Colonial Dames Wedding
Peach, coral, and turquoise – doesn’t this color palette just make your heart sing? Bride Allarie set to work incorporating these calming colors into her wedding day, picking up endless DIY projects along the road. All of her DIY work paid off in spades, though, which you’ll see as soon as you pore through these images from Maria Mack Photography.
From the bride, Allarie: Bob and I had a distinct idea about a country estate, or a garden venue, but wanted to centralize in Pennsylvania, since guests were coming from NJ, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Las Vegas, Boston… some places were really nice, but way over budget. Others were reasonable but too “corporate.” One day Bob was looking at someone’s wedding online that seemed to be in a beautiful backyard of a brownstone home. Upon further research, we found out that it was in fact a hidden gem called, The National Society of the Colonial Dames. After a tour of the property, we were overwhelmed by its historical charm and beauty….and decided that day it was where we would have our wedding. Philadelphia captures multiple architectural styles; some of these can be seen surrounding the lovely gardens behind the Philadelphia Chapter of The National Society of Colonial Dames. Tucked away, along a brick-lined alleyway in Center City Philadelphia, this venue offers history, convenience, and urban posh.
Flower recipe: I knew I wanted peonies, ranunculus, garden roses with their complex tissue-like layers, and succulents to provide a bit of green. I provided antique velvet ribbons to tie these bouquets. The floral designs were perfectly executed by Sullivan Owen and her artistic team. The groomsmen had boutonnieres made of ombre ranunculus and blue chambray ribbon. The corsages for the mothers, and grandmothers matched the bridal florals.
I loved the warm and soft peach/pale yellow palette, with a bit of almost neon coral. An artistic type, I wanted this theme to pervade all of the design, but also wanted a “pop” of something, and I felt that touches of bright turquoise would offset the subdued softness of the other colors. This turquoise touch was found in the Mason jars on some of the tables, in the antique Fenton glass pedestal cake plate, and streaming from my bouquet — French velvet ribbons. A small wooden box with slate sides that invited the guest to “wear your heart on your sleeve” contained handmade felt heart pins stuffed with cotton and whip-stitched in contrasting embroidery thread. The wooden “card box” was made by my cousin and his wife, then I covered it in decoupage with whimsical and romantic pictures of love and joy, man and wife…
Guests found their name and table number written on wooden nickels bearing Philadelphia motifs. These hung on antique black carpet tacks stuck into a map-board created by my mother. Famous Philly landmarks were decoupaged all around the perimeter of the antique map. This board was propped against a wooden easel, reminiscent of my artistic talents. With their number in hand, the guests went upstairs to find their table, designated by antique playing cards stuck into vintage wooden thread spools wound with threads matching our theme colors. Each place setting had a hand-made clothespin bride or groom; a few had black chenille “pugs” to represent our dog, Marley. Small wooden branches wound with antique lace and threaded with 4-5 bells were provided for those who “believe in kisses,” so that they could ring when they wanted to command the bride and groom to kiss.
I had the idea to create a tissue paper backdrop about a month before the wedding. I though my mom was gonna kill me if I added one more DIY project. Of course with the help of my bridesmaid, we decided to go forward with the idea and I am so glad we did! The structure was made using plastic shrub netting stretched over a wooden rectangle frame, and pom poms were poufed during a long evening at my mom’s house. We then tied each pom pom through the netting, being careful not to duplicate colors. This was hung in a paneled space in the reception room, using Command strips so that no damage to this historical venue would happen. It was really the focal point of our room and made such a lovely scene for pictures.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Start planning early. Make the crafting fun! Have friends and family help out—they really love being part of the process. Guests enjoy seeing their handiwork at the venue. Don’t stress. If something goes wrong, you are the only one who really knows it, because no one but you knows what was supposed to happen. Find ways to avoid having to deal with weather. It can really ruin your day if everything hinges on it. Have a plan B that you are just as happy with, built in. Lastly, stay true to yourself. With all of the technology, wedding advice, and decor available these days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Choose colors, decor, music, and details that really represent you and your groom. In the end, it’s just one day to tell the story of your love, so make it count.
Processional: “Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles
Recessional: “Happy,” Pharrell Williams
First Dance: “Nothing Can Change this Love,” Sam Cooke
The DJ played music for both the ceremony and the reception. We selected an instrumental version of “Here comes the Sun” (Beatles) since the Bob regularly sings this in the morning to awaken me. Bob and I love old singers. After narrowing it down to three songs, we decided on Sam Cooke “Nothing Can Change This Love”. The lyrics speak for themselves and prove true to our story. During our dance Bob whispered to me “I love our song”. That’s all I needed to hear.
I come from a dance background and Bob loves music as well. When deciding on a DJ, we knew we wanted someone who wasn’t going to play typical stuff. His club experience allowed for a wide variety of songs to be mixed up and reach out to the masses. Being 80s babies, of course we included everything from Prince to Bel Biv Devoe, but music stretched all the way back to 50s doo wop.
Wedding Location: Philadelphia, PA / Photographer: Maria Mack Photography / Bouquet and Boutonnieres: Sullivan Owen / Reception Flowers: Bride’s mother / Event Planner and Catering: Diverse Catering / Venue: Colonial Dames / Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller / Wedding Veil: abusymother / Wedding Shoes: Harriet Wilde / Bracelet: Ben Amun / Earrings: Dee Griffith Mathura / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Suit: Bar III via Macy’s / Caterer: Diverse Catering / Wedding Cake: Stock’s Bakery / DJ: Mike Mariano of The Remixologists / Wedding Invitations: Simple Simon Design / Programs: Erin Fudge Smith