Real Weddings

Rachel and Brian at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel

New Years Eve Wedding

When Rachel Zoe Schlacter and Brian Krasner of Westampton, New Jersey, tied the knot on December 31, the black-tie-mandatory event had all of the guests buzzing. After all, the fun-loving couple promised a fabulous New Year’s Eve. The evening began with a ceremony at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, the first reformed Ashkenazic synagogue established in the Western Hemisphere, located in Philadelphia. “The sanctuary is a site to behold,” says Rachel Zoe. “The enormity of it has such an effect on people that some even begin to cry as they walk in.” A twelve-foot huppah was draped in sheer tapestry and covered in orchids and roses, and two giant trees were placed on either side of the bimah. Incredible wedding programs told the story of the gift each guest would receive. “We planted one tree in Israel for every guest,” explains Rachel Zoe. “Each tree honors one of the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust.” Guests later received a map of where they can go visit their tree.

New Years Eve Wedding

Everything about the evening was customized to the couple, including the unique music that was played during the ceremony. The bride wore a gown that she personally designed and was made by Tracy Epstein, a senior designer for Priscilla of Boston. The three bridesmaids and maid of honor wore champagne-colored floor-length strapless gowns with small trains, and each carried a bouquet of black calla lilies and purple orchids. The men wore all black.

New Years Eve Wedding

Following the ceremony, guests boarded shuttles to the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. As they exited the shuttles, they were serenaded by the Fralinger String Band, known for winning first prize in the famous Philadelphia Mummers New Year’s Day Parade for six consecutive years. The cocktail “hour-and-a-half” began in a separate ballroom, and was designed in deep shades of red with beautiful red drapes and tablecloths and giant urns of flaming fire. “It was very beautiful, all done in red lighting, and had a very romantic feel,” says Rachel Zoe. Guests enjoyed plenty of delicious appetizers at various food stations, including a Japanese station where a chef rolled sushi and a Peking duck bar, as well as lots of butlered hors d’oeuvres.

New Years Eve Wedding

After signature red cocktails, guests moved into the Millennium Ballroom, uplit in a cool-blue tint, with candlelight and candelabras placed throughout. “The cocktail room was fire, and this room’s theme was ice,” notes Rachel Zoe. “The centerpieces were nine-foot-tall snowy trees covered from top to bottom in Swarovski crystal.” The couple added a personal touch to the tables with monogrammed dinner plates at each place setting. Guests danced the entire night on the beautiful white dance floor, which the couple had brought in specially to complement the room’s colors. At ten minutes until midnight, noisemakers and hats were passed out, and as the New Year approached, the band started a countdown. At midnight, to the complete surprise of guests, fireworks exploded above their heads inside the ballroom while the Fralinger String Band came back to play.

New Years Eve Wedding

The following day guests were invited to a New Year’s brunch at the Palm, and a close-up view of the Mummers New Year’s Day Parade. “We had our own full section of private bleachers that were brought in special for our guests,” says Rachel Zoe. After such a huge dream wedding, the couple opted for a honeymoon that was secluded and quiet. They spent ten days soaking up the sun at a private new resort in Cancun, Mexico, and celebrating the start of their new life together.


wedding details



Ceremony Location

Congregation Rodeph Shalom

Reception Location

Loews Philadelphia Hotel


Cliff Mautner Photography

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