Black Tie Affair at Perelman Quadrangle
The Perelman Quadrangle at The University of Pennsylvania was a befitting venue for Kate and John’s classic wedding. This couple dreamt of nostalgic elements to be present for their special day, and the history & architectural beauty of their venue fit their vision perfectly. Once we heard that the bride is an event planner it only made sense that this celebration was planned without a flaw! Aside from the interior design, this couple’s style was definitely noteworthy. & The Black Tux was the perfect place for the groom to score his attire for their black tie event. Every pretty element from the flowers to the calligraphy signage made our hearts flutter! True Fold Media photographed every beautiful detail so get ready to swoon because this wedding was amazing from start to finish!
How They Met
“We both studied clarinet with a professor. I attended the University of Rochester and John would fly to NY from Florida to study with him privately. We were never introduced in Rochester. But our professor got a job at Louisiana State University and invited us to join him to start a Masters degree. We both took that first leap of faith and met each other on our first day! My apartment wasn’t ready for move-in and I had no place to stay. Our professor suggested that I call John and he generously let me crash at his apartment. We became friends fast and about a month later we started dating! It was such a fun time – living in a totally new place, becoming professional musicians, and growing together. I look back now and I’m so glad that we both took that giant chance to try out a totally new experience! We try to push ourselves to stay as adventurous as we were when we first met!”
“John proposed on our 5th year anniversary after taking me out to the restaurant where we had our first nice date (obviously we had had many taco dates before that)! I expected a proposal a few months prior when we went to Italy for a music festival and visited his family on the island of Ponza. So when it didn’t happen, I just figured it would be a while longer! We were already spending our lives together so there was no rush. Needless to say, I was shocked and so thrilled when he stopped our walk after dinner and popped the question!”
“We waited a few years to begin planning; we finished our doctorates at that point and weren’t sure how long we’d be in Louisiana. Once we moved to Philly and I started working as an event planner, we started realizing that we were ready! Because of my experience coordinating conferences and other weddings, the planning wasn’t too stressful! I kind of live and die by spreadsheets, so keeping track of vendors, guest lists, and payments weren’t difficult and allowed me to pass on paying a wedding coordinator.
That work experience also gave me the peace of mind to just spend money on things that we knew we wanted rather than haggle and get stressed out over the pricetag of the entire experience. We knew what things we could DIY (beautifully with the help of our friends and family), and what things were just worth paying a professional to totally take the lead on. It made the process less emotional!”
The Perelman Quadrangle at The University of Pennsylvania
“The Perelman Quadrangle at Penn is home to Houston Hall, the first student union in the country. At the time, I was working as an event coordinator at Penn. As I walked into the beautiful space every day I thought about how perfect it would be for us. I’m a bit of an old-soul, I just love old buildings that have tons of history. Houston Hall totally fit our vision for a classic, happy nostalgia, rich for the sense, black tie affair we wanted. We were allowed to bring in any vendors that we wanted, making it easy to create our dream team. And it has beautiful outdoor space without having to take our whole family out to the suburbs. Houston Hall is truly the best kept secret wedding venue in the city. It was just the right fit for our vision!”
“The design inspiration for the wedding was ultimately the gorgeous venue that we chose. It was built in the 1890s and had endless architectural style – think wood paneling, vaulted ceilings, grand windows, and old fireplaces. It also has a dark moodiness to it in the evening which lent itself to really gorgeous lighting, and a classic mix of greenery, blush, and ivory to pop against the backdrop. Our designer Anne and I had tons of fun designing different tablescapes for the mix of round and rectangular tables. The rounds got soaring elevated florals, and the rectangular tables got long greenery garlands, and each table had one of two silver gilded linens and was showered with candlelight to make everything glow.”
Best Wedding Memory
“This is a hard one! We worked really hard to make every part of the wedding week memorable! Our families both came almost a week early to help prepare and celebrate. One of my favorite moments was at the rehearsal dinner when John’s mom, a family friend, and my mom got up and led the entire group in singing ‘We’re Going to the Chapel.’ It was a tradition in John’s parent’s restaurants that they would sing to the couples at their rehearsal dinners, and it was so special to be serenaded by everyone from the wedding!
On the wedding day, we both agree that the ceremony was the highlight. At one moment Katie started crying happy tears and had to borrow a tissue from our officiant, Bethany. Then when it was John’s turn, he shed a few tears too and Katie passed along the tissue for him to share. It was a tiny, unplanned moment that we both cherish.”
Wedding Planning Advice
“The best advice we received when planning our wedding was to focus on the emotions that you wanted to evoke. Everything else can be sculpted around that vision, and it’s the emotion that your guests will remember and take with them. Also, if you can, find ways to extend the celebration. We had our families here the week before to help prepare, we had all of our guests at the rehearsal dinner, and we had a bagel breakfast from Schmear for post-wedding brunch. It’s so nice to see all your favorite people in one place, that using anyway to extend the visit is so special (and appreciated by your guests)!
One of the best things we both did was to take time to create small surprises throughout the wedding for our guests and each other. Katie’s gift to her mother was a custom handkerchief with her mother’s lace as a border. My mom and I are both happy criers and we definitely inherited it from my grandma. I arranged for there to be a soft pretzel station as people left because that’s John’s favorite snack. John worked with the designer to change the table numbers to the names of all the old favorite spots that we would go when we lived in Louisiana and to incorporate clarinet bells into the table design in a super chic way. Those little surprises gave us something to get excited about while planning, and seeing each other’s reactions was priceless!”
“We absolutely loved every single vendor that contributed to our wedding. We knew that the day would fly by so quickly, that I wanted to make sure that every moment of the weekend felt comfortable and wonderful. It started with picking the venue where Katie worked because besides being gorgeous, it already felt like a home where all our friends worked. John’s sister and her husband, Anne and Josh Rhodes, are each an incredible designer and pastry chef and we knew that they would help us completely customize and personalize our vision for the whole day. Even the person that married us, Bethany, is one of our closest friends, making the ceremony so incredibly intimate and special.
For vendors outside our immediate circle, it was our main priority to work with vendors that we really enjoyed on a personal level. Selecting wedding pros that had the best, positive, energy was the best decision we could have made. From our photographers, hair and make up team, to the caterer, and our band, we literally had the best time working with them, making our wedding day feel like we were surrounded by a giant family.”
Vendors | Venue: Perelman Quadrangle at The University of Pennsylvania | Photographer: True Fold Media | Design: Floral Elegance | Cake: Josh Rhodes | Catering: Feast Your Eyes | Hair: Ariel Katrina Hair | Makeup: Emily Dimant Makeup | Bridal Gown: Theia Bridal | Groom’s Tux: The Black Tux | Band: Bachelor Boys Band