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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!

 

Train Wedding

Strasburg Railroad Wedding with Red Caboose Motel Reception

Getting Ready at the Red Caboose Motel

Lerin and Brian’s sweet train wedding wasn’t exactly what they’d planned. Their original reception venue cancelled due to Covid and the two were left scrambling trying to come up with an alternative for their vintage inspired, Strasburg Railroad wedding. The ceremony was to take place on the train after a ride to Paradise, Pa. The Red Caboose Motel stepped up and was able to provide cars for everyone to get ready in, as well as providing an open air tent for the reception. The Strasburg Railroad, the Red Caboose Motel and the couple did a fabulous job at keeping everyone as safe as possible. Why a train wedding, you ask? 

The Proposal

BWR: How did Brian Propose?

Lerin: Brian had planned to propose to me at his family’s vacation home in the Thousand Islands, right near the water.  He had arranged for a time when no one else would be there. When we were about a half an hour away, his aunt texted him to say they were headed to the house too. Brian sped up to about 90 mph to get there in time for us to have privacy. I, of course, was oblivious. I was so confused why he rushed me down to the water the second we got there, but I went along with it. Then he got down on one knee and asked me, “Will you ride all the trains with me?” Being the lady that I am, I responded with, “Choo CHOO motherfucker.” (All just moment before his aunt showed up!) 

Strasburg Railroad Train Ride and Ceremony

The Strasburg Railroad was a suprisingly great way to keep guests as socially distanced as possible. The entire train, which has open air cars, was reserved for wedding guests. There were plenty of individuals cars, so guests could stay in small groups of close family. The cars were large and spacious. After a ride to Paradise, Lerin’s walk down the “aisle” was from the back of the train through each car to the front. Then guests all got off the train to watch the ceremony. 

Couples Portraits at Strasburg Railroad

It was such a treat to have a few minutes for portraits at the Strasburg Railroad. It is America’s oldest continuously operating railroad, and a really unique background for portraits.

Red Caboose Motel Reception

The Red Caboose did a FABULOUS job keeping everyone as Covid safe as possible. The most important factor in guests staying safe and responsible is the couple setting a great example. Brian made a speech asking guests to please wear masks if they left their family’s table and the couple really modeled that behavior. I’ve never seen so many guests masked on the dance floor. It was really wonderful. They also had seats set up outside the tent, for people who wanted to stay farther distanced, and as a vendor, I really appreciated a spot to go sit away from other guests for some fabulous BBQ.

Advice from the Bride

BWR: What tips would you give to other couples planning a wedding during covid?
Lerin: If I could give advice to couples planning their wedding during the pandemic, the biggest tip is to plan ahead for the safety of your guests. We went out of our way to make everything as safe as possible. This way, there were fewer last minute surprises. And FLEXIBILITY! My wedding was perfect, but definitely not what I had initially planned. 

Vendor List

Reception: Red Caboose Motel 
Dress: Agnes Edmunds 
Tent/table rentals: Ace the Party Place 
All the decor was made or created by family or myself.