This Water Works Wedding Ended With Fireworks on the Schuylkill

A classic celebration with a timeless white-and-green color palette.

Water Works wedding

Photography by Emily Wren Photography

When spring turns to summer in Philly, wedding season begins, and our ballrooms, restaurants, outdoor spaces and more are transformed from ordinary venues into extraordinary scenes of love and celebration. This late-spring Cescaphe wedding at the Water Works is no different. Photographed by Emily Wren, the Big Day featured a neutral color palette that let florals and greenery steal the spotlight — until the end-of-night fireworks show, that is.

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When Caitlin Stelben met Mark Vanderburg at a mutual friend’s birthday party at Del Frisco’s in August 2014, she knew she was in trouble. Their friends had arranged that they meet at the party, and Caitlin was immediately attracted to Mark. However, she wasn’t sure that the feelings were mutual. “After many drinks and few conversations, I determined he was not interested in me at all — so I decided to spend the rest of the night ignoring him.” 

Luckily for Mark, though, Caitlin couldn’t shake her attraction to him. At night’s end, she approached him again — “So not my style, and I still can’t believe I did that,” she remembers — and asked him if he wanted her number. Her earlier instincts had been wrong; he did want her number. And he called her a few days later to ask her on a date. 

The date took place about a week later at Greek BYOB Kanella Grill. According to Caitlin, the pair became inseparable following the evening. For Mark, Caitlin’s kindness and lovingness shined through the more time they spent together. It wasn’t long until he knew he wouldn’t have to worry about trying to find anyone else to spend the rest of his life with.

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On March 15, 2017, Mark proposed to Caitlin in Banff, Canada, next to Lake Louise. The pair had just arrived in Banff for vacation and, before checking into their hotel, headed down to the lake to admire its beauty. Once there, Mark got down on one knee in the snow and popped the question. Per Caitlin’s request (she didn’t want to “black out” and forget the moment), Mark repeated his “I love you” speech a second time before his soon-to-be-fiancée said yes.

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Mark and Caitlin became Mr. and Mrs. Vanderburg on June 1, 2018, in front of 175 guests at Cescaphe’s Water Works. The celebration was built around a neutral color palette that allowed for the Oleander Curated and Beautiful Blooms floral arrangements and greenery to come to life. “We wanted our wedding to feel like an intimate dinner party al fresco — great food, great music, and, above all, great company to celebrate along with us!” Caitlin says.

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The romantic event capped off with a fireworks show over the Schuylkill, a surprise that Caitlin’s mom, Rita, had secretly arranged with their wedding planner, Sara, and other wedding vendors. It was the perfect end to the evening that neither bride nor groom saw coming.

Photographer: Emily Wren | Venue: Water Works | Planning/Design: Confetti & Co. | Florals: Oleander Curated and Beautiful Blooms | Cake and Catering: Cescaphe | Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Jenny Yoo | Hair and Makeup: Aleksandra Ambrozy | Groom’s Attire: SuitSupply | Entertainment: Philadelphia String Quartet and Mod Society | Invitations: Minted | Videography: Squareware Studios

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