Category Archive: Real Weddings
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Making a Difference instead of Making a Splash
Planning a wedding is a serious task – there’s so much to consider in order to reflect the two of you, how to entertain your family and friends, and sometimes as we know “the devil is in the details”. In the process of planning it is possible to lose sight of what is important in the middle of all the tulle, lace, invitations, favors, and photo booths. Ultimately, the point of a wedding is the marriage – how you two will live your lives together. A recent trend has couples making a difference, opting to spend or donate their wedding budget on a cause or charity close to their hearts. If you want to give back and extend your celebration to the wider community, consider looking into some of these different options.
Pinterest can be a helpful tool but it can also lead to a serious case of “wedding envy” and spur competition to make each wedding more opulent and fantastic than the last. Instead of the hottest wedding trend, try researching your church, community center, or a cause close to your heart to find a way you can contribute. Gather your wedding party to work for a weekend on a Habitat for Humanity project or spend a few hours serving meals at a homeless shelter.
Check out vendors – from wedding dresses to venues to photography – who give back to charities on Black Sheep Bride to find one that fits you. You can find someone in nearly every vendor category that will support a cause that’s special to you, making even your wedding expenditures count.
• Are you environmentally conscious and looking for a stunning but Eco-friendly gown? Check out Pure Magnolia gowns and Restitch Studio, both Black Sheep Bride vendors specializing in making you gorgeous for your day while reusing already existent or sustainable materials.
• Looking for a photographer who gives back? Check out Sandrachile Photography in Pittsburgh – she donates to Too Young To Wed, an organization that combats forced child marriage as well as Rabbit Wranglers, which rescues neglected and abused rabbits.
• A major wedding budget item is food, and quite often there are lots of leftovers from weddings. In Pittsburgh, consider donating leftover wedding reception meals to 412FoodRescue, an organization that collects good food that would otherwise be discarded and distributes it to community organizations in need.
• Flowers are a considerably large chunk of a wedding budget, and are often completely neglected after the few hours they are used to grace the reception tables or other parts of the venue. In Pittsburgh, why not give those flowers a second chance to bring a smile to faces by donating them through an organization such as Centerpieces 4 Seniors to a Senior retirement home, where they will be enjoyed for days. Started by Kelli Burns and Rose Davidson, these ladies collaborated by asking brides and venues to donate floral arrangements to the organization, which delivers them to senior care homes. They will pick up arrangements after any event, and often brides who choose Kelli Burns Entertainment for their DJ services will opt to donate their floral arrangements after seeing how much Kelli and Rose care for their service to Centerpieces 4 Seniors.
Recycled Weddings recently got national coverage in an article in The New York Times, highlighting four couples who chose to donate their time, money, and host their special day in a non-traditional but meaningful way. One couple chose an LGBT community center integral to their relationship for their venue, another was married at a homeless outreach shelter where they serve meals. An Indian couple traded the traditional Indian wedding for a simple ceremony at City Hall and dinner with family and friends, instead donating $20,000 to a charity that feeds children victims of Boko Haram violence and encouraged their guests to donate too. For every “big wedding” aspect they celebrated, a final couple involved their wedding party and families in packing brown-bag lunches for homeless shelters and other outreach.
How can your wedding make a difference?
Alexandra & Nick Pazzaglia
Candlelight Winter Wedding and Reception at The LeMont, Mount Washington, Pittsburgh PA
January 16, 2016
Three words to describe their wedding: Fun, Elegant, Energetic & Interactive
Every wedding is special and unique because of the couple being married and the family and friends who gather to bear witness to their marriage. But every so often, a wedding comes along that shines with the personality and love of the couple and all of the elements fall into place to make their wedding truly phenomenal. Alex and Nick’s candlelight winter wedding at The LeMont on Mount Washington was just such a magical moment. Alex and her mother, Debra, had planned down to the very smallest detail to make this wedding perfectly memorable and wonderfully intimate for their guests.
On the wedding evening, the lower ballroom of The LeMont on Mount Washington glowed with candlelight from the arrangements flanking the aisle and the altar, behind which the Pittsburgh skyline glowing brightly made a twinkling nighttime backdrop for Alex and Nick’s vows.
The focus on family was evident throughout the ceremony. Alex and Nick exuded excitement and love for the family they were building with Nick’s young daughter, Bella. Their wedding party included several adorable children as ring bearers and flower girls, including Nick’s nephews and Bella.
A beaming Alex and her father Ryan processed down the blazing candlelight aisle to “Nella Fantasia” by Sarah Brightman. Before exchanging vows, the couple shared a special moment with Bella by participating in a sand pouring ceremony, with Nick, Alex, and Bella each taking a turn to pour colored sand symbolizing each of them joining together as an inseparable family. As a special tribute to Alex, her aunt Janet serenaded the happy family with “All I Ask of You” during the sand pouring.
Finally, after exchanging their vows and rings, the happy couple kissed to the applause of their gathered family and friends. The bride and groom led the way for the whole bridal party to exit nearly dancing down the aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Steve Wonder
Alex and Nick’s reception was just as sparkling, candlelit, and full of family as was their ceremony. As each member of the bridal party entered, Kelli Burns introduced them to the guests and gave a brief and humorous bio on each person, bringing the guests and bridal party closer together. Finally, Alex and Nick entered the ballroom hand in hand with Bella, being introduced as “The New Pazzaglia’s!”
Washed in glowing candlelight and surrounded by family, friends, and sparkling crystals, Alex and Nick danced a choreographed box-step for their their first dance as a married couple to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”. It was truly a magical moment. Breaking tradition, they invited their guests to join them on the dance floor immediately after the first dance. The ballroom turned into an enthusiastic dance party with all the guests crowding onto the dance floor. Alex, Nick, and Bella danced as a family to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” as well as a few other songs before everyone was invited to sit for dinner.
The rest of the evening was equally enchanting, and all about family traditions. Alex and her father, Ryan, shared a beautiful moment, beginning the Father & Daughter dance to Heartland’s “I Loved Her First”. Suddenly, the sentimental strains transitioned to a cheery, upbeat German polka, and Alex and Ryan grinned from ear to ear and started to bob up-and-down in the beginning of a traditional German polka. To the applause of the guests, they chasséd across the floor while everyone cheered and tapped their toes.
Nick and his mother, Sue, did a heartfelt dance to Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”, smiling the whole time.
The dance floor was busy all night while guests cut a rug and got footloose, all set against the backdrop of the sparkling Pittsburgh skyline.
One of the most memorable dance floor moments was when Bella and one of the young ring bearers began a “lightsaber” duel worthy of two Jedi Masters with the light-up batons provided by Kelli.
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Brandi & Colin Snyder
Personalized Wedding at The Corinthian
March 21, 2015
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and chaos that come with planning your wedding. As bride Brandi realized in preparing for her very personalized wedding at The Corinthian, time can get away from you. “You can plan and prep like crazy like I did for two years and still those last few weeks will be nuts.” However, through all of the decision making it is important to remember one thing: make your wedding YOUR wedding!
Coming up with a fitting theme or simply adding in small details that are personal to you and your fiancee is a great way to make your wedding day memorable. Brandi kept this in mind as she and her husband planned their wedding and believes that it is a big reason their day was so special.
Brandi personalized her wedding, tailoring the menu cards, seating charts, invitations, gift bags, table numbers, and cake toppers all to fit her and her husband Colin’s personalities. She created centerpieces using empty bottles of wine that she and her friends had shared over the years.
“I didn’t call it a theme it was more us. I wanted the day to be us, some of our favorite things.”
To incorporate Colin, she topped the cake with bride and groom Pez dispensers, which she said Colin has collected all his life. She also thought of Colin’s collection of vinyl records while trying to figure out how to personalize the wedding.
“Colin is the guy who gets up super early on record store day to wait in line for limited or special release of albums. So my thought was making vinyl the table numbers. I went to a local thrift store and bought a whole bunch of 45s so I could make them into table numbers. I did have to go back though because Colin decided to keep some of them.”
Brandi raved about the benefits of these DIY, or “do it yourself,” projects, saying they involve time and effort but the personal touch they put on a wedding and the money they save are well worth it. She also raved about her DJ Jeremy Czarniak and wedding photographer Shannon Kenyon.
“Jeremy was so personable, fun and just a breeze to work with! I love Broadway musicals and was able to walk down the aisle to “For Good” from Wicked. I couldn’t have thought of a better song and would never have thought of that without him suggesting it. I know that is something small and probably only means something special to me but I am still beyond ecstatic that that got to be my ceremony song because of his suggestion.”
Brandi loved that Jeremy kept everyone on the floor at the reception with fun dancing songs and a Grease sing-a-long that everyone loved and, over all, exceeded her and Colin’s expectations.
Brandi’s wedding photographer, Shannon Kenyon, also seemed to be big part in Brandi’s memories of the day. “I suggest to any couple to do engagement photos, you totally get to see how working with your photographer will be. Shannon was so much fun and easy to work with and was ok with every suggestion or idea I had. However, the ones she suggested were the best. She definitely has a great eye.”
To see more Shannon Kenyon Photography: www.shannonkenyon.com
For DIY wedding ideas: http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/things-to-diy-instead-of-buy-for-your-wedding#.mfYzOa3NR