Waterfront view of the Water Works tent standing above the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia

Waterfront Views at the Classical Water Works Wedding Venue

The cityscape of Philadelphia never fails to blow me away. From the towering structure of City Hall to the urban skyscrapers downtown, you can find pretty much any type of building. It’s why this city is the best for weddings. No matter what wedding style you’re going for, you’ll have the perfect venue. The Water Works wedding venue near the banks of the Schuylkill is no exception. This one-of-a-kind venue offers several locations to give you everything from a breezy outdoor wedding to a Grecian gala. If you’ve been looking for the right venue for your wedding, I’d love to tell you why you should consider The Water Works.

Elegant water works tent standing above the Schuylkill River

About The Water Works Wedding Venue

The Water Works were born out of dire need. After the city of Philadelphia faced a series of yellow fever infections, the leaders realized they needed to construct a water system to keep the dirty water out of the streets. The city had yet to attempt to remedy this. Therefore, The Water Works resulted from perfecting this plan to solve a pretty nasty problem. It resulted in a remarkable landmark that even Charles Dickens mentioned in his poetry.

The system was built between 1812 and 1815 and featured a reservoir and a pump house. Eventually, the system became outdated, but the building went on to live several lives. It was an aquarium in the early 20th century and an indoor pool in later decades. Today, the building features a venue through the event company, Cescaphe. With breathtaking views of the Schuylkill River and Neoclassical architecture, this unique space is ready to host your magical wedding.

Details of the Grounds

The Water Works wedding venue has three spaces for weddings. The indoor Engine House is painted a muted blue to accent your ceremony without overpowering it. A crystal chandelier hangs from the white-domed ceiling. White crown molding accentuates the walls while the doors open beneath tall white arches. Draped windows filter the natural light, so you don’t have to worry about your wedding getting washed out.

The Mill House serves as a hybrid outdoor space. A thirty-foot-tall clear event tent encloses the area. Standing near the balcony by the Schuylkill River, The Mill House gives your guests stunning water views. Lastly, the Grand Pavilion allows you to get married between the trademark classical columns overlooking the Fairmount Dam. Drapes hang between the columns for added elegance. The drapes around the building are open or closed, allowing you to dress up the space in whatever way works for you.

grand pavillion at water works set up for a simple yet elegant ceremony
close up of custom wedding sign, vow books and blush colored roses being set up for a romantic wedding ceremony
beautiful blooms florals set up for elegant ceremony at Philadelphia's waterfront venue
bride and groom sharing their first kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony at cescaphe water works wedding venue
couple standing outside of the gazebo overlooking the river at water works

Other Details

Cescaphe prides itself on its famous “Cocktail Hour-and-a-half.” During this time, your ceremony space transforms for the next part of the celebration while your guests drink quality cocktails. The Engine House has a designated room where you can host a cocktail hour. This room is decorated in the same theme as the main space but features stylish leather benches around the room and a bar. For the other two locations, you can work with Cescaphe to create a suitable area for this portion of the night. 

Right between all three spots, there is a private bridal suite. You can use this space to sip champagne and relax with your wedding party before the ceremony.   

The Engine House will hold between 140-250 guests. The Grand Pavilion will have 180-300 guests for the outdoor spaces, while the Mill House will hold between 375-750 guests. 

The three locations are next to each other, right by the waterfront, allowing you to always be overlooking the Schuylkill and the Philadelphia skyline. The Mill House’s clear tent is accented with a black outline, making it look as though there are floor-to-ceiling windows. You can drape the roof to make it cozier or leave it for more open space. The Philadelphia Museum of Art overlooks the Water Works, giving your wedding a sensational view on every side.

Photography Opportunities

The Water Works wedding venue is next to many great Philadelphia spots for legendary photographs. The Philadelphia Art Museum is right up the hill from the venue. To get to this area, you’ll walk up a well-maintained path surrounded by lush gardens. Every stop along the way will provide an excellent backdrop for your photos. You can take portraits up the Rocky steps with your entire wedding party on the other side of the museum. If you don’t want to make the trek though, that’s perfectly fine. The area surrounding the Water Works has one of the most gorgeous backdrops in the city. The balcony overlooking the Schuylkill is perfect for romantic wedding photos. You can get a variety of backdrops without ever having to leave your venue. You’ll also love the natural light that comes through here; The Engine House’s expansive windows and the Mill House and Grand Pavilion’s open spaces will provide your event with just the right amount of sun.

Wedding Details

Cescaphe specializes in unforgettable events. You can anticipate out-of-this-world catering when you sign on to host your wedding. The chefs will work with you to build a menu that will be best for your event. You can pick the meals’ courses and the hors d’oeuvres for the cocktail hour. This food will be presented to your guests throughout the night through servers. You’ll also have an event coordinator as well as a Maitre D. Cescaphe really takes care of everything.

Though there are multiple ceremony and reception options at Water Works, they only hosts one event at the venue per day, so you won’t have to worry about another party crowding your wedding. The venues are handicap accessible and the team will work with you to figure out transportation for your party.

bride and groom sharing a kiss in their beautifully decorated reception room at water works in philadelphia
beautiful wooden table with white candles and greenery set up for a wedding reception at cescaphe water works
bride and groom sitting down at their sweetheart table listening to the father of the bride give a toast
Cescaphe dessert team making dessert for bride and groom at water works wedding
motion blur photography of wedding guests dancing and partying inside

Water Works Wedding

The Water Works wedding venue is a fabulous event space. The waterfront views and classical-style venue will give your wedding a lovely backdrop. At the same time, the service will guarantee that your celebration is everything you’ve ever wanted. 

If you’re looking for a photographer to capture all the glamour and unforgettable memories of your wedding day, I’m an award-winning photographer worldwide, documenting some pretty incredible events. Still, nothing makes me happier than being there for your Philly wedding. Contact me today so I can be there to help you on your special day.

Want to see more Cescaphe Water Works wedding content? Check out the blog links below.

Wedding, Portrait and Boudoir Photographer serving Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Worldwide

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Currently based out of both Philadelphia and Los Angeles, Kseniya's work brings her all over the globe to document beautiful memories for stylish couples who want to make a statement.

Recently named one of the top 100 Wedding and Boudoir Photographers in the world, Kseniya puts her artistic and vogue-style aesthetic into every image.

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