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Where to have your iconic Philadelphia wedding


Photo by Love Me Do Photography | Sarah Keel and Thom Berg sit down with friends to a meal by Birchtree Catering at the Wyck House.

Photo by Love Me Do Photography | Sarah Keel and Thom Berg sit down with friends to a meal by Birchtree Catering at the Wyck House.

Location, Location, Location

If you want a wedding, and wedding photos, that proudly announce their location in the City of Brotherly Love, there are many options. The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation manages events at about a dozen facilities throughout the City, including Bartram’s Garden, the Barnes Foundation and Lemon Hill Mansion. Smaller and lesser-known—but just as beautiful—locations are also in their portfolio, like Cosmic Cafe on Boathouse Row, and there are other great options for those that want an intimate reception.


Cosmic Cafe on Boathouse Row

In addition to a lovey view, the in-house caterer here provides simple, locally and sustainably sourced food. Their business model includes a social component—hiring workers who have developmental disabilities—and their team will work with you to get as close to zero-waste as possible while you’re dancing by the river. 

The Ethical Humanist Society on Rittenhouse Square

Mid-block on the south side of Rittenhouse Square’s beautiful public park sits the home of the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia. The historic house has several rental options, and the main room features a full curtained stage and grand piano if you’re thinking about going with a “big band” sound. Capacity is 180, and while there are less expensive rental options for shorter celebrations, you can rent the whole building for the day for $1,200, and may use any caterer you wish.

Magic Gardens on South Street 

This wonderland created by celebrated Philadelphia mosaic artist Isaac Zager will ensure that your wedding photos are something to remember, and it helps support public art and education. During the peak season of March through October, rental rates on weekends are $400 per hour for a capacity crowd of 75, but thrifty couples who aren’t afraid of February (or winnowing their guest list) could throw a small three-hour party for less than $1,000.

Philadelphia’s City Hall

We’re not talking about a sign-and-dash at the wedding registrar. The stately Mayor’s Reception Room (capacity 180) and Conversation Hall (capacity 100) can be rented in four- hour blocks for $250 a piece, leaving you plenty of budget for the rest of the wedding. Couples can marry in either, but food and drink is allowed only in Conversation Hall. In order to check availability, you must call the Mayor’s Office, fill out a form, and they’ll respond with availability and approval. As long as your caterer is up to date on their city licenses, you can bring in your preferred vendor, but the Mayor’s Office can also provide a list from which to choose. The Mayor, unfortunately, is not included with the rental; you’ll need to bring your own officiant. 215-686-2163

Wyck House in Germantown

If a smaller, outdoor affair is what you’re looking for, the beautiful grounds at the Wyck House will work for up to 75 people, and a tented option is available for an extra $300. Rentals begin at $400 and range to $1,400 for longer or larger receptions. The site offers its own wedding photography service for $150 an hour. Your rental fees are helping to support their education programs as well as the Wyck Farm, which provides local produce to the Germantown community.

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Latest from #074 June 2015