Alison & Ken’s Jewish-Italian Lancaster Wedding

* Alison, Clinical Research Assistant in Pediatric Oncology & Ken, High School Math Teacher * Photographer: Katie Jane Photography * Soundtrack for reading: “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: A Jewish-Italian wedding in Amish County that was full of love, silliness, laughter, fabulous food, and our favorite people all in one place.

The Info—Photographer: Katie Jane Photography / Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania / Venue: Riverdale Manor / Invitation Design & Printing: Up Up Creative (APW Sponsor) / Save-The-Date Printing: Aper + Pink (APW Sponsor) / Day-of Coordinator: Low Brow Events Chuppah: Studio Jenz / Ketubah: Jerise via Etsy / Alison’s Dress and Veil: David’s Bridal / Alison’s Shoes: My Glass Slipper / Alison’s Hair and Makeup: Shelbi Harmes / Ken and Groomsmen’s Tuxedos: Rochester Formalwear / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: All Dressy, via PS Bridal / Bouquets and Boutonnières: Sandra L. Porterfield / Centerpieces: DIT with flowers from Blooms by the Box / Programs: Designed by Alison / Food: Thyme and Seasons, the in-house caterer for Riverdale Manor / Cake: Baked by Erin Heine, a friend of the bride, and owner and baker at Hungry Cat Catering and Cakes / DJ: Robert Sperring / Music: After the Bar, Alison’s brother’s a capella group / Videographer: PostScript Productions / Favors: White Knots, put together by friends and family

Other cool stuff we should know about: We wanted our wedding to have the right mix of silliness, love, nerdiness, and laughter that fills our relationship, and we think we hit the nail on the head. Alison’s wedding gift to Ken were pi cufflinks, and his gift to her was a necklace with the number “42” on it (from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). There were so many perfect little moments that made our day exceptionally special. Alison’s brother Levi sings in an a capella group called After the Bar and they performed during the cocktail hour and dinner. Levi arranged “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel and surprised Alison by singing (he made her cry). Alison’s stepmom taught a room full of Italian Catholics how to do the Hora, and she broke her shoe in the middle of it. (That’s how you know you’re doing it right!) One of the best parts of the evening was when the DJ took a break and we played The Newlywed Shoe Game which gave people a nice break from dancing, but also gave us great photo opportunities and lots of laughs. By the end of the night, our faces hurt from smiling so much, and as we left our reception under an arch of sparklers, we couldn’t have felt more loved.

Favorite thing about the wedding: Having our all of our favorite people celebrating our marriage… and also not falling out of our chairs during the Hora! Leaving our reception under an arch of sparklers was pretty spectacular, too.

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  • A Central PA wedding!! I’m from York, and my partner is from Lancaster!

    Your celebration looks gorgeous, congrats!

    • Thank you! What was funny is that neither of us is from Central PA! I am from southern NJ (where we currently live) and Ken is from Long Island, but we fell in love with the venue. No one we know lives out there, so it was kind of a mini-destination wedding, haha.

      • Well, I’m glad you found us hospitable :-)

    • Paranoid Libra

      Damn I got excited to see someone from this area here, but upon blog stalking I see that you Sarah are no longer living in PA :(

      I just want some APWers within a half hour from me.

      And Alison you looked absolutely wonderful. Congrats!

      • Aw, thank you! :) Where in PA are you? I work in Philly! Probably not helpful, haha.

      • :-( Sorry to be a tease! All my family is still in PA, but my partner still has three years of school left here in NE. And then who knows what? But I’d be happy to grab a drink sometime when I’m back in the area. . .which will probably be at Christmastime.

      • Hannah

        I live in Lancaster! I was excited too when I saw this. :)

  • Shiri

    What a lovely and joyful wedding! Also, you guys SO had the exact Ketubah we wanted. Gorgeous. Sigh.

  • I love your hora pictures! this looks like such a fun wedding full of so much love :-)

  • Emily


    We’re thinking about doing a sparkler send off too, but can’t figure out how to make it work. Do you pass out matches? How do they all light at the same time? How do you line your guests up?

    How did you do it!?

    • Aw, thanks so much, everyone!

      As far as the sparklers were concerned, we had a lot of the same concerns! Ang (of Lowbrow Events) was essential in getting it organized! Our sparklers came with a few “lighter” sparklers, which Ang and a few of the venue staff helped used to help light everyone else’s sparklers. Whoever you have acting as your wedding stage manager should herd everyone outside, make sure your photographer is in position, get the sparklers passed out, and set you and your partner up inside, ready to leave and then give you the cue to exit. I think she may have had people light each other’s sparklers, but I am not sure (as I wasn’t out there). If she’s lurking around on the comments, maybe she’ll pop in a tell us her magical ways.

      It definitely wasn’t perfection (some sparklers were burned out, some didn’t light correctly, etc) but we clearly had enough lit to create the look we wanted. You should totally do it!

      • Shannon

        We kind of passed the ‘fire’ down the line but they were also super large sparklers making it much more conducive to have many lit and stay lit for the time needed to get awesome photos (someone who was on the ‘outside’)

  • Liz

    Yay Alison! Lovely!

  • A beautiful day so obviously filled with love. Congratulations! Also, love the pi cufflinks and “42” necklace — that’s right up my fiance’s alley. I think he’s getting Nikola Tesla cufflinks on our wedding day, an homage to his favorite scientist. :) But sshh, don’t tell!

  • This should be an easy q, love that you’ve already answered my sparkler question too.

    Where did you find your guest book?!


    • Hi there! I actually used Shutterfly to make it! They have a bunch of great templates and it was really easy to use. I uploaded our engagement photos and used them to make the book. If you want to see the whole thing, shoot me an email and I can link you to it. :)

      It was a little time consuming, but in the end, we got exactly what we wanted! (And now it’s a great coffee table book!)

    • LMN

      Alison–congratulations on having such a beautiful and love-filled day. :) I did exactly the same thing for our guest book (which we’ll be using in 40 days!). I used our engagement photos and that same Shutterfly template. I loved that template–it was modern, fun, and easily customized. I bet that your guest book is so much fun to read through.

      Kate–it’s kind of hard to find the template on the site, but I think you can find it by going to: > Photo Books link in the top menu > Go to all new custom path > Choose your hardcover book size (I did 8×8) > Check “Wedding” on the left menu (and uncheck “Our Top Picks”). Then the template should show up with the title “Wedding Collection: Guest Book.” The sample spread says “Leave us a note!” and has a checkerboard of photos.

      Budget-friendly ideas: Shutterfly has sales all the time, so if your product isn’t on sale yet and you have some time before you need it, get it all designed and ready to order, then wait for a great sale to come along. Also, David’s Bridal gives out Shutterfly coupons and gift cards with most in-store purchases (at least they do in my town). After I bought my dress there, I got a coupon for a free Shutterfly photo book, so I used it to make our guest book; I paid a little extra for that specific template, but still saved a bunch. And I just got a gift card for another free photo book when I paid for alterations, so I’m saving that one to make a wedding album this summer. You just have to watch out for the expiration dates on the coupons. ;)

  • Jerise made our Ketubah, too! It was one of the best wedding vendor decisions we made!

    As an Italian who married a Jewish man, this entire post made me smile :)

    • Jerise was AMAZING! Such a lovely person and a talented artist. :)

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Jerise made ours too! She even took the train out to LI for us (twice — once to show us samples of her work, and once to deliver the finished ketubah). She’s so incredibly talented and so sweet.

  • So joyful & beautiful! Congratulations~

  • Buckley

    Beautiful wedding, Alison! And this venue is pretty much exactly what I’ve been looking for. Does anyone know of similar venues near Philadelphia? How about Long Island, NY?

    • Thanks!

      We actually looked at a few venues in Philadelphia suburbs before we saw this one. (Glen Foerd Mansion)

      We didn’t look in Long Island (which is where my fiance is from, haha) but these were all lovely!

      • Buckley

        This is really helpful, thanks!

    • Sarah

      On Long Island, check out the Riviera ( or the Old Field Club ( They’re the ones I remember having rustic-y high ceilings and wood floors.

      • Buckley

        Thank you!

    • MDBethann

      If you’re interested in Eastern & Central PA venues, my husband and I got married in Allentown in May 2012. We used the Allentown Brew Works –

      Their food and beer are wonderful and prices are fantastic. We had open beer & wine for 4 hours, a delicious buffet, and they did all of our tables, linens, candle centerpieces, etc. for about 140 people for between $9K-$10K.

      Other venues to check out are:

      The Crayola Factory (in Easton, PA)
      Allentown Symphony Hall
      The Bank St. Annex (in Easton, a little pricier than the other three)
      Burnside Plantation (Bethlehem, PA; outdoor weddings)
      Sayre Mansion (a B&B in Bethlehem that does weddings)
      Hotel Bethlehem (Bethlehem, PA)
      There’s also a website for Lehigh Valley weddings that has lots of venue ideas:

      The upside of a wedding in Northampton/Lehigh/Berks or other rural & suburban PA counties is that is going to be A LOT cheaper then getting married in NYC, Philly, Baltimore, or DC, especially if you are planning on inviting a lot of people (we live between Baltimore & DC, but our families are in PA so it was a pretty easy choice for us).

      While I really liked Symphony Hall and The Crayola Factory, we went with the Brew Works because they pretty much did everything for us aside from the flowers, cake, DJ, and photographer (and the bakery & DJ had worked with the Brew Works before). Since we don’t live up in PA anymore, this made things a lot easier for us logistically. The Crayola Factory is really cool though & I was a bit bummed it didn’t work out for us.

      Good luck!

  • Elle

    Such a beautiful day! We used the same verse (I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine) on the box we put our rings in for my nephew to take down the aisle. Gorgeous.

  • nice shot!I love the blue bridesmaid dresses!

  • Abilene


  • I LOVE this: “the right mix of silliness, love, nerdiness, and laughter.” That is so hitting the nail on the head for what we wanted at our wedding, as well.


  • Congratulations!! Beautiful wedding photographs, you both looks amazing.