Our trip to Philadelphia went by far too quickly. We had 6 wedding venue visits scheduled, ended up with 8 by the time we had finished collecting and reviewing recommendations from friends and family. I am really happy with what we ended up seeing, and upon browsing through a local weddings magazine we were given at one of the venues (they were featured) I couldn’t really find any we were missing out on. I’ll probably share the list of contenders once here after we make our decision, but I’m happy to share it privately until then, just drop me an email.
I will admit to one venue though because it was an attraction and I took a bunch of pictures: Morris Arboretum hosts weddings. It’s an amazing place and would make for an absolutely stunning outdoor wedding, if it didn’t rain. We were able to walk around the arboretum until closing to get a feel for it and I took several photos (including some of alternate wedding sites), I’ve uploaded several here:
We’ll probably pass on it due to a variety of factors (not the least of which is depending upon no rain on a day in April in Philadelphia is not a great thing). We have narrowed it down to, at most, 4 venue options. We’re now going to work with the potential officiant to figure out about dates and then work from there to decide on our final venue. I’m excited, nervous, and had my first wedding-related nightmare a few nights ago – about rights to our wedding photos. I’m exceptionally laid-back about all of this planning, but if there is one thing I’d go bridezilla about it would be photos. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that we’ll be paying out of our nose to get full resolution digital copies and a non-commercial license that grants us the ability to print AND put the photos online ourselves. I wouldn’t be at all happy with just prints or with some digital photos on a website owned by the photographer that I can’t store securely myself.
This trip has uncovered dozens of other things we need to decide. The wedding is still over a year off but the venue selection is a major dependency and once we make that decision we’ll be able to move forward with many of the other decisions. We’re also dealing with not only planning remotely, but a wedding party that’s scattered all over the country. We’ll most likely be skipping the bridal shower entirely and be doing destination bachelor(|ette) parties (Hello Las Vegas!). Thankfully my maid of honor, Danita, has offered to help in any way she can with wedding planning stuff.
We were also able to catch up with some of our friends and MJ’s family while we were in town, but not nearly as many people as I always want to. I got to enjoy some of my favorite foods (Cheesesteaks! Soft pretzels! Rita’s! Dunkin’ Donuts! Hoagies!), this time I didn’t overdo it too much and I made it to the hotel gym twice. We’re planning on coming back at least twice before the wedding to take care of some things, do the catering tasting, get our marriage license…
We also went to the Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs exhibit at The Franklin Institute. I was excited when this exhibit came out but feared I wouldn’t get to see it. It happened to be the perfect thing to do to keep us awake after the redeye that put us in Philadelphia early Wednesday morning. I had a couple cups of coffee at a diner following the flight and being entertained by dinosaurs (Mamenchisaurus!) was enough to keep us awake until we were able to drive up and check in to our hotel in the afternoon.
It was a good trip. I will say, I adore San Francisco, but I am always sorry to go home after a visit to Philly. Next to Maine, the Philadelphia region is where I’ve spent the most years of my life and it’s where I finally found a great deal of strength and independence. Upon reflection, there were no doubts, and barely any discussion, when we decided that we’d go there for our wedding.