Weddings are an absolutely beautiful and amazing life event to capture in photography, regardless of the setting. For me, it's truly the high-point in photography. It generally takes you to all sorts of extremes in terms of technique, because lighting is always a tricky thing. At the same time, the emotions and the extreme importance of that day in the lives of the couple and both of their families... NOTHING compares to capturing that.
One of my other passions is photographing concerts. I'm a musician AND a photographer, so capturing musicians as they are performing and creating is something near and dear to my heart. So this wedding was basically a matter of "hitting it out of the park" for me, because it was a wedding that was designed basically to be a huge kick-ass concert with a wedding ceremony included. Maddie & Chris are both musicians, as were virtually all of the wedding party and tons of the guests. Where else would they chose to have this wedding but the incredible World Cafe Live, Philadelphia.
Maddie started her day with her bridal party at Flawless Finish Artisty, for hair and make-up. This is actually the first time I have been there, and they were absolutely amazing! Their studio is also absolutely lovely. I'm not quite sure how Maddie found them, but if any future brides are working on preparations for a Philadelphia wedding, I'd definitely look into these talented ladies!
I'm also willing to just add a personal little appreciation that Termini Brothers is right in the same plaza. I have been absolutely in love with Termini's for over thirty years, since I moved to Philly. I'll confess to ducking out not once but twice to grab La Colombe coffee and a rum cake. Oh so good!!!
After the morning of mimosas, hair, make-up and getting ready, the bridal party and I headed over to World Cafe Live, to join the guys. Maddie & Chris had decided to do a first look. We decided that it would be easiest if the couple got to see each other, prior to the ceremony. One of my favorite photos of the first part of the day is that moment just before Chris turned around and saw her in her wedding dress for the very first time.
After the first look, we had time for everyone to just decompress and get prepared for the ceremony. This included getting photos of the wedding party, both in normal formal settings, and in the special way that truly captures Maddie & Chris's personalities the best:
One of the great things about having the wedding at World Cafe Live is that they have a TON of space to accommodate different parts of the day's events. We used the top venue for formal photos, the ceremony, and the cocktail hour. Then, the event adjourned to the main stage downstairs for the reception. The ceremony was absolutely beautiful on the upstairs stage!
Everything upstairs was absolutely beautiful, elegant and perfect. But there is something especially incredible about the reception being held in the downstairs venue with the main stage. And this wedding have just one band for the reception, they had two!
When the wedding party consists of almost all musicians, of course you have to have a wedding band made up of friends! That's where Soul Box comes in. They even played a tune with guest star, Chris Orlando! (the groom!)
And what a stunning place to have their first dance, but on the amazing dance floor at World Cafe Live. This is a moment I'm sure they will remember and treasure for the rest of their lives.
And after a number of tunes by Soul Box, the evening's headliners took the stage. I'm almost embarrassed to admit as a Philly musician, that I didn't know about American Deluxe Band prior to this wedding! I have since friended a couple of the musicians on Facebook, and in some cases we share almost fifty mutual friends! How I had managed not to bump into these guys is a bit surprising, but I'm so incredibly thankful that I got to spend the night listening to their incredible energy. I imagine this band probably performs with various sizes and configurations, based upon the size of the venue. And of course, World Cafe Live has the stage and the capacity to handle a large band! At the same time, I have no doubt they could accommodate smaller venues with an off-shoot of the group. For this performance, they had three vocalists, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and then a horn section, too. And this band GROOVES! They didn't just have a tune or two that were really solid, they went from one blockbuster to another. And their vocalists all had incredible pipes! Everything from Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson covers to Whitney & Aretha Franklin... all done absolutely impeccably well (and I'm a really fussy listener... they weren't just pretty good - they were absolutely amazing.)
After the wedding, I was chatting with Maddie & Chris, and I was so incredibly excited at what a fun event they had. A huge shout-out to Maureen, the event planner and hostess for the evening from World Cafe Live. She was absolutely incredible to work with. Every aspect of this day was just absolutely perfect, and one that I will remember for the rest of my life... and I'm sure for Maddie & Chris, one they will look back on with incredible excitement and fondness for the rest of their lives.