Real Talk: How We Pulled Off Our Festive Parade to Our Block-Party Reception in West Philly

When we’re able to gather again, consider this for your Big Day bash.

block-party reception

Kate Steiker-Ginzberg and Lucas Iberico Lozada held a block-party reception after their wedding at the Woodlands. Day-of coordinator Amy Defibaugh helped the couple pull off the multi-part celebration. Photography by Kelly Giarrocco

Kate Steiker-Ginzberg and Lucas Iberico Lozada may have met in Brazil, but their hearts are in Philadelphia. So they chose to bring a bit of the South American country’s traditions to their wedding, which they wanted to be filled with their friends, dancing, music and food. Enter their parade from the Woodlands to their block-party reception in West Philly. The bash, held on August 3rd, 2019, ended on the same street Kate grew up on (Beaumont Avenue), and went into the wee hours. (Read their full real wedding story here.) While we can’t party like this right now due to the pandemic, this wedding is a reminder of the fun to come as you plan future celebrations — as well as what we, too, love most about Philly. Kate shares their story here, with photos by Kelly Giarrocco

This story is part of Philadelphia Wedding’s on-going Real Talk series, where real Philly couples share their unique approaches to wedding planning and marriage. If you have a unique story or experience worth sharing, we’d love to hear about it.

block-party reception

Lucas and I met in Brazil. When we got engaged … his sister gave us a planning book that had us write down our priorities for the wedding. We came away knowing we wanted a lot of people, a lot of dancing, music and food.

A lot of the venues we looked at … had time restrictions, or we wouldn’t have been able to host 200 people because of expenses. The more we researched, the more the block-party idea my brother suggested went from kind of a joke to something we could maybe do.

The West Philly street I grew up on … is very small. Everyone knows each other; the kids are always out playing. It’s the perfect street for a block party, because you definitely need to have all your neighbors committed. 

block-party reception

We’d looked at the Woodlands when we were searching for venues. It was only a mile away from my parents’ street. We pieced everything together from there: What if we have the ceremony there, then block off the road to the party and walk?

RELATED: This Supremely Fun Block Party Wedding Began with a Carnival-Style Parade

A friend from when we lived in Rio … is very involved in the stilt-walking community for Carnival. That was another thing that started as a joke — Courtney, are you going to do stilts in the parade? — and all of a sudden became serious.

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The local police precinct … handled our event. An officer led the group on the parade route we’d been approved for. Everyone had just started to drink and eat when he came up to us and said, “In addition to being a police officer, I’m a singer. I wanted to see if I could sing you guys a song.” It was actually perfect, because we didn’t have the first dance planned. 

The block party ran … from 6 p.m. to midnight. We served drinks from bars on the porches. 

The decorations … were mostly from Peru, where Lucass family is from. We’d done a trip with both of our families in June, and we got a bunch of things — table runners, garlands for the trees, party favors — from a market in Lima.

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We had food trucks provide dinner. Blue Corn did tacos; Poi Dog did Hawaiian fried chicken and poke bowls.

We didn’t rent Porta-Potties. My mom asked her neighbors who would feel comfortable volunteering their bathrooms. Whoever said yes, we put a balloon on their house.

What I love about Carnival … is that people let their inhibitions go. They’re sweaty and joyful and just having an amazing time. For this one day, I feel like we managed to create that feeling in Philly.

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