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Colorful Drink Cards Brought a Playful Twist to This Bok Building Micro-Wedding

The groom’s sister officiated the ceremony via Zoom.


bok building micro-wedding

Kate Johnston and Charlie Kemmler’s Bok Building micro-wedding was an ode to their Philly love story. Photography by Peach Plum Pear Photography

There is nothing like the Bok Building, particularly when there’s a wedding (of any size and shape) involved. And this Bok Building micro-wedding during COVID is so sweet and creative that we just had to share. Not only was it an ode to the couple’s love for Philly, but it also had some playful, fun approaches to serving food and drink. Peach Plum Pear Photography snapped the celebration, which you can see below.

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Of all the places they’ve been together — from their 2019 engagement in South Africa’s Kruger National Park to their 2020 move to their current home in Greenville, S.C. — bride Kate Johnston might just love the place she and Charlie Kemmler got married the most. “Philly is where we met and where we fell in love,” says the McConnellsburg native. “We love Philly, with all its quirks.”

The couple matched on Tinder in the summer of 2016, shortly after Charlie, an emergency medicine physician, moved to the area for his residency at Penn. (Kate works as the global director of demand generation marketing at 360Learning.) Their first date began at Stateside in East Passyunk, continued at Bing Bing Dim Sum and ended with Charlie walking her home.

Four years later, on September 25, 2020, the couple said “I do” at the Bok Building. It wasn’t their original date (their June 20th wedding was pushed back due to the pandemic), nor did it have their planned guest count (218 vs. 23), but they took it all in stride.

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“At first, we were bummed at all the changes we had to make,” says Kate. “We both come from big families and were looking forward to having [everyone] together in the same room. But in the end, we had the absolute best day and are definitely now team small wedding.”

Their vendors helped them pull it all off. Birchtree Catering and planner Nicole Hutnyk of Rabbit Rabbit Crew came up with a clever approach to the drink menu to minimize contact: Guests chose a colorful illustrated drink card (sauvignon blanc, Greenhouse Tonic, ginger ale) that they placed in card holders on their tables for servers to see. And individual meal boxes were provided for each guest.

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The overall theme leaned on moody jewel tones — plus the eclectic nature of the Bok Building itself. The couple also kept it local — Yards beer, Isgro cannolis for favors, Philly pretzels in the welcome bags.

There was plenty of personalization, too. Custom napkins shared fun facts about the couple — like the time when they took a dip in the Baltic Sea in December. Charlie loved their private gift exchange: “Sharing the whole wedding experience with Kate was wonderful, but it was nice to have a moment in the middle of everything to … take in the moment.”

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But the experience that struck them both the most was their ceremony, officiated remotely via livestream by Charlie’s sister, Alexis Simpson, an ordained minister. (Her husband was undergoing chemotherapy at the time, so it wasn’t safe for her to travel.) “It was really special to us that she was able to still be there in that capacity,” notes Kate.

The bride and groom also wrote their own vows, which they didn’t share with each other ahead of time — an important aspect for the couple, who wanted to live each moment of their day in Philly.

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“I’m glad we were able to get married overlooking such a special city,” finishes Kate. “I’m so thankful the pandemic didn’t take that part of our wedding from us.”

THE DETAILS
Photographer: Peach Plum Pear Photography | Venue: Bok Building | Planning/Design & Signage: Nicole Hutnyk of Rabbit Rabbit Crew | Florals: Jollifier Floral | Catering: Birchtree Catering | Bride’s Gown: Wtoo by Watters from BHLDN | Hair: Kelly Hursh of Namesake | Makeup: Kelley Wohlforth of Parlour Beauty | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Entertainment: Noggin Hill (cocktail hour); No Macarena (reception) | Cake: Whipped Bakeshop | Invitations: Minted | Videography: Stagger Films | Officiant: Alexis Simpson (the groom’s sister) | Rings: Leon’s Jewelry (engagement ring); L. Priori Jewelry (wedding bands) | Favors: Isgro Pastries (cannolis)

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