PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphi was buzzing on Thursday when its first-ever wedding celebration began.
And while some guests had already been told the festivities would end after midnight, the mood inside the Blue Cross Arena felt more like a family reunion than a formal ceremony.
The event was a chance to reconnect with loved ones who were away, to celebrate and have a special moment with a loved one.
It was all part of the family-friendly theme of the city.
“It’s always been our dream to do a wedding here, but this is a very special time in our lives,” said Stephanie McCutcheon, a longtime resident of the South Side.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to be having a lot of fun.
We’re just going to do our best to enjoy this moment and be happy.”
The celebration, called the Bluegrass Reunion, took place in a courtyard outside of the Blue Diamond Arena, which houses the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
It began with a ceremony in the lobby of the arena, followed by a reception at the Arena at The Ritz, with family members mingling with fans.
The Blue Diamond was transformed into a giant red carpet, complete with an assortment of food vendors and live entertainment.
It also included a traditional Bluegrass Band.
The band included a young woman from South Carolina, a musician from Tennessee, a drummer from New York and a singer from South Africa.
All of them were in attendance.
“This is the first time in my life I’ve been able to attend a Bluegrass Concert,” said Ashley, a native of South Carolina.
“I’m so happy I was able to join in and it was just such a big honor.
It just means so much to me that I was allowed to be a part of this.”
It also meant the family would be reunited with some close friends, but not with the rest of the Philadelpicans.
The wedding also included some of the players from both the 76ers’ and Flyers’ franchises.
The couple, who met in high school, had been together for more than 10 years, but it was only during the wedding that they discovered they were married.
“We had a great time.
It’s so amazing that we have such amazing friends that we love,” Ashley said.
“They are so amazing.
They really made us feel at home.
And the whole family is so happy.”
There were plenty of happy people on the sidelines.
Some of them also made plans to make the trip to Philadelphia.
“That’s going to have to wait, but we’ll see what happens,” said Kristine, who didn’t attend.
“The wedding was a big hit, but at the end of the day we’re still just going out for the good times.”