Bright and summery, today’s pink & green wedding is exactly what I need on this mid-July day. Alison & Luke were newer to Pittsburgh when they began planning their July 3 nuptials. Being unfamiliar with the venue options available, they searched for something traditional but that would allow for the fun, laid-back party they ultimately wanted. Enter Phipps Conservatory. This unique venue is unlike any other with its indoor and outdoor gardens and classic event space. The bride and groom took one look at it and fell in love. They planned the rest of their day with a bright color palette and clean, simple lines in mind. Some of the most note-worthy details?
- A Friday wedding! Alison and Luke embraced the “think outside the box” trend and opted for a Friday affair. This meant they had a whole weekend of partying to look forward to after becoming Mr. and Mrs. (see last bullet point!).
- A nod to family! The bride paid homage to her nearest and dearest in so many thoughtful ways. Alison’s bouquet was wrapped in lace from her mom’s wedding dress. Her grandfather’s and mom’s wedding bands were also sewn into the lining of her dress. Finally, the handkerchief she carried once belonged to her grandmother. Those who meant the world to her were extra close on that special day.
- The mix of centerpieces! Elevated arrangements staggered with low florals helped to create dimension inside the reception room. Hepatica took Alison’s ideas and cooked up a look that was girly and bright but also contemporary and chic. The various shades of pink, mixed with the green, really popped against the white linens and walls and natural chairs and floor.
- A surprise flash mob! Maid of honor and sister of the bride Courtney somehow managed to get all of the wedding guests to learn a choreographed number that they then sprung on the bride and groom during the speeches! Talk about a feat on her part and what a way to start a party!
- Alison is from Cleveland; Luke grew up rooting for the Pirates. When they learned that the Buccos faced the Indians the day after their wedding, they knew it was meant to be. The couple hosted 92 of their friends and family at the game the next day! What an awesome way to welcome your guests to and show off your hometown while extending the wedding celebration! SO FUNNNN!
Chrissy and Matt of Weddings by Sal & Bella took all of the pics you’ll see below. And boy are there some pretty ones! You can never have too much pink. That’s what I always say (ummm hello have you seen my blog?).
From the bride…
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
It was a busy work week for both of us and we had plans to meet up with friends in the city for Light Up Night. I was running late, but Luke had a residency interview earlier that day for a radiology position. So we decided to be late to meet our friends so I could hear about the interview and we could talk about our days. After hearing that the interview went well, Luke mentioned he had an interesting slide from work to show me…not unprecedented since he was a medical student and often had new and interesting stories to share.
Our apartment has a roof top deck. We walked outside so I would be able to see the slide back-lit in the kitchen window. Admittedly, I wondered if something might be up and I half-expected there to be twinkly lights on the roof or something. But when there wasn’t, I figured it really was just an interesting slide. Plus, we already had plans for the evening.
I pulled the giant x-ray out of the envelope (not thinking at all that everything is digital these days and no one uses real x-rays anymore). The words “Will you marry me?” were written in block letters on the slide with a ring. When I turned around, Luke was down on one knee and had some lovely things to say. As the often over-excited half of our union, I interrupted him mid-way through his speech with a “YES!” because I couldn’t wait for him to finish. We ended up ditching our plans, drinking champagne on our roof with a glimpse of the fireworks downtown, and calling family and friends with the good news.
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
From the very beginning, Luke and I knew that we wanted our wedding to have some traditional elements. But at the end of it all, we wanted a laid back celebration with family and friends, great food, good music, and lots of fun. Having attended a lot of weddings together over the years and having heard a lot of wedding planning horror stories, we decided we wanted to make the planning process fun and keep things light. We were getting married and that should always be a positive! As newer Pittsburgh residents, we weren’t familiar with a lot of areas in town. So I started searching for non-traditional venues, and once we found and visited Phipps Conservatory, we fell in love. The Fourth of July weekend gave us a public holiday for many on Friday. Plus, with Luke graduating from med school in the spring, we had a small window for some time off. We jumped on the open Friday date.
After a “What do you think about this invitation?” conversation, we realized quickly that Luke cared about some big details, but not so much about the small things. Once we stopped with the pleasantries and I took over the bulk of the planning (something we both wanted), the planning became and stayed the happy process we were hoping for! My mom and I are both planners and love to check through to-do lists. The wedding was a fun opportunity for us to spend time together with various vendors and work on a bunch of DIY projects for the big day.
David at Hepatica was a delight to work with and took my floral ideas and ran with them. My mom is passionate about flowers, so the two of them worked together after the initial meeting and they created a beautiful floral backdrop for our wedding. We wanted the reception space to be simple and clean and the mix of pink hued flowers in both raised and low arrangements really gave the room the pop it needed. We went with a simple cake with fresh flowers and an assorted dessert table (both from Bella Christie) that guests raved about. The bride and groom chocolate covered strawberries were one of our favorite choices, but the table was devoured by the end of the night.
Grey Phoenix Designs provided white linen ceiling swags and lighting for the reception space that gave the room the soft touch that we were looking for. We added other personal touches like DIY chalkboards signs throughout the ceremony and reception. Other personal touches included our guest book, which was a thumb print leaf tree painted by a family friend that is now hanging in our family room. We also asked for date night suggestions from guests and plan to pick one at least once a month. We agreed that our love for sushi needed to be included in our wedding day. So we had a sushi tower! Guests were very excited about it, and thankfully, the staff saved a couple of pieces for us since we were taking photos during cocktail hour.
Family was also an important part of our big day. The stems of my bridal bouquet were wrapped with lace from my mom’s wedding dress. At Christmas time, we took her dress out of the box for the first time in 40 years and it was completely yellow! My sister, who is about the same size, tried it on and we had a fun time telling wedding stories from my mom and sister’s weddings. With some elbow grease, we were able to get the stains out and it was a fun, memorable touch to the wedding day. My mom also sewed my paternal grandfather’s ring and her mother’s wedding bands into the lining of my dress. The handkerchief that I had was from my father’s mother and the pink embroidered flowers matched beautifully. It was important for us to include our grandparents and many long and happy marriages in our wedding day. Most notably, we recognized our parents who represented a combined 93 years of marriage.
Our three brothers served as our ushers and party starters, and my three nephews served as the cutest ring bearers to date, carrying a “Luke, here comes your girl” chalkboard. We had wonderful speeches from my father, Luke’s best friend and best man, Matt, and my sister, Courtney, the maid of honor. We also had a total surprise flash mob that Courtney orchestrated (in addition to holding down a full-time job, mother of four duties, and a life). It was a big group of friends and family doing a choreographed dance to our favorite hits from growing up. It was a HUGE surprise and so much fun to see so many people we love busting a move. We couldn’t believe how much effort they put in to learn the dance in advance. It kicked off the party perfectly and we danced the night away. As kids, Courtney and I always did dance routine and sang into spatulas to the music. So, she and my mom had personalized spatulas made as favors and they were perfect microphones to take everyone through the night. Steven Vance did a fantastic job with the music and played everything we asked for. Since Luke and I love music and love to dance, we spent a night in the winter drinking wine, playing music, and seeing if the songs were “danceable” or not. We had a blast making playlists and the music did not disappoint.
We knew we wanted to have late night food and that people would want to keep the party rolling. We ended up booking The Porch in Schenley Park, which was a perfect spot and really easy to get to from Phipps. Some people walked, some people took the shuttle, but a large group made their way down for pizza, drinks, and to recap the night.
We would be remiss not to mention Chrissy and Matthew from Weddings by Sal & Bella, who were with us to capture all of these fantastic moments and give us such wonderful memories from our wedding day. They were a joy to work with, professional yet fun, and the pictures speak for themselves. They were very flexible, took the pictures we asked for and also sought out pictures that worked well with the venue. They captured a ton of great candid shots from the reception and the fun vibe of the wedding, generally. We couldn’t be happier with the photos and service and would recommend them highly for anyone’s big day!
As if the wedding day festivities weren’t enough, we continued the party the next day with food, drinks, and fun in the Strip District. Then, we made our way to the Pirates/Indians game. My family is from Cleveland and Luke grew up in central PA rooting for Pittsburgh sports so it was a battle of the families! Once we saw the baseball schedule, we knew the wedding date was serendipitous with our teams playing the next day so we booked a block of tickets. We let everyone know about the game and had 92 people in attendance! It was also the Fourth of July and my birthday, so it was a massive celebration and a great way to continue the festivities and a chance to visit with so many friends and family in town.
We left shortly thereafter for Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for a week, had a few days in the Serengeti on safari, and capped off the trip with some beach time in Zanzibar. Coming back from the trip with no internet to an onslaught of photos, videos, and stories from the wedding weekend was such a fun way to recap the special weekend and share in so many wonderful memories.
We want to thank all of our family, friends, and vendors for making our wedding weekend so spectacular and something we will never forget!
Bride’s Dress: Pronovias | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan Collection | Desserts: Bella Christie | Ceremony & Reception Location & Catering: Phipps Conservatory | DJ: Steven Vance Entertainment | Flowers: Hepatica | Hair: Capristo Salon | Lighting: Gray Phoenix Designs | Makeup: Genevieve Moreau – Burkes | Menswear: American Commodore Tuxedo | Photographer: Weddings by Sal & Bella | Stationery: Minted