This Couple Toured 12 Wedding Venues Before Finding the One

They decided on the Kimmel Center because they both loved it equally.

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Royal Brown and Joseph Brooks at their Kimmel Center wedding / Photography by Gabriella Marie Photography        

We get it. Sometimes life takes you away from Philly and you end up settling down somewhere else. But what we love is when you remember your Philly roots — and return to throw special celebrations here, like your Big Day. This Kimmel Center wedding photographed by Gabriella Marie Photography is exactly that. Read the story below.

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The third time’s a charm — at least for Royal Brown and Joseph Brooks. The pair, who were both living in Dallas at the time, connected on the League and had their first date at a local restaurant. It was here that Royal, an account executive at LinkedIn, told Joe she was vegan. So Joe, a transportation entrepreneur, planned a wellness day for their second get together. And for the third rendezvous? Royal took him to a wing bar called Pluckers. “I was trying to follow a vegan diet at the time but never was successful,” admits Royal. Her “fake vegan” approach later showed up in their wedding vows, which they call a highlight.

They dated for three years before becoming engaged on a trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan that Royal had arranged as a surprise for Joe’s birthday. Joe brought the ring along just in case and, after two failed proposal attempts, finally pulled it off during a 12-mile hike.

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While the couple live in Detroit, they decided to get married in Philly, Royal’s hometown. But it took a tour of about 12 venues before they decided on Kimmel Center because they both liked it equally — particularly for the gorgeous glass atrium ceiling.

“This would be a real feel of Philadelphia for those out of town,” Royal recalls Joe saying. “You can’t beat the location and scenery.”

It was a night to remember. Fitting of the locale, the couple used backstage passes for the escort cards. And their 135 attendees signed a record rather than a typical guest book.

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There were many sentimental moments — like their parents’ speeches. (Joe had actually asked Royal’s family for her hand in marriage a month before that surprise birthday proposal.) And their first dance to Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” was a hit thanks to their dance lessons. “We landed our dip,” shares Royal. “The crowd went crazy.”

The food was naturally phenomenal — Maine lobster rolls, seasonal pickles, and Nashville hot-chicken sliders were among the appetizers, a mojito and whiskey sour were the drinks, and the dinner dished out options like chickpea panisse with harissa mustard.


Finally, before Royal and Joe jetted off on their honeymoon — a safari in Tanzania plus a beach vacay in Zanzibar — the couple and their guests dug into bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches for a late-night snack.

Photographer: Gabriella Marie Photography | Venue: Kimmel Center | Design, Day-of Management and Escort-Card Display: Musa Weddings | Catering: Garces Events | | Hair: Natalie McNeill and Shanda Willoughby of Ends Hair Design & Day Spa | Makeup: Makeup by Chloe | Groom’s Attire: Custom-made by 1701 Bespoke | Entertainment: At-Will Enterprise and DJ Supa | Cake: Milk + Sugar | Invitations: Minted | Officiant: Nisha Marshall | Rings: Brilliant Earth (bride’s wedding band); Hitched (groom’s wedding band)

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