Elizabeth & Louis | Cescaphe Ballroom
It isn’t how meeting clients usually happens, but I first spoke with Liz and Lou as we were standing in their venue! It was just about one year prior to their wedding day, and they were overwhelmed with anticipation for when their wedding would finally come. Cescaphe Event Group had invited me to one of their Cescaphe University nights which is a themed cocktail party for their couples with plenty of delicious food and wedding education / venue discussion topics. Liz and Lou asked about my photography, and gave me a quick idea of their plans for their wedding which always included the hope of capturing their photos around a few historic parts of Philadelphia. We learned that we grew up around the same areas, and loved the city for similar reasons. I felt connected with them right away, and very excited for their happiness.
It also isn’t how in-person client meetings go, however a few weeks later I met with Liz and Lou on a day where I was unable to secure a babysitter - so my little helper (my son) came with me. Liz was once a Nanny so she promised that she and Lou would enjoy meeting my son while sipping on coffee and talking all things wedding! I had written detailed notes about their ceremony, timeline, families…and my then 1.5 year-old had colored all over their folder and my paper. I closed it, and kept listening to Liz and Lou with mental notes made from then on! :)
It was a pleasure getting to know this pair during their engagement session which was on a day where the temperature read 107 degrees! Despite the heat, and thanks to the Gatorade Lou brought we all made it through! Because Liz and Lou love Philadelphia so much, they also included it into their engagement session at Fairmount Park. I loved watching how they smiled and laughed with each other. My job was made easy, and I knew they would have a blast with their wedding photos as well.
As Lou got ready at home with his parents and guys, Liz and her girls spent the morning of the wedding at Hotel Monaco. Their suite was absolutely stunning. Very unique and modern decor, with a hint of historical influence which felt exactly like her style. Sometimes having an Interior Design background fuels my inspiration for use of the space in terms of portraits. Liz handed me her details including a family heirloom piece to photograph, and then I focused on everything happening around Liz. Her flower girl was hamming it up for the camera with her spin moves right before Liz’s mom and Maid of Honor helped her into her gown. Before leaving for the church, she read a touching letter from her groom and we brought her father in for a dad/daughter first look. The pride on her parent’s faces was very sweet! Lou also had a beautifully written letter to read before going to the church. I absolutely love these private moments and think they are among the most important to document.
A very ornate and grand aisle awaited Liz’s walk toward Lou at Saint Peter’s Apostle Church. He was a bit nervous but very ready. This parish is vital to Liz’s family history and it provided a remarkable setting for two people to unite as one. This is after all what the day is all about!
The party began right after the Church, as the eighteen person bridal party, plus Bride and Groom boarded their Trolly provided by the venue. We explored Broad Street, Merchant’s Exchange and Second Bank for photographs. At one point, I was responsible for 20 very excited, slightly buzzed people to huddle for a (very)quick photo on the median in front of City Hall which is all of maybe eight feet wide. The end of February was equally as cold as their engagement session was hot. As I was standing in the center of South Third Street, dodging oncoming cars while capturing Liz and Lou, I listened for my assistant’s voice yellingl “car!” when one came too close and I had to move. Somehow on wedding days, I become fearless! It is 100% worth it for the art.
When Liz couldn’t stand the cold temperature any longer, the Trolly took us to the gorgeous Cescaphe Ballroom where the celebration lasted ALL night. One request that they had was a photo by the famous Ballroom Bar which we grabbed as they enjoyed their preview of their reception decor before guests came in from cocktail hour.
It was a gorgeous wedding with a lot of city hustle. We were able to stop at all the original locations that Liz and Lou mentioned were important to them a year ago as we stood in the same room. I was very happy to accommodate their vision, and honored to be chosen as their wedding photographer!
A special Thank you to my assistant Mark for having a vested interest in my life as I stood in moving traffic (he had no choice as he is my Brother), and for being the muscles behind the operation. Also, thank you to my second photographer, Eric for his instincts, vision, adaptability and for being taller than I am and grabbing some great action shots on the dance floor.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Dollarton! I hope the first month and a half of marriage has been the best adventure yet<3