This pink & gold wedding is going to knock your socks off! Fox Petal Floral Design hit the nail on the head when she described Amie and Ben's big day as “pink champagne bubbles at a black-tie wedding”! I mean the color of the bride's Bridal Beginning dress was officially called “moscato”. Does it get any more perfect than that?! Actually, yes. Yes, it does. And these photos from Aaron Varga Photography are proof. After a fairy tale proposal, the pair chose the Heinz History Center as the venue for their black tie-optional wedding. A color palette of blush, ivory, gold, and rose gold coupled with lots of sparkly details and a few unique twists on tradition helped to create pure wedding magic. Amie and Ben's formal affair was sophisticated, feminine, and styled to damn near perfection. This wedding blogger's heart is all aflutter. I'm sure yours will be too.
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
We were actually set up! My dear friend Brad, whom I've known since high school, and his brother Marc, who recruited Ben and brought him to Pittsburgh for a job, thought that we would make a good match. The two of them had actually tried to get us to meet for almost a year but we kept missing each other!
The first time I was supposed to meet Ben was at Brad's annual Halloween party back in 2009. Ben was a no show. Then, a few months later, Marc invited us both to his annual St. Patty's Day party, but I never ended up making it there. Finally, in July, Brad and Marc set up a specific happy hour for Ben and me to meet at Yo Rita in the Southside. After two margaritas, still no Ben. I told Brad and Marc that I was giving this guy 10 more minutes and then we're calling this a failure and moving on. Little did I know that Ben's flight had been delayed. Fifteen minutes later, Ben walked in (yeah, I gave him an extra five minutes). We hit it off, and the rest, they say, was history. 🙂
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
Ben grew up in upstate NY, but had never been to NYC. What?!? I couldn't believe it. So, a few months after we had started dating, I surprised him on his 25th birthday with a road trip to New York City to see the Yankees (his team) play the Red Sox (my team) at Yankee Stadium. Despite the Red Sox winning (sorry, Ben), it was an amazing trip, and NYC soon became one of our favorite weekend getaways. We try to visit a few times each year.
Fast forward to spring 2015. Ben and I had both been traveling like crazy for work. We were literally two ships passing in the night, and one day Ben said, “Clear your schedule Mother's Day weekend. I planned something fun for us, since we haven't seen each other in a few weeks.”
That Friday morning, I had arrived back in Pittsburgh after taking the red eye from LA. When I pulled into our driveway, Ben was just leaving for work. He told me he had made me breakfast and there was a note that would explain our weekend plans. He left for work and I headed straight to the kitchen. He prepared a beautiful breakfast, complete with a note telling me to pack a bag and be ready to leave at 4 p.m.
I finished my breakfast and went upstairs to go to bed, and there was another note beside a suitcase on our bed. It detailed the type of outfits I would need (a nice dinner, comfy shoes, etc.), as well as the temperature of this mysterious place we were heading to. Of course, I immediately went to weather.com and tried to find cities that matched the forecast. NYC was in the running, but so were a few others, so I still wasn't sure.
I took my nap, packed my bags, and at 4 p.m. on the dot a limo pulled up to my door to pick me up. The chauffeur grabbed my bag, and we were off to the airport. As we pulled up to the terminal, Ben texted me a link. It was to Billy Joel's New York State of Mind. Yep, we were off to NYC!!
Ben was waiting for me at the airport. He had a bag of “goodies” waiting for me, including all of my favorite travel snacks. We flew first class to NYC and headed straight to the hotel – the Hilton on 6th Avenue – to check in and get ready for dinner.
In the hotel room, I came out of the bathroom, ready to go and there was one final card sitting on the bed. The card was a hand-written proposal (that I'll have forever) and Ben down on one-knee with the most gorgeous diamond ring. I immediately said yes and we headed to a fancy dinner at Buddakan to celebrate!
The rest of the weekend was just magical. We hit all of our favorite spots and just enjoyed the first few days of the engagement together. The ring was a little big, so I literally walked around NYC the entire weekend with a clenched fist. It was my 2nd favorite weekend of my life (after the wedding, of course). 🙂
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
Ben and I are what you would call “wedding guest professionals”. Over the 5+ years that we dated, we probably went to at least 8-10 weddings every year, which was both fun and educational (lol). We got to see a wide range of themes from chic, rustic affairs, to beachy destination weddings to black tie NYE extravaganzas. So when it came time for us to plan our big day, we had pretty much seen it all, and had made lots of mental notes along the way of things we really liked and things we didn't love. We wanted our guests to enjoy our special day as much as we did, and we set out to create a truly memorable event.
Our first decision, which ultimately determined the entire direction of the day, was a venue. We determined that our guest list would be around 150 people and decided that Pittsburgh had to play a major role. Not only was it the place that we met, but it was also the place where we made a home and so many memories. Ben grew up outside of Saratoga Springs, NY, so many of his family had never been to Pittsburgh or had only been a handful of times. We wanted to show it off and to celebrate our wedding in the city.
We selected the Heinz History Center as our venue, and decided that since a wedding was kind of a big deal, we wanted to make it fancy affair. We decided on a 6 p.m., black-tie optional ceremony that was held in the Great Hall, followed by a cocktail reception in the same room and a reception in the Mueller Center.
As for other elements of the wedding that Ben and I loved:
- Our ceremony. I'm Catholic, but Ben isn't religious, so we decided to host the ceremony at the History Center. Our friend Brad, who introduced us, was our officiant and made the ceremony so personal and special.
- The flowers. Kelly Bishop of Fox Petal Floral is one of my closest friends (lucky me!). She is amazing. I gave her a budget, a gold and blush color scheme, and told her I wanted a variety of arrangements. She somehow got inside my head and created these mood boards of exactly what I had envisioned. The flowers were definitely a showstopper at the wedding. They were beautiful!
- The food. I have had severe food allergies my entire life. No dairy. So when it came time to pick the menu, I was overly sensitive to making sure that there were items for every dietary need: dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan. You name it, we had it. I didn't want anyone to have to eat before they came, like I had done at so many receptions. We decided to have three stations so that people could pick what they wanted to eat – and the amount that they wanted to eat. The Common Plea was an amazing partner in helping us make sure that the food could accommodate everyone, and it was delicious!! We also worked with Gluuteny Bakery to create our small wedding cake and our BIG dessert table. We expanded the traditional cookie table to more of an all-encompassing dessert table, complete with a variety of cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, candy, etc. It was incredible!
- A first look. Because the ceremony started later, Ben and I decided to do a first look and take our photos earlier in the day, so that we could enjoy as much time with our guests as possible. Aaron Varga, our photographer, was awesome. He hearded all of us cats and we cranked out amazingly beautiful photos in the 90+ degree heat. This way Ben and I could enjoy our cocktail reception and dance the night away to Eric Schiemer's awesome tunes.
What inspired your vision?
We wanted our wedding to be classic, formal, and rich in our personality. Kelly, our florist, hit the nail on the head when she described our wedding as being like “pink champagne bubbles at a black-tie wedding.”
What what your favorite moment of the day?
The entire day was perfect. But I would have to say that my most memorable and favorite moment of the day is when I was actually walking down the aisle with my dad. It was such an intimate space that I could see all of my friends and family as I made my way up to Ben. It was a little surreal and overwhelming, but I will never forget that moment.
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
1.) If people ask to help take them up on it. I’m definitely a Type A personality, so this was a hard one for me. I know it’s your day and you want it to be perfect, but guess what? Your friends and family want that day to be just as awesome for you. Delegate and let people help you with some of the little details.
2.) Get your fiancé involved. Not just to nod at the decisions that you’ve already made, but really let him own some of the planning. It’s both of your special days, after all! Ben created the menu (ok, with a little help from me), figured out the marriage license situation, helped with the wedding invitations, managed the budget tracker, and planned the entire honeymoon. It was AMAZING!
3.) Excel is your friend. Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without it. I had tabs for budgets, guest lists, vendor contact information, registry lists, to-do’s, etc.
4.) Talk to your married friends. These ladies have been through it, so they are going to have great advice and watch-outs. They will also save you a ton of time researching vendors. I’m pretty sure our DJ has played at at least 3 of our friends’ weddings.
5.) Carve out “wedding planning” time. Yes, weekends. But for me, I put a few half days on the calendar well in advance. These afternoons were filled with meetings with the caterers, florists, linens, hotels, and the event space coordinators. It was nice to be able to completely focus on wrapping up a ton of little to-do’s in one day.
6.) Enjoy your day. Everyone tells you that your wedding day flies by, and that's the truth. It's the best day of your life, so make sure to take a moment, take a step back, and take it all in.
Bride's Dress: Essense of Australia from Bridal Beginning | Bride's Hair Piece: Clarissa Boutique | Bride's Shoes: Halogen | Bridesmaids Dresses: Sorella Vita from Bridal Beginning | Cake & Desserts: Gluuteny Bakery | Caterer: The Common Plea | Ceremony Location: Heinz History Center | DJ: Schiemer Entertainment | Flowers: Fox Petal Floral Design | Hair: Geno Levi Salon | Lighting: Schiemer Entertainment | Linens: Mosaic | Makeup: Makeup by Kourtney | Menswear: Men's Wearhouse | Photographer: Aaron Varga Photography | Reception Venue: Heinz History Center