Real Wedding: Jessica & Brian at Armstrong Farms

In case you missed it on the Today Show, now is your chance to meet Jessica and Brian.  This wedding is bohemian meets rustic meets rock and roll.  From incorporating family traditions to the bride donning a bad ass black leather jacket with her lace gown, Jessica and Brian truly made their big day a reflection of their styles and personalities.  Armstrong Farms infused a touch of country into the otherwise cool and hip October 4th affair and Veronica Varos was there to capture all of the unique touches.  My favorites?

  • The bride ditched the heels and instead wore red, suede booties.  As Jessica put it, “Comfort first, right?”  Amen, Jessica, amen.
  • A hat wall!  It's a tradition in the bride's family that goes back decades and she brought it back for her wedding day.  Read more below.  Fun, goofy hats, an open bar, and a packed dance floor is a winning combination in my book.
  • A bride and groom recessional orchestrated by The Beatles and a symphony of kazoos!  Another family tradition!
  • The most divine first look session I've ever seen.  The photos were taken in front of a magical, sparkling wall in the barn and Jessica and Brian appear to be in their own little constellation of love.  It's heavenly.  You'll see.
  • An eclectic mix of decor, including oriental rugs, silk pashminas, geode rocks, bright glass jars, old suitcases and a dessert table banner that Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle would be proud of

I wish I could be this stylish.  At least Jessica and Brian are, and because of that we all have something pretty to look at.  Congrats you two!


From the bride…

When and how did you two meet?
We met in California through a mutual friend and have known each other for close to 10 years, but we’ve been together for over six.

Juicy details on the proposal, please!  Where, when, how?
He proposed at a restaurant called Castaway, up the street from our house in California.  It has (IMO) the BEST view of LA!  He said I should never expect a ring on a holiday, and since it was my birthday, I didn’t.  It was uncharacteristically rainy and cold, which put a damper in his plans for us to sit outside at the firepit. We did it anyway then quickly proceeded to celebrate by stuffing our faces with Italian food indoors!

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc.  What inspired your vision? 
Brian and I met in Los Angeles, where we live now, but I'm a Pittsburgh girl and had my heart set on a fall wedding here.  I had so many visions and I am very indecisive, so the plans kept changing.  Luckily, we had about two years to plan and I was able to put my vision of a “plum and navy colored, bohemian, rock and roll, vintage, warm, fall” wedding together as best we could!

What made your wedding unique?
We didn't hire a professional wedding planner, so my mom and my sister were a huge help in the planning process!  We kept our eyes peeled for good deals at places like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, where we found many of the pashmina shawls, vases, and votives used on the tables.  We also combed through the Rose Bowl Flea Market to find things such as the card suitcase, crystals, and ceremony rug.  My favorite decoration would have to be the chandelier my mom found at a cute shop in Pittsburgh called hot, haute, hot.  Brian and I made all of the napkin rings out of semi-precious beads and guests ended up wearing them as bracelets throughout the night.  The day before the wedding, we had our friends and family at the barn helping us set tables, make signs, and put up all the decorations.  We would not have gotten it done without them!  There was one more decoration I insisted on making, so the morning of the wedding I ran to Michaels and, with the help of my bridesmaids, finished the purple yarn garland that hung from the balcony.  Our wedding was supposed to take place outdoors, but it was freezing and about an hour before the wedding, when it started sleeting, we decided it would be best to move it inside.  Unfortunately, many of the details we had planned for the outdoor ceremony were not used.  The cold weather did allow for me to bust out my black leather jacket to wear with my dress which, along with my red suede Steve Madden booties, definitely showed off my personality.  Our ceremony was short and sweet, just the way we had wanted it… everyone is there for the drinks and dancing anyway, right? Haha (jk)!  Our recessional was accompanied by 10 kazoos, which is something my parents had at their wedding (thanks to my grandpa) and I really wanted to carry on that tradition!  Brian works in the music industry so finding the right musician was something he took a little too seriously.  Luckily, Joel, our DJ/musician, exceeded our expectations.  He played an amazing mix of bands, like Led Zeppelin and the Alabama Shakes, during dinner that our guests enjoyed, and during the reception he had everyone on their feet!  Another tradition we wanted as part of our wedding was the “hat wall”, which originated at my cabin in the 1950's.  Everyone grabs a hat and it theirs for the weekend!  We cannot say enough great thing about Veronica, our photographer, as well.  We usually don't like getting pictures, but she made it pretty painless for us AND she made us look gooooood!

Bride to Bride

What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Our best pieces of advice for future brides and grooms would be to relax, EAT, and don't follow tradition if it's not you!  Brian and I did a first look and decided to forgo the formal bridal party introductions, cake cutting, and bouquet and garter tosses. We also made it a point to sit down through the entire dinner and eat with our wedding party.  Having that time allowed us both to relax and enjoy ourselves. Also, I get quite hangry if I don't eat (BB here: Jessica, me toooooo!  I have snacks in my purse at all times.).  Everyone kept commenting on how calm the bride and groom were, and to them we would say, “Shouldn't we be? It's the happiest day of our lives!”

And just because it's fun and oh-so-them, here is some of Jessica and Brian's playlist for the night.
Acoustic performance by Joel Lindsey
Prelude: That's What's Up – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Processional: I'll Follow You Into the Dark – Death Cab for Cutie
Bride's Entrance: Somewhere over the Rainbow
Recessional: All You Need is Love – The Beatles
Postlude: Is This Love – Bob Marley
First Dance: All Over Again – Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings
Father/ Bride Dance: Let It Be – The Beatles
Mother/Groom: A Mother Like Mind – The Band Perry

You can also check out their engagement photos (Jessica, that hat is like a little piece of sunshine!)

Brides's Dress: Maggie Sottero at Bridal Beginning | Bride's Jewelry & Accessories: Bracelets: Dylan K. Jewelry and her mom's sapphire bracelet; Belt: Handmade by the bride | Bride's Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Cake: Pennie's Bake Shop | Caterer: Dr. Sous Custom Catering | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Armstrong Farms | DJ: Joel Lindsey Entertainment | Flowers: Donna Delestienne | Hair and Makeup: Pretty in Pittsburgh | Decor: Purchased by the bride and family at flea markets, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and vintage stores | Linens: Purchased by the bride | Menswear: Allure suit at American Commodore Tuxedo | Photographer: Veronica Varos Photography | Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas and Minted | Videography: Mike Croneberger of Joel Lindsay Entertainment





  1. Jenn Beebe says

    I am the sister of the Groom, by far the BEST wedding ever!!! So relaxing and BEAUTIFUL!!!! Love Jess and Bri to the moon and back! 🙂


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