Whimsical DIY Wedding at the Union Project: Abby & Tim

Abby and Tim's big day was one part whimsical fairy tale, one part shabby chic, but 100% adorable.  It's easy to see that these two are crazy about each other, and their June wedding was a laid-back celebration of love and family.  The Union Project provided the perfect blank canvas background and Abby went to town DIYing and making the space their own.  From chalkboard signs and other rustic touches to mason jars and wild flower-inspired centerpieces, this wedding contains so many sweet elements that really gave it a homemade, personal vibe.  Some of my favorite parts of the day?

  • A wedding day color scheme that blended together various shades of pink, yellow, blue, and green to create a youthful, fun palette.  I love a bold couple that isn't afraid to bring some COLOR to their big day!
  • First looking in the heart of the Strip District.  The contrast of a pristine wedding dress in graffiti alleyways and against gritty metal doors always slays me.  Plus the looks on Abby and Tim's faces are just too precious.
  • Instead of a stuffy four course meal, guests feasted on a good ol' fashioned BBQ buffet from Two Brothers BBQ.  This is seriously my kind of wedding!
  • As if a table full of cookies AND cupcakes AND cheesecake wasn't enough, the couple topped their dessert table off with the best.sign.ever.  Keep your eyes peeled for it!
  • To cap off the night, an artist drew up guests' caricatures, making the perfect take-home gift!

Red Flats Photography captured the sweet day so beautifully.  Congrats Abby and Tim!  Your day looked perfect!

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides Whimsical DIY Pittsburgh Wedding from Red Flats Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
I actually went to high school with Tim's brother.  Joe always said Tim really wanted to take me out but I thought he was some big player.  Boy, was I wrong!  Tim is the absolute sweetest guy I have ever known.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon.  We were cuddling in bed, not wanting to leave those covers.  I got up to run to the other room and came back to Tim hiding under the covers.  I lifted the covers and there it was…my favorite person in the world holding a shiny diamond right in my face.  He just laid there, smiling.  Before any words were even spoken, I said, “Yes!”  He had plans to propose the following Friday during our date night but he just couldn't wait any longer!

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

What inspired your vision?
I just wanted it to be “us”.  And thank God for Pinterest!  I took so many ideas and turned them into what we love.

What made your wedding unique?
First, I purchased my dress at Carlisle's of Pittsburgh.  Both of my grandmothers purchased their wedding dresses there, so it was really special for me to find mine there as well.

I walked down the aisle to Ingrid Michaelson's “I Can't Help Falling in Love with You”.  Our toddler walked down before me holding a balloon that said “Here Comes My Mommy”.  Tim bawled.  It was so cute 🙂

I absolutely loved the Union Project!  Those stained glass windows are to die for, especially at sunset!  Everyone there was so easy to work with.  Carol, the director of space rental programming, actually officiated our wedding.  One stop shop!  Plus, the Union Project is a non-profit so it really felt great to help our community.  We also did so much DIYing that I feel like I could open up an Etsy shop!  Plus, our wedding was so real.  The whole day was just so “us”.  The morning was a rush.  I dreamed of complete relaxation, sipping mimosas, but it was the total opposite.  But I wouldn't change a thing!  It was just who we are and I loved it.  Babies crawling all around us, laughing uncontrollably, Tim trying to learn how to tie a bow tie for 47 minutes, etc.  That's just so much of who we are.  Tim and I did our first dance holding our beautiful toddler, and I just look back and laugh because that is so our family 🙂

What was your favorite moment of the day?
Groom: When the music started for Ab to start walking down the aisle, it just became so real.  I couldn't hold back.

Bride: Our first look was ABSOLUTELY my favorite part of the day.  I was so stinking happy to finally see him!  It was like a weight was lifted off my chest and I could finally breathe.  I was standing next to my soon-to-be husband and it was our wedding day and it was just so perfect.  We were soooo happy in the moment.  My other favorite moment was the huge party we had at our house afterward.  We all hopped on the school bus and went back to our place and laughed and cried and just had so much fun.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Don't worry; the image in your head will turn out beautifully.  Do exactly what you want.  I promise you, it will turn out perfectly!  Don't stress and get upset about anything.  There will be lots of times that you just want to throw in the towel and hop on a place and tie the knot with no one around…but it will all be worth it!  Embrace the whole experience!

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
GET A VIDEOGRAPHER!  I'm heartbroken that we didn't.  I wish I could relive that day!

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Carlisle's of Pittsburgh | Bride's Belt: Amie Noel Designs | Bride's Jewelry: Sabika | Bride's Shoes: RSVP | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Cake: Jennifer Snyder | Caterer: Two Brothers BBQ | Caricature Artist: M.C. Sturman | Ceremony & Reception Location: The Union Project | Desserts: Beth West | DJ: BIFF Entertainment | Flowers: Flowers by Jade | Hair: Noreen Marusic | Menswear: Alfani | Photographer: Red Flats Photography | Rentals: Vintage Alley Rentals | Stationery: Vistaprint | Transportation: First Student | Wedding Planner: The bride

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Featured Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Nerds are sexy.  There I said it.  Being geeky and studious has become the hip, new way to be as smarties are now mainstream.  The nerd movement is more popular than ever, even making its way to the wedding world.  Local graphic designer Jessica of theBird+theBeard knows this better than anyone.  Her line of literary and science-based wedding invitations, save the dates, and other paper goods are spreading like wild fire.  And for good reason!

Taking inspiration from classic reads, the Periodic Table, and even the Dewey Decimal System (If you're too young to know what this is…then I feel really old), theBird+theBeard creates unique pieces that infuse retro nerd charm into your big day.  From library cards-turned RSVP cards to miniature book programs to bookmark save the dates and thank yous made from pages of old books, you can let your geek flag fly high on your big day.  And even afterwards too!  Jessica creates the cutest greeting cards with phrases spelled out with the elements that are perfect for any occasion.

All of the pieces are hand-crafted and usually out of non-traditional materials, such as shipping tags, manilla envelopes, old library cards, or antique paper.  A true artisan, Jessica is striving to nerd up the paper world, one wedding and life event at a time.

Her work has been featured on BuzzFeed, in Stationery Trends magazine, and even internationally!  But what is even more exciting is the fact that Jessica has been selected as a finalist in the 2015 Martha Stewart American Made Audience Choice Awards!  It is a “nationally recognized awards program that celebrates new rising stars of the growing nationwide maker community who have turned their passions for handcrafted, well-designed goods into small businesses and proudly make their products in America.”  She could win $10,000 to help theBird+theBeard grow and a chance to attend the American Made Summit in New York!

Keep scrolling to see some of her quirky creations and read on for more from Jessica and to see how you can vote for her!

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: theBird+theBeard

From Jessica…

What type of service do you provide?
We provide custom wedding invitations, save the dates, and day of stationery.  By accident, we've come to specialize in literary and science-based designs.

Tell me a little bit about your company!
I'm the Bird half and I'm a Pittsburgh native.  Karl (the Beard) is originally from the outskirts of Cincinnati, and a bit of a computer nerd.  I graduated from Edinboro University in2003 with a seldom-used degree in Graphic Design.  We got married in 2012, and I designed, printed, and bound our wedding save the dates, invitations, and programs, reawakening my desire to create.  Thanks to the overwhelming feedback from family and friends, we started selling the library-themed designs from our own wedding on Etsy.

As of fall 2014, theBird+theBeard is my full-time business and Karl's part-time passion.  We are unique because we strive to be literarily and scientifically accurate in all of our designs.  We also welcome requests for custom designs to capture the personality of the couple.

What is your ideal client like?
Our ideal couple is the couple that wants to be different!  They don't want the traditional, formal wedding invitation that comes wrapped in endless layers of envelopes.  We like to print on non traditional papers like authentic library cards and shipping tags.  We also like to make use of vintage paper when appropriate, such as envelope liners.

Contact, Like, & Follow!
Email: theBirdandtheBeard@gmail.com
Etsy Shop
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Twitter

And vote!  Help theBird+theBeard beat out the competition by showing her some love.  Voting opens September 21 and ends on October 19.  You can vote up to six times daily.  So bookmark this page and set several reminders!  Good luck, Jessica!

Savings, Splurges, and Regrets from a Former Burgh Bride

With having just celebrated our two year anniversary, I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic.  All this time later, I’m still in love with every single minute from that day.  We tried to make everything perfect, despite having an average budget.  We spent wisely, splurging on what was super important to us and saving on what we considered minor details.  I’m happy that we spent more on our “must haves” and spent less on those things that “would be nice but aren't really imperative.”  Read on for what those were, plus some surprise items for which I wish we would have dished out a little bit more.

Savings, Splurges, and Regrets from a Former Burgh Bride

Happy We Splurged On…

A good DJ – Honestly, a DJ can make or break a wedding.  Our DJ, Andy Booth, was ah-maz-ing.  He knew how to read the crowd and kept the dance floor packed all night.  He picked up on the fact that our friends leaned more toward 80’s and rock classics and went with it.  Even our friends who “are not dancers” were out there moving and shaking (I’ll leave the story of the most epic air guitar competition in history for another time)!  Originally, we were going to hire another less experienced, less expensive DJ because we wanted to save money.  My gut told me it was a bad idea and I’m so glad I listened!  Splurging on an awesome DJ who really understood our personalities was well worth the extra money!

Quality invitations – The invitation is the first glimpse that guests have of your big day, but they can be reallllllly expensive.  I ordered samples from both discounts sites, like Wedding Paper Divas, and various professional stationers via Etsy (my favorite, and who we ended up hiring, is By Invitation Only). The difference in quality was like night and day.  One look at the beauty of the designs, the printing resolution, and the color saturation, not to mention the texture of the paper, had me convinced that the professional stationer was the way to go.  Plus, I loved the one-on-one attention we felt when working with the stationer.  She went through several revisions with us and answered questions about invitation etiquette and design.  I'm not sure we would have gotten that level of customer service with an online vendor.  Sure, we could have potentially saved a few hundred dollars, but I don’t think we would have been as happy with the results.  Online invitations aren’t bad per say; I just wanted something a little more high end.

Savings, Splurges, and Regrets from a Former Burgh Bride

Happy We Saved On…

Programs – Ceremony programs are a bit of a waste.  We almost didn’t even bother with them except I felt guilty about not acknowledging our bridal party and ceremony participants in some public way.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I kept things simple by purchasing a printable program file from Mrs. Crafty Pants on Etsy.  I purchased pretty, shimmery paper from Office Max, and printed and cut those babies at home.  I think the whole project cost around $35.  I’m glad I didn’t spend more because I can’t tell you how many programs were left on tables at the end of the night.  Very few folks, save maybe your parents and grandparents, will keep them as a memento.  Your money is better spent elsewhere.

Savings, Splurges, and Regrets from a Former Burgh Bride

Bridal shoes – I so wanted to be one of those brides who donned a pair of designer shoes on her wedding day.  But there was no way I could bring myself to spend that kind of money on a pair of shoes I was going to wear once.  I actually ordered a pair of Badgley Mischkas but was struck with buyer’s remorse and sent them back.  Instead, I opted for a much less expensive pair from RSVP via 6 p.m. (unfortunately, the exact ones are no longer available but these are pretty close).  They were just as cute, I was just as happy, and the difference in cost (ummm over $200!) was put towards something I deemed more important.

Savings, Splurges, and Regrets from a Former Burgh Bride

I Wish We Would Have Spent More On…

Signs – I loved the look of mirror signs, so we made a lot of these for our wedding.  I bought a bunch of paint markers and went to town…a large, full length mirror served as a menu board, salvaged mirrored closet doors displayed our table assignments, and our drink menus were written on small, vanity mirrors displayed at the bar.  While they turned out ok, I wish we would have paid a calligrapher or artist to do these.  My handwriting can be difficult to read and I can’t draw to save my life.  In hindsight, we should have paid a professional to do the lettering and possibly add some pretty artwork that would have taken these signs from “just ok” to “wow.”

Savings, Splurges, and Regrets from a Former Burgh Bride

Savings, Splurges, and Regrets from a Former Burgh Bride

Savings, Splurges, and Regrets from a Former Burgh Bride

Videographer – This may surprise you because we actually did hire a videographer.  It's just that I wish we would have hired someone else.  Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE our wedding video.  I still watch it and am moved to tears every time.  But the process of actually getting this video was not fun.  Originally, we weren’t going to hire a videographer.  A video was never on my list of “must haves” but I started to feel like I might regret not having one.  Because it wasn’t a priority, we didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  So we hired a videographer a friend had found on Craigslist (I don't want to talk about it.).  At first, things were fine and I felt good about the relationship.  But months of unreturned emails and phone calls, both before the wedding and after when I was attempting to obtain the footage, left me feeling frustrated and upset.  Despite the fact that I did fall in love with our video when we finally received it, I do wish we would have hired someone more experienced and reputable.

Other former Burgh Brides, what about you?  How did your budget shake out?  On what did you save and splurge?  Were you happy with these purchases?  Are there areas where you wish you would have allocated more?  Comment below!

(All photos above from Beth Insalaco Photography.)

Woodsy Waterfall Engagement Session: Erin & Joey

A woodsy, fairy-tale like engagement session complete with a waterfall?  Yes, please!  Erin and Joey headed to McConnells Mill for their session with Michael Will Photography.  The moss-covered rocks, the flowing water, and the beautifully lit woods give these photos a serene, almost out-of-a-storybook quality.  Sometimes all you need to make photographs beautiful is some killer sunlight and a couple in love.  Done and done.

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Woodsy Waterfall Pittsburgh Engagement Session by Michael Will Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

From the photographer…

My favorite part of this shoot (besides Erin's killer dress and the epic location) is the LIGHT!  We couldn't have planned the timing of everything better.  The entire shoot was at McConnells Mill State Park near the covered bridge, and the sun peaking through the trees was just perfect.  Also, big props to these two for braving the waterfalls and my requests to have them walk across trees and moss covered rocks!  #livingdangerously

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Featured Vendor: team XOXO design

Online paper providers such as Minted and Wedding Paper Divas have really changed the way brides and grooms shop for wedding stationery.  A million designs, a million customization options…sometimes it can be hard to narrow it down to something that truly reflects your style.  Sometimes what you really want is something simple.  And sophisticated.  Erika Williams and her company team XOXO design is here to help couples who want just that.

When she couldn't find a chic design for her own save the dates a few years ago, she created one herself.  And since then she has been designing paper goods for those who share her eye for streamlined work.  Her specialty is a save the date postcard that features a large picture, usually one from an engagement session, on the front, with a smaller image on the back.  Past clients have used this space to showcase another e-photo, or even one of the city where they are getting married or met.

No matter the design, a couple's photo is the highlight and adjustments are made to the type and layout to make sure the image is the shining star.  Can you find this type of personalization and customer service from one of the giant online stationers?  Me thinks not.

Enjoy these photos from a recent product shoot with Jennifer Najvar and read on to hear how team XOXO design can  help you in your save the date search!

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

And a few other designs featuring Burgh Brides veteran couple Lauren and Chris!

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: team XOXO design

From Erika…

What type of service do you provide?
Custom save the date postcards – our main specialty!  We also offer hand-lettering, addressing services, and other wedding paper goods.

Tell me a little bit about your company!
We are an online design and print management business. Our mission is to offer you a professionally designed and commercially printed save the date product while also providing the customization, personal touch, and communication of working with a small, local business.  We ensure that the process of choosing your save the date is simple and enjoyable, rather than overwhelming you with hundreds of options.  Our goal is to serve our customers beyond their satisfaction.  We pride ourselves in making a connection with our engaged couples and appreciate them allowing us to be a special part of their wedding planning process.

A little over a year ago, my now-husband and I were in the process of choosing our save the dates for our 2014 wedding.  Despite the number of options that were available on the popular online sites, we just could not find a simple design that we loved.  So we designed our own.   A year later, teamXOXOdesign was born – designing and printing save the date postcards that are simple and sophisticated.

Your photo ALWAYS comes FIRST in the design process; the font placement and layout will compliment the photo and every individual order is customized.  I'm also known to send multiple versions that couples can choose from before they receive a final proof.

The back of the postcard features a small photo, which can be of your hometown (like the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline), the city that you are getting married in, or a detail photo from your engagement session – whatever is unique and special to you!

What is your ideal client like?
Our ideal client is a couple who can appreciate professionally designed and printed paper products, who wants to support a small, local business, and who has a simple and sophisticated style.

Contact, Like, and Follow!
Email: erika@teamXOXOdesign.com
Facebook
Instagram
Website

 

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

In early August, I finally did something that I've been wanting to do since starting this blog.  I went wedding dress shopping with a Burgh Bride!

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

Lucky for me, Burgh Bride Blogger Jess isn't just a guest writer for me.  She's also a new friend.  So I was totally stoked when she agreed to let me crash her dress shopping party!  And a party it was!  Jess even created and shared the cutest invitations with those who would be joining the hunt.  Once I received this, I knew I was in store for an epic afternoon.

I only joined Jess & Co. at lunch and on one appointment, but watching a bride, and particularly Jess, search for the dress she'd say I Do in was a wonderful, emotional experience.  Excitement and pride for my new friend, nostalgia reminiscing about my own dress shopping, jealousy because I secretly wanted to play in all of the pretty too, and warmth seeing how much Jess's family and friends cared for and loved her.

But you don't want to know how I felt during dress shopping, do you?  Of course not.  Instead, let's go straight to the source/proud new owner of a wedding dress herself!

From Jess…

I’ve tried on plenty of dresses before.

For junior prom, I chose a coral ball gown with a beaded corset.  For senior prom, I opted for a navy mermaid.  I’ve worn sundresses, maxi dresses, and regretful dresses, but I do have to admit that while many of them were pretty, none of them can compete with my wedding dress.

YES, I FOUND THE DRESS.

And no, I can’t describe it to you.  My fiance is a die-hard fan of mine, and there is a very good chance that he will read this.  Like I mentioned in my July post, I am a traditional bride, and I don’t want him to know the pretty little details until the doors open at the church.

I made my dress appointments the day after we got engaged.  I’d been eyeing up Pittsburgh indie bridal salon Glitter & Grit for months.  And I knew that when I got engaged, they would be one of the first places I would call.  Making appointments in January to try on dresses in August did feel a little bit weird, but I wanted to play it safe.

I scheduled three appointments in one day, leaving time for driving and eating in between.  My plan was to make this entire day all about family and friendship, so I invited my mom, fiance’s mom, fiance’s sister, fiance’s sister-in-law, maid of honor, matron of honor, friend Kim of Life on a Dot, and Victoria, who you may know from this very blog.

Fellow brides, I should note here that I caught a lot of flack for both the number of appointments I made and the number of people who I invited to come along.  If there is any advice I can give you about the day you go dress shopping it would be to eat nothing that may upset your stomach and to do whatever the heck you want.

I was told that scheduling three appointments in a day would leave me feeling rushed and confused.  On the contrary, I turned out to be an extremely efficient dress model.  I’d slide into the dress (most of which were street size four, so it was not a graceful slide), walk out to show my family, take one look in the mirror, and tell my consultant that I was done and ready for the next one.  Although I had ultimate veto power, my family did have the opportunity to cast their vote for each dress with these signs I made.

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

As it turned out, we spent a lot of time that day killing time between appointments.  If I’d chosen to only schedule one appointment a day, I don’t think that I would have had such an easy time comparing dresses, and would have been disappointed that my whole group couldn’t make it to each one.

Speaking of my group, I was told that having so many people giving their opinion would also be confusing, and that their presence would make the whole experience chaos.  Again, I am glad I went with my gut.  Having all of those amazing women there made me feel so loved and appreciated.  Knowing that the most important women in my fiance’s life wanted to share that moment with me meant so much.  It may have been crowded, but every salon that day was filled with so much love.  And I was able to be very open with my group to let them know when I really did or didn’t like something.

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

Jess and the gang

At the first salon we went to, I thought I’d found the dress.  It made me smile until my cheeks hurt and I felt completely lovely in it.  I didn’t cry, but I had a hard time picturing myself crying over a dress.  A Nicholas Sparks movie?  Yes.  A picture of a really adorable puppy?  Totally.  A dress?  It’s just a dress, right?  It was the first dress that all of us agreed on, and as we left the building, I told my mom, “If I don’t find anything else, I’ll come back for this one.”

Glitter & Grit was the second salon we visited and the one I’d been looking forward to the most.

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

For this appointment, everyone was able to choose a dress for me to try on.  It was fun wearing dresses that the other girls had chosen, but none of them felt quite right.

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

They were beautiful dresses; it's just that none of them were MY dress.  I have to admit that in my head, I thought I would choose a dress here.  I thought that I would be able to call and cancel my third appointment.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have to cancel my third appointment.  Because they didn’t have me on their schedule.  There was a brief moment of panic that came over me as the consultant frantically left the room to figure out what could have happened, but I sipped on my coffee and calmed right down.  I was riding the high of being around some of my favorite women and trying on some of the most beautiful dresses I’d ever seen.

In the end, it was an honest mistake.  They quickly got me and my large group into a room, and started pulling dresses.  All of the dresses at this shop were stunning, and the dress from the first store was quickly pushed out of my mind.  THIS was where I was going to find my dress.  And while the moment seemed so innocent at the time, when my fiance’s sister handed me a dress that she really wanted to see on me, I had no idea that I was being handed my wedding dress.

As my consultant clipped the dress shut and I looked at it in the mirror, I couldn’t believe what I saw.  It was so perfect.  It was so unique.  I wanted to show everyone right that moment.  And when I walked out to show my friends and family, it was clear that they felt the same way.  I heard gasps and, “Oh my gosh,” and as I stepped up onto the pedestal in the corner of the room and looked in the mirror again, my eyes completely filled up with tears.

I was crying because this was the dress that I was going to marry the love of my life in.  Because this was the dress that little girls dream of while they play with their Barbie dolls.  I was crying because this WASN’T just a dress, this was THE dress.

It felt like a dozen Nicholas Sparks movies and a dozen puppies all at once.

When you know, you know.  In my experience, they were right about that.  When the consultant added some accessories and I looked around at the women I brought with me, everything felt so incredibly right.

“So, Jess,” my maid of honor asked, “Are you saying yes to the dress?”

“YES.”

Burgh Bride Blogger: That Time I Said Yes to My Dress

Dress shopping was exciting and exhausting all at once, but if there are just a few words of advice for me to give, they are these:

  • Make your appointments early (maybe not as early as me…).
  • Bring whoever you want.
  • Work at your own pace.
  • Don’t choose a dress that doesn’t make you feel all the feels.
  • Stay calm. This is your day to enjoy.

Brides, you’ve probably tried on a lot of dresses before, too.  For other peoples’ weddings, for funerals, for church, for Saturday night.  But I promise you that there is no better feeling than looking in the mirror wearing your wedding dress and picturing your future husband’s face when he sees you in it.

The next 360ish days can’t pass fast enough.

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse: Janae & Robert

The Grand Concourse is one of my favorite venues in the city.  Its opulence – the globe, streetlamp lighting, heavy columns, marble, penny tile floor, and stained glass – takes you right back in time.  It doesn't take much in terms of decor to look absolutely stunning and it's the perfect setting for a vintage-inspired wedding.  After an out-of-a-storybook engagement (Seriously.  There is a freaking castle involved!), Janae and Robert planned their August nuptials in the train station-turned-restaurant and pulled inspiration from both the venue's history and the bride's love of fairy tales.  The couple was able to merge the dual theme with some really unique details, including:

  • Invitation reception cards modeled after old-fashioned train tickets, custom made by Hello Beautiful Designs.  Very apropos!
  • A seriously stunning ceremony backdrop!  Janae and Robert tied the knot right on the landing of the Grand Concourse's gorgeous main staircase!
  • A wedding dress fit for a true princess.  The bride selected the Belle inspired gown from the Disney Fairy Tale Bridal Collection at Alfred Angelo.  Prince Charming not included, but it looks like Janae already had her own 😉
  • A cigar bar, complete with branded boxes of matches printed with the bride and groom's names and the CUTEST.  SIGN.  EVER.
  • A nostalgic display of both Janae and Robert's parents' and grandparents' wedding day photos.  So sweet!

Joey Kennedy was there to take all of the breathtaking images below.  And Janae and Robert lived happily ever after.  <3

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Vintage Fairy Tale Summer Wedding at the Grand Concourse by Joey Kennedy Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Robert and I met in 2010.  Easter to be exact.  I was working as a nursing assistant at a nursing home while I was in nursing school.  Robert's grandfather was a patient of mine, and from the day I started working there, his grandfather told me I needed to meet his grandson.  He took a picture of me to show him and Robert wanted to meet me.  His grandfather failed to mention that I worked only on weekends since I was in school full time, so Robert showed up almost every day trying to run into me.  His grandfather told me he really liked those extra visits so he wasn't going to tell him not to come!  We finally met on Easter of that year; in fact, I met almost all of his family that lived in the area that same day.  He came back to visit a few more times and asked for my phone number.  Our first date was at Willow Restaurant and we went through three bottles of wine and closed the place down just talking!  I worked the next morning and, though I wasn't hungover from the wine, I was tired.  Robert showed up at my work to visit his grandfather but also to bring me a cherry limeade (my favorite!) with extra cherries.  I knew he was a keeper after that!

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
In February of 2013, Robert planned a vacation for us.  We went to London, where his best friend lives, for a fashion show.  We stayed there a few days and then went to Paris for Valentine's Day.  He then had it planned for us to go to Austria.  The drive from Paris to Austria was really long so we stopped in a little town in Germany, where the Neuschwanstein Castle is.  We arrived at the castle late and stayed in a little guesthouse in the same area as the main castle.  Robert loves to take pictures, and even though we were exhausted from the long drive, he wanted to head up to the castle for some night photos.  We drove up, even though there were signs indicating that we weren't supposed to do that, and parked.  I was loving the view of the castle when I turned around and Robert was down on one knee, asking me to marry him.  Of course, I said “Yes!”  You never say no to a little blue box or a boy who takes you to a castle!

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
The theme was vintage fairy tale.  The Grand Concourse was built in the early 1900's so we wanted to try and bring out the 1920's in our wedding.  And of course, a fairy tale because I am in my own real life fairy tale 🙂  The colors were originally gray and light pink but while shopping for bridesmaids dresses, one of my girls tried on the dress that they ended up wearing.  It was in coral and instantly I knew that was the color!  So we changed the colors to coral, gold, and Tiffany blue.

What inspired your vision?
I love anything Disney fairy tale, and while I really wanted the princess dream wedding theme, I didn't want it to look immature or tacky.  Luckily, I also really like the vintage feel.  I talked with our florist, Nathan, and our photographer, Joey, who both really helped bring together the vision that was in my head and make it a reality!  I had tons of pins on my Pinterest board and, while they were scattered at first, I think Joey and Nathan were really the ones who were able to tie it together for me.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Everyone always told me not to sweat the small things and not to stress, that everything would fall into place.  Of course, being a crazy bride, I thought this was the worst advice ever and that no one knew what they were talking about!  Sure enough, they did!  The night goes by so fast; those details that you stressed over day in and day out aren't going to matter.  Your wedding is going to be perfect, even if the napkins aren't centered or someone forgets to include something.  The fact that you and your hubby, family, and friends are together is all that matters.

I also highly recommend a first look!  While it's not traditional, it is a perfect time to really just see your hubby-to-be and let him really see you and all the hard work you put in (exercise, hair, makeup, dress, etc.).  Also, it frees up time after the ceremony to enjoy being with your bridal party and family.

Lastly, consider a sweetheart table.  We integrated our bridal party in with the guests so those with significant others or dates weren't stuck at a table with no one they knew.  We had our sweetheart table, just the two of us, on top of the staircase.  We were able to enjoy the food and really spend time together.  The rest of the night, we were apart from each other, so I'm thankful for that dinner and the time to talk without interruptions other than the clanking of glasses.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
Must haves: A good bridal party!  They are your go-to girls!

An emergency supply basket in the ladies room for you and your guests!  I included those things that you just might need in a basket with a note.  We had so many comments on how it was a life saver and it allowed me to be purse-free but still have hairspray, gum, and other little things.

I don't think there is anything I would have done differently.  To me, my wedding day was perfect and I'd do it again in a heartbeat (maybe with a pink wedding dress though!).

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Belle from the Disney Fairy Tale Bridal Collection at Alfred Angelo | Bride's Bracelet, Earrings, Tiara, & Veil: Alfred Angelo | Bride's Necklace: Helzberg Diamonds | Bride's Garter: Made by the groom's mom | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo at Nordstrom | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Bridesmaids' Necklaces: Etsy | Cake: Oakmont Bakery | Caterer & Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Grand Concourse | Cookies: Made by family members in Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Iowa! | DJ: DJ EN4K | Flowers & Decor: Hens and Chicks | Hair: Hannah Conard Beauty | Makeup: Maria Layton Makeup | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Photographer: Joey Kennedy Photography | Stationery: Hello Beautiful Designs | Wedding Planner: The bride

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Featured Vendor: Gray Phoenix Design

Lighting and draping is hands down the easiest, most effective way to transform a room.  You can easily take a white-walled, plain Jane space and turn it into something entirely different with just a few touches of light and fabric.  That's exactly what Gray Phoenix can do for you.  From uplights and gobos, pinspots and bistro lights, to backdrops, fancy entrances, ceiling swag, and more, Gray Phoenix has all of the capabilities to magically turn your blank space venue into something straight off of Pinterest.

Owner Jim took his concert production-background and moved into the event and wedding industry a few years ago.  Since then, his company has grown into one of the best decor and lighting providers in the city.  Beyond being super easy to work with, Jim and his staff are innovative and capable of taking a hodge podge of ideas and piecing them together to create a beautiful outcome.  Your venue will look better than it ever has and your guests will be wowed by a space  that is unlike any they've ever seen.

You can see Gray Phoenix's creativity and skills come to life at Heather and Zach's reception, our big day, and all of the other weddings and events below.

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

Burgh Brides Featured Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor: Gray Phoenix

From Jim of Gray Phoenix…

What type of services do you provide?
Lighting – uplighting, globe light strings, gobos, Chinese lanterns, star-fields, pin spots, and stage lighting
Fabric decor – swags, backdrops, tent pole covers, and beads
Audio/visual services – flat screen monitors, screen projections, and sound systems
Custom – designed props and artwork

Tell me a little bit about your company! 
Gray Phoenix is a full time, full service production company offering decorative services for wedding receptions and special events in the Pittsburgh region.  We have been in business for five years.  Most of our work is customized to meet each client's specific design needs.  We utilize only professional-grade, commercial lighting equipment.  Gray Phoenix maintains a very large inventory of fabric (all fire rated).  Our staff consists of ultra creative people with both artistic and technical backgrounds.  Our goal for every event is very simple – make our clients happy!

What is your ideal client like?
An ideal client is creative with a general idea of what they want, but who are looking to us for technical know-how, resources, advice, and expertise to bring the whole atmosphere together.

Contact, Like, and Follow!
Email: jim@grayphoenix.com
Facebook
Pinterest
Website

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Hannah Conard Beauty

Today, I'm wrapping up a popular summer series where a number of talented vendors gave us a behind the scenes look at their life on a wedding day.  I've always known that wedding vendors work incredibly hard to make their clients happy, and to make sure their big day goes off without a hitch.  But man, even I've been surprised by just how much time and effort goes into executing their jobs perfectly!

Although hair and makeup artist Hannah Conard is no exception to this, she chose to take a different approach when writing her segment.  Rather than a moment-by-moment reflection, Hannah writes about the whirlwind of emotions she goes through on a wedding day.  Upon reading this, it became clear to me – Hannah cares about her clients!  Like really cares!  She'll do just about anything to make them happy, and I love her unique perspective to this series.  It's no wonder she's one of the most coveted beauty professionals in the city!

Now, Hannah, come to my house every morning and make me look fabulous.

From Hannah…

There is this amazing quote by Maya Angelou where she says, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  When I thought about giving someone a glimpse into my life as a wedding hair and makeup artist, for me it's not the specific events or a timeline, but rather the emotions I experience that paint the best picture of a day in my life.

Restless – It's 3 a.m. and I should be sleeping, but my mind is racing.  I never sleep the night before a wedding.  I feel privileged to be part of this monumental day, and I care just as much as (if not more than!) the bride about how all the hair and makeup is going to look.  Thoughts of something not going as planned or someone not loving how she looks keeps me awake a little longer before I’m able to get some rest.

Anxious – No matter the amount of planning and preparation, I can’t help but feel anxious in the morning.  I want everything to be perfect for my brides.  I spent all day Monday making and sending the schedules for all four weddings that weekend.  Tuesday and Wednesday were non-stop emails, going over and changing details, talking with all of my team, making sure that they have all the supplies and information they need.  Thursday included multiple shopping trips to stock my supplies, cleaning brushes, and organizing and packing my kits.  I'm ready!  Right?  I walk out of the door at 6 a.m. and can’t help feeling uneasy that I might be forgetting some detail or be heading into some unforeseen obstacle.

Focus – I get in my car, put on some motivational music, and drive.  Everything has been thought through and timed.  I’ve packed enough cushion into the timeline to account for mishaps.  I clear my head of distractions and spend the 90 minute commute going over everything.

Excitement – I arrived at the venue and start to set up with my team.  I'm excited to spend the day making magic happen!  I’m pumped to start the day and see the bride, her friends, and her family.  I’ve been doing makeup for weddings since I was 15, and it never gets old.  I get so excited during the process because I can’t wait for them to see how amazing they look!  Everyone is here, and I can’t wait to get started.

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Hannah Conard Beauty

Panic – Halfway through the morning, the inevitable happens.  In spite of all the planning and attention to detail, thing go haywire.  Bridesmaids arrive late or with wet hair.  Now, someone wants to add on a service…no, two services.  After last week's three hour demo, the bride is having second thoughts about how she wants to wear her hair.  Suddenly, my cushion of time just got eaten up with last minute changes.  We are officially behind schedule!

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Hannah Conard Beauty

Determination – Amidst all the chaos, shear determination kicks in.  It's time to make it it work.  I’ve been here before.  I know I can count on my team.  Experience has taught us how to flex, make up for lost time, and still deliver amazing services.  With only an hour to go, I refuse to let my stress become hers.  Just as important as the service is the experience, and I want a calm and relaxing one for her.

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Hannah Conard Beauty

Relief – I am fortunate to work with some amazing artists!  Everyone is done on time, looking fabulous, and thrilled with what they see in the mirror.  For the first time since this morning, I have a chance to check in with my second team,  working in another location on a separate wedding.  Once I am sure that their wedding also went well, I feel like I can take my first breath of the day.  We did it!

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Hannah Conard Beauty

Exhaustion – I had a wedding yesterday, and, now after wrapping this wedding, I’m off to do a demo for an out-of-town bride.  I generally don’t do demos on Saturdays, but it was the only day that could work for her.  My feet are throbbing from standing all day, and I haven’t eaten yet.  Arriving at my studio on the North Side, I end up doing seven different looks before she is able to decide.  I’m not done yet.  After that, I have to make a detour to a supply store because we went through more product than I anticipated, and tomorrow I wake up and do it all again.

Gratitude – I get home and my whole body aches, but my only thought is that of overwhelming gratitude.  My days are long and hard, spilling into weeks and even months, but I am blessed with the opportunity to do something I love.  Only a year ago, I made the decision to leave my salon in order to start this business, focusing on it full-time.  And it's working!  People are finding me.  They recognize my passion and believe in my profession.  The business has grown enough to support fellow artist and friends.  Six of the last eight weeks I was out of state and even out of the country, working on some amazing projects.  It’s a dream come true, and I couldn't be happier or more thankful.

Delight – I wake up to an email from yesterday’s bride reading, ” I can't possibly thank you and the girls enough for our hair and makeup.  I absolutely LOVED everything.  All of my girls loved how they looked!  We had so many compliments, and I will definitely recommend you to anyone who asks!  Thank you SO much; you are so very talented!”  That's what it's all about!  There isn't a more satisfying feeling than knowing my bride looked and felt fabulous and loved the services we provided.  I know most of the details of the morning will become a blur, but I hope feeling beautiful and taken care of is something she will never forget.

BB here…

Hannah, you're so sweet!  Congrats on getting to do what you clearly love!  Oh, and next time you're in Paris, take me with you!  A special thanks to you, and to all of the other vendors, for contributing to this series!

Review the A (Wedding) Day in the Life of Series!

Engaged: Nina & Albert

It seems like no matter what they do, Nina and Albert have fun together.  Their engagement session took them all over the city – the North Shore, a bridge, in front of Phipps, and even to Schenley Park.  Yet with each photo, it's easy to tell that these two were made for each other.  Nina is laughing the whole time and Albert can't seem to take his eyes off of her.  Caitlin's Living Photography captured the essence of their love and it's adorable.  Oh, plus Nina looks like a model.  For realz.  That hair!  So jealous!

If these photos are any indication of how their September 6 wedding is going to go, my socks are going to be knocked off.  Congrats to the soon-to-be-newlyweds!

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

Sunny Pittsburgh Skyline Engagement Session by Caitlin's Living Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

From the photographer…

Tell me a little bit about the couple!
When I met Albert and Nina, I could tell that they were a match made in heaven.  Both of them were unbelievably gracious and kind, constantly thanking me throughout the session.  Honestly, I should have thanked them!  They made it so easy to capture their love.

Describe the engagement shoot!
I was inspired by the beauty of Pittsburgh, this big steel city in the middle of some of the most beautiful mountains.  For this session, we had Albert and Nina in their elements, in the outskirts of Pittsburgh as well as at Nina's alma mater – Pitt!  They were both so easy to photograph.  I really just wanted to capture the true love between them.  My favorite moment of the day was climbing on top of the bridge to get some truly beautiful shots!