Philly Elopement with Photo Stops

Sweet first look at Philly’s Notary Hotel


The covid pandemic has brought out some really wonderful and creative ways of celebrating your wedding day. I think my favorite right now is the Philly Elopement with fun photo stops. It’s a real joy to spend the day hitting several locations you love. Jenna and Michael did just that. Their list of locations was long, but they knew to stay flexible and that we most likely wouldn’t be able to get to them all. We chose to travel in separate cars to keep our exposure low. If you want to hit several locations, I highly suggest having drivers for the both couple and the photographer. I don’t think we could have accomplished this many stops if we both had to park at every stop. But being able to dip in and out, and having a best man to drive the couple around, really made this work seamlessly.

Advice from the couple

If you’re planning a COVID wedding Jenna and Michael’s advice would be to always remember your blessings to keep the wedding chaos in perspective. The day is about you and your significant other, do what makes you both the happiest, and forget everything else. 

The Notary Hotel (Prep)

Jenna got ready at the Notary Hotel. It’s a FABULOUS hotel on Arch Street that I’d never been to before. The lobby decor was super cute and artistic and they allowed us to shoot around the lobby, which many of Philly hotels don’t. We also found a great walkway along the side of it which was perfect for a sweet first look.

Broad Street (Photo Stop)

Photographer tip! The light on Broad Street is awful most of the time. I find that backlighting couples gives just enough wrap around light to overcome that when natural light isn’t enough. I used 3 different lenses here, a 14-24mm, an 85mm and an 80-200mm to get a variety of looks since I was shooting alone. The backlight has a magmod grid and CTO gel. That tiny bit of light enables me to bring down the exposure enough that City Hall isn’t blown out and the couple has a little separation from the background.

Cira Green (Photo Stop)

Cira Green is a great spot for wedding photos. It’s on top of a parking garage, so we were able to include the maid of honor and best man without them getting stuck looking for parking. The views are really pretty, but everytime I’ve been there the wind is crazy! Probably not great for brides with complicated updos, but for couple with a more effortless vibe, it’s pretty awesome.

The Philadelphia Wedding Chapel (Philly Elopement)

One of my favorite spots for a Philly Elopement and intimate weddings is the Philadelphia Wedding Chapel in East Falls. Stacey, the owner, is an incredible officiant, or you can bring your own. She does a really great job of keeping her space as covid safe as possible, and still offers couples the option to remove their masks for the ceremony and photos if they like. Jenna and Michael set up a zoom meeting so their family could watch as well. It’s just a lovely space with good, happy energy.

Falls Bridge (Photo Stop)

Falls Bridge is the closest spot to the Philadelphia Wedding Chapel for great photos. I love it because the light on the bridge is always nice, no matter what time of day, and it’s relatively dry if the weather isn’t ideal. It’s got pretty greenery and you can get city street lights in the background later in the day. Michael and Jenna’s favorite Philly Elopement moment was popping a bottle of champagne with their best man and maid of honor after the ceremony. They’d been apart for months because of the pandemic.


Photographer: Lori Foxworth of Black, White and Raw Photography 

Prep/First Look: The Notary Hotel

Makeup: Beauty by Jasoni

Hair: House of Clarity (Tiffany was the stylist) 

Flowers: Beautiful Blooms

Venue: Philadelphia Wedding Chapel

Bridal shop: Springs Bridal  (From Jenna: My dress was from a consignment shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I never wanted to buy a brand new gown that would only be worn once. And now this dress will get three wears!


Awbury Arboretum Wedding

Micro Wedding at Awbury Arboretum


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


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)


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.


    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
    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