Real Wedding: Rachel & Reid at a private residence

If there ever was a perfect backyard wedding, this is it.  Rachel and Reid's big day last August simply couldn't have been any prettier.  The duo chose to tie the knot at Rachel's grandfather's house, and the location set the tone for the rest of the affair.  Relaxed, festive, and full of family and love, this wedding is a DIY dream come true.  Rachel, Reid, and their friends and family worked for months to get grandpa's house wedding-ready and to craft all of the unique decorations you'll see below.  Like something straight out of a woodsy, summer fairytale, Rachel and Reid's wedding is certainly one of my favorites.  A few of the highlights include:

  • The bride looked like a boho princess with her lace gown, wavy blond locks, and a colorful floral crown in place of a veil.  What an effortless, breath-of-fresh-air beauty!
  • Bridesmaids were allowed to choose whatever coral dress they liked best and the guys wore their own gray slacks and brown shoes.  This mixed collection of shades, shapes, and fabrics went well with the day's casual vibe.
  • Overlooking a field, Rachel's grandfather's backyard offered up the perfect picturesque ceremony location.  The couple jazzed it up with a dainty carnation flower wall (strung by the bridesmaids the night before the wedding!), garden chairs, and twinkle lights in the trees.
  • From the fabric garland and the marquees to the centerpieces and the hand-lettered wooden signs, this day was chock full of made-with-love touches.  Collectively, all of the one-of-a-kind pieces gave the day the homemade feel the couple had dreamed of.
  • Keeping with the at-home atmosphere, Rachel and Reid opted for an old-fashioned BBQ instead of a traditional meal.  Guests feasted on pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, and mac and cheese, among other goodies.  If you weren't hungry before reading this, I guarantee you are now.

Shayne of Soiree by Souleret was there to coordinate all of the day-of details and Mandy Fierens Photography captured them perfectly.  Rachel and Reid's big day was even featured on The Today Show!  See, I'm not the only one who thinks this wedding was seriously stunning.  Treat your eyes to the images below and I bet you'll agree.

P.S. Rachel is a super awesome photographer herself!  Be sure to check out her work as well!

Backyard DIY Summer Wedding - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

Backyard DIY Summer Pittsburgh Wedding on Burgh Brides - Mandy Fierens Photography

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Reid and I met at an M83 concert held at the Carnegie Library of Homestead.  I worked with his sister and she kept trying to hook us up but we were both hesitant.  Then, by chance we met at that concert and the rest is history!

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
It was the day we moved into our new home.  Reid wanted to get a group photo in front of the house with everyone who helped us move.  I was busy unpacking and was like, “That's silly.  It's December and snowing.  Let's do it later!”  But he pushed for it so I was like “Fine, geez!”  (I had NO clue).  Then, his friend taking the picture was actually taking video and Reid got down on one knee and proposed.  I was shocked and asked if it was a joke haha!  It was so special – in front of our parents and close friends.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
As a young girl, I dreamed of getting married at my grandfather's house.  When Reid loved his property as much as I did, we didn't think twice about the location.  We knew what we wanted for our wedding day: relaxed, fun, full of love, and to be surrounded by our family and friends.  It was important to make everything unique to who we are and to reflect our personalities.  We could not have asked for a more perfect August day for this backyard wedding.

What inspired your vision?
Our personalities inspired the vision of our wedding.  Reid is outdoorsy and I loved the simple backyard wedding idea with lights strung up, handmade crafts, marquees, and flowers.  Half of the stuff from the wedding is up in our house now so I guess it really is just our style.

What made your wedding unique?
All of our personal touches…from my husband and father making the cornhole boards and setting everything up to my mom and bridesmaids helping with ALL of the handmade decorations!

I first have to note how amazing my bridesmaids looked.  They each chose their own coral dress to wear.  The different shades, fabrics, textures, and cuts could not have looked better together!  It felt great knowing they all chose something they were comfortable in and could actually wear again.  The groomsmen didn't look too shabby either.  We let them chose any type of gray slacks and brown shoes and the “Motley Crew” really cleaned up nicely 🙂

Upon arrival, guests first made their way up the long gravel driveway, seeing hand-painted signs showing them the way.  These were also placed around the property to let them know where the photo booth, bocce, Jenga, and cornhole  games were.  All hand-painted by yours truly.  While they were time-consuming, I felt like they were a nice touch to help show guests where things were.

When guests reached the patio, they were served peach prosecco punch, lemonade, and sweet tea before the ceremony.  We used the coral color in a lot of decorations so we decided to decorate with peaches!  (I can thank our lovely photographer, Mandy, for this idea!)  What's funny is everyone ate the peaches.  Our day of planner kept having to fill them up throughout the night, haha!  My mother in law is an incredible gardener so she supplied tons of beautiful potted plants that were scattered about.  And my mother made a gorgeous tassel garland that was strung on the balcony and behind the head table.  My mom, soon-to-be sister in law, and I made string globe lights to hang throughout the trees.  Although they were messy and took quite a while, they were a great addition to the decor.  The ceremony site was kept simple.  Carnations were strung on fishing line that hung behind us to create a backdrop.  The bridesmaids made these after the rehearsal on Friday.  The trees framed where we stood and guests were able to sit in garden chairs or stand at high cocktail tables around the pool.  Since we knew we would still have that August heat, we had programs that guests could use as fans.  After a short but sweet ceremony, the guests were able to grab drinks and hors d'oeuvres and play the lawn games while we took photos.  (I do have to give a shout out to my handy husband who made the cornhole boards!)

We decided to go the less traditional route and serve our guests BBQ.  It.  Was.  Delicious.  Each table had milk glass and clear glass vases that we had spent eight months collecting.  The vases had daises, roses, carnations, baby's breath, and hydrangeas in them.  My bridesmaids, mother, and day of coordinator spent the wedding morning arranging flowers and setting tables.  This is another moment where I felt completely grateful knowing this could not have been done without them!  There were kraft bags on every place setting with the menu printed on them, design courtesy of my wonderful mother.  They were stuffed with wet naps, mints, and silverware.  Each guest also had their own drinking glass with their name on it for the evening.  I hand-wrote these with a Sharpie pen and then baked them for 30 minutes.  This was the most time-consuming of the DIY crafts since we had over 250 guests, but it was well worth it!  When it came time for dessert, we had the traditional Pittsburgh cookie table.  Friends and family baked for days to supply these delicious treats (thank you!).  My recent obsession with marquee letters lead to Reid and I collaborating to make a SWEETS marque for the dessert table and a large R&R to be placed at the head table.

A huge part of the decorating came from Carmel at Mt. Lebanon Floral.  She is a genius!  We borrowed two candelabras that sat at the head table with her gorgeous arrangements on them, plus lanterns filled with moss, succulents, and a few other props.  When it came to choosing a florist, Carmel was a no brainer.  I opted for a floral crown instead of a veil and it was absolutely perfect.  I kept it on the entire night.  I was fortunate enough to have my hair dresser as a guest so she was able to give me a quick updo after the ceremony!

All of this could not have been possible without our amazing family and bridal party.  Our hearts are so full from this outpouring of hard work, kindness, and love.  Thank you for making our wedding day something out of a fairytale.

What was your favorite moment of the day?
My favorite moment of the day was marrying my best friend in my grandfather's backyard.  It was so personal with all of our loved ones there in such a unique setting.

Another favorite moment of the day was just looking at everything all together for the first time.  We got engaged in December and had our wedding in August.  It wasn't even until February that we decided on a date so we only had so much time for planning and crafting.  This is where I seriously want to give a shout out to people…my dad, husband, younger brother, and grandfather landscaped their butts off!  They put in a lot of long, summery days to get ready for this and it all would not have looked so perfect without them!  My 80+ year old grandfather was weed wacking the week of the wedding!  He's a total gem and we can't thank him enough for letting us get married at his beautiful home.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Let others help you!  I couldn't have done all the decorating and planning without my mom and bridesmaids.

And don't stress about EVERY detail that day.  As long as you have each other and someone to marry you – everything else could go wrong and that's all that matters!

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
One must have is good food!  It doesn't have to be expensive to be delicious.  We had almost 300 people to feed and everyone loved Clem's BBQ.

Another thing I couldn't have done without were the decorations.  They also weren't expensive because we made them but they set the vibe for the whole evening.

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Alfred Angelo | Bride's Accessories: Kate Spade | Bride's Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids' Dresses: All chosen by the bridesmaids | Cake: Patti's Pasticceria | Caterer: Clem's BBQ | Ceremony & Reception Location: The bride's grandfather's home | DJ: Chuck of Sounds 4 Gotten | Flowers: Mt. Lebanon Floral | Hair: Brianne Neil | Linens: Smarty Had a Party | Makeup: Stephanie Kline | Menswear: All chosen by the groomsmen | Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth | Photographer: Mandy Fierens Photography | Rentals: A-1 Rental | Restroom Trailer: Almost Like Home | Stationery: Occasion Creation Designs | Wedding Planner: The bride!  Day-of coordination by Soiree by Souleret

Europe Recap: Paris

After Barcelona and Venice, the final stop on our first tour of Europe was the City of Lights.  Paris is a bustling blur of people and activity and definitely not for the faint of heart!  With something going on in every direction, it is easy to become overwhelmed.  However, Paris is beautiful in its own right.  The Seine River that flows right through the heart of Paris is a sight to behold, as is the incredibly ornate architecture of nearly every building.  A love of art, history, and the finer things simply oozes from the locals and you find yourself being inspired by just about everything.  Although Paris wasn’t our favorite of the three cities we visited, it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.  If you do ever make it over there, be sure to check out the things on my:

Top Ten Must Eat/See/Do List – Paris Edition

1.) Pastries – Eat every kind and as much as you possibly can.  The official hashtag of this trip quickly became #eatuntilyouhateyourself.  There is literally a patisserie on every corner and each one is better than the next.  No one, I repeat NO ONE, does pastries like the French.

2.) The Eiffel Tower – A trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to its (and perhaps the world’s) most famous landmark.  It’s a beauty from every angle but the best view is from above.  Skip the long line and expensive fee for the lift and climb the stairs to the first level instead.  It’s only 5 euros and it’s a fun adventure (and great workout!).  The views are spectacular!  If you’re really brave, hoof it up to the second level.  Warning – coming back down is much scarier than actually going up!  It’s totally worth it though!  Make sure you go back at night to see the twinkling lights!

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

3.) Marais – This happening neighborhood of Paris is very similar to Soho in NYC.  All of the winding lanes are alive with trendy shops, lively bars, contemporary art galleries, and yummy restaurants.  If shopping for unique souvenirs or eating world famous falafel is on your Paris to do list, Marais is a must see!

4.) Laduree – Nothing says Paris like macarons (not macaroons, which are totally different!)!  These tiny little cookies are amazing and no one does them better than Laduree.  Their recipe has remained unchanged for over a century because why mess with perfection, right?  Treat yo self to a box or two.  I’m not sure what’s prettier: the macarons themselves or the packaging.  Bonus Tip: There is a Laduree shop right in the Paris airport and the macarons make great gifts for people back home!

5.) The Catacombs of Paris – Creepy, but cool.  If you’re looking for a unique experience while in Paris, check out the Catacombs.  This old limestone quarry is now an ossuary, holding the skeletal remains of 6 – 7 million Parisians.  After descending approximately five stories beneath the earth’s surface, you’ll wind your way through 45 million year old limestone and a memorial built to honor those who were laid to rest here.  An experience unlike any other!  Get there early because the line was wrapped around the block a half hour before they even opened!

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

6.) Boulettes – Sienna Mercato has NOTHING on this French meatball joint.  A tiny restaurant with freshly made everything, Boulettes is a nice stop for a quick dinner and a twist on an old classic.  With a range of salmon, lamb, beef, chicken, and veggie meatballs, plus a plethora of homemade, gourmet side dishes (the best risotto I’ve ever had!), you’ll leave Boulettes stuffed to the gills and oh-so-happy.

7.) The Louvre – The world’s most famous art museum should definitely be on your list of things to see while in Paris…if you can stand the crowds.  Home to over 35,000 masterpieces, the Louvre is a huuuuuge tourist attraction.  Our mission?  Get in, find the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, and get out.  The massive crowds kind of ruined the experience for us but we are certainly glad to have seen what we did see.

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

8.) Add a lock to a bridge – Leave your mark on Paris by adding your own lock to one of the many bridges.  I originally thought there was only one bridge decorated with them, but as it turns out, locks have found homes on just about every bridge in the city.  We put ours on the one outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  Don’t worry about buying a lock ahead of time.  Lots of street vendors sell them for around 3 euros and they even have Sharpies handy so you can add a message on your lock.  Celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary?  Be extra fancy and get a lock engraved with your names and wedding date.

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

9.) Notre Dame Cathedral – The third church that we toured on our trip was the most church-like and it reminded me a lot of the Catholic church I attended as a kid.  The gothic influence and its beauty is everywhere, both inside and out.  The cathedral itself is free to tour, while there is a fee for the tower and crypt.  Much like the Eiffel Tower, you can’t visit Paris and not make a stop here.

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

Europe Recap: Paris

10.) Walk along the Seine River – On a nice day, take a stroll along the Seine River.  Get about 3 miles in and start at Notre Dame and head toward the Eiffel Tower or vice versa, walking along the Right Bank (the northern side of the river) or the Left (the southern side).  Either way the surroundings are beautiful.

Europe Recap: Paris

Although we both liked Venice and Barcelona a bit better, Paris was a great end to our first trip to Europe.  Its old-world beauty and constant hustle and bustle makes it a unique mix of ancient and modern.  While I don’t think Paris is my favorite city in the world, I am certainly glad we saw it!  Planning your own trip to Europe?  Keep your eyes peeled for a post full of my planning tips, plus what we learned from our first go.

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A Gift Idea from Wendell August + A Giveaway!

Between the dress and the venue and the flowers and the cake and the music and the…(I could go on for days)…you have a lot of wedding details to worry about!  One thing that you definitely don't want to forget, put on the back burner, or save until the last minute is thank you gifts!  You want to show your bridesmaids, mom, future MIL, and all of the others who helped you out just how much you appreciate their time, love, and support.  Thank you gifts should be personal, reflecting the recipient or something they love, but also remind them of you and your wedding day.  That is why I absolutely love the Upcycled Hydrangea Monogram Bracelet from Wendell August.  This handmade, hammered metal bracelet is seriously stunning and the engraved initials make it all the more special.

Gift Idea for Brides, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, and Moms from Wendell August

Gift Idea for Brides, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, and Moms from Wendell August

Gift Idea for Brides, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, and Moms from Wendell August

Wendell August, a Grove City based company that has been around for nearly a hundred years, was kind enough to send me one of these beauties and I'm so excited to start wearing it.  Even though I've been married for a year and a half, I still love seeing my new monogram, and the interlocking cursive letters on this are really pretty.

Gift Idea for Brides, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, and Moms from Wendell August

Speaking of pretty, check out the back!  Beautiful flower petals and detailed leaves give the underside of this baby a surprise pop of beauty.

Gift Idea for Brides, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, and Moms from Wendell August

It goes great with so many pieces that I already own and but also looks lovely by itself.  It's thick but not heavy at all, and I love the way the hammered finished reflects the light.  Their forging process means that no two pieces are identical, making each bracelet truly one of a kind, just like each of your bridesmaids.  They'll love receiving something so personal, and I guarantee they'll always think of you when wearing it.  BFFs for life.

Gift Idea for Brides, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, and Moms from Wendell August

Gift Idea for Brides, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, and Moms from Wendell August

Gift Idea for Brides, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, and Moms from Wendell August

Not only is it a great gift idea for your bridesmaids, but it's also perfect for a coming-of-age junior bridesmaid who will feel extra fancy in her new big girl bracelet.  Don't forget about your mom and his mom too!  Have a newly engaged friend?  Celebrate the soon-to-be bride with one of these engraved with her new monogram.  Orrrrr you could try and win one for yourself!  That's right…Wendell August is gifting one of my lovely readers with a bracelet of their very own!  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter; each step earns you one entry.  A winner will be chosen and announced one week from today!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wendell August also offers a matching necklace and countless other gift ideas.  For those of you attending weddings this summer, check out some options for the newlyweds.  They even have a whole line of products dedicated to Pittsburgh.  A company after my own heart.  Be sure to show them some love!

While this post was brought to you by Wendell August, all opinions are my own.  And a special thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Ashly for being my wrist model!

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Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

A few years ago, someone started a rumor that it was appropriate to address your wedding invitations using an at-home printer and clear mailing labels.  I'm here to debunk this myth, ladies.  Sure, it saves time and money, but it's also really impersonal.  If you must use them, save the labels for save the dates and thank you cards.  Always, always, always go with a handwritten (or even digital calligraphy) address on your wedding invitations.  You've spent so much time and money selecting the perfect wedding suite; don't devalue it by slapping an Avery label on the envelope.  Not only do handwritten addresses look beautiful, but they let the guests know just how much you want them to be there.  After all, you took the time and care to personally address the invitation.  Plus, everyone loves receiving something so pretty in the mail.

But what if your handwriting isn't the neatest or you simply don't have time to address all of those invitations?  Enter Tracy Hillenbrand-Greenewald of LMM Calligraphy.  A professional calligrapher, Tracy will have the outside of your invitations looking just as pretty as the inside.  Her style is traditional and the result is an wedding invitation addressed with the utmost class.  Beyond envelopes, Tracy can also add her calligraphy to your seating cards, table numbers, favor tags, signs, or just about any other surface you can think of.  Be creative!

At the recommendation of a friend, I hired Tracy to address my own wedding invitations and I was 100% pleased with her work.  Her prices are incredibly reasonable, the turn-around time was quick, and she was even able to write out some new envelopes when a few were returned to me because I had the wrong address.  (Oops!  Let that be a lesson to all of you – double check your addresses first!)

The invitation truly is your guests' first glimpse at your wedding.  Make sure you set a tone of elegance by addressing them in the proper way.  Scroll down to see Tracy's handwriting in action and read more from her below.

All photos courtesy of LMM Calligraphy except where noted.

Burgh Brides Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

Burgh Brides Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

Burgh Brides Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

Burgh Brides Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

Burgh Brides Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

Burgh Brides Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

Burgh Brides Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

Burgh Brides Featured Vendor: LMM Calligraphy

From Tracy of LMM Calligraphy…

What type of services do you provide?
I offer handwritten calligraphy on any size or texture of envelope for any event.  I also do place or escort cards, table names, poems, or whatever you can come up with.

Tell me a little bit about your company!  How long have you been in business?  Is this your full time gig or part time passion?  What makes your services unique?  Why should brides and grooms hire you?
I have been in business for 15 years.  I actually started this business painting a mural in my nephew's room.  After seeing how well it turned out and how much we enjoyed painting it, my sister and I decided to go into a business painting murals.  This is how Logan's Magical Murals (LMM, named after my nephew) began.  We painted part time and did it as a side business.  A few years later, a friend – knowing that I did calligraphy – asked if I would address her wedding invitations.  I did and I found that I enjoyed it as much as painting murals, so I branched out and started LMM Calligraphy.  I still do murals part time but my main concentration is calligraphy.  I also work part time as a nanny, which is another job I enjoy.

Brides and grooms should consider me because handwritten calligraphy will add an inexpensive touch of elegance to any event.  An invitation is the first thing your guests will see and it can set the tone for the whole event.  Table name or numbers and the place cards written in calligraphy can also make an event look elegant.

What is your ideal client like?
I have been very fortunate to have worked with so many wonderful people planning different events.  I have enjoyed all of them and the different projects each has had for me.  I couldn't ask for anything more ideal.

Contact, Like, and Follow!
Email: lmmcalligraphy@comcast.net
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Twitter
Website

Using Ebates for Wedding Savings

Raise your hand if you love Ebates as much as I do!  Don’t know about this little gem of a money-saving website?  Prepare to be amazed.  Simply put, Ebates pays you to shop online.  You read that correctly. You GET PAID to SHOP.  Ebates has partnered with thousands of retailers to snag you cash back on your online purchases.  Here is a longer description of how it all works in your favor:

  •  After you’ve created your Ebates account (which is totally free and they even send you a $10 gift card to your choice of a few major retailers, just for signing up), you can install the Ebates Cash Back button to your browser.
  • When you’re shopping online, the button will alert you if that retailer has a cash back offer.  Click the button and the offer is activated.
  • If you complete your purchase, the cash back is added to your Ebates account and you get a big fat check or a big fat deposit to your PayPal account every quarter.  It’s literally free money for doing nothing more than clicking a mouse.

If that doesn’t make sense, watch this video.

Each retailer offers a different cash back percentage, and Ebates offers double cash back on select retailers each week.  Plus, they have a whole slew of coupon codes.  The savings are virtually never-ending.

So what does this have to do with your wedding?  There are a number of Ebates retailers that sell wedding essentials or items you could easily use on your big day. To name just a few:

Bed, Bath, and Beyond – 2%
Macy’s – 3%
Target – Up to 5%
Use those gift cards you received at your bridal shower to purchase some more items off your registry.

Sephora – 4%
Ulta – 4%
Purchase some pretty new makeup for your honeymoon or splurge on a new perfume to wear on your wedding day.

Ann Taylor – 2.5%
J.Crew – 3%
Extend the savings to your bridesmaids by selecting one of the many stylish and affordable dresses these stores sell.

Hotels.com – 3.25%
Orbitz – Up to 8.45%
Travelocity – Up to 4%
Hello cheaper honeymoon!

Candy Warehouse – 4%
Old Time Candy – 5%
Design a candy buffet that would make Willy Wonka proud and put a few dollars back in your pocket while you’re at it.

Blue Nile – 2.5%
Save on your guy’s wedding band or some pretty jewelry for your mom or future MIL.

Paper Source – 3.5%
Bridal shower invites, save the dates, thank you notes, place cards, favor boxes, guest books…you could probably purchase all of your wedding paper goods from this one store alone.

The Knot Wedding Shop – 6.5%
I think every bride makes at least one purchase from The Knot’s wedding shop.  They have almost everything.  Those few hundred custom printed cocktail napkins that you just have to have…might as well save a few bucks on them.

I could go on for pages and pages; there are literally thousands of retailers featured on Ebates and so many ways you can use this site to your wedding budget’s advantage.  Two percent here and there may not seem like a lot but it adds up quickly.  And if you purchase on double cash back day, you’ll score twice as big.  Don’t forget to search Ebates or Retail Me Not for coupon codes for additional savings or free shipping.  Your wedding budget and wallet can thank me later.

Ask Burgh Brides: April

Last month, I introduced a new feature to the blog, Ask Burgh Brides.  Have a question about wedding planning, need some advice, or just want to bounce an idea off of someone?  I'm all ears!  Fill out the form at the link above and I'll answer a few each month or so right here.

First up?  A question from Maddie, who is getting married this September.  Maddie writes…

“My fiance and I are having an intimate, very ‘us' wedding this September.  We're not getting married in a church, and we're only inviting parents/siblings/surviving grandparents.  Neither of us have ever wanted a traditional or big wedding, and we don't have the money to throw a party for 200 people anyway.  We're having a cookout with our friends the day after to celebrate with them, and the day after that, my fiance's parents are hosting a big party for us with his extended family.

There are some people who already have hurt feelings over our wedding plans (cousins who wanted their daughter to be the flower girl, a grandma who can't believe we're not inviting her other son).  There are also some who will definitely have hurt feelings because they wanted to attend, but won't be invited.

I've explained to these family members as delicately and lovingly as I can where we are coming from, and yet some people just don't get it.  How can I address these people in a respectful way that also shows that I'm not going to change my mind about our plans?  Some people are pressuring us to change our plans to accommodate them and it's really starting to become hurtful.  Also, how can I announce to extended family members that we got married in a loving, respectful way?  I know that some people send out wedding announcements after the fact but it seems like that might reopen hurt feelings.”

Wow, Maddie, you are making me start this series with a tough one!  It's a shame that family members are pressuring you to change your wedding plans or are making you feel guilty about them.  I suppose they mean well and are just upset because they were hoping to share your special day with you.  However, that doesn't change the fact that you want what you want – a small, intimate affair for close family members.  I hate to say this because it sounds brattier than I intend for it to but – it's your wedding.  Don't feel the need to apologize for your wishes and desires, or worse yet, change your plans.  By explaining things in a respectful and loving way, you're doing all you can.  Unfortunately, there will always be some people who will never understand why you're doing what you're doing.  But that's ok because it's not their wedding (see a few sentences ago).  It's a tough situation but my best advice to remain your sweet, polite self, explaining your wishes in a respectful way, but to try and not to let them rain on your wedding day parade!  If your parents are supportive of your plans, it could help to have them in your corner, explaining things to hurt family members and trying to smooth things over with them.

As far as announcements go, they certainly aren't mandatory.  If you feel that they may pour salt on some people's wounds, then don't feel obligated to send them.  But for those guests who took the lack of an invitation in stride, wedding announcements are a nice idea.  Hopefully receiving an announcement will remind the former folks just how in love and happy you are, making them forget about their hurt feelings.

Readers, what advice would you offer to Maddie?  Comment below and help a fellow Burgh Bride out!

Real Wedding: Kelly & Nate at Longue Vue Club

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear today's bride was moonlighting as a wedding planner.  The thought that went into the details of Kelly and Nate's September wedding makes me so happy!  Knowing that the dress and venue set the tone for a wedding, Kelly went to town planning after nailing down those two aspects.  She drew inspiration from her vintage-style lace gown and the gardens and architecture of the Longue Vue Club, where both the ceremony and reception were held.  From timing the engagement photos and dress fittings with hair and makeup trials to creating a wedding brand and making sure guests had a incredible time at their wedding, Kelly and Nate literally thought of everything.  And it makes my detail-loving heart do a little happy dance!

Beth Insalaco was there to photograph all of the amazingness of the big day.  My favorites?  It was really hard to narrow down and I felt saying “everything” wasn't fair so here goes:

  • A soft, romantic color palette of peach, pink, cream, and lavender made dramatic with touches of eggplant
  • A wedding brand!  Ladies who attended the design and styling workshop, THIS is what I'm talking about!  From their website and invitations to their bar signs, table numbers, and menu cards, Kelly and Nate created a consistent, cohesive look with colors, fonts, and even a “logo” of sorts, all of which coordinated with the overall style and feel of the wedding.  It helps that Nate is a super talented graphic designer and made all of these amazing pieces himself!
  • The most darling recessional ever!  After they were pronounced husband and wife, Kelly and Nate were showered in colorful confetti thrown by their guests!  The photos are so cute I almost can't stand it.
  • Bouquets that are stop-you-in-your-tracks stunning.  Really.  There is something about the softness of the colors and the various textures that has me majorly swooning.
  • A bride and groom who are so obviously in love.  The way Nate looks at Kelly is so adorably sweet.

Oh, and just because her own wedding is over doesn't mean that Kelly is out of the wedding biz.  Shortly after getting married, she began launching Fox Petal, a floral design business that is just getting started in the Burgh.  Kelly was also the talent behind the dramatic but oh-so-romantic flowers for Jaymie and Jonas's epic wedding.  In addition, she and Nate also took care of the styling, logo design, and website for that wedding.  This duo is a creative powerhouse.

Kelly and Nate are just the cutest.  Their wedding wasn't bad either.  See for yourself.

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Pittsburgh_Wedding_Nate_Kelly_LongueVueClub-0654

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

Romantic Pittsburgh Wedding: Nate & Kelly at Longue Vue Club - Beth Insalaco Photography

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
We met through a mutual friend, Kristin.  She and Nate were former roommates and Kristin and I worked together.  She arranged for Nate and I to meet without telling either of us it was a setup.  Lucky for us, we really hit it off and the rest is history.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
We had gone to see a Cirque du Soleil matinee on a surprisingly warm Sunday in April, 2012.  After the show, we decided to take our dog, Lincoln, who we got together as a puppy in 2011, for a walk along the river trail by our house in Lawrenceville.  Nate brought our new camera on the walk, but I thought nothing of it since we often took the camera with us to take photos of our puppy.  Half way down the trail, Nate stopped and had the idea to use the camera’s timer setting to get a picture of all three of us.  He directed me to stand with Lincoln while he got the camera set up on a bench.  He asked if I was ready and then hit the timer button.  As he turned and walked towards me, he pulled out the ring and got down on one knee to propose.  I was completely shocked and overwhelmed with joy.  The best part was the camera snapped a photo of the exact moment capturing the surprised look on my face.  Nate is very into gadgets and cameras so it was a very “Nate” way to propose, which I loved.  It was just the two of us and Lincoln.  It was perfect.  And now we have that beautiful moment captured forever, which is so romantic.

moment

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
We had a 16 month engagement, which seemed long to me at first but ended up being the perfect amount of time for planning.  I also feel like we really got to enjoy being engaged!  For our wedding date, we chose late September because we both love fall in Pittsburgh.  Once we narrowed down the time frame, we started looking at venues.  We wanted to find somewhere different, but also a place that would allow our own style to come through.  When we toured the Longue Vue Club, we fell in love with the venue within the first five minutes.  It’s such a hidden gem in Pittsburgh and it feels like it should be tucked away in an English hillside.  Its sophisticated elegance balanced with a rustic cottage-feel became the inspiration for our wedding theme.  Nate is also a designer, so he designed our custom letterpress invitations, as well as our wedding website.  He also made all the signs by hand and was very involved in the entire creative process.  He designed a whimsical logo with our names and even made a special K+N moniker that we used throughout our wedding pieces.  The fact that he designed everything gave all of our pieces a really personal touch.

We chose eggplant as the bridesmaids' dress color and used cream, peach, and varying shades of purple as accent colors.  We went with eggplant since it was technically a fall wedding, but we used lighter accent colors since the weather still felt like summer.

What inspired your vision?
I think the venue and the dress can really set the tone for a wedding.  Once those two important decisions are made, it can sway you towards a more modern or classic style.  Longue Vue Club is such a beautiful, historic landmark with its unique architectural style and understated elegance.  Longue Vue’s gardens and breathtaking views also provided a gorgeous backdrop for our big day.  The dress I chose was classic but romantic – an ivory lace gown with no beading or embellishments, just a simple sash.  The fabric was a vintage style point d’esprit lace layered over champagne satin.  We also chose soft, romantic florals like lush Juliet garden roses, assorted dahlias, including cafe au lait, dusty miller, and other textural elements.  With our ceremony being outside on the terrace and the ballroom having floor-to-ceiling picture windows overlooking the Allegheny River, we chose to incorporate some nature-inspired elements like curly willow branches and birds.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
If you’re planning to do an engagement shoot, try to schedule your makeup practice run the same day.  The practice run is often the same cost as the real one, so why not get something out of it?  I did this, and it was such a great call.  I got to have beautiful, professionally-done makeup for my engagement photos and I also got to see how it photographed to decide if I needed to tweak anything before the wedding.

Try to schedule your practice hair appointment the same day as one of your dress fittings.  This way you get to see the whole look put together before the big day.

I recommend investing in a good DJ and photographer.  In my opinion, they are two of the most important vendors.  The DJ can make or break a wedding and the photos are what you’ll always have to remember your amazing day.  We’re honestly so glad we splurged on those two things!

When the big day finally arrives, remember to breathe, relax, and enjoy it.  Try to make sure every minute of the day isn’t overly planned so you have time to soak it all in and do some of the unplanned, spontaneous stuff.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
We did a first look before the ceremony and it honestly was the best decision we made.  That would be my “must-do” recommendation to all brides.  We also did all of our bridal party and family photos before the ceremony.  I know it’s a bit non-traditional, but seeing each other before the ceremony was amazing for so many reasons.  It allowed us to have a more intimate first look where we got to shake off the jitters, embrace one another, laugh, cry, and just really absorb all the overwhelming feelings of our special day.  I felt like I could be myself and show all my emotions without worrying about the crowd of guests.  It also gave us so much more time together throughout the day.  You often hear brides talk about how fast their day flew by and how they felt like they barely got to talk to their groom.  By doing our photos first, we got to be together with our bridal party and really enjoy the day.  We both felt like the day was long and that we didn’t miss out on anything.  I also felt much more relaxed when the ceremony time came.  And I can tell you, seeing Nate before the ceremony made walking down the aisle no less special.  I was even more excited and overwhelmed with love.  It was just as special, and I don’t think anything could have changed that moment for us.

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Maggie Sottero at Bridal Beginning | Bride's Accessories: Som's Studio | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridemaids' Dresses: Kennedy Blue | Cake & Cupcakes: Vanilla Pastry Studio | Calligraphy: Honey Honey | Ceremony & Reception Location & Catering: Longue Vue Club | Confetti: Pom Love | DJ & Uplighting: Eric Schiemer of Schiemer Entertainment | Favors: Pittsburgh Popcorn Company | Flowers: Bloom Brigade | Hair: Brooke Rockwell Hair Design | Linens: Mosaic Linens | Makeup: Kiss and Makeup | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Photo Booth Backdrop & Props: Etsy | Photographer: Beth Insalaco Photography | Stationery: Designed by the groom | Transportation: Elite Transportation

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Color Palette Idea: Pale Pink & Pale Blue

I know that you’re thinking these colors scream “baby shower.”  But I promise, if combined correctly, they’ll look stylish and ethereal.  Stick with the palest of the shades, use sheer, airy fabrics, and accent with white, gray, or a metallic.  This color combination looks fantastic when combined with vintage pieces, such as mix and match china, lace, antique furniture, and Depression or milk glass.  Choose blooms such as garden roses, dahlias, peonies, and ranunculus, all of which can be found in the prettiest shades of pale pink or milky white.

Pale Pink and Pale Blue Wedding

Clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, center

If you’re really daring, opt for an ice blue (one of this year's hottest bridal fashion trends!) or blush pink wedding gown, like this stunner worn by Burgh Bride Christina when she wed Andy in May 2012.

Check out my Pinterest board for even more ideas in this pretty palette.

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop Recap

Last week, I teamed up with the super talented ladies of Sapphire & Lace Event Design, Jack+Bean Event Stationery, Mosaic Linens, and Found + Made to teach (what I'm pretty sure was) Pittsburgh's first wedding design and styling workshop!  We took over the ballroom of the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel and hosted an evening of inspiration and education for local brides.  If you weren't there, you missed a good time!  But lucky for you, Dawn Derbyshire Photography was in place to document all of the pretty details and I'm giving you a full recap today.

The event started off with a the simple, and probably obvious, question – “What is design?”

Ladies, listen up!  Are you paying attention?  This is really important! 

Wedding design is sooooo (o x 9863958) much more than just your color scheme!  Creating a cohesive, impactful look for your wedding day means a whole heck of a lot more than just picking out pretty bouquets to match the bridesmaids' dresses.  Instead, it means determining a style, look, or even theme and weaving commons threads of that style/look/theme into every single aspect of your wedding day.  From the invitations to the favors, and everything in between, all aspects of your wedding should be cohesive and look like they belong together.  There is a fluidity between the big aspects, such as your venue and even your dress, and all of the details, like the menu cards and cocktail napkins.  Don't just stop at picking out a few colors!  Find something that inspires you – a piece of art, a book, architecture, a flower, a hobby, whatever! – and determine what style it lends itself to.  Then, let everything else flow from there!

To give our guests a visual representation of what we meant, the team came up with three different concepts and created tablescapes to go with each of those.  Mood boards showed guests what inspired the looks and they were able to see, touch, and explore all of the elements that brought that look to life.  From nailing down a style to selecting all of the various pieces, we explained the thought process behind each and every decision.  I think this really helped our guests understand more clearly what “creating a cohesive” look really means.  Plus, it was so fun to see all of the pieces come together!

Our first concept was bohemican chic.  Think jewel tones, natural elements like antlers and feathers, bright flowers and succulents, brass candlesticks, amber glass, and even birdcages.  Our tablescape was absolutely breathtaking!  We also created a lounge area to inspire unique seating vignettes for cocktail hours, after parties, or even quiet spaces during dancing.  Colorful and a bit anything goes, this look was flawless!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Boho Chic Inspiration

The second style was modern.  Minimalistic but bold, this look was inspired by black and white stripes and lots of greenery.  In contrast to the boho chic look, you won't find much color here.  But it still packed a mighty punch.  The linen grabbed your attention and kept it, since the other details are subtle.  We also worked up a styled cocktail table.  Your cocktail reception is a great place to have a little fun with specialty linens, unique centerpieces, or even cute signs with your wedding hashtag or fun facts about the bride and groom.  This look was sleek and stylish in a quiet way, but it definitely made a statement!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Modern Inspiration

The final concept was classic and sparkly.  We were inspired by lots of candlelight, mixed metallics (yes, it is ok to mix gold and silver!), and monochromatic florals.  This style is perfect for the traditional bride or the one who wants a pretty, feminine look.  The navy blue linen was rich but was softened by the white and ivory flowers, pastel blue napkins, and menu card with its subtle punch of coral. Gold beaded chargers, lots of mercury glass, and candles galore completed this tablescape.  We also created an escort card table that had a big wow factor!  A large display of various candles set a romantic tone and the sequin linen was just gorgeous.  The entire look was soft, glowing, and romantic!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Classic Inspiration

After exploring the three tablescapes, it was time for my favorite part of the evening…the Design Bar!  We had various shaped tables in place and lots of extra linens, centerpieces, table numbers, menu cards, candles, and other accessories and guests were encouraged to play and create their own beautiful tablescapes.  The team was there to spark creativity and help guests think outside the box.  It was like playing dress up!  So fun!

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

Wedding Design & Styling Workshop - Design Bar

We even spent a little time getting to know our guests, learning about their wedding looks and helping them come up with ways to bring those to life.  The ladies asked great questions and I hope that they found the night to be fun, educational, and inspirational.  We're already looking forward to bigger and better workshops!  If you're in the midst of wedding planning, let us what you would like to see at the next one!

And a HUGE thank you to the amazing vendors who helped me bring this idea to fruition!  Bethany, Julie, Molly, Jen, Laura, Dawn, and Katy – you gals are the best!  Thank you from the bottom of my wedding detail-loving heart!

Featured Vendor: La Candella Weddings

You've seen her work on Molly and Zach's big day and you've even seen me featured on her own blog.  But prepare yourself for even more serious swooning.  The work of La Candella Weddings is all things dreamy, whimsical, and feminine.  Angie, the genius behind the lens, is a fashion-turned-wedding photographer who pulls inspiration from her background.  Couple that with her flawless eye for detail, and it means that every bride (and groom!) looks like they stepped right off the cover of a magazine.  And much like an editorial shoot, Angie works hard to make sure the vision comes to life.  If the couple has a particular style or the wedding a particular theme, Angie will create a Pinterest board (such as this one for a military wedding!) and share it with the bride to inspire their own creativity and ideas.  Talk about going the extra mile.

La Candella has been published on all of the major wedding blogs, such as Trendy Bride, Offbeat Bride, Aisle Perfect, On the Go Bride, and Emmaline Bride.  As if all that publicity wasn't cool enough, Angie was also a spotlight vendor on the blog of Preston Bailey – the creme de la creme of all event and wedding planners.  I die.

Soft and romantic, Angie's work has an ethereal feel to it, as if she's capturing real life fairy tales.  So if you've ever wondered what it feels like to be Cinderella, check out La Candella.  Glass slippers not included.

Dreamy Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer, La Candella Weddings

Dreamy Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer, La Candella Weddings

Dreamy Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer, La Candella Weddings

Dreamy Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer, La Candella Weddings

Dreamy Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer, La Candella Weddings

Dreamy Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer, La Candella Weddings

From Angie of La Candella Weddings…

What type of services do you provide?
Wedding photography, engagement sessions, styled couple and bridal sessions, and bridal look books

Tell me a little bit about your company!  How long have you been in business?  What makes your services unique?  Why should brides and grooms hire you?
I've been photographing weddings since 2008, but it hadn't become a main part of my business until this past year.  I have a background in fashion photography, so that has really influenced my style.  I tend to lean towards the very romantic, ethereal, and fairy tale-like.  I consider myself a fine art wedding photographer.  I go through every photo and make sure that the bride looks flawless, and that the photos look like they came out of a magazine (or a fairy tale!).

What is your ideal client like?
Very detail-oriented!  I ADORE lots of details at weddings.  Also, someone who is a romantic and loves anything girly and whimsical 🙂

Contact, Like, and Follow!
Email: lacandellaweddings@gmail.com
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