Carlie and Mike were married in the bride’s hometown of Pittsburg. The bridal party got ready at the house the bride grew up in, the ceremony took place at St. Bede Parish where the bride’s grandfather sand in the choir throughout her youth and they danced the night away a The Pennsylvanian, an old train station with spectacular views of the city. A neutral palette of oyster, black and white was incorporated into all the details including florals by The Farmer’s Daughter and invitations by The Little Blue Chair. We’re loving Carlie’s high-neck and low back crepe Paloma Blanca gown and Lauren Renee Photography captures it beautifully—along with all the special moments of the day—in these lovely images.
What made the wedding special and unique?
We were married in my hometown church that I grew up in, which is where my grandfather used to sing in the choir and I received all of my sacraments. We chose the Pennsylvanian as our reception venue, which is an old train station with amazing architecture in downtown Pittsburgh, and had our cocktail hour under the rotunda lined with lights outside. I got ready with my bridesmaids in the house that I grew up in, and we spent the day surrounded by our closest family and friends!
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
My gown is a Mikaella by Paloma Blanca design, which I found at Bridal Beginnings–a bridal boutique outside of Pittsburgh. I initially thought that I wanted a ballgown, but my sister recommended I try on a crepe, more form-fitting dress and I immediately fell in love! I liked how the front of the dress was high to my neckline for a classy and timeless look, but the back of the dress felt dramatically feminine with an open back and large bow from the belt being tied. I also asked the designer to add fabric buttons down the back of the entire dress to add a traditional look that would contrast the trendy, open back. It was the perfect combination!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
My husband and I wanted to make our wedding fun and did not include some parts of the reception that have traditionally been used. We had a customized bar personalized with decals from our wedding stationery and pictures of our engagement session that we placed right off of the dance floor so our guests would stay close to the dance floor all night. Instead of introducing the bridal party, we had our matron of honor and best man introduce us as a couple while all of our guests stood around the dance floor, making an extremely fun entrance for us and our guests. We then went right into our choreographed first dance, which consisted of a mix of 3 songs and ended with a hip-hop dance. My matron of honor, my sister, sang a rap as part of her speech, and our two best men put on a skit for a combined speech. Our guests loved that we created a fun atmosphere with dancing that lasted all night! We also had a traditional “Pittsburgh cookie table”, which consisted of homemade baked goods from family members and friends—one of my favorite parts of any Pittsburgh wedding!
What was the most memorable part of the day?
Definitely the ceremony itself. We chose not to do a first look so seeing each other as I walked down the aisle for the first time was an incredible feeling, and saying our vows was so meaningful! We also loved spending time with our photographer after the ceremony for our portraits where it was just the two of us, and of course dancing the night away with our closest friends and family was a highlight as well!
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
We met in 2012 when we both attended the same graduate school. We were initially really good friends, and started studying together every day. Over the years, our friendship grew into a relationship and survived a year of long distance. After 5 years, he proposed at a restaurant on the Hudson River with the NYC skyline in the background. He surprised me with a new dress and encouraged me to wear it for what I thought was a birthday celebration for his brother. When I arrived at the restaurant, he had decorative lighted bottles guiding a path along the grass to the river where he was standing. He proposed, and to my surprise our families had traveled to New York to celebrate with us! He treated us all to an intimate dinner–it was the best surprise and proposal I could have ever asked for!
// Photography: Lauren Renee Photography // Flowers: The Farmer’s Daughter // Invitations: The Little Blue Chair // Venue: The Pennsylvanian // Church: St. Bede Parish // Wedding Dress: Paloma Blanca from Bridal Beginning // Hair & Makeup: Beauty Justified // Wedding Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein // Reception Shoes: Kate Spade // Favors: The Pretzel Shop // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box // Film Scans: Richard Photo Lab // Catering: Rania’s Catering // Lighting: EF Lighting, LLC // Linens: Lendable Linens // Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals // Video: Otis Visual Media // DJ: Modern Era Weddings
// photography @laurenreneephoto // flowers @thefarmersdaughterflowers // invitations @thelittlebluechair // wedding dress @palomablancabridal @bridalbeginning
hair & makeup @beautyjustifiedbyjustine // wedding shoes @badgleymischka // groom’s attire @calvinklein // reception shoes @katespadeny // favors @thepretzelshop // ring box @the_mrs_box // film scans @richardphotolab // catering @raniascatering // lighting @eflighting // linens @lendablelinens // rentals @alloccasionspartyrental // dj @moderneraweddings