Scouting venues

We toured a total of seven venues before settling on Stotesbury Mansion. We wanted something that would feel special to us and that would give our guests a unique experience, so we visited locations that either have some kind of programming aspect or historical significance.

In the end, we chose Stotesbury for its interesting history, stellar staff and the stunning grand ballroom that will be used for the ceremony.

OTHER PLACES WE CONSIDERED

The American Swedish Historical Museum

The view from the front steps of the Swedish Museum
The view from the front steps of the Swedish Museum

Located inside the sprawling FDR park in South Philly, the Swedish Museum has beautiful grounds and plenty of space for an outdoor wedding — complete with the use of nearby park grounds for impromptu wiffle ball games. Guests would have been able to walk through the museum during the event, and there were indoor ceremony and reception options in case the weather had other plans.

Built in 1926, this is the oldest Swedish museum in the country.

The Woodlands

The main event space inside The Woodlands opens out onto a terrace
The main event space inside The Woodlands opens out onto a terrace

Everyone wants to get married in a cemetery, right? One of the most unusual places we considered was the Woodland Cemetery and its main house in Southwest Philly. The 54-acre space is a National Historic Landmark, which adds lots of charm, but also makes renovations difficult. This was by the far the least “ready” place we visited. It’s a great space for perhaps another event, but not well suited for the wedding we have in mind.

Belmont Mansion

In the event of rain, the entire wedding could take place inside this tent at Belmont Mansion
In the event of rain, the entire wedding could take place inside this tent at Belmont Mansion

Located in Fairmount Park adjacent to the Belmont Plateau, this historic mansion boasts impressive skyline views that would serve as the backdrop for the ceremony. Something we especially liked about this venue is that event revenue is used to further the home’s programming for the Underground Railroad Museum.

Morris Arboretum

This is one of the cocktail reception sites at Morris Arboretum. The surrounding hills would make it a difficult ceremony spot
This is one of the cocktail reception sites at Morris Arboretum. The surrounding hills would make it a difficult ceremony spot

The arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Northwest Philly, and some of Chris’ family also had the opportunity to visit the site. There were several options here for an outdoor ceremony and cocktail reception, including the Out on a Limb treetop adventure space. Ultimately, we decided there just wasn’t a suitable indoor alternative here if the weather didn’t cooperate.

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

The picnic grove is one of three outdoor options at the Schuylkill Center (photo courtesy of the Schuylkill Center)
The picnic grove is one of three outdoor options at the Schuylkill Center (photo courtesy of the Schuylkill Center)

Tucked into an unassuming corner of Northwest Philly’s Roxborough neighborhood, the Schuylkill Center was our off-the-grid wedding option. The laid-back nature of the center would have allowed for a completely DIY event,  which has its advantages and disadvantages. Again, because this venue offers mostly outdoor space, we felt it just wasn’t the right choice.

Great Court at Mitten Hall

With a main event space and open rooms on either side, Mitten Hall offered tons of flexibility for the set-up.
With a main event space and open rooms on either side, Mitten Hall offered tons of flexibility for the set-up.

We visited one final space before making their choice – the Great Court at Mitten Hall on Temple University’s campus. Though the location held a lot of meaning for us because we met at Temple, we ultimately loved Stotesbury more and envisioned celebrating our perfect day there.

SEE YOU THERE

Stotesbury Mansion

The billiards room on the third floor of Stotesbury Mansion. The couple is excited for guests to see the rest of the mansion in person at the ceremony.
The billiards room on the third floor of Stotesbury Mansion

This is the place! This historic Rittenhouse Square home was built in 1897 as an event space for the prestigious Stotesbury Family to impress their friends. The Philopatrian Literary Institute bought the mansion in 1925 and opened it to outside events in 1992.

Wedding guests will have all three floors of the mansion to roam, with food and drink stations set up throughout the many different rooms. Following a ceremony in the grand ballrooms, the celebration will spread to the billiards room, the Dolly Madison parlor and other spaces.

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