By Sierra Smith

Lauren Butch + Luke Bumgardner

When it comes to soulmates, being in the right place at the right time is key. But when Lauren Butch arrived for a scheduled interview, she had no idea how perfect her timing was, and how close she was to her future husband. “I noticed her from afar,” Luke Bumgardner says, “She caught my eye.” This serendipitous meet cute led to casual group outings, then one-on-one dates, and, three years later, an engagement. After a series of “pretend proposals,” where Luke would get down on one knee and then not present a ring, the jokester’s real proposal was seriously romantic. Luke surprised his bride-to-be with an intimate dinner in their home, and as she went through her evening routine without a second thought, he popped the question, as “Unchained Melody” played in the background. Lauren and Luke’s special day was infused with even more romance, as classic blush florals carried out the theme. From the three-tiered cake, to the beautiful bouquets, to the custom stationery, the quintessential hue graced every bit of the celebration. Hints of gold sparkled throughout the Oakmont Country Club ballroom as the couple danced into the night. Luke and Lauren agree that the best part of their day was being surrounded by all of their loved ones. “We had the chance to see every single person we loved, from all over the country, in one room,” Lauren says. “We’ll never be able to do that again, but it’s something we talk about all the time, to go back and relive our wedding day.”

Photographs from Ann Louise Photography

Lauren and Luke made all of the wedding day decisions together. “That is my biggest tip: Plan together with your groom.”

Lauren and Luke made all of the wedding day decisions together. “That is my biggest tip: Plan together with your groom.”

Lauren’s bridesmaids toasted the couple in style, wearing ultra-romantic, peplum-style gowns.

Lauren’s bridesmaids toasted the couple in style, wearing ultra-romantic, peplum-style gowns.

The gold-dusted vanilla and raspberry buttercream masterpiece from Oakmont Bakery mimicked the reception’s blush floral motif, topped with the same light pink roses that the bride carried in her bouquet.

The gold-dusted vanilla and raspberry buttercream masterpiece from Oakmont Bakery mimicked the reception’s blush floral motif, topped with the same light pink roses that the bride carried in her bouquet.

Although a self-described “traditional” bride, Lauren knew she wanted an unforgettable gown. “I took ideas from three dresses I tried on, and turned it into my own dress. It was truly one-of-a-kind.”

Although a self-described “traditional” bride, Lauren knew she wanted an unforgettable gown. “I took ideas from three dresses I tried on, and turned it into my own dress. It was truly one-of-a-kind.”

Jean Hilpert + James Cready-Pyle

Jean Hilpert and James Cready-Pyle were both sophomores at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown when they met during homecoming weekend celebrations. After talking for a while at a picnic, Jean suggested James meet her at a concert that evening. He not only managed to secure a ticket, but also found his future bride among hundreds of other students. “With that much dedication from day one,” Jean says, “I could tell he was a keeper.” After dating for six years, he popped the question on her family’s annual vacation to North Carolina. The native Pittsburghers thought it’d be fitting to host a Steel City wedding right in the bride’s parents’ backyard, saying “I do” surrounded by lush greenery, vibrant homegrown roses, and 80 of their closest family and friends. All aspects of the wedding were handled by Jean, who now has her own wedding planning business. The whimsical pink-and-mint reception, held at LeMont Restaurant, featured vintage teacups filled with homegrown succulents, DIY centerpieces made from metallic birdcages, gorgeous arrangements of Dutch hydrangeas and pink and peach garden spray roses, and three rustic-style cakes made by the bride’s aunt. For Jean, her wedding truly was a family affair. “Crafting [with my family], while certainly stressful at times, brought us all closer together in the end,” she says. “Hours of work went into [the wedding], but we made it happen! It was extremely rewarding seeing the results of months of crafting and planning come together in one beautiful, perfect day.”

Photographs from Audra Wrisley Photography

The couple chose LeMont Restaurant for their reception to show out-of-town guests spectacular views of the city. “We wanted all of our guests to see why we love our hometown so much!”

The couple chose LeMont Restaurant for their reception to show out-of-town guests spectacular views of the city. “We wanted all of our guests to see why we love our hometown so much!”

Jean and her family spent months collecting vintage teacups and propagating succulents for the reception. After pulling off her own DIY day, Jean now offers planning and design services through MagnoliaLane Creative.com.

Jean and her family spent months collecting vintage teacups and propagating succulents for the reception. After pulling off her own DIY day, Jean now offers planning and design services through MagnoliaLaneCreative.com.

Diana Defino + Marc Ruby

Diana Defino and Marc Ruby both consider themselves to be very progressive, so their wedding was the perfect opportunity to show they could have a beautiful evening, without adhering to the typical wedding dos and don’ts. Nearly 200 guests gathered for the ceremony at the Omni William Penn Hotel, where bridesmaids in ivory gowns made way for the stunning bride, an alabaster vision in a custom Maggie Sottero. Other “rules” that Diana and Marc happily broke for their elegant, gold-and-blush-bedecked affair included the writing and recitation of their own vows and a non-religious ceremony. The couple also decided to keep their respective last names. The bride’s favorite memory of her day was being escorted down the aisle by her mother and twin sister, surrounded by her loved ones. After the passing of her father several years ago, Diana knew there was no one better to give her away. “This was a really special moment for me during the wedding,” Diana says. “My mom and sister walked me down the aisle, and it was so amazing to see all of our closest family and friends waiting there to watch us get married.”

Photographs from Nicole Cassano Photography

Diana’s advice to future brides is simple: “Don’t feel as though you are bound to tradition when planning your wedding. [Don’t] be afraid to do exactly what you want when planning your wedding because it really is the only day when everything is all about you!”

Diana’s advice to future brides is simple: “Don’t feel as though you are bound to tradition when planning your wedding. [Don’t] be afraid to do exactly what you want when planning your wedding because it really is the only day when everything is all about you!”

“I never believed in the ‘rule’ against other people wearing white to the wedding,” Diana says, “so I wanted to make a bold statement by having the bridesmaids wear it.”

“I never believed in the ‘rule’ against other people wearing white to the wedding,” Diana says, “so I wanted to make a bold statement by having the bridesmaids wear it.”


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