Blush Pink Outdoor Wedding at the Allegheny County Courthouse: Kathryn & Chase

Fresh and romantic, this pink outdoor wedding is the stuff dreams are made of.  Blush, gold, and ivory decorated the Allegheny County Courthouse – a perfect venue choice for this immigrant-lawyer-bride.  After a breathtaking ceremony on the historic grand staircase, which was lined with glimmering candles, the party continued in the courtyard around a bubbling fountain.  Talk about a stunning atmosphere!  The pretty extended well into the details too with white and green floral arrangements, plenty of hand-lettered mirror signs, and a four-tier gold and white wedding cake.  There was even a custom birthday cake for the couple's dog, Cola, who was right alongside her humans when they said I Do!  Timeless but with fresh takes on the old classics, this wedding is bound to leave you swooning.  Enjoy all of the pretty captured by Jenna Hidinger Photography!

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From the bride…

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

Chase and I met while we were both living in Chicago.  He was living there for work and I was there for law school.  He moved around with me as I did internships – New York, Washington DC, and back to Chicago.  We were quite the traveling couple when we first started dating!

Our engagement story always makes me smile.  He really outdid himself on it, especially since Chase CANNOT keep a secret to save his life.  It was over his birthday weekend so I decided to take Friday off so we could have a nice long weekend.  He was in NYC for work so we decided to just make a weekend of it.  I flew in, we grabbed lunch, stopped by his office and while there, his boss told us that because of a last minute meeting, he wasn't going to be able to use the two tickets he had for a private sunset sightseeing cruise on the Hudson that night.  Since they were only good for that night, he offered them to us to use on our weekend visit!  Knowing how much I love doing touristy things, we took him up on the offer and spent the afternoon doing other classic NYC must-dos.  We arrived at Pier 25 hoping we would be allowed to use the tickets, and fortunately, Captain Paul agreed.  The two hour tour took us by the NYC skyline, Ellis Island (a personal highlight being an immigration attorney!), and ended in front of the Statue Liberty.  Captain Paul's co-captain said that was the perfect time for a photo op so we headed to the front of the boat to get an even better view and our picture taken.  There, in front of Lady Liberty, Chase got down on one knee (quite a feat with the choppy waves!) and proposed!  Of course, I accepted!  It was then I saw Captain Paul and his co-captain with a bottle of champagne and roses and a photographer who had been hiding underneath the whole time!  It turns out that Chase had planned the entire day to the hour, from flying to NYC for his birthday, the tickets his boss just happened to give us, to Captain Paul and the photographer, had all been in the works for weeks.  We finished the sunset boat tour and headed to dinner at a restaurant with the best views of New York City.

Describe the wedding and what inspired it.  What was unique about it?

We wanted our wedding to be classy, timeless, but still fun!  The Allegheny County Courthouse spoke to my nerdy lawyer heart even though I don't practice there, and we fell in love with the beautiful building and courtyard.  It was a perfect venue for us – we wanted somewhere that was somewhat unique but easy to work with and where we could choose the components of our celebration.  We used blush, gold, and ivory as our main colors and tried to add unique aspects that characterize our life (Cola, our dog, for instance!).  Of course, Boylan soda had to be there and Chase and I are big fans of Franktuary (Chase can eat A LOT of hot dogs!).

What was your favorite moment of the day?

My favorite moment was walking down the aisle with my mom and seeing Chase and Cola at the top of the stairs surrounded by all of our closest friends and family.

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

The best advice I received, and one I would certainly tell others, is to not stress too much about all the details.  At the end of the day, no one is going to remember the color of your napkins or how many wrinkles were in your tablecloths.  We tried to keep our wedding guest-centric and just let everyone (including us) enjoy themselves!

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Maggie Sottero from The Exquisite Bride | Bride's Shoes: Tahari | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Cake: Bella Christie | Caterer: Big Burrito | Ceremony Location: Grand Staircase of the Allegheny County Courthouse | DJ: DJ Colt | Flowers: Springdale Florist | Hair: Metamorphosis | Makeup: Erin Zaborowski | Menswear: Tommy Hilfiger | Photography: Jenna Hidinger Photography | Reception Venue: Courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse 

Ceremony Location: Grand Staircase of the Allegheny County Courthouse | Reception Venue: Courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse 

Airport Engagement Session: Alyssa & Nate

Get ready to be taken up, up, and away with this airport engagement session from Dawn Derbyshire Photography!  Nate, a budding pilot and aviation aficionado, was totally game when Alyssa proposed the Butler Regional Airport as the location for this unique photo shoot.  Dancing in the hanger, snuggling in the cockpit, hanging out on the wings, and even popping a bottle of champagne near the plane's nose, this bride and groom to be made the most of their sky-high inspired session.  I love the originality and fun-loving nature of these images.  If they're any indication of how cool their nuptials are going to be, the September 7th affair is cleared for take off!

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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!

Nate and I went to high school together and always had a thing for each other but didn't find ourselves officially together until we were 19 years old.  We dated on and off for awhile, but always knew we were each other's end game.  When we got back together a few years ago, we knew it was for the long haul.

Describe the engagement session and what inspired the shoot.  What was unique about it?

The airplanes!  Duh!  Nate is studying to be a pilot and is super passionate about aviation.  So when I mentioned the idea, he was so excited and I knew I had to do it.  We incorporated some of our other favorite things such as our perfect puppy Crosby, popping champagne, and a romantic picnic.

Modern Garden Inspired Wedding at the Pittsburgh Golf Club: Susannah & Bryan

The whimsical elements and dark green, navy, and white color palette of this garden inspired wedding is going to make it a quick favorite among Burgh Brides readers.  With the help of floral genius GreenSinner, Susannah and Bryan were able to take several themes – including Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night's Dream, AND a party under the stars – and create one cohesive look that combines modern elegance with light-hearted magic.  An floral print Hayley Paige dress from Bridal Beginning, a belt of fresh flowers, and an ENORMOUS bouquet of eucalyptus, anemones, and roses adorned with long, flowy silk ribbons brought some garden inspo to Susannah's bridal look.  To continue the theme, the Pittsburgh Golf Club was dripping with fresh greenery, tall taper candles, glass hurricanes, floral chandeliers, and metallic accents when it hosted both the ceremony and reception.  In a heartfelt touch, each guest was greeted with a hand-written note of thanks from the bride and groom.  Wedding must-haves and steal-worthy ideas abound in this delightfully darling wedding captured by Palermo Photo.

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From the bride…

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

Bryan and I met at his New Years Eve Party in 2012.  I was home on winter break from college in DC, whereas Bryan had already graduated and was working in Pittsburgh.  One of my best friends introduced us.  We met and hit it off immediately.  I remember thinking to myself that this was the guy I was going to marry.  Even though he knew I was going back to school in a few days and I had no idea what I was doing after graduation, he called (not texted!) and asked me out on a date before I headed back to DC.  We had a wonderful first date and shut down the restaurant because we were talking so much!  We kept in touch and visited each other, but it wasn't until a few months later, when I accepted a job in Chicago, that we seriously talked about our relationship and decided to date long distance.  When my fellowship ended, I came back to Pittsburgh to attend law school and be in the same city as Bryan.

About three and a half years after we met, Bryan proposed on June 14, 2016 (my birthday!) in the lobby of his old apartment, which was the spot where we first met at his party.  After he proposed, he suggested we go to his old apartment where two of his friends still lived to tell them the exciting news.  When we walked in, thirty of our closest friends and family were standing there to congratulate us!  It was a truly special moment and the perfect way to celebrate our engagement.

Describe the wedding and what inspired it.  What was unique about it?

The theme of our wedding was “a modern garden party under the stars,” but we also had several sub-themes, such as Alice and Wonderland and A Midsummer Night's Dream.  We decided to incorporate every theme and the team from GreenSinner did a fantastic job creating a romantic yet modern vibe filled with eucalyptus, crystals, endless taper candles, and metallic woodland creatures!  Our color scheme was dark green, navy, and white with mixed metal accents.  Overall, we wanted to create an intimate and romantic setting and to make our medium-sized wedding (168 people) feel personal.  For example, our escort cards were handwritten thank you notes to ensure we got a chance to tell each guest how happy we were to have them help us celebrate our marriage.  We also wanted to add personal touches to our ceremony so we asked several members of our bridal party to participate in reading blessings and we wrote our own vows.  I also chose to surprise Bryan by not telling him which song the acoustic guitarist would strum as I walked down the aisle.  Bryan and I are HUGE Dave Matthews Band fans and have seen them perform every summer since we met.  So it only felt natural to choose our favorite DMB song, “Crash Into Me,” to walk down the aisle to.  Because there were no lyrics, most people didn't recognize the song, so it felt like a secret message from me to him and the second the guitarist played the opening chords, we both started to cry.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

My favorite moment of the day was our first look.  Bryan and I decided to not see each other for the ten days leading up to the wedding to make the whole experience more special.  That didn't quite end up happening as I found out I passed the Bar Exam the week before the wedding and couldn't resist having a celebratory brunch together.  However, we tried not to talk or text for those ten days so I was very anxious to see Bryan on the wedding day.  From the moment I woke up on the big day, I was counting down the moments to our first look.  When the time came, I started running in my dress towards where Bryan was waiting for me, while my mom and bridesmaid, who were holding my train, tried to keep up.  My mom had to yell at me to stop running because I was going too fast!  Once I got to Bryan, my mom and bridesmaid left so that we could share the moment privately.  When I told Bryan to turn around, I never felt more beautiful.  It was the perfect moment and Bryan (who is usually pretty stoic) had the biggest smile on his face and started to tear up.  We stood there talking and catching up until our photographer, Maria, started to pose us for pictures.  In those moments it felt like we were the only people on earth.  It was truly magical!

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

My advice is to have fun and to stay true to who you are.  Not all your friends and family will get your wedding ideas, but if you are able to, find vendors who understand you and your vibe and your vision will come to life!  I would also recommend using online resources like Burgh Brides to explore local venues and vendors, as this is how we chose many of the amazing people and companies we ultimately worked with.  Lastly, don't forget to have “wedding talk free” date nights in the final weeks leading up to the wedding to ensure you and your special person have time to step away from the planning process and enjoy time together!

Vendors

Band: Bachelor Boys Band | Bride's Dress: Hayley Paige from Bridal Beginning | Bride's Accessories: Kate Spade | Bride's Shoes: Banana Republic | Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal | Cake: The Pittsburgh Golf Club | Caterer: The Pittsburgh Golf Club | Ceremony Location: The Pittsburgh Golf Club | Flowers: GreenSinner | Hair: Lacy from White House Salon | Lighting & Draping: Illume Lighting | Makeup: Kiss and Makeup | Menswear: David's Bridal | Photo Booth: Your Photo Booth | Photography: Palermo Photo | Reception Venue: The Pittsburgh Golf Club

Bride's Dress: Bridal Beginning | Flowers: GreenSinner | Photography: Palermo Photo

Bold Sangria Wedding at the University Club: Bethany & Phil

Varying shades of magenta and purple come together in this sangria wedding that is sure to brighten your day.  From the geometric print wedding invitations to the Dessy bridesmaids dresses to the textural bouquets, jewel tones abounded in Bethany and Phil's big day.  The pair brought together an eclectic mix of inspiration – from red wine to pop music and rom coms to Game of Thrones.  The result was bold and modern.  After the bride walked down the aisle of Heinz Chapel in an eco-friendly Lindee Daniel cotton and silk gown, she and Phil celebrated their union at the University Club.  The neutral ballroom was splashed with color thanks to uplighting, elevated centerpieces, and mixed metallic details.  Add in a few DIY elements, a funky father/daughter dance, and homemade favors and you've got yourself a winning recipe for a contemporary, colorful day.  Enjoy these memories captured by Jenna Hidinger Photography!

P.S. If Bethany looks familiar, it's because she's the lone lady of local band Balloon Ride Fantasy!

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From the bride…

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

Phil and I met in our early 20s through the Pittsburgh music scene when we were both college students playing in progressive rock bands.  We were acquaintances for several years before we eventually started hanging out for the purpose of writing music.  Soon after that, we started dating and the band formed around that time, too.  After five years, Phil and I were really close and knew we’d eventually get married.  I love surprises and I’d always told him I wanted to be completely surprised when he proposed.  So, on a trip to Sedona, he proposed in a secluded spot during a hike on the red rock trails.  I did not see it coming at all, and was completely surprised!  To celebrate, we went stargazing that night at the Lowell Astronomical Observatory in Flagstaff.  I loved everything about it.

Describe the wedding and what inspired it.  What was unique about it?

Our wedding style was inspired by rom coms, red wine, Game of Thrones, Purple Rain, and Scandinavian pop.  The goal was for the style to translate as modern, minimalist, romantic, elegant, and bold.  For colors, I wanted it to be drenched in mixed metals, sangria, and plum.  The decor incorporated lots of personal touches and DIY elements.

My dress was sustainable and eco-friendly, made of organic cotton and a rare wild silk that preserves the life of the silk worm. Lindee Daniel makes really unique, ethical, and comfortable dresses!

What was your favorite moment of the day?

Walking down the long, beautiful aisle at Heinz Chapel with my dad, seeing the faces of so many friends and family, and Phil, who I hadn’t seen since the rehearsal dinner.  Meeting him at the end of the aisle with that glorious pipe organ playing was a pretty incredible moment.

For the Father of the Bride dance, my dad and I danced to a choreographed mashup of songs by Phil Collins, Earth, Wind & Fire, and The Eisley Brothers.  We ended on the song “Shout” and Phil and our moms and the guests came out onto the dance floor with these cool rainbow light-up wands that the DJ surprised us with.  It was a really fun moment that got everyone involved.

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

Get organized and stay organized.  A wedding binder, Excel file, Facebook group pages, a foam board of the seating chart….all good stuff.

Try not to let the wedding planning consume too much of your life.  Take a step back to just be with your fiancé and remember to laugh together.  Sometimes it’s good to establish a “no wedding talk” zone for a day or two if you can.

Take time for yourself to do therapeutic things like take a walk in the park, get a massage, etc.

It takes a village.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice if you get overwhelmed.

Take it all in!  It will be over in a blink!

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Lindee Daniel | Bride's Dress Alterations: A.J. Moore | Bride's Accessories: Frost & Co., Forever 21, and Anastasia Enze Bridal | Bride's Shoes: H&M | Bride's Veil: Clarissa Boutique | Bridesmaids Dresses: Dessy from Bella Bridesmaids | Cake: Bethel Bakery | Caterer: The University Club | Ceremony Location: Heinz Chapel | DJ: PVU Event Group | Favors: Mother of the groom and friends | Flowers: Karrie Hlista Designs | Hair: Sophia Khan | Lighting: PVU Event Group| Linens: Lendable Linens | Makeup: KTHOM Beauty | Menswear: Jack's Tuxedo | Photo Booth: PVU Event Group | Photography: Jenna Hidinger Photography | Reception Venue: The University Club | Stationery: Minted and custom design by the groom

Bride's Veil: Clarissa Boutique

Summery North Shore Engagement Session: Juliana & Dan

This North Shore engagement session is the stuff Pittsburgh photo shoots are made of!  Bright yellow bridges, still waters, a light breeze, and the iconic city skyline in the background…it doesn't get much better.  These two – along with the lady behind the camera Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers – spent a beautiful summer morning exploring this side of the city that is full of all kinds of nooks and crannies.  They even climbed on beams of the Clemente Bridge for a crazy unique perspective I haven't seen before.  Prepare to be wowed by these crisp, colorful, and classic photos that I know Juliana and Dan will be swooning over for years and years to come.

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From the photographer…

I first met these two at Juliana’s sister’s wedding – she was the gorgeous Maid of Honor in one of my favorite winter weddings ever!

We worked together on a beautiful morning on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, and adventured around talking , playing, and photographing these two who said they were super-shy when they met in high school.  Needless-to-say, I think they broke out of their shells, and are a perfect pair.  Here’s hoping their senior prom photo is on display at the wedding reception!

Bright Vintage Inspired Wedding at the Grand Estate at Hidden Acres: Shannon & Ryan

Taking place on the property of a breathtaking mansion and incorporating lots of DIY details, this vintage inspired wedding combines the best of both worlds.  With it's strolling grounds, lush gardens, and castle-style dwelling The Grand Estate at Hidden Acres provided an opulent background to Shannon and Ryan's nuptials.  But thanks to some family heirlooms, the couple was able to put an antique spin on the details.  Ryan's grandmother's books served as centerpieces, Shannon's grandma's lace curtains decorated the escort card table, and several pieces of vintage jewelry belonging to family and friends were used as decor.  Lending to the homespun theme, Shannon indulged in many DIY projects, including mirror and chalkboard signs and even their own invitations and calligraphy!  All of this was made even more vibrant by the chosen color scheme – navy blue, gold, and bright pinks!  This unique wedding was a mix of yesterday's treasures and today's trends – and it was all beautifully captured by Lauren Renee Designs.  The details are stellar but just wait until you see those bridal portraits!

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From the bride…

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

Ryan and I met in our sophomore year while attending Duquesne University.  The relationship began as a friendship and eventually, in our senior year, we started to date!
We got engaged while on a cruise celebrating my nursing school graduation!  Ryan completely surprised me by waking me up super early for the sunrise as we were pulling into Key West and he popped the question!

Describe the wedding and what inspired it.  What was unique about it?

Ryan actually picked our wedding colors.  On the plane ride home from our cruise, I had asked him what colors he saw for our wedding and he threw out “brown or maybe blue and pink”….which then evolved into gold, navy, and pink!  We were going for a vintage/romantic theme which involved several DIY projects to redesign mirrors and chalkboards to use as signs.  I took a calligraphy class so that we could save costs by writing our own signs, place cards, and envelope addresses.  We even did our own invitations with the help of Pinterest, Etsy, Cards & Pockets, and many Michaels coupons!

I think the thing that made our wedding so unique was all the personal elements we were able to incorporate.  We used old hardback books that were Ryan's grandma's in our centerpieces.  My mom and I found beautiful old lace curtains that were my grandma's that we were able to use as an accent on our escort table.  Some of the gold and pearl jewelry that was used as decorations were my mom's, aunts', and friends'.  There were several little details like this throughout our entire wedding!

What was your favorite moment of the day?

I think we can both agree that the first look was one of our favorite parts of the day.  We really debated whether or not this was something we wanted to do.  It just felt so private to be able to see each other before we were in front of all our guests!  Seeing each other beforehand also allowed us to get tons of amazing photos and to hang out with our family and bridal party before all the guests got there!

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

If you have enough time in your planning process, we totally recommend trying some DIY projects!  We had no idea all that we were capable of doing and somewhere along the way we found our inner craftiness.  Not only did we save literally hundreds by doing so, but it made the day that much more special.  We were able to look around and see all the little things we did and we had a lot of fun doing some of the projects with our family and friends!

Vendors

Bouquets & Boutonnieres: Posies by Patti | Bride's Dress: Alfred Angelo | Bride's Shoes: Nina from Macy's | Centerpieces: The Grand Estate at Hidden Acres | Desserts: Ice cream sundaes from Page Dairy Mart | Caterer: Garda's Restaurant | Ceremony Location: The Grand Estate at Hidden Acres | DJ: Red Hot Chameleon | Hair: Hannah Conard | Makeup: Hannah Conard | Menswear: Macy's | Photography: Lauren Renee Designs | Reception Venue: The Grand Estate at Hidden Acres | Stationery: Etsy and Cards & Pockets

Ceremony Location: The Grand Estate at Hidden Acres | Photography: Lauren Renee Designs | Reception Venue: The Grand Estate at Hidden Acres

Fun Whimsical Wedding at the Children’s Museum: Thais & Brendan

Want the recipe for what is literally the world's most perfect wedding?  Take a ton of bright color, a playful venue, personal details, and A FREAKING EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO and you've got a total winner.  Thais and Brendan wanted a whimsical wedding that brought the playful nature of their relationship to life.  Mission accomplished, friends.  From a ceremony under the ribbon canopy of the Children's Museum (performed by none other than Pittsburgh's own John Fetterman) to a petting zoo featuring all stars of the Columbus Zoo, this soiree brought out the kid in everyone, resulting in one heck of a memorable affair.  A pink flamingo, baby penguin, and hanging sloth weren't the only details that stole the show though.  Dreaminess abounded in the pastel letterpress invitations, an absolutely INCREDIBLE floral ceremony arch (dang, GreenSinner), and a cute program sign that featured headshots of bridal party members.  Even more fun could be found in the high-and-low textural centerpieces with golden geometric accents, the hundreds of hanging origami cranes and hearts made by the bride and groom themselves, and a mix-your-own confetti bar that made things really pop.  Honestly, if this doesn't scream “GOOD TIME,” I'm not sure what does.  Go ahead and fawn over this footage captured by Sky's the Limit Photography.

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From the bride…

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

I  met my husband very unexpectedly on a cold, winter day in Braddock, PA.  I had arranged a business meeting with Gisele Fetterman, the Braddock mayor's wife.  My future husband was there, representing a local youth organization.  When I first saw him, I thought I recognized him from somewhere, but couldn't quite place it.  Halfway through the meeting, the intrigue was too much to resist, and I stopped my sales pitch mid-sentence to ask him, “Don't I know you from somewhere?”

As it turns out, we went to high school together.  So many sparks flew I'm amazed the building didn't catch fire!  After the meeting ended, Brendan gave me his phone number “in order to discuss my business plans further”.  I later found out that, while he did in fact find my business proposal intriguing, he also really very much wanted to just, you know, give me his phone number!

I was still living in Washington, D.C., at the time, though I am originally from Pittsburgh.  Next time we met in Pittsburgh, we went out to dinner along with one of his coworkers in order to “discuss my business plans further”.  That happened, but we also majorly hit it off.  I felt bad for his coworker, because very quickly, he and I were chatting each other up while she was consigned to amuse herself with her iPhone.

We made plans to hang out again, and that was our first formal date.  We went to see a play in Braddock, followed by dinner.  I really liked him, but as I learned later, my now husband is very bad at flirting.  I didn't know if he liked me, or just wanted a friend!  I went back to D.C., and we texted occasionally.  Still I didn't know how he felt!  It turns out he was just as into me as I was into him.  However, the first time I got an inkling that this might be the case was when he told me (via text) that my soul was “as sparkly as a thousand Faberge Eggs”.  He might be bad at flirting, but he's a dab hand at analogies.

More dates led to full-on relationship stuff, and he made frequent trips to D.C. in order to visit me.  During these delicious weekend visits, we made it known to each other how we really felt.  We knew we wanted to marry each other really early on; it's just one of those things!

All the pieces kept falling into place for us.  The opportunity arose for me to be able to move back to Pittsburgh and work remotely.  We were going to live together!  And, at some point, he was going to propose to me.  I knew this, he knew this, and we had established that it would be in the near future, but beyond that I didn't know when.  We took a vacation to France, and actually discussed whether or not it was going to happen there!

He did not propose to me in France, however, because he had another plan.  His sister was, at the time, the maitre d' at Sienna Mercato.  Brendan wanted to propose to me at that restaurant so his sister could watch and take pictures!  And so, the day before Thanksgiving of that same year, Brendan told me how being with me had given him the ability to see colors he'd never seen before.  Like pigeons.  He said I'd given him “pigeon eyes”. Not as quotable as the Faberge Eggs thing, but whatever; it worked!  He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and I said yes!

Describe the wedding and what inspired it.  What was unique about it?

We wanted our wedding to be fun – the kind of fun that our lives together have been.  It was an opportunity to give our wedding guests a glimpse into the sheer enjoyment we get out of each others' company.  We decided on the Children's Museum because of its unique blend of whimsy and pure, unabashed good times.  You literally can't break anything there!  The whole place is child-proof!  We got GreenSinner to hit one out of the park with their ability to seemingly look into our souls and articulate our vision through flowers and foliage.  And my husband and I also did a lot of stuff for the wedding; we made about 750 origami cranes, about 100 origami hearts, and a ton of 3D-printed table numbers and signs that all had to be sanded, shellacked, and painted.  It was great for us to work together on these projects, and we also liked being able to include these personal details.

I wanted to go further, however.  I wanted something unique.  I wanted animals. 

I was on a quest.  I called every zoo within several hundred miles.  The Columbus Zoo was able to accommodate us.  They would actually drive their band of touring wild animals to Pittsburgh for our wedding!  And we could pet them!!!

What was your favorite moment of the day?

As you might have guessed, my favorite moment of the day was related to the wild animals.  As much as I was anticipating seeing them, the wedding ceremony had caused the thought to momentarily slip from my mind.  Getting married kind of takes precedence!  At the ceremony's conclusion, I walked down the aisle with my new husband arm-in-arm while our guests threw handfuls of confetti all around us.  And immediately upon entering the Children's Museum foyer for cocktail hour, I looked to my left and saw a sloth hanging upside down from a tree.  Oh yes, the animals!  It was like a blur.  Someone handed me a baby kangaroo in a cute little denim sack.  And then there was a baby penguin, who was oh-so-content to just lay belly-down on my arm!  Shortly thereafter I was greeted by a flamingo who tried to eat my wedding bracelet!  I guess he's a fan of things that sparkle.  And I also got to hold a baby snow leopard who made these tiny little baby sounds and had the cutest paws I've ever seen.  There was also something called a bear cat (it's apparently neither a bear nor a cat), which was a huge, incredibly furry black creature that loves to crawl around on people's shoulders.

Animals make people smile and make people happy.  Everyone melted back down to little kids again when they saw the animals brought by the Columbus Zoo.  It was something none of us will ever forget!

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

I've never had to make so many decisions in my life in such a short span of time, and I'm terrible at making decisions!  I trusted my husband a lot, and he was absolutely essential when it came to making those decisions.  I think it's really important for a soon-to-be-bride to have someone who can help them make those decisions, and to help keep them sane as the date gets closer and closer.  Also, don't let yourself get too stressed out about those decisions.  As long as you choose the right person to spend the rest of your life with, on your wedding day it's not going to matter which bracelet you decided to wear.

No matter what, make sure the wedding reflects who you are as a couple.  I believe the best weddings are translations of a couple's love for one another into a singular event attended by their loved ones.

Vendors

Brazilian Candy Table: Doces and Sweets | Bride's Belt: Clarissa Boutique | Bride's Bracelet: Etsy | Bride's Dress: Hayley Paige from Bridal Beginning | Bride's Earrings: Haute Bride | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: Wtoo by Watters | Cake: Vanilla Pastry Studio | Caterer: Big Burrito | Ceremony Location: Children's Museum | DJ: DJ Colt | Flowers: GreenSinner | Hair: Studio Booth | Lighting: E.F. Lighting | Linens: Mosaic | Makeup: Michelle Falcone | Menswear: Top Hat Tuxedo | Photography: Sky's the Limit Photography | Reception Venue: Children's Museum | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Tip Type | Transportation: Regency Transportation | Wild Animals Petting Zoo: Columbus Zoo

Bride's Belt: Clarissa Boutique | Bride's Dress: Bridal Beginning | Flowers: GreenSinner | Lighting: E.F. Lighting | Photography: Sky's the Limit Photography | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental

Grove City College Engagement Session: Rachel & Paul

College was THE best, am I right?  Man, what I wouldn't give to relive that time of my life for just one day.  That's probably why I loved this Grove City College engagement session so much.  Besides GCC being just a stone's throw away from my alma mater – Allegheny College – this shoot from Jenna Hidinger Photography is sunny, summery, and downright adorable.  Since Rachel and Paul met right here on campus, they wanted to return for their pre-wedding photos and take in all of the sites that were a part of the start of their love story.  Traipsing all of over campus, the pair looked beautifully in love…and who knew Grove City College's grounds were so pretty?!  These photos are charming, sweet, and they are sure to have you saying “Go Wolverines!” in no time.

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From the photographer…

The bride and groom met at Grove City College – which is where they decided to have their engagement session!  Grove City College is such a unique campus to shoot on.  There are so many hidden nooks and crannies for beautiful photos – I had such a blast taking these photos!  Plus, when the couple is as sweet as Rachel and Paul, my job is incredibly easy!

Modern Chic Wedding at the Pennsylvanian: Mallory & Zach

Inspired by sophisticated style and clean lines, this wedding is about as chic as it gets.  Mallory has always adored the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Onassis.  When she married Zach, the pair channeled their styles as they designed a day that was timeless and refined.  They even dressed the part with the groom donning an always-in-style black and white tuxedo while Mallory wore a figure-flattering Anne Barge mermaid gown with a delicate bow at the waist.  A classic black and white color scheme fit with the grand beauty of The Pennsylvanian, which was flawlessly designed by Shayne of Soiree by Souleret – the bride's sister!  It pays to have a wedding planner in the family because this affair was stunning.  Lavish florals from Mocha Rose Floral and Event Design, fresh white roses at each place setting, ornate gold detailing, and even a few surprises for the bride and groom gave the historic venue a fresh, modern look that oozed romance and elegance.  These images from Ryan Zarichnak Photography are sure to leave you speechless!

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From the bride…

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

Zach and I met in college at Penn State Behrend.  He played soccer and I ran track and cross country, so we always seemed to cross paths with other student athletes but we weren't formally introduced.  We officially met at a track party, talking the entire night about everything we had in common.  Soon after, I transferred to Penn State’s University Park Campus and was dating someone else, and unfortunately we lost touch.  In 2008, I was single again, visiting friends at Penn State Behrend, and the rest is history.

Zach tried to ask my dad for permission for several months.  Living in Atlanta and traveling back to Pittsburgh only for holiday visits made it difficult to get him alone.  He eventually ran out of time, but still wanted to propose while we were home for Christmas break.  One night, a close friend was having a party and we got ready at my parents’ house.  After trying to get my dad alone all day, Zach eventually got him isolated and asked just 20 minutes before proposing!  On the way to the party, we passed by Mt. Washington, where a friend lived.  Zach asked if I minded if we stopped by to say hello.  We parked in front of the friend’s house and he said, “Well, while we're here, we might as well go to the overlook.”  Not thinking anything of it, we walked to the overlook, looked at the city, and he got down on one knee.

Describe the wedding and what inspired it.  What was unique about it?

Zach and I both appreciate simplicity.  Our style is classic and sophisticated, so the wedding was no different.  I have always been inspired by the looks of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Onassis, and I loved their personal style.  I knew I wanted something with clean lines for my dress and the bridesmaids dresses.  However, I had to add some bows for a little Kate Spade inspiration.  We always envisioned getting married in Pittsburgh because that is where we both are originally from.  I was always in love with The Pennsylvanian – the history of the building and the grandeur.  To be honest, the gold walls always reminded me of the ballroom in Beauty and the Beast.  Also, when we told Zach's late grandmother that we were getting married at The Pennsylvanian, she mentioned that was where she saw the troops off to war for World War II.  There were so many reasons, but the main reason was the space was just so special and breathtaking on its own that it didn't need tons of decorations.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

Our favorite moment was when I walked down the aisle to our close friend playing an acoustic version of ”Moon River” on the guitar.  I first fell in love with the song when I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  It was such a sentimental moment because the guitarist was one of Zach's best friends and a groomsman that is married to one of my best friends from middle school.  It was also amazing to have a personal song played while I looked at Zach for the first time.  In addition to the special song, all our loved ones were in one room, which may never happen again.

Another favorite moment was when Shayne, our planner and my sister, took us into The Pennsylvanian for the first time.  It was amazing to see everything and take it all in before any of the guests were invited to sit for dinner.  She also had several surprises for us as her wedding gift and it all looked so breathtaking!

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

Trust your vendors and tie in family traditions!  We were blessed to have my amazing sister, Shayne Souleret from Soiree by Souleret, as our wedding planner, as well as a team of outstanding vendors.  For the wedding, I wore my sister's veil.  It was one of my favorite things because it made me feel so bridal and special.  I also wore Zach’s great grandma's necklace that has been worn by all the women in his family on their wedding day.

Vendors

Bride's Dress: Anne Barge from Anne Gregory for the Bride | Bride's Accessories: Anne Gregory for the Bride | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridal Beginning | Cake: Opening Night Catering | Calligraphy: Judith Browne Calligraphy | Caterer: Opening Night Catering | Ceremony Location: Baldwin Community United Methodist Church | DJ: Andy Booth | Flowers: Mocha Rose Floral and Event Design | Hair: Beauty Justified | Lighting: E.F. Lighting | Linens: Mosaic | Live Artist: Jay Flores | Makeup: Beauty Justified | Photography: Ryan Zarichnak Photography | Reception Venue: The Pennsylvanian | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Stationery: Minted | Transportation: Tortorice Limousine | Videography: Just Hitched Wedding Films | Wedding Planner: Soiree by Souleret

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridal Beginning | Flowers: Mocha Rose Floral and Event Design | Lighting: E.F. Lighting | Photography: Ryan Zarichnak Photography | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Wedding Planner: Soiree by Souleret

Sweet Outdoor Engagement Session: Maggie & Nate

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, this outdoor engagement session is just want I need.  High school sweethearts Maggie and Nate love being in nature, and Nate even proposed by carving their initials into a tree.  A pre-wedding shoot in the great outdoors was the perfect fit for these two.  They explored some really gorgeous scenery with Kathryn Hyslop Photography – tall trees, a still lake, an open field, a bubbling waterfall, blooming wildflowers, and a bright sunshine-y sky all make an appearance.  All the while, Maggie and Nate are being as cute as can be.  Naturally magical and super sweet, this session has me wishing summer would stick around for a loooooong time!

 

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From the bride…

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

We were high school sweethearts at the age of seventeen.  We have known each other our whole lives.  One thing that Nate and I love to do together is go for long walks in the Wintergreen Gorge by our college, Penn State Behrend.  This is where he proposed to me by carving our initials into a tree.  It was very thoughtful and sweet!

Describe the engagement session and what inspired the shoot.  What was unique about it?

Nate and I love spending time in nature so we knew that we wanted our engagement pictures to take place outside.  It was a gorgeous July evening and I couldn't be happier with how the pictures turned out.  I think that our shoot was particularly unique because it featured so many different types of scenery such as the lake, a waterfall, a field, and the woods.

What was your favorite moment of the day?

My favorite moment of the day was just spending quality time with Nate while Katie took our pictures.  The sunset photos turned out extremely beautiful.  She made the environment extremely comfortable and she captured many candid moments of us that I love to look back on.