Photography by Lynne Goldstein

A Dramatic Love Story

Their is one of the most incredible wedding stories we’ve ever heard — A tale of true romance and real dram so striking, it feels as though it’s straight out of a storybook.

By Nicole Barley | Photography Courtesy Lynne Goldstein

Even after the groom’s brush with near-tragedy prior to their engagement and a violent visit from Hurricane Ike the night before their nuptials, this remarkably easy-going couple pulled off the most peaceful and fantastic of fairytale weddings.

In the summer of 2006, Brian Yadouga, who owns a South Hills-based tree service, was involved in a life-threatening work accident. For a month, he was in secondary care at Allegheny General Hospital, placed in a drug-induced coma. Through the entire ordeal, Brian’s girlfriend of two years, Amie Guarino, stayed lovingly by his side. 

 

In the most dramatic fashion, Brian proposed the day after he awoke. As soon as he laid eyes on Amie, he knew there was only one thing to say. First though, he quickly made sure he had her father’s approval. Completely surprised, Amie accepted. Later procured was an engagement ring, which Brian presented on Christmas Eve of that year.

Their plans for a late summer wedding, filled with flawless weather, went slightly askew, too. Months of landscaping outside the Guarinos’ home were swept away when the landfall from Hurricane Ike tore through town. A damp drizzle kept up through the morning, however, the bride dared to brave the rain and met her groom for pre-ceremony pictures in the backyard of her parent’s house.

 

Brian recalls another bump in the road on the way to the church — on what turned out to be a very hot, muggy day, the air conditioner in the limo was broken. “It was like a sauna in there,” he laughs.

But when they wed on September 13, 2008, in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Louise DeMarillac Parish in Upper St. Clair, the clouds parted. “When I had walked Amie to the altar, the sun came out, and it was shining through the stained glass windows. It was pretty incredible,” says Amie’s dad, Lou Guarino.

The ceremony culminated in an outdoor dove release, which took flight after a few minutes of cajoling the stubborn birds. Amie, an animal lover, took it good-naturedly and was on her “hands and knees in [her] wedding dress, trying to get the doves to come out. Brian was helping too, but they were not budging.”

They danced their first dance to “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls and then, following a sumptuous dinner of filet mignon and seafood cassoulet, No Bad JuJu had the dance floor of the Omni William Penn Hotel packed.

Along with a dish of raspberry sorbet cake from Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery, 400 guests were treated to one of “Lou’s Famous Homemade Cookies.” The special treats, cooked up by Amie’s father, were filled with chopped Sarris Candies’ chocolates and chocolate-covered pretzels.

The most poignant part of the night for the pair was the video Amie’s brother, Louie, who works for an online video production company in New York City, had prepared for the occasion. Entitled Amie and Brian: The E! True Hollywood Story — clearly befitting of their spectacular and romantic story — the show was “so amazing,” she says. “It was actually the first time I started to cry that day.”

Guests returned to the hotel’s Urban Room at midnight for the after party. Primanti Brothers sandwiches and a sugary candy bar, stocked with all of Amie’s favorites, fortified everyone for more dancing to 96.1 Kiss FM’s DJ Scottro. Though it was planned to last until 2 a.m., the celebration carried on a little later. “It seemed like it all went really fast. I was so happy and excited — and just a little nervous, ” says Brian.

The couple, who makes their home in Upper St. Clair, are planning a peaceful honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas this winter.

Something Old An antique pinky ring from her great-grandmother, for whom Amie is named.

Something New Her French-lace Monique Lhuillier gown was only the third dress she tried at Saks Fifth Avenue’s bridal salon in New York City. She describes it as “plain, but really romantic. It was me.” Find Monique Lhuillier frocks like Amie’s at Anne Gregory for the Bride695 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon. 412.531.3160.

 

Something Borrowed Jewelry, on loan from designer Penny Preville and her parents’ store, Louis Anthony Jewelers, bedecked the bride. A diamond cuff, necklace, earrings, and a diamond-encrusted butterfly brooch, which she used as a hairpin in lieu of a more traditional tiara, added a spectacular punch of sparkle. Louis Anthony Jewelers, 1775 N. Highland Road, Upper St. Clair. 412.854.0310.

Something Blue A new tattoo! Two days before the ceremony, the bride had a “B” for Brian inked in blue on her hip.

The Event Planner — Tim Komen

Komen, owner of TK Events, used a sophisticated color palette of matte and metallic golds and dusty and vivid pinks. Gold chiavari chairs, tied with beaded sashes, were set at every table. The large guest list allowed Komen to employ three sets of distinct table linens fromMosaic — pink crush, princess bride, and pink rosette — and flower arrangements fromDonati’s Florist. He best liked the eight-foot tall vases ringed with enormous clusters of roses and bursting with glittering gold twigs. Filling the stem of each vase were orchids, and miniature orchids dotted the branches.

Describe the day. “Amie wanted a fairy tale, her parents wanted an elegant affair, and Brian wanted a rockin’ party,” says Komen of the day that incorporated all three sets of wishes. “It was a beautiful, elegant, delicious, sexy, chic reception.”

Favorite memory? “When Mr. and Mrs. Yadouga entered the ballroom to the Guns ‘N Roses song, ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’ That really sums them up — they wanted to have fun.”

The Mother of the Bride — Veronica Guarino

Amie’s mom, Veronica, wowed in a purple silk Escada gown, with a train on each shoulder and an embroidered bodice. During the reception, she reveals, she ripped out the bustle so as to make it easier to dance and move around the packed ballroom, greeting guests.

Describe the day. “The ceremony was wonderful. I could see Amie and Brian at the altar smiling and laughing, and I knew my daughter was marrying somebody who I know will take care of her and she will take care of as well,” she says. At the reception, Veronica was filled with emotion too. “Walking into the cocktail party, I was stunned by all of the guests there for our family’s wedding. It was so overwhelming to have that many people who really care about our family to share in the celebration.”

Favorite memory? “There were so many, but I think it was having all of my children, together as adults, and seeing how much they all love and care about each other.”

The Father of the Bride — Louis Guarino

Many made the prediction that he was sure to cry during the ceremony — even Amie admits, “We were a little worried about him.” However, the father of the bride kept his emotions in check and had nothing but “a big smile on [his] face the whole day.” He was ecstatic again the next day, when he and Veronica entertained 105 guests in their home for Sunday morning brunch. It wasn’t until Monday, he reveals, that he finally broke down in tears of joy.

Describe the day. “It was amazing to watch it all unfold. To see a whole year of planning come to fruition was amazing. There was such a feeling of joy that day, such an energy from start to finish. The wedding day was definitely a fairy tale. The only thing missing was the horse-drawn coach waiting outside the church, but my daughter, she refused,” he says, laughing.

Favorite memory? Guarino most enjoyed the feeling of tranquility that came during the ceremony, it was a calmness, he explains, that had not accompanied the craziness of planning that led up to the main event. He cites his most memorable moment as walking his oldest daughter down the aisle and giving her away.

The Photographer — Lynne Goldstein

Wedding photographer Lynne Goldstein of Squirrel Hill’s Goldstein Photography has captured countless nuptials on camera, but this wedding, she divulged, “was as pretty as they get.”

Describe the day. “The setting was drop-dead gorgeous,” says Goldstein, who took it all in from behind the camera. “The couple was very comfortable and very much in love.”

Favorite memory? “Amie was one of my coolest brides ever — she went out in the rain to take her pictures,” says Goldstein, of the “beautiful, very fun” bride who, “had her mind set on outdoor pictures. She lasted longer outside than my camera did.” The drizzle didn’t dampen the shots — taken before the ceremony in the backyard of the Guarino’s Upper St. Clair home — one bit. “What’s great is that when you shoot in that kind of weather, the colors are really vibrant.”

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