Tyler, a decorated Air Force pilot, met Francesca just weeks before he was deployed to Germany—but, the bride says, "when he returned, we picked up where we had left off and we've been together ever since."
It was following yet another deployment that Tyler proposed. As Francesca walked with a friend through Queen Village, Philadelphia—the neighborhood in which she grew up—she spotted Tyler. It was Christmas Eve. "I immediately thought something was wrong, because he was supposed to be spending the holiday with his family in Indiana," Francesca says. "But he took my hand and walked me into Starr Garden Park, which is where we also had our first date, sat me on the swing and proposed."
When Tyler popped the question, he presented Francesca with a pear-shaped diamond ring from Pierce Jewelers. Her pavé diamond wedding band is from Zales.
An eclectic color palette of gold, orange, peach and purple spoke to the bride, she says. "It hit me that I love everything gold, and that would fit perfectly with the elegant wedding I wanted," Francesca says of the couple's September affair, held in Philadelphia. "Orange is my favorite color, so I chose orange, peach and deep purple for the accent colors." Invitations by JWD Paperie were white and gold.
While Francesca "handled most of the planning for the wedding," she says, she was assisted by her mother and friend Erin, the owner of event design boutique Erin Bonner Events.
Francesca fell for her David's Bridal dress' sweetheart neckline, she says. "It's beautiful and classic, yet not over-the-top," she explains.
Once she made her purchase, "I kept it a secret from everyone except my parents," Francesca says. "But once everyone saw me in it they all said, 'That's so you!'"
"The dress easily weighed about 30 pounds," Francesca jokes about the gown's textured, ruffled skirt. "So by the end of the night I couldn't wait to take it off, but I sure felt like a princess for the day." An aquamarine and diamond ring from her grandmother was the bride's "something old." "This was a moment in my life she never wanted to miss," Francesca says, "so by wearing the ring I felt her close to me."
Gold Badgley Mischka peep-toe pumps completed Francesca's look—and complemented the coupe's color palette, of course.
Francesca's bouquet overflowed with ivory and spray roses, mini Calla lilies, stock and green hypericum berries. The bouquet was wrapped in pale-gold satin ribbon held in place with pearl pins.
Gold, floor-length gowns from David's Bridal flattered each of Francesca's six bridesmaids. "They all looked amazing," she says.
Bridesmaids' bouquets were made from blooms in every hue of the couple's cheery color palette: eggplant Calla lilies, orange roses, peach orchids and green berries—all wrapped in green satin ribbon.
Four of the couple's also donned their Air Force uniforms for the wedding, while the bride's brother wore a tuxedo from Men's Wearhouse. He pinned a Calla lily boutonniere to his tux.
It's also a "beautiful church," the bride says, "and happens to be the second-oldest church in the country."
The couple infused their personalities into the traditional Catholic ceremony by choosing "two beautiful readings about love," Francesca says, which their cousins recited. They left the church through a traditional tunnel of swords.
The newlyweds, along with their bridal party, took the Cescaphe Event Group's trolley from their ceremony to the reception.
Francesca and Tyler toured Cescaphe Ballroom first and fell head-over-heels in love with the venue's "incredible food and service they offer," the bride says. The space also exuded a "beautiful, classic feel that we both wanted our wedding to have."
A florist added intrigue to the couple's reception decor by alternating high and low arrangements on tables. Some tables were topped with cylinder vases filled with water, bright blooms and floating candles.
Other centerpieces were made from gold branches and hanging votive candles.
Another kind of centerpiece was made from the same flowers as the bridesmaids' bouquets—eggplant Calla lilies, orange roses, peach orchids and green berries.
Following a cocktail hour that featured small bites, a pasta station, hibachi and raw bars, guests were treated to their choice of filet mignon, pan-seared branzino or chicken Milanese.
But the real gastrointestinal treat, Francesca says, came after dinner, when the dessert room opened, "displaying various Italian desserts, a crepe station and our signature dessert, pumpkin mousse in a chocolate cup."
Linen napkins were circled in faux floral napkin rings, adding a feminine touch to each place setting.
Though the couple enjoys live music, they chose a DJ for their reception. "We like so many types of music," Francesca says.
Francesca purchased the gold ribbon Cescaphe Event Group wrapped around each tier of the couple's white wedding cake.
Wedding Planner: Erin Bonner Events || Ceremony Venue: Old St. Mary Church || Reception Venue: Cescaphe Ballroom || Bride's Wedding Dress: David's Bridal || Bride's Veil: David's Bridal || Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Bride's Accessories: Bling Jewelry || Bride's Wedding Ring: Zales || Groom's Wedding Ring: Littman Jewelers || Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal || Groomsmen Attire: Men's Wearhouse || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Badgley Mischka || Florist: Beautiful Blooms || Caterer: Cescaphe Event Group || Stationery: JWD Paperie || Cake Baker: Cescaphe Event Group || Favors: Cescaphe Event Group || Photography: Rachel Pearlman Photography