Grooms Create a Wedding That Epitomizes Class at The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In the bustling heart of New York City, the stars aligned for Zack Aberman and Phil Kessler, drawn together by the curious workings of digital serendi

In the bustling heart of New York City, the stars aligned for Zack Aberman and Phil Kessler, drawn together by the curious workings of digital serendipity. Zack recalls, “Having matched on three different dating apps, it almost seemed inevitable that we would cross paths.” Their initial encounter blossomed quickly into something extraordinary. “Our first date was nothing short of magical,” says Phil. As Zack notes, “The immediate sense of comfort and closeness we found in each other was remarkable.”

This bond deepened rapidly, leading to a significant decision. “This connection was so profound that within just six months, we took the significant step of moving in together, a testament to the trust and comfort we shared.”

Their journey together reached a pivotal moment in May 2021 during a trip to Portugal. On a secluded beach, Phil made his heartfelt declaration of love. “Phil proposed to me, opting for an elegant IWC engagement watch as a meaningful alternative to a traditional ring,” Zack explains. Phil described the moment, saying, “The proposal was filled with genuine emotion, marked by (many) tears of joy and a sense of profound happiness.” They captured these precious memories with a photoshoot on the beach. The day culminated in a romantic celebration, as Phil fondly remembers, “That evening, we celebrated with a beautiful dinner at an old chapel in Lisbon, our table littered with fresh rose petals from the owner’s garden.”

“Our wedding planning journey was unique, as most wedding inspiration caters primarily to a bride-focused perspective,” Zack details. “We were determined to create a day that resonated with our identity; we started from scratch, meticulously crafting a vision that truly represented us,” adds Phil. Their vision for the wedding was clear: a blend of classic elegance and modern sophistication, a testament to their love and individuality. “As a gay couple, we were passionate about laying a classic and traditional foundation for our wedding,” Phil explains. They envisioned a very formal, adult-only affair. “The choice of a black-tie dress code and an adults-only setting lent an air of timeless elegance and sophistication,” Zack says.

The couple’s meticulous attention to detail extended to their fashion choices for the big day. Their admiration for enduring style led them to Boyd’s in Philadelphia, where Phil selected a classic Canali tuxedo, embodying his love for timeless elegance and sharp detailing. “This tuxedo, with its refined silhouette and exquisite craftsmanship, exemplified Phil’s appreciation for classic style,” Zack remarks, admiring Phil’s choice. Meanwhile, Zack had the unique opportunity to design a custom-made tuxedo, infusing his distinct fashion sensibilities into every aspect of the design. “The result was a tuxedo that was not only impeccably tailored but also a true reflection of his individual style,” Phil details.

The wedding day arrived, and guests gathered at the iconic Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, the venue that effortlessly set the tone for the couple’s classic and sophisticated theme. As the ceremony commenced, all eyes were drawn to the floating chuppah, a modern interpretation of a traditional Jewish wedding arch, adorned with delicate baby’s breath. “The chuppah was awe-inspiring,” Phil remembers. The décor was a reflection of the couple’s passion for fashion and refinement. “We injected the flair of Tom Ford and GQ-inspired style,” Zack explains, admiring the carefully curated setting that combined dark linens and white florals with soft taper candle illumination, creating a romantic yet moody ambiance.

As the ceremony concluded and guests transitioned to the cocktail hour, the vibrant atmosphere was further enhanced by the couple’s signature drink, the espresso martini. The reception was a true reflection of the couple’s personality and style. “The essence of personalization was woven throughout our wedding,” Zack tells, highlighting the thoughtful layout and design of the space. Three long tables created a communal atmosphere for friends, while traditional round tables provided a cozy setting for family. The head table, a grand 24-foot masterpiece, sat beneath the floating chuppah, adorned with a rich assortment of flowers.

The after-party, held in a chic lounge adjacent to the ballroom, brought a completely new aesthetic to the celebration. “The addition of a massive neon sign bearing our initials infused a vibrant, New York club vibe into the space,” Phil recalls. As the night drew to a close, Zack and Phil reflected on their favorite aspects of their wedding day journey and the unforgettable celebration they had created. “Florals were a cornerstone of our wedding’s aesthetic,” Zack reminisces, emphasizing the importance of incorporating personal touches into every aspect of the celebration. Phil adds, “Choosing to exchange our vows privately in the serene Rittenhouse Square park was a decision driven by a desire for authenticity and intimacy,” encouraging other couples to stay true to themselves and their love story.

Black-and-White Action Photo of Grooms in Tuxedos Walking Down City Street
A modern and masculine invitation suite with dark blue and dark green accents for a luxurious and classic same-sex wedding between two stylish grooms.
Grooms hosting a dimly lit, masculine, Jewish same-sex wedding ceremony with a rabbi, a ketubah and candles underneath a floating circular chuppah made up of white baby's breath and greenery.
Grooms With Coordinating Diamond Wedding Bands and Tuxedos Showing Off Rings
Grooms in Coordinating Formal Black-and-White Tuxedos, White Boutonnieres
Grooms Holding Hands Walking in City in Black Tie Tuxedos, White Boutonnieres
Dimly Lit Luxury Ballroom Reception, Floating Baby's Breath Installation, Candles and White-and-Greenery
Deep-Toned, Masculine Reception Menu on Dotted Glass Charger, Black Linens and Low Centerpiece
Floating Baby's Breath Floral Installation, Long Table With Low Runner, Dimly Lit Ballroom
A round dining table at a luxury wedding reception with black table linen, low taper candles, custom modern menus, bread rolls and a tall centerpiece of lush greenery in a tall glass vase.
Black-and-White Photo of Grooms Sitting at Reception, Raising Glasses in Toast
Grooms in Tuxedos Kiss Under Custom Heart-Shaped Neon Sign
Dimly Lit Reception Space With Ghost Chairs, Black Linens and Round Tables
Large Group of Black Balloons on Ceiling at After Party
Black-and-White Photo of Groom Crowd-Surfing at Wedding After Party