This Union League Reception Mixed Contemporary and Classic Elements

The couple said “I do” at the Kimmel Center. 

Union League wedding reception

Kyle Rader (left) and Brandon Abella’s ceremony at the Kimmel Center was followed by a Union League reception. / Photography by Emily Wren Photography

Brandon Abella says he knew he was going to marry now-husband John “Kyle” Rader the first time they met in person. (The pair connected online and later hit it off at Philadelphia OutFest in 2018.) And in November 2023, he did just that, by way of a ceremony at the Kimmel Center followed by a reception at the Union League of Philadelphia, the iconic private club on Broad Street. Emily Wren photographed the beautiful festivities.


Brandon and Kyle took a moment with their family, including their nieces and nephew.

The Kimmel Center ceremony was incredibly­ touching for the Malvern duo because of the way the setting complemented the joyous occasion. “The space overlooks the city while having this beautiful natural light coming through the glass ceiling,” says Brandon, CEO of an industrial services­ firm. “During the exchange of our vows, the sun had set. It was sentimental as we went from day to night at the same time we became two individuals who were starting their lifelong journey­ together.”

For their Union League reception, held in the Lincoln Memorial Room, Brandon and Kyle, a financial planner, wanted a timeless aesthetic that wasn’t stuffy. They achieved this by playing into the room’s existing architecture and elegance. Brandon and Kyle asked their guests to wear black-tie attire, for a formal feel that fit their venue.

Union League wedding reception

They chose a neutral color palette and simple, dimensional floral arrangements that featured fall foliage among all-white flowers. Locally harvested foliage ran down the lengths of the farmhouse tables, while candles provided an elegant glow.


The round tables were all adorned in ivory-hued velvet linens that were perfectly suited to the backdrop, complete with its sparkling chandeliers and rich woods.

Union League wedding reception

A classic, clean welcome sign by UnmeasuredEvents depicted the Philly skyline in watercolors.

Union League wedding reception

And Brandon and Kyle displayed pictures from throughout their relationship in the reception space.

Union League wedding reception

A trio of signature cocktails was named for their dogs — Kody (old-fashioned), Bear (spicy marg), and Kooper (espresso martini).


For their first course, guests were treated to an elegant potato pancake with lobster, caviar and sour cream.


As for their cake? The four-tiered Swiss buttercream confection had alternating flavors of vanilla genoise and decadent chocolate cake, with buttercream filling.


They incorporated two 24-foot farmhouse tables — sans linens — to frame the dance floor and create a focal point amid the room’s round tables.

The grooms both declare their favorite moment the first dance, to Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love.” “It was an amazing experience dancing around the Union League surrounded by our closest friends and family,” says Kyle. “Seeing everyone smiling made us feel truly special, and being wrapped in each other’s arms made us feel at home.”

Photographer: Emily Wren Photography | Venues: Kimmel Center (ceremony); Union League of Philadelphia (reception) | Event Coordination: Courtney Space Events | Florals: Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies Floral Design | Signage: UnmeasuredEvents | Cake & Catering: The Union League | Tuxedos: Custom from Suitsupply | Watches: Panerai (Brandon); Burberry (Kyle) | Rings: Cartier | Shoes: Gucci | Accessories: Tiffany & Co. and Burberry | Hair: Eldi Krasta of Razrbar Wayne | Officiant: Joe Pinero (Brandon’s brother-in-law) | Transportation: King Limousine | Music: Elegance String Quartet (ceremony); Don Eaton Band (reception) | Videographer: Greg Fisher of Willow Tree Films | Photo Booth: Philly Snap Booth | Rentals: Vision Furniture Event Rentals (furniture); The Event Collective (linens) | Welcome Reception Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia | After-Party Venue: SPIN Philadelphia

Published as “Brandon & Kyle” in the Summer/Fall 2024 issue of Philadelphia Wedding.

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