Back-to-School Wedding Inspiration Shoot at Bok Building in Philadelphia

This past summer we got in touch with Danfredo Photography to collaborate on this fun styled shoot. We'd never worked with them before, and we were totally crushing on their bright, fun, goofy vibe. Danielle from Danfredo had just learned about this new space in South Philly — The Bok Building — and was super eager to shoot there. It's a former vo-tech high school that closed a few years ago, then was recently purchased by a super talented team of urban planners with grand ideas. 

South Philly Wedding at Old School, Bok Building :: Heart & Dash :: Danfredo Photo + Film

Um — an opportunity to do a styled shoot at a killer old high school building with a rooftop view of Center City Philly? Obviously we were on board. And obviously our concept would be "back-to-school." We'd paint the story of a couple of high school sweethearts. Cue flashbacks of eraser tops on pencils, folded love notes, and writing naughty words on the chalkboard.

Philadelphia Rooftop Wedding :: Heart & Dash :: Danfredo Photo + Film

Let's back up a moment to give you a glimpse of our process. When we collaborate on a styled shoot, we establish a concept (a realistic story), a color palette, and a couple of stylistic ideas for all vendors to use as a starting point. Then, we encourage each vendor to interpret that concept and color palette in their own way. When everyone has that central starting point paired with the freedom to riff of it, magic happens!

Philadelphia Non-Traditional Wedding Planning :: Heart & Dash :: Danfredo Photo + Film

Durga-Kali provided the bridesmaid dresses for this shoot, and since this is one of the first decisions made, we let the dresses inspire our bright color palette. The colors totally have a back-to-school vibe, right?! Sulimay Urban Salon then created a look for each of the models that complemented each of the lady’s bold looks. Today’s wedding trends shy away from the bold, but we think couples should do whatever they want. If you love emerald and sapphire, go for it! Use both! And throw in hot pink while you're at it.

South Philly Wedding at Old School, Bok Building :: Heart & Dash :: Danfredo Photo + Film :: Durga Kali colorful reversible bridesmaid dresses

Sebesta Design was totally game for the bold color palette, which was a huge departure from what couples had been asking her for in 2015. She brought her A-game with the varied florals in chemistry beakers and vials, then she took it to the next level with all of that texture — embracing that fun and weird vibe we were going for. We all geeked out over the fun props we got to incorporate with this shoot.

Colorful South Philly Wedding at Old School, Bok Building :: Heart & Dash :: Danfredo Photo + Film

Nutmeg Cake Design did an A+ job with the super cool chalkboard cake she created. You can’t have a back-to-school shoot without chalkboard. Take note — those flowers on the cake are sugar flowers made by Nutmeg. Guess she was gunning for some extra credit.

South Philly Wedding at Old School, Bok Building :: Heart & Dash :: Danfredo Photo + Film :: Chalkboard Cake from Nutmeg Cake Design

Hello, Bird created the fun school-themed stationery. She jumped at the excuse to pull from composition books and scantrons as part of her design story. We all shared an "awwww" moment when she pulled out the paper-folded fortune tellers and expertly folded secret love notes. She owned that nostalgia factor.

School Themed Wedding Inspiration South Philly Wedding at Old School, Bok Building :: Heart & Dash :: Danfredo Photo + Film

Every time we look back at this shoot we get all warm and fuzzy. It was so much fun! That’s what your wedding should be: FUN! And perhaps the best part of this shoot is that because it’s all totally attainable. You could actually style a head table this way. You could really get married at The Bok Building. Well, soon, anyway. More on that later. Wink wink.

Originally featured on Ruffled Blog. 


Photography: Danfredo Photos + Film
Event Design: Heart & Dash
Florist: Sebesta Design
Venue: Bok Building
Bridal Store: Lovely Bride
Hair & Makeup: Sulimay Urban Salon
Bridesmaid Dresses: Durga-Kali
Wedding Cake: Nutmeg Cake Design
Stationery: Hello, Bird


Philadelphia Spring Wedding at Horticultural Center

Emily and Michael were good friends throughout college and they reconnected a couple of years after they graduated. When he proposed, she couldn’t believe it and kept asking “are you serious? Are you serious?!” Yep, he certainly was! And their wedding captured their bright personalities beautifully.

Though she couldn't wait to be married, Emily’s next thought was, "Ugh, I don’t want to plan a wedding!" So she did something I encourage every couple to do. Instead of starting out with a massive to-do list, she jotted down her thoughts on how they wanted their wedding to feel. I love that she still has that piece of paper and that when they walked into their reception, they felt exactly the way they wanted it to feel from the beginning.

Emily wanted shades of purple, so that’s just what they got — from the linens, to the amazing flowers from Love n’ Fresh, to the DIY ribbon wall behind the head table. Emily's father and brother crafted the awesome escort card display and the table numbers. Props to the guys — gotta love handy men!


The couple chose Sharyn Frenkel as their photographer because they loved the way she captured those candid moments. They wanted to remember a day of laughter, joy, and maybe even a few happy tears.

Emily & Michael — thank you for choosing us to guide you through your planning process! Looking at your wedding pictures still makes me smile because of the love you have for one another and the joy you take in being with each other!


Concept, planning, coordination, and styling by Heart & Dash

Photographer: Sharyn Frenkel Photography
Florist: Love n’ Fresh Flowers
Venue: Philadelphia Horticultural Center
Wedding Dress: Watters “Jacinda”
Wedding Shoes: Adrianna Papell Boutique
Hair: Hair by Meghan
Caterer: Stephen Starr Events
Band: Rich Posmontier Music
Lighting: Eventions
Celebrant: Beth Palubinsky
Hotel: Le Meridien Philadelphia

This wedding was featured on Ruffled!

Styled Shoot :: Retro Burnside Plantation

When talented vendors like Alexandra Whitney Photography and the ladies from Fox & Finch ask you to collaborate on a styled shoot, you say yes! They wanted to set up a shoot at a gorgeous historic barn in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania called Burnside Plantation. Though we'll always love burlap, lace, and mason jars for a barn wedding, we wanted to try something a little different this time. Inspired by the fact that the barn is 'historic,' we took some creative license with our concept by veering off into the land of retro.


We turned to vintage advertisements to inspire our color and stationery design. SZ created a color palette that all of the vendors used to bring a level of consistency that really pulled everything together.

For the ceremony scene, we worked with the talented Sarah from Allium Design {we must be drawn to Sarahs}. For the ceremony backdrop, we wanted to do something that would create a statement in the middle of the orchard while maintaining a feeling of intimacy. After some experimenting, we ended up covering a hula-hoop with ribbon, draping chiffon over and through it, and adorning the top with flowers to create a focal point. The mix-matched chairs from Fox & Finch framed the scene in a beautifully intimate way.


We used the corn crib for a lounge area with a mini-bar and cake display by Cozze Cakes. The red trunk from Fox & Finch was spot on with our color palette and really created a great focus point for the space.

Jill Kozar from Up Your Do not only did hair, but she was also our bridal model — and her real-life husband posed as her groom! Kelly, from Face the Occasion, used her makeup skills to round out the retro look. Rebecca, who posed as our maid of honor, was born to rock those pin curls and red lips, don't you think? 

We did our final scene right in the barn doorway to showcase the impact of space. So many details came together in this scene — the patterned dishes, blue glass, retro typography, and wood textures accented by colorful flowers. The white fabric swags and the card catalog bursting with flowers added final touches of romance to brighten the interior.

Alexandra Whitney did a great job of capturing the colors and retro vibe. She always has a knack for playing with natural light — making every detail shot feel special. We're grateful to get to work with these amazing vendors and friends — thanks for collaborating with us!

Check Out the Full Gallery:


Photography: Alexandra Whitney Photography
Event designer: Heart & Dash
Prop/furniture rentals: Fox & Finch Vintage Rentals
Flowers: Allium Design
Venue: Burnside Plantation
Hair: Up Your Do
Makeup: Face The Occasion
Stationery: Heart & Dash
Cake: Cozze Cakes

This shoot was featured on Wedding Chicks.