The Grand Concourse is one of my favorite venues in the city. Its opulence – the globe, streetlamp lighting, heavy columns, marble, penny tile floor, and stained glass – takes you right back in time. It doesn’t take much in terms of decor to look absolutely stunning and it’s the perfect setting for a vintage-inspired wedding. After an out-of-a-storybook engagement (Seriously. There is a freaking castle involved!), Janae and Robert planned their August nuptials in the train station-turned-restaurant and pulled inspiration from both the venue’s history and the bride’s love of fairy tales. The couple was able to merge the dual theme with some really unique details, including:
- Invitation reception cards modeled after old-fashioned train tickets, custom made by Hello Beautiful Designs. Very apropos!
- A seriously stunning ceremony backdrop! Janae and Robert tied the knot right on the landing of the Grand Concourse’s gorgeous main staircase!
- A wedding dress fit for a true princess. The bride selected the Belle inspired gown from the Disney Fairy Tale Bridal Collection at Alfred Angelo. Prince Charming not included, but it looks like Janae already had her own 😉
- A cigar bar, complete with branded boxes of matches printed with the bride and groom’s names and the CUTEST. SIGN. EVER.
- A nostalgic display of both Janae and Robert’s parents’ and grandparents’ wedding day photos. So sweet!
Joey Kennedy was there to take all of the breathtaking images below. And Janae and Robert lived happily ever after. <3
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
Robert and I met in 2010. Easter to be exact. I was working as a nursing assistant at a nursing home while I was in nursing school. Robert’s grandfather was a patient of mine, and from the day I started working there, his grandfather told me I needed to meet his grandson. He took a picture of me to show him and Robert wanted to meet me. His grandfather failed to mention that I worked only on weekends since I was in school full time, so Robert showed up almost every day trying to run into me. His grandfather told me he really liked those extra visits so he wasn’t going to tell him not to come! We finally met on Easter of that year; in fact, I met almost all of his family that lived in the area that same day. He came back to visit a few more times and asked for my phone number. Our first date was at Willow Restaurant and we went through three bottles of wine and closed the place down just talking! I worked the next morning and, though I wasn’t hungover from the wine, I was tired. Robert showed up at my work to visit his grandfather but also to bring me a cherry limeade (my favorite!) with extra cherries. I knew he was a keeper after that!
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
In February of 2013, Robert planned a vacation for us. We went to London, where his best friend lives, for a fashion show. We stayed there a few days and then went to Paris for Valentine’s Day. He then had it planned for us to go to Austria. The drive from Paris to Austria was really long so we stopped in a little town in Germany, where the Neuschwanstein Castle is. We arrived at the castle late and stayed in a little guesthouse in the same area as the main castle. Robert loves to take pictures, and even though we were exhausted from the long drive, he wanted to head up to the castle for some night photos. We drove up, even though there were signs indicating that we weren’t supposed to do that, and parked. I was loving the view of the castle when I turned around and Robert was down on one knee, asking me to marry him. Of course, I said “Yes!” You never say no to a little blue box or a boy who takes you to a castle!
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
The theme was vintage fairy tale. The Grand Concourse was built in the early 1900’s so we wanted to try and bring out the 1920’s in our wedding. And of course, a fairy tale because I am in my own real life fairy tale 🙂 The colors were originally gray and light pink but while shopping for bridesmaids dresses, one of my girls tried on the dress that they ended up wearing. It was in coral and instantly I knew that was the color! So we changed the colors to coral, gold, and Tiffany blue.
What inspired your vision?
I love anything Disney fairy tale, and while I really wanted the princess dream wedding theme, I didn’t want it to look immature or tacky. Luckily, I also really like the vintage feel. I talked with our florist, Nathan, and our photographer, Joey, who both really helped bring together the vision that was in my head and make it a reality! I had tons of pins on my Pinterest board and, while they were scattered at first, I think Joey and Nathan were really the ones who were able to tie it together for me.
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Everyone always told me not to sweat the small things and not to stress, that everything would fall into place. Of course, being a crazy bride, I thought this was the worst advice ever and that no one knew what they were talking about! Sure enough, they did! The night goes by so fast; those details that you stressed over day in and day out aren’t going to matter. Your wedding is going to be perfect, even if the napkins aren’t centered or someone forgets to include something. The fact that you and your hubby, family, and friends are together is all that matters.
I also highly recommend a first look! While it’s not traditional, it is a perfect time to really just see your hubby-to-be and let him really see you and all the hard work you put in (exercise, hair, makeup, dress, etc.). Also, it frees up time after the ceremony to enjoy being with your bridal party and family.
Lastly, consider a sweetheart table. We integrated our bridal party in with the guests so those with significant others or dates weren’t stuck at a table with no one they knew. We had our sweetheart table, just the two of us, on top of the staircase. We were able to enjoy the food and really spend time together. The rest of the night, we were apart from each other, so I’m thankful for that dinner and the time to talk without interruptions other than the clanking of glasses.
Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
Must haves: A good bridal party! They are your go-to girls!
An emergency supply basket in the ladies room for you and your guests! I included those things that you just might need in a basket with a note. We had so many comments on how it was a life saver and it allowed me to be purse-free but still have hairspray, gum, and other little things.
I don’t think there is anything I would have done differently. To me, my wedding day was perfect and I’d do it again in a heartbeat (maybe with a pink wedding dress though!).
Bride’s Dress: Belle from the Disney Fairy Tale Bridal Collection at Alfred Angelo | Bride’s Bracelet, Earrings, Tiara, & Veil: Alfred Angelo | Bride’s Necklace: Helzberg Diamonds | Bride’s Garter: Made by the groom’s mom | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo at Nordstrom | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Bridesmaids’ Necklaces: Etsy | Cake: Oakmont Bakery | Caterer & Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Grand Concourse | Cookies: Made by family members in Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Iowa! | DJ: DJ EN4K | Flowers & Decor: Hens and Chicks | Hair: Hannah Conard Beauty | Makeup: Maria Layton Makeup | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Photographer: Joey Kennedy Photography | Stationery: Hello Beautiful Designs | Wedding Planner: The bride