Let me set the scene for you…ballroom wedding, blush and ivory color palette, amazing florals, impeccable design, and one very beautiful couple. Yep, it doesn’t get much prettier than today’s feature. Aly and Sean were med school sweethearts and their June wedding at the Fairmont Hotel was certainly one for the books. With their shared traditional style as inspiration and with a little help from wedding planner Natalie Berger, the bride and groom designed a day that was timeless with modern, playful touches. Just a few of the swoon-worthy details include:
- Aly’s dress. The Madison James number featured a deep V neckline, a pearl and bead encrusted bodice, and the daintiest of satin bows at the waist. With simple accessories and a elbow length veil, Aly was the definition of a classic bride.
- Incredible design. From the hanging florals on the chuppa to the boxwood backdrop to the sweetheart table to the multitude of centerpieces, some of which included crystal candelabras, the decor of Aly and Sean’s reception will leave you breathless. UNBELIEVABLE.
- A mirrored seating chart. A large, ornate, silver-framed mirror was transformed into the most dazzling of seating charts with a bit of hand lettering magic. And it was gorgeous!
- A twist on a Pittsburgh tradition. Instead of a regular ol’ cookie table, Aly and Sean’s guests feasted on ice cream cookie sandwiches, with options ranging chocolate chip to sugar to funfetti. UM YES PLEASE!
This luxurious day was perfectly captured by Araujo Photography. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be left with a serious case of wedding-envy.
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
Sean and I met in our first year of medical school in Lewisburg, WV. Our relationship grew as we helped each other through the rigors of medical school and our goals going forward. We went through the struggles of many board exams and residency match. We ended up moving to Pittsburgh for residency; Sean matched in vascular surgery and I matched in internal medicine.
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
Sean proposed in the home I grew up in, located in Huntington, WV, on May 15, 2015. Sean and I started dating while we were in medical school. Because of this, our relationship was full of situations where school/work always came first. Luckily, we both understood the importance of our studies and there were never any hard feelings. On the day of our proposal, Sean and my parents tricked me into thinking he was stuck in the operating room on his very last day of medical school. We had plans to go to dinner that night to celebrate both of us finishing our last day of medical school. However, I was led to believe Sean may not be able to make it because he was caught in the OR. I was convinced by my mom to get ready for the night anyway and ran over to our home, which was under construction, to pick up something from the mailbox. When I got to the house and opened the mailbox, all I found was a note from Sean with a poem telling me to come into the house. When I got to the front door, there were flowers leading me through the doorway, into our newly renovated kitchen. On the kitchen counter was another note (poem inside again) with a box. The poem instructed me to open the box. When I opened it, the box fell open and inside was a beautiful homemade miniature chuppa and underneath was a ring. At that point, Sean popped out and said some very sweet words and popped the question! I said YES!
The chuppa had important significance in our relationship. Sean grew up as an Irish Catholic and I grew up Jewish. From the beginning, Sean knew the importance of my Jewish heritage and as our relationship grew, he knew the importance of a Jewish wedding. Sean and his dad built the miniature chuppa as a way to show me their excitement for a Jewish wedding.
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
For our wedding, I wanted something timeless, yet with some modern touches. We went with blush and ivory for our colors, with touches of gold as well. It was our goal to make it an elegant evening that was inviting for our guests. Sean and I have a playful and, at times, goofy side. We wanted this to shine through with some aspects, like the entertainment, desserts, and even decor, but at the same time have an elegance to it.
The Fairmont Hotel was the perfect location for my vision in many ways. It was particularly important to Sean and I that our guests were comfortable and everything felt inviting. It was for this reason that we wanted everything to be in very close proximity to each other and not require much, if any, transportation. The Fairmont allowed our guests to come into one room for our ceremony, go out for the cocktail hour, and then return to a completely transformed room for our reception. We were able to transform the room in a way that it felt as if we were in a completely different location without having our guests walk or drive any distance. This was truly ideal.
What inspired your vision?
I think we were inspired by our personalities. Both Sean and I find comfort in things that are timeless and meaningful, but we also have a playful side. We wanted both of these to shine through.
What made your wedding unique?
Being that we were new to Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh was our first home together, we also wanted our guests to experience our new city to the fullest. Since both Sean and I are not from Pittsburgh, it really was a destination wedding for a majority of our guests. We tried to highlight Pittsburgh as our destination in that way. For instance, our welcome bags really highlighted our beautiful city. They were tote style bags that said “Welcome To Pittsburgh” on the front. Inside we had a welcome letter that featured some of our favorite Pittsburgh restaurants, things to do in the Burgh, and events of the weekend (we lucked out and the Three Rivers Art Festival started our wedding weekend!). Included were also Nancy B’s Cookies, Pittsburgh Popcorn Company, and tasty Pittsburgh chocolate bars. We also showed off my favorite treat (pretzels), Sean’s favorite treat (cookies), and our favorite treat (Sour Patch Kids) in our bag.
We added our personalities into the weekend by showcasing our playful side. We had a slo-motion photobooth where we were extra goofy. There was a different array of desserts including smores on a stick and our own version of the Pittsburgh cookie table – ice cream cookie sandwiches with all different cookies including sugar, chocolate chip, and funfetti.
We gifted our groomsmen with custom bobble heads that were identical to them!
Since Sean and I both lost our grandparents on each side, we wanted to incorporate them in a personal way and not with just photos. On my right hand, I wore my grandmother’s wedding ring. Sean’s wedding band was his grandfather’s. On the inside of the ring, we had engraved the year his grandparents were married (1945) and opposite that, the year we were married. The prayer shaw that we were wrapped in during the ceremony is my father’s, which he received for his bar mitzvah. Finally, the kiddish cup was actually used at my baby naming as well.
What was your favorite moment of the day?
My favorite moment of the day was a part of our Jewish tradition called the Ketubah signing (signing of the Jewish marriage license). During this time right before the wedding ceremony, we had 50 of our closest family and friends surround us as Sean read the words on our Ketubah (our vows), which he had written and we signed as a sign of our love. It was special to have this moment with our closest family and friends.
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
My advice is to go with your gut. As a bride to be, you will get advice from many friends and family, but in the end, it is your big day. Your gut will tell you what your heart truly believes is right for you and your future hubby. Go with it.
Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
Videography is a absolute MUST. Nothing, I mean nothing, can replace what it’s like to watch the big day over and over. Photography will capture the day as well, but videography helps you relive the day in a whole different way. I would budget this in no matter what.
Band: In the Mood | Bride’s Dress: Madison James | Bride’s Accessories: MB Bride | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal | Cake: Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel | Caterer: Fairmont Hotel | Ceremony Location: Fairmont Hotel | Flowers: Hens and Chicks | Hair: AtHome Beauty | Lighting: Fairmont Hotel | Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Makeup: AtHome Beauty | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Photo Booth: SlowMO Party | Photographer: Araujo Photography | Reception Venue: Fairmont Hotel | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Nota Bene | Videography: ShoFilms | Wedding Planner: Natalie Berger
Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental