Want the recipe for what is literally the world’s most perfect wedding? Take a ton of bright color, a playful venue, personal details, and A FREAKING EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO and you’ve got a total winner. Thais and Brendan wanted a whimsical wedding that brought the playful nature of their relationship to life. Mission accomplished, friends. From a ceremony under the ribbon canopy of the Children’s Museum (performed by none other than Pittsburgh’s own John Fetterman) to a petting zoo featuring all stars of the Columbus Zoo, this soiree brought out the kid in everyone, resulting in one heck of a memorable affair. A pink flamingo, baby penguin, and hanging sloth weren’t the only details that stole the show though. Dreaminess abounded in the pastel letterpress invitations, an absolutely INCREDIBLE floral ceremony arch (dang, GreenSinner), and a cute program sign that featured headshots of bridal party members. Even more fun could be found in the high-and-low textural centerpieces with golden geometric accents, the hundreds of hanging origami cranes and hearts made by the bride and groom themselves, and a mix-your-own confetti bar that made things really pop. Honestly, if this doesn’t scream “GOOD TIME,” I’m not sure what does. Go ahead and fawn over this footage captured by Sky’s the Limit Photography.
From the bride…
Tell me about yourselves! How did you meet? How long have you been together? How did you get engaged? All the juicy details!
I met my husband very unexpectedly on a cold, winter day in Braddock, PA. I had arranged a business meeting with Gisele Fetterman, the Braddock mayor’s wife. My future husband was there, representing a local youth organization. When I first saw him, I thought I recognized him from somewhere, but couldn’t quite place it. Halfway through the meeting, the intrigue was too much to resist, and I stopped my sales pitch mid-sentence to ask him, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
As it turns out, we went to high school together. So many sparks flew I’m amazed the building didn’t catch fire! After the meeting ended, Brendan gave me his phone number “in order to discuss my business plans further”. I later found out that, while he did in fact find my business proposal intriguing, he also really very much wanted to just, you know, give me his phone number!
I was still living in Washington, D.C., at the time, though I am originally from Pittsburgh. Next time we met in Pittsburgh, we went out to dinner along with one of his coworkers in order to “discuss my business plans further”. That happened, but we also majorly hit it off. I felt bad for his coworker, because very quickly, he and I were chatting each other up while she was consigned to amuse herself with her iPhone.
We made plans to hang out again, and that was our first formal date. We went to see a play in Braddock, followed by dinner. I really liked him, but as I learned later, my now husband is very bad at flirting. I didn’t know if he liked me, or just wanted a friend! I went back to D.C., and we texted occasionally. Still I didn’t know how he felt! It turns out he was just as into me as I was into him. However, the first time I got an inkling that this might be the case was when he told me (via text) that my soul was “as sparkly as a thousand Faberge Eggs”. He might be bad at flirting, but he’s a dab hand at analogies.
More dates led to full-on relationship stuff, and he made frequent trips to D.C. in order to visit me. During these delicious weekend visits, we made it known to each other how we really felt. We knew we wanted to marry each other really early on; it’s just one of those things!
All the pieces kept falling into place for us. The opportunity arose for me to be able to move back to Pittsburgh and work remotely. We were going to live together! And, at some point, he was going to propose to me. I knew this, he knew this, and we had established that it would be in the near future, but beyond that I didn’t know when. We took a vacation to France, and actually discussed whether or not it was going to happen there!
He did not propose to me in France, however, because he had another plan. His sister was, at the time, the maitre d’ at Sienna Mercato. Brendan wanted to propose to me at that restaurant so his sister could watch and take pictures! And so, the day before Thanksgiving of that same year, Brendan told me how being with me had given him the ability to see colors he’d never seen before. Like pigeons. He said I’d given him “pigeon eyes”. Not as quotable as the Faberge Eggs thing, but whatever; it worked! He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and I said yes!
Describe the wedding and what inspired it. What was unique about it?
We wanted our wedding to be fun – the kind of fun that our lives together have been. It was an opportunity to give our wedding guests a glimpse into the sheer enjoyment we get out of each others’ company. We decided on the Children’s Museum because of its unique blend of whimsy and pure, unabashed good times. You literally can’t break anything there! The whole place is child-proof! We got GreenSinner to hit one out of the park with their ability to seemingly look into our souls and articulate our vision through flowers and foliage. And my husband and I also did a lot of stuff for the wedding; we made about 750 origami cranes, about 100 origami hearts, and a ton of 3D-printed table numbers and signs that all had to be sanded, shellacked, and painted. It was great for us to work together on these projects, and we also liked being able to include these personal details.
I wanted to go further, however. I wanted something unique. I wanted animals.
I was on a quest. I called every zoo within several hundred miles. The Columbus Zoo was able to accommodate us. They would actually drive their band of touring wild animals to Pittsburgh for our wedding! And we could pet them!!!
What was your favorite moment of the day?
As you might have guessed, my favorite moment of the day was related to the wild animals. As much as I was anticipating seeing them, the wedding ceremony had caused the thought to momentarily slip from my mind. Getting married kind of takes precedence! At the ceremony’s conclusion, I walked down the aisle with my new husband arm-in-arm while our guests threw handfuls of confetti all around us. And immediately upon entering the Children’s Museum foyer for cocktail hour, I looked to my left and saw a sloth hanging upside down from a tree. Oh yes, the animals! It was like a blur. Someone handed me a baby kangaroo in a cute little denim sack. And then there was a baby penguin, who was oh-so-content to just lay belly-down on my arm! Shortly thereafter I was greeted by a flamingo who tried to eat my wedding bracelet! I guess he’s a fan of things that sparkle. And I also got to hold a baby snow leopard who made these tiny little baby sounds and had the cutest paws I’ve ever seen. There was also something called a bear cat (it’s apparently neither a bear nor a cat), which was a huge, incredibly furry black creature that loves to crawl around on people’s shoulders.
Animals make people smile and make people happy. Everyone melted back down to little kids again when they saw the animals brought by the Columbus Zoo. It was something none of us will ever forget!
Is there any advice you would give to other couples planning their big day?
I’ve never had to make so many decisions in my life in such a short span of time, and I’m terrible at making decisions! I trusted my husband a lot, and he was absolutely essential when it came to making those decisions. I think it’s really important for a soon-to-be-bride to have someone who can help them make those decisions, and to help keep them sane as the date gets closer and closer. Also, don’t let yourself get too stressed out about those decisions. As long as you choose the right person to spend the rest of your life with, on your wedding day it’s not going to matter which bracelet you decided to wear.
No matter what, make sure the wedding reflects who you are as a couple. I believe the best weddings are translations of a couple’s love for one another into a singular event attended by their loved ones.
Brazilian Candy Table: Doces and Sweets | Bride’s Belt: Clarissa Boutique | Bride’s Bracelet: Etsy | Bride’s Dress: Hayley Paige from Bridal Beginning | Bride’s Earrings: Haute Bride | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: Wtoo by Watters | Cake: Vanilla Pastry Studio | Caterer: Big Burrito | Ceremony Location: Children’s Museum | DJ: DJ Colt | Flowers: GreenSinner | Hair: Studio Booth | Lighting: E.F. Lighting | Linens: Mosaic | Makeup: Michelle Falcone | Menswear: Top Hat Tuxedo | Photography: Sky’s the Limit Photography | Reception Venue: Children’s Museum | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Tip Type | Transportation: Regency Transportation | Wild Animals Petting Zoo: Columbus Zoo
Bride’s Belt: Clarissa Boutique | Bride’s Dress: Bridal Beginning | Flowers: GreenSinner | Lighting: E.F. Lighting | Photography: Sky’s the Limit Photography | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental