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!
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.
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