What Started as the Intention for a Small Wedding Led to More Than 150 Guests
Wedding planning can be a daunting task, but Jada Littman Eldrich relatively knew what she wanted from the start.
Namely, Samuel Eldrich.
But finding each other first was a tangled web of Jewish geography.
Jada’s close friend Stephanie Ice reached out to her cousin hoping to find a nice Jewish boy for her to date — as much as she enjoyed her friend as a third wheel, she wanted to go on double dates with her. Ice’s cousin worked at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who reached out to her coworker. That coworker was Sam’s cousin.
Sam was still finishing medical school at Tulane University. During his last couple of months there, they chatted for hours and hours over the phone, texted and FaceTimed each other.
Sam (originally from Connecticut) subsequently moved to Philadelphia to start his residency, and the pair finally met face-to-face for the first time in June 2015. It was beshert.
Fast-forward to January 2017: When Jada was out to brunch with her girlfriends one morning, she returned back to the home she shared with Sam to discover a surprise.
“He left me a note in our foyer area asking me to meet him where the two of us first told each other that we loved each other,” she recalled, which was at Three Bears Park in Society Hill.
Sam placed rose petals around the Three Bears statue and handed Jada a box with her name on it.
“I opened it up and it was a View-Master,” she said. “Each slide had a different picture of us with a caption leading up to ‘Will you marry me?’ at the end. I turned around and he was on one knee.”
Jada laid out the ins and outs of the anatomy of her wedding day, of which the ceremony and reception were held at the National Museum of American Jewish History on Nov. 4, 2017, officiated by Rabbi Elyssa Cherney.
They chose the NMAJH as their venue because they wanted to stay in the city, which would also allow their guests to learn more about Philly — right on Independence Mall — and also showcases why the couple love it so much. Although it rained that evening, Jada said she was glad to bring more Jewish awareness to the city through the venue.
“NMAJH was a blank canvas. You can do anything with the space that they give you,” she said.
As they were initially touring the venue, Jada got a notification that Beyoncé announced she was pregnant with twins (Feb. 1, 2017) — that was all the divine inspiration she needed to lock down her wedding space, she laughed.
“I thought that was beshert right there.”
The museum offers several options for catering (they chose Sage Catered Events out of Berwyn). It’s also BYO, which helped with liquor costs.
Although a bit unorthodox, Jada was especially excited that the event floor had 10 bathrooms, for both men and women. For a guest list of 150 people, that is an important factor, considering their elderly relatives.
“I just didn’t want people cutting out their time of eating, dancing, drinking,” she said.
One of the first major decisions the couple planned was the color scheme: They settled on green (Jada’s favorite color), blue (Sam’s favorite color), and purple (Jada’s late grandmother’s favorite color).
“We didn’t want the typical fall [colors] — maroon, champagne.”
They kept it simple, excluding any other theme — “we had our Bar and Bat Mitzvahs; we had our themes there,” she laughed. “We just wanted it to be fun.”
Picking a DJ was easy, too, because Jada was set on one company before Sam even proposed.
Wired Up Entertainment, based in Wilmington, Del., where Jada grew up, is owned by her close friend; they went to JCC day care and grew up together.
Their cake was from Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Chestnut Hill: a simple French dot and quilt design. After hors d’oeuvres, guests chose from either filet mignon, chicken, salmon or butternut squash ravioli.
Ryan Young Studio provided photography and videography.
Jada surprised herself while dress shopping. She wanted a fit and flare, mermaid silhouette style — “to show off the wedding diet body” — but ultimately chose a princess-style ball gown from Sabrina Ann Couture in West Chester to flatter her 5’2” frame.
It paired well with her late maternal grandmother’s original wedding veil, worn on July 3, 1949, as well as her choice of shoe, a pair of Badgley Mischka gardenia pumps (her late maternal grandmother’s favorite flower).
She changed into a shorter dress at the reception to dance in, a sequin dress from Bernsteins Fashions in Edison, N.J., while Sam wore a dapper tuxedo from Boyds Philadelphia.
“I was never the type of girl who dreamt of a big wedding or wedding day,” she admitted, and neither did Sam. But he’s an only child, and three of their grandparents are in their 90s, so they decided to go all out.
Her favorite moment of the evening was seeing Sam’s reaction when he saw her in her dress for the first time. And after the father-daughter dance, she surprised her grandfather with one, too, to Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
Since they returned back to their Washington Square home after a honeymoon in the Galapagos Islands, they said married life has been a breeze.
“We’ve been inseparable since the day we met,” she said. ❤
[email protected]; 215-832-0737