Melissa + Kyle | Ines Di Santo Wedding from Shannon Collins Photography

This is a really special wedding that comes to us from Philadelphia in the heart of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  Imagine getting to express your love and the celebration of starting a life together amidst historic works of art…and at the same time having such a special day being painted onto canvas as the event takes place? I love that there was a painter present, painting away at Melissa + Kyle’s ceremony. So cool!  Don’t miss the really neat pop art table cards, the iconic LOVE sculpture cake topper or Melissa’s super glamorous and flattering Ines Di Santo gown called ‘Tianna’.  Enjoy!

Melissa + Kyle | May 26, 2013 | Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

The Ceremony
Our ceremony and reception took place at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  We wanted our wedding to be a true reflection of what we love and ourselves.   The venue felt perfect as soon as we set foot in it – Kyle and I are lovers of art & history; and Art History was my second major in college.   The Academy is renowned as being the first art museum and art school in the United States; founded in 1805.  It’s pretty amazing to think that we are now apart of the long and prestigious history of the Academy!  The ceremony itself took place in the landing of the Grand Stairhall.  This grand space is ringed with gothic arches carrying gold rosette-studded walls; the walls adorned with invaluable American Art paintings and the foyer with innumerable classical sculptures. The vaulted ceiling above is painted a brilliant blue with silver stars.  Our 85 guests were situated along the upper foyer, surrounding us 180 degrees.  Further adding to the aura of the evening was our wedding painter, Joan Zylkin, painting our ceremony as it took place – what better way to capture our ceremony in an art museum than by an artist herself!   It was a truly romantic, intimate setting.

The Reception
Our reception began with a beautiful cocktail hour in the upper foyer of the Grand Stairhall.  Our guests sipped cocktails, enjoyed hors d’ouevres, and perused the galleries.  A docent intrigued our guests with the history of the Academy and it’s famous works.  The art theme further resonated with our guests when heading to their dinner tables.  The “place cards” were actually mini-canvases painted by my bridesmaids and I; we recreated 9 famous contemporary American art paintings.  Each table then housed a matching image in place of “table numbers”; with a description of each image on the back for guests to reference.  We danced among multi-million dollar originals:  The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins  and The Artist in His Museum by Charles Wilson Peale.  The galleries throughout the venue were available to guests the entire evening; and the wedding painter entertained our guests with her live painting of the dinner and dancing!

Melissa’s Dress Search
In the search for that perfect dress, I kept an open mind to all wedding dress styles.  When looking through magazines, I found myself continually attracted to one designer in particular – Ines Di Santo.  I love her romantic, feminine, and truly artistic designs.  After coming across an ad for “Tianna”, I knew my search was over – I had found my dream dress!  I found it to be a perfect mix of modern, yet classical; bold, yet understated; simple, but with exquisite detail.  I also appreciated the juxtaposition of a form-fitted gown with a [dropped] ball gown.  It’s everything a girl could wish for, in my mind!  The dress was undeniably a work of art in itself.

How Melissa Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Glamorous, Graceful, Unique

Why Melissa Decided to Sell Her Wedding Dress
The decision to sell my dress was an easy one – everyone should have an opportunity to make their dreams come true.  This dress was my dream dress.  I felt so lucky to have found a dress that represented who I am on one of the most special days of my life!  I can only wish the same for all future brides.  Thanks to, a dress that may have been out of a bride’s budget at retail price is now more affordable and feasible to purchase. 

Wedding Dress: Ines Di Santo ‘Tianna’| Photography: Shannon Collins Photography | Ceremony + Reception Venue: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Floral Design: Riehs Flowers | Cake: Papa’s Desserts via Jimmy Duffy Caterers | Mini Paintings: An Artistic Affair