Adorable Rainy Engagement Session: Danielle & Zach

Rain in the forecast gotcha down?  Don't worry, girl!  This rainy engagement session is proof that an umbrella and a few puddles make the perfect props for an adorable photo shoot.  While their engagement story is straight up out of a fairy tale (full story below), the weather wasn't looking quite so good for their pre-wedding pics with Palermo Photo.  Did they reschedule?  Nah.  They embraced the clouds and precipitation and ended up with a session that was just as sweet and lovely as any sunny one I've seen.  I'm not sure Danielle's smile could get any bigger and the way Zach looks at her is totally sweet.  If the weatherman calls for rain on their October 28th wedding day, I have a feeling they'll roll right along with the punches.

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

We both worked at Mylan in Morgantown.  Zach was too shy to actually speak to me, even though he had noticed me around for months.  After I moved to Canonsburg, a mutual friend helped to get us talking to each other.  We met at a Pirates game for our first date.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

We were at Disney World with my family in July.  We had a date night planned at the California Grill and were seated at a table overlooking Cinderella's castle.  After dinner, a covered plate was placed in front of me as a “special treat from the chef”.  The silver dome was removed, and I saw a a crystal slipper surrounded by flowers and chocolate writing that read “Will you marry me?”.  Zach got on one knee and proposed.  After I said yes, the fireworks over Cinderella's castle started.

Describe the engagement session.

We originally wanted a fall themed shoot to go along with the fall wedding that we are planning.  We were hoping to have the pictures taken at a beautiful park in Peters Township.  Unfortunately, they were calling for rain.  We decided to take our chances with the weather and opted not to reschedule the shoot.  That morning, it was absolutely beautiful out when I went to get my hair and make up done.  When I left the studio, it was pouring rain.  We met with Maria at Mellon Institute instead, as there is cover from the rain there.  We took some pictures undercover and, toward the end, we took some out in the rain.

We have always believed that life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, but instead it's about learning to play in the rain.  That's exactly what we did with our pictures.  We knew that the pictures would be amazing no matter what, so we decided to have fun with them and make the most out of the situation.  We jumped in puddles and danced.  It was a blast, and it made the pictures incredibly unique.

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A Pop Up Wedding: 6 Ways to Tell if It’s for You

If you’re on the fence about having a pop up wedding, today’s post is for you.  This new, trendy wedding alternative – being brought to you locally by The Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding Company – has recently become all the rage among contemporary couples looking for a twist on the old wedding favorites.  What’s a pop up wedding, you ask?. It’s a non-traditional, fun, care-free, stress-free wedding in a theoretical box.  It consists of a 90-minute, all-inclusive ceremony and celebration for a small group of guests, and includes a unique venue location, flowers, photographer, officiant, music, cake, a styled set, etc. etc. etc.. But how to tell if this idea is for you?. Read on, my friends, read on.

1.) If you want to get married but don’t want to spend a million dollars.

One price.  All inclusive.  Wam bam thank you ma’am.  The Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding includes everything from a bouquet to a small cake to the venue to a photographer and even someone to perform the ceremony, all at an affordable price.  The average cost of a wedding has soared to over $35k.  Why go into all of that debt when you can literally spend a fraction of that amount and still have an awesome day?!

2.) If you want to get married but don’t want to do any of the work.

Planning a wedding can be exhaaaaaaausting.  Not to mention totally overwhelming.  Don’t want to spend all of that effort on just one day?  There’s an easy solution – let someone else do it for you.  The Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding arranges e.v.e.r.y.thing.  You literally just need to show up.

3.) If you want to get married but want to keep it small.

Can’t imagine a 300 person wedding?  Me neither.  If you want to keep your day intimate, consider a pop up wedding.  Limited to 20 guests, the Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding ensures that you share your wedding with only your nearest and dearest…not those third cousins twice removed whom you haven’t seen in ten years or that creepy family friend whose name you always forget.

4.) If you want to get married and FAST.

Harry Burns said it best with, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”  (Name that movie!)  You’re in love, you’re engaged, why wait?  While the average proposal lasts 12 – 18 months, pop up weddings are planned with only a few weeks or months’ notice.  Whatever your reason for not wanting to wait, the Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding could be your answer!

5.) If you want to get married but don’t know where to begin with styling a wedding.

Don’t you worry about a thing, girl!  The Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding takes care of that too.  Conveniently, it’s the sister company of Vintage Alley Rentals, a local biz specializing in antique, boho, and whimsical furniture and décor rental pieces.  They bring their truck full of goodies and make sure that the venue looks picture perfect.  There might even be a surprise or two!

6.) If you want to get married and want do something totally unique!

Long gone are the days of cookie cutter weddings.  Give your family and friends (and yourself!) something to remember by thinking totally outside the box.  Hydrangea centerpieces?  I’ve seen ‘em a million times.  Sparkler exits?  Pretty, but over it.  Ballroom wedding?  They’ll always be popular but I long for a new flavor.  But a pop up wedding?  Now THAT’S unique!

So what do ya say?  If you answered YES to any of the above questions, you might want to consider the Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding.  They’ve got two amazing pop ups coming up – the traditional Pop Up Wedding on October 27 at the Pump House and a holiday Pop Up Wedding on December 29 at the Allegheny County Courthouse.  Give them a ring for a free consultation!

Introducing The Pittsburgh Stylist!

Talk about that bridal glow!  Jeni was absolutely beaming on her wedding day!  If you want to be too, I highly recommend working with The Pittsburgh Stylist.  Not only is Tamie bubbly, warm, and super fun to be around, she's also extremely passionate about her work.  She loves working with clients on skin care, facial treatments, and, of course, makeup application for their big day.  Her knowledge and skills coupled with your vision mean you'll look and feel like yourself, only a little bit extra special.  Because who doesn't want to feel extra special on their wedding day?  If you're still on the hunt for the perfect wedding makeup artist, head on over to the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide to see more work from The Pittsburgh Stylist.

Heartfelt Woodsy Wedding at Fallingwater: Ashley & David

A shared affinity for antique lamps initially brought Ashley and David together.  But it was their mutual eccentricities and love of nature that really sealed the deal for this couple.  After an incredibly sweet proposal at Fallingwater, Ashley and David returned to that very spot to celebrate their lifelong commitment to each other…and it was exactly five years (to the day) after their very first date.  But just wait – this wedding gets even more heartfelt.  Ashley says, “Weddings are events but when you include those that you love and love you in return, they become so much more.  The day becomes a gift.”  Because of that, their day was chock full of heartfelt, familial touches.  All of the florals used in the  ceremony and reception were grown by Ashley's mom, and the bride's dried flower bouquet was arranged by the matron of honor.  The father of the bride cut down a tree in his backyard to use as centerpiece decor.  While there wasn't cake at this wedding, each of the pies were also made by the mothers of the bride and groom.  Ashley herself made the corn hole boards and the stationery.  The focus wasn't so much on DIY as it was on being authentic, and I think they totally nailed it.  A few of my favorites?

  • Ashley's dress.  The off-the-shoulder Daughters of Simone number with lace trim made this wedding's boho vibe come to life.
  • The ceremony location and decor.  Ashley and David knew they had to get married outdoors.  So the forest-y landscape of Fallingwater was picture perfect.  They dressed it up with a floral and fabric covered arbor that was just divine.
  • Yummy favors.  Guests went home with their choice of a variety of homemade jellies, crafted with love by the mother of the bride.

Natalie Mancuso Photography beautifully captured this wedding that was a celebration of love, family, and individuality.  I'm smitten.

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

David and I were set up by my best friend.  She had known Dave for years, as he was a member of the same car club as her husband.  After a breakup, she said to me, “I've got the perfect guy for you”.  You know, people say these things but it's not very often that it is true.

She arranged for us to meet at an estate sale.  You see, both of us were lifelong collectors of antiques and what some other people call junk.  The meeting was a success and we started out as friends with a shared affinity for old lamps (of all things).  After a few months, I got up the courage to ask Dave out on a date.  We went on a short road trip to an auction of mid-century modern furniture in Medina, OH.  On the two hour drive, I remember that we discussed our childhoods and upbringings.  I was so happy to learn that he also grew up in the country, loved nature, but felt that the city suited him best.  He was happiest that I was a Polish girl.  After the auction, he wanted to take me out to a fancy meal and chose a steakhouse.  It seems that I had forgotten to mention that I was a vegetarian.  He was embarrassed and I was smitten.

After a year of dating, he asked me and my cat to move in.  A year after that, we purchased a home together.  We've been inseparable ever since, supporting each other and going on endless adventures.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

Although Dave and I live in and love the city, we love the outdoors and love to camp.  We try to sneak off for the weekend as much as we can and the proposal weekend was one of these times.  We had spent a few days at our usual spot in the Laurel Highlands hiking, cooking, and foraging for wild mushrooms (we are members of the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club).  After packing up and getting ready to head back home on Sunday afternoon, Dave suggested that we stop by Fallingwater.  We had been there a dozen times before but I figured what the heck.  We walked down the winding path to the overlook and sat on the bench to look at the house.  There we sat surrounded by tourists.  He turned to me and said, “This isn't how it was supposed to be.”  Puzzled, I looked at him and I knew immediately that something was up.  I asked, “What are you talking about?” to which he replied, “I was going to ask you to marry me.”  Shocked, I quickly replied, “Are you proposing to me right now?”  He nodded.  I somehow managed to get out the words, “Well, you're going to have to ask me again!”

Right there, Dave got down on one knee, in front of all of those foreign tourists and asked me to be his wife.  I was in shock and I was over the moon.  Of course, I said “YES!”

He didn't have a ring and explained that he wanted to design one together.  It was the best decision and I couldn't be happier with any part of it.  He gets me and I get him.  We are a team.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.

We picked The Barn at Fallingwater because we knew that we had to be married outdoors.  We are unconventional eccentrics.  I work as a high school art teacher and David is a mechanical engineer.  Fallingwater wasn't just a beautiful venue; it was symbolic of art and engineering coming together in the most important of places – the woods.  Through this theme, we wanted to incorporate as many personal elements as possible.  It wasn't as much about being DIY as it was being authentic.  My mother grew most all of the flowers in her garden and both moms made the pies (no cake) and the cookies.  My dad cut down a tree in their backyard to make slabs to support centerpieces.  I can go on and on about the details but know that each one of theme is significant and symbolic.  We even chose our wedding date of October 1 because it was the same day as our first date at the auction five years prior.

Our wedding wasn't just about Dave and me getting married.  It was a celebration of us as individuals, of our families, and of life.

What made your wedding unique?

Seriously, the most unique and important part was the fact that Natalie was our photographer.  Dave and I can clam up a little bit in front of some people but she made us feel so relaxed that it was if she wasn't there at all.  We got to be ourselves on the most important day of our lives.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

Possibly my favorite moment of the day was a private one that was actually captured on film.  I was standing at the altar, hand in hand with Dave as the preacher was delivering his sermon.  I was overwhelmed and feeling so anxious.  The day had been so busy and chaotic not to mention that the weather report had been threatening rain.  I stood there and turned my head up at the sky.  It was so blue and the clouds so puffy and white.  I remember breathing in a huge sigh or relief and it was all I needed to be present, to calm down.  After that, I gained my composure and was able to focus on the moment.  It was then that I realized that all of my dreams were finally coming true.

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?

My day was so special because I sought the help of those around me that I love.  For over a year, I got to have an incredible experience with my mother to plan so many elements of the day.  These are important moments that will only help to surround you and your spouse with love and support.  Weddings are events but when you include those that you love and love you in return, they become so much more.  The day becomes a gift.

Vendors

Dried Flowers for Bridal Bouquet: Roxanne's Dried Flowers | Bouquet Assembly: DIY | Bride's Dress: Daughters of Simone | Bride's Bracelet: Second Daughter | Bride's Earrings: Second Daughter | Bride's Rings: Custom made from WAX Jewelry Design Studio | Bride's Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaids Dresses: ASOS, Free People, & Altar'd State | Calligraphy: Friend of the bride | Caterer: Just Ask Catering | Ceremony Location: The Barn at Fallingwater | Cornhole Boards: Made by the bride | DJ: DJ Zombo | Favor: Jelly homemade by the mother of the bride | First Anniversary Pinata: Made by the mother of the bride | Flowers: Grown by the mother of the bride | Hair: Eye Candy Salon | Makeup: DIY | Menswear: Alfani suits from Macy's with custom made ties from Zazzle | Photographer: Natalie Mancuso Photography | Reception Venue: The Barn at Fallingwater | Stationery: Designed by the bride

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Edgy Industrial Wedding Inspired Styled Shoot

Who knew an old abandoned steel mill could be so beautiful?  This edgy, oh-so-Pittsburgh styled shoot is full of inspiration for your industrial wedding.  With a mission of creating something totally unique, Michael Will Photography teamed up with an A-list of local wedding vendors – Poppy Events, Blush Paper Co., All Occasions Party Rental, and Vintage Alley Rentals, to name just a few.  Together, the team aimed to combine the art, culture, and history that make Pittsburgh so rich with contemporary wedding trends.  The result was one full of graffiti, jewel tones, lush florals, metallic details, and romantic candlelight, all in a gritty, rough setting.  Contrast doesn't even begin to describe it, but that's also what makes this styled shoot so incredible.  A beaded wedding gown on an old metal staircase? A bridal belt made completely of orchids and other flowers worn in front of a wall of street art?  Inky watercolor menu cards on crisp white dinner plates?  Crystal mirage chairs on dusty concrete floors?  Wooden tables adorned with sheer beaded linens?  Um, yes please to all of this!  It's unexpected but totally what you want all at the same time. You're going to lose your mind over this one.

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From the photographer…

The inspiration for this shoot was really to just create something different.  I like that Pittsburgh was built on steel and has become something different now.  The city is big on art, culture, and tech.  I love the play on making something different, beautiful, and artistic at an old steel mill.

Vendors

Cake: Madison Ave Cakes | Dresses: One Enchanted Evening | Event Planners: Poppy Events | Florals: Mt. Lebanon Floral | Hair: Hannah Conard Beauty | Linens: Mosaic | Location: Carrie Furnace | Makeup: Hannah Conard Beauty | Menswear: Surmesur | Models: Maya Beatty and Zachary Barzanty | Photographer: Michael Will Photographers | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Blush Paper Co. | Wardrobe Stylist: Christina Imberlina | Vintage Rentals: Vintage Alley Rentals

Event Planners: Poppy Events | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Blush Paper Co. | Vintage Rentals: Vintage Alley Rentals

 

Cozy & Playful Engagement Session: Emily & Aaron

This playful engagement session perfectly captures the flirty and fun nature of Emily and Aaron's relationship.  They acted like two little love birds – crazy infatuated with each other – and happiness simply exuded from the pair.  As they frolicked all over the quintessential Pittsburgh sites – including the North Shore and Heinz Field – Emily and Aaron wanted to show off the city they call home.  They even included their four legged friends in a few shots!  Even as the wind whipped through Emily's hair, this session with Tyler Norman Photography was candid, cool, and cozy.  These two are making it official on New Years Eve, so in honor of their upcoming nuptials, take a few minutes to enjoy their pre-wedding pics!

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When and how did you two meet?

We met in college.  One night, as I got ready to head to bed, a mutual friend brought Aaron by to say hey to me and my roommates.  They were just stopping in, but that turned into almost an hour of intimate conversation between Aaron and me.  Meanwhile, I was in my PJ's.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

After three and a half years together, Aaron took me from our home in Pittsburgh to the big apple for New Year's Eve.  He obviously couldn't wait, so on our first night in the city, he took me out to a fancy dinner, and for a walk through Rockefeller Center afterwards.

We wandered into St. Patrick's Cathedral, and I wanted to get a picture at the front.  After handing off my phone to a stranger with a friendly face, I turned around to find Aaron down on one knee.  The crown applauded and I cried in excitement.

Describe the engagement session.

Our engagement shoot was really a chance for us to mark their first year here in Pittsburgh.  After college, we moved to Atlanta and struggled to find community.  In 2016, I found a job with the University of Pittsburgh and the city where Aaron was born became our home.

Walking along the North Shore was a playful and fun way to connect to our home, our community, and the Steeler's stadium we visit nearly every Sunday of the season.  Tyler is an incredible photographer, and he managed to capture our unique and playful love affair.  It never felt over-posed or over-styled, and the photos accurately capture the connection between us.

Fancy Organic Chic Wedding at Phipps: Amanda & Chris

While woodsy and a little boho, the organic chic wedding trend can still be fancy.  Just take this feature for example.  Amanda and Chris took one of the hottest looks to hit the wedding world in recent years and they added a healthy dose of glam to create a vibe that was one part natural and one part one heck of a party.  The greenery and gorgeous, seasonal blooms of Phipps, which is a special place for this couple and their chosen reception venue, was the main source of inspiration.  To compliment the orange, yellow, and earth tones of their October day, Amanda stuck with shades of grey and taupe for the bridal party, while the decor added pink and mixed metallics to the palette.  Add in lots of mercury glass, a mirrored seating chart, textured linens, and other sparkly details and you've got yourself a wedding that fuses organic chic with glamour.  A few highlights:

  • Amanda's shoes.  These Jimmy Choos were fit for a QUEEN!  Pearls, rhinestones, and feather straps…hell freaking YES!
  • Those florals.  In addition to the bride's textural, cascading bouquet that was finished with long satin ribbons, Sapphire & Lace Design cooked up a variety of centerpieces that included silver candelabras, a trio of mercury glass, and pretty low arrangements.  Not to mention that sweetheart table swag…keep your eyes peeled for it!
  • A selfie station.  Because what is a wedding without a few selfies?  Amanda and Chris's included cut outs of their cat and their favorite celebrities.  So fun!

Classic but modern, this A+ wedding day was documented beautifully by Jody Mader Photography.  Prepare to be inspired.

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

I had just moved back from working in NYC and wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to go to grad school.  After nine years in Lake Tahoe, Chris had just moved back to the area and was in the same boat.

We both attended a grad school open house on December 1, 2008 at Pitt's Katz School of Business.  I was sitting in a chair waiting for the open house to start and I kept feeling like someone was staring at me!  Every time I looked over though, no one was there.  After a few times of feeling those “eyes,” I caught him!  Chris looked at me awkwardly and asked where the restroom was.  HAHA great pick up line right?  After that, the program started and I found myself talking to Chris.  We were chatting about grad school, the GMAT test we would have to take, and having both moved back recently.  The rest of the day we stuck together, ate lunch together, and found ourselves laughing a lot.  I was so excited to have made a friend that perhaps I would be in school with.  Fast forward to the end of the day…Chris asked where I parked and walked me to my car.  He said he couldn't remember which garage he was in, and then said we should exchange numbers so we could study together.  HAHA another great pickup line!  Turns out Chris knew exactly where he parked, but needed an excuse for a little more time with me and a reason to get my number.

The next month passed by and we exchanged a few texts and MySpace (yes, you read that correctly) messages and finally a phone call.  Chris asked if I wanted to get sushi and although I wasn't sure if it was a date or just someone who was going to be my friend at school…I said yes!  He picked me up, we went and had sushi and great conversation, and at the end of the night he gave me a really awkward hug!  During the date, he asked me if I would go snow tubing with him the next day, and I said yes again.  Well, we saw each other the next day and I hadn't laughed that hard or had that much fun in a really long time.  It was refreshing to be with someone who was fun, easy going, and such a gentleman.  He asked to see me the next day…and I said yes again…and well, ….every day after that.  He made it easy to fall in love!

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

My birthday is in June and Chris had been promising to take me to Bedford Springs and horse back riding.  Well, it never happened and I was getting super disappointed.  Come September, to my surprise he finally booked it!  I was waiting in the car, impatient as usual, and he said, “Hey can you come help me get our bags.”  I was thinking “OMG Chris…we are going to be so late for horse back riding…why can't you just get the bags yourself!!!”  When I came in the house, he was on one knee with the most gorgeous pear shaped ring I had EVER seen!  This whole time he had been delaying my “birthday” trip so he could do the proposal at home and then we could immediately celebrate in Bedford Springs.  It was so well thought out!  He had actually tried to tie the ring to my cat's collar and failed miserably, as she tried to eat it HA!  It was perfect…

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.

I wanted our colors to complement the gorgeous orange, yellow, and earthy colors of fall.  I stuck to a neutral pallet of greys and taupes for the bridesmaid dresses and greys for the guys.  I wanted it to feel like fall, but without feeling “holiday-ish”.  We had a gorgeous 74 degree day in late October!  So with the natural lighting and beautiful flowers Phipps had to offer, it felt effortless and hit the mark with what I was looking for.

I accessorized myself and the girls with metallic shoes and jewelry so that although it was a neutral pallet, there was some accents to make everyone stand out.  I wanted modern and eclectic – from my patterned dress to the art deco back of it and the girls in different textures and colors.  The guys wore grey tuxes – simple and sophisticated – with no boutonniere.  Once again, I was going for a modern look and not too traditional.  I wanted to stay away from what I felt like everyone else was doing!

What inspired your vision?

Phipps is a special place to us as a couple, so there was no doubt it would be my venue of choice.  I pulled inspiration from the greenery and fall foliage and flowers there to come up with my taupe and grey neutral pallet.  I added mixed metals everywhere – in the three table dressings, printed table overlays, and candles – to create levels, textures, and an eclectic but modern vibe.  I wanted the flowers to reflect Phipps – wild and natural – nothing too bridal.  The ceremony was on the terrace at sunset, cocktail hour in the tropical forest, and reception in the special events hall.  I wanted elements of interaction, like a party, so I did a bar with our signature cocktail and a S’mores table where guests would go make their own treats.  My ceremony was not traditional; the vows were our own and the Rabbi talked about us as a couple through words we wrote and told to her.  We wanted it to sound like our story, rather than a ceremony.  We kept the terrace and forest open during the reception so the guests could explore.  My inspiration came from us as a couple.  I wanted my guests to be in our favorite place, among our favorite foods and music.  We created a menu of non-wedding foods such as slow braised short ribs with a beer BBQ molasses sauce.  I made sure every detail was reflective of our style and encompassed the essence of who we are, such as our selfie station with our favorite celebs and our cat as “BIG HEADS.”  We wanted to give our guests things to do while celebrating with us.

What made your wedding unique?

I think what made it unique was that nothing was generic.  Every single detail down to the smallest ones were thought out and planned for.  Our attention to detail kept it fun and unique.

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?

I would tell any bride to make sure they stay true to their style and add elements of them as a couple in every detail.  That was my favorite part… from our signature cocktail (our favorite drink – a moscow mule), our S'mores bar for Chris's love for S'mores, to our bride, groom, and cat wedding cake topper!  Every piece of it was “US”.  My advice would 100% be to create an atmosphere showcasing you as a couple.  Be true to your relationship in your wedding planning.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?

Must haves – a great makeup artist and hair dresser!!!  Every bride wants to feel their prettiest.  With that being said, trials are a MUST DO!  You want to make sure you perfect your look prior to that day so that on your wedding day, it's easy!

We did a very casual southern barbeque for our rehearsal at our home.  I think this is a must do as well.  The times of doing super fancy rehearsals are over.  Everyone felt so comfortable and it took one less stressor away from us, knowing we would be at home.

Things I would do differently – I planned 100% on my own.  Looking back I probably could have delegated more.  However, I really wanted to make it “ours.”

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Hayley Paige from The Vow Boutique | Bride's Accessories: Orr's Jewelers & Bauble Bar | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN, Nordstrom, ASOS, & BCBG | Cake: Prantl's Bakery | Caterer: Phipps Conservatory | Ceremony Location: Phipps Conservatory | Challah Bread: Prantl's Bakery | DJ: Modern Era Weddings | Favors: Applelicious | Flowers: Sapphire & Lace Design | Hair: Wedding Dos by Jules | Lighting: Modern Era Weddings | Linens: Lendable Linens | Makeup: Adrienne Pace | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Photography: Jody Mader Photography | Reception Venue: Phipps Conservatory | Rentals: Vintage Alley Rentals | Selfie Station: The bride and Sapphire & Lace Design | S'mores Bar: Bella Christie | Stationery: Zazzle | Transportation: Venus Transportation | Videography: Modern Era Weddings

DJ: Modern Era Weddings | Flowers: Sapphire & Lace Design |Lighting: Modern Era Weddings | Rentals: Vintage Alley Rentals | Selfie Station: Sapphire & Lace Design | Videography: Modern Era Weddings

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Casual Outdoor Engagement Session: Alex & Chris

Rather than something urban and downtown, these two city dwellers opted for a casual, outdoor engagement session.  And I'm so glad they did!  I mean just look at these images – carefree, comfortable, and yet they still manage to be totally swoon-worthy.  Alex and Chris (and their dog, Toby!) traipsed around Moraine State Park with Oakwood Photo + Video.  The results are natural, uninhibited, and gorgeously sun-soaked.  Whether they're climbing on giant rocks or running uphill along a tree line, Alex and Chris look like they're having the times of the lives and are perfectly in love.  What more could you want out of an e-session?!

Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides Casual Outdoor Engagement Session from Oakwood Photo + Video featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

We met six years ago here in Pittsburgh after college.  We met through my best friend, Nina.  She married Chris's cousin, Matt.  (They are also our matron of honor and best man.)

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  When, where, how?

It was 100% a surprise.  I am pretty nosy when it comes to surprises and was definitely anxious to get engaged!  We drove to Erie (Chris's hometown) for a weekend of bottling our homemade wine.  Chris's mom was out of town, which was a dead giveaway that he WOULDN'T be proposing. We also bought tickets to a wine festival and invited our best friends, Matt and Nina, and Chris's sister, Julieann, to join us.  Chris's mom came home Saturday morning and we spent the morning bottling our wine (and tasting it as we went, of course).  We were just about done and wanted to start getting ready for dinner and the festival, when Nina & Juls asked if we wanted to sit outside for a little to enjoy the sunshine.  In Erie, when the sun is out, it is a miracle – so you have to take some time and enjoy it!

We sat outside with some wine and Chris came out (visibly shaking) with a bottle of our homemade wine.  The wine bottle had a custom printed label that asked me if I would marry him.  It was really special.  We spent the next hours celebrating with family, drinking champagne, eating Georgetown cupcakes (Julieann is from Bethesda and brought them) and topped the night off at a wine festival.  It was actually perfect.

Describe the engagement session.

We knew we wanted our engagement pictures outdoors.  We love being outside and wanted them to feel like “us”.  We live in the city and love it.  But we didn't want to take our photos there because we had seen certain areas (that we love) already done by many couples.  We selected Moraine State Park (the mill and surrounding areas).  We got extremely lucky.  It was early June and the day before and after our shoot were both 90 degree days.  Our day was a high of 67 (aka, perfect) so we brought our dog, Toby, to ensure he was in some (most) of our photos.  We spent the day laughing and enjoying the photo shoot, which we initially thought would be awkward and uncomfortable.  Our location allowed for us to create our own photos.  We would randomly just climb up on huge glacier rocks and decide it would be a good spot for a photo.  It made it more natural and less uncomfortable than trying to get “the perfect photo”. At the very end of the day, the sun was going down and we decided to walk up to the top of this hill on a farm.  We found this awesome tree sitting alone in the field and that landscape ended up being our favorite from the day.  Oakwood killed it with all of the photos and it was really difficult selecting our favorites.

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Bridal Accessories: 10 Tips for Choosing Yours

Your wedding day look doesn't stop with a dress.  You need to think about it from head to toe – hair, makeup, nails, shoes, and especially the bridal accessories!  And nobody knows bridal accessories better than Kata Banko Couture.  Colleen, the designer behind this Pittsburgh-based company (a Burgh Brides Vendor Guide member!) is visiting today and sharing her 10 best tips for choosing your wedding day accoutrements!

10 Tips for Choosing Your Bridal Accessories from Kata Banko Couture and Burgh Brides

From Colleen…

In my years of working in the fashion and bridal industries, I have learned much about the ins and outs of pulling your look together with accessorizing.  I would love to share some insight with you. I realize that it can be overwhelming: everyone has an opinion, everyone wants to sell you as much as they can, and somewhere in between all of this, the look you envisioned becomes lost.  So here are some tips on how to bring your entire wedding day look together!

1.) No one knows you better than you know yourself.

First and foremost, never abandon your personal style. Just because you are getting married doesn’t mean you need to go outside of your personal style.  If you don’t normally wear a lot of jewelry, don’t start now.  If you are more laid back in your everyday look, keep it simple.  In most cases, less is more!

2.) When it comes to accessorizing, start with the dress.

That’s where it all begins.  If your style is heavily beaded or blinged out, keep your accessories minimal.  Choose a plain veil, which is super classy, and forgo the necklace.  Actually, in fact in most cases, forgo the necklace, unless it is a dainty little heirloom that is special to you.  If your gown is plain, you have more options: add a belt, do a crown, add some lace or florals into your veil, or keep the entire look chic and simple.

3.) To match or mix metals?

Match your metals.  If you are wearing rose gold earrings, you want to keep that rose gold flowing.  On the other hand, you can also have a fair mix of metals.  Just make sure they are cohesive.

4.) To veil or not to veil?

I always say veil. You are getting married; the veil is a tradition just as much as the gown.  Do it…but!…

5.) Choose a simple, little hair accessory for after the ceremony.

When it comes to choosing your veil, always remember you probably will not want to wear it at your reception. With every hug, the veil gets tugged.  So having a hair accessory to add for the reception is always a nice touch.

6.) Too much bling is possible.

You want to be careful with over embellishing.  You want the eye to be focused on how beautiful you look in your gown.  The gown should always stand out more than the accessories.

7.) Skip the matchy matchy look.

Lace dress, lace veil, lace accessories. It’s just too much and it takes the focus off of your whole look.  Even worse, you’ll get lost in it.

8.) Incorporate something old with something new.

I always create custom items for brides, incorporating heirloom veils, lace from grandma’s dress, etc. This can be very beautiful and it’s one of a kind.

9.) Work accessories into your wedding day budget.

Be prepared to spend money on your accessories, just as you are prepared to spend money on your dress.

10.) And the most important advice of all…

Be yourself and be comfortable.

This process should be FUN!  But it can be daunting, I know.  When you look through magazines and on Pinterest and see all of these editorials, remember this – they are not real brides.  Most of the time, they are styled, edited shoots, which are great for inspiration but aren’t always realistic.


Thanks for dishing your expert advice, Colleen!  Be sure to check out Kata Banko Couture for the most amazing head pieces, veils, belts, and even luxe bridal garters.  Then comment below and tell me what accessories you'll be wearing on your big day!

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Sunflower Wedding at The White Barn: Reina & Kyle

This colorful sunflower wedding is all things bright, charming, and fun!  Reina and Kyle were married on a beautiful summer day at The White Barn in an affair that was family-gathering-meets-barn-elegance-meets-wedding-details-perfection.  Taking inspiration from the bride's favorite flower (that Kyle even incorporated into his proposal), Reina and Kyle's big day featured a palette of gold and cool blue, accented with the other colors of the season – pink, orange, purple, and even taupe.  Watercolor invitations, a pond-side ceremony, gorgeous florals, and metallic laser cut table numbers were just a few noteworthy details, but here is what I loved the best:

  • DIY wooden signs.  The bride and her maid of honor rolled up their sleeves, poured some wine, and bonded over crafting all of the wedding signage.  From cutting, sanding, staining, to lettering, the process ended in beautiful results!
  • A birthday surprise.  The couple got married on Kyle's birthday!  To celebrate both occasions, Reina and their guests offered him a birthday ice cream cone complete with a candle and serenade.
  • A New Mexican wedding tradition.  Family and friends danced to “La Marcha”, a train-style dance that incorporates heritage and family.

Captured by All Heart Photo & Video, this feature has easily become one of my favorites!  I'm certain it will be one of yours too!

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

Kyle and I met during our first year of pharmacy school.  We ended up together after I needed a “plus-one” to a mutual friend’s wedding – but I made it very clear that we were just going as friends.  He played it cool and it eventually became a joke between us.  We started spending more time together, and he finally asked me on our first “not date” – and the rest is history!

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

We knew for a while that we wanted to get married.  He made it official on our two-year dating anniversary.  While I was out for the day, he filled my apartment with candles and sunflowers (my favorite flower).  When I got home, he surprised me by playing and singing a song he had taught himself on the guitar.  Toward the end, the lyrics say, “You’re the girl of my dreams, darling please wear this ring” and he got down on one knee.  Needless to say, that song became our first dance at our wedding!

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.

We had two wishes for our wedding that helped guide our planning – first, that it would be one big party, and second, to transform the barn space into an elegant wedding while still keeping that relaxed feel.  For the design, I wanted to accent the natural, rustic look of the barn with shades of blue, my favorite color.  I also wanted to incorporate sunflowers that Kyle used when he proposed.  Our amazing florist created bouquets and centerpieces with a loose, colorful vibe that fit my personality to a T.

What inspired your vision?

From the wedding planner…Reina and Kyle's wedding palette was inspired by the groom's sunflower proposal and their love of the color blue.  Sunflower gold took center stage, popping against cool blue linens and accented with bright summer flowers.  Shades of blue were brought in further with watercolor calligraphy on the invitations, bridal party attire, and even a temporary “something blue” tattoo that read “Okay, let's do this!”.

What made your wedding unique?

My best friend (who also was my matron of honor) helped me create all the signage for the wedding.  We did everything from scratch – cut, sanded, and stained the wood boards, and designed, printed, and applied the vinyl text and icons onto the boards.  It took a lot longer than we anticipated, but we absolutely loved the end result, and I will never forget the hours we spent at her kitchen island, drinking wine and working on those signs!  I even had a temporary tattoo that says “Okay let’s do this” for a fun and unique something blue.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

Our wedding day also happened to fall on Kyle’s birthday (he’ll never forget our anniversary, right?), so we surprised him with a birthday candle on an ice cream cone and sang happy birthday to him during the reception.  During the reception, we danced to “La Marcha,” a New Mexican and family wedding tradition of love and support for the newlyweds.  It’s a train-style dance that winds all around the venue and ends up with all of the guests dancing in a circle around the bride and groom.  All of our guests joined in and everyone loved it – we had so much fun!

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Justin Alexander | Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal | Cake: Kaleido Kone Creamery | Caterer: Medure's Catering | Ceremony Location: The White Barn | DJ: Redford Wedding Entertainment | Flowers: The Farmer's Daughter | Hair: Bridal Art by Marissa Julin | Lighting: Gray Phoenix | Linens: Lendable Linens | Makeup: Bridal Art by Marissa Julin | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Photography: All Heart Photo & Video | Reception Venue: The White Barn | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Minted & Evolutionare | Transportation: Venus Limo | Wedding Planner: Soiree by Souleret | Wooden Signs: Handmade by the bride and maid of honor!

Photography: All Heart Photo & Video | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Wedding Planner: Soiree by Souleret

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