Why Philly Bridal Designer Jovan O’Connor Wore Three Different Gowns for Her Wedding

Her couture ceremony dress was inspired by Sex and the City.

Morris Arboretum wedding

Jovan O’Connor and Kevin Keller at their Morris Arboretum & Gardens wedding / Photography by Petronella Photography

Remember when we told you bridal designer Jovan O’Connor would don two wedding gowns for her Big Day? Well, she ended up sporting three. It’s not too, too much of a surprise, though. She hinted at a bonus look when we chatted with her shortly before her September 2022 wedding. All of them were fabulous — much like Jovan and her groom, whose Morris Arboretum & Gardens wedding was sweet but stylish. Petronella Photography snapped the fashionable festivities below. 

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It pays to strike up a conversation with a stranger every now and again — at least for Philly-born designer Jovan O’Connor and Kevin Keller, a contractor who hails from Wisconsin. The two met on a sweltering day in August 2010 at Starbucks. He joked that her Frappuccino was not real coffee. She mentioned the heat wave. And that broke the ice. A decade after that, in July 2020, Kevin proposed.

They were engaged for two years before saying “I do” at Morris Arboretum & Gardens in Chestnut Hill. They chose the picturesque spot for its beautiful landscape and history. Their theme was garden chic, and they worked with women-owned businesses and creatives to pull off their dream day.

“As a business owner, it was very important to me to highlight the talents of women,” says the bride.

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It was also important to her to dress the part for her own wedding. “After designing for so many others’ special days, I was thrilled to be able to wear something that I created for the biggest day of my life,” says Jovan. She’d designed a bridal collection prior to the wedding, but Kevin had seen the gowns already — and even helped create them. So she needed something new. And not just one, but three.

Let’s start with the bride’s favorite — her couture ceremony dress and veil. They were inspired by the first Sex and the City movie. “I wanted to re-create that moment when Carrie tries on different wedding dresses,” she says. Jovan’s dress was made of feathers and ivory silk taffeta, with a pleated drape and bubble hem.

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Kevin didn’t miss the significance of the style. One of his favorite wedding details was seeing Jovan come down the aisle in her gown.

As for the other two? The first was a Justin Alexander design that she’d altered. She decided to wear it on the way to the venue “instead of something like a casual outfit because I was in full bridal mode” and for the first look.

dress 1

The final costume change was for the reception, into a pearl-filled stunner. Think pearl hand-embroidered lace from Brussels, stringed pearls on the shoulders and sleeves, pearl buttons down the back, and a fishtail bottom filled with pearl-adorned draped godets.

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Of course, it wasn’t just about the fashions. There were also sentimental decor touches — the couple used Jovan’s grandmother’s dinnerware, with its pretty floral detailing, at the reception.


And Jovan and Kevin felt all the love from their 76 guests.


“Everyone we invited has a special part in our story, and to see people who have known and supported our love from the beginning was exactly the vibe we were going for,” says Jovan.


Photographer & Videographer: Petronella Photography | Venue: Morris Arboretum & Gardens | Planning/Design & Catering: Ashley Power of Power Events | Florals: DNA Floral | Reception Tent Decor: Wild Stems | Bride’s Gowns, Bridesmaids’ Dresses & Flower-Girl Frock: Jovan O’Connor (first-look dress by Justin Alexander) | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridal Stylist: Aaliyah Taylor | Hair: Dominique Nicole | Headpiece: Marrow Fine | Bridal Accessories: Hairs2U Wig Bank | Makeup: Jasmine Carter | Eyebrows: Nicck Townsend | Nails: Brown Sugar Nail Spa | Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux | Entertainment: Manuela Romero (ceremony violinist); DJ Lady FX (reception) | Cake: Two Ladies Bakery | Invitations: The Knot | Officiant: Carvella Jackson | Welcome Gifts: The Muckle Water | Rings: Alyssa & Anna (bride’s engagement ring and groom’s wedding band); The Jeweler (bride’s wedding band) | Photo Booth: Philly Snap Booth | Portrait Artist: Dori Spector Fine Art

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