With shades of green and white, this Carnegie Museum wedding is like a breath of fresh air. Emily and Michael went for a clean and classic black tie wedding, but incorporated gorgeously soft details that still packed a mighty punch. While still being utterly timeless, this celebration is contemporary and youthful all at the same time. Floral print Jenny Yoo bridesmaids dresses allowed Emily’s ladies to look like walking bouquets, while they carried cascading arrangements of orchids, freesia, and stephanotis from The Farmer’s Daughter. After a dual-faith ceremony at Heinz Chapel, the party kicked off at the Carnegie Music Hall, which was adorned in tall blooming elevated arrangements of greenery, a semi naked wedding cake featuring gold leafing, and a few nods to Pitt, where the pair both went to school. Describing it as “old-school classic with a twist,” Emily and Michael’s memories were beautifully captured by Alison Mish Photography.
About the Couple
Michael is from New Jersey and I’m from Indiana. We met after I transferred to Pitt from Indiana University. We were both in Greek Life and became friends over the course of hanging out at several parties and events where we had mutual friends. The first thing I remember about Michael was that he wore a Yankees hat. My family is all die-hard Yankees fans and as a new student with only a few friends, I thought we might have some things in common. I’m pretty shy when I meet new people, and talking about sports is usually my go-to conversation. Michael on the other hand is exactly the opposite: a total ham and could talk to a brick wall. We ended up having a great conversation and eventually became pretty good friends, but nothing more.
It wasn’t until the second semester of his senior year at Pitt that we started dating. He made the first move while we were out at a bar one night and that was that! We did one year of long-distance while I finished school, but I was lucky enough to get a great job in New York (where Michael also worked) after graduation so everything pretty much fell into place perfectly. We had been in New York for five years when Michael proposed. He had been very insistent about taking a trip somewhere warm that winter. We went to Key West in February for a long weekend. We still laugh about how nervous he was going through security with the ring! One night, we made reservations at this amazing restaurant on a little island. Before leaving for dinner, Michael suggested we grab some cocktails at our resort bar. I was all dressed up and ready for our big vacation dinner, with absolutely zero clue as to what was about to happen. Poor guy…I was so clueless on our way to drinks that I made him stop to take sunset pictures and then let me pet one of the famous, local Key West Hemingway cats that was wandering around. We finally got our wine and went to sit down in this little garden. Besides a tourist couple talking some pictures of the flowers, it was just us. One minute we were just talking and the next he was putting his drink down, reaching into his pocket, and all in one motion getting down on one knee. I was completely stunned as the tourist couple suddenly turned towards us and started taking pictures. Turns out they weren’t tourists at all, but professional photographers Michael had hired! The whole moment was honestly more perfect than anything I had imagined.
About the Wedding
I come from a very traditional, formal family and Michael and I both love getting dressed up. So, we knew we wanted this to be a black-tie wedding. With the wedding in August, we still wanted to keep things light and romantic, though. I was very excited to plan the wedding, but Michael is one of those rare grooms that loves to plan, too, so we made almost all of the decisions together. We didn’t have a specific theme, but I’d describe the vibe as old-school classic with a twist.
We wanted to amp up the elegant, clean, classic wedding with some details that would really wow our guests. With that in mind, the Carnegie Music Hall was a no-brainer for the venue. In order to not bankrupt my father, we picked a few things that were most important to us: venue, food, and DJ. We skipped out on a lot of traditional extras (i.e. photo booth, custom gobo for the dance floor) to make sure these elements were super high quality. In truth, we wanted people to eat, drink, and dance all night, which is why we focused so much on these parts!
“Subtle” is another word that I’d use to describe our wedding philosophy: I’m not really a big fan of putting personal branding on everything, so we skipped the custom monogram on our invites in favor of something minimalist that popped because of it’s large square shape, classic calligraphy, and floral liner. Classic white and green florals (they felt so summery) were the theme that was carried through the whole weekend in the bridesmaids dresses, our stationery, and the bouquets! Since the wedding was so classic, we looked for unique touches that would truly make the wedding feel like “us”.
Pitt (the school and the city) is so special to us and so much of who we are as a couple, and we really wanted it to make an impression on our guests. In addition to the traditional cookie table, which most of our out-of-state guests had never heard of but LOVED, we had a custom Pitt beer tap handle for a keg of our favorite local beer that we brought in. Our guestbook was a Pitt football jersey, which incorporated our love of sports.
Ironically, I think what made our wedding unique was how classic our details were: my and the bridal party’s cascading bouquets of orchids, freesia, and stephanotis; classic black tuxes; my all-lace dress with a delicate tulle embroidered bolero; and most importantly our interfaith ceremony at Heinz Chapel where we brought together the traditional ceremonies of two faiths. Sometimes you miss these beautiful details in a rush to make weddings bigger and more opulent. For us, we wanted the simplest things to be the most memorable. At the end of the day, our vendors nailed our vision of amped up, timeless elegance and we got that crazy party we wanted, fueled by our excellent DJ who played our bizarre curated mix of country, standards, and EDM music! I wanted to show our guests that “classic” doesn’t have to be “boring”. If you take the time to really make those two or three elements that are most important to you shine, your wedding will fulfill all your biggest expectations.
Definitely our first dance! We had been waiting for this moment more than anything else, and looking back, it was these few minutes that I remember more clearly than anything else. Besides the obvious gorgeousness of Carnegie Music Hall, the thing that really sold us when we made our decision to have our reception there was the incredibly unique setup they have for your first dance. Cocktail hour is held on the mezzanine balcony surrounding the main foyer floor. Instead of bringing everybody downstairs, the staff keeps guests up there so that when Michael and I had our entrance and first dance, it was just us downstairs with everybody looking down on us from above. We’re huge country music fans and our song was a huge country ballad that totally filled the space. We were both alone and surrounded by everybody we loved…such an unexpectedly intimate feeling in a huge space. Those seconds where I tore my eyes away from Michael’s and looked up were maybe some of the most unforgettable of the entire day.