When a Wedding Photographer Gets Married, You Get an Epic Day
Derek Dibrell of Chase Images and Laura Phillipsie had a number of memorable details on their wedding day, including being married on a rooftop under a floral arch that perfectly framed the city they love.
On Sept. 2, 2022, Derek Dibrell and Laura Phillipsie were married nearly six years to the day they met.
They were married at Over Eden on the rooftop of the Tryp Hotel in Lawrenceville, just a few blocks from the site of their first date, Round Corner Cantina, which is also a short distance away from where they now live.
The combination made for the perfect day.
“We wanted a very unique venue, because, you know, having like our first date in Lawrenceville, we kind of wanted to have city vibes for it,” Derek says. “We weren’t sure until we actually went to Over Eden one night and had a drink and we were actually frustrated with wedding planning at that point — we had looked at a couple other venues that just weren’t a good fit — so we went there to have a drink and we looked around and we’re like, oh my god, this is perfect.”
Derek has been a wedding photographer — he owns Chase Images — for about 12 years. When he and Laura, who works in human resources at PricewaterhouseCoopers, got engaged, he knew he wanted fellow photographer Joey Kennedy to use his signature light-and-airy style to capture the day.
Then, Derek sat back and let Kennedy take the reins.
“It was nice not having to carry around like eight cameras and all this gear and just have fun and attend a wedding and not be stressed about it,” Derek says.
It was Kennedy who suggested the couple take portraits in a tucked away spot in Highland Park, where water lilies were in bloom in a pond surrounded by lush greenery. He kept the exact spot a secret until they got there.
“We both grew up in Pittsburgh,” Laura says. “I’ve never seen any place like that in Pittsburgh before.”
The couple’s intimate day included 70 guests and a small bridal party. Their first dance was to “As the World Falls Down” from the movie “Labyrinth,” one of the couple’s favorite films; Amanda Wolf Productions helped them master some steps for a slightly choreographed dance.
“People had told us before, it’s probably one of the very few times in the night that is just going to be you and Derek, just taking it in, and it was. It was such a special time,” Laura says.
Derek knew he wanted to do a first look and Laura agreed.
“We wanted to spend cocktail hour with our guests because we knew that the night was gonna fly by,” Derek says. “[During] the first look, I definitely got a little teary-eyed.”
At Kennedy’s suggestion, florist Fox and the Fleur created a floral arch meant to evoke the Garden of Eden under which the couple was married. The blooms also proved to be an enticing selfie backdrop for guests.
“It really was perfect,” Derek says.