Wednesday, October 29, 2014

{Vacation Recap} Philly Wedding

Wow, what an amazing wedding weekend.  It was full of laughter, family, new friends, and of course a whole lotta love.   I agree with Kristen's assessment that our family sure knows how to have a good time!  I can attest to that because I'm still worn out from all the fun, hehe.

Kevin and Allison are such a fun, gorgeous couple and it was evident all weekend what a great team they make.  Neither are from Philly originally, so they took this opportunity to welcome their friends and family to their new hometown. They really outdid themselves and I think a lot of people left with a new-found appreciation for the "city of brotherly love"!

We've only been around Kevin a handful of times but always have a blast and look forward to more get-together's with them.  They play off each other so well and both are caring, generous people who always want to ensure those around them are ok and having a good time.   Good peeps.

We flew in to join the festivities (which had already begun!) on Thursday evening and later that night I met up with the bride and her party for a night out on the town.   Allison and I have definitely grown closer over time  (a shared love of bourbon will do that to ya!) and have texted all year leading up to the wedding.  Even though I wasn't technically a part of the bridal party, she made me feel like part of the group and her girlfriends are all such wonderful people, they made me feel like I had known them for years.  I also had the chance to meet a couple of her BFFs during a shower this Summer (one of whom is friends with another friend of mine..small world!) and knew that Kristen, Devyn and the newly-wed Becky would be there too!  Needless to say, I was looking forward to partying with all of them!   In addition, I got the opportunity to meet some of her awesome college & Philly girlfriends and everyone got along fabulously.  Nothing better than being surrounded by smart, fun, beautiful women who like to have a good time.  Allison kept the outting low key and always made sure we were having fun.  Such a low-maintenance Bride - love it.

Found my sister! Don't mind my eyes, they were red all weekend!

Left: The blondes!  Al center, Kendra, Chelsea, Kat and Jessica  Right: Becky & Al
Oldest Bar in Philly where 17 bucks will buy 4 cocktails - Crazy!
Not really sure what is going on here, but I like it

Devyn, Becky, Al, Kendra, Me, Chelsea, Jessica, Molly, Kristen, Kat, & Bethany

Pretty sure this is where the Declaration of Independence was signed :)

Somehow we all made it home that night in one piece - thank you Uber! (<--referral link that gives you a $30 credit).

We met up the next day for nails and lunch which was awesome as the moms and aunts as well adorable little girls were able to join in on the fun.  Afterwards, I went with Kendra and Jessica (and bumped into Chelsea and Katherine in the process) to do a bit of shopping.    I then broke off by myself to explore the Rittenhouse Square area (it reminded me a bit of Chicago's Lincoln Park...specifically the Halsted/Armitage Shopping area which is fabulous) while waiting for a hair appointment.

Stephens Girls:  Karen (Auntie K), Lynn (mom), Janis (Peach), Gram.  Bottom: Al & Becky 
Peach and the Bride-to-be!

Finally it was time for the rehearsal dinner!   Kevin & Al rented out a cute brunch spot and catered in a seated dinner.   I adored the bourbon bar and I LOVED that she re-purposed her mom's wedding dress as her rehearsal attire and went with Veronica Lake-Like Hair.  So stunning and clever!  We spent the evening eating, drinking and generally having a blast.  The family kept sending wine over to our table and we had no problems taking care of it :)

Gorgeous Lady
Our table with Kris and Gabe...Gram joined us and we had even more fun
Top: One of my favorite pics - Gram holding court as we soak it up, Bottom: Newly-weds Becky & Luke (love them!) and Auntie K
Tom and I on our way to the Dinner

Bourbon Bar and the Bride...sounds like the title of a really great book, hehe

After the dinner, we all headed back to the hotel and proceeded to congregate in Peach's hotel room where we sat in our PJs,ordered Fries and Pizza and stayed up way too late talking and laughing. Gabe MIGHT have broken a lamp in the hotel room as well #neverforget

The event itself was the perfect city wedding.  From the Catholic Mass Ceremony in a beautiful Cathedral downtown, to the wedding party being escorted in a Trolley - everything was  wonderful. You can see from the pics that Allison was a truly gorgeous bride and that she and Kevin make a beautiful couple.  They had a ton of people to greet (200+?) and made the right call in hugging us all personally as we left the church....this freed them up from "being on duty" at the reception which was GENIUS.

It's official!

Love this pic

Speaking of the reception....WOW.   It took place at a country club and right away, I knew I was in the right place when I was immediately greeted by an amazing bourbon bar.  The grounds were beautiful so a ton of pics were taken...I'm including some of the "outtakes" because I think they are hilarious. It takes a lot to get a good shot!

First try
Here we go again
Nice one ladies!

C'mon over - get in!
Brunettes flanking the hot blonde
Somehow this girl and I earned the Nick-names "MacGyver" & "Ace" ha, love her!
Trying super hard
Much better :)

Tom & Gabes Christmas Card this year
Pretty couple!

Mom (who lost 65 pounds! woot) and her Kids

Gram & Gramp surrounded by Men

Mom and Daughter - beautiful!

Tea-potting pretty hard

My main squeeze

One more for good measure

Once inside, the party really got started and the the music was off the charts.  They hired a live band which was full of super talented people who added so much energy to the reception.  They were rapping, singing, dancing on the floor with everyone (even putting the mike in my face to sing along at one point)...I've never seen a wedding band quite like them.  Even without the music, Kevin and Al have so much personality they brought fun to everything from their entrance to having dance party breaks between each of the courses.  I loved that their first dance was to Bob Seger's "Night Moves" hehe.

Tom and I certainly let loose (one of the bourbon drinks - don't worry it wasn't the Pappys! - MAY have been knocked out of my hands, crashing to the floor, but at least I was in good company #7stitches #neverforget) and danced til our feet hurt.  I also have to note how great the speeches given by Becky and her Father were (as well as Kevin's brothers), I wish I had recorded them to leverage if I'm every in need, hehe.

Top: Wish we could hang with Kris and Gabe more often!  Bottom:  The O'Mera Siblings (good looking family, right?!)

Dance Floor Shenanigans, Kris, Kendra and I are missing from the top due to #7stitches

Had a blast with these girls - we are seated right next to the bar (trouble)

John and his girlfriend, Kim!  Gram & Gramp taking a break

These two never stopped moving 

Now about the Pappys....Earlier in the year Kevin & Al told Tom & I that they would have special bottles of it available and that we were definitely on the list.   All we had to do was go up to the bar and mention it, and they'd give us a generous pour.   Anyone who understands how hard it is to even FIND Pappy Van Winkle's knows what a special treat this was.  We were respectful, but definitely took multiple trips (they have various years available so you know, we had to try them all...).  Tom & I have a couple of the bottles on the way to us and this just got us even more pumped for the shipment!  Thank you, Al & Kevin, that was incredibly generous of you two!

My date for the night - don't worry, he was Tom's date too

The brunch in their beautiful Philly Rowhome the next morning was such a great send off full of delish food to soak up the previous night's craziness.  I loved their home and thought it was smart that they had the street blocked off so it could accommodate everyone  

These types of events are such a great time to catch up with family and grow even closer.   I was sad to say good-bye to everyone, but hope the newlyweds have a blast during their African Adventure (Cape Town, Wineries and of course a Safari!).

Thanks again for hosting us in your wonderful city.  We love you both so much and it meant a ton to share in your wedding weekend!


Pssst: I have to mention that Rent the Runway (referral link) definitely came through this weekend!  I rented 2 dresses (the pink and the yellow ones shown above) and loved them both so much I was super sad to send them back. If you've never tried it, do so soon. It's so much fun and much cheaper then buying similar dresses out of pocket.  Don't be surprised to see me in one or both of those dresses again...


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