Sarah and Casey’s Self-Officiated Philly Food Truck Wedding

* Sarah, Illustrator and Graphic Designer & Casey, Software Developer * Photographer: Kateryn Silva Photography * Soundtrack for reading: “Postcards from Italy” by Beirut *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Pure Joy.

The Info—Photographer: Kateryn Silva Photography / Venue: Maas Building / Food: Pitruco Pizza / Dessert: Little Baby’s Ice Cream / Music: West Philadelphia Orchestra / Flowers: Diana Settar (Based in Chicago)/ Sarah’s Dress: Lyden by J Crew

Other cool stuff we should know about: Something that we both wanted for our wedding ceremony was to write our own vows and officiate ourselves. Being two introverts, this was probably a surprising choice, but it felt right. We had both arrived at the decision to get married after careful consideration, so we felt that this was a way to really own this new chapter in our lives. Pronouncing ourselves husband and wife was a really awesome and empowering moment for us.

Also during that weekend, our families met for the first time. I’m originally from Illinois and Casey’s from Virginia, so there had not been a chance for them to meet previously. My favorite moment was sitting around our dining room the day before with my family and Casey’s mom. We chatted and joked and caught up, and it felt so natural and easy to have everyone together.

Favorite thing about the wedding: (Really hard to decide on just one moment, but…) Towards the end of dinner, the West Philadelphia Orchestra made a surprise entrance as they filed into the dining area and started playing music. It was so fun and joyful and got everyone off their bums and dancing.

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  • A H

    I scrolled to the 2nd picture and had to keep myself from exclaiming “MY DRESS!!!” out loud (I don’t think my office would understand!)! You looked beautiful and it’s so exciting to see the dress on another bride in a real wedding before I get married :) So much love in these photos…it looks like you had a great time :)

    • Another Meg

      I know Colorado allows this as well, but I’m not sure about any other states…

  • Amy Elizabeth

    How do you self officiate?! We’ve really been struggling to find an officiant that is a good fit for us…. This sounds like a AMAZING option! I would LOVE to know more!

    • scw

      I don’t know that much about it, but (I believe) it is also called a quaker marriage. you might have some luck looking it up with that name. I think that pennsylvania is one of the few states that allow it.

      this is a great post. I love seeing weddings from my city!

    • Brenda

      Yes, it’s called a self-uniting ceremony and comes from Quaker tradition. I think a few other New England states allow it. The other benefit is even if you do want someone else to officiate, it can be anyone and they don’t need any special ordination because technically you’re marrying yourselves. You just need to sign the marriage license with witnesses.

      My best friend and her husband did this, with a friend as a kind of “master of ceremony” and it was really beautiful.

    • Emmy

      We’re doing this. My fiancé is Quaker, so we’re getting married “in the manner of Friends,” without an officiant. We’re thrilled that it’s possible here in Pennsylvania. All we have to do is ask for a self-uniting marriage license.

    • The whole idea of a marrying yourselves just so fits with how I see marriage. It sounds like a beautiful tradition and it’s extra awesome that some states allow people that freedom.

  • Sarah and Casey, thanks so much for picking me to document their beautiful day. I absolutely agree with the vibe description: Pure joy. You guys know how to put on a great party :) hell yeah West Philly Orchestra!

  • Faith

    Yeah Philly!

  • Sarah

    Thanks @AH! You will look beautiful – the dress is gorgeous!

    And @Amy Elizabeth, SCW is right. Due to its Quaker beginnings, Pennsylvania has a self-uniting marriage license, just costs $10 more than the regular. Not sure which other states allow it.

    • Ooh, exciting, I’ve been wanting to ask this of someone who self-officiated: how did you two end the ceremony? It sounds like you literally just pronounced yourselves husband and wife? Did one of you say it, or both together? My fiancée and I are planning on self-officiating our ceremony this summer (we’ll already be civil unioned, so we don’t need it to be legal in our state). I’m really excited about it, but for some reason we’re getting really hung up on how we end it. “We now pronounce ourselves wife and wife” just sounds a little weird to my ear, but not having something official like that also seems a little off.

      • KC

        I don’t know whether “We now pronounce ourselves MARRIED!” might work?

      • Sarah

        It sounded a little weird to us, too – but we did end up saying just that!

        “You have witnessed our vows for marriage. So may we now pronounce ourselves
        “and wife.”

        • I like the “You have witnessed our vows for marriage” part! I feel like if the lead-up is good, it won’t feel quite so weird to me. The part where we’ll have just said our vows and married ourselves in front of everyone we love should take some of the awkwardness off of it, also. Thanks!

  • Catherine B

    Ooooh I think this is my favorite pictures/song combo yet! It’s perfect! What a lovely celebration.

  • A self-uniting wedding? Love it!! I’m trying to convince my mister that it’s the way to go since we’re not really churchy people and don’t have an officiant that we’re particularly close to.

  • This is my favourite wedding ever on APW, including my own. And I’ve been reading since 2009. So enormously beautiful.

  • This is hands-down my favorite wedding on APW so far. Absolutely gorgeous, genuine and radiant.

  • morningglory612

    I, too, love the idea of a self-officiated wedding, but we’re not able to do it in NJ. Neither my fiance or I are particularly religious. We are having our town’s mayor be our officiant. If all goes as planned, we will essentially marry ourselves with our own exchange of vows and readings from friends and then the mayor will say what she needs to say and make it official.

  • LOVE the last photo! Such pure joy.

  • LIZ (SINCE 1982)

    Love everything about this wedding! I too would love to hear more about the self-officiating aspect, especially any shareable details about writing the ceremony. We’ve had those amazing vow open threads but my gent and I are writing (and, let’s be real, cribbing parts from literature, fandom, and the internet) our whole shebang and it’s a little overwhelming sometimes to figure out how everything is going to “go,” what to include and what to edit, etc. It’s been a really rewarding process so far but difficult as well, so it’s encouraging to see/hear from others who have pulled it off!

  • Great soundtrack choice! I love Postcards from Italy. It looks like such an incredible day! Congratulations!

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  • I saw the photo of the West Philadelphia Orchestra and totally guessed it was them! They are so much fun! Beautiful wedding!

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  • Bohomama

    Beautiful wedding!!!!! My husband (who happens to have a food truck in Philly) & I also officiated our ceremony. It felt crazy and so right at the same time!

  • Sarah

    Some more thoughts on our self-uniting ceremony…

    It took many hours of research and advice from friends to find the words that felt right for us. And although the process was long and arduous, it expressed what we felt about marriage. When looking at models in the beginning, the Quaker marriage ceremony was the one that got us on this road, but we realized that the structure wasn’t quite right for us, and our attendees.

    About two weeks before our wedding, we asked a friend (who is an officiant) for some guidance, and who also became our “Master of Ceremonies.” When we met, he helped us nail down our structure and bring our ideas into a ceremony that was cohesive. He announced the beginning of the ceremony and got everyone to sit down, helped in transitions and kept things moving.

    Our structure:

    MC: Welcome to everyone attending.
    US: What marriage means to us (I found this passage that felt perfect for us – the first one, we altered it a bit for wording and pronouns
    US: Address to parents – quick few sentences.
    Friend: Reading.
    US: Vows. (wrote our own.)
    US: Ring Exchange.
    US: Closing.
    US: Pronouncement of husband and wife.
    You have witnessed our vows for marriage. So may we now pronounce ourselves
    “and wife.”
    MC said “you may now kiss”

    The ceremony and our vows were a point of stress, in the looming deadline and public proclamation. We were both working on them in the days before. Definitely start on these well in advance. (That first photo is of my friends writing down my vows for me, so I would have a copy for the ceremony (no printer) and I just ran out of time!)

    Hopefully this helps!

  • Hannah

    So beautiful. I actually have admired this wedding for some time on Katch’s site – we also fell in love with the Maas building, so I feel somewhat of a bond. :) (Unfortunately our guest list outgrew it, but I still was excited that we had the same taste!) You are such a beautiful couple! Lovely lovely images.

  • Jenna

    I am so pumped about this post. I have been looking for a Philly venue that is affordable, huge, rustic, pretty, indoor/outdoor…and this is it. I am checking it out soon! And oddly enough, my man and I just saw the West Philadelphia Orchestra last night and he said that he’d love to have them at our wedding. So look at that, it can happen. Yay!

  • The happiness just radiates from these photos. Congrats to you both!!

  • Debbie

    Hi Sarah-

    I’m having my wedding at the Maas in October. Yours looked fantastic! Wondering if you saved any decoration or lighting that you might be willing to sell?


    • Sarah

      Hey Debbie- That’s great! The Maas is an awesome space and they’re so nice. I don’t have much decor left but I can give you some info on resources. Email me at sarone13 *at* yahoo * com if you’d like – Sarah

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