By Matthew Hacke, Emma Honcharski, Rachel Jones, + Katie Rosso

Reinventing Rustic

Photograph from Eva Lin Photography

There’s no doubt the farm wedding trend is here to stay. Thankfully, JPC Event Group added a new venue option to fit your vision: Farm at Willowbrook. Coming to New Wilmington, Pa., in summer 2018, the inspired space features a beautiful pond and brook onsite, as well as year-round climate control for any unpredictable Pittsburgh weather changes. When decorating the space, don’t be afraid to think outside the burlap. “Pretty place settings, luscious linens, and vibrant florals pop against the natural settings of farm lands,” says Jody Wimer of JPC Event Group. “Never fear branching out from the rustic expectations of a farm wedding or incorporating a little luxury or glamour. Color is just the way to do it!” JPC Event Group, 700 River Ave., Suite 317, North Side. 724.654.6851.

Our Favorite Favors

Photograph from Weddings by Alisa

Sending your wedding guests off with a little token of appreciation is a great way for loved ones to remember the occasion. Jess Pecyna and Karrah Sedney of Best Day Ever Pittsburgh Events & Wedding Planning recommend choosing a favor that’s fun or practical — or both! On the practical side, try something that could be enjoyed before, during, or after the wedding. “You could provide a welcome bag filled with local or personalized goodies and a map with a few of your favorite things to do nearby for out-of-town guests,” says Pecyna. For a fun twist, use technology to entertain attendees. Sedney says, “Having a personalized Snapchat filter, modern GIF, or slow motion photo booth will surely be a hit with guests.” Best Day Ever Pittsburgh Events & Wedding Planning,

Edible Inspiration

Photograph by Michael Fornataro

Cake designer Maggie Austin lets us in on her sugar-based secrets in her new book, “Maggie Austin Cake: Artistry and Technique,” covering current cake trends and offering detailed instructions for her signature techniques. Wedding cakes are about having fun while still relishing in the details — and by having fun, we also mean trying it for yourself. “In my experience, a retired accountant who has never heard of gum paste is just as capable of producing a stunning sugar orchid as an executive pastry chef,” Austin writes. We love the idea of designs present on your wedding day — from flower appliqués to lace overlays — becoming edible accessories. And if you aren’t ready to make your own wedding cake just yet, perhaps a sweet anniversary cake is in your future! For more information, visit

Over the Moon

Photograph from Apples and Cinema

To keep up with trends and countless couples who want one-of-a-kind furniture and décor pieces on their big day, Vintage Alley Rentals provides versatile pieces that work in any setting. Its newest addition, a Moon Gate Arch, can be converted from an ethereal altar at the ceremony to a fun focal point at the reception. Play up the whimsical feel of the arch by wrapping it in twinkle lights, or use greenery and florals to match your color scheme. “There are so many talented florists in Pittsburgh, and they can all make the same arch look so different,” says Trish Derry of Vintage Alley Rentals. “I just love that!” Vintage Alley Rentals, 60 Greenway Drive, West End. 412.735.9765.

+ Keep an eye out for Vintage Alley Rentals’ new packages in 2018, streamlining the selection process to achieve an overall ideal look without picking piece by piece!

Squad Goals

Photograph from Pure Barre

Staying on top of your pre-wedding workout routine is easier — and much more fun! — with your best friends by your side. That’s why Pure Barre offers the Bride-to-Be Package, three months of unlimited classes for brides and bridesmaids, too. Lift, tone, and burn your way through the high-energy, total-body workouts together in a traditional class setting or a private “barre-ty” for just you and your crew. Be sure to try the new Pure Empower classes, which incorporate weights and plyometric platforms for an elevated experience. Pure Barre, Mt. Lebanon, Fox Chapel, Shadyside, Wexford, Murrysville, Peters Township.

Play Stations

Photograph from ETJ Photography

With creative food stations gaining popularity over buffets or sit-down dinners, couples are searching for a wow factor to make their meals stand out. “Food options such as pasta bars, taco bars, potato bars, and carving stations are requested more often these days,” says Tonya Edinger of Weddings of Pittsburgh. “Healthier options are popular now as well, with more frequent requests for vegan and gluten-free entrées and desserts.” Edinger also says to look out for the rise of food that coordinates with the color scheme and décor of the wedding. “With unique displays, chefs are getting more and more creative,” Edinger says, “and couples are loving it!” Weddings of Pittsburgh, 724.968.7135.

A Label of Love

Photograph from Pennsylvania Wine Cellar

As the first wine seller in the tri-state area to offer customized labels, Pennsylvania Wine Cellar offers a personalized element for couples to use as favors, table numbers, and more! “Custom wine labels are our most popular seller when it comes to adding a personal touch to the selections that we carry,” says Kathy Katic of Pennsylvania Wine Cellar. “As we continue to provide wine favors, couples are sending in photos taken together everywhere from Pittsburgh bridges to Steelers games.” Another popular label option is an iconic Pittsburgh monument or point of interest, which makes a great welcome gift for out-of-town guests! Pennsylvania Wine Cellar, 125 Station Square Drive, Station Square. 412.642.9212. 241 W. Bridge St., Homestead. 412.462.4646.

An Invitation for Creativity

Photograph from Nota Bene Fine Paper Boutique

The moment your loved ones see your wedding invitation in their mailbox, they’ll be eager to peek at the exciting details inside. Add extra beauty to the experience by including an unexpected special touch in your paper suite. “Watercolors or florals either on the envelope lining or printed on the back of the invitation give a wonderful surprise to those receiving the invite,” says Amy Bass of Nota Bene Fine Paper Boutique. “They certainly set the tone for a one-of-a-kind wedding.” Nota Bene Fine Paper Boutique, 9 Brilliant Ave., Aspinwall. 412.782.6300.

Light it Up

Photograph from Alexandra Ribar

Picking the perfect playlist is crucial to planning a fun reception. But Pittsburgh Wedding DJ Sean with Ultimate Entertaining says the right lighting can make all the difference. “Many venues do not allow open flame, and décor can be costly,” he explains. “By using uplighting, you can create a mood or ambiance for a considerably less amount and even change the colors out. For instance, you could start out with white lighting at the beginning of the night, and after dinner, change to blue, fuchsia, green, or whichever color you desire.” The possibilities are endless and will create the perfect setting for your guests to tear up the dance floor! Pittsburgh Wedding DJ Sean with Ultimate Entertaining, 724.789.9121.

Fashion Forward

Photograph from ETJ Photography

Erin Szymanski fills us in on the inspiration for her bridal shop, Glitter & Grit, and its sister store, Luna Boutique, opening soon!

What was your goal with opening Glitter & Grit?
When my friends started getting married, I was going dress shopping with them and feeling a void. Everything was so homogenized, and I couldn’t imagine myself in any of those traditional types of ​wedding gowns. I realized there were designers selling more unique dresses online and thought there should be somewhere for people to be able to try those styles on. ​I also wanted to create a relaxing, enjoyable environment where women would feel safe, heard, and beautiful.​

Why did you want to open a second store, Luna Boutique?
​I was seeing a need to cater to women who are looking for something a little more bold to express their individuality. I felt like Glitter & Grit has really become exactly what it was supposed to be, and so I didn’t think that expanding or changing Glitter & Grit was the solution. With established trendsetting designers, Luna will cater to more fashion-forward women, offering the same dedication to high-quality craftsmanship and materials, and individual attention to clients that Glitter & Grit has become known for.

How did you come up with the names for your stores?
​The naming of Glitter & Grit was achieved through a brainstorming session with my sister. I wanted a name that would represent the fact that, in both wedding planning and relationships, there is the pretty, shiny thing that everyone sees, but there’s also the hard work that goes into it.​ Naming Luna came a little more naturally. In mythology, Luna is the divine embodiment of the moon. So the ‘Luna woman’ desires to shine brightly, making a statement and a difference wherever she goes.

Glitter & Grit, 5300 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 412.781.2375. Luna Boutique, 616 Beaver St., Sewickley. 412.741.3003.

A Sweet Addition

Photograph from Michael Ray

This past March, Common Plea Catering welcomed April Gruver to their team as the new executive pastry chef. Gruver, who oversees and creates all of the delectable desserts that the company prepares, was previously the owner of Vanilla Pastry Studio in Regent Square for over a decade. The expertise and experience she brings to the Common Plea Catering group is apparent in the magnificent pastries, cakes, and more she has been making for clients, especially those who are seeking out beautiful and delicious treats for their wedding day. Couples in search of their perfect wedding cake need not look any further. They’ll fall in love after trying Gruver’s signature, buttercream icing! Common Plea Catering, 2495 Smallman St., Strip District. 412.281.5140.

Arrive in Style

Photograph from Molly’s Trolleys Pittsburgh

As the nervous thrill of doing “first look” photos builds, the last thing you want to worry about is how everyone will get there. That’s where Molly’s Trolleys Pittsburgh comes in. “Even if a couple doesn’t think they need transportation for their wedding, they can still utilize the trolley solely for photos,” says Christina Robertson of Molly’s Trolleys Pittsburgh. “Rather than traveling in a bunch of cars to photo locations, the entire bridal party can travel together, avoiding delays and getting lost — especially if someone is from out of town.” One less thing to stress about! Molly’s Trolleys Pittsburgh, 125 W. Station Square Drive, Station Square. 412.281.2085.

Dress Up

Photograph from Kitty Chen Couture, Inc.

A new season of bridal wear is upon us, and the fall and winter trends are in! “For brides, the up-and-coming trend seems to be one of a more whimsical nature, with ruffled tops and cold shoulders,” says Jennifer Mason of MB Bride & Special Occasion. “Chiffon gowns are popular, while long-sleeved dresses are staying strong with very clean couture looks without a lot of embellishments.” As for bridesmaids’ dresses, Mason says Allure Bridals and Ashley & Justin Bride are leading the way on the trend front. “Two-piece, mix-and-match gowns for bridesmaids seem to be heading our way again,” Mason says. We can’t wait to see what creative looks will steal the show in 2018! Be sure to visit MB Bride’s website or Facebook page for more information about upcoming designer trunk shows throughout the fall season. MB Bride & Special Occasion, 123 S. Urania Ave., Greensburg. 724.836.6626.

It's Natural

Photographs from Posh Salon

The best advice to give a bride before her wedding day? Relax! This goes for your bridal look, too, as naturally beautiful styles take forefront. “We are doing a lot of loose waves, and most brides are wearing their hair down,” says Lisa Martin-Campbell of Posh Salon. “They still look elegant and put together, but they like a little bit more of a tousled look these days.” Keep your tresses perfectly imperfect with a spritz or two of ORIBE Swept Up Volume Powder Spray and ORIBE Dry Texturizing Spray. Posh Salon, 1725 Washington Road, Upper St. Clair. 412.833.6636.

A Day to Remember

Photograph from James Knox Photography for Big Day Entertainment

Helping Pittsburgh plan weddings since 1995, Big Day Entertainment, Video, and Photography keeps a finger on the pulse of trends in the industry. Recently, it has seen an increase in couples opting for more intimate — yet still elegant and elaborate — affairs. “Couples are still choosing large, beautiful venues, such as country clubs and hotels, to host their ceremonies and receptions,” says Shawna Miller of Big Day Entertainment. “But they are cutting back on the guest list, in order to have a more close-knit gathering.” It’s like getting the best of both worlds on your special day! Big Day Entertainment, 2549 Penn Ave., Suite 1, Strip District. 412.566.2900.

To Have and To Hold

Photograph from Paint Monkey

Joining hands with your soon-to-be spouse during the ceremony signifies the union you’re creating together. Preserve the moment with a sculpture of your hands together, made only at Paint Monkey. Using non-toxic, eco-friendly materials, a mold of your entwined hands is cast, then filled with a plaster-marble blend. The final product is unveiled in just a few hours! “It shows every detail, so we encourage couples to wear their wedding bands,” says Joe Groom of Paint Monkey. “Just not rings with raised diamonds.” The symbolic creation can be mounted or painted to be displayed in your home or at your wedding reception. “This is an extension of what we offer for weddings, including bachelorette parties at the paint studio and setting up community paintings that can replace a wedding guest book,” says Mary Lou Bradley of Paint Monkey. “[The sculpture] makes a nice keepsake that lasts forever.” Paint Monkey, 100 43rd St., Studio 212, Lawrenceville. 4020 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 412.770.4923. McCandless Crossing, 9180 Covenant Ave., McCandless. 412.770.6346. The Waterfront, 146 W. Bridge St., Homestead. 412.779.1012.

Family First

Photograph from All in Good Taste Productions

Weddings are about officially uniting two people in love, but they’re also about bringing together families and friends who may not get the chance to see each other very often. One of the best times to catch up is over delicious food and drinks at the reception. “We are seeing our brides and grooms do a family-style first course, then go into a buffet,” says Nicolette Haley of All in Good Taste Productions. “This gives couples the feel of a sit-down dinner, but in a different way.” When choosing items for the first course or buffet, Haley recommends something seasonal. “At one fall wedding we did last year, we served chicken pot pie in mini pumpkins, and guests would top them with puff pastry domes.” Yum! All in Good Taste Productions, 1250 Monterey St., North Side. 412.321.6869.


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