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Wedding reception took over the fountain last weekend

If you were around East Passyunk Avenue’s Singing Fountain on Saturday, you probably noticed police barricades blocking the streets around the fountain and some private event taking place.


Thanks for the heads up, Instagram user addiekoch

It was the wedding of Jessica Hoagland and Aaron Heintz, teachers who met online and fell in love in the streets of South Philly, as their wedding website says.

This was the first time the fountain has been used for a wedding reception. Not only that, the bride and groom’s request to use the fountain and surrounding plaza was the first ever received by the organization that owns it, the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation.

PARC didn’t charge the couple for the use of the space, which was blocked off from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. According to Sam Sherman, executive director of PARC, Hoagland and Heintz were required to get the proper permits, notify those living near the fountain and take out a special-event insurance policy. We wonder if and when PARC will start charging for the use of the space if the idea starts to catch on. Better reserve it for your event now while it’s free!

The happy couple, from their wedding website

The ingenious happy couple, from their wedding website

The couple’s wedding happened at 3 p.m. at The Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square, and guests began arriving at the fountain area a couple hours later.

From what we heard, the atmosphere was inclusive and festive, with neighbors hanging out to enjoy the scene and the music – a band called Lima Bean Riot played and a nightclub DJ spun some hot club tracks. To prevent moochers from sneaking in to grab drinks or food (the cuisine was supplied by various EPA restaurants and served station-style), guests were required to wear wristbands.

Did you see the reception on Saturday? Were you put off that the streets and fountain were blocked off, or do you give the couple kudos for coming up with such an original idea?

- Jennifer Lawson, @byjenlawson


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19 Responses to Wedding reception took over the fountain last weekend

  1. jenk August 15, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    My only quibble is that the Route 23 bus was diverted most of the day. Since it is the busiest bus route in SEPTA’s system that seems like an awful lot for a wedding reception. Perhaps in the future that block of Passyunk can be shut down for events at the fountain instead of 11th Street.

    • luchobucho August 15, 2013 at 11:34 am #


      Could also just walk to the BSL?

  2. anthonyG August 15, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    jerk, er.. jenk, walk your lazy a** to Broad St. Geez… the 23 gets temporarily diverted quite often for events that take place on OTHER blocks of 11th St. Happens all the time for weddings/seranades/graduations/Mummers events, etc.

    Did you just move to South Philly?

    • jenkbarr August 15, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      anthonyG I’ve lived here all my life – thanks for asking – though I don’t know what it has to do with anything. I was just wondering if Passyunk could be closed instead of 11th. The route 23 is kneeling bus and provides ADA accessibility unlike the BSL. Not everyone is equally able-bodied. Sorry, I didn’t mean to some off as a jerk in my post.

  3. Tommy August 15, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I walked past it at about 4 PM and it looked like it was going to be very nice. We had some photos taken at the fountain on our wedding day but never thought of having our reception at the fountain. Great idea! I hope someone I know has a wedding there.

  4. Kara B August 15, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Fabulous idea!

  5. Leanne August 15, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    I walked by the event over the weekend. While it is a nice idea, I do think it was a bit inconsiderate to the people of the neighborhood to close off busy (keyword: busy) public streets and walkways for a private event – especially when they did not have to PAY the neighborhood association for the use of the space. And the bus detour is inconvenient. Yes, they do detour for mummers serenades and other public, community events, but I have never seen a detour for a private event. All of the (wedding) serenades and parties I’ve been to have been coordinated in low-key manner, you need to have 80% of the people on your block sign a form to close off the street, nothing is ‘mandated,’ but it is certainly neighborly to move your cars, etc. In turn, all neighbors are invited to attend (and usually do). Ultimately I just think it’s a fine line to cross, having a private event in a public place, especially in the middle of a neighborhood where people take great pride and ownership in their surroundings. It’s not FDR park, after all. I personally would not want to have a wedding reception where just anyone could walk in, but then have to tell them that they couldn’t eat our food or drink our booze. Awkward.

  6. Monk August 15, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    This looked like a lovely event and was such a creative idea. It reminded me of weddings I have seen at Headhouse Square. One thing though is that there were fireworks launched at the end of the night and they came too close to hitting our neighbors cars at the end of the block (we live very close to the fountain).

    • Dee August 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

      I agree that i’ve never seen streets blocked off for some private event unless it’s was some person with money and clout,or politician..i did think to myself must be somebody important’s wedding. i do not mind them having something near the fountain but i dont think people have to be put out by having their streets blocked off..especially the neighbors right near the fountain..we needed to pick up an elderly friend and she could not get out of her street. I hope to not have this take off..i mean..imagine if this becomes an in place to have a wedding gathering..i should hope the..damn..i sure hope the neighbors are invited..LOL

  7. James August 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    My fiancee and I walked by on Saturday night and were charmed by the reception. Weddings, after all, are cause for public celebration (even if economics dictates that food and drink is provided only for invited guests). It was kind of PARC to let the happy couple use the space for free. Good luck to them, and I hope they have an anniversary event there many years from now!

  8. anthonyG August 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    @ Jenk/Jenkbar/Leanne, you both are full of it. 11th St has been closed for private parties many times. Ever hear of a block party? Serenades?? Your “i lived here all my llife” sounds dubious. If this was the 17XX block of S. 11th it wouldn’t even be discussed. That fact that it involved the Fountain is what got your attention.

    As for closing Passyunk, the whole point of choosing 11th St was probably to AVOID having two buses (23 & 29) constantly passing by the event..

    Damn, you people are nuts. Something really nice took place, lets pitch a bitch!

    • Leanne August 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      Anthony, you’re right. It’s not just the bus detour, and would probably be a different story on another block. The area around the fountain is filled with traffic, pedestrians and outdoor restaurant seating on weekend nights. It is an intersection of 3 busy streets, not one single block. If it were a quieter area where it affected less people it would be different. On a different note, if I had made reservations for Fond or Noord or Izumi on that night for say, a special occasion or romantic dinner and was subjected to loud club music (according to their website) during my meal, I would have been pissed. Just my opinion.

  9. David Goldfarb August 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Although this seemed like a nice idea (and a nice time for the wedding folk), it wasn’t well received by all neighbors. Having spoken to PARC, whose intentions in this were completely good, they’ve agreed: no more private night time parties at the Fountain.

  10. mjg August 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Maybe they could have requested a donation. Especially considering venues can be a significant portion of a wedding, and they offered it gratis….not to be judgmental but just in principle.

  11. JTB19147 August 16, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Stupid wedding! I miss the days when the only people drinking beer at that corner where the local teenage punks. Tear down that fountain and bring back the closed-down cheesesteak shop!! Yuppies!

  12. Tabbytux August 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    My hubby and I were up the street at Rita’s for an after-dinner treat (I prefer John’s Water Ice, but I can’t say no to a buy-one-get-one coupon I got via email), where we could hear the music loud and clear. I thought it was probably something going on for a Second Saturday event, so we came down to check it out on our way back home. While I think the music was much too loud for an outdoor reception in the middle of a neighborhood, we figured the residents had to get some notification of the event. I think it’s pretty awesome, and figured it would’ve cost a pretty penny to block off a busy intersection for a private event. I’m surprised it was free! That’s a nice stroke of luck and still awesome despite the previously mentioned bus route snaffu. I do think it’s wise of PARC to decide not to do private night events again, for the neighbors’ sakes.

  13. resident August 22, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Um, so these are the nice people that set off fireworks AGAINST OUR BUILDING. Wedding reception, fine, but seriously, they could have injured passerbyers, as well as the building. They literally set off major large scale fireworks just inches away from cars, buildings, etc, and clearly were not professionals. There’s even burn marks in the sidewalk. Not cool.

  14. Jennifer Lawson August 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    We are working on a follow-up — I’ve been trying to reach the groom to find out if he has any response to the complaints about the fireworks, but so far he hasn’t gotten back to me. Look for another story on this early next week.

  15. Melissa September 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    We were not notified of the event, and the fireworks were too close for comfort. The noise was fine but past 10 pm was irritating. Lovely idea but we should have been notified in advance.

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