Making Memories That Last a Lifetime: Outdoor Weddings in Philadelphia in 2023

Cover image courtesy of Alison Dunn Photography

When you’re attending a wedding, you may not think about how much goes into making those few hours so memorable. But if you’re the lucky couple who is planning the most important day of your life, you’re no doubt aware of the work and time involved – and you may be a bit overwhelmed. With engagement season upon us, check out some of our tips for planning your wedding in 2023.

More than Just the Ceremony

One of the most common questions couples ask our team is: “what should we do for our wedding guests who are from out of town to fill the ‘downtime?’” While it’s perfectly fine to allow local and visiting guests to explore on their own before and after your wedding, you also have an opportunity to get the party started early and keep the good times rolling!

After nearly three years of social distancing, mandates, stay at home orders and isolation from friends and family, many people are craving in-person social events, and guests want to experience the joys of life amongst each other in meaningful ways. The days of inviting the wedding party only to the rehearsal dinner are over. Welcome parties are trendy these days, with many couples opting for an experience that’s less traditional and more fun!

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  • The rotating seasonal rinks at Dilworth Park can make any wedding weekend one-of-a-kind. The spring’s retro-inspired roller rink, complemented with a vibrant overhead art installation, brings the perfect photo moment for you and your guests with little to no effort on your part!
  • Meanwhile, the lush greenery at Sister Cities Park make for the perfect picnic spot! And thanks to its central location along the Parkway, local restaurants offer the perfect Philly bites for any occasion!  
  • Or if you’re looking for a more intimate welcome, right through the wrought iron gateway of John F. Collins Park is a perfectly hidden space that can easily be transformed into a beer garden, stocked by local breweries.

Dressing Up the Aisle

After welcoming everyone to town and catching up with those you haven’t seen, the focus returns to the wedding day. The spotlight is on the couple: the dress, the suit, the shoes, the hair — every detail, meticulously selected and pristinely presented for the big reveal. But as the most photographed moments of the entire wedding, how can we make their entrance and wedding march even more memorable? By dressing up the aisle.

There are subtle touches you can add, like lighting and florals, that will immediately bring extra attention to the overall beauty. Some simple tricks include:

  • Use strips of carpet or textured runners instead of your standard white to lead guests’ eyes toward the focal points
  • Incorporate clusters of candles, florals or garland to cap the end of the seating rows and highlight the wedding party’s path
  • Lay petals in unique designs and patterns that mimic textiles in lieu of a heavy scattering to further accentuate a theme
  • Upgrade your guest chairs or add chair bouquets to serve as eye-catching vignettes

Remember: use the length of the aisle to your advantage! At Dilworth Park, for example, there’s 60 feet of open walkway just waiting for you to live out your “walk the runway” dreams! 

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Photos courtesy of Emily Wren Photography (top) and Peach Pear Plum (bottom). 

Take Advantage of What’s In the Space

When choosing your wedding venue, there are ultimately one or two things that you cannot change and will impact your wedding. Whether it is an architectural structure, a water feature or a collection of rare artwork, those features are unique to the venue that can’t be found anywhere else. Use them!

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Dilworth Park

When hosting weddings at Dilworth Park, the setting does more than provide a historic location in the heart of the city. City Hall’s breathtaking scale and stunning architecture also provide a beautiful backdrop to your ceremony space. And with other standout features, such as the dancing fountains, your wedding is sure to make a splash!

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Barger Photography

Sister Cities Park

Complementing Sister Cities Park is the AMOR Sculpture, a permanent part of the City of Philadelphia’s public art collection and a companion work to the signature LOVE statue.

Photo courtesy of Brittany Raine Photography

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John F. Collins Park

A hidden gem in the hustle and bustle of Chestnut Street’s retail corridor is John F. Collins Park. The beauty of this park lies within a calming sculpture fountain that can serve as a dreamlike setting for such a memorable moment.

Photo courtesy of Douglas James Studio

Get Help Planning Your Center City Wedding

Remember: It’s your special day! No matter your choices, whether a formal rehearsal dinner or a surprise roller derby, or whatever accents you choose to adorn the ceremony, your guests will be thrilled to celebrate your union. Contact our team today to discover how Center City District’s parks can make your celebration once-in-a-lifetime.

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