When Vanessa Gercke, 30, spotted Ken Allen, 36, on the dance floor at Baltimore's annual Black & White Party at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in January 2012, she knew she had to get his attention. "I showed off my craziest dance moves to make an impression," she says. "I guess it worked!" Two weeks later, Ken made the trip from Baltimore to Philadelphia to take Vanessa on their first date, and the two kicked off a long-distance romance. After a year and a half of dating, Ken proposed on bended knee at his parent's lake house in Maine, asking Vanessa to move to Baltimore and, most importantly, to be his wife. "He proposed with a stand-in ring and took me to New York City the next week to pick out my own," she says. "It couldn't have been more perfect!"
The pair chose February 15, 2014 for their nuptials, inviting 110 guests to The Horticulture Center in Philadelphia for a glam-meets-boho wedding in a greenhouse. Check out Peter Van Beever's photos of the colorful party, as planned by Chrissy Lehman of Truly You Events, below.
Vanessa and Ken found a navy blue invitation suite that matched their botanical theme on Minted.
After trying on only five dresses at Lovely Bride in Philadelphia, Vanessa knew her strapless Nicole Miller was The One. "I loved how I could move in the gown, as dancing was a top priority of the night," she says. The bride added a birdcage veil, chandelier statement earrings, silver peep-toe Badgley Mischka heels, and an Adrienne Landau fur shawl to glam up her fitted mermaid dress.
Dressed in a classic black tux from Commonwealth Proper, the groom sported a rose gold Burberry watch, a gift from Vanessa, to match his rose gold wedding band.
Vanessa let her five bridesmaids chose their own Adrianna Papell gown, as long as they kept it in the nude color family. "Having the girls looking and feeling their best was so important to me," she says. The guys matched Ken in classic tuxedos but wore long black ties rather than a bowtie.
The bride's father walked her down a rose-lined aisle, and the couple exchanged personalized vows, mentioning the night they met, Vanessa's killer dance moves, and their first date at the Mutter Museum.
As a nod to their families, Vanessa and Ken displayed wedding photos of loved ones on an antique hutch in the back of the ceremony space.
To keep the reception space hidden during cocktail hour, planner Chrissy Lehman worked with Margaux St. Ledger of Fleur de Lis to create a "wall of ribbons" that doubled as a whimsical escort card display.
Twinkly lights and chandeliers glammed up the greenhouse, and round tables were covered with navy blue linens, mercury glass votive candles, and metallic accents. Pastel-colored roses and ranunculus flowers brought in colors from the bridal bouquet and botanical wreath on the couple's invitation. "Watching the snowfall through the greenhouse's glass panels at dinner was magical," Vanessa says.
Guests wrote their well wishes for the bride and groom on a globe.
Vanessa loves the art deco look so she had the four-tiered wedding cake decorated with geometric silver accents and topped with a "L-O-V-E" cake topper from BHLDN.
The newlyweds chose Ingrid Michaelson's "Can't Help Falling in Love" for their first dance and ended the night on the dance floor — because, of course, that's where their love began!
After sending guests home with spiked hot chocolate and leftover wedding cake, the couple left the cold behind for a warm-weather honeymoon in South Africa. Vanessa's advice for the big day? "There will always be things that are out of your control (for me, it was a major snowstorm!), but do your best to remain calm and keep things in perspective," she says.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Horticulture Center || Wedding Planner: Chrissy Lehman for Truly You Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller || Bride's Veil and Earrings: Lovely Bride Philadelphia || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair: Jenn Macrina of Happily Ever After Hair || Makeup: Casey Dickerson of I Do Hair & Makeup || Florist: Fleur de Lis Floral || Invitations: Minted || Rentals: Eventions Productions, Magpie Vintage Rentals || Music: Elegance Quartet and DJ D Scott of Scratch Weddings || Catering: Stephen Starr Events || Cake: Eileen Gray of Cake Art Studio || Videography: Cinemacake Filmmakers || Photography: Peter Van Beever
Still in search of winter-wedding inspiration? Watch another couple's holiday-themed celebration come to life below!