The dreamiest and most dramatic of color palettes looks strikingly beautiful in today’s Omni William Penn Hotel wedding. Deep rich oxblood contrasted perfectly against sage green, ocean blue, and plum while metallic gold gave the combination the punch of sparkle and shine a December wedding calls for. Even Greg and the bridesmaids dressed in the color of the day – with him in dark red Stitch & Tie tuxedo and the ladies in Watters gowns from Bridal Beginning. Along with unexpected hues, Gold Dust Floral brought about luxurious texture with floral arrangements of roses, magnolia leaves, anemones, and orchids. Even with these surprising details, Elyse and Greg’s wedding was classic and elegant. The bride wore an art-deco inspired Lazaro wedding dress, also from Bridal Beginning, that was one part modern and one part traditional. Homemade wedding favors, heartfelt ceremony readings, and a cookie table of 5,000+ treats rounded out the steal-worthy ideas. Captured by Lindsey Zern Photography and Just Hitched Films, this wedding is sure to put you in a good mood.
About the Couple
Greg and I met way back in high school, during the 2008-2009 musical season. A mutual friend group and long rehearsals brought us together. But it really all started with a shockingly similar taste in music and what turned into a Monday tradition of sharing new artists and songs with each other between class and rehearsals. In hindsight, it seems almost kismet that we ended up together – for multiple years before we even dated, we played each others’ love interests in high school musicals.
From very early on in our friendship, we were extremely close. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2011, after a birthday party and a great deal of prodding from our friend, that it happened. I was dropping Greg off at his house after the party, and to the tune of one of our many traded burned CDs, we kissed…and we’ve been together ever since.
On July 20, 2018, we were headed up to our friend’s cabin in Cook Forest for the sixth installment of a years-long tradition we simply called “Camp”. A somewhat sacred friend-group getaway, Camp was one of the first places Greg and I ever went when we first became a couple. In fact, for the first two years, I was the only girl there. The night we got there, Greg was making dinner, and the group was ribbing him for bringing an apron all the way from home to keep his Camp clothes clean as he cooked. After a while, Kitchen Greg, as we were all so lovingly calling him, motioned to me to come take a walk with him to waste some time until food was ready. He didn’t take off the apron.
We were walking along the secluded road and talking about things we were excited for – moving into a house from our city apartment, getting a dog, going to Norway and Iceland one day. Right as the sun was setting, he pulled me in for a big hug, and I felt his heart beating out of his chest. I felt a pang of “what if” for just a second, as he took off the apron (which was hiding the ring box in his pocket) and dropped to his knee, saying “I have a question to ask you….”
I am told that Greg had to tell me “You have to let me finish asking” because I was already saying YES over and over again. I am told Greg could see the exact moment I went from “almost crying” to “adrenaline rush because this is really happening” dawn on my face. That said…I had a truly out-of-body experience, and even now it feels like Greg’s perfect proposal to me was a dream.
As we walked hand-in-hand back to the cabin, I noticed all the lights were off, and I didn’t hear any music or giggles coming from inside. I asked Greg what was going on, and he said, “Why don’t we go find out.” I walked into the cabin, and it was completely dark and quiet, save for about 30 candles scattered and lit around the main living room. Our friends were all there, crowded together and holding signs reading “Grelyse Forever” and “What Did You Say?” All at once, I threw out my arms yelling “YES!” I could not be more grateful to Greg for knowing the perfect way to propose after all these years, or to our friends who shared in genuinely one of the most joyful moments of our lives.
About the Wedding
Our wedding was the result of many of our great loves coming together. As Pittsburgh natives and avid bakers, we both really wanted a downtown wedding and a completely decked-out cookie table…I think we had around 5,000 cookies total! I love Christmas, so I knew I wanted to get married around the holidays, but didn’t want an overtly CHRISTMAS wedding. For years, my mom and I have made homemade coffee liqueur as holiday gifts, so we made 240 bottles as our guest favors. We couldn’t bring our dog, Hazel, to the wedding, so we put her on custom cocktail napkins! Greg is a hobbyist musician, I dance, and we both love music, so we asked our friends to play special arrangements of some of our favorite songs for the ceremony, had a jazz quartet for the cocktail hour, AND had a DJ for the reception. Our ceremony readings were by Mr. Rogers (more of our inner yinzer showing), a poem by one of our favorite authors (Margaret Atwood), and my favorite poem, “Having a Coke with You”, by Frank O’Hara. We’ve written love letters to each other for years, so our Unity Ceremony was an exchange of letters. Truly, every little detail had some sort of significance, which really made the whole planning process and day feel super special.
From early on in the venue hunt, Greg was set on a historic location. Once we found the Omni, our style and the overall look came together. The Omni has this amazing old-world grandeur; you walk into the lobby and you feel instantly as though you’re at a gorgeous party in the middle of the 1920s. It features tons of gold accents, rich colors and materials, and stunning moulding and lighting. With all of that, we knew we wanted to allow the venue to speak for itself, and everything else to compliment it. We chose a color story of deep oxblood, sage green, ocean blue, plum, and white with gold accents to fit the Grand Ballroom and Urban Room.
Since the Omni is so naturally elegant, I wanted a juxtaposition of that with our only main decor – florals and candles. We worked with Janessa at Gold Dust Floral, who created incredible, unstructured-but-so-lush arrangements with tons of greenery and texture. All of our main color in our decor came from florals, set off by our clean-lined, clear glass hurricanes with white candles and white and gold linens and stationery.
Over all, I’d say our wedding style was very “classic-meets-modern elegance,” and I think one of the places you can see that most clearly was in our outfit styling. My gown, veil, and the bridesmaid dresses were from Bridal Beginning and they really exemplify that vibe. While the bridesmaids were modern, clean, and elegant, the detailing on my gown felt like it could have been from 1919 or 2019 – and I LOVED that! Greg wore a really classic shawl-collared tuxedo…but it was oxblood! There were lots of really fun, unique choices that ultimately blended the old and the new into one cohesive look.
I think for both of us, the best part of the day was that after SO many years, over a decade of being friends and 8.5 years of dating, we finally got to the place we’ve been moving towards all along. We both married our best friend, surrounded by all of our favorite people; that in and of itself was so incredibly magical. I think at the end of the day we would have been just as happy getting married in our living room…but having the opportunity to share it with the people we love, and letting them in on those significant little details, was amazing.
And…on a much realer note…eating a bunch of leftover cookies in bed at 1 a.m. after all the festivities wasn’t too bad, either 🙂