Looking Back On Gabe & Dawn’s Unforgettable Union League Vow Renewal Ceremony

Posted on October 26th, 2016 in Events, Gabriel Fredericks, Our Family, Our Friends by Olivia Marcozzi

On October 23, 2015, the entire Philip Gabriel Photography team gathered in Philadelphia to celebrate love.

This time, we weren’t there to photograph newlyweds exchanging vows. We were there to celebrate our founder, Gabe Fredericks, as he renewed his vows with his wife of 10 years, Dawn.

With their two beautiful children and countless friends by their side, the happy couple declared their lifelong dedication to each other at St. John the Evangelist Church, before heading to the Union League of Philadelphia to dance the night away.

One year later, we look back on that beautiful day to celebrate the occasion and remember the wonderful team that put the entire event together.

The Beginning of the Story

25 years ago, Gabe saw Dawn across the room in their crowded 6th grade classroom. Apparently, that day Gabe walked up to Dawn that day and asked for her name. He then told her his name and stated, “…and you better remember it, cause I’m going to marry you some day!” That year they kissed for the first time. They remained friends and when they were 18 years old, Dawn and Gabe went on their first date. Seven years later, Dawn and Gabe were married on a boat in the waters of the Baltimore Harbor!

An Idea Is Born

Eleven years ago, Dawn and Gabe were a newly engaged couple planning their wedding day.

Like many young brides, Dawn dreamed of the moment her father would walk her down the aisle to give her away to her future husband.

Unfortunately, circumstances arose and her father, Mark, was unable to attend his daughter’s wedding day. Dawn was not able to have that special, treasured moment at the altar that she had always wanted, and that lingered in the back of her mind and in her father’s heart for 10 years.

Fast forward to 2015. Ten years after he said “I do” to the love of his life, Gabe sat down with his father-in-law to discuss an idea that Gabe had. Gabe now had a daughter of his own and, being a wedding photographer, thought all about his own daughter’s future wedding day. After years of photographing so many daughters walking down the isle with their fathers, Gabe wanted to give that same experience to his wife and her dad. Why not give him the opportunity to have that treasured moment with his daughter that he was unable to have so many years before? So, Gabe suggested a Vow Renewal Ceremony!

Together, Mark and Gabe, began planning a modest ceremony, where an intimate gathering of friends and family would celebrate the couple as they renewed their vows to each other.

The Details

It didn’t take long for the intimate gathering to transform into a full blown celebration! The Philip Gabriel Photography team was so excited to hear about the event.

Christina Carnival at Paper, Rock, Scissors did an incredible job designing a set of gorgeous invitations. Gabe and Dawn sat down with Christina and she walked them through their vision for the invitation. She worked with them to design an invitation that showcased and documented their life up to that point. The RSVPs began rolling in, along with numerous compliments!

Mark decidedly hosted the event and as a thank you, Gabe had matching tailored suits made that they would wear on the big day. He also bought a pink and a gold bowtie and had each one tailor to be half the other. On the day of the wedding, Mark and Gabe wore half of each other’s bowties! So sweet!

James Buchakjian from Sagets Formal Wear and helped to “fit the family” and master tailored everything to be sure they looked and felt their best for the day.

Dawn hand made Riley’s intricate dress for the occasion. Aside from all the other incredulous details, Dawn sewed a matching pocket square from both Gabe and her dad which can be seen in the pictures below.

The Celebration Of The Decade

Finally, October 23rd had arrived!

Dawn and Gabe both got ready at the Union League, and their daughter Riley and their son Mason there to help. Sarah Morrison from All About Events watched over every detail of the event throughout the entire day, making sure that everything stayed right on schedule. We loved that Dawn’s old friend, Lynda Ross, gorgeously styled her hair, just as she had done it 10 years before on Dawn’s wedding day. We had a very hard time holding back tears as Dawn’s father finally had the “first look” he always wanted with his daughter in her beautiful white dress.

When it was Gabe’s turn for his first look, the entire team rushed out to watch. Gabe Cariola (“G2”, one of Philip Gabriel Photography’s talented photographers) couldn’t stop snapping photos of Gabe’s face when he saw Dawn! He was so overwhelmed with love and admiration for his gorgeous wife and two amazing kids, emotions you can see all too well in the photos (and beautiful video by Allure Films!)

The couple walked hand in hand to St. John the Evangelist where, surrounded by friends and family, Dawn and her father were finally able to have their moment as they made their way down the aisle. There was hardly a dry eye in the place…and those who were able to hold back their tears couldn’t help but let it all go as Dawn and Gabe renewed their vows. Dawn and Gabe were very thankful to Deacon Jack who worked to make the ceremony very personal to them and meaningful!

Partying The Night Away

After the ceremony, all the guests ran out into the middle of Broad Street (to the anger of many drivers!) to get a picture with pink and white balloons before releasing them into the air. It was quite the feat, and beautifully coordinated by Sarah! Plus, it looked spectacular.

As the guests moved into the Union League for cocktail hour, they were met with quite a shock. Petah Bashano had completely transformed the ballroom into a stunningly romantic reception hall! Petah Bashano worked personally with Stewart Mahan and his team at the Union League as well as Jason Weldon with Synergetic Sound + Lighting to create the perfect atmosphere for the event. Petah worked countless hours to create an eclectic look to match Dawn and Gabe’s taste as well as bring the space to life how Dawn and Gabe in just the way they love to live their life. There were different finishes and textures, many of it contrasting and not matching, as well as beautiful center pieces. He worked all the different elements together to create one one fun, beautiful space. Unique floral and glass displays adorned every table along with an ornately decorated piano bar and some beautiful furniture from Bobby Morganstein . Wow! The guests sat in awe as they enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres.

Suddenly, the lights dimmed as two spotlights appeared on either side of the dance floor. In walked Dawn and Gabe from opposite sides of the ballroom where they met in the middle of the floor to dance to their favorite song, Thinking Out Loud, which was performed flawlessy by BVT Live’s Sid Miller Dance Band.  The effect of the lights was gorgeous, thanks to Jason Weldon of Synergetic Sound + Lighting! Jason spent hours working out the details of the lighting for the day with Gabe and Petah. The room lighting looked incredible and the spotlight for the dance was breath-taking. Gabe was so grateful to have Jason on board to create this ambitious effect.

After their first dance together, Dawn and Gabe opened up the floor to all of the guests for a night chock full of dancing. When they needed to give their feet a rest, guests enjoyed grabbing a drink and listening to Bill Handy from BVT playing and singing on the piano bar!

The night was a huge success, and the celebration continued for days afterward. No one could wipe the smile off of Dawn and Gabe’s faces as they looked out among their family and friends. They couldn’t have been more grateful for all of the people who worked so hard to create an incredible night in celebration of 10 years of marriage.

Congratulations Dawn and Gabe on your “one year anniversary of being married ten!” The whole Philip Gabriel Photography team loves being a part of your lives, and we loved celebrating with you! Here’s to the next ten. Cheers!

Dawn and Gabe’s Team of Professionals:

Planning a vow renewal ceremony? Click here to book Philip Gabriel Photography for your next big event!


Allure Films Preview of Dawn & Gabe’s Day: