A wedding that melds love, art and family in one inspired location

When a textile artist marries a video-game producer, chances are the wedding locale will be eye-popping. So when Vanessa Golestaneh discovered that Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was available on July 14, the wedding date she and her fiancé, Ömer Baristiran, were considering, she rushed to put down a deposit—even though Ömer hadn't stepped foot inside the building. Her gamble paid off. “Luckily,” says Vanessa, “when he finally got there, he was really happy.”

Under a deep-blue vaulted ceiling painted with silver stars, Vanessa and Ömer, both 28, married on the landing of the museum's grand staircase, in front of a sculpture of a Persian angel—a happy coincidence for the bride, who's of Persian descent. After dinner and cocktails, everyone moved to the columned rotunda for the newlyweds' first dance, a rumba set to Pink Martini's “Amado Mio.” “I had never danced in anything as long as my wedding dress before that night,” says the bride, “but when it came time to do the big moves, like the dips and turns, I just went for it!” The rousing number prompted a lively dance-club ambience that lasted until one in the morning. “Everyone kept saying to the DJ, 'One more song! One more song!'” she says. “People just didn't want to leave—not even my grandmother!” —Yolanda Crous

Our Favorite Things

Designing Woman: The bride designed all of the stationery, from the invitations to the place cards.
Family Style: Instead of having bridesmaids and groomsmen, the couple asked their parents and siblings, plus the siblings' spouses, to stand with them on the museum's staircase during the ceremony.
Wrap Artists: To customize the disposable cameras on each table, Vanessa and Ömer covered them with decorative paper and attached a dragonfly-embossed tag that encouraged guests to “Snap a Shot.”
No Cutting In!: The female guests performed a traditional Persian knife dance. “It was so much fun. Even the men were trying to join!” says Vanessa.

The wedding shoes: strappy Kate Spade heels for the ceremony and dance-friendly Steve Madden flats for the reception.

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