Check Out the Floating Greenery-Filled Chuppah at This Modern Location 215 Wedding

The groom wanted an interesting take on a traditional chuppah.


Location 215 wedding

Alison Bellet Kessler and Brandon Oliver Shockley held their wedding at Location 215. Photography by Rebecca Barger Photography

Why not take a tradition and turn it into something unique to you? That’s what this couple did for their modern winter wedding at Location 215. Their florist took the idea of a standard chuppah and turned it into a floating piece of floral artistry. It was a creative highlight of this celebration, during which the groom joined the band onstage to rock out to a classic tune. Check out all of the personal touches, photographed by Rebecca Barger, here. Maybe they’ll inspire some new traditions of your own.

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It was Thanksgiving Eve 2017, and Alison Bellet Kessler was throwing a party at her apartment — as one does. Among the guests was Brandon Oliver Shockley, brought to the shindig by a mutual friend who thought the two would hit it off. They did. But it wasn’t the first time they’d met: They actually were pals back in middle school, at William Penn Charter School in East Falls. They’d lost touch after high school, but their friendship was rekindled after that well-fated gathering.

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Alison’s impression? “He was funnier — and cuter — than I remembered,” she says. And Brandon: “We picked up without missing a beat.” The two began hanging out regularly, and in the festivities following the Eagles’ Super Bowl win in 2018, they confessed their feelings for each other. Cocktails at Royal Boucherie, a movie at the Ritz, and burgers at Sassafras were on the menu for their first date.

A year and a half later, the day after closing on their home (in Grad Hospital), they got engaged. “Under the pretense of a celebratory dinner, we went to Talula’s Garden,” says Alison, the owner of Bread + Butter Communications. They later strolled through Washington Square park, where Brandon, the director of research at 160over90, staged his big moment: He played a song by one of their favorite artists, Kirin J. Callinan, and got down on one knee in front of the fountain.

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Their wedding took place six months later, on December 14, 2019, at Location 215. They transformed the blank-slate venue into a modern, sophisticated and playful space punctuated by a floating floral chuppah in the middle of the room, with greenery; peach, burgundy and spray roses; burgundy peonies; plum calla lilies; and magenta waxflowers. It was Brandon’s idea — he wanted an interesting take on the traditional chuppah — brought to life by Petals Lane, and one of the bride’s favorite details. Alison’s aunt performed the touching ceremony, during which the couple shared the vows they’d written. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, recalls the bride.

The cocktail hour set the vibe for fun. Brandon loved the rolling dim sum cart, with shrimp shumai, chicken and lemongrass dumplings, and edamame dumplings. The signature cocktail was a Bourbon Smash, with bourbon, apple cider, sweet vermouth, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a splash of club soda.

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Dinner was served at tables bedecked with velvet tablecloths and vibrant centerpieces featuring white anemones with navy centers, burgundy astilbe, dahlias, scabiosa, peonies, plum calla lilies, peach ‘Juliet’ garden roses, seeded eucalyptus and ruscus. Candles flickered in every window of the room, creating a warm, romantic ambience.

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The revelry continued with entertainment from Milan 77 — and the groom, who made a surprise appearance to play Prince’s “1999” with the band. There were mini desserts (Mississippi mud pies in Mason jars, rum pumpkin tarts and carrot cake cupcakes) and equally sweet favors (chocolate chip cookies from Famous 4th Street) before the after-party at the Sofitel Philadelphia. To end it all? The couple donated their wedding flowers to Penn Hospice and medical facilities via Forget Me Knot Flowers, beginning their new life together on a note of goodwill.

Photographer: Rebecca Barger Photography | Venue: Location 215 | Planning/Design: Lynda Barness of I Do Wedding Consulting | Florals & Lighting: Petals Lane (wedding flowers donated via Forget Me Knot Flowers) | Catering & Cake: Feast Your Eyes Catering | Bride’s Gown: Justin Alexander from Le Bella Donna | Hair & Makeup: Salon Vanity | Groom’s Attire: Trussini from Boyds Philadelphia | Entertainment: Milan 77 of EBE | Invitations: The Papery of Philly | Transportation: King Limousine | Welcome Gifts: Assorted Philly treats (Tastykakes and Peanut Chews) | Favors: Famous 4th Street Cookies | After-Party: Sofitel Philadelphia

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