STEPHANIE + BRYAN
HOW DID WE FIRST MEET?
Stephanie's version: Bryan was attending law school in the Philly area the same time I was attending medical school in Philly. A friend of mine in medical school had grown up with Bryan and invited him out to celebrate with us in Center City after we had taken one of our last exams. My first impression of Bryan was that he was attractive and seemed like a nice enough guy, but we had minimal conversation together. I literally didn't think anything of our interaction, despite one of my friends being convinced that Bryan was interested in me and would ask for my number. The night ended, and sure enough, just as I was about to get into a cab to go home, I heard someone yell out my name across the street. It was Bryan walking over to me, asking for my number. And as they say, the rest is history...
Bryan's version: I knew what I was doing.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DATE?
Bryan's final law school formal - the Barrister's Ball - talk about pressure!
HOW DID BRYAN PROPOSE?
Stephanie thought she was planning Bryan a small get together to celebrate his 30th birthday. Despite the numerous creative and exciting ideas she had for celebrating (indoor skydiving or axe throwing anyone?), Bryan insisted on wanting something low key and small. Per his request, he wanted to get drinks with a few friends at Olde Bar and take advantage of their Saturday afternoon happy hour (which should've tipped her off as he would never know they had this happy hour). When they showed up at Olde Bar, Bryan led Stephanie to an empty room that strangely looked like it was set up for a private event. He then directed her attention to an easel in the room. On the easel, there was a framed photograph of them that was photo-shopped to read, "Marry me?" He got down to one knee; she said, "Yes!" Then over thirty of their family and friends from across the country showed up to celebrate with them at a party he organized at Olde Bar- turned out the private event the room was set up for was for them! Stephanie was completely surprised!
By car: The Kimmel Center is located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia (aka Center City). For directions to the Kimmel Center, please visit here.
Parking: Philadelphia is easily accessible by taxi, Uber, Lyft, public transportation, or walking. There is also a public bike sharing program with kiosks throughout the city for the more adventurous folks. If you choose to drive, we do not recommend parking on the street. The Philadelphia Parking Authority is notoriously strict and quick to ticket you the moment your meter runs out of time. They even had a TV show made about them. For parking garages, please visit here for the closest ones to the Kimmel Center.
By plane: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) serves the greater Philadelphia area and is conveniently located about 20 minutes away by car from downtown Philly. Taxis are readily available and cost approximately $30. Ubers are another option and will usually cost about $20 depending on the time of day/traffic. There is also the Septa Regional Rail Airport Line that runs twice an hour from each airport terminal to various stations in the city. One way fare is $5.25-$8 depending on the time of day, and a one-way trip is about 40 minutes. You may purchase a ticket in cash on the train if you're coming from the PHL aIrport into the city. The closest station to the Kimmel Center is Suburban Station. Please visit here if you'd like more information on this option.
By train: If you live in the Northeast corridor, we highly recommend Amtrak. After all, that's our chosen method of transportation to visit each other on the weekends. The Philadelphia train station is 30th Street Station and is located less than 10 minutes (barring traffic) from downtown Philadelphia. Taxis and Ubers are located outside the station and cost approximately $7-10 to Center City.
Meet The Bridesmaids
Lakshmi is Steph's oldest friend and one of her Maids of Honor. They met in orchestra in 7th grade, bonding over their struggles to find the beat, and they haven't been apart since - except for a 3 year break when Laksh was in NYC for law school. Laksh may be small in stature, but she has the biggest heart and personality.
Ritika is Steph's second oldest friend and one of her Maids of Honor. They officially met in 8th grade, but it wasn't until Winter Track in 9th grade that they really became the best of friends - running in the snow and sprinting down the school hallways trying to avoid opening doors made for excellent bonding experiences.
Kristen and Steph met in anesthesia residency and bonded over their many shared interests - basically sisters from another mother! Over countless no shower happy hours, buck-a-shuck oysters, rooftop study sessions (and we can't forget some tiring calls at the hospital too), they've forged a lifelong friendship.
Sharmil and Steph met in residency. They braved the brutal hours of their CCU and OB rotations together and bonded over their love for shopping - although Sharm is far more glamorous than Steph could ever aspire to be! Sharm's generosity knows no bounds, extending even to the hopeless efforts of teaching Steph how to move her hips.
Katie and Steph went to medical school at Penn together. They first met at an orientation event when Steph tried to introduce Katie to Katie's then boyfriend, not realizing the two already knew each other. After getting a good laugh over that, the two continued to bond over years of game nights, coordinated Halloween costumes, and travels around the world.
Meet the Groomsmen
Kevin is Bryan's oldest friend and Best Man. He is Bryan's little brother by only 17 months. Their mother practically raised them as twins. People say they talk and walk the same way. They even ended up having the same knee needing surgery a year apart from each other and have the same love of dried mangoes and BJJ.
Steven and Bryan grew up as neighbors and classmates all the way through high school. Steven's more studious ways led him to Penn Law. His good influence eventually rubbed off on Bryan when Bryan, too, decided to pursue a career in law.
Bryan and Joseph grew up in the same area of Maryland and met in college through mutual friends. Their close friendship was forever sealed when Joseph introduced Bryan to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is Bryan's current sport of choice.
Nick and Bryan went to law school together and spent many late nights enjoying all that law school had to offer. They were also roommates for a year in Philadelphia before Bryan moved back to the DC area.
Chau and Bryan met in high school and became fast friends. Chau is Bryan's go-to fashion and pop culture consultant. Given the amount of help Bryan needed in that department over the years (RIP baggy jeans and sweats and oversized t-shirts), it's no surprise what a close friend Chau has become.
We have reserved discounted blocks at the following hotels. Unfortunately, there are the Penn Relays and a conference in town the same weekend as our wedding, limiting the options. We encourage you to book early!
The Bellevue Hotel (formerly known as the Hyatt at the Bellevue) ($235/night): This is where the bride and groom will be staying and where we will host the morning after brunch. It's conveniently located 1.5 blocks away from the wedding venue and with a view of the iconic City Hall. Your stay includes access to their top-notch 93,000 sq ft gym with an indoor racquetball and basketball court and pool. Click HERE for the reservation link.
The Warwick at Rittenhouse ($199/night): 5 blocks away from the venue, but only 1 block east of RIttenhouse Square. Be sure to take a stroll in the park. Click HERE for the reservation link. Please reserve by March 28, 2018 to secure the discounted rate.
Holiday Inn Express - Midtown ($179/night): 3 blocks away from the venue. This hotel also is next to the Midtown Village area that hosts a myriad of the city's most popular food and drinking establishments. Click HERE or use Group Code "HSU" when making reservations.
Things to do in philadelphia
Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love!
It's where Bryan and Steph first met and fell in love. It's also basically Steph's hometown.
We hope you get a chance to explore all this city has to offer and see why we love Philly so much.
food and drink
We could go on and on. Philly has a booming food scene, so if there's something specific you're looking for or want more recs, please ask us! Here are just a few of our favorites:
Reading Terminal Market - a Philly landmark indoor farmer's market. Philly is known for its cheesesteaks, but personally we prefer the famous roasted pork sandwich at DiNic's.
Barbuzzo - Steph's rec for best overall restaurant. Their sheep's milk ricotta is to die for! Hard to get a reservation at this Mediterranean spot, but worst case, the entire street Barbuzzo is on (13th Street) has tons of other options to eat/drink.
Amada - Iron Chef Jose Garces's flagship Spanish tapas restaurant that was one of the original restaurants that started Philly's food renaissance. Garces will also be catering our wedding, so you can get a sneak peek here!
Chinatown - Philly's Chinatown is more of an Asiatown, but it has everything you could need. Try Sakura or Dim Sum Garden for more general Chinese food and soup dumplings, Ocean Harbor for weekend brunch dim sum, or Pho Xe Lua for pho.
Giorgio on Pine BYOB - Philly has a bustling bring your own (alcoholic) beverage scene. Pick out a bottle of wine from the nearby PA Liquor Store (none sold at grocery or deli stores; PA is strict on alcohol sales) and go to dinner at this cute rustic Italian restaurant.
Townsend - for those wanting something a little fancier, this New French restaurant has the best beef tartare we've ever had; even better than in Paris! Their bar service is phenomenal as well, making Bryan's favorite Old Fashioned in the city.
Hop Sing Laundromat - cool speakeasy in Chinatown. Look for the blue light and gated entrance next to Ocean Harbor. Ring the doorbell and someone will be out. Don't be a slouch with the wardrobe, or they won't let you in. Be sure to try the Henry Box Brown, Steph's absolute favorite cocktail in the world.
Schuylkill River Trail/Boat House Row - scenic running/ walking/ biking trail along the Schuylkill River where Steph logged many miles training for her halfs and full marathon. The trail will take you behind the Art Museum and past the historic Water Works and boat houses. You can rent kayaks and bikes near the trail as well.
Rittenhouse Square - park in downtown Center City where you'll find people lounging or street performers singing their songs. Restaurants line the square for some al fresco dining with a view.
Wissahickon Park -1,800 acres of parkland in Northwest Philadelphia, with beautiful hiking trails open to the public.
"Rocky" steps - reenact the famous movie scene of Rocky training, running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. At the top of the steps you'll be rewarded with a landscape view of the city.
Penn Relays - oldest and largest track and field competition in the US, hosted annually since 1895 by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field. The 2018 event will run from April 27-29, where traditionally the popular USA vs. the World relay races are held on Saturday. Usain Bolt and many other Olympians compete in these races. Tickets are open to the public, but tend to sell out.
Bryan's favorite gym: Roots Athletics. Looking to see what BJJ is all about? Try this beautiful spot that was just awarded Best of Philly Fitness Studio. If BJJ isn't your thing, they also offer functional interval training classes.
Steph's favorite gym: RippedPHL. Hands down, most effecient workout in Philly. 45 min or 1 hour class of high intensity interval training, alternating between running on Woodway treadmills and strength exercises. Awarded 2017 People's Choice Best Bootcamp.
We'll be honest; neither of us are art or history buffs. However, if you are, then Philadelphia has plenty for you! Philadelphia is the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed and played a pivotal role in the early years of America. And from what we're told, the art museums are good, too.
Franklin Institute - this is one museum we can definitely vouch for. Steph grew up going to this place often, and it has always been her favorite museum to visit (which is saying a lot since she doesn't usually enjoy them!) It's a science museum with a lot of hands on exhibits that's great for kids or the inner nerd in all of us.
Philadelphia Zoo - the nation's first zoo. This was another staple of Steph's childhood.
Independence Hall/Liberty Bell - visit the Independence Mall, where the famous Liberty Bell is housed. Then walk across the street to visit Independence Hall and learn about its importance to founding the United States of America.
Philadelphia Museum of Art - largest art museum in Philadelphia.
Barnes Collection - the largest privately owned collection of impressionist, post-impressionist and early-modern paintings. Exhibits are arranged by light, color, line, and space rather than the traditional groupings by genre or artist. People tell us that if there's an art museum to visit for non-art history buffs, this is it!
Museum of the American Revolution - newest museum in Philly built in 2017; dedicated to George Washington and the war leading to America's independence.
Mutter Museum - home of The College of Physicians and America's finest museum of medical history. This museum displays collections of medical oddities, preserved anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments.
Having lived apart in different cities for most of our relationship, we have amassed everything we could need (and more!). Your presence is more than enough of a gift to us. However, if you'd still like to generously give us something, we kindly request no boxed gifts.