What’s better than a pizza party wedding? A pizza party and ice cream wedding! Sarah and Roger are totally giving us nostalgic feels with their one-of-a-kind day that was super quirky and free-spirited. The Maas Building is the perfect venue for an intimate reception, complete with a beautiful outdoor landscape that is perfect for a summer wedding like this one. Matt Gari delivered the storytelling visuals that perfectly depict the day’s events from their bonding ceremony to their classy dance party reception. Unique couples like this always steal our heart, and with the behind-the-scenes details courtesy of the bride we get an intimate glimpse into their special day!
How They Met:
“It all started with a glass of water. Roger sat nervously in an Ikea chair in an old Fishtown factory that was a part of the basement-turned-cool-office boom of 2013. He was waiting to interview for a job. Sarah was high-tailing it out of said office, working late again and ready to get home. As she was leaving, she noticed said guy sitting nervously in said Ikea chair. She stopped to wish him good luck and then asked, “Would you like a glass of water?” A couple of weeks later, Roger was moving into his very own basement cubicle as Sarah’s co-worker. They quickly became friends and a few months later were dating. The rest is history! That glass of
water is a special moment that, in love and with hindsight, Roger and Sarah both connect to their shared values of hospitality, friendship, courage, and constant hydration.
Shorter version: We met at work.”
“Roger and Sarah proposed to each other. They decided to recreate their first date at Bartram’s Garden. It may have rained the whole day, but some sun came out and they rushed over for a beautiful – if not slightly muggy – picnic and proposal. It was a really special moment that made us feel like we were both entering this next phase of our relationship as equals and in a way that felt true to who we are as individuals and as a couple.”
“We loved planning our wedding, and it had a lot to do with the first thing we did after getting engaged. Once we were engaged, we took a week to each think of three words/short phrases we wanted to use to describe our wedding. Then we shared them with each other, talked through them, and came up with a “sum up sentence.” It may sound a little silly (though it was very true to Sarah, who loves homework), but having a sentence/vision/vibe to continuously come back to was really helpful with wedding planning. It informed how we allocated money from our wedding budget, which venue and vendors we chose, and also helped communicate to our friends and family what mattered most to us.
Our sum up sentence is – A classy house party where everyone feels comfortable, well-fed, festive, and we celebrate how much we love each other with all of the people who make our life together so great.”
“One of the best experiences in our wedding planning was designing the wedding ceremony. Sarah is a Christian priest and Roger is Jewish. We had a wonderful time sharing the different rituals from each of our traditions and imagining how they could come together in a way that was true to us and welcoming to all of our guests. Whether you are religious or not, we would say not to skimp or rush over your ceremony. Plan a ceremony that celebrates who you are and the commitment you are making to one another. For us, even though we were excited to dance with college friends and eat tons of pizza with all of our family, the ceremony was the most important part of the day. We were glad we spent time really thinking through the ceremony so we could feel present to each other as we took our vows in front of our community.”
“The most stressful moments of wedding planning were a month into planning and then two weeks before the wedding. Planning was stressful one month in because, once we booked the venue and basic vendors, there was a lull in what we could do. We were antsy and excited! We would advise using that time to create a wedding website, do honeymoon planning, or pick up a new hobby. Do not — we repeat — DO NOT decide to start crafting 10 months before your wedding. Those ribbon wands will not be intact and Pinterest will have moved on to something else by the time you’re actually picking details.
Two weeks before the wedding, all we were thinking about was confirming menus and picking up linens but had to realize that many of our vendors were focused on the other events and weddings happening before ours. We had to let go and trust our Wedding Coordinator when she said that we’d done all we needed to do and our vendors were professionals who would come through with no problems. She was right!”
About the Venues | Ceremony – (Cathedral Basilica) Reception – Maas Building:
“The venue for our wedding ceremony was the Cathedral where Sarah serves as a priest. It’s a beautiful space, simultaneously ancient and modern, simple and ornate. The space is also flexible, so we were able to set up chairs in a way that was intimate and brought everyone together.
For our reception, we chose the MAAS Building. We learned about MAAS through a supper club, and once we saw pictures we knew it was a great spot for us. It’s got all of the best parts of different wedding venues rolled into one: exposed brick and wood beams in the upstairs space; a big open dance floor downstairs with a funky chandelier; a lush garden space complete with sprawling ivy, a fire pit, and a patio that can be covered in case it rains (which it did). We liked that there were different levels and spaces for people to wander and explore–that really helped with the “classy house party” vibe we wanted. We liked that we needed minimal decorations because the space is naturally so beautiful. We also chose the MAAS Building because they not only host weddings or other social events, but also plays, community meetings, and yoga classes. It’s a funky and dynamic space that doesn’t feel corporate while still having professional and friendly staff. Bigger weddings wouldn’t work here, but if your wedding is less than 100 people we can’t recommend MAAS enough.”
“We wanted our wedding to feel like us, so our inspiration came from all of the things in life we really enjoy: good food, comfortable spaces, Bruno Mars dance parties. We also tried to select vendors who were already a part of our daily life: Pitrucco Pizza is a food truck that sets up shop every Thursday in our neighborhood; our flowers came from Triple Tree Flowers, who sell flowers at our neighborhood Farmer’s Market every Saturday; Sarah eats Weckerly’s ice cream on a regular (read: almost daily) basis; the fabulous Matt Gari was the photographer for our good friends’ wedding the year before ours. We also recognized that we have some crazy talented friends, and opted for working with them rather than random vendors we didn’t know: a local fabric artist friend helped Sarah and some girlfriends dip dye the table runners we used for the reception dinner; another fabric artist who attends Sarah’s church stitched our names on Roger’s family chuppah; Sarah’s Matron of Honor does calligraphy as a side hustle and created our beautiful signage; Roger’s friend from college is a genius with felt and metals, so she made our wedding party’s corsages and boutonnieres. So our inspiration was really the everyday life Roger and I have together and all of the extraordinary people, places, and things we love about our life together.”
Best Wedding Memory:
“There are so many! Roger almost sweating through his suit. Sarah screaming when she got lifted in a chair for the hora. So. Much. Dancing. But we somehow narrowed all of these great memories down to two! First, we decided to drive ourselves to the church and then to our reception. That was such a great decision. It gave us some peace and quiet before the ceremony. But, really, it was the drive between the ceremony and reception that was so special. We listened to the music from our wedding ceremony and laughed and shrieked, “We can’t believe we’re married!” We loved getting to spend those first few minutes as a married couple together. By the time we got to the reception, we were amped and ready to celebrate with our family and friends. The other best moment from our wedding day was the wedding toasts during dinner. The reception dinner had three long tables for guests with a head table at the front of the room, so we were able to look out at the other tables of our family and friends, laughing and eating pizza. Our decorations for the tables were all DIY, including fun conversation cards that shared some of our special memories and included questions guests could ask each other to get to know the people at their table. It was amazing to look out and see how everything came together. As dinner was ending, we had the toasts. We’d asked four people ahead of time to give toasts during our dinner: Sarah’s sister/Maid of Honor; Roger’s Best Man; Sarah’s Matron of Honor; and Roger’s dad. Each person took the task seriously and gave a toast that was true to them. It was great to hear them tell the story of our relationship. Plus, they all had solid jokes. When Roger’s dad gave the last toast, he said that what made weddings so special is that we were surrounded by all of the people who love us and are rooting for us. He said that, when we go through hard times, we should remember all of the love gathered in the room for us on our wedding day. To help us remember, he had everyone stand up and cheer and clap and scream, “We love you!” so we would have that memory to come back to forever. People think about weddings as a day that two people declare their love for each other, and that is very true. But our best memory is when the love we have for each other was piled on with the love all of our family and friends have for us, too. Best. Memory. Ever.”
Wedding Planning Advice:
“Try out the “sum up sentence” exercise. It’s a good way to see what each of you is envisioning and also make sure your wedding is rooted in the deeper values of who you are. Figure out the best way to communicate with your family around wedding details. Don’t send a 1,500-word email to your brother who never checks email. Don’t start a family text chain when your mom would rather get a phone call. Being communicative up front will leave you with way less to do on the actual wedding day, and your family will also feel genuinely included. We had our family with us throughout the whole day, and we loved having them involved and also that they knew what to expect from start to finish. That also means you can designate someone in your family to field people’s random questions. So, turn your phone off on your wedding day. You can get “Congratulations!” texts later and that way you’re not answering texts about parking or calls asking if there’s a cash bar. 🙂
Make a wedding website. We made ours during the winter holidays. It made the wedding feel real, even though it was still months away. It was also a fun way to tell the story of our wedding and our relationship. People loved seeing pictures from our engagement session, plotting out the best hotel or Airbnb, and looking at the Google map of great eats we made. A wedding website gets all of the information together in one place, not only for your guests but also for you! After our wedding, we posted a thank you to everyone (great to do as you start working on individual thank you notes) and we were able to share the first few photos we got from our
photographer. Work with Natalie Diener. Okay, we may be a little biased…but Natalie was our Wedding Coordinator and she made our lives organized and easy. We would really recommend hiring a wedding planner or wedding coordinator. Because we like planning and our wedding was local, it worked best for us to hire a coordinator who stepped in 6 weeks before the wedding and then ran the show on our wedding day. Whether it’s a planner or coordinator, we think to have another person who knows your vision for the day; is great with Excel spreadsheets; and will make sure everything runs smoothly played a huge role in how much we got to enjoy our wedding day.”
Wedding Vendor Experience:
“We had a great experience with all of our vendors. They were all top-notch and we would recommend any of them! Some vendors we learned about through friends who had worked with them before, and others we found randomly through wedding websites and blogs. As couples start reaching out to vendors, we recommend putting together a vendor survey. There are a lot of great articles out there with sample questions to ask vendors. Put them all in one shared Google document and adjust based on your own needs and personalities. Speaking of Google docs, keep a running list of vendors including contact person and contact information. Your life will be so much easier the week before your wedding if you’re not pulling that information off of contracts you have to find in your inbox!
We would also say be flexible with yourself when it comes to choosing vendors. We originally picked a different venue for our reception. It was a great venue and would have loved working with them. But we had to change the date of our wedding shortly after booking it. The new date was during a much hotter time of the year and our venue had no A/C. We were researching how to bring in industrial fans when Roger stopped and said, “Maybe we should think about another venue.” We looked at our contract, looked at the estimated cost of improvised A/C, and decided that was the best decision for us. The vendor totally understood and even recommended other venues that might work for us. So, read your contracts and know that sometimes things come up!”
Vendors | Ceremony Venue: Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral | Reception Venue: Maas Building | Catering (pizza): Pitruco Pizza | Catering (ice cream): Weckerly’s Ice Cream | Dress: The Shiny Thimble | Wedding Coordinator: Natalie Diener | Photographer: Matt Gari | Felt Flowers: Entwined Bridal | Flowers: Triple Tree Flowers | Signs: Side Hustle Calligraphy | Bride’s Shoes: Bryr Clogs | Wedding Bands: Bario Neal