Even though we are based in the Washington, DC area, we have had the privilege of photographing several weddings in and around Philadelphia. We love working in the City of Brotherly Love and can’t wait for the next opportunity to help a Philadelphia-based couple preserve their wedding day memories forever!
One of the best venues in Philadelphia for quirky and offbeat nuptial celebrations is the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, where the couple in this photo had their marriage ceremony and reception. Housed in its present building since 1899, the museum has existed for more than a century to preserve historical artifacts that tell the story of humanity’s development from antiquity to the present day. It also does a great job of helping soon-to-be married couples tell their love story! In addition to a wealth of beautiful pieces displayed in its various exhibits, the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology also offers some great spaces for every part of a wedding day. Future spouses can say, “I do,” outside in nature, eat a luxurious dinner in the ornate dining room on the building’s top floor and then dance the night away next to sarcophagi and mummies in one of the museum’s best exhibits!
This particular bride and groom did exactly that. They had their ceremony outside in the Warden Garden, a lovely green space on one side of the museum’s front lawn. In our professional opinion as wedding photographers, what makes this such a great spot for future spouses to exchange their vows is the brick staircase that leads out from the second floor of the building to the grass below. Because the wedding party emerges from the museum well above lawn and then walks down the curving staircase, the wedding guests get an unobstructed view of the groomsmen, groom, bridesmaids and bride during the processional. And that makes for some similarly unobstructed images of the bride walking down the stairs toward her future husband with the eyes of all the guests on her!
After the ceremony finished, the bride and groom and their parents proceeded up to the top floor of the museum for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony just outside the Chinese Rotunda, where the excellent Penn Museum staff were preparing for dinner by putting elegant place settings on ornate tables. Designed to fit as many as 300 seated guests, the Chinese Rotunda is the largest event space in the building and a sumptuously appointed area for a wedding dinner.
Following the meal, the entire marriage celebration moved to the Egypt Upper Gallery, where the maid of honor and best man gave their speeches alongside carved reliefs, stone coffins containing mummies, beautiful sculptures of Egyptian figures and a statue of the pharaoh Ramesses II. Afterwards, the guests danced and made merry in the surprisingly ample space between the various precious artifacts.
We captured the image itself just outside the museum after the couple had their first look. The bride-to-be decided to meet her future husband by the ornate fountain located in the Stoner Courtyard just outside the museum’s front door. After he saw his soon-to-be wife in her wedding dress for the first time (and after he wiped away a few tears), the two of them sat on the edge of the fountain and chatted for a few minutes. It was a beautiful moment — just the two of them enjoying each other’s company and the few moments they had to be by themselves. We did not want to disturb them, of course, so we moved out of their line of sight and got this beautiful and romantic photo of them