Your one-stop shop for all things weddings.

By Megan Douress

Photography by Melissa Kelly Photography (melissakellyphotography.com)
JPG Photo & Video (jpgphotoandvideo.com)

It’s the biggest day of your life – the day you’ve dreamed about all these years. You envision yourself in a scenic setting in your white dress, blinged out and dolled up for the party you’re hosting with your family and friends. It seems simple, but planning a wedding takes a lot of work and coordination. Luckily, Manayunk has just about everything you need to make your dream come true!

Venues
Artesano Gallery (109 Green Lane)
When you’re ready to say, “I do,” the first thing most brides and grooms do is book their venue. This sets the tone for everything else you’re going to plan for your big day. Here in Manayunk, there are several to choose from, but for couples looking for a super chic and unique venue, Artesano Gallery might be for you.

Artesano Gallery has been hosting catered events for a decade, but that wasn’t always the intention for the space at the intersection of Main Street and Green Lane.

“It’s a combination of an art gallery, wedding venue, and coffee shop,” said Ivan Roa, Operations Manager at Artesano Gallery. “We extended it to include a coffee shop, which wedding guests love.”

The venue is exceptionally roomy at a whopping 25,000 square-feet, perfect for those socially-distanced weddings. In addition, there’s a separate ceremony room across the street.

“​​You know as soon as couples walk in if it’s going to be the right fit,” Ivan said. “This is not a venue for everyone. This is a venue for people who want to do something different and not something traditional.”

“We offer a very complete package,” he continued. “It comes with valet service, parking across the street, and we do one server per table to ensure each table is attended the way we like it. And our food is amazing. When you read all of our reviews, you’ll read all about the food service. It’s completely catered and cooked on premises. Everything is from scratch by chef Kelly Cook. She’s fabulous. We also have a pastry chef in house, Maria Rodriguez. She’s from Spain and she does all these twists on miniature desserts. They’re amazing and gluten free.”

For couples interested in booking a future wedding, just know that all staff is vaccinated, and all wedding guests need to show proof of vaccination or wear a mask in the venue. It’s all part of ensuring brides and grooms have their dreams come true.

“Once I know all of the details of the wedding, in my head, the way I do the tour is I tell a story,” Ivan explained. “Because that’s what we do – we sell dreams.”

Also consider: Manayunk Brewing Company (4120 Main St), Platform Thirty at Beat Street Station (4401 Cresson St)

Engagement Ring
Bendi Jewelers
(4333 Main St)
Bendi Jewelers has been a Manayunk destination for engagement and wedding rings since 1997. Owner, Sami Nakishbendi, is constantly inspired to create pieces by his experiences and surroundings. From rings to necklaces, bracelets and more, every piece of jewelry in Sami’s store is handcrafted – and quite sparkly.

Sami keeps up with what couples want, too, sharing where the trends are headed lately.

“Very asymmetric – eclectic combined with different types of stones with semi-precious/precious into a ring form,” Sami explained. “Oval is very in.”

The engagement ring featured in the photo is a 14k white gold ring consisting of split shank micro pave’ round diamonds. It is milgrain on the sides and has a 2 karats center.

While his work speaks for itself, it’s the customer service that keeps Sami’s customers happy and returning for all of life’s occasions.

“I do listen to what the clients’ wants and needs are,” Sami said. “In a nutshell, I give them what they want. I fulfill their desire by applying what’s in their mind into a piece of jewelry or art.”

For brides specifically, he loves playing a small – but very important – part in their wedding day.

“My favorite part is to have them complete their presentation by matching the right jewelry pieces to their attire for their dream day.”

Also consider: Gary Mann Jewelers (4349 Main St), Ilumine Gallery (4386 Main St)

Apparel
Nicole Miller – Manayunk
(4249 Main St)
The. Dress.
It’s the first thing wedding guests notice when they see a bride walk down the aisle. It should be the perfect “marriage” of your personal style and the aesthetic of your wedding day. In Manayunk, Nicole Miller – Manayunk has you covered.
“When you think of a tree, what do you think of?” asked Mary Dougherty, co-owner of Nicole Miller – Manayunk. “It’s not a trick question. You might think of a pine and I think of a spruce, but it’s still a tree. So, when someone comes in looking for a wedding dress, everyone has a different idea.”

The first thing Mary and her partner, Jillian Dunn, will have brides do when they come in for wedding dress try-ons is fill out a survey. In that survey, brides will fill in when their wedding day is, how many guests they’re inviting, where the wedding will be held, and more. This gives Mary and Jillian a good idea of what dresses to pull when their brides arrive at the upstairs bridal section of the store on the corner of Main and Rector Streets.

The dress featured in the photos is called “Mia” and is a true Nicole Miller classic – made of ivory metal taffeta with a twist knot neckline and a fishtail train. The style is about 10 years old.

“Wedding dresses, in particular, kind of never go out of style,” Mary said. “A lot of people who have bought it are architects or are getting married in places like the beach. It’s just a little funkier. All of Nicole’s bridal designs were collection-inspired, so usually it was a dress in the line and made it into a wedding dress using a fabric that was more luxurious but kept to the simplicity of her designs.”

With many brides rescheduling or reconsidering their wedding plans due to the pandemic, Nicole Miller – Manayunk is a great choice for those last-minute changes. They’re not a boutique that orders one size dress for all brides to try on. They’ll order all sizes so their brides can get a true sense of what they’ll look like on their wedding day.

“​​These days, we have brides deciding they’re getting married next week, we have brides that are changing their whole wedding, and we have brides who hate their dress because they bought it two years ago,” Mary explained. “We can – if it’s in stock – have your dress in six weeks.”

Admittedly, brides can be tough throughout the lengthy process of choosing “the dress,” but for Mary and Jillian, there’s something special about being a part of their big day.

“​​It’s nice to be part of the fabric of their memories,” Mary said. “What do you remember most about your prom? Your dress. What are you going to remember most about your wedding? Your dress. We take that responsibility seriously.”

Also consider: Armen’s Custom Tailor Studio (104 Levering St)

Accessories
Ilumine’ Gallery
(4386 Main St)
Ilumine’ Gallery, located at Main and Levering Streets, is the go-to boutique for “affordable fine jewelry for everyday wear,” – just as the store’s slogan states. But many may not realize the jewelry store and art gallery offers price points anywhere from $25 to $5,000, making it the perfect destination for all kinds of brides to shop for their wedding day accessories.

“​​We tell our customers to browse and try on the jewelry pieces they are interested in,” said Lynda Berdin, owner of Ilumine’ Gallery. “We have a 14 day return policy as long as the jewelry is unworn.”

Lynda carries everything from sterling silver to rose gold and 14 and 16 karat gold overlay jewelry in her affordable line, and also carries higher end solid gold and small diamonds as well. Designers she carries include La Kaiser, Five and Two, Bopbe, Jaxkelly, Bu, Vera Wolf, Lanna, Jack and G, Anzie, Kozakh, Rachael Hatala, Alex Monroe, and Colleen Mauer.
A little – or a lot – of sparkle never goes out of style for brides of all kinds, according to Lynda.

“​​More glitter and bigger statement pieces are requested more by bridal customers,” she explained.

To style the bride pictured, Lynda went with sleek accessories to accent the Nicole Miller dress, using a paired set of earrings and a necklace by London-based designer, Ania Haie. Both pieces are 14 karat yellow gold vermeil with cubic zirconia baguettes that will catch any wedding guest’s eyes. Lynda paired the accessories with a simple gold chain bracelet.

Besides classic jewelry pieces ideal for any bride, Lynda has also pulled inspiration from galleries she previously owned in Albuquerque by offering work from Native American jewelers like Alex Sanchez, Fernando Bennaly, and Stella Naranjo.

Also consider: The Emporium by Lady Holiday (4235 Main St), Bendi Jewelers (4333 Main St), Gary Mann Jewelers (4349 Main St)

Beauty
Chloe Madeleine Salon
(4360 Main St)
No bride’s look is complete without the help of a professional hair and makeup artist. Manayunk is home to a plethora of options depending on what you’re looking for — from barbering to updos and touching up that color to the perfect shade.

Manayunk’s newest salon, Chloe Madeleine Salon, located above Volo Coffeehouse, hosts bridal parties and also travels on site to accommodate brides and their wedding parties.

“We are a salon specializing in blonding — among many other services — and bridal services are a huge part of our world,” said owner, Chloe Luboff. “It started out as a freelance business almost 10 years ago and once I opened my salon, it became a large part of what we do.”

Chloe and her team offer both hair and makeup services to bridal parties. Nailing down stylists who fit your own personal style can be tricky, so each bride and her party can take advantage of Chloe Madeleine Salon’s customizable options. From there, the team will write up a contract tailored to the services they’ll be getting.

“We always do a trial run and spend time speaking with each bride to make sure their vision comes to life,” Chloe said of working with brides.

While Chloe and her team are always willing to travel to their bridal parties the morning of the wedding, you might want to consider spending time in the salon instead.

“We offer the option to host the bridal party at the salon,” Chloe said. “We supply champagne, mimosas, and pastries! I can always guarantee great service, amazing results, and a smooth sailing morning of pampering.”

Chloe Madeleine Salon stylist, Olivia Botelho, styled the bride pictured in this article. Olivia went for a classic look of big, loose curls and natural-looking makeup to perfectly pair with the classic design of her Nicole Miller dress.

As for Chloe, her personal style aligns with one of today’s more popular trends.

“I’m still loving anything green and boho,” she said.

Also consider: 1859 Wellness Spa & Salon (4259 Main St), Salon L (4120 Main St), Salon Mane (4151 Main St), Sulimay’s Studio on Main (4277 Main St), Make Your Mark Barbershop (4228 Main St), Starshine Salon (4327 Main Street)

Cake
Crust Vegan Bakery
(4409 Main St)
If there’s one thing wedding guests all seem to dwell on, it’s the food you serve. Lucky for you, Crust Vegan Bakery has a plethora of options for dessert that your guests surely won’t stop talking about any time soon – in a positive way!
“We love to see couples’ creative cake dreams come to life!” said Meagan Benz, co-owner of Crust Vegan Bakery. “We can also create a pretty bangin’ dessert spread, which is hard to come by in the area. We are trying to fill the gap and make food that vegans and non-vegans alike will enjoy!”

The Main Street bakery will be especially appealing to health-conscious couples who like to keep things local, which Crust Vegan Bakery has a real knack for. All of their ingredients are free from any chemicals and are bought from other local small businesses in the area.

The bakery’s team is the definition of “attention to detail” from start to finish. Not only is every cake unique to the client, but each couple is assigned a point person, who they’ll work with from start to finish.

“By working with them directly very thoroughly throughout the entire process, I never pass them onto someone else to sort out details,” Meagan said. “I walk them through it every step of the way to make sure they are getting exactly what they want and to ensure we are all on the same page the whole way through!”

Brides and grooms often use Crust Vegan Bakery for their high-quality tiered cakes and dessert spread options, which includes their popular pop tarts. They also offer cake and dessert stand rentals for your special day.

“We aren’t booking new weddings until January 2022, but at that time, clients will inquire through our website to book a wedding tasting with us and chat details,” Meagan explained.

Also consider: Nutmeg Cake Design (220 Krams Ave)

Photography
JPG Photo & Video
(jpgphoto.com)
There’s nothing quite like looking back on all of the memories from your wedding day for years to come. Manayunk’s very own JPG Photo & Video is one of the most experienced in the business.

“We’ve spent the past 17 years capturing moments that matter to everyday people,” said Joe Gidjunis, owner of JPG Photo & Video. “JPG Photo & Video comprises our group of award-winning photographers who focus on documenting moments without intruding on an event. We push creative boundaries and provide strong visuals that tell your story with care. We use our skills, humor and sense of adventure to capture emotion and document moments you never want to forget. We refuse to be boring and truly care about telling your story.”

Joe started shooting weddings in 2004 when his cousin asked him to document their wedding. Joe had been a photojournalist for a local newspaper at the time, so his cousin trusted he knew what to do.

“I agreed, but it was definitely one of those things I did because I love my family,” Joe joked. “By the end of the wedding though, I was hooked! I was surprised by how much fun a wedding could actually be.”

Joe credits this experience as being the eye-opener to the business he needed. His prior idea of wedding photography consisted of stiff and very posed brides and grooms, but quickly realized all of the fun and emotions that were captured that day, especially from family and friends of the newlyweds.

Since weddings are such an intimate day, Joe and his team give top notch customer service and listen to what potential clients want right from the jump.

“Some vendors treat every wedding the same, but we know that couples have different desires and priorities when it comes to their day,” Joe said. “We make sure we talk to them throughout the process, from booking to delivery, to deliver what they want from photo and video.”

Ater an initial inquiry call or email, we send you our pricing guide as well as information as to important dates in the booking process and what you can expect from us leading up to the wedding date and delivery of photos and video,” he continued. “You’ll then have a phone call with our studio director to confirm a rough timeline, how many hours you need, and just talk about what you’re excited for! After that, you have a phone call with your photographer to ask them any specific questions. Once all that is confirmed, you’ll sign a contract, pay a retainer, and be booked!”

And for our local couples, you might want to consider JPG Photo & Video for your day. Joe and his team love shooting Manayunk, a place they’re extremely familiar with.

“We love the backgrounds and textures that can be found for portraits, and we love that it’s an art focused district committed to supporting their small businesses,” Joe said.

Also consider: Susan Beard Design (susanbearddesign.com), Aliza Schlabach Photography (byaliza.com)

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