Philadelphia is full of non-traditional and unique wedding venues, but the Fleisher Art Memorial blends art, architecture, and color to make a one-of-a-kind experience. With an unexpected history and eclectic interior, this venue is downright rad. Tim and Chelsea’s bright yet sophisticated aesthetic was perfect for a Fleisher Art Memorial wedding.
Once a boys’ school and Romanesque church, the Fleisher Art Memorial is now home to one of the oldest non-profit community art programs in the country. The result is a community-oriented space with a storied past and one-of-a-kind decor. It includes ample space for both ceremony and reception of up to 120 people.
Before the Fleisher Art Memorial existed, there was the Fleisher Yarn Company. In the second half of the nineteenth century, this company was run by Samuel Fleisher who believed in acknowledging the inherent worth of all people. His sister Helen suggested that he offer free art courses to the adults and children of the neighborhood. Since then, the program has existed in some form at various addresses. In its current iteration, the Fleisher Art Memorial serves over 16,000 community members annually.
A wedding ceremony at the Fleisher Art Memorial is typically held in the church’s old sanctuary. Guests sit in dark wood pews surrounded by green marble and walls and orange pillars. The gilded altars feature church iconography and candles to create a sense of occasion.
Ceremonies typically take place on the steps in front of an altar featuring the Madonna and Jesus. With all of the color and the presence of the art center, the space manages to feel less churchy than interesting and historical. It’s certainly a comfortable place for a non-traditional wedding ceremonies, like Chelsea and Tim’s self-uniting ceremony.
Cocktail hour is hosted in the art gallery. Because the Sanctuary still houses original art from the church, the contrast with the original contemporary work on display is striking. Somehow it all manages to work together quite well. The rotating exhibits will definitely make for fun conversations among guests. Reach out to the Fleisher Art Memorial to find out what will be on display during your wedding.
During the cocktail hour, the Sanctuary is flipped for a reception. Strings of lights add a playful element to the long tables set out along the Sanctuary. Guests get a chance to enjoy the art and architecture at their leisure during the meal. The Sanctuary is so colorful that it doesn’t require much decoration, but florals and creative tablescapes look amazing amid the bright walls and high ceilings.
Fortunately, a Fleisher Art Memorial wedding doesn’t have to skip on dancing. The venue can provide a dance floor, so you and your guests can get down and celebrate. Couples can also bring in DJs and bands, which is difficult in some other historic venues.
I’ll be honest. Working with Tim and Chelsea was a straight up dream. I love working with artists, so working with a couple who are artists at a church-turned art school was very cool.
This bride and groom’s story is as atypical as their wedding venue. Both classically trained musicians, they met when the bride hired the groom to play cello. A Fleisher Memorial wedding honored their appreciation for art and music history as well as their love of everything fresh and fun.
Although they live in Brooklyn (along with their cat, Buckley), the couple viewed Philadelphia as the perfect fit for their non-traditional wedding. Philadelphia allows self-uniting ceremonies, meaning couples don’t have to have an officiant. They really got to make their ceremony as custom as they wanted!
While there were plenty of unique wedding venues in Philadelphia to choose from, the Fleisher Art Memorial captured the couple’s imaginations because it’s so distinctive and unpretentious. Their details reflected this ethos as well! The flowers, feathers, and fabrics used in the bouquets and boutonnieres were unexpected but somehow felt just right.
Are you interested in having me photograph your Fleisher Art Memorial wedding? Let’s chat!
A warm thanks to the vendors who made this day possible:
Venue: Fleisher Art Memorial
Photographer: Jessica Manns Photography
Gown: Custom gown from SHAREEN Bridal
Suit: Suit Supply
Planner: Clover Event Co.
Florist: Vault & Vine
Catering: JPM Catering
Hair Stylist: Allison Wilkes-Bourland
Makeup Artist: Kristina Geddes
Music Director: Jess Marlor
Ceremony Singers: Jess Marlor, Sara Lin Yoder, Elise Brancheau, Katya Gruzglina, Chloë Schaaf
Decor: Craig Larimer
I’m a film & digital wedding photographer based in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey for couples who love out loud.
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