Despite their last names, it may come as surprise to learn that neither Wendy Li or David McElhoe is Jewish. (I kid, needless to say, probably because I am.) But when their band launched into the Hora late in the evening at Stotesbury Mansion in Philadelphia last month, no one--not the groom, not the bride nor a single guest--missed the opportunity to start dancing in circles. And when two chairs were produced, David and Wendy laughed their heads off as they were hoisted above their friends and family.
That's probably all you need to know about these guys. You have to love a couple that can incorporate a cultural tradition from outside their own upbringing and have a blast doing it. "We love the tradition of the Hora," Wendy told me. "David has had to lift so many chairs at other weddings that we figured it was his turn. And I've just always wanted to be up on the chair!"
Sounds good to me. Come to think of it, so did the snow cone machine that Wendy surprised David with later in the night. Horas and snow cones: like singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, they both have that wonderful ability to produce a smile in a six-year-old or grandparent alike.
Wendy and David's wedding was full of smiles, from early in the day at the hotel to late in the evening at Stotesbury. When I arrived, Wendy was sitting on the floor of her room feeding soup to her younger sister. (Most brides I know would be too scared to attempt soup.) David was down the block, laughing as he helped Wendy's little brother get dressed. (Let's just say that more than a few safety pins were needed to shorten a shirt!)
The couple met up in the center of Rittenhouse Square, which was its typical hustling, bustling self. Hundreds of Philadelphians out enjoying their weekend crowded the square, but we managed to shoot around all but one or two. After some beautiful family pics, we all walked over to the mansion for the ceremony.
That's where another unexpected moment popped up, one that I have a feeling I'll be looking at for a long time. Not seeing a bride or groom for a while, I asked where they had disappeared to. "They're in the bathroom practicing their first dance," I was told. I couldn't resist the potential of that and nudged my way in. Like any photographer, I thought at first that a picture showing that we were, well, in a bathroom would be the way to go. But after seeing Wendy leap into David's arms and get spun around, I was just hoping to get anything. This was a fairly tight space! Let's just say that I'm pleased with the result.
After a long honeymoon in Asia (Cambodia--tops on my wish list), they're probably feeling like all the excitement is slowing down. That's why I'm happy to remind them with these pictures of how much fun they had.