Real Talk: We Put a Down Payment on a House Instead of Spending on a Big Wedding

The couple had a small brunch ceremony then hosted the after-party at their home.

Philadelphia wedding after-party

Philadelphia couple Adriana Adelé Akintobi and Shane Christopher O’Halloran hosted their wedding after-party at their home, which was commemorated with Polaroids of special moments. Photo by Claudia Gavin

When it came time to tie the knot, East Passyunk couple Adriana Adelé Akintobi and Shane Christopher O’Halloran took what was, for them, a practical approach. They wanted to start their forever together, and the best way to do that was to forego a large wedding in lieu of putting a down payment on a home in East Passyunk. It was an economical choice, but that didn’t mean they didn’t want to have some fun, too. So Adriana, a yoga guru at Three Queens and Maha Yoga, and Shane, an attorney with Morgan Lewis, decided to throw a more intimate brunch ceremony and reception at Talula’s Garden (read about that celebration here), then invite their friends and family members over for an after-party at their digs.  Below, they share how they pulled it off, their tips and why it worked for them.

This story is part of Philadelphia Wedding’s on-going Real Talk series, where real Philly couples share their unique approaches to wedding planning and marriage. If you have a unique story or experience worth sharing, we’d love to hear about it.

As Told To: Sarah Zlotnick

Talula's Garden Wedding

The couple took first-look photos in Philly before their intimate ceremony. Photo by Stephanie Barone Photography

Adriana: Shane’s parents were very generous when we got engaged. They said, “This money can be for your wedding or for a partial down payment on a house.” At first, we thought we wanted a big wedding. But we’d look at different venues, then learn it’d be $60,000 for food, booze and the space.

Shane: It felt sort of crazy to spend some people’s annual salary on just one day.

Adriana: At the same time, we got to where it was either move into another rental property or we could bite the bullet and go for a down payment on a house in East Passyunk. That made the most sense for us as life partners, so for the wedding, we decided on something more intimate. We did a brunch reception at Talula’s Garden, but people had traveled far, and we wanted to be in their presence more. So we started looking at venues to go to afterwards, but that just didn’t make sense. The reason we had this small, intimate wedding was so that we could buy a home. It was Shane’s idea to just host everyone there.

Shane: Adriana and I met at a small college in Ohio where house parties were the thing. We thought it’d be fun to bring everyone together for another one.

Adriana: We got tacos delivered from Quetzally, our favorite taco spot. Mission Taqueria sold us some of their green and yellow juice for margaritas. We did our backyard up with lanterns and had a big wall with chalk markers so our guests could write notes.

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Shane: There were 72 people at the wedding, and about 50 came to the house. The idea was the older set could come by in the early evening and our friends could come over later.

Adriana: We didn’t have a wedding party, but we wanted our friends to feel included. So we created a giant six-hour Spotify playlist where all our friends added songs. We still listen to it.

Shane: We told people to dress comfortably, so most people changed.

Adriana: I changed into a crop-top set with a skirt. I wanted something easier to move around in. We also hired a helper from Party Host Helpers, and she was the best investment of the wedding. She was there the whole time making sure the trash didn’t overflow and there were chips in the bowl. She did dishes as the party was going.

Shane: The idea was for it to be low-key and relaxing. People were comfortable.

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