Alex & Spencer had a beautiful (& chilly!) engagement session in the city. We started the shoot at Frick Park, and it even spit a little light snow for us! Later we headed over to the picturesque Mexican War Streets on the North Side before heading over to Allegheny Commons Park. Despite the cold and snow, Alex & Spencer kept each other cozy and their radiant smiles and looks of love toward one another totally warmed the day up!
By Spencer: We first met during our freshman year of college at Clarion University. In the front row of Hart Chapel during our Intro to Education Course. Our first semester was also the first time we dated. Our teenage brains managed to get in the way at the conclusion of 2007, and we wouldn’t run into each other again for another 1o years. There were a few likes and comments on posts and photos during that decade; but, it wasn’t until Pittsburgh pulled us both into its orbit in 2016 that a dinner date was planned. Spencer will tell you that the dinner was a date. Alex will tell you that they were hanging out. Regardless, each day turned into a new text, which turned into a few miles on the car and long conversations about anything… about everything. And with each day that passed, it was evident that each new day should be spent together.
Alex: After Spencer and I had parted ways during our freshman year, it was about ten years until we saw one another again. Spencer and I had stayed in touch loosely through social media, so when I saw that he was playing gigs at some of my favorite Pittsburgh hangouts, I reached out to him. We hung out, but it took me some time before I really let him in. He was patient with me though, and throughout the first few months, I started to realize that I wanted to spend more and more time with him because the days when we were together felt better than the days we weren’t. Eventually, this led to me sharing dairy products with him (which is a big deal for me because sharing dairy with people is generally pretty gross) and more importantly, it led to “I love yous”. We did a lot of growing in the decade we were apart, and I feel like that growth is what helped us to recognize this for what it is. This is the real deal.
Alex & Michael kicked off the 2019 wedding year with an absolutely breathtaking wedding at the Omni William Penn in downtown Pittsburgh. The day was Dutch themed, inspired by delft blue ceramic pottery set in a cool winter palette of blue, purple, white, and gold. Michael is originally from the Netherlands and the couple had special table cards with dutch cultural elements. Alex’s dress & Michael’s Tux were HANDMADE by Kwon of Kwon’s Boutique in Fairfax, VA. Alexis Maddox of Shayla Hawkins Events and Hens & Chicks brought the vision to life! You don’t want to miss these details.
And did we mention there was even a little snow!? Alexa was a rockstar and braved the snow even in her open-toed shoes! These two were a blast and it was truly joy to share in their special day!
Check the end of this post for a complete list of wedding pros. Thanks!
Sarah & Dominic had a beautiful and timeless wedding at The Lake Club in Youngstown Ohio this past Saturday. The wedding had an elegant and classic feel set in a palette of black and white with a subtle touch of gold. Sarah wore a gorgeous dropped waist gown by Justin Alexander which was absolutely stunning and perfect for a December wedding. And, they had the sweetest exit ride with a carriage and bike ride! After the ceremony, we went back to the DoubleTree Youngstown Hotel (the same place Sarah got ready!) as its a special location for them as Dominic & Sarah had a hand in designing it! Especially the staircase, which was one of their favorite pieces of the restoration. It was a beautiful day and the perfect way to end the 2019 wedding season!
From Sarah: We met while we were both working downtown! To propose, we were visiting Dominic’s grandparents in Florida for Easter and the whole family was gathering for dinner at the beach restaurant. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, Dominic asked me to take a walk on the beach. There’s an eagle’s nest in the mangroves on the beach that we make a point to check out every time we visit the area, but when we got to the nest this time, he got down on one knee and proposed.
Kay & Make had a beautiful December wedding at the Mansions on Fifth in Shadyside with a rehearsal dinner at the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto on Mt Washington. You may remember them from their EPIC Pennsylvanian engagement session this summer at The Pennsylvanian rotunda downtown too!
Their wedding was a typical Pittsburgh weather day—it literally rained ALL DAY long. However, the Mansions on Fifth is SO GORGEOUS that didn’t stop us what-so-ever from getting some breathtaking images across the venue! Set in a palette of red, gold, and green, Shayla Hawkins Events created a beautiful holiday inspired wedding! Kay’s sweet dog was an integral part of the day too (Not to mention the sweetest dog ever!). He even made an appearance mid-ceremony when he climbed the staircase to be next to Kay while they exchanged vows. It was a small, intimate wedding with just a bridal party of 2 members which made for a very warm & special day. It was an honor to be a part of their beautiful wedding!
Monica & Devan had the most gorgeous fall wedding at the Carnegie Museum of Art in downtown Pittsburgh. Monica rocked a gorgeous lace dropped waist ballgown from Kleinfelds Bridal! These two were just glowing all day, you could easily see how excited they were to be tying the knot. Poppy Events totally slayed with their execution of this wedding set in a palette of masala and gold. And of course, we had to take some photos on the beautiful Carnegie Museum staircase! Also—don’t miss the incredible groom cake!
AND, if you can’t get enough of these two. Check out their engagement photos here!
From Monica: We actually met in medical school in St. Kitts! Devan originally wanted to propose to me on the Gateway Clipper during an Italian opera event but I kinda changed my plans and ruined this for him! He then talked to my mother and they coordinated a “Birthday party” for my grandmother at Atlius on the top of Mount Washington. Before dinner we went to the over look and that is where he popped the question!!
The weekend before Thanksgiving, we traveled to New Jersey for Colleen and Rob’s spectacular wedding at The Gramercy at Lakeside Manor. It was an absolutely beautiful day set in a classic palette of black, white, gold & burgundy. The day had a classic & elegant vibe, yet it was just a massive & jubilant celebration with friends and family! Colleen rocked a gorgeous a-line princess ballgown from Elegant Lace Bridals in CA. Her first look with her dad was seriously one of the sweetest moments ever too! And of course we had to get some epic outdoor shots on the water. Hope you enjoy!
Distrikt Hotel Pittsburgh & Phipps Conservatory Wedding
Sinthana & Jared had a beautiful wedding at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens! They began the day getting ready at the Distrikt Hotel where we got some epic city rooftop shots. The day was set in a palette of sangria, champagne, metallics with shade of bright purple and pink. Their two puppies even made an appearance! They had a super intimate ceremony within the gardens at Phipps before heading to the reception. It really couldn’t have been a more joyous, beautiful, and lovely day! Thanks to Sinthana & Jared for being so wonderful and making my job almost too easy!
Jared and Sinthana met the third year of medical school, in upstate New York, near the Finger Lakes. It was kismet, really, because up until that year, Sinthana had only lived in Florida. Jared wasn’t supposed to be there, either. He had requested to spend his third and fourth year of med school in Pittsburgh, where he was born and raised. That fell through, and eventually, he found himself in Elmira, NY. Sinthana had caught Jared’s eye pretty quickly, but they didn’t actually meet until they were assigned to an internal medicine rotation together. Sinthana won’t forget seeing a tired-looking guy, at 7’o’clock in the morning on the first day, and asking, “Are you the one they call Jare Bear?” They became fast friends from there, and the rest was history. :)
Beth & Amir had a gorgeous wedding at the beautiful Omni Bedford Springs Resort. The wedding was timeless and elegant with a vintage almost Gatsby-like vibe. The day was set in a palette of dark burgundy, gold, and champagne, perfect for an elegant November wedding! And did I mentioned their cake topper included their two cats!? Beth & Amir were the sweetest couple and I loved spending their day with them. Hope you enjoy the photos!
From Beth: Amir and I met through Instagram. In Pittsburgh, there is a pretty substantial amateur photography community on Instagram, where people will share their shots, give tips, and suggest locations for others to get great shots in the city. Often people would use the hashtag #steelcitygrammers to connect with people in the area interested in photography. Amir and I would comment on each other’s pictures, complementing the composition, lighting, etc. In April of 2015, Amir sent me a direct message and asked to meet up to take some pictures. We met at the Mattress Factory Museum and walked around taking pictures for a few hours. We continued to meet up every so often, walking around taking pictures and getting to know one another. On August 24, 2015, we met at Spice Island Tea House in Oakland to grab dinner before shooting sunset in Schenley Park. While at dinner, we started talking about what each of us were looking for in relationships with people, and how we just hadn’t found the right person. As the night progressed and we took pictures of the incredible sunset, we both started to realize there was a connection there. We spent the evening laying in the grass talking, laughing, and of course teasing one another. Just a few short days later we hung out again and it was official – we were meant for each other!
For the engagement, it was in Paris!! It was a long time coming (Beth’s words, not Amir’s), as Amir told me he was “waiting for the right moment.” I calmly explained that if he couldn’t find the right moment on our upcoming trip to Paris, there was no right moment. It was the first day of our trip, and we were relaxing in a park called Place de Vosges, which is the oldest planned square in Paris. There was a lovely fountain, and we were laying in the grass, people watching. Amir leaned over and handed me a package and said it was for me. I opened it to find a small wooden box, engraved with our initials. I opened the box, and a beautiful ring was sitting inside. Amir looked at me and said “do you like it?” and of course I said I loved it. Then Amir looked at me expectantly. Given how much we tease one another, I couldn’t help myself. I looked at Amir and said “how am I supposed to give you an answer if you don’t ask the question?” He smiled and asked me to marry him, and of course I said yes!
Chelsea & Brian had a beautiful wedding at Oakmont Country Club. I’d describe this wedding as bright, colorful, lively & fun—basically everything Chelsea & Brian themselves are! Chelsea even threw out “Kate Spade” as one of her inspirations for the day. Chelsea rocked a gorgeous A-line ballgown by Hayley Paige while her bridesmaids wore navy while carrying different shades of bright colored flowers. And just WAIT until you see the incredible reception space from Shayla Hawkins + Hens & Chicks! A little rain didn’t stop us, these two totally embraced the Pittsburgh rain for some epic evening rain shots. Hope you enjoy!
From Chelsea: We met through work. Brian is the athletic director at Peters Township High School and I was the varsity cheerleading coach/building substitute at the time. I was the 3rd person in his office to introduce myself, because I kept hearing about the new athletic director and how he was young and cute. It took him 3 years to finally ask me out (obviously he had to ask one of the coaches I was friends with first) before he was comfortable enough in the district to date one of his coaches. It was a long inconsistent year of dating because of us working together. I finally got a new job teaching special education at a different school and he moved cheerleading under the principal’s advisory so we could officially date!
Where to Begin with Wedding Planning & Finding your Inspiration
Advice for a newly engaged couple:
DO NOTHING! Engagement is such a special time where you feel so much joy, excitement, and anticipation! So for a little bit, do nothing and just enjoy the engagement!
Set a budget and guest list. Do this before booking big vendors or even the date/venue!
Choosing a venue:
What’s your vibe? Do you want a country or city wedding? The good news is Pittsburgh is so versatile for any style of wedding!
Creating a “Pittsburgh” wedding:
Provide guests with Pittsburgh Must-Dos. There are so many great attractions for out of town guests to explore over the weekend!
Provide guests with locally made treats. Eat N Park Smiley Cookies, Sarris Candies, Enrico Biscotti, Pittsburgh Popcorn Company, Heinz Ketchup
Pittsburgh Cookie Table. Always the highlight of any Pittsburgh wedding!
Pittsburgh Party Crashers. Rock the Pitt Panther, Pittsburgh Parrot, Pittsburgh Peorgies etc!
Downtown City Photos. It’s not really a Pittsburgh engagement photo unless you have a photo taken on a bridge somewhere! Or other iconic locations like Mount Washington, Strip District, Mexican War Streets etc
Finding your inspiration:
Infuse your personality into the day. What’s something you love to do together as a couple? Let every single thing have a meaning behind it!
Use the details of the wedding to tell your story. For example, the bride’s grandmother always grew peonies in her garden so that’s why she put peonies in her bouquet. And the bride use signs the reception or notes in the program to share these special details with guests.
But realize that social media can set unrealistic expectations! And remember that vendors don’t like to recreate another wedding- make it your own! So don’t let social media be your end all be all goal!
Victoria Deardorff, Burgh Brides
Burgh Brides is the only online publication dedicated to inspiring, showcasing, and celebrating Pittsburgh weddings. Owner and editor Victoria loves to show off the unique nuptials that take place in ‘Burgh, as well as to inspire couples to create their own extraordinary day. She shares steal-worthy ideas, connects couples with awesome vendors, helps soon-to-be newlyweds plan a stress-free wedding, and highlights the love that is all across the 412. Since launching in 2014, Burgh Brides has grown into the most comprehensive, reputable digital wedding planning resource in Pittsburgh.