Vintage Holiday Engagement Session: Ashley & Luke

We are in the midst of the most wonderful time of the year and this holiday engagement session is sure to put you in the spirit.  Taking place on a tree farm owned by the family of one of her bridesmaids, Ashley and Luke's pre-wedding shoot with Dawn Derbyshire Photography is just about as adorable as one can get.  Using the winter season and some vintage props as inspiration, the couple styled several vignettes.  From getting cozy on a bench with matching his and her coffee mugs to making s'mores in front of an open fire to decorating a live tree and then wrapping up in a colorful blanket beneath it, Ashley and Luke embraced the cold and made the most of the holiday feels.  Antique skates, metallic ornaments, plaid blankets, old lanterns, wooden crates, campus thermoses, a wreath, and even misletoe were just some of the props that brought the seasonal vibe to life.  I've been told it was extremely cold that day, but you'd never know it based on how bright and happy they look.  As you finish up (or start?) your holiday shopping, baking, gift wrapping, movie watching, family visiting, and general December merriment, be sure to scroll through these pics for an extra dose of cheer!

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From the photographer…

Ashley and Luke had a colorful, DIY, kind of boho vibe for their wedding and they applied some of those elements into their engagement session.  We decided to do something a little different, opting to shoot in the winter at a tree farm owned by the family of one of Ashley's bridesmaids.  Ashley and Luke planned out several different sets and activities all over the farm, from snuggling up and making s'mores to decorating a live tree on the property.  They incorporated vintage props, cute ornaments, and colorful blankets that added some fun elements that would later be seen at their wedding.  Our goal was to keep things fun while also creating a few memories during the session.  It was such a blast.

I just loved how, despite the freezing cold, Ashley and Luke embraced the day and had fun with it.  We were running to our cars for breaks to stay warm, but it never stopped them from laughing, having fun, snuggling up, and enjoying the session.  They incorporated little pieces of their personalities into all of the details and really got into the session; it made the cold weather tolerable and the whole shoot was filled with love and joy.

Classic Holiday Wedding at the Pittsburgh Golf Club: Colleen & Zack

If you've never considered a holiday wedding, today's feature just might change your mind.  Colleen always knew she wanted a winter affair.  In order to have that and spread a little bit of Christmas cheer, she and Zack chose December 17 as their wedding day.  From there, a mix of vintage, classic, and winter magic vibes followed. The Pittsburgh Golf Club's sophisticated yet comfortable ballroom provided a unique space for the celebration while the venue's evergreens, garland, wreaths, and twinkle lights added the perfect amount of holiday decor.  Here are a few of my favorites that you should be on the look out for!

  • The striking color palette.  Inspired by a bridal bouquet Colleen once saw on a blog, cranberry red and dusty blue was a rich combo that added warmth and depth to this wedding day.
  • That cake!  The four-tiered buttercream confection was adorned with gold glitter ribbon, amazing deep red flowers, and a wooden laser cut topper that was perfectly suited for the occasion.  In a word, it was adorable!
  • A sweet ending.  What is a winter night without some cocoa?  The couple's guests were treated to a fun hot chocolate bar with all of the fixings!

Aaron Varga Photography captured all of the Christmas-y magic.  If you agree that this truly is the most wonderful time of the year, you're going to love these images.  Happy Holidays!

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Here's Pictory Productions with the cutest, holiday-est wedding film everrrr!  Love this SO MUCH!

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

Believe it or not, Zack and I went to GRADE SCHOOL together!  We overlapped being in school a few years before we both switched schools and went different ways – until about 10 years later!  I always joke and say we are in the same yearbooks at such a young age!  We reconnected at the end of my junior year of high school at Oakland Catholic and at the end of his freshman year at Saint Vincent College.  Zack texted me after getting my number from my cousin. We had our first date and the rest was history!

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

Zack and I had a fall weekend trip planned to The Gateway Lodge in Cooks Forest, Pa and I had mentioned to my sister in law that I thought he would propose there!  Well, that was the original plan but since I had mentioned that, my sister in law let Zack know and he decided to surprise me even earlier with a proposal.  I had just passed my state boards to practice as an Occupational Therapist, as well as just landed my first job, and Zack had just completed his MBA.  We had planned to go to church and then head to a nice dinner on Mt. Washington to celebrate.  We went to church that evening at Saint Peter’s on the North Side (where we would eventually get married) and then headed to take the incline up to the LeMont.  Typically I am a BIG picture taker and Zack is not.  We got to the top and he said, “Hey, let's go take a photo on the lookout.”  Knowing that he isn’t a fan of taking too many pictures, I just brushed it off and replied “Nah, let’s just get to dinner.  I am hungry.”  I do not mess around when it comes to food 🙂  Plus, the weather was overcast and a little breezy.  He insisted on walking over and taking a look, so we did.  We were standing there looking over downtown.  The next thing I knew, I had turned around and there he was on one knee, asking me to marry him!  I was in total shock and had not been expecting it at all!  Of course, I said yes.  After getting some pictures and awes from the others on the lookout, we headed to an amazing dinner.  After dinner our families were all waiting for us back at my parents' house for an engagement party with a cake, champagne, and beautiful Waterford toasting flutes to use that evening and at our wedding 🙂

Describe the look, theme, style, and colors of the wedding.

I would like to think that our wedding was a mix of a holiday, classic, and vintage feel.  Beginning with Saint Peter's, the church was originally established back in 1850!  It is such an historic church that knew I wanted to incorporate an old, classic feel to our theme.  Our reception venue, The Pittsburgh Golf Club, also has the same vintage feel, which was perfect!  Adding in the beauty of Christmas decor at both our ceremony and reception was the icing on the cake!  It turned out perfectly and we were just in awe when seeing everything for the first time!  I felt as if I could just stop and gaze for hours throughout different parts of the day!

What inspired your vision?

Believe it or not, a bridal bouquet that I found on a blog had inspired my whole color palette and vision!  I always knew I wanted a winter wedding while also keeping in mind that winter in Pittsburgh can mean so many different weather patterns!  I chose the week before Christmas knowing that I wanted to focus on having a winter theme with some Christmas elements added in!  The vintage, classic look was inspired by both our ceremony and reception venue.

What made your wedding unique?

I was really hoping for winter-like weather and woke up to the iciest morning we had thus far that winter!  My dad was chipping ice off our our driveway at 6 a.m. and I was praying that everyone was going to be on time and most importantly, get where they needed to be safely!  Needless to say, we had a gorgeous icy background and snow on the ground for pictures.  It made the day even more perfect and will be a story Zack and I will love to tell for years to come! 🙂

What was your favorite moment of the day?

I think my favorite part of the day was when Zack and I had gone to the bar to get a drink sometime later into the reception.  We both were just standing together, taking a minute or two to take in all that was happening around us.  Dancing, laughing, smiles – all fun!  I can remember saying to him, “I just don't want the night to end!”  Watching everyone around us had just solidified that all the hard work had payed off!  It was the best feeling to know that everyone was enjoying themselves!  It was a great moment for Zack and I also because we were able to take everything in together!  This is so important to do with one another because everyone is right when they say that the day just goes by so, so fast!

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?

Rely on others to help throughout the planning!  You cannot do it all on your own!  Designate to mom, sisters, MOHs, bridesmaids, aunts, or whomever you feel comfortable with handling some of the different parts of your big day!  Also, do things the way you envision them.  It's your day, which only happens once, and you do not want to have any regrets looking back!  Last, DON'T SWEAT the SMALL STUFF!!  If something isn't quite perfect or doesn't come out exactly how you wanted, it's you and only you who knows that!  Everyone will think it's beautiful and won't know any differently!  For me, honestly I can say it was the perfect day and I wouldn't change a single thing!

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?

I originally was unsure about whether to do a videographer, but boy am I happy that I chose to have Megan capture our day!  Our wedding video is AMAZING and will be something we watch every year, if not more than that because it is THAT GOOD!  I also would say to most definitely splurge on your photographer!  The pictures are really the only thing left after the day is over and you want them to be displayed and in an album, which you will LOVE to look through!  Aaron definitely was amazing and we are so, so in love with the photos!

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Pronovias from Van Cleve Wedding Pavilion | Bride's Accessories: Macy's | Bride's Shoes: Saks Off 5th | Bridesmaids Dresses: Dessy from Candalina Brides | Cake: The Pittsburgh Golf Club | Caterer: The Pittsburgh Golf Club | Caricature Artist: Sam Thong | Ceremony Location: Saint Peter Catholic Church | DJ: John Wiggins of FlipSide DJs | Flowers: Mocha Rose | Hair: Lavish Salon & Spa | Linens: The Pittsburgh Golf Club | Makeup: Valarie Panei | Menswear: Calvin Klein from Men's Wearhouse | Photographer: Aaron Varga Photography | Reception Venue: The Pittsburgh Golf Club | Stationery: Invitations by Dawn | Videography: Pictory Productions

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding at the Fairmont: Aly & Sean

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Let me set the scene for you…ballroom wedding, blush and ivory color palette, amazing florals, impeccable design, and one very beautiful couple.  Yep, it doesn't get much prettier than today's feature.  Aly and Sean were med school sweethearts and their June wedding at the Fairmont Hotel was certainly one for the books.  With their shared traditional style as inspiration and with a little help from wedding planner Natalie Berger, the bride and groom designed a day that was timeless with modern, playful touches.  Just a few of the swoon-worthy details include:

  • Aly's dress.  The Madison James number featured a deep V neckline, a pearl and bead encrusted bodice, and the daintiest of satin bows at the waist.  With simple accessories and a elbow length veil, Aly was the definition of a classic bride.
  • Incredible design.  From the hanging florals on the chuppa to the boxwood backdrop to the sweetheart table to the multitude of centerpieces, some of which included crystal candelabras, the decor of Aly and Sean's reception will leave you breathless.  UNBELIEVABLE.
  • A mirrored seating chart.  A large, ornate, silver-framed mirror was transformed into the most dazzling of seating charts with a bit of hand lettering magic.  And it was gorgeous!
  • A twist on a Pittsburgh tradition.  Instead of a regular ol' cookie table, Aly and Sean's guests feasted on ice cream cookie sandwiches, with options ranging chocolate chip to sugar to funfetti.  UM YES PLEASE!

This luxurious day was perfectly captured by Araujo Photography.  If you're anything like me, you'll be left with a serious case of wedding-envy.

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

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Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

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Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

Luxurious Blush & Ivory Wedding from Araujo Photography featured on Burgh Brides

 

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

Sean and I met in our first year of medical school in Lewisburg, WV.  Our relationship grew as we helped each other through the rigors of medical school and our goals going forward.  We went through the struggles of many board exams and residency match.  We ended up moving to Pittsburgh for residency;  Sean matched in vascular surgery and I matched in internal medicine.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

Sean proposed in the home I grew up in, located in Huntington, WV, on May 15, 2015.  Sean and I started dating while we were in medical school.  Because of this, our relationship was full of situations where school/work always came first.  Luckily, we both understood the importance of our studies and there were never any hard feelings.  On the day of our proposal, Sean and my parents tricked me into thinking he was stuck in the operating room on his very last day of medical school.  We had plans to go to dinner that night to celebrate both of us finishing our last day of medical school.  However, I was led to believe Sean may not be able to make it because he was caught in the OR.  I was convinced by my mom to get ready for the night anyway and ran over to our home, which was under construction, to pick up something from the mailbox.  When I got to the house and opened the mailbox, all I found was a note from Sean with a poem telling me to come into the house.  When I got to the front door, there were flowers leading me through the doorway, into our newly renovated kitchen.  On the kitchen counter was another note (poem inside again) with a box.  The poem instructed me to open the box.  When I opened it, the box fell open and inside was a beautiful homemade miniature chuppa and underneath was a ring.  At that point, Sean popped out and said some very sweet words and popped the question!  I said YES!

The chuppa had important significance in our relationship.  Sean grew up as an Irish Catholic and I grew up Jewish.  From the beginning, Sean knew the importance of my Jewish heritage and as our relationship grew, he knew the importance of a Jewish wedding.  Sean and his dad built the miniature chuppa as a way to show me their excitement for a Jewish wedding.

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.

For our wedding, I wanted something timeless, yet with some modern touches.  We went with blush and ivory for our colors, with touches of gold as well.  It was our goal to make it an elegant evening that was inviting for our guests.  Sean and I have a playful and, at times, goofy side.  We wanted this to shine through with some aspects, like the entertainment, desserts, and even decor, but at the same time have an elegance to it.

The Fairmont Hotel was the perfect location for my vision in many ways.  It was particularly important to Sean and I that our guests were comfortable and everything felt inviting.  It was for this reason that we wanted everything to be in very close proximity to each other and not require much, if any, transportation.  The Fairmont allowed our guests to come into one room for our ceremony, go out for the cocktail hour, and then return to a completely transformed room for our reception.  We were able to transform the room in a way that it felt as if we were in a completely different location without having our guests walk or drive any distance.  This was truly ideal.

What inspired your vision?

I think we were inspired by our personalities.  Both Sean and I find comfort in things that are timeless and meaningful, but we also have a playful side.  We wanted both of these to shine through.

What made your wedding unique?

Being that we were new to Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh was our first home together, we also wanted our guests to experience our new city to the fullest.  Since both Sean and I are not from Pittsburgh, it really was a destination wedding for a majority of our guests.  We tried to highlight Pittsburgh as our destination in that way.  For instance, our welcome bags really highlighted our beautiful city.  They were tote style bags that said “Welcome To Pittsburgh” on the front.  Inside we had a welcome letter that featured some of our favorite Pittsburgh restaurants, things to do in the Burgh, and events of the weekend (we lucked out and the Three Rivers Art Festival started our wedding weekend!).  Included were also Nancy B's Cookies, Pittsburgh Popcorn Company, and tasty Pittsburgh chocolate bars.  We also showed off my favorite treat (pretzels), Sean's favorite treat (cookies), and our favorite treat (Sour Patch Kids) in our bag.

We added our personalities into the weekend by showcasing our playful side.  We had a slo-motion photobooth where we were extra goofy.  There was a different array of desserts including smores on a stick and our own version of the Pittsburgh cookie table – ice cream cookie sandwiches with all different cookies including sugar, chocolate chip, and funfetti.

We gifted our groomsmen with custom bobble heads that were identical to them!

Since Sean and I both lost our grandparents on each side, we wanted to incorporate them in a personal way and not with just photos.  On my right hand, I wore my grandmother's wedding ring.  Sean's wedding band was his grandfather's.  On the inside of the ring, we had engraved the year his grandparents were married (1945) and opposite that, the year we were married.  The prayer shaw that we were wrapped in during the ceremony is my father's, which he received for his bar mitzvah.  Finally, the kiddish cup was actually used at my baby naming as well.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

My favorite moment of the day was a part of our Jewish tradition called the Ketubah signing (signing of the Jewish marriage license).  During this time right before the wedding ceremony, we had 50 of our closest family and friends surround us as Sean read the words on our Ketubah (our vows), which he had written and we signed as a sign of our love.  It was special to have this moment with our closest family and friends.

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?

My advice is to go with your gut.  As a bride to be, you will get advice from many friends and family, but in the end, it is your big day.  Your gut will tell you what your heart truly believes is right for you and your future hubby.  Go with it.

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?

Videography is a absolute MUST.  Nothing, I mean nothing, can replace what it's like to watch the big day over and over.  Photography will capture the day as well, but videography helps you relive the day in a whole different way.  I would budget this in no matter what.

Vendors

Band: In the Mood | Bride's Dress: Madison James | Bride's Accessories: MB Bride | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal | Cake: Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel | Caterer: Fairmont Hotel | Ceremony Location: Fairmont Hotel | Flowers: Hens and Chicks | Hair: AtHome Beauty | Lighting: Fairmont Hotel | Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Makeup: AtHome Beauty | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Photo Booth: SlowMO Party | Photographer: Araujo Photography | Reception Venue: Fairmont Hotel | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Nota Bene | Videography: ShoFilms | Wedding Planner: Natalie Berger
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Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental

 

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Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe: Marissa & Adam

The low key wedding trend is in full force and I'm all about it.  Marissa and Adam were too.  Rather than making their special day a big production, they opted to keep things casual.  Thirty friends and family joined under a massive tree in the middle of Frick Park to take in the sunny day and the couple's vows.  Despite the woodsy setting, Marissa still looked ravishing in a figure flattering off-the-shoulder sheath wedding dress from none other than JCPenney.  After the unconventional yet heartfelt ceremony, Marissa and Adam joined their guests for a family style feast at their favorite local restaurant – Legume.  The party didn't stop there though.  The crowd enjoyed cake and dancing at the oh-so-inspirational Workshop PGH.  The space, which typically hosts DIY classes and events, gave off the perfect whimsical-meets-industrial vibe with some fun, colorful pennant banners, cool art installations, and eclectic pieces.  Marissa said it best with, “Remember that it's about the people, not the things.”  This wedding is what it's all about folks – love, laughter, and being surrounded by those that mean the most.  Enjoy the beautiful coverage of this intimate day from Whitling Photography.

Minimalist Wedding Invitations: Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Wedding Shoes: Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Bridal Hair: Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Wedding Earrings: Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Wedding Makeup: Low Key Wedding with a Super Cool Vibe from Whitling Photography featured on Burgh Brides Low 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From the bride…

Tell me about yourselves!  When and how did you two meet?  How long have you been together?  How did you get engaged?  All the juicy details!

Adam's a kick-ass cancer survivor/recent med school grad who's looking to specialize in Radiation Oncology.  He's also an insanely good cook (in my opinion) and a whiz when it comes to DIY bicycle repair.  I am obsessed with our local farmers market and have recently rekindled my love affair with the Harry Potter series (this time on tape).  We are both voracious readers, love Asian food (of any kind), and most weekends can be found either hiking through the woods, chilling in the park, or eating dumplings.

Adam and I grew up together, but we didn't start dating until our friend circles started mingling the summer before our junior year of high school.  Since then (~11 years?), we've weathered long distance dating, major life changes, multiple moves, med school, and a year-long bout with cancer and chemo (Adam's been cancer-free since June 2015! Woot woot!).

If I could, I would attach a picture of the both of us in our pee wee soccer photo.  We are adorable, but neither of us remember being on the same team.

Describe the look, theme, style, and colors of the wedding.  What inspired it?  What was unique about it?

Our wedding was everything we could have hoped for: intimate, sunny, low-stress, and full of laughter, good food, and music.  We wanted to show our loved ones (most of whom are from out of town) why we fell in love with Pittsburgh, so we got married in the beautiful Frick Park, had dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants (Legume), and partied at a really fun venue near where we live (Workshop PGH).  We didn't want the day to feel like a big production and we wanted to be able to spend time with our guests, so we kept the guest list to about 30 people.  This meant that on our special day, we were surrounded by our nearest and dearest and actually had time to eat!

What was your favorite moment of the day?

We have many, but here's a sample:

  • Exchanging our vows
  • Seeing all of our favorite people having a great time during dinner
  • The impromptu sparkler dance party that happened later that night outside of Workshop PGH
  • The cake!  There is nothing quite like Prantl's burnt almond torte, and we LOVED their red velvet cake.

Is there any advice you would give to other couples planning their big day?

  1. Perfect is the enemy of good.  Your wedding doesn't have to be Instagram worthy; it just needs to make you and your partner happy.
  2. Remember that it's about the people, not the things.
  3. Stick to your budget, but have an emergency fund for unexpected items.
  4. Smile, take deep breaths, and focus on having fun.  Don't sweat the small stuff (see item #1).

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Scarlett from JCPenney | Bride's Bracelet: Charming Charlie | Bride's Earrings: Francesca's | Bride's Flower Crown: Workshop PGH | Bride's Shoes: Forever 21 | Cake: Prantl's Bakery | Cake and Dance Party Venue: Workshop PGH | Caterer: Legume | Dinner Venue: Legume | DJ: DJ Hypnotik from Loyalty Entertainment | Flowers: Workshop PGH and Legume | Hair: DIY | Lash Extensions: Luxurious Lashes by Lisa | Lighting: Loyalty Entertainment | Makeup: DIY | Rings: Orr's Jewelers | Menswear: J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, Allen Edmonds, and Calvin Klein | Photography: Whitling Photography | Stationery: Walmart | Transportation: Antique Coach Excursions

Photography: Whitling Photography

Absolutely Gorgeous Engagement Session: Pamela & Domenic

There isn't much to say about this feature other than it is a completely, insanely, out-of-this-world gorgeous engagement session.  Pamela looks like a movie star, Domenic is clearly head over heels in love with her, and that glowing sunset is the only accessory this shoot needed.  Styled in blues and teals to match Pam and Dom's wedding color palette, this session set in Mellon Park is simple but romantic, modern but classic, and just so, so good.  It showcases the couple's love, the varying textures and backgrounds of the park, and the light is downright luscious.  Ann Louise Photography has seriously outdone themselves this time.  I am so obsessed with these photos that there was no way I could narrow it down to just a dozen or so.  But believe me, you'll thank me when you see them.  You're welcome ahead of time.

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From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

We actually met in 2002 during freshman year of high school.  Though we were classmates through the next eight years at Canevin and then Duquesne University, we never dated.  Although, Dom did try to get my number during freshman year.  We're not really sure what happened, as the next part of the story is a little fuzzy.  But Dom ended up with what he thought was my number in his phone.  He called and texted, but never heard back.  Four years go by, and we both graduated from Duquesne, and are coincidentally working on 5th Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.  We both liked to frequent the local sandwich shop The Brown Bag Deli.  As it would happen, the owner would tell Domenic about a beautiful blonde who frequented the deli, trying to set him up (not knowing it was me!).  One day, we bumped into each other in the BBD, the owner winked, we got to talking, and Dom realized that he was ONE digit off from my correct phone number.  And the rest, as they say, is history. 🙂

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

Dom had actually been planning on proposing for a long time…if he had his way, probably a few months after we started dating!  I'm an old soul though, so after five years, we were both ready to “take the next step” in our relationship.  However, I have three brothers.  It just so happened that as Dom was beginning to look at rings and plan the proposal, unbeknownst to me, my brothers were as well.  One by one, they each made their intentions to “pop the question” known…and poor Dom, wanting to give everyone appropriate space and time, was getting more and more frustrated!

Three engagements and six months later, Dom finally popped the question.  We were actually vacationing with my family at the Outer Banks, NC, a special place my family vacations each year and that was meaningful to Dom and me as well.  I was actually in the middle of reading Game of Thrones when Dom asked to go for a walk on the beach (I reluctantly agreed – those sand crabs, yuck!).  However, once we got down to the beach, we walked along the shore, and Dom got down on one knee.  It felt like a dream, and I finally said yes!

Describe the engagement session.

I knew immediately that we wanted to do an engagement shoot, as photography was a big priority for the wedding.  After looking through a few portfolios, I immediately fell in love with Ann Louise Photography.  Their photos are so dreamy, classy, romantic – everything I was looking for!

I wanted to do something whimsical – almost fairy tale-esque, for the engagement shoot.  Jessica and Jillian (the absolute best!) helped us choose the perfect location, the popular Mellon Park Walled Gardens in Shadyside.  I styled our outfits around our wedding colors – navy and dark teal – to coordinate with wedding plans down the road.

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Vintage Glam Wedding at the New Hazlett Theater: Caitlin & Adam

Inspired by the bride's love of vintage glam and incorporating some seriously sweet details, this wedding is bound to leave you with all the feels.  Caitlin and Adam met through an improv comedy theater group and carried a subtle nod to what brought them together throughout their entire wedding day.  The New Hazlett Theater was the perfect backdrop for the nuptials and party, custom signs inspired by movie posters decorated the space, and Chicago style popcorn escort cards let guests know their place for the night.  The cutest theater-inspired element happened when Caitlin and Adam took a bow before the crowd, just after being pronounced husband and wife.  SO CUTE!  Caitlin brought her love of the classic style to the affair with tons of gold details, a va-va-voom wedding dress, and a timeless feel overall.  But here's what I loved the best!

  • I mentioned Caitlin's dress, but her whole look was simply stunning!  A curve hugging satin gown, vintage blue suede pumps from ModCloth, a sapphire statement necklace, and a faux fur wrap to keep the fall chill at bay…I'd swear she stepped right out of the 1940s.
  • Not to be outshone by his bride, Adam was one stellar looking groom.  His blue plaid suit was totally custom made and was oh-so-cool.  Bye bye black and white tuxedos.  Hello modern groomswear.  Who says the bride gets to have all the fashion fun?
  • In a unique twist on tradition and at the suggestion of the groom, Caitlin and Adam wrote each other's vows.  Meaning he wrote the ones she read to him and vice versa.  What started as a joke turned into a really sweet, really heartfelt spin on the I Dos and I'm totally in love with this idea!

Oakwood Photo + Video was on set (see what I did there?) to document every last darling, vintage-y, glamorous detail.  This wedding has quickly become one of my absolute favorites.  I bet it's going to be one of yours too!

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If all of those gorgeous photos weren't enough, check out the video footage of Caitlin & Adam's big day, also from Oakwood Photo + Video.

From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?

We met in Chicago in the summer of 2011 at the small improv comedy theater that I was running at the time.  Adam came to do a show during which he did a scene where he was from Pittsburgh.  Being from Pittsburgh myself, I knew only a true Pittsburgher could pull off that accent.  I struck up a conversation about our roots and and we quickly became friends.  We were buddies for almost a year when he finally sent me an email to ask me on a date (he didn't have my phone number!).  The rest is history!

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?

It was a Thursday night in May.  Adam knew I didn't want a public affair, so he planned a night in.  Reminiscent of our first date, he set up a mini bowling alley in our living room and made corn dogs.  He decorated the whole apartment with a banner and candles and he was playing our song, “Baby, I Love Your Way” by Big Mountain.  Unfortunately, unaware of the surprise that awaited me at home, I worked until 7:30 that night and got home extra late.  I entered the apartment and when I saw everything, I froze thinking I had forgotten a special holiday or anniversary.  I wouldn't move away from the front door until Adam got down on one knee.  I said yes, grabbed the ring, and put it on my own finger!  I completely blacked out and only vaguely remember details of how the night went down.  We laughed, we cried, we ate our corn dogs, I drank almost an entire bottle of champagne and we FaceTimed with our families.  It was an all around great night!

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.

Going into the wedding, I wanted a vintage glam feeling, but with a bit of comfort and our own character.  We had a lot of friends and family contribute to our day, which added to the personal feel.  I wanted everyone to feel comfortable and relaxed, so inevitably I stressed out like crazy leading up to the day.  Adam's sister did all of the graphic design and she did a great job capturing our essence as a couple as well as celebrating the architecture of the space, which translated to our Save the Dates, invitations, additional signage, labels, and a gigantic poster that welcomed guests.  Adam's mom crafted the “escort cards”, which were made of Chicago mix popcorn in mini bags on which name tags were fastened.  My mom and I wanted to pay homage to the past weddings of our family, so we had our parents' and grandparent's wedding photos blown up and displayed on the bar.  Adam loves Batman, so there was a hint of comic book inspiration in the Save the Dates and welcome poster.  The Batman logo even made an appearance on our cake, as did some of the design elements from our invitations.

What inspired your vision?

I love old Hollywood glam of the 40s and 50s.  It feels classic and timeless to me.  I wanted to show off my curves in an exquisitely tailored dress (shout out to my seamstress, Nancy!) and a cathedral length veil because why not?!  My shoes were blue with ankle straps and reminded me of something my grandmother would have worn when she first met my grandfather.  And then my necklace.  Oh, my necklace.  It was the one accessory I was willing to splurge on because I love a good statement necklace.  Lulu Frost did not fail me.  I loved it so much and am nervous to wear it in plain clothes.  Underneath my dress, my mother had made my garter out of one of my late father's old shirts.

Adam was also very into his suit.  It was very cool how into he was.  His sister had a friend in Chicago whose husband designs suits.  I never went to any of the fittings, but I heard all about the process and how he got to pick everything from the fabric to the buttons.  Adam and I agreed we wouldn't see each other's outfits until the actual ceremony, so the first time I saw the suit was when he saw me in my dress for the first time as I walked out for the ceremony.

What made your wedding unique?

A few things.  Our venue for sure.  The New Hazlett Theater is an amazing space.  You don't have to do much to it because its architecture speaks for itself.  There's so much history in the building and the fact that they only do about seven weddings a year makes it that much more special.  And because we met in a theater, getting married in one was very cool.

Having so many friends involved in the wedding made it so personal.  Our friend Rob officiated the wedding.  Our friend Alex did the music.  And we made our entire wedding party plus my brothers give speeches.  Yep, that's eight speeches.  Because we have so many performer friends, their speeches were all so spot on.  But having our non-performer friends and family members speak was equally special.  Everyone put so much thought into their speeches that I could have listened to them all night long.  So much love!

And because my father had passed away five years ago, my mom and I danced together.  We danced to “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.  Not a dry eye in the house.  It was a really wonderful moment.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

There were two moments – both very different.  The first was while we were getting ready.  The girls were all crammed into the green room backstage.  Because both my mom and I were getting our hair/makeup done at the same time, my mother-in-law was assigned to veil steaming duty.  None of us ever noticed, but the steamer was set up directly under the smoke detector.  Naturally, the steamer set off the fire alarms in the entire theater.  There was a minute of confusion and panic, but when we all realized, it was a good laugh.  The fire department showed up and took pictures with all of us.  They were great sports.  My mother-in-law has sworn off steamers!

The second moment was our vows.  What started as a joke became a reality about two months out from the wedding.  Adam had suggested that we write each other's vows (I would write the vows Adam would read to me and he would write the vows that I would read to him).  People were skeptical.  I, frankly, was skeptical.  It was a total reversal of cliches.  Adam had finished his vows over a week before the wedding.  I wrote mine at 2 a.m. the day before the rehearsal dinner.  I couldn't sleep and my mom and I had this great moment on the couch in our living room where we cried about the wedding being real now.  And then I sat up after she went to bed and wrote the vows on the List app on my phone.  The first time we saw the vows was during the ceremony.  I read what he wrote first and I could barely get through them.  They were so similar it was unreal.  Adam got choked up while reading the ones I wrote for him, too (This is unheard of.  The dude does not cry.).  Afterward, I had friends come up to me who swore we must have shared the vows before the wedding because they were that similar.  It was awesome.

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?

Know what details are important to the day and know what ones are only important to you.  Know that those details are not worth the tears.  Know that it is your day, but also know it is everyone else's day too.  Your soon to be husband, your mom, and your soon to be family get to have a say too because they want to celebrate you.  People will have opinions and will think things are more important than you think they are.  So know which things you don't care about and which things you are willing to give to other people to own.  They want to help and be a part of your day too – not because they are selfish, but because they love you.

And most importantly, know yourself!  Know what pushes your buttons and avoid those things.  And know that if you have to write a three page itinerary broken down to the minute to feel relaxed on the day of, then darn it, you make a three page itinerary broken down to the minute and pass it out to the 20+ people involved in your day so they can follow it (or not!), but girl doesn't it feel good to let go!?

Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts?  Anything you would do differently?

Google Docs and Google Sheets!  I love a good spreadsheet and Google Drive kept me so organized.  I could quickly access things on my phone and computer and share things among vendors and the wedding party.

Planning a wedding out of town is hard work!  I'm not just saying this because I'm on the site, but honestly the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide helped me out tremendously.  I had no idea where to start so the Vendor Guide was a great jumping off point.

Anything I would do differently?  Probably try not to get as stressed out and have a melt down with my mom in the middle of my street in front of the roofers and lawn care guys two days before the wedding, but then again I know me and that melt down would have happened no matter what.  So must do's: have your meltdown and then go and get a mani/pedi and do those at-home masks from Sephora while drinking a glass of wine.  It will all be okay!

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Carlisle's of Pittsburgh | Bride's Accessories: Lulu Frost | Bride's Shoes: ModCloth | Cake: Oakmont Bakery | Caterer: Robert Maravalli | Ceremony Location: New Hazlett Theater | Cocktail Napkins: For Your Party | DJ: Alex Kliner | Getting Ready Snacks: Burgh Bites Food Truck | Groom's Attire: BLVDier | Groomsmen Attire: Topman | Flowers: Sapphire & Lace Design | Hair: Hannah Conard Beauty | Decor: Sapphire & Lace Design | Linens: Sapphire & Lace Design | Makeup: Hannah Conard Beauty | Matches: For Your Party | Photography: Oakwood Photo + Video | Popcorn Escort Cards: Kernel's Gourmet Popcorn & More | Reception Venue: New Hazlett Theater | Rentals: Sapphire & Lace Design | Stationery: Bethany Schreck | Videography: Oakwood Photo + Video

Flowers, Decor, Linens, & Rentals: Sapphire & Lace Design | Photographer: Oakwood Photo + Video | Videography: Oakwood Photo + Video

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Versatile Vintage Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

While vintage rentals aren't new to the wedding world, this styled shoot will have you thinking about them a little bit differently.  In order to showcase the versatility of antiques and old world pieces, Leight Up Life and her team of vendors designed three vignettes using the same vintage finds: a screen, a card catalog, and barrels, all from Copper & Sage.  From a stunning ceremony set up to a lively cocktail reception to a whimsical dessert display, each piece made an appearance in each scenario and was styled to perfection.  Colorful and dramatic florals from Leafhopper Designs accented each display while watercolor hand-lettered stationery courtesy of Oh Joyful Day added a personal touch.  Mixed with Loved added her special touch to the dessert display with yummy looking cupcakes and a multi-tiered confection.  While each vignette was unique in it's own way, they all fit in perfectly with the surroundings at Pinehall Farms, the shoot's location.  A little bit rustic, a little bit antique chic, and a little bit playful, this styled shoot will inspire you to weave a vintage vibe throughout all aspects of your big day!

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If you thought that was fun, wait until you see the moving footage from Traveling Heart Productions of how everything came together!

From the photographer…

Nowadays vintage goods are making a comeback in a new, fun way.  It's so amazing to see them placed at a wedding day!  This styled shoot was based around three unique vintage pieces: a screen, a card catalog, and barrels.

The options are truly endless with them and we wanted to offer some fun inspiration on how they can be utilized throughout the day.  With each piece, we have styled them specifically for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception by using all of the same simple details.

Bringing in the rustic colors was really important as our inspiration behind this styled shoot was our great location at Pinehall Farms and it's vintage rustic red barn.

We felt like we put three different weddings together in one day!  It was a true labor of love and life.  Most styled shoots feature a couple or models and we really wanted to focus on the details to bring couples a unique perspective, one that they could truly implement into their own special day.  We hope you feel inspired to create something all your own with these three vintage pieces!

Vendors

Decor & Rentals: Copper & Sage Vintage Rental Co. | Desserts: Mixed with Love Cake & Cookie Co. | Flowers: Leafhopper Designs | Photography: Leight Up Life | Shoot Location: Pinehall Farms | Stationery: Oh Joyful Day | Videography: Traveling Heart Productions

Videography: Traveling Heart Productions

Sophisticated, Neutral Wedding at the Priory: Chrissy & Josh

A little bit of glam meets a little bit of sophistication in this affair with a neutral color palette.  Chrissy and Josh's Priory wedding combined classic elements with contemporary trends, all while being picture perfect.  Timeless taupe and ivory met modern day mixed metallics of gold, silver, and rose gold for a look that was chic and simple.  GreenSinner used lush greenery in the form of table runners, abundant bouquets, and a variety of centerpieces to add a element of natural, earthy goodness to the day.  Throw in some crystals, mercury glass, and a healthy dose of beading on Chrissy's Allure Bridals wedding dress (not to mention those peep toe Jimmy Choos!) and you've got a recipe for a dream wedding.  When planning her big day, Chrissy wanted to create something warm, soft, and romantic.  I'd say mission accomplished, Chrissy.  Enjoy all of the sparkly, fresh details captured by Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers!

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From the bride…

Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?

It was a total surprise!  Josh and I rode bikes a lot but somewhere throughout the summer it got away from us.  The week of the proposal, he asked me at the beginning of the week if I wanted to ride bikes on Saturday morning.  I thought nothing of it.  (I also thought nothing of the cargo shorts he chose to wear instead of gym shorts but hey, where else would he keep the ring?)  We went to the Riverfront Trail and stopped for a break around the Alcoa building (where we met at work) and that's where he popped the question!!  I never thought we would get engaged on bikes, in gym clothes, at 10 a.m. but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Describe the look, theme, style, and colors of the wedding.

The wedding was romantic, sophisticated, and warm.  The color palate was neutral, blush, and gold.  The bridesmaids dresses were the perfect mix of being glamorous and natural.  The overall floral look was a soft palette including greenery, birch trees, and romantic lighting, which provided the exact ambiance we were looking for.  The entire design team understood our vision, and the wedding was executed to perfection.

What inspired the vision?

I was really into the romantic, soft, wintery feel.  Google and Pinterest quickly became my best friends.  After seeing so many weddings, I knew what I wanted and this helped with my vision a lot.  Looking back, I wouldn’t have changed anything.

What made the wedding unique?

The obvious answer is that the wedding was planned in six months and took place in February.  What made the wedding unique for us was the overwhelming joy and love we felt from start to finish.  Josh and I are incredibly fortunate to have the love and support from our family and friends, and it was very evident on our wedding day.  The genuine response of people wanting to be involved, whether it was offering relationship advice, giving honeymoon tips, or volunteering to make dozens of cookies, meant the world to us.  We made it a point to take the day slow, look around, and take mental pictures as we knew this day would be one we would never forget.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

There were so many moments we wouldn’t change and will remember forever.  Two specific things that stick out to both of us would be the father of the bride toast and our final dance with all of our loved ones.  My father and I have a very special relationship.  To marry a man I knew he approved of was important to me.  Not only did that happen but they have grown to have their own love and respect for each other.  His genuine words of support, love, and happiness will be ones we will both never forget.  Finishing off the night dancing and singing “Piano Man” as we were hand-in-hand looking around and being able to take it all in was so special to us.  This will forever be one of “our songs” and a memory we will share with our children.

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?

Cherish the moments.  From my engagement, wedding shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, and big day, I made a conscious effort to look around and be present.  The events and timeline will go so quickly and you will never get it back.  Things will happen you can’t control and most of the time no one will ever know about.  These are the things that aren’t important.  Remember who was there, how special you felt, and that this is your day.

Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?

A must have is definitely either a wedding planner or a strong team behind you.  Our wedding was planned in six months and without the support and decisiveness of my family and friends it couldn’t have happened.  So if you aren’t someone who can be assertive or make decisions easily, my must have would definitely be a wedding planner.

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Allure Bridals from Anne Gregory for the Bride | Bride's Jewelry: Borrowed from bridesmaid | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo |  Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo and Amsale from Bella Bridesmaids | Cake: Grand Hall at the Priory | Ceremony Location: Grand Hall at the Priory | Chair Covers & Bands: Pittsburgh Chair Covers | DJ: Flipside DJs | Flowers: GreenSinner | Hair: Lyndsay Clark from Studio Booth (bride, mother of the bride, and bridesmaids) and Hannah Conard Beauty (bridesmaids) | Harpist: Sound of Elegance Harpist |  Makeup: Hannah Conard Beauty | Photography: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers | Reception Venue: Grand Hall at the Priory | Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas | Videography: Just Hitched Films

Flowers: GreenSinner | Photography: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Playful Zelienople Engagement Session: Joie & John

Joie and John hit up some of their favorite local spots for their Zelienople engagement session with Jenna Hidinger Photography.  These two are self-proclaimed foodies.  What better spot than your go-to bar and grill for some pre-wedding pics, right?  The owner of Fisher's let the couple and their photographer have complete reign over the restaurant on a day it is typically closed, and the results are totally adorable!  Kissing at the bar, snuggling in a corner booth, and even holding hands over a few beers…one shot is better than the last.  Afterwards, Joie and John and their sweet pup took to a quiet farm for some “family” photos.  A cute dog, Joie's killer thousand watt smile, and an obvious love between two people that is downright infections…honestly, what more could you ask for in an engagement session?!

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From the photographer…

When I first met with Joie and John, they told me they were “self-proclaimed foodies”.  So, as we began discussing options for engagement photo locations, we used their love of food and drink as a primary source of inspiration.  I encouraged them to think of locations outside of the box, possibly a place where they spend a lot of time together.  We talked about the possibility of using a local restaurant and/or bar for some shots, and since Joie and John are fans of Fisher's Bar & Grill in the quaint town of Zelienople, we decided to have the shoot there.  We were able to use the entire space on a day where the restaurant was closed – one of the managers came and opened up shop just for us!

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A Schenley Plaza Wedding: ReVeal Pittsburgh

You all know how much I love giving you a sneak peek into the lives of wedding vendors.  Throughout the summer, we were lucky enough to see what a (wedding) day in the life of La Pomponnee Beauty Artisans, Sapphire & Lace Design, Purple Wagon Designs, and Traveling Heart Productions looked like, and I've interviewed several other vendors for this fun series over the years.  No matter how many times I publish posts like this, I'm always wowed at the hard work these professionals put in for each and every one of their clients.  However, I am not sure I am doing adequate justice to their dedication and passion with just my blog posts.  Are my words really conveying every.single.thing that goes into giving you the wedding of your dreams?  Maybe not.  Maybe you just have to see it in action!

Those who attended ReVeal Pittsburgh back in April were treated to just that.  This modern take on an old fashioned bridal show was the brain child of Devoted to You Events and Soiree by Souleret.  Showcasing a whole team of vendors, ReVeal allowed attendees to see a wedding set up and execution right before their very eyes, as well as the chance to mix and mingle with the pros that put it on.  The best part about it was that a real ceremony took place!  Yep, Heather and Brain, a lucky local couple who won the wedding of a lifetime, said I Do in front of their closest friends and family, ReVeal attendees, and Schenley Park gatherers.  It was spontaneous, heartwarming, and inspiring.

After the ceremony, Schenley Plaza was transformed into a wedding reception space where urban grit met garden elements.  With the help of vendors and event guests, tables were rolled out, chairs were placed, plates were set, flowers were hung, and candles were lit.  It was a transformation right before the very eyes of everyone there and proof that it really does take a village.  As Heather and Brian celebrated the traditional elements of a wedding reception, like the cake cutting and first dance, event attendees got to see potential vendors in action and talk with others who helped make to create the magic.  Not only did guests leave inspired, but hopefully a little more educated and appreciative of their vendors too!

This highlight clip will reveal just what I mean (see what I did there?)!  Be sure to keep scrolling to see all of the pics from Heather and Brian's unique wedding too!

If this event isn't the epitome of #communityovercompetition, I don't know what is.  I love this city.

Now enjoy seeing the afternoon unfold from the differing perspective of two amazingly talented local photographers.

Ryan Zarichnak Photography

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Vendors

Bride's Dress: This Magic Moment Bridal Studio | Cake & Desserts: Mediterra Bakehouse | Caterer: The Porch at Schenley Plaza | Ceremony Exit Props: Divinity Braid by A Simple Vow | Ceremony Officiant: A Simple Vow | DJ: Schiemer Entertainment | Flowers: Community Flower Shop and Fox Petal Floral Design Studio | Hair: Bridal Art by Marissa Julin | Lighting: EF Lighting | Linens: Lendable Linens | Live Musician: Steven Vance Violin & DJ Music | Makeup: Bridal Art by Marissa Julin | Menswear: The Black Tux | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental and Marbella Event Furniture & Decor Rental | Photobooth: LUX Photobooth | Photographers: Ryan Zarichnak Photography and Weddings by Alisa | Stationery: Evolutionare | Transportation: Tortorice Limousine | Venue: Schenley Plaza of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy | Videographer: All Heart Photo & Video | Wedding Planners & Event Designers: Devoted to You Events and Soiree by Souleret

Cake & Desserts: Mediterra Bakehouse | Flowers: Community Flower Shop | Lighting: EF Lighting | Live Musician: Steven Vance Violin & DJ Music | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental and Marbella Event Furniture & Decor Rental | Photobooth: LUX Photobooth | Photographer: Ryan Zarichnak Photography | Videographer: All Heart Photo & Video | Wedding Planner & Event Designer: Soiree by Souleret