The couple included Italian and Arabic music in honor of the bride’s background.
Whether you’re only having a first dance or throwing a party on the dance floor, music is a crucial element of your wedding. The tunes that make up your playlist often hold special significance to you, your families and your friends. In this duo’s case, they designed a playlist spanned genres and cultures, to ensure that all their guests could find something to dance to. Here’s a sampling of their PAFA wedding, photographed by Love Me Do Photography, below.
Jeremy Dionson’s first impression of Alexandra Nader says it all: “Genuine and beautiful, inside and out,” he recalls. “Her willingness to explore deeper conversation about spirituality and faith during our initial encounter assured me that my feelings were accurate.” The two were introduced by mutual friends after their high-school homecoming dance.
Their first date took them to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where they wandered the galleries and sat on the steps, chatting about life. Seven and a half years later, Jeremy, an advertising professional, proposed to Alexandra, who works in fashion production, on Long Beach Island. “It was empty, giving us a private moment,” she shares. That was followed by surprise drinks with family and friends.
Their wedding, held a year and a half later, was a tribute to their shared values. The ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul was particularly touching. Alexandra and her stepdad were met halfway down the aisle by her father, who gave the bride away to Jeremy. The aisle was flanked by two urns filled with florals and branches. And the couple also kept things traditional, so they saw each other for the first time at the altar. “The organ playing and cantor singing made the moment so beautiful,” says Alexandra.
The reception that followed at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was romantic and elegant, with plenty of spirit. Alexandra and Jeremy enjoyed snapping photos amid the art and sculptures; the bride looked like royalty ascending the staircase with her groom.
The duo hoped to focus attention on the beautiful artwork in the museum rather than overdressing it in decor, so they kept their color scheme to a simple ivory, white and green. (By holding their wedding at PAFA, they supported the nonprofit academy; rental fees go toward its educational mission.)
Alexandra wanted the bridesmaids to choose the style of their own dresses so they would feel comfortable; each wore a different emerald green velvet design. And portraits of deceased family members were placed at the welcome table to honor those the couple holds dear.
Then there was the music and entertainment. The biggest surprise was when Alexandra and Jeremy entered the reception with a zaffa, a traditional Lebanese musical procession with tubel drums and dabke dancers. And the couple spent months curating a playlist with disco, salsa, ’90s, hip-hop, funk, Italian and Arabic music (the bride’s mother is from Sicily, and her father from Lebanon).
“We made sure to have an eclectic mix that everyone from all ages and cultures could relate to,” Alexandra sums up: “We didn’t leave the dance floor!”
Photographer: Love Me Do Photography | Venues: The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul (ceremony); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (reception) | Planning/Design: The bride, her mother & the groom | Florals: Ivy on Main Floral | Catering: 12th Street Catering | Bride’s Gown: Custom-made by Sew Pretty Studio | Hair: Sofia Kozhushko from Air Hair and Makeup | Makeup: Kinza Amer | Groom’s Attire: Custom by Joseph Abboud | Entertainment: Amber Mei Li Mecke (harpist), KevLov (DJ), Afrah Events US (dabke dancers) | Cake: Classic Cake | Invitations: Remember Me Stationery | Transportation: Philadelphia Trolley Works | Videography: Frank Ahn Films
Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings’ guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.