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philadelphia wedding photographer : sarah & brian

i shot an all day wedding in kansas the day before sarah & brian’s pennsylvania wedding, & we flew out very early the next morning, on just over an hour’s worth of sleep. we were all so nervous that something might go wrong with the flight to delay it, that we would- in our lackofsleepblur- forget our luggage somewhere along the way, lose a boarding pass or ID, leave debit cards at home, or that any crazy thing might prevent us from getting on that incredibly important flight to philadelphia. these normal airport travel worries created a crazy, sleepy morning of stress & anxiety.

as soon as we stepped outside the airport, every tiny bit of worry disappeared. like sunshine, sarah & brian’s family friends greeted us with bright smiles & open arms. we all piled into their car & they drove us through the gorgeous pennsylvania hills, laughing & sharing stories. we walked into sarah’s mom, cindy’s house & it instantly felt like home. everyone was so cheerful, welcoming, & laid back. everything was absolutely beautiful & full of love.

cindy’s lush, green backyard was full little thrifted & handmade details.  as i wandered around, admiring all of the natural beauty, & all of their work & creativity, it was like some magical vintage wonderland.
guests arrived, all wearing their hobo best, & everywhere i turned there were shining, smiling faces, hugs, & laughter.
their ceremony was so absolutely fantastically beautiful, filling everyone’s soul to the core with love & joy.
a wonderfully talented band played through the night, & there was dancing, a campfire, circles of friends, & sarah & brian made the happiest, sweetest newlywed couple.

the whole day was an absolute dream.

here’s a little from sarah & brian:

On Sunday, May 29th, 2011 at 4pm Brian “Box” Brown and Sarah Louise Hunt joined hands, entwined bootlaces and shared a single bean in matrimony in Cindy Hunt’s backyard in Malvern, PA. They invited their friends and family to share in their happiest of days, wear their shabbiest, drink moonshine, and eat their fill of BBQ and pie, dance to a live jug band and howl at the moon.

Sarah is an Admissions Counselor at Moore College of Art & Design, an artist and textile designer and sells vintage and handmade items in her two Etsy shops, Mouse Trap Vintage and SquidWhale Designs. Sarah is inspired by old, time-worn objects and American folk art and spends much of her time hunting for unique curios for her Etsy shops or to decorate her rustic cabin-themed apartment. Her husband, Brian, is a full-time cartoonist with a stinging wit and a certain tolerance for Sarah’s junk-collecting. What the couple has in common is their sense of humor, their love for their two cats, Buster and Louis, and their shallow pockets.

“As we began planning our wedding, Brian and I knew we didn’t want to follow tradition. Neither of us is religious and our families are very fun, easy going kind of folks. So, right away we took all the rules and we threw them right out the window. We “booked” my mom’s backyard for the big day, because I knew I’d be most comfortable at home. However, the theme of our wedding, Depression Era Hobo, didn’t come to us right away. In fact, it was my obsession with the 1930s, the “Great Recession”, our own limited budget and finally a suggestion from Brian’s Grandma Rose that planted the seed of the idea into our heads.

Rose told us about her own wedding reception in the 1940s. They called it a “football party” because instead a fancy catered dinner, the guests were served piles of wrapped sandwiches in the center of each table and they tossed them from table to table like footballs. Something about the spirit of that back-to-basics kind of reception got to us (and made our bellies grumble for sandwiches). We wanted to create an event that was unfussy, honest, beautiful, fun and, most importantly, from the heart. Just like Rose’s sandwiches.

Once the theme was decided, we got to work researching the Depression Era and hobo-culture, collecting feedsack dresses and old work boots, antique hand stitched quilts and jug band instruments, and preparing to  hand-make everything for our hobo wedding. We read that the term “hobo” may be a syllabic abbreviation of “homeward bound” and fell in love with the notion. Brian was in charge of illustrating and designing our save-the-date postcards, custom labels for our favor – mini flasks of moonshine and our wedding invitations and writing the ceremony from scratch. I was in charge of creating the atmosphere of the event: putting together our hobo-chic outfits, the outfits for our wedding party, the wedding décor and making all of the flower arrangements, bouquets and boutonnieres.

As most couples do, we busted our butts for months on the wedding. But, we couldn’t have pulled it off on our own. We had the help of our amazing friends and family all along the way: my mom spent months redecorating and readying her home to host the big event; Brian’s mom’s partner, Diane, handcrafted clever wind chimes out of thrift store cutlery to decorate the yard; my twin sister and Maid of Honor, Maggie, threw me the best shower/bachelorette party ever and helped my mom, sister Lindsey and cousin Justine cut and assemble vintage quilt bunting flags to decorate our tent; my mom’s best friends made our cocktail hour snacks – brown bags or popcorn and burlap sacks of peanuts; Brian’s sister and bridesmaid, Jenny, recruited her boyfriend Jim and his musician friends to play some old timey tunes. And, the wedding wouldn’t have been the success it was without the incredible participation of every single one of our guests who played along and donned their hobo best.

Our wedding day was absolutely perfect. Truly, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I’m so pleased that we found such an amazing photographer Chelsea (and her crew, Aimee & Nick!) to do the day justice!”

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Adam Cadwell - July 16, 2011 - 8:01 am

I have only met Brian ‘Box’ Brown on 2 brief occasions, and Sarah once, but looking at these photos makes me very happy. Everything about them is wonderful, the artistry of the photography, the hobo theme, the decor, the glorious milky sunshine, the best man’s speech, and mostly how happy (and tearful) Brian and Sarah look. What an incredible photo album from what looks like a truly amazing day.

jasmine - July 20, 2011 - 2:05 pm

chelsea! i have not checked in on your blog in sometime (major media break). So thrilled to see this beautiful AMAZINGLY CREATIVE wedding & your always lovely photos. it should be spread like wild fire to those posh wedding idea collector’s over at “100 Layer Cake”, “Ruffled”, etc… love love love love love love love

destiny - August 9, 2011 - 4:56 pm

That looks like the most fun wedding ever!!! Great job capturing the emotion!