It’s finally wedding day. We decided to sleep in and take it easy since we knew we would be partying late into the night (likely past 10pm).
Once we were up and around, we made the decision to go downtown and have one final cheesesteak at one of the most famous places – Pat’s. Pat’s and Geno’s are two competing cheesesteak shops across the street from each other. As we were navigating through the narrow streets to get to the restaurant, I started to wonder where we would park. Wouldn’t you know it, we snagged some street parking practically in the shadow of Pat’s. It was seriously the only parallel parking space I have seen in Philadelphia that was big enough for the F150 to park in, and it showed up right when we needed it.
We walked to the window a few minutes before Noon, and the place was dead. Just a few people eating at the outside tables, and no line to order. I have heard that the staff at these places get irate if you don’t order fast and use their vernacular, but we have only dealt with friendly people willing to help us, and that includes here at Pat’s.
This is my third cheesesteak on the trip. The first two included a lengthy wait between the time I ordered and when I received the sandwich. That is not how Pat’s operates. The staff had already handed us 2 out of the 3 sandwiches before I could even get my phone out to snap a picture. Two thumbs up for fast service and a great cheesesteak!
Pat’s is the original home of the cheesesteak sandwich, and their competitor, Geno’s is across the street. After looking at both, we think we made the right choice. Geno’s seemed to look more like a tourist trap or a place Disney designed to sell cheesesteaks.
Just a few blocks down from lunch was the 9th Street Italian Market. KK and I walked over to check it out while PK stayed back and absorbed more atmosphere at Pat’s. The market was several blocks long of outdoor vending, including fresh meats and seafood. While it’s called the Italian Market, there was an Asian influence also. We passed one market that was full of live pigeons and chickens. (It didn’t smell so good.)
We did stop for a cannoli at King Cannoli in the market. The cannoli shell and the ricotta cheese spread that goes inside were both made in Palermo, Sicily, and shipped to Philly. I’m going to call it an authentic cannoli.
Our next order of business was to drive by Jeff and Melissa’s house and also scope out the wedding location. Their house is a neighborhood called Fishtown. They love the neighborhood and community, and chose to have their wedding in a facility that was within walking distance of their house.
Once we found these sites, we drove back to our house for a few hours to relax and get ready for tonight’s festivities.
We arrived back downtown just a few minutes before the wedding started, and I was concerned there wouldn’t be any parking left. Not a concern! We were maybe the 5th car in the parking lot. The rest of the guests were riding shuttles, Lyft, or maybe even walked just like the groom did.
The wedding was great, as expected. My Uncle Joe, Jeff’s stepdad, had the honor of giving the blessing at the end of the ceremony.
Following the ceremony, everybody was escorted out of the room where they got married, into an adjacent room where folks could mingle and snack while the wedding hall got transformed into the dining room. It was during this mingling period that we got to meet Melissa’s parents and catch up with other people.
Dinner was wonderful, thanks to the food and the company. We were seated at the same table as Joe & Judy and Judy’s family. Judy has 3 sisters and a brother, and it was my first opportunity to get to meet them. They were very warm and friendly, and knew how to have a good time. We got along great!
Throughout the dinner, various bridesmaids and groomsmen got up to say a few words to the happy couple. Jeff’s brother, Justin, was the best man. He did a great job with his toast and had the crowd laughing nonstop. He relayed that it is common knowledge that when the brother is the best man, that the groom doesn’t have any friends. Then he acknowledged that Jeff’s bachelor party was a 4 day extravaganza in a foreign country with 13 others, so Jeff may in fact have a few friends.
Justin also told a great story about the time that Jeff was honored at halftime at an OU football game as the outstanding student in his college, along with his outstanding peers in the other colleges. Each student was introduced to your typical lukewarm applause, but when it was Jeff’s turn he had an orange in his hand and waved it around, stirring the crowd up into a frenzy. Justin attributed this to Jeff’s tradition of meticulous planning.
Jeff and Melissa also spoke to the crowd and talked about how much they love the neighborhood they live in, and wanted to invite their friends and family to Philadelphia for the wedding to share the experience. They obviously take a lot of pride in their adopted hometown.
While we came quite a distance to be in attendance, we were by no means the only attendees to do that. Jeff and Melissa had guests from Washington, California, Arizona, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Arkansas and Oklahoma. And I’m sure I’m missing a few.
At the end of the evening, the dance floor was still hopping, but we said our goodbyes and called it a night. The main event of this trip was a success.
We will be driving back to Oklahoma over the course of two days, in time to celebrate Miles’ 20th birthday on September 3rd. This trip was a great experience. Not only getting to see Philadelphia and its many historic places and events, but to spend an entire week with my parents and get to know their childhood friend Mike, and his wife, Billie. I’m glad Jeff and Melissa got married here, so we had an excuse to do this.
Philadelphia has been a great host to us, and I’ve already been notified by Mrs. King that it is good that I did all of this scouting on this trip. I’ll be prepared to guide a return trip with her in the future. Sounds good to me. I’ve got my collection of state maps and an appetite for cheesesteak sandwiches. Let’s go.