Colleen and Dan’s ceremony was held in the beautiful Fairmount Park Horticultural Center in Philadelphia.
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With a Beatles-themed ceremony soundtrack, Colleen and Dan stepped into married life together while “Blackbird” played.

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Colleen and Dan’s ceremony was rooted in the strong examples that their families have provided for them. We began with a thoughtful remembrance for each of their late grandparents and then a tribute to their parents as they welcomed the bride and groom into their families.

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Circle of Love, as guests arrived at The Horticultural Center, they were invited to contribute a fern to the Circle of Love in the ceremonial space.

Tribute to Parents:
One of my favorite moments in every ceremony is when I give both sets of parents the opportunity to welcome the new couple into their families. Style-wise, I love the egalitarian nature of the language used, the inclusion of both families equally and the profoundly emotional moment when I see parents affirming that they will see their new son or daughter-in-law as one of their own. Dan and Colleen chose to pay tribute to their parents admirable qualities as their families expanded, it was a wonderful way to begin and set the tone for their entire ceremony.

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“Kathleen, you’ve given your family an extraordinary gift in your example of resilience and inner strength. And Gary, your exemplification of kindness is the standard from which Colleen and Dan want to emulate in their own lives.”

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Robin and Mark, your love is an inspiration to your tight-knit family. Colleen says that when she thinks about what kind of relationship she hopes to grow with Dan in the future—it’s your happy friendship and successful marriage that she wants to have too.”

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Finn, the Best Pup

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“He’s adventurous and fun-loving, competitive, loyal and handsome … a true partner in life, you’re meant for each other…This is a man who inspires you to be a better person while simultaneously making your feel safe, and cherished for who you already are.”–Alisa Tongg, Celebrant

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“She’s smart hard-working and beautiful inside and out, independent and motivated, strong-willed and decisive. She’s curious about the world around her, fiercely loyal and loving. Hers is the smile that can light up a room and warm your heart. She knows you better than you know yourself. With her, you’re home.”–Alisa Tongg, Celebrant

Love Story
Dan remembers vividly the first time he ever saw Colleen. It was June 27th, 2009, he and his friends were enjoying this particular summer evening at the diviest bar in all of Sea Isle City—Ocean Drive, otherwise known as ‘The OD’.

Sometime early in the evening, Dan looked up from his conversation with his friends and noticed a beautiful blonde girl standing next to the bar waiting for a drink. Just like in a movie, the room had become dark except for around the girl, and she had a glow around her—it was as if someone somewhere was pointing a spotlight to illuminate her–to make sure he was paying attention and that he didn’t miss this. Dan remembers it was love at first sight.

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And that’s how it started…For the rest of the summer, they were inseparable. Most weekends, Dan would come out to Colleen’s neighborhood in Manayunk, and that’s when Colleen recognized that what she had with Dan was love. Thinking back on that time, she says it was their weekends together that she most looked forward to that whole year.

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It was just easy to be together, she felt for the first time, that she didn’t have to try and be anything that she wasn’t…she could be herself…and that Dan accepted and appreciated her for who she was. It also, didn’t hurt that Colleen’s cat Ivory, took an immediate liking to Dan…Feeling generous in this new relationship, Colleen even started spending her Sunday’s watching “the game” with Dan. She enjoyed sharing an experience that he was passionate about.

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Colleen and Dan exchanged garlands created by Belovely as a reminder of how precious and fragile the gift of life is and their sacred commitment to each other.

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Over the past seven years, they’ve started their careers, grew their family (Finn and Ivory their adorable puppy and loyal cat), and traveled a lot, going on many adventures together. They’ve been to Spain (where they performed for the very first time, the crowd pleasing karaoke duet Summer Lovin’ in Madrid). They’ve scaled mountains in Peru…white water rafted through West Virginia…ridden bikes through the Palace of Versailles in France, drank their way through Frankfurt, Germany, and explored Lake Tahoe and Monaco. In 2014, using Colleen’s mother’s wedding band, Dan proposed at the end of a four-day trek on the Inca Trail, with the ruins of Macchu Piccu in the distance.

Both Colleen and Dan are so secure in their fundamental partnership and respect for the other, they know they can work through anything as long as they stick together.

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Real Vows
There are many ways people select the words and promises they say during their wedding. There are traditional vows, Pinterest is populated with a great many examples of romantic promises, there are vows based on relationship science and research, couples often write their own promises and appreciations to each other, and every once in a while, (and really this is just for the bravest, most secure in their partnership couples) couples will sit down together and have heart-to-heart conversations about what they want their marriage and partnership to be like. And then they write their vows together—a sort of mission statement for the newly forming family. Colleen and Dan are this kind of brave and intentional, eyes-wide open couple. Here are the vows they crafted together and then shared while standing in a Circle of Love.

I take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I promise to work with you to foster a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone.  I promise to always be your biggest fan and your partner in crime. As a family, I promise to create a home filled with learning, laughter, and compassion. I promise to respect you and to love you as an individual, a partner, and an equal knowing that we do not complete, but complement each other.  May we have many adventures and not just grow old, but grow together.  With these words, and all the words of my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.

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Venue || The Horticultural Center
Photographer || M2 Photography
Celebrant || Alisa Tongg
Florist || Belovely Floral and Event Design
Ceremony Musicians || Meghan Cary with Peter Farrell 
Film || Pair of Hearts
Vintage Rental || Maggpie Vintage Rental 
DJ || The Remixologists
Hair || Prive Salon
Makeup || Nick Townsend
Planner|| Truly You Events

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