This Classic Union League Wedding is Filled With Ginger Jars

Blue and white FTW!

Photos by Emily Wren Photography

Alex Helmut and Nelson Way were college sweethearts at the University of Notre Dame. After years of attending the same tailgates and frequenting the same bars, they had their first official date at an Italian restaurant in South Bend. “I was immediately drawn to her big personality, sense of humor and beautiful blue eyes,” says Nelson. “Before we dated, we were good friends, and his friendship was what attracted me most to him,” recalls Alex. Below is the chronicle of the day these college sweethearts became husband and wife — see the joy for yourself in these gorgeous shots captured by Emily Wren Photography.

Post-graduation, they moved to Washington, D.C. — and stayed together through one year of Alex managing a corporate responsibility program for an international agriculture business in Ghana and another two of her attending the Yale School of Management in New Haven. Six and a half years later, Nelson headed home to Philly to pursue a career change to real estate, and Alex followed.

The night they moved into their first home together, in Fitler Square, Nelson suggested they go out for drinks and a walk around the neighborhood. Alex was tired from hauling boxes, and it took some convincing to get her off the couch, but they eventually stopped in at Tria before heading to the square. When Alex turned to look at the bear statue, Nelson got down on one knee. They returned to Tria, where the celebratory bottle of champagne they popped was, of course, on the house.

On July 8, 2017, Alex and Nelson exchanged vows in front of all of their friends, family and loved ones. Alex’s wedding-day perfume was Annick Goutal’s “Petite Chérie,” a scent her flight-attendant mother brought home from Paris. As for her gorgeous shoes, they were “the most comfortable ones I tried on.” Oh, and if you take note of the guests’ custom maps included in the invitation, created by The Papery of Philadelphia, are marked important locations in Philly, including the Art Museum, the Liberty Bell, and the square where the couple got engaged.

The wedding was an unerringly classic affair filled with sentimental touches. At the ceremony, Alex’s all-white bouquet of garden roses and ranunculus was wrapped in a piece of fabric from her mother’s gown. After the ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, the wedding party posed for portraits at the Rodin Museum. Alex’s 10 bridesmaids carried blush bouquets tied with navy ribbon, to match their gowns.

At the reception, the bride and her father slow-danced to “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys before breaking into a choreographed routine to James Brown’s “Get Up Off of That Thing.” In terms of decor, the ginger jar centerpieces were a purposeful selection — Alex wanted the night’s decor to look like it could have been collected directly from the rooms within the Union League. And, while most guests sat at traditionally skirted round tables, the wedding party dined at long farm tables, for a rustic touch.

In addition to the couple’s Notre Dame-themed confection — complete with shamrocks — a vanilla pound cake with chocolate ganache, Alex’s brother baked the 400 oatmeal cookies given to guests. Guests sipped grapefruit mules and whiskey sours long into the night and later popped confetti sticks on the dance floor as the final songs played. The newlyweds honeymooned in Milan and on Santorini and the Italian Riviera before returning home to Philly, where Nelson works in leasing at Workspace Property Trust and Alex is a consultant with Boston Consulting Group.

This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Philadelphia Weddings magazine. Grab yours here


Photography: Emily Wren Photography | Event Coordinator: The Wedding Planner | Venue, Catering and Cake: The Union League Club | Florist: Petals Lane | Bride’s Gown: Carolina Herrera, Elizabeth Johns | Bridesmaids Dresses: Amasale | Hair Stylist: Amanda D’Andrea | Makeup Artist: Cheekadee | Groom’s Tux: Indochino | Transportation: Philadelphia Trolley Works | Videography: Emily Wren Photography | Entertainment: Jellyroll of BVTLive | Invitations: Bella Figura and Cambridge Street Papers

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