If there is one thing that makes this PPG Wintergarden wedding feel ultra luxurious it’s the color palette. Rich, dramatic emerald green set the tone for Lisa and Charlie’s black tie-optional February celebration. Other seasonal details – like custom velvet bridesmaids dresses in the day’s hue and faux fur stoles for the bride and her ladies – added to the warm winter vibe. Not only did the saturated shade of green and various textures give the wedding a regal feel, but the bride and groom’s attire did too. Lisa wowed in a Bridal Beginning Ines di Santo wedding dress with a lace bateau neckline and striking illusion lace back, while Charlie kept things classic with a black and white tuxedo and bow tie. After this dapper-looking duo said “I do” at Heinz Chapel, they partied with guests in the downtown Pittsburgh wedding venue, where the color scheme continued. Centerpieces of fresh foliage and palm leaves from Blooms Florist were a unique spin on the greenery trend, while emerald napkins popped against white table linens. An array of miniature cakes in a variety of flavors was the perfect ending to the sweetest day. Cozy on up to this city chic feature from Dawn Derbyshire Photography!
About the Couple
We were both out-of-state freshman beginning our education at Ohio University. Introduced through new-found friends, we met at a party hosted by Charlie’s fraternity. After running into one another for a few weekends and (presumably) after a few beers, Charlie asked me on a date…our first date and – until 2016 – the only!
Though we didn’t pursue a romantic relationship, we maintained a lovely friendship, attending Greek life formals together and always enjoying the serendipitous run-in at our favorite campus hangouts. Following graduation – and our own paths – we stayed in touch.
I had been living in Pittsburgh, working for UPMC and Charlie was, at the time, settled in Washington D.C., working at Georgetown University. After a month or so of sweet phone calls and messages, we made plans to reconnect at Homecoming 2016. Nearly ten years later, Charlie was still the same charming, funny, and sincere guy that I had always kept an eye on. He had also grown a beard and sprouted a few distinguished gray hairs, both of which, I adored.
We traveled the Pennsylvania Turnpike every other weekend for about a year, enjoying our time together, introducing new friends, spending time with each of our families, and building a relationship that made it difficult to stay apart. So, when Charlie accepted a dream job at The University of Michigan in October 2017, I quieted my lifelong Buckeye family loyalties and ventured up north to begin our life together in Ann Arbor the following May.
Then, in May 2019, on the evening before we left for a Florida Keys road trip vacation, we took a sunset stroll in one of our favorite parks. There, Charlie totally surprised me with his proposal at a little lake overlook. Candidly, I was trying to manage my excitement for the trip itself because I thought *maybe* he would ask me while in the Keys. But he had his own plan and it was completely unexpected! We got to spend the rest of the evening telling our closest family and friends the news, but got to keep it a little secret from the rest of the world until after the trip, which was so special – to have the chance to enjoy it, just the two of us.
About the Wedding
Charlie and I wanted a very classic, clean look with a little bit of allure. Having decided upon an evening winter wedding, we set a black tie-optional attire and looked for a gorgeous downtown venue.
The bridesmaid gowns are a classic, simple silhouette, but were fashioned out of a luxe green velvet material with a high, fun slit. My gown was very traditional with the high neckline and lace detail, but the back was a deep, open illusion and the train was intricate and dramatic. The groom’s tux was classic and sharp with a bow tie, and he found a great pair of patent leather shoes with a wooden sole as his statement piece. The groomsmen wore straight ties with their tuxes for a more modern look.
All of the details aside, there was something much more special in the back of our minds when we planned our big day. Specifically, we chose our wedding date based upon two very special dates. My parents were wed at Heinz Chapel on February 6, 1988. Charlie’s parents were wed at St. June de Chantal in Bethesda, Maryland on February 7, 1981. We loved the idea of honoring our parents and celebrating the lives that they have built together. So we chose to start our story on the same weekend! We celebrated their anniversaries at the rehearsal dinner, and our parents have said that they couldn’t have asked for a better anniversary gift – all of their dearest family and friends in town to celebrate their two happy kids on their way down the aisle!
Our favorite moment was the first look on the balcony of The Renaissance as snow flurries swirled. It felt like a dream – totally surreal and overwhelming in the best way. Our entire bridal party was in the hotel suite peeking through the windows and it was just so special. I will never forget Charlie’s smirk-turned-wide grin on his face, and how comforting it was to hug him. Charlie claims that I took his breath away with a little twirl and all of the anxiousness just melted away. It felt as if all of the effort we had put into planning the wedding, the big love and support of our family and friends, and all of our love and excitement for our future just poured into that moment.