Inspired by their love for being on the water, Rachel and Tom’s backyard wedding is here to splash you with all kinds of whimsy wedding ideas. After having to alter their wedding plans three times due to COVID, the pair decided to move their wedding to Rachel’s childhood home, transforming the area into the prettiest boho wonderland we ever did see! It’s no surprise that they thought to include a watercolor palette of blues, teals, and grays while weaving in Rachel’s interest in gemstones with accents of quartz too. While the backyard aesthetic wasn’t one that was originally planned, with the help of 4121 Main, the coastal vibes were brought to life with no shortage of wildy beautiful floral designs, romantic candlelight, and a semi-naked geode wedding cake designed by Tom’s sister. While the day started with a ceremony where guests were greeted with a bagpipe player performing in honor of Rachel’s heritage, it ended with a delectable menu by JPC Event Group, which included seven courses with wine pairings. That quality time with their loved ones ended up being their favorite part of the day, leaving them with a special appreciation of how the events unfolded. We know having to downsize your wedding may be hard, but if you take anything away from these photos by Loren Demarco Photography, let it be that sometimes going with the “flow” (see what we did there) of things can really all work out for the best!
About the Couple
We first met at a work happy hour while both working for Dick’s Sporting Goods in 2016. Sparks flew immediately upon meeting. Tom and I have a huge passion for all things water. We love to be on our boat – whether it’s in on the rivers in Pittsburgh or on Lake Norman in Charlotte. We both have a passion for the sea, and you can usually find us surfing, fishing, diving, wakeboarding, you name it!
It’s very fitting that Tom proposed in September 2019 on our boat with our dog Mac on Lake Norman at sunset. After he proposed, he drove the boat up to a house on the lake that he had rented for the weekend for the celebration to continue. As he drove up to the dock at the house, our friends were waiting to greet and congratulate us – we were all staying at the house for the weekend! I was so shocked at all the planning (since I am the planner in the relationship) and I couldn’t believe I had no idea (insert extreme ugly cries).
About the Wedding
With our love of the water, it should be no surprise that our theme was a watercolor vibe full of blues, teals and grays. I am also into the power of gemstones, and you can see that in my and my bridesmaids’ quartz hair pins and the groomsmen’s quartz jacket pins. The overall theme was watercolor/glam/boho!
Our original wedding was slated to be black-tie celebration with 375 guests with a reception on the water in August 2020. Our wedding actually changed three times due to COVID but my sister-in-law nicknamed me “bridechilla” for going with the flow with the ever-changing events, including a cancelled bachelorette party, postponed and down-sized bridal shower, a change in priest due to a reorg of the Catholic Church, and a cancelled rehearsal.
In June 2020, we made the tough decision to move the reception to my parents’ residence and downsize it to immediate family and our bridal party, consisting of just 75 guests. We knew we did not want to postpone our wedding because what was important to us was getting married. This decision to shrink our wedding’s size was made due to the ever-changing status of the pandemic, recommendations from our wedding planner and vendors, and the safety of my two grandmothers, who would be in attendance. Two weeks before the wedding, we changed our plans for the final time and downsized yet again to just 30 immediate family members. We also downsized our bridal party to family members only.
Like many others, we had our wedding live-streamed and almost all our original guests tuned in for the entire 1-hour mass! The ceremony took place at my family’s parish and also where I went to grade school. We had a bagpipe player performing outside as guests arrived at the church. Since extended family and bridal party church attendees were not included in the reception, we made sure to keep the Pittsburgh cookie table tradition alive by handing out cookie bags with our pup’s face on them to church-goers as they left.
Thommy with 4121 Main was our florist/ wedding planner/event designer and was absolutely amazing and took our vision and transformed my parent’s driveway into a whimsical, boho, water dream incorporating blue everywhere. My favorite – pampas grass – was even dyed blue! Although our original waterfront venue was no more, Thommy translated our vision into the new venue perfectly with dramatic florals upon the tent entrance, a watercolor seating chart, and candlelight everywhere. Our cake, made by the groom’s sister as a wedding gift, incorporated my love for gemstones. The menu consisted of seven courses, each with a unique drink pairing consisting of wines, beers, bubbles, and our favorite drinks – an old fashioned and a French 75. Tom loves to brew his own beer and had his home-brewed Mac’s Golden Hefeweizen on tap, which is named after our dog. My sister and brother-in-law also surprised us by having champagne flown in from Champagne, France that they hand-selected on their vacation to the region. Toasts occurred in between each meal with each new drink-pairing. The music selection consisted of groove and soul and was tied to each course being served to set the perfect ambience. We also were able to sing “Happy Birthday” to both of my grandmothers – each with their own cake – who turned 91 and 92 on our wedding day and a few days later.
Having dinner in that intimate setting with immediate family was so special because our families truly got to know one another and spend quality time together, which is something we all might not have had time to do in the larger wedding setting. Although it was not originally planned to happen this way, we would not change anything about it! Our family said it was the best wedding they have ever been to due to its intimate setting and you could feel the love throughout the evening.