Vivid Fall Wedding at Shady Elms Farm

Vivid and bold, this fall wedding at Shady Elms Farm brings out the best of this magical season. With a warm but dramatic color palette of teal, marsala, burnt orange, and raspberry, Lyndsay and Justin designed a casual affair at the indoor/outdoor barn venue. The bold color choices were striking while the decor was just perfect for that time of the year. Large white pumpkins were sprinkled all around beautiful reception space, while traditional orange ones dotted the tables. Centerpieces of rose buds atop brass candlesticks, burlap runners, and wooden slaps rounded out the decor, while bouquets of amaranthus, ranunculus, and calla lilies, also created by Shady Elms Farm, coordinated beautifully with the burgundy bridesmaids dresses. A BBQ menu, bourbon signature cocktails, and a sparkler exit made this rustically elegant affair one for the books! Just WAIT until you see these images from Jenna Hidinger Photography and this highlight film from Pittsburgh wedding videographer Dorosh Documentaries. Call me basic if you must but fall is the BEST!

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About the Couple

I landed an internship at FOX Sports in Los Angeles in 2007. A Facebook page was set up for a group of us to connect with each other. A friend of Justin reached out to me and we decided to be roommates. When I arrived, I dropped off my belongings and left to check out the area. Justin and his best friend helped my new roommate move into our place while I was out exploring. Although I just barely missed him that day, we met soon after. One of our first conversations was about Rip Hamilton and Pistons basketball (Justin is from Michigan). The next time we saw each other, he was wearing a Pirates hat (I’m from Pittsburgh) and a Dwayne Wade jersey (my favorite player at the time). After almost ten years, many of our favorite memories together still involve sports.

After my friends left our mountain lodge the weekend of my 30th birthday, it was just the two of us, sitting by the fireplace. I like to tell it like it is, so I mentioned to him that it would be the perfect time to propose. Right then, the wind blew both of the patio doors open, like a sign that he should pop the question. He pretended he didn’t have a ring with him, but then he left the room to go grab it from his suitcase. When he came back, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We celebrated by eating frozen pizza, drinking champagne, and playing Big Buck Hunter in the cabin’s arcade. Everything fell into place. It was perfect, and more importantly, it was us.

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About the Wedding

Fall is our favorite season, so many of our plans were based around warm, rustic tones that complement the colorful foliage. Our venue, Shady Elms Farm, can be summed up as vintage barns, breathtaking florals, and a relaxing atmosphere.  We hoped our wedding would be memorable and unique.  We definitely we wanted it to be informal in a gorgeous setting where everyone could really let their hair down and have a great time. Because we had always dreamed of an outdoor ceremony, but we wanted to be married by a priest in the Catholic church, we actually had two ceremonies. The first was a traditional Catholic mass on Friday evening, and the second was an intimate outdoor ceremony at our venue on Saturday prior to our reception. I truly believe we got the best of both worlds!

Shady Elms Farm did an absolutely amazing job decorating the space for the outdoor ceremony and reception in the vintage barn. The vine-covered arbor with the crystal chandelier and glistening pond were part of the backdrop for our ceremony. The doors of the 120-year old barn were opened and our guests could feel the warm autumn breeze while surrounded by gorgeous wooden beams, chandeliers, and a light canopy strung from the haylofts. I wanted unique, rich colors, so I chose teal, deep red, burnt orange, and raspberry. I think the vivid colors ended up blending together beautifully. I bought small orange pumpkins to be placed on the tables, and large white pumpkins to be placed around the property. I created several framed signs, including ones for our signature drinks, our sparkler exit, a donation we made to an animal welfare organization in lieu of favors, and our wedding hashtag. The memory area to honor deceased loved ones was especially important to me, as my Grandpa passed away a month before our wedding. We laid his boutonnière next to a photo of him. It was really special.

All of our custom floral pieces were created by Shady Elms Farm. They truly made my vision come to life by incorporating the rich colors into the flowers. They were so vivid and breathtaking. They really made our wedding photos pop!

The farm's chicken coop served as a welcoming station to guests as they arrived. It stored a timeline of events and our unique guestbook, which was a huge, rustic letter “B” for our guests to sign. After the outdoor ceremony, our guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the farm's rustically-elegant carriage house. We chose a BBQ menu to complement our informal theme. Of course, we had the Pittsburgh cookie table at our wedding, featuring cookies and baked goods made by family and friends.  After an exceptionally fun evening of cocktails and dancing, our reception ended with a beautiful sparkler exit.

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Favorite Moment

The feeling of being married (after almost ten years together!) was what I was most anticipating, along with celebrating with the people we love. Special moments that really stand out in my mind include doing a first look with my mom, dad, bridesmaids, and my husband. There wasn't a dry eye at our outdoor ceremony as I walked down the aisle to a beautiful song. The personal vows we exchanged made us smile, laugh, and cry. Our first dance was also pretty epic, as I chose “Forever Young” by Jay-Z and Beyonce, which is about as nontraditional as it gets. We had a such a blast singing and dancing to it! We were also blessed to have the most gorgeous fall day. It was sunny, warm, the perfect temperature, with an absolutely stunning sunset to end the day.

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Vendors

Bride's Dress: Morilee from One Enchanted Evening | Bride's Accessories: Rent the Runway | Bride's Jewelry: Ben-Amun | Bride's Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff from One Enchanted Evening | Bridesmaids Earrings: Kate Spade | Bartending: Ray's Last Call | Cake & Cupcakes: Made by the groom's sister | Cake Topper: Etsy | Cookies: Kretchmar's and baked by family and friends | Caterer: PW Catering | Ceremony Locations: St. John the Baptist and Shady Elms Farm | DJ: Modern Era Weddings | Flowers: Shady Elms Farm | Hair: Mallory Puniak and Marie Puniak from Copacetic Beauty Lounge | Makeup: Joy and Amanda of JL Makeup Studio & Beauty Boutique | Menswear: Generation Tux | Photography: Jenna Hidinger Photography | Pumpkins: Soergel Orchards and Shenot Farm & Market | Reception Venue: Shady Elms Farm | Sparklers: Superior Celebrations | Stationery: Zazzle | Transportation: Elite Transportation | Uplighting: Modern Era Weddings | Videography: Dorosh Documentaries | Wedding Bands: Orr's Jewelers 

Makeup: Joy and Amanda of JL Makeup Studio & Beauty Boutique | Videography: Dorosh Documentaries

Nature Inspired Somerset Engagement Session

If you’ve ever doubted for one moment that you should have pre-wedding pictures done, I’m pretty sure this gorgeous nature inspired Somerset engagement session from the one and only Lauren Renee Photography will have you easily convinced! Aly and Van’s shoot at Jones Mill Run Dam near Seven Springs (an amazing Pittsburgh wedding venue, BTW!) is as pretty as they come: a romantic, flowy floral dress, a rustic woodsy backdrop, a bubbling stream, moss covered rocks, and, of course, the cutest couple, ever! And if these photos aren’t enough, the story of their proposal will certainly have you swooning (read it below!). With a session this beautiful, I’m already counting the days until I can see their their wedding photos!  

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About the Couple

We have gone on a lot of trips together, but being outside is one of our favorite activities. We particularly love the Western N.C. mountains in Asheville and causal weekends filled with hikes, yummy food, and exploring breweries. One weekend in September 2017, Van chose a strenuous hike to the top of Cold Mountain. With the most breathtaking backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains at the top of the ten mile hike, Van proposed and I could not have been happier! He tricked me by telling me we were staying in a old cabin but he actually had rented a beautiful AirBNB. He planned spa days, Biltmore tours and vineyard visits to surprise me with the most perfect weekend ever.

We initially envisioned a rustic barn wedding. However, due to family traditions and timing, that plan changed and we are now thrilled to be getting married at the gorgeous Heinz Chapel and Grand Concourse. But, we still wanted to incorporate that rustic feel in our engagement and figured these photos were the perfect way.

This Wedding at Fernstone Retreat is the Perfect Something Blue!

Relaxed and serene, this shades of blue wedding at Fernstone Retreat embraces one of the hottest colors to hit the bridal scene in recent history. Ever since Pantone chose serenity as one of the 2016 Colors of the Year, blue has been HOT and I've been obsessed. Imagine my excitement when I saw Ali and Adam's wedding, where they chose to embrace the entire spectrum for this shade. Baby blue, cerulean, periwinkle, navy, royal and just about everything in between makes an appearance in this celebration. With the gents clad in their own blue suits and the ladies wearing mismatched bridesmaids dresses – one of which is a GORG floral print – the ombre vibe came alive with the bridal party. Add in a variety of antique china place settings all bearing the day's palette, a bridal bouquet of forget-me-nots, thistle, and hydrangeas, and even a color-matched umbrella for the first look and blue was the star of the show. With darling DIY centerpieces, a menu of BBQ and local beer, and an all-you-can-eat pie bar for dessert, this affair was casual and heartfelt. Flawlessly executed by Pittsburgh wedding planner Kim Allera of Olive & Rose Events and captured by The Oberports, Ali and Adam's big day is the perfect “something blue!”

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About the Couple

We were introduced by Adam’s cousin and my friend Kari. Kari and I worked together at a restaurant in Washington D.C. She invited me out to her lake property for Memorial Day weekend, which is where I met Adam. He (unsuccessfully) tried to teach me to wakeboard, and (successfully) impressed me with his cooking skills. After that, we ran into each other a few more times that summer while I was hanging out with Kari’s family, and then we started going out of our way to see each other. No five hour commute was going to stop us! We've been together since September 2012.

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About the Wedding

We loved the idea of having the wedding in nature, which is why we chose Fernstone Retreat. The venue was ours for the entire weekend and we could host our whole wedding party on-site. We wanted the bridesmaids and groomsmen to feel comfortable in what they were wearing so our only requests were that they wear blue, which turned out great! I loved the idea of mismatched blue china so we rented it from Forget-Me-Not Rentals. We wanted personal touches throughout the wedding, so I made our signs from windows and cabinet doors that we got at Construction Junction. I also made our centerpieces, and Adam and his dad built our beer bar. We wanted people to really be able to see aspects of us everywhere they looked.

Adam and his dad built our beer bar by hand! They got Pittsburgh (and some Michigan) beers from local breweries and had those on tap all weekend. We also had our “guest log,” made by a local carpenter who we met in the Strip District at his store. I hand drew all our signs and made our centerpieces out of recycled liquor bottles that we asked friends and family to save for us for the year leading up to the wedding. We also traveled to Louisville, KY to pick out our very own barrel of signature bourbon from Woodford Reserve. Adam was born in New Orleans, so we also had a second line entrance into the reception, which was a lot of fun! Adam’s cousin Kari, who introduced us, was also our officiant, which was very meaningful for us.

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Favorite Moment

Adam’s – The second line entrance and dancing with all of our friends to the live band; seeing friends and family enjoy the signature bourbon and the homemade beer bar; and of course, getting married!

Ali’s – All of our friends and family stepping up to help and keep everything stress free when it rained (tropical monsoon) and our ceremony had to be moved indoors; seeing Adam’s smiling face while Kari performed our ceremony; and our first dance when it felt like we were the only people in the world.

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Don't miss Ali and Adam's wedding film from Driftwood Stories!

Vendors

Band: Bachelor Boys Band | Bride's Ceremony Dress: Pronovias | Bride's Reception Dress: BHLDN | Caterer: Stone House Inn | Ceremony Location: Fernstone Retreat | Favors: Melissa Ryan | Flowers: The Farmer's Daughter | “Guest Log”: Jonathan Moran Woodworks | Hair: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort Spa | Linens: Stone House Inn | Makeup: Lauryn Wagamon | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | Photography: The Oberports | Pies: Cathy's Extraordinary Cakes | Reception Venue: Fernstone Retreat | Rentals: Windswept Party & Event Rentals | Stationery: Shutterfly | Transportation: Vogue Limousines | Videography: Driftwood Stories | Vintage China: Forget-Me-Not Vintage Rentals & Styling | Wedding Planner: Olive & Rose Events

Band: Bachelor Boys Band | Wedding Planner: Olive & Rose Events

Rustic Glam Seven Springs Wedding

When you love the outdoors AND anything sparkly, a rustic glam Seven Springs wedding is the perfection marriage of styles (see what I did there?). After their seriously, insanely gorgeous ceremony in the woods, Kylie and Josh celebrated with their family and friends at at the mountain resort. With a color palette of jewel tones like navy, marsala, and plum paired with rose gold accents and greenery, the ambiance was one of forest-meets-finery. Over the middle of the dance floor hung a stunning array of fresh foliage and twinkle lights extended to every corner of the room. Tables were adorned with a mixture of tall arrangements dripping in always lovely amaranthus with trios of floating candles and metallic vases. Even the escort cards sat on a bed of fresh roses, eucalyptus, and artichokes for a super natural feel. The Instagram-worthy details didn't stop there. Just wait until you see the Stanley Cup wedding cake and the ice cream sundae dessert bar! Enchanting and dramatic, Kylie and Josh's woodsy wedding is sure to inspire. Enjoy the images captured by Simply Kacie Photography!

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About the Couple

Josh and I met on January 12, 2013 on his 23rd birthday at Seven Springs! I was working there and a friend of mine invited me to go to a party with her that night. Josh and his friends rented a cabin that weekend for his birthday, we showed up, and the rest was history! After many trips from his house to my college dorm in West Virginia, we decided to buy a house and move in together. After two years of craziness, career changes, and getting a puppy, he proposed, in our living room, two days after my birthday and I was shocked. We spend the whole morning relaxing, cleaning, and cooking for my best friend and her fiance to come over for dinner and hang out. Once they arrived, we are all just chatting when Josh shot up off the couch and said, “Kylie, I have another birthday gift for you!!” He had me stand up and close my eyes with my hands out. He ran outside then back inside, placed something large and cold in my hands, and told me to open my eyes. Reluctantly, because he can be quite the jokester, I open my eyes to see him down on one knee with the most beautiful ring ever in his hand and a bottle of my favorite locally made wine with a custom label reading “I love you. Will you marry me?” and I just melted. I didn't think it could get better but he had already arranged for all of our family and friends to come over for an engagement party! It was one of the most magical days.

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About the Wedding

Our wedding theme was “forest glam.” We love the outdoors and knew we wanted an outdoor ceremony but I also LOVE glamorous, over the top anything. I wanted to combine those two (opposing) elements. I wanted an enhanced forest feel for the ceremony and then I wanted to bring the outdoors in to our indoor reception with lots and lots of flowers. My engagement ring is rose gold so that was an easy choice for our metallic accent. I loved the berry palette with all the rich, jewel-toned colors with some blush pink.

We wanted our wedding to be very unique and personal and it was inspired by some of our very favorite things. We had our “dog of honor,” our golden retriever, Cole. Then there were personal elements attached to the hand made signs, unique flowers, and decor, but the best part was the cake. Josh is a HUGE, DIE-HARD Pittsburgh sports fan. The Penguins are definitely his favorite though and as we were in the heart of wedding planning, it was also playoff season. I asked the baker to turn half of our wedding cake into the Stanley Cup and the big reveal, after our first dance, was nothing short of amazing. He was speechless and let me tell you, that never happens!

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Favorite Moment

I'd say definitely the first look was amazing. I loved getting ready with my girls and the ceremony was breathtaking. The reception was the most fun we, and most of our guests, had ever had. We had the bar stay open longer and the DJ play later because we just didn't want to leave! The very very best moment though was Josh's face seeing his very own Stanley cup cake.

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Vendors

Bride's Dress: Allure Couture | Bride's Accessories: Joyce's Fine Jewelry and Macy's | Bride's Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids Dresses: Jasmine B2 from Coni and Franc | Cake: Seven Springs | Caterer: Seven Springs | Ceremony Location: Meadowoods at Seven Springs | Desserts: Dairy Queen | DJ: DJ Adambomb from PowerBomb Productions | Flowers: Linda Brown's Floral | Hair: Becca McClain | Lighting: Linda Brown's Floral | Makeup: Becca McClain | Menswear: JCPenney | Photography: Simply Kacie Photography | Reception Venue: Exhibit Hall at Seven Springs | Rentals: Linda Brown's Floral | Stationery: The Wedding Shop at Shutterfly | Videography: FineLine Weddings

Cake: Seven Springs | Caterer: Seven Springs | Ceremony Location: Meadowoods at Seven Springs | Reception Venue: Exhibit Hall at Seven Springs

Darling Mellon Park Engagement Session

Casual and playful, this Mellon Park engagement session is the perfect representation of Brittany and Michael's relationship.  They wanted something that was totally “them” – always laughing, comfortable, supportive, and totally in love.  Elisabeth of Dorosh Documentaries captured these dynamics in a sweet way that makes it easy to see these two are absolutely crazy about each other.  The session was a good chance for the couple to practice being in front of a camera, but also – and more importantly – an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of marriage.  Brittany and Michael's faces convey an immense amount of love and respect for the other and really, isn't that what it's all about anyways?  Enjoy these darling photos!

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From the bride…

We had worked with Elisabeth, our photographer, to pick a location that offered a variety of scenery.  This led us to take her suggestion of Mellon Park.  Our vision for the shoot was to capture our natural relationship of laughing and being ourselves together, as we were not bringing any props, following a theme, or wanting overly posed photos.  We described our relationship to Elisabeth in three words: comfortable, supportive, and hilarious.  As cliche as it is, we are each other's best friend, and we wanted that to come through in the photos.

The engagement session was both good practice working with a professional photographer before our wedding, but also an opportunity to have a day just for the two of us, to really feel and understand that we were getting married.  So much of wedding planning can feel like a checklist, and in my case, fairly overwhelming and out of my comfort zone.  So the engagement session was a time to put all of that aside, and just (literally) look at the person you are going to marry and understand that all of the planning and little details don't matter anywhere near as much as the love we have for each other.

Our engagement session was unique because Elisabeth was not only getting to know us better as a couple with some of her questions, but she was making us think of what we really loved about each other and what getting married made us feel like.  We actually left the session thinking of better answers to her questions and being even more excited and confident in our big day.  Elisabeth's direction and support throughout the entire session made the awkwardness we were feeling quickly go away, and we were able to just be ourselves.  You can absolutely see how much we laugh, how we look at each other, and how easy it is for us to have fun together in every shot that Elisabeth captured.

Joe Appel Photography: 6 Things That Make This Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Stand Out

If you’re in the heart of wedding planning, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the seemingly countless Pittsburgh wedding photographers out there. With so much talent to choose from, how can couples find the best one for their big day, and how can the photographers themselves stand out from the crowd? I think it all boils down to one word – experience. Years of honing your craft, recognizing and knowing your ideal client, and creating very thoughtful work is the difference between an amateur or hobbyist and a bona fide professional. And I’ve never met a Pittsburgh photographer more professional than Joe Appel. Not only is he the truest gentleman with a kind soul, but his background makes him distinguishable from the pack. Here are 6 ways how! 

He’s a storyteller.

For almost twenty years, Joe was a photographer at The Tribune Review, covering everything from high school sports to portraits of government leaders to life-changing emergency situations. This long career in photojournalism taught him to do just that – tell a story with a photo. He quickly learned to assess a situation, determine what story that situation could tell, and capture it in a compelling way. Joe has a mind for seeing the big picture, but an eye for spotting those serendipitous moments that allow viewers to see and understand it too.

How does this translate to wedding photography? Your special occasion is just one, big, day-long story waiting to be told. However, unlike covering a news story, Joe doesn’t see himself as simply an observer. With wedding clients, he feels so much more personally invested because he’s telling the story of a couple – YOUR story.

Joe Appel Photography: 6 Things That Make This Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Stand Out

His work will draw you in.

You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. But have you ever considered what you want your photographs to say? Perhaps you want them to capture the essence of your silly, close knit family, or all of the idiosyncrasies of how you and your better half show affection toward one another? Maybe there is a seemingly minute detail of your wedding reception that actually holds a whole lot of meaning? A photograph can convey all of this, if captured in a thoughtful way. Take one look at Joe’s work and I guarantee, you’ll be drawn in. As an outside observer, I may not know as much of the story as the couple or family does. But Joe’s images have a way of moving me and making me wish that I did.

Joe Appel Photography: 6 Things That Make This Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Stand Out

He’s very intentional with his photography.

One tendency for which Joe can thank his photojournalism career is his intentionality. Covering news stories is a FAST-paced environment. You have very limited chances to “get the shot” but you must absolutely get it right! This taught Joe to be constantly on alert, searching for those unique, once-in-a-lifetime moments to turn into photographs that will spark a memory. That is the point of a photo after all – to conjure up a memory. Putting so much thought into every frame allows Joe to deliver impactful images that will make you say, “I remember how I felt in that very moment.”

Joe Appel Photography: 6 Things That Make This Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Stand Out

He’s genuinely interested in his clients.

So many of Joe’s clients describe him as being easy to work with. They feel comfortable being themselves around him, and the camera is able to capture that authenticity. This isn’t a magical photography technique or even something silly Joe does at sessions to get his clients to open up. He simply shows a genuine interest in and thoughtful care for the couples he works with. Joe has said that “if you show people you’re interested in them, they tend to open up to you.” And in order to make an interesting photograph, you have to find the subject matter interesting. Time after time, Joe finds himself forming bonds with his clients simply because they grow to become friends both before and after the session.

Joe Appel Photography: 6 Things That Make This Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Stand Out

You’ll barely notice him or his camera.

Your wedding day will be one of the most stressful albeit happiest days of your life. One of the best ways to put yourself at ease is to work with professionals whom you trust and who will ultimately make your life easier. Joe has a way about him that is instantly calming, and you feel like you’re around a longtime friend. He is confident in his work and photography skills, which instantly helps clients feel comfortable, knowing they are in good hands. While a wedding day is full of intimate, emotionally-charged moments, Joe is a quiet, unobtrusive photo ninja – capturing the day in an unassuming, non-distracting, sophisticated way.

Joe Appel Photography: 6 Things That Make This Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Stand Out

He’s working for you…but also the people who will come after you.

Let’s be honest…your wedding day isn’t just about YOU. It’s about your fiancé, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, friends, etc. But more than that, a wedding day is about the people who will come after your…your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. There is nothing quite like looking at photos of your parents’ or grandparents’ wedding day and seeing them in such different lights than the ones from which you know them. Through prints and albums, Joe aims to ensure the generations that follow you get a sense of who you were. He wants to create that tradition of gathering around the coffee table, surrounding yourself with family, and leafing through your tangible memories, each time having that same visceral reaction.

Joe Appel Photography: 6 Things That Make This Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Stand Out


The world of Pittsburgh wedding photography is a big one that can be hard to navigate. Do yourself a favor – don’t hire someone based on budget alone, but rather on the photographer’s style, personality, and experience. Lucky for you, Joe Appel has all three. Check out his website and follow him on Instagram to see and learn more!

Sophisticated Merlot Omni William Penn Wedding

Sophisticated and timeless, this merlot Omni William Penn wedding is the perfect mix of classic style and modern trends.  With a color palette of marsala and gold, Lauren and Sean embraced seasonal colors with their October affair.  While the gentlemen wore black and white tuxes, the ladies were dressed in burgundy chiffon bridesmaids dresses from Bridal Beginning.  The bride wore a lace sleeved Hayley Paige wedding gown, also from Bridal Beginning, and it was beautifully complimented by a bouquet of cymbidium orchids, hydranges, and celosia arranged by Cuttings.  After a traditional ceremony, a confetti-toss exit, and a ride in Lauren's dad's vintage car, the pair celebrated at the Omni William Penn with a little help from Pittsburgh wedding planner A & L Events.  With fresh greenery wrapped around gold candelabras, a white and gold wedding cake, a mirrored seating chart, and a sketch of Lauren's wedding dress serving as a guest book, there was a lovely mix of style and uniqueness.  The mother of the bride even hand-painted champagne glasses for all 280 guests!  Enjoy all of the images from this Instagram-worthy day, taken by Leeann Marie Photography.

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About the Couple

Sean and I met through our church youth group in high school.  We had a lot of the same friends even though we went to different schools!  We even went to homecoming together my senior year (those pictures are priceless).  Through the years, we always remained friends and would hang out over school breaks.  We started dating the summer before my senior year of college while Sean had an internship in Chicago.  We dated long distance for two years!  We moved to Columbus and on our 4th anniversary and he surprised me with concert tickets to one of my favorite musicians!  We spent the weekend doing all of our favorite things.  I thought he was going to propose but when it didn’t happen on Saturday or Sunday during the day, I didn’t think it was going to happen at all.  Sunday evening we met up with a friend for drinks right on Lake Michigan.  Our friend suggested that we take some pictures by the water with the city in the background.  I obviously agreed because we never take enough pictures together!  As soon as we started taking pictures, I looked at Sean and he was down on one knee!  It was so amazing!!

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About the Wedding

Our wedding day was absolutely perfect!!  We have a very traditional, classic style in general and we knew with planning a wedding we wanted to keep that style!  We wanted it to be very classy and timeless.  Our colors were merlot and gold and a lot of lush greenery!  There were a lot of personal touches, including my father’s cars to pictures from our families' weddings to a sketch of my dress that was our guest book!  My mom even hand-painted our favors!  She hand-painted 280 champagne glasses for all of our guests!  Most of the comments I have received about our wedding were how perfectly planned it was.  My mom, along with A & L Events, did an amazing job to make sure every little detail was thought of!

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Favorite Moment

After our ceremony, we had a confetti toss with us coming out of the church.  We got into one of my dad’s classic cars. (This car was at my parents' wedding and my brother's wedding!)  Sean and I shared a bottle of our favorite champagne and just were grinning ear to ear!  One of my other favorite moments was when I iced Sean during our garter toss.  The only reason I wanted to do a bouquet and garter toss was so I could ice Sean.  I was able to hide the drink under my poofy dress and as soon as he went to take my garter off, he felt the bottle and knew what was going on.  He bent down and drank it!!  It was so funny!!

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Vendors

Bride's Dress: Hayley Paige from Bridal Beginning | Bride's Headpiece: Bridal Beginning | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff from Bridal Beginning | Cake: Oakmont Bakery | Caterer: Omni William Penn Hotel | Ceremony Location: St. Boniface | Desserts: Bella Christie | DJ: Wenning Entertainment | Flowers: Cuttings | Hair: AtHome Beauty | Lighting & Decor: Encore Event Technologies | Linens: Lendable Linens | Makeup: B. Mattise Makeup | Menswear: The Black Tux | Photo Booth: Wenning Entertainment | Photography: Leeann Marie Photography | Reception Venue: Omni William Penn Hotel | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Hello Beautiful Designs | Videography: Trillium Wedding Films | Wedding Planner: A & L Events

Bride's Dress: Bridal Beginning | Bride's Headpiece: Bridal Beginning | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridal Beginning | Photography: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental

How I Finally Changed My Views On Wedding Gown Preservation

Real talk: when I was a bride, I was very much anti-wedding gown preservation. As a very sentimental person, my wedding dress wasn’t just “a dress” to me. It held memories and emotions and brought back nostalgic feelings of happiness and love. I felt that as I grew older, I would want to be able to touch the fabric, hold it up against my body (and joke about how it probably no longer fit), and look at it without a plastic window in the way. The idea of stuffing my dress in a box never to be opened again made me sad. Nope, preserving my wedding dress just wasn’t for me.

How I Finally Changed My Views On Wedding Gown Preservation

How could I ever stuff this beautiful thing in a box?!

Or so I thought…fast forward five years later and we were preparing to celebrate a milestone anniversary in August. For the past 1,825 days, my wedding dress had hung in a plastic garment bag in a closet on the third floor of my (un-air conditioned) house. Had I ever once opened it up to touch the fabric or hold it up against my body? You guessed it. For as much as I felt like I wanted to do those things, it was sure taking me a long time to get around to doing them. Essentially, I was allowing my dress to deteriorate slowly for no good reason at all. I imagined myself opening this same closet in 50 years to find a yellow, tattered version of the dress I once knew and loved. Now, that thought really made me sad. Maybe I needed to reconsider this whole wedding gown preservation thing…

What a coincidence that I had recently become friends with Heather, the owner of Owl Cleaners and Pittsburgh Gown Preservation. I had always been impressed with Heather’s vast knowledge of textiles and how to care for each one of them, as well as her affinity for vintage and couture fashion. If there was ever anyone who would care for and appreciate my gown as much as I did, it was Heather.

At our consultation (which she has with every bride), I candidly expressed my concerns about preserving my wedding gown and not wanting it sealed in a tomb forever. It was clear that Heather understood my wishes and the value I put on those tangible memories. We also went over every inch of the dress, looking for stains and soiling together as I recounted the memories of how they got there…those “just married” photos in the gritty Strip District, an overzealous bridesmaid spilling a beer on me, a midnight trip to Primanti Brothers. She described in great detail the wedding dress cleaning and packaging process, thereby easing my fears and transforming my preconceived notions of wedding gown preservation. I confidently handed off the most valuable article of clothing I owned to Pittsburgh Gown Preservation and waited for Heather to get in touch.

A few weeks later, my preserved wedding dress was ready for pick up. Again, Heather was there waiting for me. After putting on white gloves (no…really!), she hung up my freshly cleaned gown and spread out the layered chiffon train so I could inspect it from top to bottom. She explained how the dress was meticulously wet and hand-cleaned by 76-year old Sandy Thompson, Pittsburgh Gown Preservation’s wedding dress specialist who has been there for over 45 years. It was so sweet to think of Sandy painstakingly poring over my gown as if it were her very own memories she was preserving. Post-wedding, my dress had the expected dirty hem and random staining from a night well lived; now it was in pristine condition thanks to Sandy! I gave the cleaning my stamp of approval and then the preservation began before my very eyes.

How I Finally Changed My Views On Wedding Gown Preservation from Burgh Brides

Check out Heather's white gloves!

The unassuming large white box is actually quite special – it’s covered with microscopic holes that will let air in. It’s a misconception that your wedding dress should be vacuum sealed – fabrics are meant to BREATHE! Inside the box are layers and layers of acid-free paper that won’t stain or harm the gown. Heather neatly placed the train in first, and then situated the bodice of the dress so that it would show prettily through the box’s window.

How I Finally Changed My Views On Wedding Gown Preservation from Burgh Brides

The finishing touch was a muslin bow tied around the waist of the dress to keep it from sliding around in the box. I took a few final photos and said what I thought was goodbye to my dress before the lid was placed on top of the box.

How I Finally Changed My Views On Wedding Gown Preservation from Burgh Brides

As it turns out, I was wrong again. In the box, Heather included a pair of white gloves for me, should I ever want to open it up and touch my dress. However, what Heather recommends and encourages is for brides to bring their box back to the store. At no extra charge, they will personally unbox the dress, let you see how it has aged, and properly re-preserve it for you (or re-clean it is something has gone awry). As someone who is clearly obsessed with being able to relive my wedding day through my dress, I will definitely be taking advantage of this service! Until then, the box, which Heather then placed into a linen bag with a handle for easy carrying, conveniently sits in the closet of a spare bedroom in my new house (and this one’s air conditioned!).

How I Finally Changed My Views On Wedding Gown Preservation from Burgh Brides

Having the dress close to me but also protected from time means so much, and after going through this process with Heather and Pittsburgh Gown Preservation, there’s no doubt in my mind that I did the right thing. The highly boutique experience and completely individualized attention I received was so reassuring. You simply won’t find this with mail-in preservation services or even with other area cleaners.

Pittsburgh Gown Preservation is a member of a hand-selected elite group; they are the ONLY Certified Wedding Gown Specialist and member of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists in Pittsburgh (yes, those are real things). And while Owl Cleaners does dry clean everyday clothing, this isn’t just a dry-cleaner offering wedding dress cleaning. Heather and her team take great pride in working with brides, treating them like family, showing extreme gratitude for their business, and making their satisfaction their number one priority.

How I Finally Changed My Views On Wedding Gown Preservation from Burgh Brides

Until I see you again, old friend!

If you still aren’t convinced that preserving your wedding dress is the right thing for you, it’s totally fine. You don’t even have to decide right now! I’m proof that even five years after the wedding isn’t too late to say yes to this dress service!

Meanwhile, you can still take advantage of Owl Cleaners and Pittsburgh Gown Preservation’s other services like alterations, custom gown redesigns (for a fresh take on your mom’s wedding dress), and even dress steaming (for those out-of-town bridesmaids who had to travel with a gown)! Give them a call at 724-933-7120 (option 1) or visit their website to learn more.

Mention Burgh Brides to save on your gown preservation!

Save $25 on your wedding gown preservation when you mention Burgh Brides!

Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session

Get ready to pick your jaw up off the ground because this Ohiopyle engagement session is unlike anything you've ever seen. I guarantee it! Since Jessie and David chose a city wedding, they switched things up with an e-shoot inspired by nature. And boy, did nature bring it's A-game. The stunning Ohiopyle and it's wooded areas, waterfalls, rushing streams, mountainous terrain, and gorgeous views resemble something out of the PNW and I am all kinds of inspired. This pair wasn't afraid to climb on fallen trees, dip their toes in icy water, or venture to the edge of an overlook all in the name of good photography. Speaking of which, Whitling Photography is about to BLOW YOUR MIND, Y'ALL!

Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides

About the Couple

We met in Chicago two and a half years ago. Our first date – at a board game bar – lasted 7.5 hours….and ended with a side hug! (Luckily, it turns out he wasn't disinterested – just polite.) We've been together ever since.

Knowing we'd soon be moving away from Chicago, David decided to propose in the ferris wheel at Navy Pier – an iconic spot on the Chicago skyline that we would always be able to point out in photographs. Naturally, on the day it was planned, the ferris wheel wasn't running because of thunder storms. But David had decided that was the day, so, in the rain, he got down on one knee, presented a beautiful ring, and said, “My knee is wet.” I had to gently remind him to actually ask the question. Coming from a guy who is typically witty and can work a room, that sincerely imperfect proposal was perfect.

Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Breathtaking Ohiopyle Engagement Session from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides

About the Session

We both love the outdoors. We considered having an outdoor wedding, but Pittsburgh's unpredictable weather pushed us to a safer, indoor option in the city. Knowing that we would have amazing urban wedding photos, we decided to go the natural route for our engagement session. Our photographers suggested Ohiopyle and we're so glad they did! Even if it meant crossing rivers via fallen logs, dipping our feet in freezing water, and testing an unnamed-someone's fear of heights on a cliff at sunset – it made for a beautiful photos and a great set of memories.

Vibrant Whimsical Rustic Acres Farm Wedding

This whimsical Rustic Acres Farm wedding is dripping with so many charming details I can barely stand it. Tiana and Jake wanted something vibrant, romantic, and fun. Mission so very much accomplished, my friends. From the bride's adorable blue flats that featured the word “love” embroidered across the toes to her lush bouquet full of coral charm peonies, blue tweedia, and dark red celosia, Tiana brought lots and lots of color to her bridal look. This was surpassed only by the brightness of the table decor. Vintage glassware in different hues, greenery runners, and the cutest drawer pulls doubling as favors decorated each place at the reception. The place also abounded with DIY pieces like calligraphed signs, a mirror seating chart, and an incredibly fun take on the “kiss when the glasses clink” tradition. Add in a chartreuse green velvet settee at the sweetheart table with a hanging floral installation overhead and you've got a wedding day bursting with beauty. While I try to recover from falling head over heels for all of these details, you can check out the pretty pics taken by Dawn Derbyshire Photography.

Colorful Wedding Bouquet: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Blue Neck Tie for Groom: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cap Sleeve Wedding Dress: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Wedding Flats: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Blush Pink Bridesmaids Dresses: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Bridal Makeup: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Cap Sleeve Wedding Dress: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh 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Photography featured on Burgh Brides Off the Should Wedding Dress: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Blush Pink Bridesmaids Dresses: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Bridal Makeup: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Bright Bridal Bouquet: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Bridal Portraits: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Whimsical Wedding Portraits: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Farm Wedding Photos: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Colorful Wedding Tablescape: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Hanging Flowers Sweetheart Tablescape: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Mirror Seating Chart at Wedding: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Coral Charm Peony Table Runner: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Colorful Wedding Details: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Ombre Drip Wedding Cake: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Paper Pinwheels Seating Cards at Wedding: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on 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Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Colorful Barn Wedding: Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides Vibrant Whimsical Wedding at Rustic Acres Farm from Dawn Derbyshire Photography featured on Burgh Brides

About the Couple

We met at a music school in Florida when I was 12. Jake's sister and I became best friends (she was one of my bridesmaids) and after several years of friendship, Jake and I started dating.

On our 5th anniversary, September 30th, 2016, Jake took me on a weekend trip to Lake Erie. I had suspected a proposal, thanks to seeing some targeted ads for engagement rings. But after the night passed and we had already eaten dinner and had a little heart-to-heart time on the beach, I thought he wasn't going to propose after all. But then, as we were packing up, Jake called my name, flew down to one knee and proposed, so I was surprised after all.

About the Wedding

We wanted a vibrant, whimsical, and romantic wedding with lots of colorful and fun accents. We incorporated a lot of DIY elements – like free-hand calligraphed bar, seating, and ceremony signs, and the dog table numbers – because we wanted to have personal touches.

I think that all of the whimsical floral installations mixed with the table decor really made the aesthetic of the wedding unique. Aside from looks, the most unique element was the kissing menu. We didn't want a traditional tinging of the glass for the couple's kiss, and after a friend mentioned seeing something similar at another wedding, we decided to include it. Our guests were singing their way through dinner to get us to share a kiss!

Favorite Moment

Hers: Coming down the aisle with my dad and seeing Jake. My dad started crying, Jake was crying, and having both of my favorite guys kinda share in that intimate moment with me was very special.

His: Seeing Tiana in her wedding dress coming down the aisle because of how pretty she looked and realizing I was about to marry her.

Theirs: Our first dance. We had our wedding portraits done so we had some time together before this, but this was the first moment together we could be close and talk. Plus, it was so much fun to twirl around in my dress!

Vendors

Bride's Belt: Bridal Beginning | Bride's Dress: Alvina Valenta from Bridal Beginning | Bride's Earrings & Bracelet: Kendra Scott from Nordstrom | Bride's Flower Crown: JPC Event Group | Bride's Necklace: Borrowed from mom (was a gift from her dad to her mom when they got engaged!) | Bride's Shoes: Ellen DeGeneres from Nordstrom | Bride's Veil: Bridal Beginning | Bridesmaids Dresses: Lulus, JJ House, Target, Dillards, Azazie, and JcPenney (Groomswoman dress from Amazon!) | Bridesmaids Flowers Crowns: DIY | Cake: Mixed with Love Cake & Cookie Co. | Caterer: JPC Event Group | Ceremony Location: Rustic Acres Farm | DJ: mobileMix Entertainment | Drawer Pull Favors: Amazon | Escort Cards: Minted | Flowers: JPC Event Group | Hair: Ashley's Mobile Studio | Ice Cream Bar: JPC Event Group | Linens: JPC Event Group | Makeup: Revive Beauty by Ashley J. | Menswear: Macy's, Saks Off 5th, and Fossil | Menu Cards: Minted | Mirror Seating Chart: DIY | Photography: Dawn Derbyshire Photography | Reception Venue: Rustic Acres Farm | Rentals: JPC Event Group | Stationery: Minted | Videography: Alyssa Kramer | Signs: DIY | Table Numbers: Minted

Bride's Belt: Bridal Beginning | Bride's Dress: Bridal Beginning | Bride's Veil: Bridal Beginning | Cake: Mixed with Love Cake & Cookie Co. | Ceremony Location: Rustic Acres Farm | Photography: Dawn Derbyshire Photography | Reception Venue: Rustic Acres Farm