By Rachel Jones
Photographs from Christina Shields Photography

As the founding artistic director at Bodiography, Maria Carsuo plans ballets and events on the regular. When it came time to plan her wedding with Alan Russell, her future husband took over most of the leg work. “He said, ‘You spend your life planning these elaborate shows. You should walk in to a day where you didn’t have to worry about anything,’” Maria says. “For him to give that to me was such an extraordinary gift.” Alan first showed his craft for planning with his proposal at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, which started with a ride in a Rolls-Royce and ended with him on one knee, surrounded by candles and roses in the Meditation Chapel. On the big day, Allison McGeary brought many more flowers and candles, transforming the Duquesne Club into a light, billowy dream of creams and golds, with eggplant and navy accents. A first dance to Phil Collins’ “Groovy Kind of Love,” choreographed by Dan Savage, brought initial nerves for the bride, but came together perfectly. “This was the only time I’d been nervous about dancing!” Maria says. “Alan carried me right through.” Maria’s mother served as the maid of honor, Alan’s father served as the best man, and the couple’s five children were bridesmaids and groomsmen at the “collective and inclusive ceremony,” where The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra played live.

Maria Caruso and Alan Russell, Pittsburgh weddings, WHIRL Wedding Guide 2015

The couple met when Maria created “108 Minutes,” which Alan played a small role in. “The ballet tells how scientists in the field of regenerative medicine use their therapies to heal wounded warriors. It focuses on the scientists’ passion to heal and how their commitment to their craft is so similar to that of marriage,” Maria says. “So, we had the doctors match up with dancers, who were brides, and I was Alan’s bride! The irony of it is so funny.”

Maria Caruso and Alan Russell, Pittsburgh weddings, WHIRL Wedding Guide 2015

Fresh red roses, accents of glitter, and black coffee beans covered each tier of Maria and Alan’s cake. “I wear a coffee bean around my neck since it is a symbol of the energy we both contribute to our relationship,” Maria says. “The beans were icing on the cake.”

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