Following up on our ‘Top 6 Rustic Venues‘ which we recently published, here is a list of our favorite Philly wedding venues. It could obviously be that we’re a bit biased being based out of South Jersey which is only a hop, skip, and a short drive away, but there’s something truly special about the city of Philadelphia. A city with no shortage of historical places to exchange your vows and celebrate afterward.
Philadelphia’s Art Museum steps, Liberty Bell, and Reading Terminal Market are not only well known across the country but around the world. Along with some of the most iconic buildings in the US, such as City Hall and Independence Hall, who doesn’t love a good set of cobblestone streets which have been holding steady since the birth of this country. Covered with murals, some that scale walls up to three stories high, it’s also a city that has embraced artists and creatives like no other. Throw in its fair share of dive bars, food trucks, parks, and unique little neighborhoods, it’s easily one of the coolest cities to not only visit but get married in. Even for those who aren’t into the typical big-city weddings, Philly has more than enough to offer without having your wedding look like an episode of Sex In The City. Plus, we have the best sports fans in the world – that’s a fact, not an opinion. FLY EAGLES FLY!
City weddings can often feel intimidating, which is why our staff does everything it can to help out. The slightest whisper of parking, permits, or transportation is enough to make anyone start to sweat. While there is a lot that can go into the planning process, with our help we promise you that it really isn’t that bad. However, you will want to make sure that you hire a photographer that has a good amount of experience in the city. While a lot of photographers find city weddings to be extremely challenging and difficult to manage, they bring out the best of ours and they love everything about them. Photographing a wedding in the city allows our team to push the creative envelope and creatively capture each and every client’s story in its own unique way as you’ll see in the blog posts below. Let’s be honest, there’s a big difference between photographing a wedding at a big open farm venue and one in the city, but luckily our squad never backs down from a challenge. In fact, it only helps them produce their best work 🙂
Over the past 8 years, we’ve had the opportunity to photograph weddings at a good amount of the wedding venues that the city of Philadelphia has to offer. Some of which we’ve shot at once, others several times, and there are still a small handful that we haven’t been to. Below is a list that we compiled, as a team, of our favorite Philly wedding venues. We narrowed it down to a list of 8, along with a little blurb about each, what we love about them and blog posts to not only show off the venue but for you to use as inspiration for your own wedding.
One of Philly’s best kept venue secrets, The Franklin Institute was founded almost two centuries ago and is one of the oldest centers of science and science education in the entire US. If science is your thing, or even if it isn’t, it’s one of the most unique places you can get married at. Along with all of the institute’s interactive exhibits, you have the ability to exchange vows under the moon and stars that move across the 40,000-pound stainless steel dome of the Fels Planetarium.
While you still have all the normal photo-op spots around the city to hit for portraits, you also have access to having the Franklin Institute all to yourself on your wedding day. Not only does it offer a good variety of extremely creative and unique photo opportunities, but all of your guests will be talking about how badass it was attending a wedding at the Franklin Institute.
There’s a 20 foot Ben Franklin statue that sits right in the room where most of the receptions are held. There’s nothing quite like looking over to see a huge statue of the man who founded the institute while dining to an absolutely top-notch cuisine by the award-winning FROG Commissary.
Union Trust is quite the unique Philly venue and without a doubt one of our favorites. You could easily find yourself driving right by this venue without even realizing it as it blends in with the other buildings on the same street. Once you walk in the front doors and see what’s inside you’ll quickly realize what makes this place so special. It has a very classic ballroom-look on the ground level with unique and captivating architectural details that naturally draw your eyes upwards to the second level that wraps around offering a balcony type of view. Union Trust expertly marries (pun intended!) regal Philadelphia grandeur with a new and modern vibrancy. As with all of the other venues on our list, Union Trust is quite unique looking and the setup for their indoor ceremonies is one of the coolest there is in the city which you can see in the blog post below.
The insane 65 foot engraved ceilings seem to go on forever and ever. The Art Deco accents provide awesome unique backdrops for photos and the uplighting keeps the space interesting and industrial.
The Union Trust Building was constructed in 1888 and served as the Union Trust Company Bank before it was taken over by Finley Catering and turned into the grand and opulent Union Trust it is today!
The Cescaphe Ballroom is the original, timeless ballroom by the Cescaphe event company. Ornate crystal chandeliers with hanging pearls, gold and brass accents, cathedral ceilings, stone columns, and a grand staircase fit for the newlyweds’ grand entrance complete with sparklers for added ‘WOW’ factor.
The Ballroom is located right in the middle of Northern Liberties, a bustling hipster mecca, yet it still maintains its classy and refined style. Two cocktail hour areas allow for guests to enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres both inside and outside, and a baby grand piano evokes a fancy old Hollywood feel.
Years ago, the ballroom served as the Imperial Movie Theater during the golden age of film and while it’s had a facelift since then, it still maintains classic details from the era, like the balconies overlooking the ballroom that were once green rooms – now suites for the bridal parties.
The Vie is a chic lounge-style ballroom with French Provincial accents and a huge imported Italian mosaic wall. Soft draping and unique lighting installations keep the space cozy but contemporary.
An outside courtyard sets this venue apart from many others, creating a beautiful backdrop for outdoor ceremonies amidst greenery. Three cocktail spaces give guests ample room to move and mingle, and custom-designed ice sculptures and an expansive raw bar kicks cocktail hour into the next level.
This is Cescaphe’s largest venue with a capacity of 600 guests for a wedding – perfect for big weddings that include large scale and extravagant cultural celebrations.
Another Cescaphe venue, The Waterworks is a pretty popular spot for weddings and other events in the Philly area which is within a stone’s throw away from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Iconic views and classic design combined with tons of historical nuances and beautiful landscaping give Waterworks a little something more than the average Philly venue.
It’s located a stone’s throw away from the Philadelphia Art Museum, Fairmount Park, and Boathouse Row which is ideal for photos and is perched right along the Schuylkill River. Cocktail hour is indoor and outdoor, and couples have a choice of three reception spaces. The outdoor ceremony and space with the sunset dipping into the river gives an awesome backdrop for exchanging vows and dancing all night.
Built-in the 1800’s as our nation’s very first municipal water system using paddle wheels, Water Works and served Philadelphia for over 50 years until it was closed down in the early 1900s. Even back then, it was revered for its amazing architecture, called ‘very pleasant’ by Charles Dickens himself!
The Lucy is the Cescaphe’s newest venue which has been open for less than a year, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re booked up solid by this point through 2021.
The modern space is located just off the Avenue of the Arts, at Broad and Locust, and has a second-floor mezzanine for cocktail hour that overlooks the ballroom. Chevron flooring, modern gold accents, marble flooring, and whitewashed brick walls are perfect for couples who want a true city chic and luxe vibe.
The prime location allows newlyweds and their bridal parties to snag some photos at Philly’s most iconic location — City Hall.
The terms elegant and sophisticated basically encompass the whole vibe at the Ballroom at the Ben, Finley Catering. Beautiful gold chandeliers, tall pillars, and giant archways bring European charm and spectacular opulence. This is the grand ballroom of king and queen dreams.
The location is perfectly placed in the heart of the city. There are hotels, restaurants, and historic locations surrounding the venue on all sides making it convenient even for traveling guests. Cocktail hour is on the second floor giving guests a bird’s eye view of the ballroom and the giant white dance floor.
Your custom-designed wedding cake comes from Termini’s Bakery – a true iconic Philly touch!
The Morris House is a romantic garden venue which is tucked away in the middle of Center City Philly and looks like it came straight off your Pinterest board. As they explain it on their website, which we totally agree with: The Morris House is an escape into another world, offering modern amenities in an old-world setting surrounded by history and endless charm right in the heart of center city Philadelphia.
Dinner is served under romantic twinkle lights in the clear tent surrounded by lush greenery and gardens. Once you step through the wrought iron gates, it’s like you’re a hundred miles away from a bustling city. The Historic hotel has 17 rooms for guests, and combines a fancy B&B feel with luxury historic touches.
Unlike many city venues, Morris House is geared toward those couples wanting an intimate experience. Capacity is 100 max, making for a super special event with your closest family and friends.