A Modern, Confetti-Filled Wedding at a Gallery in Philadelphia

sara ryan wedding philadelphia couple family
Redfield Photography

As an event designer, Sara Murray thrives on the stress and excitement of planning a wedding. But when it came to her own, to videographer Ryan Beacher, her goal was to relax. "We wanted it to feel like everybody was just hanging out at our house," Sara says. No hours of dancing, no toasts, no spotlight.

The laid-back Pennsylvania natives met in May 2012, when their respective bands (she plays ukulele, he bass guitar) performed at the same Philadelphia club. Even before speaking, they knew of each other—Ryan had used one of her songs in a movie, and she was curious about the filmmaker's unique eye. But their initial interactions were stilted. When Sara tried to chat him up, "he said about two words," she laughs. "I was clueless," he admits. "I thought she was too cool for me." Then she pressed her number into his hand, and it dawned on him that she might be interested. They started dating that fall, and in June 2015, he proposed without fanfare in their bedroom.

Since both work in the industry, friends expected an elaborate celebration, but the couple postponed planning when Sara got pregnant. After Brady was born, they chose a date just four months later for the small wedding they'd always wanted.

The timing was possible because they fully trusted their vendors, all friends. Sara knew the perfect venue, a white-box gallery near their old Philly home (they've since moved to Audubon, New Jersey), and convinced the manager to fit them in between exhibitions.

On the afternoon of Sunday April 23, 2017, 55 guests gathered for a self-uniting ceremony, based on the Quaker tradition, in which the couple acted as their own officiants. After their self-penned vows, they passed a microphone to anyone who wanted to speak. To their surprise, nearly everyone did. "They had such lovely things to say about us as a couple, as a family, as parents," says Sara. "We were sobbing." The ceremony went longer than anticipated, but it didn't matter: They weren't on a schedule. Afterward, they feasted on food-truck fare and sat around talking, music playing in the background, while Brady napped in the next room. "It was so chill—there was nothing remarkable about it," says Sara. In other words, it felt like home.

Watch Sara and Ryan's wedding film by Birdhouse.

01 of 20

The Bridal Bouquet

sara ryan wedding philadelphia bouquet
Redfield Photography

The couple chose a spring wedding date so Sara could have peonies in her bouquet; she also carried ivy, ranunculus, and tulips. Sara's dress was a short-sleeved number by Theia.

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The Heel Fits

sara ryan wedding philadelphia shoes
Redfield Photography

Sara wore blush suede shoes from Clarks.

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Love Letter

sara ryan wedding philadelphia card
Redfield Photography

Sara held the card that Ryan gave her on their wedding day. The couple have exchanged notes throughout their relationship, celebrating even the smallest milestones. "We have a box of 150 cards that we've written over the years," says Ryan. "We brought them to the wedding."

04 of 20

Puppy Pin

sara ryan wedding philadelphia groom pin
Redfield Photography

The groom wore a bulldog lapel pin, by TheIvyLeash, which Sara enclosed in her card to Ryan.

05 of 20

With These Rings

sara ryan wedding philadelphia rings
Redfield Photography

Sara's half-moon wedding band hugs her diamond-and-rose-gold engagement ring; both are by Bario Neal. Ryan's matte yellow-gold band is from the same Philadelphia jeweler.

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Pre-wedding Snacks

sara ryan wedding philadelphia popcorn
Redfield Photography

Bags of popcorn, calligraphed by Alyssa Desiderio of GGandgold, awaited guests before the ceremony. After the couple's two-year engagement, the message "this is finally forever" was apt.

07 of 20

Artful Seating

sara ryan wedding philadelphia chairs
Redfield Photography

Painted and copper-plated metal chairs, from Maggpie Rentals, filled the ceremony space at Crane Arts. "The aesthetics of the furniture were important to us," says Sara.

08 of 20

Mark the Spot

sara ryan wedding philadelphia floral installation
Redfield Photography

Florist Erica Maust of Fivefork Farms constructed the ceremony backdrop, which included olive branch, tulips, hyacinth, ranunculus, and anemone grown on Fivefork's central Massachusetts property.

09 of 20

Bark Up

sara ryan wedding philadelphia dog
Redfield Photography

Even the couple's dog, Millie, was given a chance to "speak" during the service. She later roamed the reception freely. "She had the best time," laughs Sara.

10 of 20

Confetti Kiss

sara ryan wedding philadelphia confetti kiss
Redfield Photography

At the end of the ceremony, guests set off confetti poppers from Tops Malibu, an ode to Sara's event-planning business Confetti & Co.

11 of 20

Simple Seating Assignments

sara ryan wedding philadelphia escort cards
Redfield Photography

Calligraphed place cards pointed guests to their seats, in the only formality of the night.

12 of 20

Neon and Balloons

sara ryan wedding philadelphia neon sign
Redfield Photography

A neon-and-pine sign stood above a DIY balloon installation, which friends made by tying balloons together with twine.

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Raising the Bar

sara ryan wedding philadelphia bar
Redfield Photography

Aaron Gordon, of 13th Street Cocktails, set up the mobile bar, constructed in a 1976 horse trailer. Serving signature drinks—a mojito, old fashioned, and orange margarita—and flavored ice teas, Gordon took the casual reception up a notch. "He really completed everything and made it feel like a full event," Sara says.

14 of 20

Modern Tables

sara ryan wedding philadelphia tables
Redfield Photography

Stained pine dining tables, which were built by friends Jason Hoak and Kyle Derricott of Maggpie Rentals in their Philadelphia workshop, and loose arrangements added texture to the all-white palette of the reception.

15 of 20

Romantic Setting

sara ryan wedding philadelphia centerpiece
Redfield Photography

Centerpieces of eucalyptus, Italian ruscus, anemone, ranunculus, and tulips brightened the white décor.

16 of 20

The Place Settings

sara ryan wedding philadelphia menus
Redfield Photography

Screen-printed menus, laid on stoneware plates, directed guests to the pizza and barbecue food trucks parked in the courtyard.

17 of 20

Get Inked

sara ryan wedding philadelphia tattoo bar
Redfield Photography

Guests had the option of getting real tattoos—an X, O, ampersand, heart, or Saturn—from Red Lotus Tattoo Company. "We had never seen it done before and thought it would be cool," says Sara. They didn't expect so many people to take them up on the offer. "My aunts, my cousins, everybody wanted one," she marvels. "Ryan's grandparents got matching knuckle tattoos!"

18 of 20

Cute Cakes

sara ryan wedding philadelphia cake
Redfield Photography

A petite vanilla confetti cake, from a bakery the couple frequent, was among the four confections on offer, each frosted in a different style with white vanilla buttercream.

19 of 20

Photo Booth Fun

sara ryan wedding philadelphia guests sign
Redfield Photography

Friends mugged with a custom prop in the photo booth, all provided by Ryan's former bandmate.

20 of 20


sara ryan wedding philadelphia couple
Redfield Photography

Location, Crane Arts

Event planning, Confetti & Co.

Catering, 13th Street Cocktails; Mission BBQ; Pitruco Pizza

Flowers, Fivefork Farms

Photography, Redfield Photography

Videography, Birdhouse

Calligraphy, GGandgold

Cakes, Cake Life

Ceremony music, West Philadelphia Orchestra

Rentals, Maggpie; Party Rental Ltd.

Bride's gown, Theia from Lovely Bride

Bride's veil, BHLDN

Hair, Cabrina Sulimay

Makeup, Aleksandra Ambrozy

Groom's suit, My.Suit

Bride's and groom's shoes, Clarks

Wedding rings, Bario Neal

Lighting, Genetic

Photo booth, Clique Bait

Tattoo artist, Red Lotus Tattoo Company

Balloons, Oh Happy Day

Guys' getting-ready location, Keystone Mini-Golf & Arcade

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