Before I get to this whimsical wedding, let’s start with the mountain top proposal in Capri, Italy. I mean come on! It doesn’t get much more romantic than that. Shortly after Brendan popped the question to Tara in fairy tale fashion, the pair started planning their big day. A wedding date of July 4th inspired the red and gold color scheme, but everything else was a mix of understated glamour, vintage chic, and a boatload of fun.
This couple put great value in making sure their family and friends felt just as special as they did on their wedding day. Tara even went as far as leaving a handwritten note for each out-of-towner (major etiquette points!). It was just as important to Tara and Brendan that their wedding be a reflection of their personalities, which is why they DIY’d so many aspects. The centerpieces, linens, signs, decor, invitations, even the videography were all done/made by the bride and groom. Tara described it with this: “The day…was experienced a lot in the same way you’d experience me or Brendan on any given day.” Can I just tell you how much I LOVE this? What else did I love?
- Some brides spend weeks, even months, searching for the perfect dress. Tara was not one of those brides. She knew from the get-go what she would wear – the same dress her grandmother wore in 1953 and her mom in 1982. With a few modifications, this family heirloom made its appearance on another generation and the tradition lived on.
- The ceremony is sometimes an aspect that gets overlooked. But not this one. It was full of thoughtful details, like branded sunnies, confetti poppers, a custom made tissue pom pom backdrop, an arbor built by Brendan himself, and even program fans, refreshments, sunscreen and bug spray to keep the heat and outdoors at bay!
- You know I love me some sparkle and this wedding didn’t disappoint. Shiny elements, like sequin runners, mirror signs and table numbers, and an abundance of taper and votive candles brought some glitz and glam to the otherwise rustic venue. A romantic juxtaposition to the fun, colorful ceremony!
- It’s hard to imagine a Prantl’s burnt almond torte wedding cake being any sweeter. But the topper on this one totally raised the bar. A tiny pair of red Converse kicks and bow-adorned Valentinos (made out of clay by the groom to match what he and his bride were wearing) made for the cutest personal touch!
- The award for the most epic first dance ever? Me thinks so. Tara and Brendan faked guests out with a traditional start, but quickly picked it up with a lively number they choreographed themselves. And of course, it was all caught on tape. Be sure to check out the full video below!
As if this all doesn’t sound amazing enough, Tara and Brendan celebrated with a fireworks night cap, thanks to the local 4th of July festivities. These photos taken by Michael Will Photography, are sure to leave you speechless!
And be sure to check out that crazy twist of a first dance I mentioned earlier!
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
Technically, I guess we met 2007ish when I waiting tables during a summer home from college. I waited on him, his girlfriend, and her family…I do not remember this encounter whatsoever! However, I do remember meeting him after coming home from New York in January 2010. We have a lot of mutual friends/contacts…so we both “knew” each other before we KNEW each other.
We are both into theatre and our first show together was The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He played a character who sings a song called “I’m Not That Smart” and he wore Heely’s and a cape during the entire show. It’s an all-around goofy character. My character sang a song called “I Speak Six Languages” and wore a catholic school girl uniform and was too smart for her own good. IF YOU ONLY KNEW HOW ACCURATE THESE CHARACTERS WERE! Hahaha! We started dating at the end of that year.
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
Capri, Italy (insert swoon here). May 12, 2014. We had been dating almost 4 years.
My “family” (they’re not blood family but may as well be!) was taking a trip to Italy with their three kids and invited Brendan and me along. Brendan decided he wouldn’t ever really get a better opportunity to propose, so he made it happen there.
Our first full day there was sort of messed up because of our flights, but we had plans to spend the day on the island of Capri. We had to take a ski-lift type thing ALL the way to the top of this mountain. We got to the top and Brendan and I were posing for a picture – looking out with the ocean behind us and this fairy tale Italian village in front of us, with all the females snapping away on various cameras. We took a normal picture and then he said he looked like he was squinting. So we took another, but instead he just plopped onto one knee and blurted, “Will you marry me?”
I was so shocked. Not because I didn’t think it would happen in Italy. I know my guy. He’s overly gushy and romantic. There were lots of clues leading up to this trip. But I NEVER thought it would happen our FIRST day there, in the middle of the day, with seemingly no plan and no sort of “choreographed” moment. It just was BAM! It was just not what I was expecting. My ring was also not what I was expecting! But thank goodness I was having a good hair day! I obviously cried. A very very ugly cry.
Funny story…my ring was too small (by at least a size and a half) but I SHOVED it onto my finger on the mountain (I made myself bleed. Hi. I’m committed to good photos). On the 20 minute ride down the mountain, I was spitting on my hand to slip this thing off my finger before I lost the finger! After the fact, I realized how horrible it could have been if I had dropped that ring into someone’s backyard tomato garden….but….it all worked out! I wore my ring around my neck the rest of the trip. I’m not THAT committed to photos.
Describe the wedding. The look, them, style, colors, etc.
My vision for the feel of the wedding was understated glamour. I wanted it to feel a little like Italy, a little vintage, a LOT personal, very comfortable and fun, but still VERY special. It was very important for me for everyone to feel welcomed and special. I even hand wrote notes to each guest staying at the hotel.
And…glitter. I wanted it to feel like glitter 🙂
What inspired your vision?
I honestly think the style of my wedding is just my style in general. Our wedding date, the 4th of July, inspired the red and gold palette. The venue inspired a lot as well because it definitely had a unique feel. But ultimately, I think the day felt, looked, smelled, tasted, and was experienced a lot in the same way you’d experience me or Brendan on any given day.
What made your wedding unique?
First, it was on the 4th of July. I had family members dress in red, blue, or neutrals to make family photos look cool.
Secondly, we did a LOT a LOT a LOT of things ourselves. To name a few: centerpieces (minus the flowers), table numbers and stands, card box, L-O-V-E sign, the T&B marquee letters, the cake topper, (Brendan made it out of clay!), the cake stand (which the venue never put out!!!), the stands for all the cookies at the cookie tables, all the labels for the cookies, drinks, sunscreen, bugspray, etc., the drink stirrers, confetti wands, program fans, invites (we hand bedazzled each one, tied gold ribbon and wax sealed), the Save the Dates, chocolate covered Oreos for the cookie table, all the lawn games, lots of signs, and the seating chart! Brendan even built the arbor that we got married under.
Our venue was unique. So was my dress (worn by three generations!), our first dance, the late night fireworks, a small wedding party, and Brendan and me 🙂
I think our wedding was traditional enough that people didn’t feel weird but unique enough that people are still talking about it!
What was your favorite moment of the day?
I can’t pick one!
Before the wedding? Looking out the window of the bridal suite with my MOH at all the guests arriving and getting excited. Also, when she had to cut the hem of my dress and I completely 100% trusted her to do so. I LOVE THIS GIRL!
During the ceremony? Confetti, hi. Best decision I made for my wedding day. Those. Photos.
During the reception? Our first dance and the fireworks. It’s a tie for first place.
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Have a conversation with your fiance and list your top three priorities for the wedding. We did this RIGHT when we got home from Italy. When things get crazy, emotional, just down right ridiculous – you have a short list (two of ours were the same so we really only had four total items) to go back to to say “Is this important?” Ultimately, our ceremony was VERY important to us and I have ZERO complaints about how this part of our day went. I think it was clear to all of our guests that our ceremony was the highlight of our day.
A piece of advice I was given before planning my wedding: Not everything can matter. I used to think that invites and flowers didn’t matter a LICK to me. Well, all of a sudden, I was a bride and EVERYTHING MATTERED. It ended up being OK for me because I’m good at multi-tasking and being crazy….but I can see how this would absolutely drive most brides mad. I personally couldn’t take this advice, but I think it’s good advice for most, less-crazy brides.
One thing I continuously reminded myself of: At the end of the day we will be married, and that’s all that matters. Honestly, it really is true. I was able to snap back to reality with that phrase, even when covered with glitter and inexplicably crying because a craft wasn’t working out right. The REASON FOR THE SEASON has to stay top priority in your mind. If you’re a bride who goes onto Pinterest, this can get buried very very quickly.
I wish I had hired a wedding coordinator. I did a lot myself and so a few things could have gone better had I hired a coordinator.
Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
I think you MUST have whatever you MUST have. It’s seriously ONE day. And if you NEED to have something, you need to figure out how to get it. I don’t regret one dime I spent. Yep, pretty much the most $$$$$ day ever but I don’t regret anything. If something you want is out of your price range, figure out how to do it cheaper and/or cut something else that doesn’t matter!
I’d plan for more formal photos. I was so panicked they would take so long and now I wish I had gotten more of them.
I’m also torn about our honeymoon. We did two nights at Nemacolin. It was a gift from my MOH and her husband. It was perfect. But it wasn’t long enough or far enough away. My husband has a very summer-heavy job so we decided early on that it wouldn’t make sense for him to take time off in the summer. But now, we’re talking about a house, and I don’t think a honeymoon will happen. And even if it does, it certainly won’t feel the same as it did those first few days after being freshly married. It was REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to go back to work on Wednesday after just getting married on Saturday! Did I mention it was hard?
Bride’s Dress: Family heirloom, recreated by Suz Pisano | Bride’s Accessories, Etsy, Suz Pisano, & borrowed | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaid’s Dress: Pronovias | Cake: Prantl’s | Caterer & Ceremony & Reception Location: Green Gables | DJ: 2nd II None Productions | Flowers & Decor: DIY | Hair: Lindsey Lieb | Linens: Custom made by Suz Pisano | Makeup: Hope Marie | Menswear: J. Crew | Photographer: Michael Will Photography | Stationery: Frances Print | Transportation: Pittsburgh Transportation Group | Videography: Cousin of the bride | Wedding Planner: The bride!