Dripping with luxury and oozing with romance, this decadent purple & gold wedding will stop you dead in your tracks. THIS is my kind of wedding…opulent, decadent, and styled to damn near perfection. With a color palette of varying shades of purple – from lavender to royal to eggplant – mixed with champagne and gold, Christine and Ray's wedding is in one word – amazing. It's no surprise really. When SHE is involved, it's bound to be over the top in an oh-so-good way. No detail was left unturned and some of my very favorites include:
- Incredible florals. Be prepared to pick your jaw up off the floor. Mocha Rose knocked it out of the park, per usual. Tall, elevated arrangements interspersed with voluminous floral runners and short but stunning centerpieces were definitely the highlight of the reception.
- Show stopping seating cards. After finding their table on the large mirror display seating chart, each guest was surprised with a personal gold acrylic hand-letting of their name. These two-in-one seating cards/favors from Jenn and Jules are my new favorite thing!
- Sweet tributes. Despite all of the gorg details, this wedding wasn't without its nods to family. Ray's brother is active military and was unable to attend. However, he prepared a speech to be read to the newlyweds during dinner. Also, Christine's grandmother passed away shortly before the wedding. The couple made sure to honor her by opening the dance floor with a special song she had requested. I sure there wasn't a dry eye in the house during both special moments.
Every last envy-inducing element was captured perfectly by Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers. If this wedding doesn't give you all the heart eyes, we may need to rethink our friendship.
Also, you absolutely do not want to miss their gorgeous trailer from Post Script Productions!
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
We met when Ray came back to help coach his high school baseball team after graduating from law school. He had just been hired as an assistant prosecutor and I was in my first year as a teacher at Streetsboro High School. I was also coaching middle school track. On the first day of baseball practice, I just happened to be in the training room when the baseball coaches came in. I immediately noticed Ray and went home and called my mom and said, “There is a cute baseball coach. I have to meet him.” I found out much later that I had caught Ray’s eye that same day as well. We were not introduced until that Friday morning at 5:30 a.m. when we came to play basketball with the other coaches and staff members. I had no idea Ray was going to be there that morning and then panicked. My first thought was “I look awful, it is 5:30 in the morning, and I am awful at basketball.” Ira, one of the school guidance counselors, introduced us and that was just the beginning. The following Friday, after seeing each other in passing in the hallways and making small talk, Ray asked me out for a drink. When we met that night, it was as if we had known each other forever. We spent hours talking as if we were best friends. From that moment on, we have been inseparable.
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
This brings us to Friday, June 12, 2015. We had made plans to go camping with friends, or so I thought. It turned out that Ray had other plans for the weekend. Earlier in the day, I was given instructions to put on a nice dress and be ready to go by 3:30 p.m. Ray refused to tell me where we were headed, but once we got on the turnpike and headed towards Youngstown, I started to put the pieces together; we were headed home to Pittsburgh. Once we arrived, we went for drinks and an appetizer inside the Renaissance Hotel while we waited for our dinner reservation. After a slight adventure of finding a cab, we set off for a romantic dinner at Monterey Bay atop Mount Washington overlooking the city. Dinner was amazing, but it was clear through the entire meal that the anticipation of the possible engagement was all I could think about. After dinner, Ray suggested we take a walk. I was concerned how we were going to get back to the city, but agreed to go on the walk and worry about the ride later. We walked out in front of the restaurant, past the area where everyone was taking pictures of the view, and he took me down a path so we could be alone. Eventually Ray stopped and took me by the hands. He spoke from the heart, got down on a knee, and asked me to marry him. I said yes! Little did I know, Ray had arranged for both of our families to be there to witness this moment, and for a celebration after at the Grand Concourse. Ray had planned to continue the festivities the following day by getting tickets to the Pirates game for both of our families. It was truly a perfect weekend of celebration with the people who meant the most to us!
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Our wedding style was classic elegance with a modern twist. My favorite color has always been purple and it was absolutely what I wanted to be the main color of our wedding. The ballroom at the Omni was a source of inspiration, and it helped me decide to add a touch of gold as our accent color. We used the wedding colors in everything from the invitations to the flowers, linens, uplighting, and even one of our favors – laser cut gold mirrored name cards. I really wanted every detail to incorporate our colors and vision. We wanted our wedding to be elegant and beautiful but more importantly, we wanted it to be about starting our lives together with the people who mean the most to us. We wanted to spend the night on the dance floor with our friends and family enjoying the best time of our life together.
What inspired your vision?
The Omni’s Grand Ballroom really helped to inspire our vision. I have always been someone who is much happier in shorts and a t-shirt but when I thought about my wedding day, I wanted to feel like a princess. The ballroom fit right in with my vision. I also found my dress pretty easily and without realizing it was the same one that I fell in love with on Pinterest and in a magazine. I did not realize until after I bought it that all three were the same dress. My dress had a lot of lace and I loved the elegance of it and wanted to keep that feeling going through our wedding. It was also really important to us that everyone left the wedding telling us they had had a blast. We wanted to mix formal with a party and I think we accomplished that as the majority of our guests stayed for the after party. Alexis Allen of Shayla Hawkins Events really helped us to complete our vision. She had ideas for all the little details we would have never thought of and really helped to make our wedding something that I will never forget.
What made your wedding unique?
The incorporation of a single theme in all of the little details is what made our wedding unique. We had a destination wedding in Pittsburgh, even though I grew up there. The majority (80% or more) of our guests were traveling to celebrate with us. We wanted our friends and family to make a weekend out of it. We listed things for them to do around the city on our wedding website and in our welcome box. We had family that came into town Thursday and about twenty of us went to the Pirates game that night to start the celebration early. We had a rehearsal dinner Friday, and although we did not invite the entire wedding, we invited our extended family and bridal party. It was a wonderful way to start our wedding celebration. On Sunday, we had a brunch for everyone. It was wonderful to be able to see people we might have missed the night before and to see everyone again before they started their journey home. Our wedding weekend was everything I could have imagined and more.
We were both missing some people who were very important to us. Ray’s brother, Dan, is currently deployed with the United States Marine Corps and was supposed to be his best man, but we found a way to incorporate him into our day. We listed Dan in our program as one of the Best Men and noted why he was not in attendance. Also, we asked his brother if he would still write a best man speech to be read at the reception. Dan wrote a beautiful speech and it was as really meaningful to not only Ray and me, but also to our entire family. My Nana had passed away a few months before the wedding. I wanted to include her in special way as she was an important part of my life. When Ray and I were in Pittsburgh for Easter, we had asked my Nana if there was a special song she wanted to be played at the ceremony. Nana kept telling us “P.S. I Love You”. Since we had a Catholic wedding, this was not an option during the ceremony. Instead we opened the dance floor by playing it. The band announced that Nana had requested it and asked that everyone join us on the dance floor to honor her. It was a very emotional moment for Ray, me, and my entire family, however, I knew at that moment that Nana was with us.
When we first got engaged, we talked about what was important to us when it came to a reception and it was important that there was plenty to eat and drink all night and that the dance floor was packed. We decided to have the After Glow (after party). It was one of the best decisions we made when it came to planning. Around ten o’clock, the party moved back to the Urban Room where we had the cocktail hour earlier. We switched from the band to a DJ, gave everyone glow sticks, and the party kept going. We surprised everyone with the photobooth and more food. The food during the After Glow was what everyone was craving after being on the dance floor all night – mozzarella sticks, pizza, wings, a French fry station, and more. The best part about this was it gave us a chance to visit with more of our friends and family and to be on the dance floor enjoying the night. Everyone says the day goes by so quickly and it does, but by having the After Glow, it made the night seem much longer and the day did not seem to go by as fast. I would definitely recommend some way to keep the party going.
What was your favorite moment of the day?
It is so hard to pick just one. I would say when my dad walked me down the aisle and I saw Ray for the first time all day. It was amazing seeing his face and knowing I was about to marry my best friend and soul mate. My other favorite memory from the day is the last two songs The Bachelor Boys played before the reception ended and the After Glow started – “Shout” and “Sweet Caroline”. There was not a single guest sitting in their seat for either song, and by the end of “Sweet Caroline” our entire bridal party was in the middle of the dance floor together. It was an amazing way to end the reception and kick off the After Glow!
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Deciding who to hire for your wedding day can be stressful. There seems to be so many choices and it is hard to decide. Follow your gut and hire vendors who you feel comfortable with and can trust. If something goes wrong leading up to or on your wedding day, these people will help make it better. The week leading up to the wedding, multiple people had commented on how calm and stress-free I seemed. This was because we had made the decision to go with people we were comfortable with and who knew what they were doing. They helped us figure out when everything needed to be done so that we could enjoy the week and day of our wedding.
Most importantly, you have to remember that when the wedding day comes, it is important to take it all in with your new husband. Don’t stress if a detail isn’t right; focus your attention on the wonderful day and the celebration at hand. The day will be crazy so make sure you spend as much time as you can together. See if you can steal a few minutes, just the two of you, to enjoy before the pictures, receiving line, or exit starts. We decided not to do a receiving line but instead to go table to table at the reception together. We were starting our marriage together as a unit and we were able to visit with our friends and family together. Spend as much time together on your wedding day as you can.
Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
Our must haves were an amazing venue, an awesome band, a great photographer and videographer, and a fabulous wedding planner! We couldn’t be happier with all of the amazing people who made our wedding day so special!
Our wedding day was perfect for us! There is not a single thing I would change, and it went off without a hitch. I actually keep asking Ray if we can do it all over again because it was so much fun and everything we had wanted and more. I look at our pictures all the time and it brings a smile to my face because the day was more then we could have imagined.
Band: Bachelor Boys Band | Bride's Dress: David Tutera for Mon Cheri from MB Bride | Bride's Accessories: MB Bride | Bride's Shoes: Benjamin Adams London | Bridesmaids Dresses: Dessy from Bella Bridesmaids | Cake: Bella Christie | Caterer: Omni William Penn | Ceremony Location: Mother of Sorrows Church | Desserts: Bella Christie | DJ: Modern Era Weddings | Groom's Cake: Bella Christie | Flowers: Mocha Rose | Hair: Artisan Colour Spa | Lighting: Encore Event Technologies | Linens: Mosaic | Makeup: Artisan Colour Spa | Menswear: Tuxedo Junction | Named Plates: Jenn and Jules | Photobooth: Pittsburgh All Star Events | Photographer: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers | Reception Venue: Omni William Penn | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Seating Chart: Jenn and Jules | Stationery: Pink Toast Ink | Transportation: Molly's Trolley | Videography: Post Script Productions | Wedding Planner: Alexis Allen of Shayla Hawkins Events