Cescaphe or Ballroom @ the Ben... Hotels?! Transportation?! Church?!

 My names is Janine, Im new to the "knot-world." I got engaged this past June, and I have been looking at venues ever since! We are planning a 2013 wedding (preferably summer, due to my teaching schedule). After many trips to venues in NJ, we have come to realize that most are out of our budget (after tax and gratuity). My fiance is from PA, so we decided to head that way today... we found the Cescaphe and the Ballroom at the Ben, and after viewing both venues, we fell in love. The decision between the two isnt really the problem... I was wondering if anyone had any information about hotels nearby that are affordable... We have family traveling from Central Pa and the New York area...

Also, I know that there is a trolley service, I wanted to know if anyone had any information (likes/dislikes) perhaps pricing details about the trolley or other transportation youve used or are using.

Lastly, I will not be able to marry in my church, because its too far from Philadelphia, does anyone know a Catholic church close by that will be willing to marry out-of-towners :) (with consent from my priest)

Thanks for ANY advice!  

Re: Cescaphe or Ballroom @ the Ben... Hotels?! Transportation?! Church?!

  • babe2331babe2331 member
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    Both venues are very close to Center City Philadelphia, so hotels should not be a problem.  Just make sure there are no conventions or special events in the city that weekend and you should be okay.  There is also a Holiday Inn near the sports complex in South Philly which is very easily accessible to the roads into Center City.  The only drawback would be you mentioned summer and if there is a Phillies game that weekend, it might be crazy.  If you block out rooms well enough in advance, you might be okay.

    With regard to the church, you can try St. John the Evangelist on 13th & Market (conveniently located near a bunch of  hotels like Lowes, the Marriot, Courtyard) or St. Rita of Cascia Shrine on Broad and Elsworth in South Philly which is only  a few blocks away from Center City and close to your venue choices.  St. Rita's is especially pretty.

    Good luck with your planning!
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  • edited December 2011
    I'm getting married at St. John the Evangelist! It's GORGEOUS inside, but it is rather expensive, comparatively - $1575 total. 

    I was quoted $1460 (plus gratuity) for 5.5 hours of trolley service by Philadelphia Trolley Works. They hold 24 people and are air-conditioned. I think this is a good rate for trolleys based on my research. They're also a very easy company to deal with.

    The majority of my guests will be staying in downtown Philly (we all live in NY now, so it's 90% out of town guests). I'm interested to see what people say about hotels. I'm having some serious issues with various Philly hotels that are pretty annoying about room blocks.
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  • lauren123455lauren123455 member
    edited December 2011
    A few other churches to look into (if you're looking for Catholic ones) are Old St. Marys on 4th and Locust and Old St. Josephs across the street.  And St. Augustine's on 4th near Vine is also very nice and close(ish) to Cescephe.  We looked into all of those, and they all take non-parishioners (I think most Catholic churches in Philly do, but ask for a larger donation).

    As for hotels, there's a Marriott on 12th and Market as well as a Marriott Courtyard right by City Hall that are always popular for wedding blocks.  The hotels in Old City would also be conveninet for your venue options - Society Hill Sheraton or the Omni would be pretty close to the Ben, and the Holiday Inn in Old City isn't too far from Cescephe (although you'd definitely need a shuttle - it's not really walkable). 

    I'm getting married at the Loews, and they've been pretty great with the room block, too....that's on 12th and Market.
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  • teacup0618teacup0618 member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We just got married at the Ben last month,and used the downtown Mariott on 12th and Market. They worked great with us, I would definitely reccommend them. Our guests rooms were $129/night (+tax) which i think is great for the city..I stayed the night before in a suite for the same rate( which originally would have been 250/night), and the night of the wedding was free for us. They work well with you, and you can sort of negotiate things. Hope this helps..GL!
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  • cmblaneycmblaney member
    edited December 2011
    I went to a wedding last month at the Ballroom @the Ben and it was one of the nicest weddings I have been to.  The food was amazing!!  We stayed at the Loews hotel and really enjoyed it!  Even went to the hotel bar after the wedding and had a blast!
  • edited December 2011
    Jumping in to say we were also deciding between the Ben and Cescaphe (Curtis Center) and were so happy with our decision to use Cescaphe.  They are so fabulous to work with and everything was flawless.  

    We got married in St Ritas on Broad St - not walking distance to the reception, but a very beautiful church, wonderful staff, and very accomodating to non-parishoners.
  • xtina2484xtina2484 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    If you are looking for a beautiful Catholic Church, check out Saint Paul's Parish South Philly (right in the heart of the Italian Market).  It is breathtaking and does marry out-of-towners.  We are getting married there in October and then our reception is at the Ben.  You do have to pay to have your ceremony at the church, but I think after you see the church you will think it is well worth it!  Pictures are on their website. Father Carey is amazing as well.  Hope this helps!
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