Awbury Arboretum Wedding

Micro Wedding at Awbury Arboretum

WEDDINGS DURING COVID

The last time I blogged was back in the beginning of the pandemic with a Race Street Pier vow exchange. It was the beginning of a very strange year for wedding photography. At first, the only weddings allowed were emergency licenses issued by zoom meetings. Pennsylvania is one of the only states that allows self-uniting marriage ceremonies. Since then, I’ve photographed every kind of wedding from safe, mask wearing private elopements, to WAY too many guests croweded indoors and pretending Covid doesn’t exist. But those are stories for future blogs. Today’s blog is about a local Philly venue that’s really getting it right, Awbury Arboretum

MICRO WEDDING AT AWBURY ARBORETUM

Kareemah and Damien’s micro wedding at Awbury Arboretum was a romantic event at a hidden gem in Philadelphia’s Germantown. The couple’s original plan was to have a private ceremony with no guests, but eventually opted for 11 close family members. The venue features a beautiful area to get ready in, with large windows for stunning views of the changing fall foliage. The venue co-ordinators gave every bit of attention to this intimate 2 hour wedding that they do for full scale events. The staff and guests were all masked and everything except prep was outdoors. The venue has lots of options for covid safe(r) weddings, including a large, opened sided tented area. 

Kareemah’s dress was so sweet and effortless and made an elegant combination with the muted colors in her bouqet. I loved her chic hair and pearl details. Damien’s mask matched his tie and handkerchief for a fashionable pandemic look. The couple jumped the broom after their beautiful ceremony, which is one of my favorite wedding traditions. Then I took a photo walk with the couple in Awbury’s “Secret Garden”. 

No matter what the size of your Awbury Aboretum wedding, I suggest leaving LOTS of time afterwards for photos. There are so many beautiful areas around the grounds and gardens for photos, we barely scratched the surface. It’s also a beautiful spot for engagement or family photos. I’m already dying to go back for another shoot there. (hint,hint, haha)

WORDS OF ADVICE FROM THE BRIDE

BWR: How did Damien propose?
Kareemah: December 25th, 2018 in our christmas PJs on Christmas morning! It’s my favorite time of the year and also my favorite holiday!! Quite simple, but very romantic and just the two of us!

BWR: What was your favorite moment of your wedding?
Kareemah: My favorite moment of my wedding was jumping the broom. I love the meaning of jumping the broom and Damien and I have been together for 10 years. He’s my high school sweetheart, and jumping the broom was a fresh start to our forever!
 
BWR: What tips would you give other couples planning a wedding during covid?
Kareemah: My biggest piece of advice for planning a wedding during COVID would be focus on your marriage and don’t stress too much about the wedding. Just because your wedding may be on a smaller scale doesn’t mean you have to have a low-end/inexpensive wedding. I pulled out all the stops for my elopement with our 11 guests and it was nothing short of amazing.
 

Vendors:

    IG: @awburyarboretum   
    IG: @upgradehair    
    IG: @sheenamarie.mua    
Decor/Florals: Event Loft PA   
    IG: @eventloftpa  (wedding arch/decor, florals, and wedding broom created by Eilena)
Dress: The Bridal Shop from Lulus.com
    IG: @lulus
Bride’s Shoes: Aldo
   IG: @aldo_shoes
Bride’s Mask: Katie May Collection
    IG: @katemaycollection
Damien’s Tux Rental: The Black Tux
    IG: @theblacktux
Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan
   IG: @colehaan
Groom’s Mask, Pocket Square, Bow Tie: Dazi
    IG: @daziusa
 
 
 
Pandemic wedding postponement

Socially distanced wedding

PANDEMIC WEDDING POSTPONEMENT 

The pandemic wedding postponement will always define this time in my career. When Yvette and Aaron emailed me that their May wedding would have to be postponed due to the Covid 19 quarantine, I was devastated. Not because I was losing another wedding, but because I was RIDICULOUSLY excited about theirs. 

HOW WE CONNECTED

We met the couple at the Love Sick Expo. We had a giveaway for free engagement shoots and I was thrilled when they won. They even found an engagement shoot location that I hadn’t been to before, The Glen Foerd. It’s a beautiful location that I continue to use. We discovered we had also photographed a good friend of Yvette’s wedding at the Penn Museum of Archeology and it was one of our favorites. I was thrilled with the engagement shoot, which you can check out here.

The next wedding expo we did was at one of our very favorite venues, the Historic Aldie Mansion. We’ve photographed some gorgeous weddings there, so I was thrilled when the two walked in to check it out for their wedding. They ended up booking the venue and us. Yvette and I got Facebook friendly and when she sent me photos of her dress, I was pretty sure I’d died and gone to wedding photographer heaven. It was EVERYTHING. And I’m not going to tell you anything about it because I WILL still photograph her in that dress, even if it’s a year away.

A GLOBAL PANDEMIC STRIKES

The Covid-19 virus struck globally and Philadelphia was quarantined. Pandemic wedding postponement affected approximately 45 of our clients, some up to two years away. It was dizzying and scary and awful. I felt like I was in free fall with no net or ground in sight. (Still looking for that net, btw)

THE BRILLIANT SOLUTION

Not a couple to let anything stop their love, the two had a brillant idea. Yvette made a facebook post that she and Aaron would be doing a Vow Exchange ceremony on Race Street Pier on FaceBook Live for all their friends to see. I’m pretty sure I BEGGED them to let me come take photos. We found a spot with the bridge in the background where Aaron could set up his phone for the live shot and we could stay socially distanced from others. We wore our masks, and they did too, except for the actual ceremony.

They shared vows and readings as a crowd gathered to watch. Strangers applauded and cheered during their kiss as if they were invited guests. It felt as though everyone was craving seeing genuine connection as much as I was. Their vow exchange was something extraordinary and beautiful in the midst of utter chaos and uncertainty. At the end of the day, the newlyweds invited all of their quarantined wedding guests to post their “reception meal” photos from the homes which was a wonderful way to end the day. I can’t wait for their big wedding with all their friends, but this was an afternoon I will truly never forget.