Are you looking for a Philadelphia wedding venue that puts you in the middle of nature without taking you an hour outside the city? Check out the Philadelphia Discovery Center! This venue is a one-of-a-kind experience with a beautiful waterside ceremony spot and opportunities for your guests to explore the walkways. John and Kelly threw a tasteful but relaxed celebration for an intimate group of guests. Their wedding photos have all the best of the region’s nature and city’s architecture.
The Discovery Center is a joint project of the National Audubon Society and the Philadelphia Outward Bound School. Does it sound a little different from your average wedding venue? That’s because it is! The reservoir is a favorite spot of local bird watchers. It’s also one of only a few places in the city where you can have a really quiet waterside ceremony.
As beautiful as the nature is, there are plenty of conveniences at this venue too. Rentals include tables, chairs, and some set up. You also get use of a reception room, kitchen, courtyard, and walkway beside the water. There are so many opportunities for relaxed portraits beside the water. It’s especially beautiful around sunset for post-ceremony portraits.
Starting at $2500, the Philadelphia Discovery Center comparable to other similar venues in terms of price.These outdoor Philadelphia wedding venues are comparable to the Philadelphia Discovery Center in terms of their aesthetic and the experience you get:
A few important factors do set the Philadelphia Discovery Center apart from those venues, though. It’s ideal for smaller weddings. It can only accommodate up to 150 guests. That’s still a large wedding! With a smaller guest count, your friends and family have plenty of space to wander the water’s edge and soak up the space during cocktail hour.
One thing I also heard John and Kelly’s guests say over and over again was that they couldn’t believe they were right in the middle of Philadelphia. This venue is in East Fairmount Park just ten minutes from City Hall. Standing on the edge of the reservoir, it really feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s perfect if you want to escape the busy city energy without hauling your guests out to the suburbs.
With Center City so close, it’s possible to plan some iconic Philly moments in your pre-ceremony portraits. John and Kelly started their day in Center City near the Friends Select School on the Parkway. There are so many beautifully landscaped spots in that area. We found a spot where bright yellow flowers bloomed, and City Hall towered in the background. It was just the right combination of nature and classic Philadelphia architecture to feel cohesive with the rest of their wedding day. We also appreciated the chance to get portraits with City Hall without fighting Broad Street traffic.
The Philadelphia Discovery Center doesn’t need much to be wedding ready. Tall grasses and flowers grow by the water’s edge. John and Kelly decorated the table with pale pink and white flowers that went seamlessly with the pink blossoms just outside the reception room. It all had a comfortable, summery feeling.
Kelly and John’s wedding at the Philadelphia Discovery Center was unique, but it was also intimate and relaxed. The venue was just the right size for their closest friends and family to gather and spend time together. The view of the reservoir behind the ceremony was breathtaking.
During cocktail hour, their wedding guests enjoyed wandering around the walkways along the water. They spotted birds (including a bald eagle!) and commented again that they felt like they weren’t even in the city. The Philadelphia Discovery Center really is that peaceful.
At that point, Kelly and John snuck away to watch the sunset. Taking small moments like that to connect made their intimate celebration all the more meaningful. You can tell from their wedding photos just how excited these two are to be together. The candid ones, especially, are full of joy and tenderness.
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