When Ashley found her wedding dress, it changed the look of her entire Serbian wedding day. Once she found the lace sweetheart number with rhinestone waist at Sorelle Bridal Salon, she quickly changed her color scheme from eggplant to ivory, champagne, and gold. From there, everything else came to life for Ashley and Jake’s 400+ person affair. Ashley wanted everything to be “dripping in gold”. And that’s exactly what it looked like. Tulle swag and paper lanterns hung from the ceiling. Gold branches, mercury glass, and pillar candles added pops of metallic to each table. Signs, pictures frames, and other decorative pieces accented the room. Even the bar featured gold straws and cocktail napkins. All of the thoughtful details came together for a look that was elegant and classic. Despite being beautiful, none of these contributed to why I loved this weeding so much. What did?
- The infusion of the bride and groom’s Serbian Orthodox heritage into all aspects of this big day. Prior to the wedding, there was a Skup, where the groom barters for the bride’s hand in marriage. The Tambura band played when Ashley entered the church, and again for the Kolo when she and Jake made their grand exit. The traditional dollar dance was done with polka music and slijvo, a Serbian plum brandy. Guests feasted on a customary late night snack of scallions, bread, and lamb, which had been freshly prepared at the bride’s house. The mix of Old World wedding traditions and modern trends made these nuptials extraordinarily memorable!
- Ashley’s look…I’m absolutely in love with it! Yes, her dress was gorgeous. But I also adored her statement jewelry, the dramatic, smoky eyes, and the big, loose curls that made up her side low pony. Brides who aren’t afraid to be bold win my heart every.single.time.
- The transformation of this hotel ballroom. I’ve attended/coordinated many weddings at the Hilton Garden Inn and I’ve never seen it look quite this good. With a little help from Arvay Event Design, this ballroom makeover was complete with tulle swags, paper lanterns, specialty linens, and a beautiful head table backdrop.
- A real par-tay! Man, oh man, Ashley and Jake’s reception looks like it was a total blast! The Tambura band played polka music in addition to 2 II None Productions providing entertainment. Judging from the photos, the bride and groom and their guests had the time of their lives!
- Bridal portraits that were out-of-this-world stunning! Leeann Marie really outdid herself this time. The fact that Ashley looks like she stepped off the cover of a magazine was a big help. I’m not sure what was more gorgeous…the glowing sunshine during the afternoon or the deep blue dusk sky. I loved every single frame!
So many wonderful moments and pretty details of this timeless yet cultural wedding were captured. And I’m thrilled to share every single one of them with you. Ashley and Jake, your big day sure was a beautiful one!
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
We met in August 2013 at my office party at Off The Wall Theater. My boss owns a local theater in Carnegie, PA and we were hosting a meet and greet for all of our clients there. It just so happens that Jake works for one of my clients, so he came to the event with one of his colleagues. When I met him, I thought he was very cute (and I LOVED that he was so tall!!) but he was a client, so I had to keep it professional. One of my colleagues noticed Jake couldn’t keep his eyes off of me all night (although Jake insists that’s not true! Haha!). I noticed myself checking on him more than I would a normal client so I could just talk to him or be near him. There was definitely an attraction and chemistry we both felt that night! Several weeks later, his colleague, Shawn, ‘tricked’ (as Jake would say) me to meet them out at a bar for happy hour on a Friday in October. I was late because my car broke down and I didn’t have either of their cell phone numbers at the time to let them know what happened. Secretly, I was nervous/upset that they would be gone by time I got there and I wanted to see Jake again. I was so relieved to catch them right before they were walking out! Jake and I ended up closing the bar down that night and had the best time together! The week after that, we went on our first official date and now here we are!
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
We planned a weekend trip to NYC to see Jake’s friends. They were kind enough to let us stay with them and I used miles to get us flights, so it was turning into an awesome little mini vacation. This was Jake’s first time to NYC and my first time meeting his friends, so we both were excited to go! Since we had a relatively cheap trip to NYC, we decided to go all out on Saturday (our last night there) and eat at one of the most popular restaurants, Nobu, and then go to 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar.
I knew we had to dress up and I planned accordingly, bringing two outfits to choose from! That Friday, I found a dress at H&M that I liked and bought it. Well, that evening, Jake decides he wants me to wear that on Saturday instead of one of the outfits I packed. I was annoyed, because I didn’t have accessories to go with that dress; I just bought it! WHAT the heck?!?!? So, I said no. Then, his friend Dan starts saying I should wear it, which I thought that was super bizarre. Kim was agreeing with me that it didn’t matter…this argument went on for awhile. Then Saturday during the day, Kim said she needed a new purse and I had to find shoes and a clutch to go with my dress that everyone insisted I wear on Saturday. Jake gave me his credit card and said have fun. Obviously, I was in shock and questioned it a little bit, but he covered it by saying my 30th birthday was coming up and those could be part of my presents. Who would say no to that!?
Fast forward to that evening when we’re getting ready…I was grumpy because I was feeling fat and didn’t feel good in the dress. I was becoming increasingly annoyed that I had to wear this dress and I wanted to just take it off. They quickly scooted me out of the door so we could get to our reservations, but we had to make a pit stop at the pier to get pictures because it’s a gorgeous view of NYC. I was all for it and I love pictures, so I didn’t think twice. I offered to take Kim and Dan’s pictures first. As I was snapping away, I heard Jake shuffling behind me, trying to get something out of Kim’s purse. I still didn’t think anything of it. Then, Kim took pictures of Jake and me and asked me to check to make sure they were ok. Jake announced to us that his shoe had come untied and he had to tie it. I was just like uhh…ok, thanks for sharing? I told Kim that I wanted a couple more pictures and I turned around to see Jake down on one knee. He asked me to help him up, so I grabbed his hand but he didn’t move and pulled out the ring. Then I started freaking out! I just kept saying over and over, “Is this for real? Are you serious? Is this really happening?” I started crying and then he finally got out “Will you marry me?” Instead of answering, I just grabbed him and started kissing him. When I finally released him, he was like, “So that’s a yes?” I screamed “YES!” There were people in the background of the pier, clapping and congratulating us! It was the BEST night of my life.
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
My dress changed everything we wanted to do with the wedding. Once I found it, my colors changed from eggplant to champagne, gold, and ivory. We decided to keep the wedding decor, theme, and colors elegant and classy. We wanted to let our personalities and relationship shine through in the traditions, intro songs, first dance, etc. I loved the idea of having everything dripping in gold and it was! The ceiling has a lit tulle swag and 40 gold and ivory lanterns hung from it. Gold branch centerpieces were mixed with gold pillar candles and glass vases. Chairs were covered in white linens and decorated with gold sashes. The head table was extra special with an ivory lit swag and backdrop. Gold mercury vases were used along with the bridal party bouquets on the head table. Gold frames with pictures, signs, etc. were featured on different tables. We painted and did most of the signage ourselves. The bars had a sign saying “Eat, Drink, and Be Married” with gold chevron and striped straws and personalized cocktail napkins. We have huge families, so our final count was 425, including about 40 kids. We loved having the kids there, enjoying the wedding and creating memories like we did when we were little. That’s the kind of wedding we wanted…where the kids are on the dance floor tearing it up alongside all of us! It was so fun seeing that come to life!
What inspired your vision?
What made your wedding unique?
The blend of cultures coming together and incorporating both sides equally to make it “ours”.
What was your favorite moment of the day?
The moment after my dad kissed me, hugged Jake, shook his hand to give me away, and then Jake and I met eyes for the first time that day. He looked at me and said “WOW!” So it was such a build up to see his face and look in his eyes as we were about to get married. I have tears in my eyes typing this because it was such a perfect moment.
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Try not to get stressed out over the small things leading up to the wedding. I was a mess with stress, trying to cram just one more thing into the details or changing something last minute or wondering if I should re-do the arrangements already done. Relax, feel confident in the choices you made, remember that no one will even notice most of the details you’re stressing about, and let everything else roll off your back. I’m very detail oriented and obsessive when it comes to certain things, so this was very hard for me to let go. I wish I had though because my stress level would have been drastically reduced!
Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
A good photographer and DJ are two of the best things to splurge on! A DJ can make or break your reception and the photographer gives you the memories you’ll have for the rest of your life. We’re so happy we made those some of our top priorities. We definitely don’t regret any of the money spent on them! Now that it’s over, I wish we would have hired a videographer. We convinced ourselves that it wasn’t necessary. Well, it went by so fast and we missed certain things or forgot them, so it would be nice to have it all on video to watch. That’s my only regret!
Bride’s Dress & Accessories: Sorelle Bridal Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Jeannie from Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Christina Wu Occasions from Sorelle Bridal Salon | Cake & Cupcakes: Mary’s Corner Cafe | Caterer & Reception Location: Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe | Ceremony Location: Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Cathedral | DJ & Lighting: 2nd II None Productions | Flowers: DLF Designs | Hair: Jessie Shriver at Gorgeous by Sorelle | Decor: Arvay Event Design & DIY | Makeup: Ashle-a Powell | Menswear: Calvin Klein, Rondinelli, and Sorelle Bridal Salon | Photographer: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers | Stationery: Rational Designs by Amy Dzura | Transportation: White Knight Limo
Photographer: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers