Non-Traditional Wedding at Irwin’s

October 15, 2022

When Gillian and Bradie decided to get married, they knew they wanted to do things differently. Their wedding at Irwin’s ignored conventions that didn’t work for them and embraced traditions they loved. They took advantage of Irwin’s eclectic decor and took a minimalist approach for their intimate dinner party reception. 

A couple kisses on the rooftop of the BOK Building with the Philadelphia skyline in the background.

Irwin’s: A Rooftop Wedding Venue

Irwin’s is a rooftop restaurant that is a relatively new Philadelphia wedding venue. Inside, towering windows light a long bar with velvet blue chairs. The bar feels industrial, but the colorful furniture and natural light bring the space to life. Even the chairs for the ceremony are multi-colored and bright. The terrace offers an unbeatable view of the Philly skyline. If the weather is good, it’s ideal for an outdoor ceremony and dining.

Two groomsmen try to tie a tie in the getting ready suite.

Even with the beautiful views, Irwin’s is a restaurant first and foremost. It’s perfect for couples who want their wedding to have a modern but decadent dinner party atmosphere. The nationally-recognized chef created a Scicilian menu with an emphasis on handmade pasta and seafood. Eating at Irwin’s is truly a treat for wedding guests. 

Irwin’s is located on the eighth floor of the BOK Building. This block-long building originally was built to be a vocational school in the 1930s. It still has a basketball court and auditorium original to the building, but now it houses over 250 businesses, including many artists. The eclectic nature of the space makes it a fun place to explore for wedding portraits. 

A bride and groom hold hands beside potted plants upstairs at irwin's.

Since the BOK Building is an old school, an Irwin’s wedding comes with unique getting ready and portrait spaces. Bradie got ready in the basketball coach’s office. We took photos in the auditorium and stairwells. I suggested that Bradie and Gillian pretend that they were skipping class to make out in the hallways. The venue made it easy to bring out the playful, lighthearted side of this couple.

Bradie straightens his jacket in the auditorium.
A bride and groom walk through the BOK Building auditorium before their Irwin's wedding.

I loved photographing Gillian and Bradie’s wedding at Irwin’s on film. The nostalgic feel of film suited the historic architecture and details leftover from the BOK Building’s time as a school. It feels vintage and whimsical in a venue like this. 

Gillian and Bradie pose for individual wedding portraits in the BOK Building auditorium.
The bride and groom smile at each other walking the halls of the old school.

Located in the South Philly neighborhood of East Passyunk, Irwin’s is less than a mile from the subway. Guests will have an easy time navigating the area with public transportation. The neighborhood has many walkable parks, restaurants, and bars too. Guests staying in the area won’t have to go far to enjoy themselves. 

Bradie laughs with a cocktail in his hand inside Irwin's bar.
Gillian and Bradie lean against a wall in a stairwell.

A Non-traditional Wedding for Gillian and Bradie

Gillian and Bradie opted for a non-traditional approach to their wedding day. In fact, they originally planned on eloping. When they realized that they wanted to celebrate with their close family and friends, they decided to have a wedding that felt like them. They chose Irwin’s because they wanted their wedding to feel like the best dinner party.

The ketubah sits on a coffee table.
The family prepares to sign the ketubah in Irwin's.
The family poses together against a wall.

Instead of spending the morning apart and doing a traditional first look, Gillian and Bradie spent most of the day together. They got ready in separate suites but skipped the fanfare of a formal first look. This approach meant that they could stay focused on each other and the small interactions that show their love for each other. 

Guests sit for the rooftop wedding in Philadelphia.
A couple gets married under a chuppah at Irwin's Upstairs.

They ensured their wedding was true to them, so Bradie played basketball with friends on the old school court. We ended up taking most of his photos there. Even though it’s an unconventional setting for the groom’s portraits, it felt right for Bradie. 

Guests sit in multicolored chairs to watch the wedding ceremony.
The sun sets over South Philadelphia.

Gillian made several non-traditional choices for her details and dress as well. She skipped florals altogether, and she purchased her dress secondhand online. The iridescent colors reflected the sunlight during the ceremony. The blues and pinks of her skirt also fit in perfectly with the decor at Irwin’s. 

Multicolored chairs line dining tables on the roof at Irwin's.
Table settings for the wedding reception include wine glasses casting shadows.

A lot of Gillian and Bradie’s wedding was unique, but they did incorporate some Jewish traditions into their day. Before the rooftop ceremony, they signed their ketubah with family around. A chuppah draped over their ceremony spot. During the reception, they did the hora with most of their guests joining in the fun.

A chef grates cheese over a pasta dish.
A bride and groom dance at their rooftop wedding at irwin's.

Are you looking for a Philadelphia photographer to document your wedding? Reach out to me here!

Thank you to the vendors who made Gillian and Bradie’s wedding possible:
Photographer: Jason Moody
Planner: With Wisdom
Venue: Irwin’s and BOK Wed
DJ:  The Other Wedding DJ
Cake: Second Daughter Baking Company
Makeup & Hair: Jessica Saint
Rings: Emily Chelsea Jewelry