Elegant, Fine Art Wedding at PAFA

From the photographer, Benjamin Deibert: “Why we love this wedding is that the couple managed to pull off a very elegant wedding on a budget, and used all very local vendors! – proving you can have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. It started when they won the venue (PAFA) at a raffle during the 2017 Philly Bridal Expo! The bride’s dress was from J Crew but was exactly her “glam chic” vision. She perfected her look with a stunning blowout from DryBar in Center City, and had Renee DiNella finish her look on-site makeup. Wegman’s in Cherry Hill New Jersey did all the flowers, while the groom snagged his accessories from Nordstro Rack in Center City! The couple chose the Loews Hotel for getting ready and first look – with the top floor of the hotel providing stunning views of Center City! Somehow we managed to find a clear space around Love Park for bridal party pictures before heading to their venue, PAFA, for a ton of glamour artsy shots all over the museum- truly completely their glamour look. After a very personal ceremony – both the bride and groom are attorneys – and a judge the bride clerked for officiated, it was time for the reception. The couple’s place cards were mini champagne bottles where they hand made the labels adorned with a year (e.g. 1982, 1991, etc) that was meaningful to their lives – which was subsequently their table numbers. At each table a matching bottle of champagne showed the evening’s menu (provided by Jimmy Duffy catering). The groom’s brother sang a special song for the groom-mother dance before the couple partied all night with Synergetic Sound. We just love the heart and soul poured into making this affair elegant yet affordable!”

How They Met

We met through “mutual friends” (e.g. online). She was a second year law student and he was thinking about going to law school. She tried to talk him out of it, he didn’t listen. We ended up going to the same law school and overlapped for a year. We ate lunch together in the law school court yard every day.

The Proposal

He proposed at home one Friday evening. It was our 4th anniversary that weekend and it had just been a really long difficult week with a series of unfortunate events. The proposal was a silver lining.

Wedding Planning Experience

We had a lot of time which was good, but we did have an engagement that felt a little too long at times (2 years!). Having a lot of time though helped us plan everything really well and get *some* good deals, and also helped make sure we got our first choice vendors and dates.We worked really well together on the planning and we both did it all together. We did not have much help from family so we did the whole thing ourselves. It was a lot of work but it made the whole day more personal and fun to see it all come together.

PAFA – Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

We got married at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, it was beautiful and really special. We actually won the venue as a prize, so we actually didn’t have to pay for it! We still paid for all our other vendors, but winning such an amazing venue made the choice easy.

Wedding Inspiration

The venue was really something special and something we wanted to showcase and wanted our guests to enjoy. We also wanted our wedding to have a city/Philadelphia feel to it, so all our events and invitations and wedding related things always had something Philly about it.

Best Moment

The ceremony was really special and caught us by surprise. We spent so much time planning everything else that the ceremony was not really on our radar. We wrote our own vows, almost last minute, but we had a friend and mentor officiate and he did such a beautiful job the whole thing was very personal and beautiful and we came away realizing that the ceremony was kind of the whole point.

Wedding Planning Advice

Take your time and make sure you do things that are personal. There are a million decisions to make, compromise where you can, but be true to who you are and what you want. Hopefully you’ll only have to do this once…

Wedding Vendors

Overall it was great. The best was working with our photographers, Ben and Ashley Deibert. They did such a beautiful job and we are really happy with the photos. We’ll cherish them for the rest of our lives and it was so easy to work with them.

Ceremony venue: PAFA (Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts)
Reception venue: PAFA (Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts)

Prepartions Location: Loew’s Philadelphia
Floral/Decor: Wegman’s Cherry Hill
Stationery: N/A
Dress Shop/Dress Designer: J Crew
Bridal Accessories: N/A
Caterer: Jimmy Duffy Catering
Cake/Bakery: Cake Life Bake Shop
DJ/Band: Synergetic
Photographer: Benjamin Deibert Photography
Hair: DryBar Center City

Make Up: Renee DiNella