Real Weddings: Jessica and Vito Leva

This bride and groom planned an autumn wedding with their personal flair

Jessica Schnabel and Vito Leva were actually engaged for longer than they dated — but that’s what happens with love at first sight. “I know it’s clichéd, and people say it doesn’t happen, but that’s really what it was with us,” says Jessica. They became inseparable in the summer of 2006, after Vito celebrated his birthday with friends at Center City’s now-defunct Chaucer’s, where Jessica was bartending during graduate school. By that January, they were so sure they’d spend the rest of their lives together that Jessica booked a date at her dream venue, the Mütter Museum (inside the College of Physicians), just to make sure they clinched it; the ring — a beautiful antique design from the 1890s that the couple picked out together at Pine Street’s Halloween — would come that summer at Vito’s family’s house in Sea Isle. (He planned on proposing on the beach under that weekend’s blue moon, but when Jessica coincidentally started teasing him about when he was “going to do it,”he caved, and asked right then and there.) With her background as a painter, antique jewelry designer and creative writer, Jessica set out planning her fall wedding with a certain vibe and aesthetic in mind. The couple loves Halloween, so they celebrated their rehearsal dinner that night, with their wedding falling the next day, on Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration. Jessica loves everything old, the Victorian era, objects filled with memories, so they worked those signature touches into their decor. And Jessica especially wanted to balance her own different, edgy, feminine style with bridal and traditional — as she says, “Mix the elegant with the fun.” One look at her breathtaking, show-stopping, quirky, ethereal Pronovias tulle gown, and we can see she did just that.

Photography by Marie Labbancz


The Details

Venue: The College of Physicians, Philadelphia.
Event Coordinator: Sheila Corbett, Elegant Events, Philadelphia.
Catering/Cake: Catering by Design, Philadelphia.   
Decor: Flowers by Elegant Events; linens and china by Catering by Design.
Photography: Marie Labbancz Photography, Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Bride’s look: Gown by Pronovias, Pronovias Flagship Salon, New York; hair by Claudia Seyler, Chester County.
Bridesmaids’ dresses: La Bella Moda, Conshohocken.
Men’s formalwear: Country Gent Tuxedos, North Wales.
Stationery: Designed by the bride’s mother, Susan O’Malley.
Music: Swing Shift by Roberts Event Group, Jenkintown. 

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