Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session: Kortney & Rob

For these two architectural designers, three of Pittsburgh's best features are its buildings, its history, and its views.  So for their engagement session with Breanna Elizabeth Photography, Kortney and Rob took in some of their favorite hot spots that best showed off the city's good sides.  From the gorgeous once-train-station-now-event-venue The Pennsylvanian, to the blooming gardens of Mellon Square Park, to the infamous Andy Warhold Bridge, these three traipsed all over downtown, taking in its richness and urban beauty.  Breanna, the lady behind the lens, also studied architecture, so this session was a literal match made in heaven for both the couple and the photographer.  Enjoy some of Pittsburgh's most beautiful sites while admiring just how stinking cute Rob and Kortney are!

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Architecturally Inspired Engagement Session from Breanna Elizabeth Photography featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

We met in our first semester of architecture school at Kent State.  My group of studio friends just so happened to live in his dorm, so our paths crossed a few times.  We were both so shy that we barely talked to each other at first, but his cute curly locks most definitely caught my eye!  We got to know each other well over the next few months, and before long, we were walking to class together, going on coffee and lunch dates, and deemed inseparable to our friends!

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

Rob and I both love the fall, so each year we plan a day where we get out and enjoy our favorite season.  It was the fall of 2013.  Rob had finished his Master's degree and was working at an architecture firm downtown; I was interning at a kitchen and bath showroom and finishing up my Master's degree.  We decided that we were going to play hooky this year for our big fall day date, so we requested Friday, October 25, 2013 off to paint the town red!  Our day was filled with so much fun and laughter – we explored Phipps Conservatory, picked and carved pumpkins, and then cleaned up for a much anticipated dinner at Bella Vista.  We were dressed to the nines – Rob in his finest suit and me in my favorite white dress, which Rob suggested I wear.  It wasn't until we were going up the Duquesne Incline that I realized this was no ordinary date.  I spent all of dinner anticipating the big question.  I even tore through my cannoli looking for a ring.

As we were waiting in line to go down the incline, Rob suggested that we go outside to the overlook.  Despite it being windy and less than 10°, I couldn't pass up one of the best city views, especially underneath the starry sky. At some point in our relationship, I had mentioned that when the big moment happened, I just wanted it to be the two of us.  Being the sweet and sensitive guy that he is, Rob made it a priority to pop the question once we were the only two on the overlook.  Well, EVERYONE wanted to see the view that night!  It took three attempts to get the question out, but before he even finished asking, I shouted “Yes!”  I don't think I even let him get down on one knee before I grabbed him out of pure excitement!  It was the best moment, we were on cloud nine.

Describe the engagement session.  What inspired it?

The engagement shoot was a blast – three architectural designers wandering through downtown Pittsburgh, sneaking into old train stations and standing in the middle of bridges while cars drive by – what could be more fun?!  Rob and I love exploring the city, so the engagement shoot was literally us enjoying some of our favorite downtown spots – Market Square, Mellon Square Park, and the Andy Warhol Bridge.  Luckily, I was able to pull some strings and get us into The Pennsylvanian, which is one of our favorite buildings due to its rich history.  We could not have asked for a better photographer and friend to share this experience with us!

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Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni: Diana & Marc

A ballroom wedding will always be beautiful.  There is something just so quintessentially…well, “wedding”…about them.  And today's feature is a prime example of just why they will never go out of style.

Diana and Marc consider themselves to be traditional, yet progressive.  When they got engaged, the couple knew they wanted to incorporate both of these attributes into their big day.  They ended up with a classic wedding day with unique, modern spins on tradition.  For starters, the art deco-inspired Urban Room of the Omni William Penn Hotel played the incredible backdrop for the ceremony, while the Grand Ballroom held the stylish reception.  A color palette of gold and ivory kept things chic while textured linens, an abundance of amber uplighting, and a mix of tall and low centerpieces added a trendy element.  The twists on the status quo don't stop there though.  Be on the look out for the following:

  • Ivory bridesmaids gowns.  Yep, the bride wasn't the only one in white!  Diana bucked tradition by dressing her ladies in a color that complimented the scheme for the day and her gold ombre wedding dress.  I love a bold bride!
  • A heartfelt ceremony entrance.  Since Diana's dad passed away, she chose her mom and twin sister to walk her down the aisle.  I'm sure those steps were really meaningful and sentimental for all three of them.
  • An in-the-round set up.  While Diana and Marc exchanged vows, guests surrounded them on all sides.  This style of set up allows for an intimate ambiance and it ensures everyone has the best seat in the house!
  • Diana's speech in honor of her dad.  When the traditional father/daughter dance would have taken place, Diana took the opportunity to say some words about her late father.  I'm sure there wasn't a dry eye in the house as the bride paid tribute to him.

Elegant, refined, and effortlessly beautiful, Diana and Marc's wedding was captured by Nicole Cassano Photography.  This feature is proof that you can break all of the wedding “rules” and still end up with a day that is perfectly pretty and, most importantly, perfectly YOU.

Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Classic Ballroom Wedding at the Omni from Nicole Cassano Photography featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

We met more than seven years ago through my twin sister, Donna, who worked with Marc's best friend and co-best man, Chris, in high school.  Donna and Chris had tried for a while to set Marc and me up.

While Donna and I were seniors at Notre Dame, Marc and Chris decided to come visit and go to the ND football game against Pitt.  Marc and I kept in touch casually for a while after that weekend, but we remained friends for a long time until we finally made things “official” by starting a long distance relationship when I went to law school in Virginia.  I spent my law school summers working in Pittsburgh with Marc until finally deciding to move to Pittsburgh after graduation!

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

Marc surprised me during my last semester of law school in Virginia!  I had been texting him all morning, complaining about a hangover and telling him that I wished I had a Gatorade there to help me feel better.  A few minutes later, I heard a knock on my front door, and when I opened it, I was shocked to see Marc there!  I couldn't believe he was at my apartment (which was over five hours away from Pittsburgh) during the middle of the day when I thought he was at work!  So when I asked what he was doing there, he handed me a bakery box and a Gatorade and said “I brought you sweets and a Gatorade for your hangover.”  I was still in shock that he showed up unannounced like that, because with the long distance relationship, we always had our visits planned out weeks in advance.  When he came inside, he handed me the bakery box and told me to open it.  As I opened it, I saw a cake shaped like a Tiffany blue ring box.  I looked over at Marc, and he was already down on one knee.  I took the lid off of the ring box cake and saw the ring!   He asked me to marry him, and of course I said yes!  We immediately ate the cake after he proposed, and it was absolutely delicious!

What inspired your vision?

The venue really was the starting point for our vision for the wedding.  The Grand Ballroom of the Omni is such a classically beautiful venue that commands a certain level of elegance for the events held there.  We always knew that we wanted our wedding to be more formal and elegant.  It seems as though the trend lately has been more of the rustic-themed weddings.  While those weddings are great for the people who have them, those kinds of themes don't fit with our personalities.  We are both professionals who live and work in downtown Pittsburgh, and we really enjoy the city lifestyle.  We are not “country” or “outdoorsy” people at all and we wanted our wedding to reflect that.

What made your wedding unique?

Our wedding was unique because we combined the traditional classic elements of a wedding with a very modern and progressive interpretation.  We consider ourselves to be very progressive, so we wanted to have a traditional wedding but with very non-traditional elements.  One very unique element was having the bridesmaids wear ivory.  I never believed in the “rule” against other people wearing white to the wedding, so I wanted to make a bold statement by having the bridesmaids wear it.  It was also the perfect color to complement the gold ombre color of my wedding dress, and I thought the overall look of the wedding party was extremely classy and elegant.

For the ceremony, my mom and twin sister, Donna, walked me down the aisle because my dad passed away several years ago.  This was a really special moment for me during the wedding.  I also gave a speech in honor of my father in place of the father/daughter dance.

We did not want the ceremony to be religious, and I was determined to prove that we could have a beautiful ceremony without needing religion to be a part of it.   For the ceremony, I wrote my own wedding “reading” that was comprised of excerpts from the US Supreme Court and Massachusetts Supreme Court opinions on same-sex marriage.  It turned out to be a really beautiful reading that many people loved and appreciated, and it really made our ceremony unique.  Keeping in line with the non-traditional ceremony, Marc and I both wrote our own wedding vows.  I didn't realize beforehand how much this would change the emotional element of the ceremony, but it made it much more special and personal than it would have been than if we had simply repeated words and said “I do.”   We both got emotional during our vows, but it was so incredibly touching.  I would really recommend that other couples do this!

Finally, one of the other important aspects of the wedding was the fact that I am not changing my last name, and I was not afraid to be proud of that decision during the wedding.  Throughout the wedding, we were announced as “Diana and Marc” instead of “Mr. and Mrs.,” and I am not ashamed to explain my reasons for keeping my last name when people ask.  I think that Marc and I were really able to showcase our unique, non-traditional views with traditional elements of weddings that still made it very special.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

Our favorite moment was walking down the aisle AFTER the ceremony ended.  It was so exciting to know that we were finally married and that we had the entire rest of the evening to celebrate to the fullest with our closest friends and family.  As we walked down the aisle as husband and wife, we walked directly into the Grand Ballroom and saw our gorgeous reception all set up!  It really was a magical moment.

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

Don't feel as though you are bound to tradition when planning your wedding.   I know that there are so many “rules” when it comes to weddings, but they're only rules because people feel obligated to follow them!   We broke so many so-called “rules” when we were wedding planning, but it made our wedding really fit our personalities.  I would not be afraid to do exactly what you want when planning your wedding, because it really is the only day when everything is all about YOU.

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

Specialty linens and a cookie table are must haves!  The linens added so much beauty and elegance to the reception that could not have been achieved by anything else.  Even with fancy place settings, menus, favors, centerpieces, etc., the linens add an extra pop to the decor that makes it so much more fun!  I am so glad that I chose to use them.

Also, the Pittsburgh cookie table is a MUST!  This is one tradition that we knew we wanted to follow, because it's the best one!  Your out-of-town friends and relatives will love it, even if they aren't familiar with the tradition!

Vendors

Band: No Bad Juju | Bride's Dress: Maggie Sottero | Bride's Accessories: Zola Keller & MB Bride | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BCBG | Cake & Desserts: Bella Christie | Calligraphy: Brittany Zack | Caterer: Omni William Penn Hotel | Ceremony Location: Urban Room, Omni William Penn Hotel | Flowers: Budget Blossoms by Jilliann | Hair: Brooke Rockwell Hair Design | Lighting: Gray Phoenix | Linens: Mosaic | Makeup: Carly Tuscano from Fluhme Beauty | Menswear: Calvin Klein | Photographer: Nicole Cassano Photography | Reception: Grand Ballroom, Omni William Penn Hotel | Stationery: Just Invite Me | Transportation: Molly's Trolleys | Videography: Just Hitched Wedding Films | Wedding Planner: Amanda Mason

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Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist

Children of the 80s, listen up!  If you loved Lisa Frank, Zack Morris, side ponytails, and neon colors, you're going to LOVE this styled shoot from some of Pittsburgh's finest wedding talent.  When tasked with using a box full of mystery ingredients to curate a wedding theme, Sandrachile and Devoted to You delivered.  And I mean in an EPIC way.  They enlisted the help of Fresh Cut Prints and Leafhopper Designs to bring this unique, throwback vibe to life.  Vibrant colors like hot pink, purple, yellow, and turquoise looked striking against black and white accents and the blank slate-ness of the shoot location – The Union Hall at Bar Marco.  With floral arrangements of varying sizes, styles, and textures, gold flatware, vegan Relish donuts garnished with fresh fruit, and confetti galore, the tablescape was playful and nostalgic.  Because 80s music is the best music, subtle nods were thrown to classic jams with record place settings and bold fonts in the paper goods.  Even the models looked the part with a custom tulle skirt made by Kata Banko Couture and bold, bold, BOLD hair and makeup by Colton DeLong.  A rad, modern twist on the favorites of my childhood, this styled shoot will leave you both inspired and longing for those good ol' days!

Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides

Some behind the scenes pics of the killer team in action, working to bring the whole vibe to life.

Out of the Box Wedding Inspiration with a 1980s Twist from Sandrachile and Devoted to You Events featured on Burgh Brides

Photo by Jenni Grace Photography; From top left: Sandra of Sandrachile, Colton DeLong; Melissa of Devoted to You, Melissa of Devoted to You and Erin of Fresh Cut Prints; Sarah of Leafhopper Designs; Erin of Fresh Cut Prints

From the photographer…

In the middle of the December hecticness, I came across a post on Facebook inviting wedding vendors to participate in a contest that would put our talents to the test.  The challenge was to style a fake wedding in one week.  On top of the time constraint, we had to use the elements of a mystery box, and of course, we did not know what those elements were until receiving it.

Being the restless individual that I am, I signed up faster than light, putting together a team that I was confident would leave everything “on the field”.  Every member of the team was very talented, yet very different from each other in terms of style.  Our biggest challenge was to bring all these micro visions together cohesively, in a crunch time frame.  Despite being all different from each other, we all have one common core – we are all SUPER passionate about our crafts.  I named the team Confetti Unicorns, and together we put this styled shoot together in four days.  On March 15th, while the women of the country marched for equality, we demanded equality by doing what we do best – we styled a killer wedding.

Our mystery box had papers, acrylic tags, and confetti; we knew exactly that our inspiration would be from the late 80's and early 90’s…Saved by the Bell, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Paula Abdul, New Kids On The Block, Cindy Lauper, and Lisa Frank.  We loved this era of so many icons, but we wanted to give it a contemporary modern twist.

We incorporated colors through our vegan donuts, which were iced and decorated with bright fruits.  The bridal ensemble was a custom creation of the amazing Kata Banko Couture, who in only two days and without ever seeing the model came up with an amazing piece that included layered tulle, a statement of the early 90's, yet it was a separate, which is a current trend.  The flowers were different sizes, styles, and textures, bringing the color palette to a full swing.  The bride's hair incorporated a pop of color though extensions, and her makeup included a playful eye shadow.  Since the 80's and 90's music was an underlying vibe, we emphasized it by upcycling records as place cards and in the stationery design.

And personally, as a photographer, I wanted to emphasize beauty beyond traditional stereotypes and standards by asking a non-model couple to be my model for a day.  This couple added the perfect dose of empowerment and sexiness, which in the end made us the winners of the competition, showing everyone the incredible talent we have right here in the Burgh.

Vendors

Photography: Sandrachile | Stylist: Devoted to You | Accessories: Rosey West | Custom Dress: Kata Banko Couture | Desserts: Vegan donuts by Relish Co. | Flowers: Leafhopper Designs | Hair: Colton DeLong | Makeup: Colton DeLong | Menswear: The Groomsman Suit | Models: Kimmy Johnson and Jeffrey Robert | Neck Tie: Becoming | Shoes: Cinderella of Boston | Shoot Location: The Union Hall at Bar Marco | Stationery & Paper Goods: Fresh Cut Prints | Mystery Box Items: Curated by Color Pop Events | Contest Organizers: Catalyst Wedding Magazine | Paper Inspiration: Suite Smith Design | Acrylic Name Tags: California Lustre | Confetti: The Confetti Bar

Photography: Sandrachile | Custom Dress: Kata Banko Couture | Shoot Location: The Union Hall at Bar Marco | Stationery & Paper Goods: Fresh Cut Prints

Cute & Casual Engagement Session: Stacey & Joerg

It's all smiles and cuteness in this casual engagement session from Levana Melamed Photography that shows off Pittsburgh beautifully!  Joerg is German, Stacey is Malaysian, and they met in Kuala Lumpur.  It's was a little bit of love at first site for these two world travelers, who began their long-distance relationship shortly after meeting.  They both now call Pittsburgh home 🙂  An engagement shoot that showed off their city and their unique personalities was the perfect way to kick off their new life together.  Their easy-going and playful relationship is totally evident and I adore the way Joerg makes Stacy smile.  Speaking of making someone smile, these images are bound to do just that to you.  Enjoy!

Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cute & Casual Engagement Session from Levana Melamed Photography featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

The shoot was very casual but highlighted the important aspects of our personalities, and the love for our new home, Pittsburgh.  We are both easy-going individuals who enjoy running and biking along the Three Rivers Trail, so it was a perfect opportunity to capture us at one of our favorite places.

Our shoot was unique because it highlights our lives as two individuals from different countries, making a new home for ourselves in Pittsburgh.  It was also unique because the Three Rivers Trails and Pittsburgh itself provides such breathtaking scenery for a photo shoot.  Our shoot also enables us to show people where we live and the places where we spend a lot of time.

 

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A Weekend Full of Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll: Abydee & Ryan

Wow, talk about a celebration!  Not only did Abydee and Ryan plan an insanely fun wedding reception, but they also treated their guests to a whole slew of events to celebrate their special weekend in August.  All of these events were inspired by one thing – the couple.  Abydee and Ryan wanted everything to reflect them, and by pairing with talented vendors who not only understood their vision but also their personalities, that's exactly what they got.  Unique florals and decor, a visionary photographer, more than one live musician, and a museum that perfectly captured the eclectic nature of the day – all of these came together to make Abydee and Ryan's day perfectly beautiful and perfectly “them”.  A few of my favorites?

  • An 8-course vegetarian tasting menu served at the rehearsal dinner.  What makes this significant is that most of the couple's family and friends aren't even vegetarians.  Yet, Abydee says everyone was totally blown away by how delicious everything was!  I love that the bride and groom infused their personality even into this meal, and that everyone embraced and enjoyed it!
  • Is there a better venue for this affair than the Mattress Factory?  A bit anything goes itself, this venue was a match made in heaven for this wedding day.  Casual, comfortable, organically beautiful, and roomy enough to allow for a flowing reception, the art museum housed this event perfectly.
  • Izzy the four-legged friend made for the cutest flower girl!  With her floral “collar”, she sat right next to Abydee and Ryan as they exchanged vows and then she hung out at the party all night long.  Talk about a well-behaved dog!  Izzy, maybe you can come give my dog some pointers.
  • Best reception entertainment ever?  It's quite possible.  Rick Larrimore and his ROD STEWART TRIBUTE BAND kept the dance floor packed!  Even the groom got up and played a few sets with them!  Man, what I wouldn't give to be invited to a wedding with a Rod Stewart tribute band!  Talk about fun!!!
  • The finishing touch on the celebration was an after-wedding brunch at Tiki Lounge, the place where Abydee and Ryan first met.  Not one but two live bands entertained guests as they feasted on yummy food from Double Wide Grill.  Now, THIS is a perfect end to a perfect weekend!

This laid back, comfortable weekend was chock full of parties, laughs, and good times.  Oh, and two people got married too!  Enjoy these beautiful images from Mandy Fierens Photography.  They are bound to inspire you to plan your own three-day party!

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

A Weekend Full of Pittsburgh Wedding Celebrations & Rock n Roll by Mandy Fierens Photography Featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

Tiki Lounge on my 21st birthday!

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

At Feelings Cafe during New Orleans Jazz Fest on May 2, 2013

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

Our ceremony was held in the outdoor garden of the Mattress Factory.  Our dog, Izzy, was the flower girl. She walked down the aisle and peed in the grass.  Pure perfection.  Our friend, Zombo, played music during the ceremony – Velvet Underground's “Here She Comes Now”.  I walked down the aisle with my mom and dad to Humble Pie's “You're So Good for Me”.  Following the ceremony, guests explored the exhibits and enjoyed hors d'oeuvres in the lobby.  We tented the upper courtyard for dinner.  Desserts were back down in the garden and the band (Rick Larrimore, a Rod Stewart tribute band, that we had seen one 4th of July) played in the lobby.  Ryan got up with them and played guitar for a few sets.  It was so hilariously us.  The next day, Double Wide Grill catered a brunch at Tiki Lounge.  Our friend's band from Kentucky, The Other Brothers, played.  A local Rolling Stones tribute band, Mothers Little Helpers, followed.  Friends sat in, played, and sang with the band.  Such an amazing weekend.

What inspired your vision?

Our strategy was pretty simple.  We wanted to celebrate!  With the exception of various dinner and holiday parties over the years, our wedding was going to be the first event where all our friends and combined family would be in the same place at the same time.  This creates an amazing environment and we were excited to absorb every second.  We wanted the whole weekend to be laid back and comfortable.  Well, the kind of comfortable that results from being tugged out of your shell and nicely forced to eat mainly vegetarian food and revel in rock n roll for an entire three day weekend. 😉

What made your wedding unique?

Ryan and I had a blast with the creative process.  We tried to plan an event that personified our relationship.  We learned we are not “Package A or Package B” people, and we therefore learned how much we would come to rely on amazingly talented local businesses and individuals.  Selecting the right vendor partners with unique personalities that complemented our own was crucial to the event's success.  From the rehearsal dinner, wedding venue and decor, to the Sunday after-party and music throughout, everything was perfectly us.  All that's left unsatisfied is figuring out a way to do it all again.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

Every single thing; I can't pick just one favorite.  But if I had to pick one moment to relive it would definitely be Friday morning just so we could enjoy the whole weekend again!

Vendors

Band: Rick Larrimore | Bride's Dress: Nicole Miller from Glitter & Grit | Bride's Accessories: Alexis Bittar | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Nordstrom | Cake: Mother of the groom! | Caterer: Big Burrito | Ceremony & Reception Location: The Mattress Factory | DJ: DJ Zombo | Flowers & Decor: GreenSinner | Hair & Makeup: Izzazu Salon | Photographer: Mandy Fierens Photography | Post-Wedding Brunch: Tiki Lounge catered by Double Wide Grill | Stationery: Minted | Transportation: Lenzner Coach

Fancy Downtown Engagement Session: Brandi & Josh

I'm always a sucker for a good downtown engagement session.  But fancy it up with your best formal wear and I'm all over it.  That's just what Brandi and Josh did when they teamed up with Susan Stefko Photography for their pre-wedding photos.  Taking in some of the most infamous city center sites – like PPG Place and Point State Park – these law school love birds look like a chic, hip couple.  But their fun sides definitely peek through.  The way Josh makes Brandi laugh is pretty adorable.  If you're planning your engagement session right now, why not dress your beau up in his best three piece suit, grab your little black dress, and make like Brandi and Josh and paint the town red!  You won't regret it!

Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides Fancy Downtown Engagement Session from Susan Stefko Photography featured on Burgh Brides

From the photographer…

For Brandi and Josh's engagement session we headed to PPG Place, followed by The Fountain at the Point.  They wanted to have a session that showed them in their favorite city with formal attire.  Think young hip attorneys, serious but not afraid to let lose and have fun with each other.

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Vintage Organic Chic Wedding at The Frick: Lauren & Danny

When it comes to wedding styles, one of the hottest trends in recent history is organic chic and boy, have I got a doozy for you today!  Not only does this wedding embrace the latest look, but it also incorporates hint of vintage glam for a combination that is sophisticated, romantic, and timeless.

Lauren and Danny describe themselves as “old souls”, but Lauren has also always dreamed of a outdoor wedding.  So they designed a day at the Frick Art & Historical Center that brought the two ideas together in perfect harmony.  To embrace the simple beauty of the venue's grounds, sage green, white, ivory, and champagne played the ultimate classic color palette.  Florals were kept lush, fresh, and abundant, while decor was natural and wooden with a hint of sparkle thanks to some mercury glass.  There was even beauty to be seen in the countless, thoughtful details Lauren and Danny incorporated into their big day, such as:

  • The literary nods.  Lauren is an English teach and she wanted the event to feel like a Jane Austen novel come to life.  Mission accomplished, but the table numbers hand-painted on old book pages was an adorable extra touch.
  • Killer decor.  Crystal chandeliers hung above wooden tables adorned with beaded, sheer table runners.  A beautiful combination of the organic chic look and the vintage feel.
  • Speaking of vintage, keep your eyes open for Lauren's grandmother's antique typewriter, that served as the guest book.  A vintage camera and suitcase from Vintage Alley Rentals were added as other decor pieces too!
  • Old timey music.  A Frank Sinatra impersonator performed Lauren and Danny's first dance and during dinner.  The bride and groom first bonded over their mutual love for Old Blue Eyes and I love that they wove his music into their big day in such a special, entertaining way.
  • A grand exit.  A 1940 baby blue Dodge served as Lauren and Danny's getaway car as the couple brought their love of anything vintage to life in one final way!

Fresh and classic with a throwback twist, this wedding, which was beautifully documented by The Brand Studio, is sure to leave you swooning.  As least it did for me.  I'm certain it will for you too.

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From the bride…

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

Our wedding could be described as vintage chic.  I wanted the vibe to feel literary and romantic.  We chose to have our reception under a tent at the Frick Art & Historical Center, which was the perfect place for this event.  It provided a very chic yet outdoorsy and vintage feel.  I wanted to stay very neutral, classic, and natural with the colors, so I chose white and green florals and champagne colored bridesmaids dresses.  The linens were ivory and white.  Each table was adorned with small wooden boxes and mercury glasses filled with peonies, ranunculus, roses, and other assorted white flowers, along with greens.  I chose rustic wooden chairs and wood tables with beaded runners to keep with the vintage chic feel.  Chandeliers underneath the tent completed the look.

What inspired your vision?

I am an English teacher and lover of all things romantic and historical.  My favorite writer is Austen, so I wanted this event to feel as though it were out of one of the pages of her novels – a romantic step back in time.  I've always dreamed of a classy, outdoor wedding.

What made your wedding unique?

I wanted to keep with my vintage chic idea and loved how it all turned out.  We drove to and from the ceremony in a trolley, and had a Frank Sinatra impersonator, Michael Sonata, perform during our first dance and dinner hour.  We also rode away in a 1940 baby blue Dodge, which was the selfless act of a Pittsburgh stranger who later wrote us a heartfelt letter.

As for little meaningful touches, my friend Elise took the time to hand paint table numbers onto old book pages for me, which was representative of my love for literature.  My cousin Jessie, a graphic designer, designed pamphlets for the ceremony and made escort lists that she glued onto a mirror.  My aunt brought my grandmother's typewriter to set on the guest book table, which also held a vintage camera and suitcase from Vintage Alley Rentals.  My parents had a watercolor painting of the Frick Art & Historical Center displayed on the table as well, which was a wedding gift for us.  I wanted every detail to speak to the vintage chic theme that I wanted for that evening.  I'm glad I put the time into thinking about the little details as well as the big ones.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

My favorite moment was probably our first dance, which we practiced for months.  We took lessons at Arthur Murray, which was a huge accomplishment for my husband Danny, who is averse to dancing.  After months of practice, we finally had him waltzing.  Michael Sonata sang “All The Way”, and it was beautiful how it all turned out.  He then sang during dinner hour, and so many guests old and young commented on how special that was.  When Danny and I first met, we bonded over our love of Sinatra despite our differing tastes in music.  Whenever a Sinatra song comes on in the car, we think about that night and how much that meant to us.  We both describe ourselves as “old souls”.

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

Do your research, plan ahead, and stay calm!  Just enjoy this.  It is such a special day.

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

I would say to book an excellent photographer.  I researched and talked with brides about this.  I loved ours, The Brand Studio.  Sean and John were so professional and took gorgeous photos.  The day goes so quickly, and before you know it, it's over.  Invest in a great photographer with a good eye for your style and a sense of professionalism because they will preserve the memories you'll have to peruse forever and they will be there every step of the way the day of your wedding.

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Justin Alexander from Bridal Beginning | Bride's Accessories & Shoes: Nordstrom | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew | Cake & Caterer: Rania's Catering | Ceremony Location: St. Paul Cathedral | Ceremony Programs & Escort List: Jessica Salinas | Decor: Party Savvy | Flowers: Mt. Lebanon Floral | Hair & Makeup: Salon Vivace | Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Music: Anthony Molinaro with Steven Vance DJ & Violin Music & Michael Sonata | Photographer: The Brand Studio | Reception Venue: Frick Art & Historical Center | Stationery: Nota Bene | Table Numbers: Elise Bimbaum | Transportation: Molly's Trolleys | Videographer: Nate Scherer | Vintage Rentals: Vintage Alley Rentals
Vendor-Credit-Shout-OutLinens: All Occasions Party Rental | Music: Steven Vance DJ & Violin Music | Vintage Rentals: Vintage Alley Rentals

Colorful DIY Farm Wedding: Ashley & Luke

Lots of handmade, heartfelt details and just about every color of the rainbow make this DIY farm wedding extra special.  After meeting at work and a beach proposal that involved a custom engagement ring featuring stones that had been in Ashley's family for generations, she and Luke said I Do at a family farm.  The bride's aunt and uncle prepped their property for an entire year before the wedding, including making 36 wooden pews to be used for the field ceremony.  With a color palette that included just about every shade – pink, purple, yellow, green, peach, and even red – Ashley and Luke's wedding was colorful and full of some of the most adorable accents, like:

  • Ashley's shoes.  The light blue, strappy lace TOMS sandals were comfort-meets-cute and perfect for the low key vibe of the day.
  • Vibrant stationery.  Gold foil save the dates, a cute floral invitation suite, and matching signs at the reception – all from Vistaprint – brought a touch of playful whimsy.  Plus, I'm loving all that color.
  • Place cards/favor duo.  Guests were treated to jars of homemade jam that served as their seating card and a thank you gift.  Edible favors FTW!

Dawn Derbyshire Photography made sure to capture everything that made this wedding unique and super sweet.  It's eclectic, bright, and fun…you're going to absolutely love it!

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From the bride…

When and how did the bride and groom meet?

We met working together about four years ago.  Luke was the handsome guy that worked in the back that I was always too nervous to talk to.  I would ask my friends at work about him a lot.  One night, we ran into each other at a bar while I was celebrating my birthday.  We talked a little bit, and as I was leaving, he made a move and grabbed my hand and pulled me back in and kissed me.  A few fancy dinner dates later, he asked me out and I've never been happier.

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

We took a vacation to Jacksonville, NC to visit Luke's brother and sister-in-law in November of 2015.  Luke's brother is a marine stationed in Jacksonville.  While we were visiting, his wife showed us around Camp Lejeune and also took us to the beach that was on base.  When we got there, I jumped out of the car like a little kid and ran down to the water because I LOVE the beach.  I turned around to look for Luke and he was down on one knee holding a ring that was made up of stones that were passed down in my family.  I bawled like a baby and of course said yes!

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

Our outdoor wedding/reception was pretty small, about 90 guests.  My aunt and uncle offered to let us have it at their beautiful farm.  They devoted the past year to helping me plan every detail, from making 36 wooden benches by hand for the ceremony to setting up little children's plates at the dinner table for the reception.  They thought of everything.

What inspired your vision?

When I first started planning, I was having trouble deciding on a certain few colors.  So it was decided to go with a fun, colorful theme!  I love anything and everything that's mismatched and has lots of color.

What made your wedding unique?

Our wedding was so special and unique because of it being held where it was.  We are the only two to get married where we did, and it's sentimental that the location is incorporated in our family.

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

On the day of your wedding, don't stress about anything.  When your special day finally arrives, enjoy every single minute of it with the ones who are most special to you.  The years of planning and late nights finishing last minute things will all be totally worth it.  Just remember to slow down and enjoy yourself.

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

If you're having an outdoor wedding and there is bad weather in the forecast, don't obsess over it.  On my wedding day, the forecast called for storms ALL day.  And on top of it there was a tornado warning that was announced in the middle of my reception.  But there wasn't one drop of rain that day (or a tornado!).  I spent way too much time worrying about it.  Focus on what matters most: you're marrying the person you love!

Vendors

Bride's Accessories: Target | Bride's Shoes: TOMS | Cake: Wild Flour Bake Shoppe | Caterer: Fairground Market Catering | DJ: Michael Zeiler | Flowers: Michaels | Hair: Diva's Salon | Makeup: DIY | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Photographer: Dawn Derbyshire Photography | Reception Venue: Family farm | Rentals: Festive Tents | Stationery: Vistaprint

Photographer: Dawn Derbyshire Photography

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Glamorous Blush & Gold Wedding at the Greek Social Hall: Sabrina & Brandon

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Sabrina and Brandon's wedding was a flawless mix of classic, glamorous, and DIY.  The unique combination can be hard to pull off but these two did it flawlessly.  A color palette of blush, ivory, and gold gave the wedding day a hint of femininity while the couple chose to incorporate timeless wedding traditions with touches of their own personality.  From dainty pink bridesmaids dresses to lots and lots of garden roses to rhinestones and crystals adorning the mix of long and round tables at the reception, Sabrina and Brandon's wedding was oh-so-pretty.  A few of the most loved details?

  • Sabrina's dress change!  That's right.  Why have one wedding dress when you can have two?  The bride started her day off with a rouched sweetheart neck gown with a beaded belt and floral accent on the hip.  But she finished it with a dropped waisted number with an encrusted illusion lace back.  Stunning!
  • Yummy favors.  Guests ending their night with delicious chocolate chip cookies from Nancy B's Bakery.  The best kind of favorable is one that a.) edible, b.) useful, or c.) a donation.  And who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies?
  • A welcomed wedding crasher!  Pitt's Roc surprised the groom in a special appearance arranged by the bride.  After playing “Sweet Caroline”, Brandon was even presented with his very own Pitt flag!  Hail to Pitt!

Jess Nelson Photography was on hand to photograph every glitzy, classic detail.  If you aren't inspired by this one, we need to chat.  Enjoy!

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Our best friends married each other but somehow we never really crossed paths over the years.  We are connected by so many people and events but it wasn't until a chance encounter occurred at a funeral (of all places) that we met.  He saw me and recognized me immediately but I never saw him.  After conferring with our mutual friends, Brandon expressed his interest, and months later we were essentially together.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
On December 19, 2015, we were headed on a road trip to Bedford Springs to enjoy the spa and a great dinner for Brandon's birthday.  I had no clue that he planned to propose but I thought it might happen over the holiday.  Before we left to get on the road, he handed me a huge pink box.  Up until this point, his surprises were always sweet and practical, so I would almost have bet that there was a winter hat in the box.  When I found the ring and he went down to one knee, I actually threw the ring out of nervousness and complete shock!  He proposed right there on the spot and it was just the two of us.  It was a perfect moment.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
The wedding was simple and elegant.  We were married at my family church where the pastor is my older cousin.  The wedding decor was filled with blush, ivory, and gold tones.  The reception venue was lit up with hundreds of candles and beautiful gold chandeliers.  Before the wedding, we encountered some rain, so we took photos in the modern and unique Hotel Indigo.  The after-wedding shots were taken outside in a picturesque area surrounding by trees and the scenic riverfront, after a dress change 🙂

What inspired your vision?
We really wanted to stay away from trends and stick with something that had some staying power.  Blush and gold tones are timeless and we loved that our wedding decor and the environment of the entire day felt familiar.  From the delicate garden rose bouquets to the soft blush bridesmaid gowns and traditional tuxes, everything was classy, beautiful, and warm.

What made your wedding unique?
Brandon is a graduate of Pitt, worked for the athletic department while there, and is a die hard Pitt football fan.  I arranged for a special appearance by Roc, the Pitt Panther mascot, at the reception.  It was a huge hit when Roc emerged and “Sweet Caroline” was played throughout the venue.  He even presented Brandon with his own Pitt flag!

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
We got ready in the Governors Suite of the Hotel Indigo.  It was also the location of our first look.  Having the beautiful and spacious suite to have my hair and makeup done and gather with my mother and bridesmaids was fantastic and allowed for a stress-free day.  I could even shut the door when I needed time to myself.  It was really important to have a place that we could consider home base.  Hotel Indigo was not just our host hotel for guests, but we also held the rehearsal dinner there and came back to the hotel bar with three other wedding parties after the reception.  Choose a hotel that fits all your needs and your style and you won't regret it!

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
If you're a DIY bride like myself, you may want to try to plan and execute everything by yourself.  Do not do this.  At the very least, enlist the help of a day-of coordinator or a very good and selfless friend that can help facilitate your vision.  You can organize every detail but you'll need someone you can count on to bring it to life.  Remember: you will be walking down the aisle and won't have time to check the seating chart or cue the soloist.

Vendors
Band: The Karl Black Band | Bride's Dress: Maggie Sottero & LaSposa from The Exquisite Bride | Bride's Accessories: Borrowed from a family member | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids Dresses: Vera Wang for David's Bridal | Caterer: Phaturo's Catering | Ceremony Location: Nazarene Baptist Church | DJ: DJ Tee Jay | Favor: Nancy B's Bakery | Flowers: Harold's Flower Shop | Groom's Cake: Bella Christie | Hair: A Bryan Keith Salon | Makeup: Devan Rue | Menswear: Vera Wang for Men's Wearhouse | Photographer: Jess Nelson Photography | Reception Venue: Greek Orthodox Social Hall | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental and Elegant Events by Andrea | Stationery: Omni by Design | Transportation: Tortorice Limousine| Wedding Cake: Moio's Italian Bakery

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Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental

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Classic but Unique Wedding at the Heinz History Center: Lisa & Jimmy

Yes, you can have a classic but still very unique wedding.  As a matter of fact, designing a day that encompasses all of the traditional wedding ingredients but isn't cookie cutter is pretty easy.  Just look at Lisa and Jimmy.  These two put some really fun twists on the status quo.  For starters, they chose to do a subtle Pittsburgh theme but in a modern way.  They highlighted all that makes our city so special by choosing the Heinz History Center as their venue yet they showed off one of the Pittsburgh's newest, most modern spaces with a welcome party at the Hotel Monaco.  A color palette that embraced jewel tones and dark, dramatic shades and fun reception highlights like a glow stick dance floor party, handmade wine cork table numbers, mini cast iron skillet favors, and a giant seating chart were just a few other ways this couple got creative.  But what were my favorites?

  • Lisa's dress.  She shocked some when she cut the train off her rhinestone and bead encrusted Christina Wu gown with an art deco design.  But I didn't miss it one bit.  On the contrary, I'm totally in love with her look!
  • An ornament guest book.  For another unique spin, Lisa and Jimmy asked each guest to sign a Christmas ornament.  I'm sure they decorate their home during the holidays and serve as a fun, seasonal reminder of their special day!
  • Cookies and milk(shakes)!  A cookie table?  Yes, we see them at almost every Pittsburgh wedding.  But what we don't always see are cute, mini milkshakes with whimsical striped straws to go along with it.  Um, yes, please!

Even the portrait session with Christina Montemurro Photography was out of the ordinary.  You'll see the Pittsburgh classics, but from a different perspective.  This feature is proof that with a little creativity you can be traditional but still stand out!

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
We met in Charlotte, North Carolina after I finished graduate school in 2012.  We both went to college at Clemson University in South Carolina and had TONS of friends in common (including both of our college roommates!) but had never met each other.  When I moved to Charlotte, where Jimmy was living, we met through mutual college friends.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
Jimmy proposed at his family's house on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.  From the back porch, there is a beautiful view looking down at the mountain and the city of Chattanooga.  We were sitting on the back porch, about to go to dinner and Jimmy asked if I wanted to take a picture together with the pretty view in the background.  So we took the picture and then he got down on his knee and proposed.  His parents, sister, and best friend were all there to see it.  I didn't feel like it was really happening until I looked over at his family and saw the looks on their faces!

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Shortly after we got engaged, we did a quick mental image of what our guest list would look like and realized that the majority of our wedding guests had never even been to Pittsburgh before.  Jimmy grew up in the southeast and I had been living there since after college, and most of my close friends from college/grad school/adult life were there too.  So, we decided to do a Pittsburgh-themed wedding but with a bit of a twist.  Our goal was to show off the city in a way that people from out of town could really get the feel of it.  It seemed like people who had never been to Pittsburgh associated it with the Steelers and the colors black and yellow…and that was all they really knew about it.  So we wanted to focus on different aspects of the city since there is so much more to Pittsburgh than that!  We had all of our wedding events in the city.  Our welcome party was at Hotel Monaco; people were really impressed with the funky and modern vibe of the hotel.  Our reception was in the great hall of the Heinz History Center.  It was perfect for us because it showed off that industrial look but had lots of Pittsburgh staples: a big sign of Westinghouse (where my husband works and my grandfather worked for his entire career), a Heinz ketchup truck, and an old piece of the Racer roller coaster from Kennywood, to name a few.  And we did a brunch the next day at Lidia's.

For the look of our wedding, we went for Pittsburgh city theme with a more industrial look and a sparkly twist for my dress and some of our wedding accents.  Who doesn't love a little sparkle, especially on your wedding day?!

What was your favorite moment of the day?
My favorite moment was dancing with my new husband with our friends and family around us at the reception.  It was the moment that I felt that all of the planning came together.  Seeing our friends and family having a good time and being able to dance with each other just made the entire night.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Do what you want!  I was determined for all of the details of my wedding to be a little bit unique because I did not want to do what everyone else was doing.  I cut the train off of my dress, we didn't take pictures at the typical city landmarks, we got our cake from a grocery store, and I had Christina photograph our rehearsal dinner instead of doing an engagement session (which she liked because she's up for anything!).  I feel like it's important to stick with what will make you the happiest and remember that when it comes to weddings, every one is unique!  Also make sure that the vendors you surround yourself with are stress-minimizers and not stress-creators.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
Must do: get out of town after the wedding, even if only for a day or two!  We didn't take our honeymoon until February but went to Nemacolin Woodlands for two days after the wedding.  It was so nice to just take a day and relax.

The only thing I would have done differently would have been to come up with a plan for preserving my flowers before the wedding.  I didn't even think about it beforehand, but I was really sad to throw away my bouquet!  There are lots of options for preserving flowers that I found online, and I tried to do it and it turned out okay but if I would have planned ahead and already had the materials before the wedding, it would have worked better.

Vendors
Band: Bachelor Boy's Band | Bride's Dress: Christina Wu from Carlisle's Bridal | Bride's Accessories: Clarissa Boutique | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: Hayley Paige from Bella Bridesmaids | Cake: McGinnis Sisters | Cookies: Family members & Faith's Cookies | Caterer: Common Plea Catering | Ceremony Location: Our Lady of the Angels | Favors: Lodge Mini Cast Iron Skillets | Flowers: Fox Petal Floral Design | Groom's Attire: Manchin Inc. | Hair: Swank Hair Studios | Lighting: Ever Forward Lighting | Linens: Mosaic | Makeup: Jae Lee Paredes of JL Makeup Studio | Photographer: Christina Montemurro Photography | Reception Venue: Heinz History Center | Stationery: Color Me Carla | Transportation: Pittsburgh Transportation Group

Bride's Accessories: Clarissa Boutique | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Photographer: Christina Montemurro Photography

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