Pretty doesn’t even begin to describe Cristena and Ryan’s black, white, and red wedding. It’s classic, elegant, and everything a wedding should be. Inspired by the season, the reception location, and their love of family, this bride and groom planned a special day that was traditional but fun. A live band (that was so good, guests were doing back flips on the dance floor!), a mix of low and elevated gorgeous floral arrangements of roses, red hypericum berries, hydrangeas, and blue thistle, and all kinds of special touches here and there made this affair a memorable one. But one main theme was woven throughout everything – family. Both Cristena and Ryan come from large families and they wanted their wedding to be an official fusion of the two. A few of my favorite ways this couple paid tribute to those they love:
- The bride purchased her lace Justin Alexander dress with sleeves from her friend’s shop – Bridal Suite. Cristena called getting to share that special experience with her friend a “gift”.
- A family tree guest book. Of course, the whole “leaf your fingerprint” movement isn’t new to the wedding world. BUT Cristena and Ryan’s tree was hand drawn by an artist friend. The fact that they connected it back to their loved ones makes it all the more special.
- Cristena’s dad crafted the couple’s card box. The gorgeous wooden box was displayed, along with a sign letting the world know it was made with love. Talk about some handiwork! It’s gorgeous!
But speaking of gorgeous, wait until you see those portraits! Levana Melamed Photography captured the beautiful scenery and every last detail perfectly. You won’t soon forget this one. It doesn’t get much better.
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
In college at the University of Pittsburgh, main campus
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
In front of the Cathedral of Learning! The second surprise was a visit to the local animal shelter to add a lovely kitten (named Plato) to our family!
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Elegant and traditional, fall-inspired, with an emphasis on family and joy. While I put a lot of effort into planning the wedding, I was really focused on joining the two families. We both come from from large, loud, fun-loving families. We danced all night long! The live band was a hit! We even had a back flip happen on the dance floor!
What inspired your vision?
Fall, the beautiful Grand Hall at the Priory, and my love for family
What made your wedding unique?
Our photos stand out for the following reasons:
1. Yellow leaves in Allegheny Park. They are stunning.
2. It was nearing sunset as we took the photos. The lighting is dreamy!
3. Not to toot my own horn, but my dress from my friend’s bridal shop is STUNNING. What a gift it was to buy my dress from my long-time friend. She’s fabulous and a fashionista. She called me a “Modern day Grace Kelly”.
What was your favorite moment of the day?
Dancing to “Shout”, performed by the live band. There’s an awesome photo of this in the pictures. Big party circle and all hands are up – aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc.
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
The most rewarding part, for me, was hearing how much fun my family had. Throughout the wedding process, I kept thinking “Would our families like this?” or “Our cousins would LOVE if we played that song”. Family is life. This makes Ryan and I so proud to be the center and reason for such a happy, loving, amazing day for so many people.
Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
The live band was amazing. The energy they brought couldn’t be beat! I can’t think of anything to do differently! Not one thing went wrong, no drama, just love and fun!
Band: Gene Stovall | Bride’s Dress: Justin Alexander from Bridal Suite | Bride’s Accessories: Etsy | Bride’s Shoes: Vince Camuto | Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal | Cake: Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory | Caterer: Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory | Ceremony Location: St. Peter Parish | Chair Covers: Pittsburgh Chair Covers | DJ: Gene Stovall | Flowers: Kohler’s Florist | Hair: Eye Do Makeup and Hair Design | Linens: Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory | Makeup: Eye Do Makeup and Hair Design | Menswear: Macy’s | Photographer: Levana Melamed Photography | Reception Venue: Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory | Stationery: Minted | Table Runners: Pittsburgh Chair Covers | Transportation: Elite Coach Limousine
Photographer: Levana Melamed Photography