This summer affair is proof that a subtle, simple wedding can be just as lovely as a styled, detailed one. Jeni and Paul opted to focus on their love, marriage, and family, rather than all of the stuff. Details are fun to plan and they’re pretty to look at, but they aren’t what matter most on a wedding day. Instead, the architecture and ambiance of the Grand Concourse, the reception venue, inspired a 1920s vibe that was very quietly woven into different elements. Beaded mint bridesmaids dresses with a fish scale pattern, metallic gold accents, and an art deco wedding cake are all it took to give this wedding some pizazz. This bride and groom chose to keep their wedding grounded and highlight their nearest and dearest. And do you want to know something? I am in love with this feature as much as I have been all of the others. Some of my favorites?
- Jeni’s bold lip. Just because this bride kept things simple doesn’t mean she didn’t look totally show-stopping. Her delicate lace gown was off-set by a bright coral lip, courtesy of The Pittsburgh Stylist. Very first kiss ready!
- Charitable favors. In lieu of thank you gifts, Jeni and Paul made a donation to CORE in honor of Jeni’s father. To make it even more heartfelt, Jeni was walked down the aisle by the man who received her father’s heart after he passed away years ago. So very sweet and emotional.
- Those portraits. Happiness and pure adoration are just exuding from Jeni and Paul, as evident in the images captured by Lauren Renee Designs. It’s so clear this was literally the happiest day of their lives. Adorable!
Although subtle and delicate, this wedding is still sure to inspire! Simplicity is beauty, friends.
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
Paul and I met online, but there’s more to the story than that. I believe in “everything happens for a reason”, and the summer of 2013, there was a special reason why Paul was still in town, still on the dating site, and still looking for love: his orders to deploy to Djibouti had been canceled. He was going to Germany instead, and his deployment had been postponed six months (he had originally been scheduled to leave at the end of May; we met in July). We went on our first date to a Thai restaurant in Old Town, Alexandria, VA and spent the rest of the summer and early fall exploring DC while we prepared for Paul to head to Germany at the end of October.
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
Paul and I went to a friend’s wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of Virginia the night before the day we got engaged. I had no inkling that it was going to happen. Paul insisted on telling me all about these nearby pumpkin patches where we could go out into the field and pick our own pumpkins. I knew I wanted a “Cinderella” (squashed) pumpkin, and he insisted we could find one there. It had been raining the entire week, so we went on a very muddy trek through the hilly patch, looking at pumpkin after pumpkin. I was covered in mud, but that didn’t matter to Paul – because right after he cut my pumpkin off the vine, he said “make sure to inspect it!” While I did that, Paul got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I don’t even remember what I said exactly, but it was a definite YES!
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Lauren captured the most amazing photos of Paul and I giving each other very sweet, meaningful looks throughout the photo session before our reception. I look at those pictures and I just melt inside. These are the types of photographs you can show your grandchildren someday, that they will be able to show their children and grandchildren, that will let them realize how deep your love was, and how it feels to have someone in your life that encapsulates that love. Of course, Lauren happily obliged our every wish, and everyone looks so happy and had so much fun! We took pictures on the bridge above the Grand Concourse, and those turned out AMAZING. Lauren has that touch!
What inspired your vision?
As soon as I found THE DRESS (which was so opposite of what I went into the boutique to try on!), I knew what I wanted – a very subtle 1920s theme, which The Grand Concourse in Station Square is more than perfect for. The bridesmaid dresses are by Adrianna Papell – drop waist and completely beaded. We kept everything really simple and subtle. I didn’t spend much on extras, and nobody missed them or noticed! I wanted my dress and the venue to be the main details everyone saw!
What was your favorite moment of the day?
This question is so loaded! There were so many amazing moments. I was blessed with such a flawless day. Paul is my favorite moment of every day, if we are being completely honest. I was so excited to see him that I wanted to run down the aisle. My heart is so full thinking of the best little parts of the day I had: I got to pray with one of my bridesmaids after the ceremony, my new brother-to-be called me that morning just to say hi, my uncle forgot his prescription glasses but remembered his sunglasses so he danced in those all night long, my friends made a blow up picture of my head and kept dancing with it all night long…the list goes on and on!
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Try and incorporate a piece of the city that you love into your big day. I knew going back to my hometown of Swissvale was a non-negotiable. I wanted to share that with the people I love, and to get married in the church where my parents did. Definitely use as many locally owned, family businesses as you can! Try SGR Cookie – my friend from kindergarten is the owner, and she made the MOST intricate personalized cookies I’ve ever seen. If you can’t find it locally, do small business – we had the best experience with Leccaire Lollipops, who I found on Etsy. She’s based out of Georgia, and did our favors. TO DIE FOR! Also, make sure that you and your new spouse get some time ALONE before the reception. We previewed the Grand Concourse before they let in our guests. We also spent time with just our bridal party on the balcony watching everyone arrive and having a private cocktail hour. Make those memories and be dear to one another. I made as many memories with as many people as I could. Absolutely do not accept it when someone says “something is going to go wrong!” Even if something minor does happen, keep yourself focused on having the absolute best day of your life! It goes by in an instant.
Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
My day was everything I could have imagined and MORE. Everything worked out perfectly – definitely a wedding gift from my dad, who couldn’t be with us. The Regatta was in town and the Pirates were playing as well, but we hit no traffic and had no mishaps. But I always suggest looking at a calendar of events happening in the town that weekend – it can help or hinder your timing and plans! The cookie table is a MUST HAVE. That was the biggest hit, and not everyone knew of the Pittsburgh tradition! (My in-laws are mostly from Baltimore!) A must is booking a hotel that is convenient for your wedding guests. We had superb service at the Sheraton. I also suggest booking your bridal party separately from guests the night before the wedding…we had more privacy, especially for the night of the wedding. Make sure you have a dollar dance and play the Pittsburgh Polka. I don’t remember laughing so hard and having so much fun in my recent memory. Remember to have someone else bring your purse with your necessities. We almost left without mine!! I didn’t bring my cell phone with me that day and it was the best decision EVER. I would say that would be on my must do list.
Bride’s Dress: Rue de Siene from Lovely Bride | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Cake: Gluuteny Bakery | Desserts: SGR Cookie | Caterer: Grand Concourse | Ceremony Location: St. Anselm Catholic Church | DJ: DJ Garry of Easy DJ Productions| Favors: Leccare Lollipops | Flowers: Blumengarten | Getting Ready Attire: Plum Pretty Sugar | Getting Ready Location: Omni William Penn | Hair: Simply Captivating Styling | Makeup: The Pittsburgh Stylist | Menswear: Brooks Brothers | Photographer: Lauren Renee Designs | Reception Venue: Grand Concourse | Stationery: Minted
Photographer: Lauren Renee Designs