By: Katy Hunt
It seems it was love at first “sip” for this month’s wedding spotlight couple, Alissa and Matt. Erie and Lansdale natives, respectively, the pair tried their luck on Tinder before meeting up for their first date at The Dandelion in Philly. It was that very night that Alissa tried her first sip of an egg white cocktail, which Matt was drinking. That’s all it took for her to be immediately intrigued by this man! Intrigue quickly turned to infatuation, which turned to love, and the two are now happy as can be living in South Philly with their cats Swoop and Jasper. Their charming tale of romance, and sparkling personalities inspired us to take a deeper dive into the day that started their forever.
When it came to choosing their wedding venue, Alissa explained that they wanted something beyond your typical cookie-cutter wedding, complete with the standard chicken or fish options. BOK ended up being the no-brainer for these two. “The food scene in Philly has so much to offer, so we wanted to showcase that, and BOK was extremely flexible with catering. We hired food trucks!” she explained.
BOK first opened its doors to students in 1938 as a Philadelphia vocational school, but closed in 2013 and went up for public auction. In 2014, it was transformed into an affordable workspace for a wide variety of businesses, artists, non-profits, and more. While keeping its original interior, it is now home to roughly 130 small businesses that range from fashion designers to filmmakers to glassblowers to architect practices to woodworkers, a wholesale bakery…and much more! All of this combined with BOK’s unique outdoor and indoor spaces made Alissa and Matt realize that this was a venue where their dreams and ideas could be made reality. Plus…it’s only four blocks from their house!
The enchanting ceremony took place on BOK’s renowned rooftop terrace, overlooking the Philly skyline, while the gym (yes, a school gym!) served as the perfect, versatile reception space. One of Alissa and Matt’s favorite moments was seeing how their reception space was transformed for the first time. “We gave our florist and vendors a lot of creative freedom, and they did not disappoint. It was beyond anything we could have imagined,” Alissa gushed.
Much like their selection of the venue, Alissa and Matt ensured that every single decision they made about their day was incredibly intentional. From a taco truck, a traditional Polish Jazynowka toast, to a neon sign that said “Aww Yeah!”, they wanted their day to reflect who they were as a couple. “You were experiencing something personal from our lives, even if you didn’t realize it,” Alissa explained. They simply wanted their guests to “experience our little life in Philly, even for just a day.”
After such a purely exhilarating and magical day, one might think it difficult to choose a favorite moment. All the same, I just had to ask Alissa and Matt their thoughts because I knew the highlights would be golden. For one, they recounted how they both “[busted] out in tears as we saw each other for the first time with the Philly skyline as a backdrop. It’s hard to explain how much this place means to us. We met here and built a life here, so having this special moment in a special place was everything.” If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, I don’t know what will! Some more of their favorite, fun moments were Alissa getting “iced” by their friends behind the bar, and the couple running into the reception to “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley, which has been a joke between them for years…although they can’t quite remember why!
With the success of the perfect wedding under their belts, we asked Alissa and Matt what advice they had for couples who are beginning to plan their big day. They recommended: “Start early! Pick your core vendors first and quickly, be flexible with the smaller stuff. Expect stuff to go wrong, like 80% is 100%, and don’t sweat it. Your guests won’t know. Make it about you as a couple, not about the party. People get so hyper fixated on ‘the picture-perfect wedding,’ which ends up looking and feeling like everyone else’s wedding. Unique touches that reflect your personalities really stand out. Lastly, commit to spending time with each other and enjoying your own wedding! It’s so easy to get caught up in the day and it really flies. Enjoy your wedding, don’t manage it. You only get one!”
On behalf of Divas couples everywhere, at every stage of planning, we greatly appreciate your advice, Alissa and Matt! Thank you for allowing us the honor of highlighting your truly unique and magical day…we wish you all the love and happiness!
Photographer: IMiddle Gray LLC/Alex Choi
Food Trucks: Burrito Feliz & Mom-Moms Piergoi's
Staffing Company: Swig
Reception String Lighting: Stellar Lighting
Reception Chairs: Holmespun Co
Lounge Set Rugs: Minimal Chaos
DJ: No Macarena
Hair and Makeup: Sorellina Beauty
Transportation: Sague School Bus Company