This intimate, southern inspired wedding started with an epic proposal that was straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel (no, really…they got engaged on the same pond where The Notebook’s famous row boat scene was filmed!!!). Afterwards, Yolanda and Nathan opted for a wedding day that was a bit quieter. Being that this was the second wedding for both of them, the couple skipped the bells and whistles and kept their affair about what matters most…their children, family, friends, and being together. In front of 40 others, Yolanda and Nathan said “I do” in the gorgeous Broderie Room of Phipps Conservatory. The unique ceremony site provided the perfect backdrop for their day, which was designed with a few things in mind: the Southern Gothic tradition, their shared love of New Orleans (where the pair also honeymooned), and the turn of the century style but with a modern spin. Following the vows, guests enjoyed a cocktail style reception of cheese and fruit in the East Wing of Phipps. But just because this wedding was small and subtle doesn’t mean it wasn’t full of thoughtful details. My favorites?
- Yolanda’s bouquet. Oh. My. Word. I nearly died when I first laid eyes on it. I don’t want to give away too much but let’s just say you’ll be stopped dead in your tracks. INSANELY gorgeous!
- After a first look session, Yolanda and Nathan exchanged love letters that they had written to each other. It’s pretty typical for brides and grooms to write some sort of sweet note to each other, but usually they are read privately while each are getting ready. I love that these two read them in front of each other! How much more emotional those few moments must have been!
- In lieu of a classic guest book, guests were given pennies to throw in the Phipps “wishing” well, as a sign of good luck for the newlyweds. I love this take on an old tradition!
- A cake pull. Mostly popular in the south, especially New Orleans, a cake pull can be traced back to the Victorian era. Different charms, each with a specific and special meaning, are placed inside the cake and attached to ribbons or bracelets. Members of the wedding party or guests are invited to pull a charm from the cake before it’s cut. Yolanda wasn’t kidding when she said that she and Nathan loved New Orleans! It’s so cool to see these unfamiliar wedding traditions make their way to Pittsburgh.
- A carefree attitude! Nathan’s pants split on his wedding day. Their cake collapsed en route to the reception. I’m sure other things went wrong too. But what did Yolanda have to say about it? “Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.” AMEN! Realizing that things will go wrong on your wedding day and being able to deal with them gracefully is the BEST attitude a bride can have!
The talented Alexa of Wild Native Photography beautifully captured this eclectic affair that proves small can still mean mighty. Enjoy!
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
We had known each other for years before we ever considered dating. Nathan is a few years older than me and we went to the same high school and college. Because of the age difference, we were vaguely aware of each other, but had never made an actual connection.
We were both previously married and finally officially met through a mutual friend. We occasionally talked online about theology and philosophy. After we both found ourselves single, Nathan asked me to meet up for coffee and our relationship quickly blossomed.
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
October 13, 2014. We were visiting friends in North Carolina and we decided to take an overnight trip to Charleston, South Carolina. We stopped at the Cypress Gardens just outside of Charleston. It’s where the pond scene from The Notebook was filmed. Nathan took me out on a rowboat and asked me to marry him among these amazing lily pads near a stone bridge. I was not expecting a proposal at all, but he had planned the entire scene and had his photographer friend ready with his camera. We rowed back to shore and drove into Charleston where we spent time on the beach, site seeing and eating amazing food.
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Both my husband and I love the idea, architecture, and feel of the Southern Gothic tradition. We gave a nod to New Orleans, our honeymoon location, in a lot of the small details…Nathan’s cuff links, my flask (which was a wedding gift from my husband), the cake pulls, the glassware for the flower centerpieces, and a lot of the other small decor elements.
We really wanted to create a warm, family-centered, genteel feel for our ceremony, pictures, and venue. From the dresses and suits down to the signage, cake stands, and colors, we really wanted it to feel like a backyard wedding you might have attended in the 19th or early 20th century, but with a modern spin. We are both very low key, so we wanted the event to be light but classic.
What made your wedding unique?
We originally ordered a cake from a “hobby decorator”. It literally collapsed on the way to Phipps the morning of the wedding. We ended up going to Hobby Lobby and buying cake stands and running to Market District and purchasing cakes from their bakery. We were actually happier with them! It worked better with our vision and sometimes you just have to go with the flow!
I LOVED my bouquet and my florist is truly gifted. But, to save money, I made the flower center pieces myself. I purchased the flowers from her and arranged them the night before the ceremony.
We wrote our own vows and letters to our children, which were read during the cake pulls.
Nathan’s pants (which he had professionally altered) split at the seam right before the ceremony! Fortunately, we’d gotten most of our pictures taken before the ceremony, and Alexa, being such a good photographer, and was able to work around it. Nathan has ridiculous amounts of charisma and confidence, so he rocked it anyway. This is why I love him!
What was your favorite moment of the day?
From the groom…My favorite part of the evening was the few moments we had in the back of the Broderie Room by the statues away from the party. We talked and rested and were quiet together while everyone mingled. It felt soft and sweet and real.
From the bride…My favorite moment was walking into the room and seeing all of the people that I love, especially my husband and children, lined up and smiling at the front of the room. It could not have been a more perfect moment.
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Take most of your pictures BEFORE the ceremony. It’s so much less stressful to have that out of the way. You can grab a few shots during the event and enjoy the rest of your evening.
Artwork: Sara Roark | Band: The Elk River Rounders | Bride’s Dress: Nordstrom | Bride’s Accessories: SunVDesigns on Etsy | Bride’s Shoes: Madden Girl | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jamie Powell Designs on Etsy | Cake: Market District | Cake Pulls: Roxygs on Etsy | Caterer & Ceremony & Reception Location: Phipps Conservatory | Flowers: Anna Roberts Floral | Hair: Kristy Miscuk at John Michael Hair Salon | Menswear: Calvin Klein, Stacy Adams, & vintagedame on Etsy | Photographer: Wild Native Photography | Stationery: Shy Socialites on Etsy