Yes, you can have a classic but still very unique wedding. As a matter of fact, designing a day that encompasses all of the traditional wedding ingredients but isn’t cookie cutter is pretty easy. Just look at Lisa and Jimmy. These two put some really fun twists on the status quo. For starters, they chose to do a subtle Pittsburgh theme but in a modern way. They highlighted all that makes our city so special by choosing the Heinz History Center as their venue yet they showed off one of the Pittsburgh’s newest, most modern spaces with a welcome party at the Hotel Monaco. A color palette that embraced jewel tones and dark, dramatic shades and fun reception highlights like a glow stick dance floor party, handmade wine cork table numbers, mini cast iron skillet favors, and a giant seating chart were just a few other ways this couple got creative. But what were my favorites?
- Lisa’s dress. She shocked some when she cut the train off her rhinestone and bead encrusted Christina Wu gown with an art deco design. But I didn’t miss it one bit. On the contrary, I’m totally in love with her look!
- An ornament guest book. For another unique spin, Lisa and Jimmy asked each guest to sign a Christmas ornament. I’m sure they decorate their home during the holidays and serve as a fun, seasonal reminder of their special day!
- Cookies and milk(shakes)! A cookie table? Yes, we see them at almost every Pittsburgh wedding. But what we don’t always see are cute, mini milkshakes with whimsical striped straws to go along with it. Um, yes, please!
Even the portrait session with Christina Montemurro Photography was out of the ordinary. You’ll see the Pittsburgh classics, but from a different perspective. This feature is proof that with a little creativity you can be traditional but still stand out!
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
We met in Charlotte, North Carolina after I finished graduate school in 2012. We both went to college at Clemson University in South Carolina and had TONS of friends in common (including both of our college roommates!) but had never met each other. When I moved to Charlotte, where Jimmy was living, we met through mutual college friends.
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
Jimmy proposed at his family’s house on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. From the back porch, there is a beautiful view looking down at the mountain and the city of Chattanooga. We were sitting on the back porch, about to go to dinner and Jimmy asked if I wanted to take a picture together with the pretty view in the background. So we took the picture and then he got down on his knee and proposed. His parents, sister, and best friend were all there to see it. I didn’t feel like it was really happening until I looked over at his family and saw the looks on their faces!
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Shortly after we got engaged, we did a quick mental image of what our guest list would look like and realized that the majority of our wedding guests had never even been to Pittsburgh before. Jimmy grew up in the southeast and I had been living there since after college, and most of my close friends from college/grad school/adult life were there too. So, we decided to do a Pittsburgh-themed wedding but with a bit of a twist. Our goal was to show off the city in a way that people from out of town could really get the feel of it. It seemed like people who had never been to Pittsburgh associated it with the Steelers and the colors black and yellow…and that was all they really knew about it. So we wanted to focus on different aspects of the city since there is so much more to Pittsburgh than that! We had all of our wedding events in the city. Our welcome party was at Hotel Monaco; people were really impressed with the funky and modern vibe of the hotel. Our reception was in the great hall of the Heinz History Center. It was perfect for us because it showed off that industrial look but had lots of Pittsburgh staples: a big sign of Westinghouse (where my husband works and my grandfather worked for his entire career), a Heinz ketchup truck, and an old piece of the Racer roller coaster from Kennywood, to name a few. And we did a brunch the next day at Lidia’s.
For the look of our wedding, we went for Pittsburgh city theme with a more industrial look and a sparkly twist for my dress and some of our wedding accents. Who doesn’t love a little sparkle, especially on your wedding day?!
What was your favorite moment of the day?
My favorite moment was dancing with my new husband with our friends and family around us at the reception. It was the moment that I felt that all of the planning came together. Seeing our friends and family having a good time and being able to dance with each other just made the entire night.
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Do what you want! I was determined for all of the details of my wedding to be a little bit unique because I did not want to do what everyone else was doing. I cut the train off of my dress, we didn’t take pictures at the typical city landmarks, we got our cake from a grocery store, and I had Christina photograph our rehearsal dinner instead of doing an engagement session (which she liked because she’s up for anything!). I feel like it’s important to stick with what will make you the happiest and remember that when it comes to weddings, every one is unique! Also make sure that the vendors you surround yourself with are stress-minimizers and not stress-creators.
Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
Must do: get out of town after the wedding, even if only for a day or two! We didn’t take our honeymoon until February but went to Nemacolin Woodlands for two days after the wedding. It was so nice to just take a day and relax.
The only thing I would have done differently would have been to come up with a plan for preserving my flowers before the wedding. I didn’t even think about it beforehand, but I was really sad to throw away my bouquet! There are lots of options for preserving flowers that I found online, and I tried to do it and it turned out okay but if I would have planned ahead and already had the materials before the wedding, it would have worked better.
Band: Bachelor Boy’s Band | Bride’s Dress: Christina Wu from Carlisle’s Bridal | Bride’s Accessories: Clarissa Boutique | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: Hayley Paige from Bella Bridesmaids | Cake: McGinnis Sisters | Cookies: Family members & Faith’s Cookies | Caterer: Common Plea Catering | Ceremony Location: Our Lady of the Angels | Favors: Lodge Mini Cast Iron Skillets | Flowers: Fox Petal Floral Design | Groom’s Attire: Manchin Inc. | Hair: Swank Hair Studios | Lighting: Ever Forward Lighting | Linens: Mosaic | Makeup: Jae Lee Paredes of JL Makeup Studio | Photographer: Christina Montemurro Photography | Reception Venue: Heinz History Center | Stationery: Color Me Carla | Transportation: Pittsburgh Transportation Group