This Cool and Colorful Racquet Club Wedding Was Inspired by a Painting

“Still Life With Flowers” by Willem van Aelst, to be exact.

racquet club wedding

Alison Levy and Miguel Aleman’s Racquet Club wedding was inspired by a Dutch still life painting. | Photos: Jeff Frandsen

Many weddings have a theme: perhaps Tuscan romance, or boho-glam elegance. But one we’ve never seen before today? Dutch still life. With complete originality and aplomb, Alison Levy and Miguel Aleman pulled off a stunner of a wedding inspired by “Still Life With Flowers” by Dutch master painter Willem Van Aelst. See how this painterly celebration unfolded at The Racquet Club of Philadelphia in the lovely photos below by Jeff Frandsen Photography.

Alison and Miguel met when they were both living in New York City, where they were introduced by a mutual friend. Alison remembers that at first she thought Miguel was a bit shy, but she was incredibly impressed when, instead of texting, he actually called to ask her out. Miguel remembers being charmed by Alison immediately. “I thought she was very funny,” he says, “and I was wondering if our friend set us up on purpose.”

For the pair’s first date, they went to a jazz club in Tribeca called the Silver Lining, which has since closed down. They hit it off, and dated for three and a half years, even moving to Austin, Texas together, before Miguel proposed. To pop the question, Miguel drove them to a picturesque local spot: Hamilton Pool Preserve, a beautiful natural swimming pool surrounded by limestone cliffs. When they arrived, he got down on one knee, and Alison said yes.

They were engaged for a year and three months before their Racquet Club wedding in Philadelphia, a ceremony which featured a Rabbi and a Deacon performing a joint ceremony, since Alison was raised Jewish and Miguel was raised Catholic. Their guests included 180 of their friends and family. They headed back to the Philadelphia area since Alison was originally from Berwyn.

The moody and romantic decor, based on a famous Dutch painting, was heavy on the florals. It featured ornate vases sourced by the florist, and a unique arrangement at each table. The arrangements included grapes, pomegranates, and pears to recreate that classic look of a fruit bowl still life painting. For dinner, the guests enjoyed braised short ribs, jumbo lump crabcakes, and zucchini and quinoa cake with spaghetti squash.

The couple shared a romantic first dance to “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton and celebrated with their guests all night, cutting a chocolate hazelnut cake with raspberry jam filling later in the evening. After all of the celebrating, the bride and groom set out on a honeymoon to Hawaii, before returning to Austin, where Alison works as a technical fashion designer, and Miguel is a portfolio manager at Dimensional Fund Advisors.


Photography: Jeff Frandsen Photography | Venue: The Racquet Club of Philadelphia | Event Coordinator & Designer: Melissa Martin from Stylish Occasions | Florals: Buttercup Floral Design | Bride’s Gown: Karen Willis Holmes from Blue Bridal  | Hair & Makeup: DUO Makeup Artists  | Groom’s Tux: Hickey Freeman Tuxedo from Syd Jerome  | Catering: JAM Catering | Cake: JAM Catering  |  Music/Entertainment: Sunday James Band  | Invitations:  Printable Press

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