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Shop Philly: The Best Places To Order Your Custom Invitations

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, EBE News, Vendor Features

So it’s time to start thinking about invitations. Should you opt for a digital design? What about calligraphy? Or maybe even letterpressed text? It can be overwhelming to design your wedding invitations, and most couples don’t even know where to begin!

Luckily, Philadelphia is home to some outstanding local businesses that will help you design and print your wedding invitations, as well as your save-the-dates, escort card, thank you cards, and more! We’ve put together a list of the best local places to order your custom invitations from.

The Paperia

Chestnut Hill Instagram | Ardmore Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

With two locations in the area, Ardmore and Chestnut Hill, The Paperia offers so much more than just invitations. Their gift shop features unique gifts for all occasions, many of which are paper-themed. This family-owned business has been providing invitations, announcements, and stationary to Philadelphians since 1983. “We have years of knowledge and experience with wording and etiquette and we love to share it with our customers,” shares Ben from the Paperia. Although the wedding invitation industry has experienced change in recent years, the Paperia remains a Philadelphia staple in this era of everything electronic. “If you believe marriage is forever and your wedding day is one you will never want to forget, come to our store and let us help you make it the day you’ve dreamed of all your life,” says Ben.

The Papery of Philadelphia

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Owner and operator Carolyn Brandhorst has an extensive background in fashion retail, graphic design, and advertising. Through passion for these industries and hard work, The Papery of Philadelphia was born. “Our customers love that we not only do invitations, but we create a complete brand for their special day, from the beginning to the end. It starts with the save the dates, continues with the invites, the welcome boxes/bags that we create for them, bridesmaid proposal boxes, custom logo design, and more,” says Carolyn. The Paperia creates a bond with their clients to make the design and print process stress free, unique to their event, and most importantly, fun.

Papertree Studio

Instagram | Facebook | Website

After over 10 years of experience in graphic design, advertising, and marketing, owner Christy opened Papertree Studio in 2012. At the time, she was the Marketing & Advertising Designer at Philadelphia magazine, and was creating wedding invitation designs on the side. As word of mouth grew and her client base expanded, she decided to take the leap and make Papertree Studio official. Conveniently located in Old City, Papertree Studio isn’t just limited to wedding invitations. They also offer stationery, baby announcements, vow books, and more! “I think we have a unique take on the invitation design. We design to evoke a feeling and I think that in itself is a different approach,” shares Christy. Their custom designs take time to create, so book early with Papertree Studio.

Chick Invitations

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

This custom design studio opened in 2010, and celebrated the grand opening of their retail store in Old City in April 2019. Don’t let the name deceive you… Chick Invitations is so much more than just wedding invites, offering custom crafted products from bridal party robes and cocktail napkins to drinkware. “Since we are a custom studio, we have so much more flexibility than places that are beholden to simply selling designs. We’re able to pull concepts from our client’s stationery and apply them throughout their Big Day, so their entire event feels coordinated, personal, and thoughtful,” says Caitlin from Chick Invitations. Chick Invitations loves going the extra mile to make their clients happy. “Whether they need a last minute engagement gift or help creating welcome boxes for their hotel guests, we have all the supplies needed to make it possible!,” shares Caitlin.

 

Did you use one of these Philadelphia businesses to have your wedding invitations printed? If so, we would love to hear all about your experience! Contact us today!



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How Long do Wedding Bands Play and What Songs Should You Choose?

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, EBE News

EBE Venue Spotlight: Branzino

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, EBE News

Finding a great venue for each step of your wedding weekend can be an overwhelming task. Philadelphia is filled with some incredible venues where couples choose to get married every year. We’ve done the legwork for you and highlighted some of the best venues that Philadelphia has to offer in our EBE Venue Spotlight. This month, we’re featuring Branzino.

Branzino originally opened in October 2003, and was one of Philadelphia’s best Italian restaurants for almost 13 years. Unfortunately, they were affected by a tragic fire in July 2016, which forced them to shut down and start over. Much to our excitement, Branzino has reopened this year and has truly lived up to their previous notoriety!

Branzino is located on 17th Street between Locust and Spruce in Rittenhouse, Philadelphia. The menu consists of a mouth-watering assortment Italian dishes, including their namesake – a Branzino entree with roasted asparagus and lemon caper butter. Operating as a BYOB restaurant, guests are able (and encouraged!) to bring their own wine and beer for dining and private events.

The owners of Branzino are married couple – Dori and Luan. Luan is the head chef, and has decades of experience creating exquisite Italian dishes. Each morning, Chef Luan and his team churn out handmade pasta, bread, and desserts for service. They also use only fresh seafood and homegrown micro greens, and locally obtain as much of their ingredients as possible.

The restaurant features three beautiful spaces to hold private events. Events may utilize the entire restaurant and outdoor space, or just one area.

  • A small, intimate dining room, which seats approximately 35 guests. This space is located in the front of the restaurant and has large windows that open when the weather is nice. This space alone is ideal for small rehearsal dinners.
  • A large dining room in the back, which seats approximately 110-115 guests. This room can also be closed off in the middle with curtains for a smaller group, up to 55-60 guests.
  • Their hidden gem, The Garden, has a vibe that is hard to find in Philadelphia. This secluded and romantic space is set behind the restaurant, and can seat up to 40 guests.

When asking EBE’s Director of Business of Development, Joe Napoli, about Branzino, he told us “It’s very popular for rehearsal dinners! They also have a really pretty courtyard in the back for a private dinner or event, or could even be used for a wedding ceremony. Chef Luan has many years of experience, and wants to get the word out that they have opened back up for business and are available for events. It’s also super close to many wedding venues and hotels, so it’s perfect for a rehearsal dinner or stand-alone wedding.”

Did you host your event at Branzino? If so, contact us! We would love to hear all about it.



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The Recipe For Making A Perfect Wedding Toast

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, EBE News

When building a recipe for a delicious meal, a chef will make sure all ingredients are fresh, balanced in flavor, and compliment each other. If one of the ingredients is off in some way, it can change or ruin the entire dish. The same can be said for writing a wedding toast, which is typically done by the best man and/or maid of honor. We’ve put together some tips to help you write a toast that is as deliciously great as the wedding cake.

Where to Begin

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is the first few sentences. There are different ways to start off your toast, with the most basic as introducing yourself to the wedding guests. How do you know the wedded couple? Childhood friends? Did you meet in college or at work? Share some background to your relationship. An alternative is to simple intros is to share how you feel about the couple and what they mean to you.

Tell Stories & Make A Few Jokes

Any stories from the past should be light hearted and have a bit of whimsy. Stay away from embarrassing tales or sad times. Guests love hearing stories from the couple’s past that they may not have heard before. Did you all go on a trip somewhere and something hilarious happened? What about a story from college that ended on a positive note? Guests will enjoy seeing another side of the couple that they may not have known.

Familiarize Yourself with Your Speech

If at all possible, practice your speech repeatedly to memorize it so you don’t have to rely on cue cards. Not only will guests focus on your speech instead of watching you fumble with cards or your phone, but it will also sound more authentic and from the heart. That said, a speech that is written down is always better than making it up as you go!

Don’t Write A Novel

Although the wedding toast is a key part of a reception, it shouldn’t be a filibuster. Keep the toast to 3-4 minutes on average. If others are speaking, you may need to shorten it up a bit more.

Don’t Drink & Speak

Wedding cocktails are usually offered well in advance of the wedding toast. Try to limit your alcohol to avoid giving the speech on unsteady feet or slurred words.

To Finish

Raise your glass to the room, give the guests and couple a nod, and then take a sip of your drink. You’re all done!A great wedding toast can leave a lasting impression on the couple, so take the time to honor the couple in the best way possible during your speech. We hope these tips helped you build the perfect recipe for your wedding toast. We would love to hear all about it, so contact us today!



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How To Decode The Wedding Guest Dress Code

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, EBE News

When you’re designing your wedding invitations, there are obvious pieces of information to remember to include, such as the venue address and the date and time of the event. There is also one important detail to remember to include that will help guests determine what they’ll wear to your event: the dress code request.

The terms frequently used to define the dress code can be a bit confusing, so we’re here to help you crack the wedding dress code.

White Tie

White Tie Attire is the most formal request, even above most awards ceremonies. Women are expected to wear full length gowns in dark or neutral colors, and men are expected to wear a full black tuxedo with tails, a white shirt, vest, and bow tie, and black shoes.

Black Tie

Weddings are generally a formal event,so requests for black tie dress are fairly common. For men, this means a request to wear a tuxedo. A tuxedo is comprised of a vest, bow tie, patent leather shoes and a cummerbund. For the ladies, this is typically a floor length formal gown. A shorter dress is also acceptable, but stick to dark colors and formal fabrics. A dressy little black dress (LBD) with complementing jewelry would also be acceptable.

Black Tie Optional/Formal

Many couples are choosing the Black Tie Optional/Formal dress code for their weddings. This lets guests know that the wedding party will be wearing formal attire but it is optional for guests. This doesn’t mean guests should show up in jeans and tennis shoes! Women should still opt for formal floor length dresses, the LBD, or a dressy jumpsuit. Men have the option of wearing a tuxedo or a formal suit.

Festive Attire

Festive Attire is not frequently used, yet more common in the winter months. This attire suggests that the guests take liberty in being a little creative with their outfits. Patterns, sequins, velvet, and other eccentric pieces are perfect for these weddings. Outfits should follow the semi-formal or formal guidelines, but steer away from simple black dresses. Suits and ties of any season-appropriate color are perfect for gentlemen, and we recommend a funky patterned tie if the suit is simple black.

Cocktail Attire/Semi-Formal

This dress code is in between formal and casual. A formal dark suit with a tie for men is appropriate. For the ladies, the infamous LBD with complementing accessories or a brightly colored cocktail dress are great options.

Garden/Beach Attire

Typically used during the spring and summer months, Garden and Beach Attire are becoming more and more popular. Sundresses and floral jumpsuits are appropriate, and should fit the vibe of a garden or beach. Soft colors are recommended for all guests, so khaki, pastel, and neutral tones are great for the gentlemen. Trousers with a button down shirt is suitable, and a tie is optional.

Casual

For a relaxed wedding, the casual dress code is appropriate. This allows guests to wear what they want within reason, of course. Casual dresses such as sundresses are great for the spring/summer months, whereas a midi or flowy dress with sleeves would be great for the colder months. Gentlemen should wear trousers and a button down or a polo shirt depending on the season, and a tie nor jacket are necessary.

We hope this information has helped you understand the wedding dress code a little better to make the best decision for your wedding. We would love to hear all about your wedding event, so contact us today!



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EBE Vendor Feature: Justin Chan from Valley Creek Productions

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, Spotlights, EBE News, Vendor Features

In our industry, it’s impossible to execute an incredible event without the help of other dynamic vendors. In our Vendor Features, we learn more about the people who we love to work with event after event, and year after year. Next up is Justin Chan, Owner of Valley Creek Productions.

Justin Chan started Valley Creek Productions in 2005 after finishing his degree in Broadcast Communications from Temple University. At that time, he began working on his Master’s Degree in business at Penn State. Valley Creek Productions was one of the side jobs that Justin had while in school, and production work continued to grow as a passion. It grew from there, and he took it full-time in 2011… they’ve been growing ever since!

The company is named after Valley Creek, that flows through Chester County and Valley Forge National Historic Park. Their dynamic team crafts video for any projects, including weddings, corporate events, and promotional films.

Voted Best Video Production Company by Main Line Today Magazine, ‘The Knot Best of Weddings” in Videography for 2018 and 2019, one of the Top Three Videographers in Philadelphia by Philly Hot List the past five years, and winner of WeddingWire’s Couples Choice Award the past nine years. Client satisfaction is their top priority, and they pride themselves on creating captivating videos of the highest quality.

I was able to sit down with Justin to ask him a few questions… check it out!

What makes Valley Creek Productions stand out next to companies like it?

Our team prides itself in being very unobtrusive throughout our event coverage. We coordinate with all the other professionals and are quick to adapt to changing conditions and timelines.

Favorite Wedding Month?

October

Favorite Spot in Philadelphia?

Chinatown, best food in the city. Its been tradition to go down with family several times a year since I was a kid. Good way to connect with the Chinese side of my heritage.

Favorite thing about your career?

Capturing content of important events is always fun for us – knowing we preserved those moments to re-live later. We also love being a part of the event community in Philadelphia. Making friends through various event associations and chambers of commerce is fun for us and helps us do our job better.

What is your Best Advice for Potential Clients?

Everyone thinks video is a “would be nice” add on for a wedding or event. There is so many things that happen on a wedding day that only video can capture, and if you don’t have a professional with you to capture them you won’t have any way to re-live them in the future.

What is your favorite movie?

Star Trek (generally any of the original features, not the new ones)

What wedding trends are you loving?

Drones are a big trend with video in the past few years. Our team are all FAA licensed and insured for commercial drone flight. We love flying and capturing cool shots of wedding venues, churches, and couples’ homes.

Where can we see your work?

We have various portfolios on our website for all different types of events! You can see them here.



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EBE Wedding Venue Spotlight: The Fitler Club

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, EBE News

Finding a great wedding venue to set the stage where your marriage vows will be recited can be an overwhelming task. Philadelphia is filled with some incredible venues where couples choose to get married every year. We’ve done the legwork for you and highlighted some of the best venues that Philadelphia has to offer in our Wedding Venue Spotlight. This month, we’re featuring The Fitler Club.

The Fitler Club is one of Philadelphia’s up-and-coming private clubs. The membership offers some pretty incredible benefits such as hotel suites, an incredible restaurant, and an outstanding game room. One pretty cool feature of the Fitler Club is that you don’t have to be a member to host your wedding event here. Everything within the Fitler Club is brand new, modern, and provides the perfect environment to celebrate love.

The Wedding Spaces

Upon arrival to the club, guests are greeted by the Garden, which is a perfect 1,800 square foot outdoor space to host an outdoor ceremony or cocktail hour. For an indoor wedding, the Ballroom takes run of the mill luxury and elevates to your wildest dreams. The space is modern and sleek, and is very customizable to any theme or color palette.

The Ballroom

If you’re looking for a unique event space that offers more than just dancing, the Trophy Room is the space for you. This room features bowling, shuffleboard, table tennis, arcade games, and more.

The Trophy Room

Guest Accommodations

Out of town guests can stay at the luxurious hotel rooms on site for convenience, and can take advantage of all membership benefits during their stay. Membership benefits include access to the Dining Room, the movie theater, the on-site spa, and so much more.

Catering

An incredible menu will be crafted to the couple’s desires with Chef and Culinary Director Kevin Sbraga, who is well known for his experience on the TV show “Top Chef”.

Ask The Experts

EBE’s Director of Business Development, Joe Napoli, shared some great advice with us about planning a wedding at The Fitler Club, “Take full advantage of all the extras, and you will love working with Daniel and Stephanie!” The Fitler Club is becoming one of the most popular places to tie the knot here in Philadelphia. Learn more about planning your wedding at this incredible club here, and tell them we sent you!Did you host your wedding at the Fitler Club? If so, contact us! We would love to hear all about it.



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EBE Vendor Feature: Dan Caplan from Arrangements Unlimited

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, Spotlights, EBE News, Vendor Features

In our industry, it’s impossible to execute an incredible event without the help of other dynamic vendors. In our Vendor Features, we learn more about the people who we love to work with event after event, and year after year. Next up is Dan Caplan, Event Designer and Planner at Arrangements Unlimited.

Dan Caplan has been in the events industry for most of his life, and joined Arrangements Unlimited 15 years ago. We most often cross paths with Dan at numerous elaborate Bar/Bat Mitzvahs throughout each year. His excellence in logo creation, custom design, and overall creative thinking is evident in every event that he works on.

Arrangements Unlimited, co-owned by Lois Caplan and Lynne Brownstein, has been styling custom events for 44 years. Whether it’s a small gathering, corporate event, wedding, Mitzvah, or birthday, the Arrangements Unlimited team brings years of passion and experience to making each celebration one of a kind.

Arrangements Unlimited is a recognized by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as a certified WBENC women’s owned organization.

I was able to sit down with Dan to ask him a few questions… check it out!

What makes Arrangements Unlimited stand out next to companies like it?

We have been in business for 44 years, always reinventing ourselves and always providing top notch service with a smile.

What are your favorite types of events?

I love transforming a space so much that no one knows where they are. We did this at the Westin last year with green carpet and lush draping. The tables all had beautiful full tree-like floral. I felt like I was in Central Park.

Do you play any instruments?

I play a couple of instruments: guitar, bass, drums, and keys. I actually released an album of original music for children in 2012 called “Dinosaur Wings and Other Things”

Favorite Wedding Month?

September

Favorite thing to do in Philadelphia?

So many to choose! Right now is the Please Touch Museum with my kids.

Favorite Spot in Philadelphia?

The Ritz Movie Theater

Favorite thing about your career?

I love the production aspect of the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Props, lights, and stage sets. So much creativity and energy!

What is your Best Advice for Potential Clients?

Sleep and Breathe, it will all be fabulous!

What is your Zodiac Sign?

Capricorn

What is your favorite movie?

Bob Roberts

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

I’ve been known to cut a rug or two.

What is your go-to at karaoke?

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz or Hit Me Baby One More Time – Britney

If you could join any past or present music group, which would you want to join?

Pearl Jam

What wedding trends are you loving?

Suspended flowers!!!

What wedding trends are you ready to see go away?

Ceremonies in a field with no tent!

What motivates you to work hard?

The people. It is always someone’s most important day. I don’t want to let them down.

Show us some photos of your work!




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How to Make Your Wedding Reception Entrance Unforgettable

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, EBE News

The wedding reception entrance is the first time that the newlyweds present themselves to the public after the ceremony. Making your grand entrance to your wedding reception makes the special day even more memorable for everyone. Check out some of the ideas that we’ve put together to make your wedding reception entrance unforgettable.

Take Advantage of Your Venue

If your wedding venue has a grand staircase or a glass elevator that leads to the event space, take advantage of it. Entering the space as newlyweds by one of these lavish methods will ensure all eyes are on you.

Wedding Party Coordinated Dance

This will take a bit of practice, planning, and commitment from your wedding party, but the effort will make a spectacular impact on your big day! Choose a song that has a catchy beat and plan a dance for your wedding party to learn the steps… then perform it as the grand entrance. If it is in the budget, hiring a professional to help the process will make things much easier! Check out our blog post on the five Philly-area dance instructors that we love.

A Tunnel of Sparklers

Not only will this be fun for all of your guests, but it will also set the stage to create some incredible photos! Dim any lighting and supply sparklers for all of your guests to hold and line the walkway to the event space. When the newlyweds are announced, everyone will ignite the sparklers and create a glittery display. Just make sure safety measures are put into place and you have pre-approval from your venue!

A Red Carpet Entrance

Much like the red carpet that your favorite celebrities walk on at award shows, you can celebrate your newlywed celeb status by entering on a red carpet. Lighting is a key factor to make your entrance, so dim the overhead lights in the venue and have a bright pinspot or spotlight to make a big appearance! Your wedding band can play romantic or upbeat music, depending on the mood you want to set.

Enter By Land or Sea

Based on the location of your venue and availability, one of the most memorable ways to make a grand entrance is by transportation! If your ceremony and reception venues are at different locations, consider making a grand entrance by arriving to the reception venue in a beautifully restored classic car or horse and carriage. If your venue is near a lake or river, consider taking a ride down stream in a row boat. Guests will love it!

Did you use one of these Grand Entrances? We would love to hear all about it, so contact us today!



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Choosing Between A Live Band Or A DJ For Your Wedding

By | Blog, Ask The Experts, EBE News



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