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LGBTQ wedding at Fitler Club

How to get married in Philadelphia without the wedding fuss

LGBTQ wedding at Fitler Club

There are hundreds weddings in Philadelphia every weekend. Each of them have their own unique story. Here is the story about Mark and Kevin’s wedding, who enjoyed every second of their big day stress-free.
The coupled stayed at W Philadelphia, one of the luxurious hotel in the heart of Philadelphia. They started their wedding morning with 5k run to get the dose of endorphins for breakfast. Both are avid runners and athletes, who run marathons every year. Keeping your daily routine helps a lot to make your wedding day go easy and calm.
Iryna Shostak Photography always arrives one hours early to the getting ready locations. So the couple can have a piece of mind knowing that the wedding photographer is ready to capture the day.
While grooms took a shower, the photography team explored the area for portraits. The Wet Deck Bar terrace on the 7th floor was the best spot for this purpose.
The prep started with capturing wedding details. W Philadelphia is in the heart of City of Love, Kevin and Mark’s room had an awesome view from above the city. The city skyline was a perfect background for the Favour Brooks suit jackets that were brought from London.

The wedding bands had pieces of family history melted into them.

Rolex watches were their engagement gifts and Cartier cufflinks were wedding gifts to each other.

Matching Louboutin shoes were stylish element that completed their wedding outfits.

Mark and Kevin got ready together with no friends or family. They drank champagne, helped each other and could hug and kiss each other when they felt like. It was such an intimate time to get ready on their own timelines.

Instead of a first look, we went to the terrace for portraits before leaving for the church. The Wet Deck Bar of W Philadelphia has a variety of seating options under string lights, cabanas, and even a pool! The hotel is only 3 blocks from City Hall, there’s even a great view of Ben Franklin, well…from the back.

It took 20 min to create a range of portraits with different backgrounds. Fun, fast, no stress, no people looking at the couple.

The next stop was Saint Mark’s Church, 10 min walk from Center City Philadelphia. Kevin and Mark decided to do all family portraits before the ceremony and guests arrival. They even included their dogs in the formal portraits and the ceremony itself!

Father James Weiss, who has known Mark for many years, led the ceremony and mass. His words were heartfelt, and it was an honor to be in at the mid-1800s church, witnessing two men get married.

The priest declared of the blessing it is for spouse and spouse to be unified in marriage. He mentioned in honor of those in the LGBTQ community who passed, and fought to pave the way for the possibility for them to get married. At the end of mass, Kevin and Mark celebrated their matrimony by jumping the broom.

After the ceremony guests congratulated the newlyweds with hugs and kisses. Everybody devoured La Colombe draft lattes and Weckerly’s ice cream sandwiches.

After the ceremony guests went back to their hotels to get ready for the reception later in the day. Meanwhile, the newlyweds jumped into an SUV with photographers and went around the city. There was no wedding party with them so they had more time for them to celebrate with each other.

Mark and Kevin love Philly a lot so they wanted to show off the City of Love. The first stop was Logan Square. Flowers were in full bloom and City Hall was a perfect background. People were cheering the partners from all around.

The men had their engagement session at the Camden Waterfront with Philly skyline. So we decided to stop at Cira Green to show Philadelphia from the other side. The lesser people around you, the more time for portraits at different locations.

The last stop was The Fitler Club, which sits right over the Schuylkill River across from Cira Green.
Before guests arrived, we had time to take portraits outside upper deck and at the club.

The Fitler Club was greatly affected by Hurricane Ida in 2021. It has undergone recent renovations and looks better than before. The Garden, The Ballroom, The Trophy Room looked grandiose.

The couple chose thoughfully every detail to tell the story of their love. Instead of a paper guestbook, they opted for a dial up phone so you could leave them a message. Guests enjoyed signature drinks in honor of their first schnauzer and ice cubes with their initials. You could also taste appetizers from all parts of the world.
Personal bobblehead cake toppers stole everybody's attention. Custom name engraved gifts for guests were a hit of the reception.

Floral centerpieces were elegant and paired well with candles.

The DJ with a live horn section, drummer, and pianist entartained that night.
The couple entered the room to “Chariots of Fire” followed by “Higher Love” by Kygo & Whitney Houston. They shared their first dance to “Halo” by Beyonce, and asked everyone else to join them on the dance floor.

The couple and guests savored pre-recorded speeches from family and friends on projector screens. The final video was the surprise for Mark - Kevin was playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on cello. Kevin declared that there is no other song that represented them any more than that.

After the cake cutting, Iryna Shostak Photography always does the night shot. Grooms wanted to be photographed at the Trophy Room of the Fitler. Nanlight Tubes were used to created rainbow light around the newlyweds.

LGBTQ wedding at Filter Club in Philadelphia

The main ideas you can get for your wedding day to reduce the stress:

1. Start wedding day with your morning routine.
2. Follow your heart, not traditions.
3. Less people in wedding party, more time for yourself.
4. Choose wedding vendors you feel comfortable with.
5. YOU are the boss of the wedding day!

You can read more about this wedding at the article by the Knot "A Class-Act in Modernity—These Grooms Hosted a Grand Wedding at The Filter Club in Philadelphia".

Photography: Iryna Shostak Photography

Day of wedding coordinator: Elegant Events Planning & Design


Donielle Warren 215-852-2480

Ceremony: Saint Mark’s Church


1625 Locust Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

Reception Venue: Fitler Club


24 S 24th St Philadelphia, PA 19103

Videography: Cinema Outside the Box Productionz


Entertainment: EBE Talent

Ben Ostroff 215-651-3751

Favors & Gifts: Azucar & Spice

Florals: Event Loft

Eilena Mercier-Ehmann 267-536-2935

Pet Care/Arrangements: Kellie Hoyt

Stationary: Minted

Transportation: Kevin Smith Transportation


Travel & Accommodations: W Philadelphia


1439 Chestnut St Philadelphia, PA 19102

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