Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong can be intimidating for a player in the batter’s box. But in real life, he can get rather intimidated himself — over a girl. In August 2001, Nicole Holloway was the cute bartender serving him beers at Bar Nashville in Tennessee, and Ryan was a pitcher for the Pirates’ minor league affiliate, the Nashville Sounds. It took him all night to work up the courage to ask her out.

By September 2003, the two had reached dating bliss. Even better, Ryan got called up to pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In November, the two celebrated his major league status with a vacation in The Bahamas. On their first night, they took a walk along the shoreline. “Look what I found,” Ryan said, kneeling in the sand. Nicole turned, expecting Ryan’s treasure to be a seashell or a starfish. It was a diamond ring.

The wedding weekend started with a rehearsal dinner on the club levels at PNC Park. The “I do’s” were exchanged the following day at Third Presbyterian Church in Shadyside. Yoda, their chihuahua, made for a dapper ring bearer, and the flower girls gave out Hershey Kisses as they made their way down the aisle. When a single tear trickled down Ryan’s cheek, Nicole produced a handkerchief from one of the abundant folds in her Monique Lhuillier gown.

The reception that followed was one of the sweetest of the year. Dubbed “The Chocolate Dream Wedding,” the couple, with wedding planner Katherine Shaw of Trends to Traditions, created a confectionery fantasyland at The Pennsylvanian with 60 pounds of chocolate assortments and gourmet truffles, menus made of solid chocolate with white chocolate script, champagne glasses of solid white chocolate, a chocolate martini bar, and even a Hershey-kiss-shaped ice sculpture with miniature kisses inside. Each of the 300 guests received custom candy bars with the couple’s name on them, and five of them included golden tickets that were rewarded with chocolate-y prizes. And a chocolate fountain? Why, yes: two.

The burgundy velvet roses and candles galore were the work of Tim Condron Designs.

“It was very romantic — but kind of cutting edge,” Condron says. “The bride and groom are fun, funky, and non-traditional. I thought the whole wedding had that feel even though it was very elegant.”

Ryan and Nicole honeymooned at The Ritz Carlton in Maui, Hawaii, where relaxation took shape with horseback riding and golfing. Today, Nicole is busy as a newly signed recording artist for NX 10-31 Entertainment, and Ryan is celebrating the Pirates’ season opener this month.

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