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Handmade Library Philadelphia Wedding

West Coasters may have idyllic locales and endless sunshine, but lucky for us East Coasters, we have an infinite number of quaint venues for every season. Emilieand Stephen’s wedding shot by Love Me Do Photography took place at a gem in Philly – the Philadelphia German Society, a historical library with drop dead gorgeous interior. This crafty couple handmade most of their decor elements, including their invitations which deserve a post on its own. In the meantime, take a wander at their gallery and thank you Emilie for sharing!

vintage seating chart

We both envisioned we would put together a wedding that would feel like us. If we could have married in a backyard or a barn we would have- so that kind of cozy feel was something we hoped to achieve..but in a larger space. We didn’t want anything to feel very traditional or “standard”. We also knew from the start we wanted to incorporate as many friend’s talents in the details- so I guess we did see it as a DIY/with your friends type of event,too. And we kept our focus on having everyone we love for one day together to eat good food, drink & celebrate.

Philadelphia German Society wedding
vintage seating chart

Steve and I wanted to find a venue that was handicap accessible (for a good friend) and one that allowed for our own caterer (I’ve catered on the side for 10yrs and wanted to hire the group I work for). These two elements were a little difficult to find at first but then I stumbled upon the German Society of Pennsylvania online and that was it!

fall burgundy wedding bouquet
vintage seating chart

No real color scheme. We used a lot of burlap for the rustic feel: burlap wrapped flower personals, as overlays on all tables and used as the lining for the drawers. For the ceremony we used the library theme with the library card programs our friend made (photos: ). She also took a hard backed book I found at a thrift store and refurbished it as our guest book. We also used these old flat file drawers we trashed picked years ago as the vessels for the programs, the bubbles, the favors, etc.. so that was the library portion of the theme- oh because we were married in a library built in 1888. We didn’t really run that theme any further though.

We planned every element of our wedding with lots of help from friends and family. I searched through wedding blogs, Ruffled was a great influence, and magazines until I had all my ideas set- then I asked friends & family to help me bring it all to life. I was so luck to have all of their help!

vintage seating chart

yellow pom flower billy buttons

antique engagement ring

DIY elements:


I wanted to use tree trunk pieces for the guest tables and at the bar so Steve went out and found a fallen tree then sawed it into pieces.

Buttons & Bags for hotel guests were designed b our good friend, Tim Gough who is a designer/illustrator and we asked him to draw us to use on buttons and bags. Steve’s friend made the buttons we placed on the guest tables and our best man & co-owner of the print shop printed the bags with the same illustration. Flowers- our friend, Alicia Neal works part-time arranging flowers and offered her expertise. A group of friends and family met the day before at the venue to assemble flower arrangements and she made all the personals.

Table signs & other signs for the wedding- Steve and I made all of them from wood we painted with chalkboard paint. For the 18 tables we identified them using street names of all places we have lived either individually or together.

fall wedding boutonniere

vintage seating chart

Seating Chart, library card programs & guest book all made by our friend & designer, Allie LeFebvre Flower vessels: I collected mason jars, milk glass, crystal skinny vases, colored glass jars and other random vessels from one friend and my grandmother & great-aunt’s basements. I made little flag pie garlands for all the homemade pies and larger ones for the dessert table. I also made ring bearer’s books tied with burlap string. Flower crowns for the four flower girls were made by our good friend Kristal Hill. Flower children’s felt heart pins made by my sister & bridesmaid, Amy Crossley. Flower children’s felt “Here Comes the Bride” banners made by Amy Crossely. Favors were homemade chocolate bark made by our good friend & chocolatier, Jenna Derhammer. The favor tags were embossed by the bride and three friends (Aseel & Tara Rasheed and Sarah Fishman).

wedding homemade pie dessert bar

vintage seating chart

Love Me Do Photography took place at a gem in Philly – the Philadelphia German Society, a historical library with drop dead gorgeous interior. This crafty couple handmade most of their decor elements, including their invitations which deserve a post on its own. In the meantime, take a wander at their View all images in the gallery

Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? I would suggest using as many personal touches as you can. We wanted the day to feel like “us” and that was the biggest compliment we received! It was so lovely to hear that from our guests- that they really felt like all the elements were representative of us as a couple. I would also advise to utilize the amazing talents of your friends and family. It has a large effect on the entire event and it took the focus from all about the couple to the community that surrounds and supports you. It made it so much more for us to know how many people helped with all the details it takes to put on a wedding.

Wedding Songs:

Processional & recessional instrumentals played by David Falcone.
Gimmie Shelter by the Rolling Stones for entire announcement of the bridal party include bride and groom.
Bride & Groom danced to the Red House Painters cover of “Follow You, Follow Me” on the Shanti Project Collection album
Groom & his mother danced to “Wild Horses” by the Sundays on Blind album.
Bride & her father danced to “God Only Knows” by Beach Boys.

Wedding Vendors and Venue (Philadelphia, PA):

Venue: Philadelphia German Society / Photographer: Love Me Do Photography / Dress: JCrew Bridal / Suit: DKNY / Caterer: Meg Gillespie, Staffing Associates / Invitations: Awesome Dudes Printing / Pies/cookies/cake: Isgro Pasticceria and La Copine / Buttons and Bags: Designer, / Tim Gough / DJ: Julian Grefe aka Julian S Process / Wedding Shoes: BHLDN / Florist: Alicia Neal (friend & artist) / Hair: Kerri Fawley / Makeup: Renee Pasceri who works at the Philadelphia salon, Adolf Beiker / Veil: made by bride’s aunt / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jcrew / Groomsmen suits: Their own grey suits / Ceremony Musician: Ceremony & cocktail hour music by friend David Falcone Reception DJ: Julian Grefe a.k.a. Julian S Process / Caterer: Staffing & day of event coordinating by Meg Gillespie (friend) & bride. Cocktail hour food provided by bride and dinner buffet prepared by Kristyn Marchus, Chef/Owner, Cream Valley Farm Catering / Wedding dessert: ricotta cookies from Isgro’s Pasticceria and homemade Pies made by friends and La Copine

Love Me Do Photography is a member of Blue Label. To find more vendors in your area, click here

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