Cara and Zach

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



Photography and Cinematography | J&J Studios, LLC | @jjstudiosphiladelphia

Venue | The Cira Centre

Venue | Cira Green @brandywinerealty

Venue | JG Domestic @jgdomestic

Venue | Garces Group @garcesgroup

Accommodations | Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia | @kimpton

Hair and Makeup | Spice Salon 1998

Floral Designer | Carl Alan Floral Designs Ltd @carlalanfloralltd

Gown Designer | Alon Livne | @alonlivne

Gown Salon | LaBelle Mariee Bridal | @labellemariee

Caterer | Garces Events | @garcesevents

Caterer | Marathon Grill | @eatmarathon

Specialty Foods | Perrier Jouet

Specialty Foods | Federal Donuts | @federaldonuts

Cake Designer | Sweet T’s Bakery | @sweettsbakery

Invitation Designer | Casa Papel | @casapapelphilly

Favors and Gifts | Philly Pretzel Factory | @phillypretzelfactory

Tuxedo | Boyds Philadelphia | @boydsphiladelphia

Officiant | Congregation M’Kor Shalom | @mkorshalom

Jewelry | Golden Nugget Jewelers | @goldennuggetjewelry

Jewelry | Jay Roberts Jewelers | @jayrobertsjewelers

Band | Pop Philly | @ebetalent


Cara and Zach’s relationship has been nothing short of a fairytale… their peacock inspired wedding at the Cira Centre Atrium at JG Domestic perfectly captured their love story. Zach has a love of animals and describes Cara as someone who likes to “live her life out loud,” so the tactful inclusion of peacock feathers naturally made sense. After meeting in pre-school, based on the premise of both being twins; and then losing touch shortly after, they were both happy to reconnect after college and pick up where they left off.


They invited their guests by sending teal, grey and white invitations, including a touch of a Philly theme, by Casa Papel in Philadelphia. The inside of the envelope included a sketched view of the Philly skyline, which is representative of the view that Cara and Zach see from their new house in Philly. The bride and groom got ready for the big day with their wedding parties at the Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia. The girls were pampered all day and got their hair done by Roselle Lucarini and makeup done by Felicia Greene. They wore matching outfits of black leggings and tank tops with monogrammed denim shirts from Etsy. They had Marathon Grill delivered for lunch and Cara received a bottle of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Rose Champagne as a wedding gift. The pink champagne not only enhanced her “getting ready pictures” but also helped to take the edge off as she enjoyed a glass of champagne with her bridal party. Cara couldn’t wait to put on her fully beaded Alon Livne wedding gown that she fell in love with at La Belle Mariee in Langhorne, PA. She loved the almost see-through corset bodice and the fact that one strap had an intricate pewter strap on one side and a single strand of diamonds on the other. Additionally, she tied her look together with a hairpin from Etsy, which complimented the pewter strap on her gown. Her twin of honor gave her a diamond bracelet, from Golden Nugget in Philadelphia, PA, as a gift, which matched the single diamond strand strap on the dress. Zach was in his own room with his friends getting ready, putting on his tux from Boyd’s.


Once the bride was ready, she got in an Uber with her twin of honor to head to Cira Green to have her first look session with Zach. She would shortly be joined by the wedding party for pictures. Cira Green provides a back drop of the city as well as a secluded garden atmosphere with lush greenery. It’s the perfect balance of city chic as well as lush gardens. The bridesmaids all picked their own dark teal dresses, which provided some variety to play off the peacock inspiration. Bridesmaids picked dresses on their own from online sites such as Lulu’s & Tobi, as well as storefronts such as Jan’s in Cherry Hill, NJ. All of the shades of dark teal were slightly different, but all complimented each other beautifully.


Before the traditional wedding ceremony began, the bride and groom, coupled with immediate family, friends, Rabbi and Cantor, gathered into an alcove at the back of J.G. Domestic. The room encompassed a long wooden table and industrial light fixtures and provided the perfect back drop to sign the Ketubah. A Ketubah is a document in the Jewish religion that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom, in relation to the bride. Cara and Zach picked a super modern design for their Ketubah from, which had bright colors and was an art-décor form of a heart, inclusive of their first initials.

Guests began arriving at the Cira Centre Atrium at JG Domestic and took their seats while listening to music being played by Pop Philly of EBE Entertainment, as they waited for the bride and groom. Cara was escorted down the candle-lit aisle by her parents and met Zach under the Chuppah, which was beautifully decorated by the florist, Alexa of Carl Alan with white hydrangea, white callas, white astilbe, white playa roses, white spray roses and peacock feathers.


The venue’s imposing floor to 150’ ceiling, all glass structure, provided astounding views of the city skyline. The couple were met at the chuppah by Rabbi Jennifer L. Frenkel, of Congregation M’Kor Shalom who officiated the wedding. The white draped linens surrounding the ceremony space provided an intimate ceremony, inclusive of personal touches from Cara and Zach’s meetings with the rabbi during the previous months. Cara and Zach shared personal vows they wrote themselves and exchanged rings; the bride used her grandmother’s wedding band during the ceremony to honor her grandmother who had passed away and at the conclusion of the ceremony, Zach broke the glass and Cara and Zach walked hand in hand down the aisle.


After the ceremony, Cara and Zach were escorted by their wedding planner, Milanee Paolilli-Leong of the Garces Events Group, where they had a second to enjoy the moment of just being married together. Additionally, they were given a plate of all of the appetizers being served during cocktail hour, so they could quickly eat before mingling with all their family and friends. Guests moved from the intimate confines of the ceremony space and made their way to the cocktail hour, which was held inside the restaurant, JG Domestic. Guests helped themselves to a full bar, including two signature cocktails, “Tie-me Up, Tie-Me Down” (citrus vodka, rosemary and lemon juice) and “The Crescent” (bourbon, mint and ginger). Guests then indulged on the amazing food provided by the Garces Events Group, which included some of its famous staples such as the Village Whiskey slider station and Distrito taco station and guacamole bar. Guests were able to eat and drink while reclining in the restaurant booths, as well as able to walk around and mingle as they ate passed appetizers.


After an hour, guests made their way to the atrium which was turned over to the reception area. They admired the Philly skyline through the floor to ceiling glass windows as they made their way to their tables. The tables had white linens with grey napkins and beautiful floral centerpieces. Six tables were adorned with a Kareem vase with a submerged white dendrobium inside and clear gems. A loose, textured and airy arrangement sat on top inclusive of white hydrangea, feathered eucalyptus, true blue eucalyptus, variegated pitt, white callas, white astilbe and peacock feathers. There were 5 different lengths of strands of crystals hanging down. Ten tables had 24×6” cylinders filled with a small amount of water and large tiered callas, clear gems at the bottom and tiered peacock feathers. There were also a set of clear gem candle holders with a votive inside. One table of guests sat under the arbor area inside J.G. Domestic which had two sets of skinny stem vases with submerged dendrobium and floating candles. There were also 6 silvery Mercury vases, which the bouquets were re-purposed in these vases.


Guests settled in for an amazing 3 course dinner starting with a semplice salad of organic baby greens, shaved red onion, marcona almonds, fresh herbs with a grapefruit white balsamic dressing. This was followed by braised short ribs & striped bass, mozzarella mashed potatos, haricots verts, red wine jus and romesco. Dessert was a champagne cake with cream cheese icing and salted caramel drizzle by Sweet T’s Bakery. During dinner, Cara’s twin sister, Corin, gave a tear-jerking speech where she said, “I was always Cara’s better half, but now I must pass that honor on to you.” After that, she gave Zach a sash that read, “Cara’s better half.” Zach’s Best Man, Ben Birnbaum, lightened the mood by holding up a poster size picture of a young Zach dressed up like a sailor, during his toast.


After dinner, Cara’s father, Robert, gave a heartfelt toast during which he serenaded his daughter with a melodious saxophone cover of “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw. As her father got up to speak, printed lyrics of the song were handed out to all of the guests so that they could sing along as Robert played the saxophone. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, Robert incorporated several DIY aspects into the wedding. He hand-made several hundred gorgeous stained wooden coasters as gifts for every guest and built a towering 6’ high donut wall “Donut want this night to end” to give guests the sugar rush needed to make it through an epic last dance set.


Speaking of dancing, the 10-piece band, Pop Philly of EBE Talent, provided amazing live music incorporating saxophone, guitars, drums, keyboard, vocalists and even a sound technician to ensure everything sounded up to snuff. The dance floor was packed the entire night as Pop Philly hammered out such classics as: Spice Girls, old school hip hop, “Semi-Charmed Kind Of Life”, “This Is How We Do It”, “No Diggity”. The Horah really got the energy going as Zach and Cara were hoisted high into the air while friends and family shouted Mazel Tov! As the night wore on, the couple stepped away for some gorgeous evening portraits and laid out Philly Pretzels with bags at the end of the night for guests to take home. As the night drew to a close, guests munched on Federal Donuts from the handmade donut wall by the bride’s father and listened to Zach spitting rhymes as he rapped on stage at the end of the night. We wish these two lovebirds the best as they begin life together right here in the ‘City of Brotherly Love’.

Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette?

The inspiration was tying together the bride’s love of “living life out loud,” and liking the color pallet of blue and green. Additionally, wanting the overall vibe to be elegant, but also very fun and relaxed. The groom loves animals, so taking everything into consideration and incorporating peacock feathers seemed like the perfect vessel to build out the wedding décor and overall style. The bride is a foodie and has eaten her way through Philadelphia. The bride and groom have both been living in Philadelphia the last couple of years and recently bought a home in Fairmount. The Philly “theme” was also incorporated by picking a venue that highlights the Philly skyline, a caterer that is well known in Philly (especially highlighted in the village whiskey sliders and distrito tacos), and of course having federal donuts and Philly soft pretzels at the wedding. This was a Jewish wedding, so there was a private Ketubah signing before the ceremony with immediate family as well as a Rabbi performing the ceremony.


Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?

Luckily, the space itself already provided for a good base in décor, so there wasn’t a ton that needed to be done. For the ceremony, we had candles down the aisle and the focal point was the chuppah which had white draping and flowers on the top right and middle of the left side. The cocktail hour space was the restaurant J.G Domestic, which already has wood accents, trees and some Philly décor (on the chalkboards). To enhance the cocktail hour space, I had the florist wrap twinkle lights around the trees. I also had her hang floating candles in the arbor area. The reception area had huge floral centerpieces with crystals hanging and peacock feathers in the flowers and candles. During the ceremony, there were yarmulkes on a plain white table which the florist decorated with flowers to make the table visually appealing. The cake was plain white with polka dots and decorated with the same flowers as the centerpieces.


What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements,,like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop?

We used florals for the bouquets, the chuppah, the centerpieces and on the cake. Florals were whites and greens with accents of peacock feathers. Mainly a combination of: white mini callas, white playa blanca roses, white spray roses, white lisianthus, white astilbe feathers and eucalyptus peacock feathers.


Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?

Zach wanted something neat and clean and therefore got a black sleek tux from Boyd’s. The bride wanted something different as well, something that would stand out. Therefore, she ended up with a fully beaded dress with a see-through corset bodice, one strap with silver intricate detail and the other strap, just a thin diamond strap.


What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

The first look and the vows, as we wrote our own. I was also looking forward to the twin of honor and best man speeches. My twin sister was married two months before me, so I wasn’t sure how and if she would get me back for sharing embarrassing stories being her twin of honor.


Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

When planning a wedding, it is helpful to talk to your significant other and be on the same page for what you both want out of the special day. This will help when different family members and friends try to add in their input. Also, keep in mind the purpose behind getting married and the long-term game, this will help sweating the small stuff. I was really busy at work when I was planning my wedding, so surrounding myself with a great support system was key. My mom and sister worked with all of the vendors and finalized details, communicated timelines, thought through all of the last-minute details and made decisions on my behalf. It was amazing having so much help. It was also nice that since I didn’t know every detail, I was experiencing the wedding through the eyes of the guests and being surprised about things. I also had no idea if anything went wrong since I wasn’t involved in every single detail. It was helpful creating different folders in my email for each vendor working on the wedding to stay organized. Google docs that were able to be shared between Zach and myself and Excel documents with packing lists, to-do lists and follow up items were very helpful. Planning a wedding is really stressful and Zach and I barely had any fights/points of contention before the wedding.


My advice would be, that it is normal to not always see eye to eye but still respect that person and be willing to consider what they are saying. Open communication and explaining where you are coming from is super helpful.