Photographing the wedding of a fellow vendor is quite possibly the biggest honor of my career. Not to mention, another extremely talented wedding photographer’s wedding! Lauren (Lauren E. Bliss Photography) has been one of my longtime wedding industry friends, networking event buddies, and photography inspirations. Her vibrant personality and boundless creativity fully translated to her impeccably executed wedding day that I had the privilege to photograph in November. Let’s dive into Lauren and Ben’s gorgeous November wedding at Excelsior in Lancaster!
Where do I begin? Excelsior in Lancaster is a beautiful indoor outdoor venue built in 1852 that seamlessly blends rustic elegance with a modern façade. The exposed brick and iron work creates a raw industrial feel, while the elegant chandeliers, high ceilings, and greenery effortlessly soften the space.
Excelsior’s historic architecture and vintage-inspired renovations make this a truly one-of-a-kind venue. The size, dimensions, and grandeur of the multi-faceted spaces can cater to both intimate and large weddings up to 600 guests.
Guests enter the venue on the second floor, where the private reception space (Grande Salon), full bar, and dance floor are located. The huge bridal suite (Chamber Room) is also on this level and can accommodate more than a dozen wedding party members and family.
From the main level, guests can head downstairs to the Catacombs for cocktail hour or upstairs to the third level for the indoor ceremony space. What the basement catacombs lack in lighting, the upstairs ceremony space makes up for in abundance. We staged all the bridal party and family photos in this incredible light-filled space that overlooks King St.
Barbie and Ken? More like Lauren and Ben. I mean, have you seen a more photogenic couple?! Ever since their breathtaking Old Philadelphia engagement session last year, I have been dying to shoot this wedding!
These two are just SO MUCH FUN, and, despite Ben’s hilarious aversion to PDA, their chemistry is so evident in all of the photos. For someone who hates having their photo taken, Ben is basically a natural. He probably gets it from his long-lost cousin Ewan McGregor… (please tell me you see the resemblance?!) And let’s be honest, now that he’s married to a photographer, he’s signed up for a lifetime in front of the camera.
I feel like it goes without saying that Lauren is a true natural, behind the lens and in front of it. Coming from a performing and singing background, Lauren is one of the most outgoing and bubbly people I know, so capturing her in her element on her wedding day was as much a blast as it was a breeze!
Ben and Lauren wanted their precious pup, Obi, to be a part of their wedding day, so they made sure to include him in some photos during our portrait time. This is a great way to casually include your furry family members without needing a dedicated pet sitter at your wedding.
The Pauleys chose a beautiful fall/winter color scheme for their November wedding at Excelsior. The soft pastels, textured champagne fabrics, warm pinky hues, and rich emerald green were a perfect match for the venue’s vintage feel.
Truly, no detail was overlooked in the planning of this extravagant wedding at Excelsior. The team from Simple Soiree was so attentive to every detail from the minute the venue opened until after the last guest left. The numerous floral installations designed by Forte Florals went up without a hitch and were a sight to behold.
A few of my favorite details included the custom invitation suite designed by @every.little.something and the stunning four-tier wedding cake by @flourettasweet. This color scheme coordination is mind-blowing.
If you’re worried about a stuffy wedding ceremony that puts all of your guests to sleep, hire Leeroy, AKA The Brofficiant. He will absolutely break the tension, keep the ceremony light and fun, and, most importantly, make it all about you. He kept everyone laughing and smiling through the entire ceremony up until Lauren and Ben read their tear-inducing vows to each other. After that, there truly wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
Two words: DJ Mast. Seriously, what a party! Lauren and Ben told their DJ to just “turn the reception into a nightclub,” and I must say, he delivered. The dance floor was packed all night, up until DJ Mast announced the after-party was moving to Annie Bailey’s just down the street.
I’m a huge fan of this massive disco ball over the dance floor in Excelsior’s reception space. It took this party to the next level!
Vendor List for a Wedding at Excelsior in Lancaster, PA
When I say Lauren and Ben chose a DREAM team of vendors, I mean it. If you want to steal their vendor list for your own downtown Lancaster wedding, check it out below!
- Venue @excelsiorlancasterpa
- Photography – @lindseyfordphoto
- Videography – @davidandsarahfilms
- Catering – @signaturecateringonking
- Planner – @simple_soiree
- Ceremony Musicians – @vivacelivestrings
- Reception Music – @djmastproductions
- Florist – @forteflorals
- Decor – @designsbyshumakerpdt
- Officiant – @thebrofficiant
- Hair – @tousledbeautyco
- Makeup – @veroleighco
- Cake – @flourettasweet
- Linens – @specialoqueenst
- Gown – @weddingfactor
- Tux – @knotstandard
- Stationary – @every.little.something
- Beverage Service – @thetravelingtap
This fairytale November wedding was hands down the most magical way to end my 2023 season. I seriously love these two so much, and wish them a lifetime of happiness!
Things to Do In Downtown Lancaster during Your Wedding Weekend
Located at 125 E King St. in downtown Lancaster, Excelsior is just around the corner from local favorites like Lancaster Central Market, Prince St. Cafe, and Tellus360. Just steps away is the Lancaster Marriot at Penn Square, where many couples book hotel room blocks. The downtown Lancaster tree lighting took place the same weekend Ben and Lauren tied the knot, so several of their guests attended after the rehearsal dinner at The Cork Factory Hotel. If you’re getting married at Excelsior, there will be no shortage of things for your guests to do in the area!