I love when I get the chance to connect with a bride and hear her story of how she met her groom and to also get the inside scoop on all wedding details! In some ways it makes me feel closer to actually experiencing the wedding, and it makes me fall more in love with the idea of true love. Thayne and Alex are the definitive example of true love and viewing their expressions throughout the whole day confirms just that. This wedding is very reminiscent of “Old Hollywood Glam”, and a glamorous wedding isn’t complete without an equally glam venue, and with both of their professional backgrounds in theater it only seemed fitting for these two to have the reception at the lovely Kimmel Center. We are so honored to feature the exquisite work of Alix Passage, who did an amazing job at capturing all of the special moments from the entire day, plus Thayne shares all of the proposal + wedding details, and it’s all below!
From the Bride: “I met Alex in college, at the University of Pennsylvania during our third year. To be honest, I do not remember the exact first encounter, because we were friends with the same people, so it is all a blur now when I try to think back. Alex tells me it was at a friend’s house and he remembers me wearing red lipstick, which has always been my favorite and which caught his eye right away. However, we did not start dating until two years after we graduated; he and I were both dating other people during college. During a friends reunion in May 2013, he and I started talking, we were both single at that time, and he asked for my phone number. I was not interested in dating, but I agreed to see a movie with him (“Despicable Me 2” in 3D). From there it’s all history. He and I both knew, pretty much immediately, that this was something different, something special.
From The Bride: “Alex’s proposal was the most special, unique day of my life. Other than our wedding day, it will go down as the best day in both our lives. Alex planned for months. He enlisted my entire family and friends. He and I plan and do everything together, so although the way he proposed was a surprise, we planned together when we would do it. I knew the day, and we had spent some time together with our jeweler friend, Shannon Fitzpatrick, designing the ring. Alex told me he felt more comfortable and calm knowing that I was involved, making decisions with him. He and I designed the ring together, picked out the stone together, and even saved the funds for the ring together. It was truly a collaborative process. Although I designed the ring with Alex, I did not see the final product until he proposed.”
From the Bride: (Contd.) “He proposed on December 7, 2013. I was told by my mom to look pretty, camera-ready, but to be prepared to climb a hill if I needed to, so heels were out of the question. I was getting ready that morning, anxious with butterflies and thinking that Alex and I would leave to go somewhere soon. As I am straightening my hair in the bathroom at 9 in the morning, he comes to give me kiss, tells me that there are subway tokens in my purse, and that Nina (long-time best friend and bridesmaid) will be picking me up in a half hour. I was pretty surprised already. I was not expecting Alex to leave me at that point. So Nina arrives at my apartment with a sly smile, trying to hide her excitement, and hands me an envelope. The envelope has burnt edges and a red wax seal with the letter “T” on it. The front of the envelope says “You are.” I open it, and inside is a clue along with the movie tickets from our first date. He actually saved them and I never knew. The clue rhymed. I do not remember exactly what it said, but I figured out where I had to go next. The first clue took us to Alex’s old apartment up by UPenn. Even though he was no longer living there, we still had the keys, because the new tenants had not moved in yet. I arrived at the old apartment, open the door, and standing there are Alex’s younger brother, who is also the best man, as well as Alex’s best friend from Penn who was actually the person responsible for introducing the two of us to one another. Alex’s brother is wearing a bow tie, which I thought was simply the cutest thing. The clue, along with some hints from my friends, leads me to the fridge. Inside are hundreds of rose petals, and buried under the petals is my second envelope and clue. This envelope looked the same as the first, with the words “You are” on the front. The second clue leads me to a favorite lunch spot for Penn students, “Tap House.” Before departing for lunch, Alex’s brother and friend tell me that we have to share some beers in the fridge that Alex stocked for us.”
“The beers are, of course, some of our favorites. Even though it is about 11:30 in the morning, we crack open a couple and chatted until Nina tells me we have to leave. Nina and I leave the brother and friend behind and walk to Tap House. As we are walking to our table, my best friend who lives in LA pops out of the corner and surprises me. I can say I was honestly, whole-hardly shocked and almost speechless. Tears start streaming down my eyes, because I never thought in a million years she would be there. Alex had arranged for my friend, Christina, to fly from LA the day before, and join the events that day, because he knew it was important to me. Christina has the next clue for me as well as Alex’s credit card to pay for lunch. Alex really thought of everything. On the envelope of the third clue it reads “the.” At this point I am not exactly sure what all the envelopes are supposed to convey. The third clue takes me all the way to the stadiums, where we saw our first concert together. As the three of us are walking from the subway to the Wells Fargo Center, I see an old family friend of mine standing outside of XFINITY Live! It is my friend Philip with his wife Kati inside waiting for us with a couple of beers. They have the fourth clue for me, which has the word “love” on the front of the envelope. Inside with the clue are two tickets to a concert at the Wells Fargo Center for Christmas time. At XFINITY Live! we enjoy their company for a little while and then head to the next location that the clue leads me to: The Kimmel Center. The Kimmel Center is a special location for Alex and me. We went on a date there and we both have performed there in our past—Alex as a violinist in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and I as a dancer in the Children’s Ballet Theatre. The Kimmel Center also became the location of our wedding reception, so needless to say, there is lasting meaning there for the two of us. When I enter the Kimmel Center I figure that I should stop by the box office first. “
“I give my name and the staff member sitting there hands me my 5th and final clue. The envelope reads, “of my life.” I realize what all the envelopes now add up to:
Of my life.
These are lyrics from our song: “Mirrors,” by Justin Timberlake. Yes, this may be corny, but isn’t that what romance is?! The envelopes and clues truly touched me, because Alex put his heart and soul into creating this experience for me. Inside the last clue are two tickets to a concert at the Kimmel Center. Also inside is the last clue that leads me to the courtyard of City Hall. At this point, my two friends, Nina and Christina, leave me and tell me that I am on my own to continue. The walk from the Kimmel Center to City Hall feels like an eternity. It is freezing cold outside that day, but I never actually notice. I am in my own world. I have butterflies in my stomach. I am excited and nervous, anxious and overjoyed. I must have had a smile from cheek to cheek as I made that walk. Alex is standing there in the middle of the courtyard. My heart is pounding. He makes the most beautiful, tear-inducing speech and then gets down on one knee. I think I barely give him but 2 seconds on his knee before I pull him up to kiss him. There is a man playing the flute in the background, which Alex did not plan but that is the beauty of Philadelphia. The moment is truly magical. Alex then tells me to look across the courtyard and there are my two friends clapping and crying. My friend, Nina, had captured the whole proposal on camera. Believe it or not, the day does not end there. “
“Christina and Nina leave us after the proposal, and Alex and I start walking towards my parents’ house. Alex says he wants me to show my mom and say hi. Surprise! I enter the door to find a house full of people. Alex and my mom had planned this whole surprise party for us and to celebrate our engagement. Even my boss, whom Alex had not met yet, is there. We laugh, eat, drink, socialize until about 4 in the morning. I will never forget this day. Other than our wedding day, this was the most amazing, magical day of my life. It was an out of body experience. Writing about it only makes me fall in love more.”
” Alex and I came up with several drafts of our wedding until we landed on the one that made the most sense. Originally we wanted a destination wedding, and then we were going to separate the wedding ceremony from the wedding reception in terms of the time frame. We were getting bogged down by family requests and trying to make everyone else happy. We finally threw out all the previous drafts and decided to start fresh. What we chose represents who be both are as individuals and as a couple in the most perfect way. We wanted to get married that summer, which meant we had 6 months to plan. In all honesty, this was the perfect amount of time. It forced us to make concrete decisions quickly, which actually helped us to make those decisions instinctively and more authentically. We decided to have the wedding ceremony at City Hall.”
“I always wanted to get married by a Justice of the Peace, and neither Alex nor I are very religious, so a church setting felt insincere. City Hall is only opened during the week, so we chose to get married on a Friday, which ended up working out in our favor. It can be difficult to book all the vendors you want in just 6 months. Because our wedding was on a Friday, the band, venue, photographer we wanted were all available since most weddings occur on Saturdays. We chose Friday, July 25, 2014. All the judges who could marry us that day happened to be at a conference in Harrisburg, so we went with a long time family friend of mine who happened to be ordained. She worked with us to write our own ceremony and we also wrote our own vows. The ceremony started on time and lasted no more than 25 minutes. It was perfect and exactly what I wanted; it turned out better than I could have ever imagined. The courtroom was the same courtroom that the movie “Philadelphia” was filmed, so it was quite large and could fit all the wedding guests.”
“The best thing about getting married in City Hall is that it is free! We knew we wanted City Hall as the ceremony venue, but deciding on the reception took some time. I walk by The Kimmel Center everyday and always had it in the back of my mind as something out of my reach. Alex and I decided to look into for kicks. I had some contacts there from work that I reached out to. When we discovered that all events that occur at The Kimmel Center are catered by Garces Catering, we were sold. Jose Garces is our favorite chef in the city, and if there is one thing I truly cared about for our wedding it was the food. The other great thing about the Kimmel Center is the light and the open space. Basically we were looking for venues and vendors that were somewhat nontraditional. I knew I did not want a church or a hotel/banquet hall. I knew I did not want a DJ or the typical buffet style food. I knew I did want posed photos and cheesy grins. So I knew what I definitely did not want, and that helped me find exactly what Alex and I wanted. We found the photographer through someone my family knew. She obviously is awesome. We found the band by searching online until 2 in the morning. The band was phenomenal and extremely affordable because they manage themselves. The only big thing left to figure out were the decorations.”
“We did not have the budget to hire a florist or a decorator, so I employed the help from talented people I know. My step-mom is an interior designer, and she did all the decorations herself, with some help from my family and friends. I have to say it was touching to see so many of the people I love contribute and work as a team for this event. Not counting the day before the wedding, I was an extremely relaxed bride. I did not sweat the small stuff. For all involved, I truly just wanted them to enjoy the experience. I did not even want bridesmaids, but my two best friends, Nina and Christina, insisted. I also added my little sister to the mix. I did not choose a Maid of Honor and I let them all choose their own dresses. Alex and I decided that our wedding would have an old Hollywood, very classy vibe. So I just asked that all my bridesmaids be in long black gowns. Black is my favorite color when it comes to fashion. Alex had more groomsmen—5 in total—, which I figured was fine. Once again, I wasn’t gonna sweat the small stuff.”
“The men wore black tuxes, white shirts, and black bow ties. Nothing but class class class. Where Alex and I did decide to invest some energy, and funds, was in our wardrobe. I love fashion, and because I decided I was going to wear two different dresses and get them made by this designer, Selia Yang, I had found in NYC, Alex also decided to wear two outfits and get a suit as well as a tux made to fit him perfectly. I wore a beautiful short strapless dress for the ceremony, since City Hall is not exactly fancy, and Alex wore a dapper blue suit fit for James Bond. My dress for the reception was quite the work of art. Originally when I had found Selia to design my dress, I thought we were getting married in 2015. When we changed plans, I called her up to let her know she only had four and a half months. She almost had a heart attack. The dress was hand-beaded in Dubai and was a feat that even Selia had yet to accomplish. The dress was not finished until days before the wedding, and I had to travel up to NYC several times during that last month. Everyone was panicking for me, but I stayed calm. Growing up as a dancer, I am used to seamstresses sewing the costume on me right before a performance. “
“Everything is always done last minute. It’s part of the excitement of show business. So that’s how I treated our wedding—another show. And everything worked out perfectly. Alex wore a sophisticated dark navy tux with a white bow tie—so handsome! Planning a wedding can feel like a second job, so keeping it light and fun is important. To help prepare for the wedding, Alex and I took ballroom dance classes. For me being a dancer, I had to have something slightly choreographed for our first dance. Learning a new skill together is also a great way to challenge a couple. I have to say that I was very impressed by Alex’s willingness to learn something completely new. He mastered the foreign movements with grace. We did not want the typical first dance, so we chose to do a rumba to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” When we performed that dance on our wedding day it felt exhilarating. It ended successfully with a dramatic dip.”
What was your favorite moment, wedding detail, and the most exciting part? It is very difficult to pick one moment, since the day as a whole was more than I could have ever imagined. For me, no matter what I was wearing, eating, or dancing to, the most memorable moment has to be those couple of minutes when Alex and I shared our vows. It may have been the most honest moment of our lives. Alex and I always said we never needed a wedding. We just wanted to be married. Of course we feel blessed that our families gave us the opportunity to celebrate our union and to celebrate it in such a luxurious fashion, but it was truly the marriage we were most excited for. Sharing our vows was as if we were falling in love all over again. To be completely honest, when you find the right person, you fall in love more and more each day. An exciting element of our wedding that I think all the guests will always remember was the photo booth we had set up with the help of my step-mom and her friends. This was not the typical, overbearing, crowded box you rent and is an eye sore to look at from the outside. We set up an antique, vintage, wooden screen with a myriad of crazy hats and props. There was a Polaroid camera set up for people to be their own photographers. It really was a hit. And the hats even made it to the dance floor later in the night. I wanted the night to be fun for all, and that’s exactly what it was. And of course I have to mention that the best part is that we have amazing photographs from Alix Passage to remember the day for the rest of our lives. It only gets better from here.
Vendors | Brides Outfit; Thayne’s dresses: Selia Yang (NYC) | Thayne’s shoes + clutch: Jimmy Choo, London | Thayne’s wrap: A treasured family heirloom | Thayne’s hair & make-up: Diana Santiago of Glamour Hair Salon (PHL) | Alex’s Tux + Suit: Prince and Baron | Alex’s Shoes: Allen Edmunds, Mezlan | Getting Ready: Hyatt at the Bellevue (PHL) | Ceremony: Philadelphia City Hall (PHL) | Reception: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Dorrance H. Hamilton Garden (PHL) | Music: The Bachelor Boys Band (PHL/East Coast) | Food & Cake: Garces Catering (PHL) | Flowers, Centerpieces, Cocktail + Reception Decorations, Photo Booth: DIY (by Thayne’s mom! So I guess you could call her a local vendor 😉