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.
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.
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