By Andrea Bosco
Photographs from Elizabeth Craig Photography

Five years ago, Caitlyn Hess and Eric Tangradi met on Carson Street in Southside. He was in the middle of playoffs with the Pittsburgh Penguins and she was home from Penn State for the weekend. Eric asked Caitlyn to join him for a drink and “the conversation flowed so naturally, it was if I had known him forever,” she says. The proposal was just as natural. Caitlyn was visiting Eric in Winnipeg, Canada, as he played for the Winnipeg Jets at the time. After his game, he took her to 529 Wellington Steakhouse, where he planned to pop the question; however, Caitlyn insisted he check his coat at the door and the ring went with it! Eric still pulled off a surprise proposal during a relaxing moment at home after the romantic dinner. The pair celebrated a traditional ceremony — with brass instruments and an amazing choir — at Sacred Heart Parish in Shadyside, which preceded a dreamy reception at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Event planner Sheila Weiner of The Event Group helped Caitlyn’s vision come to life with many firsts for the hotel, including twinkle lights strung above, creating a night under the stars. “Sheila’s execution was perfection,” says Caitlyn.

Caitlyn Hess and Eric Tangradi, Pittsburgh weddings, WHIRL Wedding Guide 2015

Caitlyn chose a Chantilly lace, peplum Monique Lhuillier gown from Anne Gregory for the Bride. She felt an instant connection with the “traditional chic” dress, adding sleeves and crystals to make it her own.

Caitlyn Hess and Eric Tangradi, Pittsburgh weddings, WHIRL Wedding Guide 2015

After the party was an afterparty in the Urban Room, unofficially dubbed Club C&E! DJ The NY Giant entertained as guests danced on an “ice rink” and indulged in Primanti Bros. sandwiches and Philly cheesesteaks, a nod to each other’s hometowns.

Caitlyn Hess and Eric Tangradi, Pittsburgh weddings, WHIRL Wedding Guide 2015

Allison McGeary Floral created delicate and feminine arrangements in white, cream, soft pink, and peach, using roses, hydrangeas, and orchids for a romantic and royal atmosphere. “Eric and I truly felt like a king and queen that day,” Caitlyn says.

Caitlyn Hess and Eric Tangradi, Pittsburgh weddings, WHIRL Wedding Guide 2015

Bella Christie & Lil’ Z’s Sweet Boutique created gorgeous dessert tables, a stunning seven-tiered cake, and Eric’s groom’s cake of the couple’s dog, Carson, wearing a Winnipeg Jets jersey with sushi and golf clubs.

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