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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Boho Circus Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

A circus inspired wedding?  THIS is the right way to do that theme!  Devoted to You and Oakwood Photo + Video are bringing you this boho styled shoot that is sure to inspire!  Bright, rich colors like turquoise, blue, yellow, orange, and marsala play center stage but are contrasted nicely against pastels and metallic gold.  Community Flower Shop crafted lush florals of beautiful red and marigold shades that caught your attention, while Fresh Cut Prints designed a stationery suite that used flowy lines and a watercolor element to bring the vibe to life.  Whimsical details such as a fabric pennant banner, vintage furniture, and antique glassware played off of a lace wedding dress, an indie head piece, colorful taper candles, and other eclectic bohemian elements beautifully.  A vignette of old fashioned carnival games proved that no one is ever too old to play, and the theme was even worked into the food with fresh donuts and a Ferris Wheel cupcake stand.  The marrying of the two concepts was so key in making this styled shoot work and these vendors totally nailed it.  This shoot is proof that an “Under the Big Top” wedding can be pulled off by even the most modern bride!

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Check out all of the behind-the-scenes footage to see how it all came to life!

From the stylist…

When Alexa and Wes from Oakwood Photo + Video approached me about doing a styled shoot and gave me their initial thoughts and ideas, I was super excited.  She said that she was envisioning a boho vintage circus vibe and wanted to know what I thought.  I do a TON of styled shoots so I’m always looking for something interesting and unique where we can really play with different elements.  So the thought of finding ways to marry these two concepts was really fun for me.

To start, we needed the perfect venue for this…one that captured both the boho and the carnival circus vibe.  Anchor Village ended up being the perfect match.  The venue has just enough open wooded space, mixed with concrete paths and interesting character, that we were able to shoot on different locations on the property to bring out both vibes and not have either one overpower the other.  When deciding on color palette, we knew we wanted to focus on bold, edgy tones with teal as the main consistent color throughout.  To play off the boho vibe, we carefully chose the dress, the style, and colors of florals, as well as the decorative items, furniture, and various hanging elements to really capture that feel.  To keep with the vintage look, we chose a wedding dress with intricate lace details and textures.  The flowy sleeves added a little boho charm to the mix.

The rich, bold tones of the florals partnered with the colored taper candles and mixed metals really made the tablescape pop.  At the same time, the paper products softened it up and brought in a little bit of that vintage circus vibe.  The canopy coupled with the hanging pendants brought a more whimsical boho feel.  To emphasize the vintage circus, we wanted to bring enough in so that you could see and feel it, but not so much that it felt like you were at a circus!  We were able to do that through the smaller details such as the copper toned ferris wheel cupcake holder, the donuts as dessert, and the vintage games.  The paper products all designed by Fresh Cut Prints also played a huge role in tying in that vintage circus feel.

Vendors
Bride's Dress: Soieblu from ModCloth | Cupcakes: Pink Champagne Cupcakery | Donuts: Clark's Donuts Plus | Flowers: Community Flower Shop | Location: Anchor Village | Makeup: Dollfaced Gremlin Freelance MUA | Models: Aubrey Borowitz & Austin Kuffel | Photographer: Oakwood Photo + Video | Stationery: Fresh Cut Prints | Stylist: Devoted to You | Videography: Oakwood Photo + Video | Vintage Furniture: Oakwood Photo + Video & Devoted to You

Photographer: Oakwood Photo + Video | Stationery: Fresh Cut Prints | Videography: Oakwood Photo + Video

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Coffee Shop Engagement Session: Ashley & Rory

This coffee shop engagement session will have every cup-o-joe lover reaching for another pour.  Ashley and Rory chose the neighborhood of Carnegie for their engagement session with Jenni Grace Photography.  In particular, the majority of their session took place at the popular Carnegie Coffee Company.  It is one of the couple's favorite spots and the cozy, relaxed vibe left Ashley and Rory feeling right at home.  I've yet to visit this place but it's on my list to check out!  The cute built-in bookshelves, the comfy chairs, and the industrial atmosphere are right up my alley.  And speaking of alleys…after the coffee shop, Ashley and Rory headed into the streets of Carnegie to wrap up their session.  These two were all smiles as they posed in front of some artsy murals and other very colorful backdrops.  Coffee lover or not, you'll definitely love these photos a latte (see what I did there?)!

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Rory and I met in college; a mutual friend set us up to attend a Halloween costume party together.  I was dressed as a mermaid and he was a sailor and we have been a perfect match ever since.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
I had been away for the weekend and when I returned home, I found a note on the door that Rory planned a surprise for our anniversary.  He set up a scavenger hunt throughout our house.  Each clue held a special memory like my favorite flowers, movie ticket stubs from our first date, and take out from the first restaurant we went to.  The clues eventually led to Rory down on one knee and the best surprise of my life!

Describe the engagement shoot.
We chose Carnegie as the backdrop for our engagement session.  I grew up around the area and Rory and shared our first apartment there as well.  We chose Carnegie Coffee Company because of its unique décor and relaxing atmosphere.  It's one of our favorite places to go and it was a place we felt really comfortable!

The main street of Carnegie was such a fun background that really showed off our personalities.  We had so much fun with the colorful murals and dancing in the street!

Summery Teal Wedding at Destiny Hill Farm: Joelle & Justin

Despite taking place in September, this teal wedding is all things summer!  Joelle took her favorite color and paired it with silver for a fun palette, but bright pops of coral, peach, and sage green made it into an even bigger party.  Pretty shades were topped only by a prettier setting – the natural goodness of Destiny Hill Farm played the most amazing of backdrops.  I mean can you just imagine getting married in a lavender field?  Must have smelled like heaven!  After that, guests partied in the barn where rustic chic met elegant whim.  Paper lanterns, twinkle lights, and ceiling draping created an intimate environment while loads of cute details will give you all the heart eyes.  Some examples:

  • No one does florals better than Destiny Hill Farm.  An incredible arbor decorated the ceremony site at the end of the aisle and centerpieces consisted of elevated arrangements, twisting vines, and hanging flowers.
  • Adorable chalkboard signs with floral accents adorned the bar and other areas.  Plus, the messages were cheeky and fun!
  • Glass bottled Coca Cola with personalized labels greeted each member of the bridal party at their head table.  Way to make these VIPs feel even more special!

Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers worked her camera magic to capture this big day in the most beautiful way possible.  Get ready to be wowed!!!

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You'll definitely want to check out the moving footage of Joelle and Justin from So Fresh Films too!

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
We met through a friend in December of 2009 at Seven Springs.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
When Justin was ready to pull the trigger and ask me to marry him, he asked my father to shoot sporting clays.  I knew something was up but thought maybe he would ask me within the next few weeks.  Little did I know that he'd ask me within hours of getting back!

After receiving my father's blessing, Justin went back to the lake house and was ready to hit the water.  He wanted to surf!  His friend, Kyle, had come over to join us.  Justin and Kyle surfed and then it was time for me to go.  I really wasn't feeling like surfing that day.  I was content to stay dry and on the boat.  Justin and Kyle pleaded with me and I finally gave in and surfed.  I didn't think much of it and had one of my best runs surfing yet.  Justin grew impatient with my mad surfing skills and began to sabotage me.  Kyle was also in on it and wouldn't throw me the rope when the ride became rough.  I sank into the water thinking what the heck?  As the boat came around to pick me up, there Justin was on the swim platform on one knee and the rest was history.  Yes, Justin proposed on the back of the boat.  Not to worry though; he had the ring tied to a floating strap!

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Our wedding was the perfect fall day with the sun coming out about 20 minutes before our ceremony!  Teal and silver were our colors.  We had the most gorgeous floral archway and flowers with bright colors everywhere.  Everything came together so beautifully.  Mimi York helped to make all of the details a breeze.  I could not have asked for a better day.

What inspired your vision?
We wanted an outdoor venue with a rustic but elegant theme.  I love teal so the color scheme was easy for me.  I wanted pops of color with the flowers and accents.  Pinterest, Instagram, and other online photos helped to give me ideas.  Plus, I had Mimi York and the Destiny Hill floral team to help with my vision!

What made your wedding unique?
Leeann was a dream to work with.  She knew that we wanted our photos to be different from other weddings that have taken place at Destiny Hill Farm so she did not disappoint.  Our floral archway photographed beautifully.  She found places that hadn't been used for photos before.  She worked camera magic to show shadows with lavender in the photo!  We love every single photo!

What was your favorite moment of the day?
It's hard to pick just one!  My favorite moment was when we were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Cameron and everyone stood and cheered!  Also, there was a point during dinner that I looked around and took in everyone who was there because they loved us!  Ok, just one more – at the end of the night, they played “Shout” and I was thrown into the air for the “Shout” part!  That was a fabulous way to end the night!

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
I would stress the fact that this is one day of your life that's about you getting married to your best friend.  Work together to pick the things that are most important to you both.  All the little details can be overwhelming.  If it's not important to you, don't stress over it.  Your day will be wonderful as long as you keep that mindset.  Something may not go exactly the way you thought that it would and that is ok.  Take time on your big day to soak it all in.  The day will fly by!

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
MUST HAVE: an open mind!  This will most likely be the biggest day of your life!  I know it's exciting, but it's easy to get carried away.  I went into wedding planning with the idea that our wedding day was about us getting married.  I reminded myself that throughout the process and let go of the idea that my wedding had to be perfect.  We had little hiccups that happened on our wedding day and we laughed through them.  I wouldn't change anything from our day because it was wonderful, even with the little hiccups.

MUST DO: decide what's most important to both of you and see how that can work within your budget.

MUST HAVE: A photographer that you can trust.  Photos were important to us and I'm so glad we were able to book Leeann.  She was a dream to work with and we love having all of our amazing photos.

Vendors
Band: No Bad Juju | Bride's Dress: Allure from Anne Gregory for the Bride | Bride's Jewelry: Henne Jewelers | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids Dresses: Allure from Sorelle Bridal Salon | Cake: Prantl's Bakery | Caterer: The Golf Club of Washington | Ceremony Location: Destiny Hill Farm | Flowers: Destiny Hill Farm | Hair: Gorgeous by Sorelle | Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Makeup: Valarie Panei | Menswear: Macy's | Photo Booth: Pittsburgh Prestige Photo Booth | Photographer: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers | Reception: Destiny Hill Farm | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Designed and made by the bride! | Videography: So Fresh Films | Wedding Planner: Mimi York

Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Photographer: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Videography: So Fresh Films

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Duquesne University Engagement Session: Shannon & Ryan

This classic Duquesne University engagement session will have you wanting to yell “Go Dukes!”.  Shannon and Ryan met during their college days and for their pre-wedding pics with Lauren Renee Designs, they wanted to return to where it all began.  They took in all of the iconic campus spots, looking like two playful love birds in each one of them.  After that, an accidental yet serendipitous wrong turn took them to Mt. Washington, a neighborhood that is also meaningful to the couple – it's where they first lived together!  Apparently this session was the first time Shannon and Ryan got professional photos taken together.  You'd never know it; they look so at ease and like they are having a blast (which Shannon credits to Lauren, their photographer!).  The city looks great, these two look great, and these engagement pics are simple and timeless.  I love love!

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
At Duquesne University, our sophomore year.  Ryan was in a fraternity and I was in a sorority and we met through mutual friends.  Soon we became friends and that eventually turned into more!

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
On a cruise in January to celebrate the completion of my second degree.  We were just pulling into Key West when Ryan made me get up to watch the sunrise, or so I thought!  He got down on one knee and popped the question!

Describe the engagement shoot.
We met at Duquesne, so we felt like we should go back to where it all began!  And the shots on Mt. Washington were totally by accident.  We took a wrong turn when heading downtown and ended up heading to Mt Washington instead.  With Lauren's help, we improvised and it turned out to be pretty special, as Mt Washington is the place we first lived together.

This was our first time ever getting professional pictures done together, so neither of us were sure how it would go.  It turned out to be such a fun afternoon that we spent with Lauren!  We felt completely comfortable with her from the beginning.  She really encouraged us to be ourselves, bring out our goofy sides, and really focus on each other.  I think it's easy to get caught up in life, especially with wedding planning, and our engagement shoot really gave us a chance to refocus our attention back on each other.  I can't say enough how much FUN we had!  I don't think that's something you get with all photographers!

Muted Vintage Wedding at Shady Elms Farm: Emmy & Jared

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Even a day-long thunderstorm couldn't dampen the beauty of this muted vintage wedding.  Emmy and Jared's big day will definitely tug at your heart strings.  A pastel color palette of sage, serenity, green, gray blue, ivory, and white looked perfectly shabby chic against the backdrop of Shady Elms Farm.  They wanted their wedding day to reflect them as a couple and the things they loved the most.  Thoughtful and lovely details abounded.  What were a few of my favorites?

  • The mismatched bridesmaids' dresses.  With only a few color restrictions, Emmy's girls were free to select a dress of their choice.  The result was a complimentary mix of hues, fabrics, cuts, and styles.  #nailedit
  • Emmy's look.  Soft curls, a feminine braid, and crochet TOMS made for a beautiful boho bride.  The pièce de résistance though was that.wedding.dress.  A sage chiffon skirt, beaded bodice, and ivory laser cut lace topper…this BHLDN number will stop you dead in your tracks.
  • That bridal bouquet.  Just when I thought Emmy couldn't look any lovelier, I got a glance at her bouquet.  Shady Elms Farm combined succulents, tulips, ranunculus, thistle, dusty miller, and scabiosa pods for a show-stopping, textural floral arrangement that was perfect for the day's color scheme.
  • Darling decor.  Marquee letters, antique furniture, sheer draping, bistro lights, milk glass, logs, wood slices, and even a few sparkling chandeliers gave the reception a vibe that was vintage, rustic, and modern all at the same time.
  • A nod to Emmy and Jared's furry friends.  These two are dog lovers and have fostered several pups over the years.  They just had to pay tribute to them on their wedding day!  The bride's sister and brother in law handmade a miniature replica of each of Emmy and Jared's dogs, complete with their names.  Dogs > just about everything else

If you're anything like me, you're bound to fall in love with each and every one of these images from Hot Metal Studio.  This wedding is sheer perfection!

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
Jared and I met freshmen year of college at Penn State in 2007.  We had an immediate connection but did not begin dating until spring of 2009 after spending more time together with other friends.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
Jared proposed to me in June of 2013 over a homemade breakfast :).  It was incredibly personal and sweet.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
I love muted blue colors with the look of grays and silvers and even some gold accents.  The save the dates and invites were all done by my talented friend and bridesmaid Denielle.  The invites themselves had elm leaves on them to match the name of the venue!  The decor was all vintage from the farm.  I love hydrangeas for the centerpieces and bridesmaids but I also loved the look of flowing/willowing flowers with succulents.  They put the gray accents and a lot of greens in, which I absolutely loved.  I really wanted to have it feel more personal to me and Jared.  Since we absolutely love dogs and have fostered pit-type dogs from the Washington Humane Society for over three years (having nine total fosters and various other dogs that we volunteered with and that touched our lives), we wanted to include these dogs in our day.  My sister Lexie and brother-in-law Sebastian made the greatest centerpieces we could have asked for that were so touching and meaningful!

What inspired your vision?
The beautiful old barn at Shady Elms started the inspiration for the general theme.

What made your wedding unique?
The band did an incredible job getting everyone on the dance floor and put on an amazing show that even those that don't like dancing really enjoyed.  Mostly vegan food and all vegetarian food was served and PW Catering did a great job bringing in lots of flavors and making it super tasty.  We had assorted cupcakes as dessert instead of cake so everyone could enjoy different flavors.  The dog centerpieces and the story they told was one of my favorite aspects of the whole event.  Hopefully they brought awareness to how amazing and loving pit-type dogs are, despite how they are viewed by the general public, and how much they have touch our lives.

What was your favorite moment of the day?
So many!  The ceremony and exchange of vows was especially moving for both of us.

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Incorporate a personal touch into your day and have your friends and family help you with it.  These are the type of things you will remember forever and really cherish, especially since you can share what really matters to you with everyone you love!

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?
Don't worry if will rain!  It was something I worried about for two weeks leading up to the day but when it rained for the entire day of the event, we really rolled with it and I actually didn't really notice.  We purchased 20 large, white umbrellas for the bridal party and they actually looked kind of cool in pictures.  And the rain made the celebration more intimate since everyone stayed close to one another!

Vendors
Band: The 19th Street Band | Bride's Dress: BHLDN | Bride's Accessories: BHLDN | Bride's Shoes: TOMS | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Mismatched from various places | Caterer: PW Catering | Ceremony Location: Shady Elms Farm | Cookies & Display: Caroline Graettinger | Cupcakes & Display: Dina Bonus | Flowers: Shady Elms Farm | Hair: Whitney of Caruso Hair & Esthetics | Dog Centerpieces: Bride's sister, Lexie Phelan, and Bride's Brother in Law, Sebastian Hoek | Linens: Windswept Party & Event Rentals | Makeup: Molly of Caruso Hair & Esthetics | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Photographer: Hot Metal Studio | Reception Venue: Shady Elms Farm | Rentals : Windswept Party Event Rentals | Stationery: Denielle DeSantis | Transportation: Elite Coach Transportation | Vegan Cupcakes & Display: Caroline Graettinger

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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…

Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides Sweet Summertime Engagement Session from Schneider Photography featured on Burgh Brides

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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