Summertime Engagement Session: Caitlin & Daniel

Nothing says a summer engagement session quite like blooming flowers and bright sunshine.  Today's feature has got them both and your eyes are about to thank me.  Caitlin and Daniel, along with Schneider Photographer, visited Caitlin's alma mater, Chatham University, for a little pre-wedding photo shoot.  The beautiful campus featured budding tulips, cherry blossoms in their full glory, and numerous architectural gems that added texture and character to the photos.  These two love birds look head over heels for each other and judging by the way Daniel looks at Caitlin, he's totally smitten.  Who wouldn't be?  The bride to be (and these photos) are totally adorable!  I can feel the sunshine on my face and smell those flowers now…

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From the photographer…

Caitlin and Daniel met through Daniel's sister-in-law who worked to orchestrate a blind date between the the two.  Their first date accidentally happened on Valentine's Day when they met for coffee and talked for a couple hours, recognizing how much we had in common and how nerdy they both were when it comes to Star Wars and Harry Potter.  They continued to date and grew together as friends and then finally realized they had fallen in love with each other.  They got engaged last summer right after Caitlin had started summer break from school.  She planned to meet Daniel for lunch and they went to a small pull-off spot on the side of the road that has a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Daniel tricked Caitlin into reading a sign about the Civil War and when she turned around he was down on one knee!!  These two are soooo incredibly sweet.  When we were deciding on a location for their engagement session, Caitlin asked if we could do it at her alma mater Chatham University.  This campus is so amazingly beautiful.  The flowers had started to bloom and the sun was setting behind the hills of the campus.  Summer engagement sessions with two people authentically in love are the best!

Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA: Alison & Steven

Timeless, romantic, and feminine…that's exactly what this classic ballroom wedding is.  Alison was the quintessential bride when she married Steven in July during a traditional Catholic church ceremony.  Afterwards, the newlyweds celebrated becoming Mr. and Mrs. at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.  The historical venue (unfortunate now closed) was decorated with a color palette that will always be in fashion – blush pink, ivory, and gold.  These shades created an ambiance of romance, which was heightened by all of the small, thoughtful details Alison and Steven incorporated into their big day.  Some of what I loved most about this wedding though started well in advance of the reception…

  • The bride's and bridesmaids' robes!  These ladies got ready in style in silk floral print robes.  Alison played the part of the bride in a white version of the pink ones her maids wore.  Getting wedding ready has never looked better.
  • THAT dress!  Holy cow did Alison look amazing!  Her Allure Bridals gown that she purchased at Babette's featured a sweetheart neckline and lace applique.  The gown's best feature was its shape though!  The trumpet silhouette fit Alison like a glove and she looked like a million bucks!
  • Hello bridal bouquet!  Alison carried a mix of fluffy white and pink peonies (aka the world's most beautiful flower IMHO).  Her bouquet looked like miniature, handheld clouds and were the perfect compliment to her classic look.
  • Now let's talk about the main event!  The florals of this wedding reception simply oozed romance.  Heightened centerpieces of fresh blooms, crystals, and pearls brought height to the expansive ballroom while low arrangements of roses, tulips, peonies, and hypericum berries added another layer of dimension.  I've died and gone to flower heaven.

All of the sophisticated details were captured beautiful by Madeline Jane Photography.  If you look up the word “wedding” in the dictionary, you just might see a photo of Alison and Steven's.  I'm pretty sure that whoever invented the word had this exact look in mind.

Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides Classic Ballroom Wedding at the PAA from Madeline Jane Photography featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Steven and I work for the same consulting firm and met soon after we both began working there in 2012.  Our friendship developed into a romance, and the rest is history!

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
Steven proposed in June 2015.  We went out for a boat ride on the Allegheny River.  He got down on one knee just as we approached the fountains in Point State Park.  I was completely surprised!  He also had my younger sister taking pictures for us from the shore.  It was perfect.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
I would describe our wedding as classic and romantic.  We chose blush and gold as our colors; the groom and groomsmen wore black tuxes and the bridesmaids wore floor-length blush dresses.

What made your wedding unique?
Steven and I are not native Pittsburghers but we still love this city!  Instead of a traditional guest book, we bought a large canvas poster of the Pittsburgh city skyline and had our guests sign all around it.  We hope to be able to hang this in our house to showcase our beautiful city and use it as a fun way to remember our wedding day!

What was your favorite moment of the day?
Our first look!  It was nice to get a quiet moment together before the rest of the wedding party joined us and the craziness of the day began.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Wedding planning can be very stressful and overwhelming!  Prioritize, be flexible, and keep the big picture in mind.  Everything will work out in the end, I promise.

Vendors
Band: Bachelor Boys Band | Bride's Dress: Allure Bridals from Babette's | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Cake: Prantl's Bakery | Caterer: Pittsburgh Athletic Association | Ceremony Location: Epiphany Catholic Church | Flowers: Toni Wierzbicki | Menswear: The Black Tux | Photographer: Madeline Jane Photography | Reception Venue: Pittsburgh Athletic Association | Stationery: Nota Bene | Transportation: Shamrock Limousine

Photographer: Madeline Jane Photography

 

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Classic Black & Gold Pittsburgh Wedding at the LeMont: Natalie & Jimmy

Natalie and Jimmy's big day is the quintessential “Pittsburgh wedding”.  Despite living in Chicago, this couple chose to get married in the bride's hometown, and I'm so glad they did.  A classic black and metallic gold color palette, a ceremony in front of the LeMont's giant windows overlooking the city's iconic skyline, and 3,200 cookies baked by family and friends – it's almost as if this wedding was made just for Burgh Brides.  Get your Steel City-loving heart ready; it's about to go gaga over this feature.  Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Natalie's dress.  Leave it to Hayley Paige to create this stunning number.  An abundance of beading, a criss-cross back, and skirting fit for a princess – I'll just be over here dress drooling.
  • Those portraits.  Sky's the Limit Photography posed this bride and groom in front of epic Strip District graffiti, a blooming wall of ivy, and, of course, on those famous bridges.  I'm not sure what was prettier – the couple or our city.
  • Donuts!  Rather than a traditional wedding cake, Natalie and Jimmy opted for a variety of Peace, Love, & Little Donuts instead!  I'll take one of each, please.

This Pittsburgh wedding blogger has all the heart eyes over this one.  Yinz guys are going to love it too!

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
I first met Jimmy volunteering at Big Brothers Big Sisters in Chicago (I moved there from Pittsburgh in 2009).  As mentors, we saw each other once a week when spending time with our “Littles.”  Once a week soon turned into twice a week after we organized a softball team with our fellow mentors, and our friendship blossomed from there.  I was always drawn to his boisterous personality and his ability to be passionate about anything, from helping kids to the Chicago Cubs.  After a couple of years of holding out to not ruin our friendship – or our chances – we both bit the bullet and laid the cards on the table.  Our friends were relieved, in an “it’s about time” kind of way.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
Jimmy proposed on December 4, 2016 in Chicago’s Millennium Park, with the lights of the city’s Christmas tree twinkling in the background.  We had gone to see The Nutcracker that night, like every year, and he had had the ring in his pocket the whole time.  We spent the rest of the night pretty much freaking out.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
In planning our wedding, we knew the most important factor: the people.  We were surrounded by friends and family from all over the country (and the world!) who have provided us endless love and support.  In fact, my little from Big Brother Big Sisters, Nancy, took a break from her first week at the University of Wisconsin Madison to be a bridesmaid in the wedding.  It was really a special weekend for all of us.

What inspired your vision?
Both our ceremony and reception were held at the LeMont on Mt. Washington.  As far as the look and feel of the wedding, both of us are drawn to classic, timeless styles, so my mom helped us create a timeless glamour motif for the ceremony and reception.  She crushed it.  As far as attire, groomsmen wore classic black tuxes and bow ties, and I had the bridesmaids choose their own LBDs and sparkly heels.

What made your wedding unique?
It was very “us.”  The whole day – from the sparkling mercury glass to the overflowing cookie table – was classic but fun.  We both love to laugh and we cry a lot – we covered those two bases all day long.

Another crucial factor of the night was the dance floor.  Jimmy and I both LOVE to dance.  I teach dance to kids on the weekends, and he just dances whenever the mood strikes.  We've been battling it out in spontaneous dance parties since before we started dating.

We did a choreographed dance to our song “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers.  And then everyone – and I mean everyone – hit the dance floor.  We were having so much fun dancing that we had to ask the DJ to stay longer.

What was your favorite moment of the day?
Jimmy's vows.  They were amazing.  I know everyone thinks their partner's vows are amazing, but his were epic.  His vows made everyone laugh, including me, and then they made everyone cry, especially me.  Having Jimmy's Aunt Donna as our officiant made it that much more special.  I was desperately in need of a tissue by the end.  He told the story of our friendship and our courtship; my paraphrasing won't do it justice.  You'll just have to trust me – it was everything.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Looking back on all of the effort we put into our wedding, my advice to any newly engaged couple is to think really hard about what matters to you most.  For us, it was having a meaningful ceremony, being surrounded by the people we love, and having plenty of time and space to dance.  Once you nail down what you absolutely cannot live without on your big day, it will be easier to make your wedding truly “you.”

My other word advice – shop for your dress early!  I went shopping just under nine months out from our day, and that was cutting it pretty close.  I would also get yourself a wedding etiquette book (yes, an actual book from a bookstore).  There is so much to sort through online that it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to address invitations or how much to tip certain vendors.  We had a wedding bible that a friend of ours in the industry gave us, and it truly answered all of our questions as we went through the process.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
We did a first look at the Heinz History Center and I'm so glad we did!  We got so many awesome pictures that afternoon, and that way we could party straight into the reception.  Although I should have thought to bring a hairbrush; my half-up hair got mangled by the wind.  Also, I guess my waterproof makeup was no match for Jimmy's tearjerker vows.  My face looked a little melty post-ceremony.  Luckily, well-prepared guests rescued me with both a hairbrush and some powder.

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Hayley Paige from Bella Bianca Bridal | Bride's Earrings: Anthropologie | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Cake: Gina Fontanesi | Donuts: Peace, Love, & Little Donuts | Caterer: LeMont | Ceremony Location: LeMont | DJ: Steven Vance Violin & DJ Music | First Dance Choreography: Duet Dance Studio | Flowers: Budget Blossoms by Jilliann | Hair: Tease Salon | Linens: Elegant Events by Andrea | Makeup: Kiss and Makeup | Menswear: Vera Wang | Photographer: Sky's the Limit Photography | Reception Venue: LeMont | Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas | Transportation: Elite Transportation

DJ: Steven Vance Violin & DJ Music | Photographer: Sky's the Limit Photography

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Vintage Meets Boho Wedding at Destiny Hill Farm: Mara & Matthew

“Carefree” was the theme of the day at Mara and Matthew's gorgeous boho wedding.  The couple wanted their big day to reflect how their relationship is – loving, free, and full of family and friends.  With a unique mix of vintage elements and a subtle bohemian vibe, their celebration at Destiny Hill Farm was just that.  A healthy dose of pretty coupled with those Mara and Matthew hold nearest and dearest and you've got yourself a recipe for wedding magic.  Be on the look out for some of the A+ details:

  • Mara's look.  This bride's wedding dress featured long, lace sleeves, a deep V neckline, and a low cut back.  She complimented it with natural makeup, long, beachy waves, and a simple veil which was later replaced with a flower crown.  Perfect for the boho bride!
  • Reception entertainment.  What is more carefree than a few lawn games?  As guests were enjoying the evening, they also engaged in some friendly competition in the form of corn hole boards outside the bar.  Like a party in your very own backyard.  What could be more comfy than that?
  • Jaw dropping florals.  Destiny Hill Farm worked their magic with some fresh field-to-hand bouquets and a variety of table arrangements.  The pièce de résistance though was the incredible flower chandelier that hung above Mara and Matthew's sweetheart table.  It has me like <3 <3 <3.

Breanna Elizabeth Photography managed to capture this wedding in a way that so wholeheartedly conveyed its effortless vibe.  So sit back, relax, and prepared to be wowed!

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
We met in college, and lived on the same floor freshmen year.  We were friends all throughout freshmen year, and began dating in the summer.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
We love to do fun, artsy things, and I had been DYING to go to the Mattress Factory for about a year.  After countless nos, Matt finally gave in and we went out for a Sunday afternoon.  After a nice lunch, a stroll around the city, and the Mattress Factory, my family and his family were waiting for us at the exit, where he got down on one knee and proposed with our families.  I was completely stunned.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Our wedding really tried to include everyone, and that is how our relationship is.  We love spending time with one another, and we love spending time with our friends.  Our small booklets of memories was one special touch that reflected us as a couple.  I also think having corn hole outside reflected our personalities of a carefree day.  We had one of our friends approach us at the wedding and say how much he loved that everything about our wedding was “us”.  He said he instantly knew whose wedding he was walking into.

What inspired your vision?
We really just envisioned something that was effortless.  We wanted everyone to feel comfortable and to have fun.  I wanted to have a slight “boho” touch to the day as well.

What was your favorite moment of the day?
From Mara…The moment before I walked down the aisle to see Matt.  My Dad and I were laughing and talking, and I was so excited to see Matt.  The amount of people in the church had me super nervous.

From Matt…Sitting under our flower ladder at our sweetheart table, with our “bride” and “groom” chairs.

From the couple…Our first dance was our favorite moment of the day.  It felt like nobody else was in the room, and we just had a blast singing and dancing together.  It was also one of the first times we were able to talk (just us) that day.

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
My advice would be don't stress and have fun.  Everything will work out.  Although it was hard to plan while in school and having all night classes, my mom and I had the best times of our lives planning together.  Also, Matt and I had fun figuring out (bickering) about different colors, linens, and such.  We had excuses to go shopping and spend more time together.

Another piece of advice would be don't expect everything to be TOO perfect.  It was fun having some mishaps, because they give good stories (such as our power outage the morning of getting ready).  Remember the day is about much more than the wedding itself, but about your lives and marriage together.  I don't think I would do anything differently.

Vendors
Ceremony Location: Epiphany of Our Lord | Flowers: Destiny Hill Farm | Makeup: Salon Eye Candy | Reception Venue: Destiny Hill Farm | Photography: Breanna Elizabeth Photography with second shooting from Darcie Lindsay Photography

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Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at Allegheny Country Club: Bianca & Peter

This sophisticated, colorful wedding was six years in the making.  That's right…Bianca and Peter had been together for six whole years by the time they said their I Dos.  These two were already so much of a couple that they even went through the proposal process together, with Bianca picking out her own engagement ring.  When it came time to plan their big day, the pair took inspiration from their very own experiences together.  They both grew up going to the same Sunday mass at the same Catholic church.  Naturally, that is also where they chose to exchange their vows.  Bianca and Peter also both have roots in Sewickley, making their reception venue choice of the Allegheny Country Club a no brainer as well.  From there, their wedding day took on a multitude of colors – blush, peach, purple, mint, ivory, gold, and silver, to name just a few – while still maintaining a chic, minimalist quality.  But don't think this wedding didn't have a plethora of intimate, thoughtful details.  Here are just a few:

  • A Father/Daughter First Look!  You can just feel the pride and love that Bianca's dad was feeling for her when you see the photos of these two seeing each other for the first time that day.  What a very sweet moment for them!
  • Personalized invitations.  Bianca and Peter enlisted the help of Tina Armenante for a custom illustration that depicted the two of them on a motor bike.  A darling touch of personality to this otherwise very classy affair!
  • An unplugged ceremony!  It was really important to Bianca and Peter that they seeing their guests' faces during those very special moments.  So they asked their friends and family to keep their phones and cameras put away and really be present while they became husband and wife.
  • Purposeful quiet time!  This bride and groom made a point to carve out some alone time together on their wedding day.  Just prior to joining their guests at the cocktail hour, Bianca and Peter had a few moments to themselves in a separate room.  A few drinks, some hors d'oeuvres, and a little bit of relaxation allowed them to soak in the day before getting the party started!

From some beautiful getting ready shots to some downright EPIC sunset photos, Kathryn Hyslop Photography documented all of the beauty of this big day.  You can never go wrong with tradition or color and this wedding is proof.

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Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at the Allegheny Country Club from Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at the Allegheny Country Club from Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at the Allegheny Country Club from Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at the Allegheny Country Club from Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at the Allegheny Country Club from Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at the Allegheny Country Club from Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at the Allegheny Country Club from Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sophisticated, Colorful Wedding at the Allegheny Country Club from Kathryn Hyslop Photography featured on Burgh 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From the bride…

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
We decided to embark on the engagement stage together, without surprises.  It was special and exciting to shop for and pick out an engagement ring together.  I didn't expect to know much more of the where/when/how of the engagement, but a few weeks later the jeweler called ME to confirm that my ring was ready!  I relayed the message to Peter and really didn't expect him to make it to the jeweler in time to pick it up.  When I got home later that evening, Pete was waiting for me on my apartment balcony; he spoke the most beautiful and eloquent sentiments, and he got down on one knee.  The proposal was not a spectacular event, but it happened so perfectly because we experienced every step of it together, as partners in life.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
For the ceremony and celebration, we focused on having intimate and personal experiences that were true to us.  We put a lot of thought into every little detail, but nothing was over-the-top or extravagant.
The Catholic ceremony had most guests misty-eyed as they witnessed the special moments.  It was important to us to walk down the aisle and see our guests' faces, so we asked guests to refrain from using their phones and cameras.

The reception was held at the stunning Allegheny Country Club with a charming indoor space and an outdoor patio overlooking the golf course.  We had about 70 guests and about 90% of the guests were our age, our closest and best friends.  (We both have remarkably small families.)  Our guests described our wedding as elegant, timeless, and sophisticated up until DJ Tom turned the evening into an EPIC, high-energy dance party.  Our friend graciously hosted an after-party, so the celebration continued on until early the next morning.

What inspired your vision?
Both of our roots in Sewickley inspired our wedding day.  We chose to be married at St. James Catholic Church, which is where we both coincidentally grew up going to the same 11:30 a.m. mass.  We decided to have our reception at Allegheny Country Club because it is so naturally charming and only two miles away from the church.  The reception venue shaped a vision of simple, classic, and colorful details.

What was your favorite moment of the day?
While we can't choose one favorite moment, there are a few moments that stand out to us.  For me, it was walking down the aisle during the ceremony and then while being on the altar, sneakily turning around to look at everyone during mass.  My friends found it hilarious, but I really wanted to soak it in and see everyone who was present.

For Pete, he really enjoyed the “us” time that we scheduled into the day.  After the ceremony and photo session, we went to a room at the Allegheny Country Club, where we ate hors d'oeuvres, had a drink, and relaxed before joining the cocktail hour.  It was incredibly special to reflect on the day's events and have quality time together before starting the celebration.

We both really enjoyed the moments when we snuck away with our photographer towards the end of the evening for photos.  It felt as though time froze and the only thing going on was just the two of us being in love.

Finally, the dancing was phenomenal with every single guest on the dance floor.  We'd never laughed so much, danced so hard, or smiled so wide in our lives!

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
My advice would be to not worry about what other people say, especially about rushing to make decisions.  Remember, you made the biggest and hardest decision already, which was saying “yes” your soul mate.  Enjoy your engagement because it is a fun time to plan an amazing celebration together.  Fill your wedding with many personal touches that you both actually care about and skip what you don't.
You do you and everyone else will enjoy your wedding because they love you!

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
Can't live withouts:
I made a budget spreadsheet that also served as my to-do list.

My superstar photographer met with us to make a detailed timeline for the day that included groups to be photographed.  That timeline served immensely helpful for myself and family, as well as other vendors involved in our wedding.

Must dos:
Take at least one moment to step back with your partner to soak in and enjoy the momentous event that's unfolding.  We set out time between the ceremony and reception to be alone and reflect.  Then, throughout the reception, we stepped back to look at everyone having fun together.  Doing that just made us more elated and connected than ever so that the day did not feel like it was over in the blink of an eye.  It's such a special time to have all the family and friends from all stages of both of your lives to be together in the same room, all to celebrate your love……soak. it. all. in.

Research your vendors and choose wisely because if you let go and trust them and their expertise, it's one less worry for you.  My vendor list is also a must-do because I loved every one of them!

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Bridal Beginning | Bride's Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew | Cake: Food Glorious Food | Ceremony Location: St. James Catholic Church | DJ: DJ Tom Walter from Modern Era Weddings | Flowers: Alpha Dahlias arranged by Kristian Paladin | Hair: Hair Symmetry Two | Invitation Illustrator: Tina Armenante | Makeup: Angie Melhorn | Photographer: Kathryn Hyslop Photography | Reception Venue: Allegheny Country Club | Videography: Josh Baez from Modern Era Weddings
Vendor-Credit-Shout-OutDJ: DJ Tom Walter from Modern Era Weddings | Photographer: Kathryn Hyslop Photography | Videography: Josh Baez from Modern Era Weddings

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Carefree Woodsy Engagement Session: Evelyn & Bryce

Mother Nature has never taken my breath away quite like she did during my first visit to a redwood forest.  Muir Woods in San Francisco is absolutely incredible.  I've never felt so small yet so inspired.  Today's featured engagement photos give me a similar feeling.

Evelyn absolutely loves photos taken in the woods.  In fact, her dream wedding would be in a redwood forest.  But since we don't really have those around these parts, she settled for a close second best – an e-session with Cara Rufenacht Creative in a few of our state parks.  The threesome traveled to Linn Run State Park and Laurel Summit State Park to capture Evelyn and Bryce's love story while being completely surrounded by the beauty of nature.  A simple flower crown of baby's breath and an off-the-shoulder maxi dress were the perfect attire for the carefree vibe.  The goal was to let the magnificent trees, the abundant foliage, and the gorgeous sunlight play a major role in these images, and I think they did just that.  I don't know what's more beautiful…the incredible landscape or the sweet and genuine love these two share for each other.  You be the judge.

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

Carefree Woodsy Pittsburgh Engagement Session from Cara Rufenacht Creative Featured on Burgh Brides

From the photographer…

When Evelyn sent me her idea for this session I was so excited because I knew these images were going to be meaningful for them.  She told me that she loves pictures in the woods; her dream wedding would be in a redwood forest.  “Seriously, I cried the first time I saw a redwood forest,” Evelyn told me.

We don't have redwoods here in Pittsburgh, but we do have lots of beautiful state parks.  We visited Linn Run State Park and Laurel Summit State Park during their session.  My favorite part of this session is how the images capture both the magic of the environment and the casual and relaxed personalities of Evelyn and Bryce.  They were a dream to work with.

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Elegant Black & White Wedding at the Carnegie Museum: Maggie & Sean

Is there anything more elegant than a black and white wedding?  It's the quintessential wedding color palette.  Couple it with clean lines and a gorgeous venue like the Carnegie Museum and you've got yourself one classy and chic day.  When Maggie and Sean tied the knot, that's the exact look they were going for.  The museum's Hall of Sculpture provided a stately setting for the bride and groom to exchange vows, and the majestic Music Hall Foyer was the perfect space to celebrate the occasion with dinner and dancing.  But while the pair wanted a wedding that was timeless and effortless beautiful, they also wanted to throw a giant party for all of their family and friends.  Some noteworthy details of Maggie and Sean's formal yet fun day, include:

  • Those flowers!  Since Maggie's favorite blooms are anything white, selecting the bouquets and elevated centerpieces was kind of easy.  To bring color to the spaces, Mocha Rose incorporated boxwood hedges and topiaries, both of which played double duty.  First, they flanked the ceremony spot and then they served as the backdrop to the bar and as a frame for the reception band's stage.
  • A whopper of a wedding cake.  Seriously, this one was stunning!  Five tiers of naked cake separated by buttercream and white roses…I mean, come on!  Cake is my weakness but even I might refrain from eating this one because it's so beautiful.
  • Elite Show Band brought the party to this wedding!  Instead of having guests take their seats following the cocktail hour, the band played a short set first.  Talk about starting things off on the right foot!  Folks were even dancing between dinner courses!  Wait until you see the photos…it looks like it was a real par-tay!
  • Rather than having a cookie table, Maggie and Sean switched things up a bit.  Waiters passed vanilla, caramel, and marzipan macarons alongside vanilla and chocolate milkshake shooters.  Yum-o.
  • Also worth mentioning is this bride and groom's attire.  Maggie was a vision of elegance and grace in an Anne Barge beaded bodice number.  Her hair, makeup, and jewelry were kept simple.  Sean also looked very GQ in a white coat tuxedo.

Elizabeth Craig Photography was there to capture every last chic detail.  And boy are there a lot of them.  So bit back, relax, and enjoy.  Things are about to get really pretty.

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

 

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

 

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Elegant Black & White Pittsburgh Wedding at the Carnegie Museum from Elizabeth Craig Photography featured on Burgh Brides

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Sean and I met while living in Washington, DC.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
Sean proposed when we were in Pittsburgh visiting my parents over Memorial Day weekend.  As soon as we got to Pittsburgh, he wanted to go for a walk down by The Point.  I thought it was a little odd to leave my parents as soon as we arrived, but I went with it.  I wanted to walk one way around the park, but he insisted we go the other way, knowing my parents were there.  When we got to the fountain, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  I was so happy he included my parents.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
In grade school, I took art classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art and I always thought it would be the perfect venue to get married.  Thankfully, Sean felt the same way.

Our goal was to combine a formal wedding with an awesome party for our family and friends.  Elite Show Band definitely brought the party.  Not once throughout the night was the dance floor empty.  Guests were even on the dance floor between dinner courses.

What inspired your vision?
Both the Music Hall Foyer and Hall of Sculpture are beautiful rooms on their own, so we didn't feel we needed to do a lot to them.  To accent the Hall of Sculpture, we brought in color with boxwood hedges and topiaries.  We later moved them into the Music Hall Foyer to serve as a backdrop for the bar and to frame the stage.  White flowers are my favorite, which made it an easy choice when picking arrangements and bouquets.  We wanted a classic, timeless wedding, so we kept to a black, white and cream color palette.

What made your wedding unique?
Instead of having a cookie table, we had waiters passing little towers with caramel, vanilla and marzipan macarons and vanilla and chocolate milkshake shooters.  Following the cocktail hour, we had the band play a few songs to get people moving, instead of having our guests take their seats.

What was your favorite moment of the day?
My favorite moment of the day was when we had some quiet time to ourselves after the ceremony.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
You will hear this a lot, but enjoy the day and don't stress.  What will happen will happen and there isn't any point in worrying about it.  Keep everything well organized.  I ended up creating a folder for each vendor in my email and on my computer.  If you have a specific vision, find pictures that you can show your vendors.  What you see in your mind and how your vendor interprets your vision can be very different.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
Have your hair stylist/makeup artist come to wherever you are getting ready.  It will save time and allow all your girls to spend more time together.  I had two cars: one to take Sean and his parents to the museum and one to take me and my parents there   With everything going on, it was nice to have some quiet time with them to reflect on the day.

Vendors
Band: The Elite Showband | Bride's Dress: Anne Barge | Bride's Accessories: David Yurman | Bride's Shoes: J. Crew | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Sung | Calligrapher: Deborah Nadel | Caterer: Parkhurst Event Catering | Celebrant: Weddings Without Worries | Ceremony Location: Carnegie Museum Hall of Sculpture | Dessert: Parkhurst Event Catering & Gaby et Jules | Flowers: Mocha Rose | Hair & Makeup: Beauty Justified | Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Photographer: Elizabeth Craig Photography | Reception Venue: Carnegie Music Hall Foyer, Carnegie Museum | Stationery: Needle in a Haystack | Transportation: Lenzner | Wedding Planner: Natalie Berger

 

Linens: All Occasions Party Rental

 

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Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms: Ashley & Stefan

Today's bride and groom love the outdoors.  They feel right at home on a back country road, truck windows down, wind whipping through their hair, country music blasting on the radio.  And since a wedding day should reflect what you love the most, a good ol' fashioned rustic wedding made perfect sense.  Ashley and Stefan wanted their big day to be casual, fun, and what the bride called a “come as you are, join us as you drive through a cornfield in the middle of the country to watch us say I do, spend the evening in a barn eating nothing but BBQ food, and enjoy your beverage out of a mason jar” kind of wedding.  With that vibe in mind, the details were simple – mason jars, burlap, lace, antiques, fishing rods (a nod to a favorite pastime of theirs), lawn games, and DIY touches.  But don't think for one second that there wasn't plenty to love.  Keep your eyes peeled for…

  • His and her cowboy boots worn by the bride and groom.  But there is one catch!  Ashley and Stefan wrote a sweet message to each other on the bottom of the soles of the other person's pair and exchanged boots the morning of the wedding.  Aaaaand my heart is bursting!
  • A touching tribute.  To honor their late fathers, Ashley and Stefan both pinned a small photo of their dad over their heart that day.  What a sweet way to make sure both of them were honored and present in their own way!  (Looking for other ways to honor lost loved ones?  Check out this post!)
  • A KILLER ceremony location!  The pair exchanged vows literally in the middle of the woods at Horizon View Farms and I'm totally dying over these photos.  Some wooden benches, a floral arbor, a forest floor, and a canopy of trees…no church will EVER top this!
  • Incredible portraits!  Dawn Derbyshire Photography knocked it out of the park with these images.  To be fair though, she did have an insanely gorgeous backdrop to work with.  Just want until you see those trees and that golden sunshine!  Damn, nature is beautiful.

A laid back, barn wedding full of outdoor fun, BBQ, and rustic elements?  Somebody sign me up.  Keep scrolling and I bet you'll want to put your name down too.

Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Rustic Barn Wedding at Horizon View Farms from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides 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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
We both met at Dormont Pool through mutual friends.  After meeting each other, we became really good friends and for the next year, we became nearly inseparable.  A year later we made it official.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
Stefan played a video of him asking our families for approval for my hand in marriage.  This man has done a lot of sweet things for me in the last few years, but this topped it!  Hearing his dad's reaction, “Welcome aboard, Ashley,” I felt tears instantly rolling down my face.  His father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer so the thought of him being there the day of our wedding meant a lot to the both of us.  That video meant a lot to me that day and, with his dad's passing, means more to me now.  It's truly the little things in life that mean the most…the important, significant moments in your life that are captured by video or photography.  I cherish that amazing, thoughtful gesture he created for us.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
We are both very outdoorsy people so our wedding was nothing short of a country, rustic, casual, barn wedding

What inspired your vision?
Our lifestyle.  We are constantly driving far out of the city to get away from this style of living.  Both of our hearts are in the country side.

What made your wedding unique?
I think our wedding was unique because it was very casual.  It was a “come as you are, join us as you drive through a cornfield in the middle of the country to watch us say I do, spend the evening in a barn eating nothing but BBQ food, and enjoy your beverage out of a mason jar” kind of wedding.

(From the photographer…I felt like Ashley and Stefan's wedding was unique because of how intimate and emotional it was.  Their personalities seeped into every moment of the day, from the sweet notes they wrote each other on the bottoms of their boots to the small details they incorporated to honor their fathers.  Everything was special, from some vintage cameras [Ashley is a photographer], fishing rods, and nods to their love of hunting and the outdoors, their wedding really showcased their life together and what they love.)

What was your favorite moment of the day?
Riding an ATV in my wedding dress.  I couldn't stay clean for long!

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Honestly, let the little things go.  Don't worry so much about the details that you lose sight of what you are celebrating.  So many people can get lost in “over spending” because it's their “dream wedding”.  Just have fun!  Know why you're there and that you don't need to over do it for your wedding day to be special.  If you have a budget, it's possible to stick to it!  Also, take in every second you can.  When they say it goes by so fast, they truly mean it.  The day flies by, and before you know it…you're married and on a plane to your honeymoon.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
Trust your vendors.  Know their style.  Know that you can trust them!  I had the world's faith in Dawn Derbyshire so I knew my wedding day photos would be amazing.  Get to know your photographer!  If they do a good job, send them a thank you card and a nice gift!

(From the photographer…Ashley and Stefan seriously were the best.  A few weeks after delivering their images, I walked out my front door to a giant “Thank You” gift basket filled with my favorite thing [candy], beer, wine, and an AMAZING handmade photo album!)

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Allure Bridals at MB Bride | Bride's Accessories: Handmade by the bride | Bridesmaids Dresses: MB Bride | Cake: Signature Desserts | Caterer: Uncle Ken's BBQ | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Horizon View Farms | DJ: DJ Book | Flowers: DIY by the bride | Hair: Kelly Baumgart at Studio E | Linens & Rentals: Windswept | Makeup: Adrienne Pace | Menswear: American Commodore Tuxedo | Photographer: Dawn Derbyshire Photography | Stationery: DIY by the bride | Videography: ShoFilms

Photographer: Dawn Derbyshire Photography

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Glamorous Garden Chic Wedding: Pazia & Tony

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The stuff dreams are made of.  That's what this garden chic wedding is.  When planning their big day, Pazia and Tony quickly realized that the “production” of the event wasn't for them and instead, they wanted a wedding that was special, stress-free, and comfortable.  A little bit like coming home.  That's why after a traditional church ceremony, Pazia and Tony celebrated becoming Mr. and Mrs. in the same backyard that Pazia grew up in.  The tree she once climbed as a little girl (and coincidentally the tree under which Tony proposed) later became a focal point in her wedding day, serving as a gorgeous backdrop to the head table.  Against a color palette of blush, ivory, sage, and silver accents, this wedding was filled to the brim with other thoughtful, beautiful, and family-focused details.  Just a few of my favorites include:

  • A blend of organic and glamorous decor.  Crystal chandeliers, vintage windows and candelabras (borrowed from friends and family), wooden tables, cross-back chairs, a laser cut cake topper, lace overlays, and mercury glass came together beautifully to create a dichotomous vibe that was both romantic and modern.
  • Those florals!  Textural and lush, the centerpieces and bouquets were a highlight of the wedding day and incorporated blooms like seeded eucalyptus, scabiosa, astible, dahlias, and anemones.  These arrangements were essential to bringing the garden chic look to life!
  • That at-home feel.  An active grill where dinner was prepared, a canine guest (complete with flower collar), self-serve beer stations, and a traditional Pittsburgh cookie table (thanks to the baking skills of family and friends) put everyone at ease despite the elegant setting.  Comfortable and familial is my favorite wedding day vibe!

Captured in the most beautiful way by Ashley Giffin Photography and styled and executed perfectly by Shayla Hawkins Events, Pazia and Tony's nuptials will have your heart beating and your head day dreaming in no time at all.

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Who says blind dates never work?  Our love story started out as two strangers, who had just moved to the DC area and who didn’t know a soul.  Never in a million years did either of us imagine we’d even entertain the idea of meeting a complete stranger – but in the interest of making friends, we met.  And at first we were fast friends, but we quickly realized that our shared love of adventure and senses of humor made us a perfect fit to be paired up forever.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
I would have been so uncomfortable with a group or public proposal, and Tony knew that, so he planned a low-key proposal while we were visiting my family in Ellwood City.  Absolutely nothing went as planned.  I was clueless to his subtle nudges to get ready for the day, go for a walk…basically to do anything.  I insisted on relaxing and laying in the hammock to pass the day.  Eventually he resigned to the reality that I may never make his plans possible and decided to just pop the question right there on the hammock.  It was just right and left me shocked, excited, and over-the-moon happy.  The day turned out perfectly because we had a sweet and private moment and then were able to celebrate with family into the evening.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
We made it a point to remind each other that the reason for this very extravagant party (our wedding) was our marriage, and our fortune to have found one another.  It’s easier said than done, but I have to say I think we succeeded, and in turn, we ended up with the most special and stress-free wedding day we could have hoped for.

Our dream wedding was never about creating the most impressive display, but about creating a feel-good environment for our most loved family and friends to share our happiness.  We both felt strongly about having at least the reception portion of our wedding day outdoors with a comfortable feel for our guests.  We started venue shopping, and while we found some beautiful properties (and nearly signed a contract for one), something about them didn’t feel quite right.  The idea of the wedding “production”, as it started to feel, made us a bit uncomfortable.  Our biggest wish for the day was that we felt like us, and that our guests felt comfortable, happy, and were able to relax and enjoy our very special moment.  So we opted for a wedding at home – in the very yard where I climbed trees as a young girl and got engaged to the man of my dreams a short year earlier.

What inspired your vision?
If a single image could capture the vision of our wedding, it would be a big old tree serving as the backdrop for the head table with an elegant chandelier hanging above from the branches.  This mix of natural elements and glitz would strike the perfect balance we were trying to achieve, and represent the rooted view we took of this extravagant gathering.  But being outside – and in Pennsylvania – means you have to have a rain plan, so the open air dining had to be tweaked.  We opted for a large tent instead to provide shade and protection from the elements as insurance.  Fortunately, we were able to leave the sides of the tent open to allow for views and that chandelier made an appearance hanging from a tree in the yard, creating a unique welcome area that incorporated family pieces and modern touches.

The setting really is special, and my parents were so excited and dove in head first to make sure everything was perfect – from spending months caring for the lawn, planting flowers, and even building a new dock on the water.  With a beautiful natural setting already in place, we opted for a soft and muted palette, choosing a gradient of blushes from taupe to lavender undertones and silver accents on the tables.

What made your wedding unique?
Sentimental pieces helped to pull it all together.  Windows from a family friend’s cottage were used to display seating assignments, an old family wooden table housed cards and gifts, candelabras and candlesticks from grandmothers, friends, and family helped create a unified but unique look for each table.  Throughout the reception, we repurposed these sentimental family pieces and mixed them with more modern elements found along the way.  A variety of  linen textures and rich wood tables offered a nod to both the natural beauty of the setting and the elegant details that make it a special occasion.

The flowers were a highlight and a perfect medium to achieve garden chic – incorporating more traditional selections, like seeded eucalyptus, with more garden variety blooms like scabiosa and astilbe.  Invitations were designed by a friend, who incorporated elements of our florals and a special feature at the reception site – an abandoned railroad trestle which was lit up for the evening across the water.

The mix of elegance and comfort continued throughout the evening with traditional elements, like a tiered buttercream cake and heartfelt toasts, and a spin on the expected, like a live grill at dinner, a canine wedding guest, self-serve beer stations, and a Pittsburgh cookie table featuring hundreds of dozens of handmade cookies from friends and family.

What was your favorite moment of the day?
We were able to share a special and private moment later in the evening as we set off in a rowboat for a wish lantern send-off and fireworks display over the water.  Our guests helped us cap off the night by dancing into the wee hours of the morning, and we left feeling relaxing, content, and lucky in love.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
It's easy to get carried away and lose sight of your vision, but don't get caught up in bigger, better, more expensive.  My favorite things about our day were the sentimental touches that didn't cost a thing.

Any must haves, must dos, or cant live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
Whatever makes you happy!  Everyone told me not to splurge on the flowers, but that was the most exciting detail to me.  I didn't listen and I'm so glad – the flowers made me so happy and I still smile every time I look back at the pictures of my bouquet and centerpieces.

The point is, everyone's must-have is different, so go for the special touches that mean the most to you and your fiance.  I wouldn't change a thing about our day.

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Glitter & Grit | Bride's Accessories: Kata Banko Couture | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN and Weddington Way | Cake: Kretchmar's Bakery | Caterer: Medure's Catering | Ceremony Location: St. Kilian Chapel | DJ: 2nd II None Productions | Flowers: Posies by Patti | Hair: Hair Symmetry | Lighting: All Occasions Party Rentals | Linens: Mosaic | Makeup: Shelby Dines Makeup | Menswear: Ralph Lauren | Photography: Ashley Giffin Photography | Reception Venue: Family home in Ellwood City | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals | Stationery: Designed by a friend of the bride and printed by Minted | Transportation: TDF Limousine | Videography: Nathan Hamblin Productions | Wedding Planner: Shayla Hawkins Events

Vendor-Credit-Shout-OutBride's Accessories: Kata Banko Couture | Lighting: All Occasions Party Rentals | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals |

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Earthy Boho Wedding at CrossKeys Vineyards: Alexa & Jason

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Inspired by the mountainous, earthiness of the West, this boho wedding is sure to stun.  Jason is from California, so he and Alexa (of Alexa Conner Photography, one of the newest pros to the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide) drew motivation from his roots when planning their big day last September.  While the pair calls Pittsburgh home, they opted to say I Do at CrossKeys Vineyards in Virginia.  And once you see the photos, it'll become clear why – the backdrop is truly epic.  The natural splendor of the Shenandoah Valley was the perfect fit for this wedding's wild and carefree vibe while a color palette of navy, taupe, and evergreen complimented the scenery beautifully.  Beyond the pretty setting, look for these other swoon-worthy details:

  • Alexa's dress.  She found the lace Jovani number at consignment shop.  No joke.  And it's perfect.  The keyhole back and the illusion lace plunging neckline make it interesting from every angle.  Thrift store find FTW!
  • DIY florals.  Alexa handmade her and her ladies' bouquets and flower crowns, as well as all of other arrangements.  No colorful posies at this wedding.  Instead, it was all greenery, all the time.  And can I make a confession?  I didn't miss the traditional flowers one bit.
  • A Thursday celebration.  Alexa and Jason bucked tradition with a mid-week wedding day.  Hey, why not?!  If you're having a low key affair or are looking to save a little bit of money, a weekday wedding might a good fit for you too.

Honestly, everything about this wedding is effortless perfection, including the images from Lindsey Zern Photography.  Here is proof that a wedding inspired by nature is always a good idea.

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Jason and I met a few years ago at BFCAT, a local coffee shop near a college.  It was a cold October night and the porch was filled with friends and laughter.  They closed down the coffee shop, our friends left, and we were still there.  He and I, together and finally alone.  We spent hours talking, nervously laughing, and falling in love.  After that night, we talked everyday, and eventually started dating.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
SOOOO, I was supposed to meet my sister and Jason at the park for a shoot.  Jason was going to take a picture of my sister and I so that we could give it as a gift to my dad for Valentine's Day.  As we got there, Jason was waiting for us and he seemed a little off.  My sister's necklace broke and she told us to go pick out a good spot and that she would catch up.  Jason and I started walking, arms linked, and I saw a lit lantern and he said, “I think someone left this for us”.  He guided me across a bridge and there it was – a picnic at sunset with our favorite blanket, BFCAT coffee, romantic music, candles, and big white sheets he tacked to a tree to form a tee-pee.  I knew what was coming…a few minutes later he said, “Alexa, I have something to ask you”.  He got on one knee and asked me to be his wife.  I guess I was so surprised that I said, “I think I'm going to throw up.” and he replied, “I'll take that as a yes.”  Then the tears came as he placed the ring on my finger.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
The wedding feel was earthy and elegant.  Our colors were navy blue, taupe, and evergreens.  The style was very boho rustic.

What inspired your vision?
Our wedding was so us (as it should be).  I had a flower crown; he smoked a cigar with his men.  We were ourselves and we wanted our personalities to be portrayed in every aspect.  I was inspired by all of the weddings we would see out west with the mountains and neutral colors; after all Jason is from CA and I loved it.

What made your wedding unique?
I think what made our wedding so unique is that mostly everything was so non-traditional.  My dress was from a consignment store and I made the bouquets and flower crowns.  My mom and my dad walked me down the aisle.  Our wedding was on a Thursday.  We stepped out of the norm, and it worked.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Weddings are expensive but don't give up that easily.  Get creative, use greenery from your backyard, look at second-hand items, put your mind to it, and make things happen.  Don't skimp on the details.  They are important and people notice and appreciate them.  Remember, this is YOUR day.  Plan accordingly.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
Real flowers are a must.  IT JUST ADD SO MUCH.  Photography is so important and a must have. Book someone you love; don't settle.

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Consigned Jovani | Bride's Shoes: Target | Bridesmaids Dresses: Macy's | Cake: Heritage Bakery & Cafe | Caterer: CrossKeys Vineyards | Ceremony Location: CrossKeys Vineyards | DJ: Tucker MacDonald | Flowers: DIY | Hair & Makeup: Kara Burnell | Menswear: Macy's | Photographer: Lindsey Zern Photography | Reception Venue: CrossKeys Vineyards | Stationery: Vistaprint

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Photographer: Lindsey Zern Photography

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