See a Former Sixers Player’s Glam Water Works Wedding

The reception included out-of-this-world flower walls, belly dancers and a fireworks show.

Danfredo Photos + Films

Ready for a truly fantastic Fairmount celebration? The Water Works wedding of realtor Nilou Saniri and former Sixer Gerald Henderson Jr. featured a totally glam gold and white palette and a surprise fireworks display that was nothing short of magical. On Friday the couple had a Persian sofreh aghd ceremony at AKA University City, followed by a Christian ceremony on Saturday. Check it all out in the glamorous photos below from Danfredo Photos + Films.

“I’m a sucker for smiles. That’s the first thing I look for,” says Nilou Saniri. So while it’s no surprise that Gerald Henderson Jr.’s warm grin is what initially caught Nilou’s eye on a night out in Charlotte, the couple actually bonded over their strong connections with family.

Though their two-year relationship ran a fairly traditional course, the proposal was anything but. On vacation in the Bahamas, the former Sixers shooting guard surprised Nilou with her parents — and then surprised her again by asking her to go shark-diving. With family watching, Nilou, a real estate agent, reluctantly climbed into the tank. When she spotted her parents holding up signs a few minutes in, she was certain they were warning her of imminent danger … until she realized one read “Will You Marry Me?” in Gerald’s handwriting.

Fifteen months later, they married in a glam gold-and-white wedding weekend inspired by Nilou’s Iranian heritage. The festivities kicked off Friday night with sofreh aghd, a seated ceremony in which the couple is surrounded by a spread of symbolic dishes and trinkets. That event was catered by Walnut Street Café. On Saturday, at their Christian ceremony, Gerald teared up as their daughters — who served as flower girls — came down the aisle.

The tented reception for 255 featured elegant arrangements of hydrangea and white orchids, and a  laser-cut gatefold invitation by Casa Papel set a royal tone for the wedding. For the reception, Gerald changed into Air Jordan 1 Retros bought especially for the occasion. Guests were treated to a short video reel of Friday’s Persian ceremony before passing through the floral reception entrance.

The couple shared their first dance to Anthony Hamilton’s “The Point of It All,” and the guests enjoyed a surf and turf dinner. Belly dancers wowed the crowd with multiple outfit changes during their 15-minute performance.

Before the couple cut into their vanilla-and-chocolate cake, Nilou’s bridesmaids performed a raghseh chagoo. Done in good humor, this traditional cake-knife dance sees the bridesmaids pass around the saber until the groom pays each a small amount of money. The cake-cutting ceremony was followed by a seven-minute fireworks spectacular over the Schulkill that, according to Nilou, “rivaled Disney World’s.”


Venue: Water Works | Photography and Videography: Danfredo Photos + Films | Event Planning & Design: Kyle Michelle Weddings | Catering & Cake: Cescaphe | Florals: Beautiful Blooms | Bride’s Gowns: Pixton (ceremony) and Ryan & Walter (reception) | Hair: Amanda D’Andrea | Makeup: Lisa Herr and April Naylor | Groom’s Attire: Abbeydale | Music: DJ Dariush (Friday) and Erik Marshall Band for Hank Lane Music (Saturday) | Fireworks: International Fireworks | AV Production: Synergetic | Transportation: Santos VIP Limousine, Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours and Shofur | Hookah: Philadelphia Hookah Catering | Persian Ceremony Venue: AKA University City | Persian Ceremony Catering: Walnut Street Café | Henna Artist: Thread Bar | Belly Dancer: Sira Melikian

Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.