and friends, we signed our marriage license and – to the amusement of all – declared ourselves husband and wife.”
“The theme of our wedding was “international love,” which aimed to celebrate the fact that we’re from two different countries, but also to acknowledge and celebrate that so many wonderful people had joined us from around the world. We had 180+ guests from 18 countries at the wedding – it felt like a mini United Nations (we met many of those guests during our years in London or through working across the world)!
We did a few things to bring this theme to life. To capture the “international” feel, we made signposts which listed out each of the countries our guests were from; had a map saying “Where in the World Are You Sitting?” for our seating chart; named the tables after places Kara and Sam have traveled together; and even had the guests waving custom-made flags at the couple’s end-of-night exit. We had a lot of DIY projects to create all of these great props! (Kara’s mom and aunts were so helpful in putting this together!) One of our favorite decorations was the cake topper, which showed a bride holding an American flag, a groom holding a Swiss flag, and a small suitcase with London and New York stickers – the two cities we’ve lived in together”
“To capture the “love,” we went for a vintage, romantic feel. The colors were burgundy, blush and gold – a color scheme that was brought to life beautifully by the wedding party’s attire, the flowers, and other elements of the décor. We had beautiful burgundy and gold tablecloths and gold picture frames scattered throughout the venue which displayed international love-themed quotes. (For example, “Together is a beautiful place to be.”) The event was a formal black-tie optional affair, which only added to the fairy-tale feeling of the evening!
We tried to design every detail of the day to come together in this very personal theme – and it did. Every touch felt like it was truly “us” – an observation pointed out many times by our wonderful guests!”
“We were so fortunate, and so honored, to spend such a perfect day with family and friends from around the world. From our emotional first look, to our unique and touching ceremony, to a fantastic party and unbelievable band, to so much more, the day was one we’ll never forget”
Vendors | Photography: Asya Photography | Venue: Pen Ryn Estate | Floral Design: Petals Lane | Event Planner: Kelly Miller | Hair and Makeup: Beautiful Brides Philly | Band: Millennium Band, Philly Event Group | Cake/Dessert: Isgro Pastries | Catering: Pen Ryn Catering | Wedding Dress Designer: Pronovias | Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN | Men’s Attire: Smith’s Black Tie & Tailoring | Transportation: David Thomas Tours