By Rachel Jones

Nettie Moore + Mitch Mercer

Looking to bring all of their friends and family members together for a special celebration, Nettie Moore and Mitch Mercer knew they needed a large reception space in a unique setting. The solution? A picturesque destination wedding in Savannah, Ga., the halfway point between the bride’s parents in Florida and the couple’s home in Pittsburgh, which is also near the groom’s parents in Bluffton, S.C. “Hiring a wedding planner saved my life and my sanity,” Nettie says with a laugh. “It’s well worth investing in a planner, especially if you’re out of state.” Over 200 loved ones traveled to the ceremony at St. Anne Catholic Church and reception at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. Nettie looked stunning in her trumpet-style Le Spose Di Gio gown, which featured an elegant bow on the back. She and her bridesmaids carried bouquets of white and pink roses, ranunculus, and anemones with eucalyptus, which complemented the marsala and rose quartz color palette of the day. While guests mingled during the scenic, river-side cocktail hour, Nettie and Mitch retreated to a restaurant inside the reception venue that overlooked the crowd. “It was just the two of us,” Nettie says. “It was nice to breathe, take a break, and take it all in.”

Photographs from The Happy Bloom

Nettie and Mitch dated for two years before he proposed during their family vacation in Florida.

“We wanted a very natural, Southern look with lighter fall colors,” Nettie says.

Twelve groomsmen and 12 bridesmaids supported the couple on their special day.

“We had a live wedding painter, who painted our first dance,” Nettie says. “It was amazing!”

Jenna Placha + Jimmy Muraco

Mutual friends introduced Jenna Placha and Jimmy Muraco at a Halloween party one Friday night. They didn’t immediately make plans for an official first date, so fate decided to step in. “We quickly realized that our weekend plans were the same!” Jenna says. “We both ended up at the Penguins game on Saturday and the same Steelers tailgate on Sunday. Before parting ways and heading into the Steelers game, Jimmy asked if he could see me again.” They dated for almost two years before Jimmy proposed during a breathtaking hike through Swallow Falls State Park, and plans for a warm-weathered wedding were set in motion. “We used a variety of purples, blues, greens, pinks, blushes, and gold to accentuate all of our décor [at the Omni William Penn Hotel reception],” Jenna says. “Our wedding coordinator at the William Penn, Corey Makrush, was so detail-oriented and made sure that everything was impeccably well-coordinated for our big day.” The Black Tie band kept the dance floor packed, and the fun continued with an after-party at the Urban Room in the Omni William Penn Hotel, complete with Piccadilly frozen yogurt, Reuben and brisket sliders, and tunes by DJ Eric Wenning.

Photographs from Eva Lin Photography

The couple’s 325 guests received adorable peach pie pops from Pittsburgh Sweet Treats as favors.

. During dinner, Jenna and Jimmy sat at an elegant sweetheart table. “Find a moment during your reception to pause together as a couple and look around at your party!” Jenna says. “The day went even faster than we could have imagined.”

The Farmer’s Daughter created beautiful, textured bouquets of roses, dahlias, lisianthus, sliver dollar eucalyptus, delphinium, thistles, and succulents.

Jenna dazzled in a fit-and-flare Sottero and Midgley gown, covered in glittery lace appliqués, pearls, and Swarovski crystals.

Jenna’s bridesmaids fit her purple color scheme perfectly.

Caitlin McManus + Bill Brunner

While tailgating for a Tim McGraw concert with friends, Caitlin McManus parked by Bill Brunner and felt an instant connection. They dated for three years, but when their relationship became long-distance, they mutually decided to part ways. Four years later, Bill stumbled upon a box of keepsakes from Caitlin, which included ticket stubs, cards, and the piece of paper from when she first gave him her phone number. He texted her, and their love picked up right where it left off. Caitlin and Bill said “I do” before friends and family at the Oak Lodge in Stahlstown. The bride radiated in a Hayley Paige gown, featuring iridescent, sequin flowers on the bodice and an alabaster, tulle skirt. “It spoke to my own colorful, singular style while allowing me to feel beautiful and glamorous,” Caitlin says. “Don’t worry about being traditional, just be you.” For a unique guestbook, Caitlin and Bill invited loved ones to sign the tailgate of the truck Bill was driving when they first met. “It had so much sentimental value for both of us. So when he did sell it, he removed the tailgate and sold the truck without it!” Caitlin says. “Our story began at that tailgate, and we started a new chapter of our lives together with it as well.”    

Photographs from Sasha Danielle Photography

“It’s amazing to say the words and fully commit to your best friend and the love of your life,” Caitlin says. “In that moment, it was like we were the only two people in the room. It was truly magical.”

“I wanted the bouquets and centerpieces to look like you just picked a bunch of wildflowers and lush greenery while walking through a summer field,” Caitlin says. “We also had feather accents throughout.”

The couple’s “dreamy, bohemian wildflower theme” came together naturally. “We didn’t really plan that from the beginning, it just developed into this ethereal vibe.”

The couple shared a first dance to “Free/Into the Mystic” by Zac Brown Band featuring Joey + Rory, while the father-daughter dance was to a song composed and recorded by Caitlin’s father.

Courtney Romano + Albert Vivadio II

Albert Vivadio II’s proposal to Courtney Romano during a sunset gondola ride through the Grande Canal in Venice, Italy, set the tone for their romantic wedding back home in Pittsburgh. Courtney walked down the aisle, which was covered in red rose petals, in an Eddy K. Couture gown from Milan, Italy. She complemented the beaded bodice and customized cap sleeves of the ivory show-stopper with a couture, crystal-and-rhinestone-encrusted tiara and a cathedral-length veil accented with crystals. Pop rock violinist Nate Goodrich set an elegant scene as the couple professed their love, flanked by crystal pedestals and large bouquets of baby’s breath. When it came time for the reception in The Oliver Ballroom, a fun, party atmosphere took over. “The ballroom featured uplighting of candle glow, tables adorned with silver tablecloths and majestic centerpieces of hydrangeas with red roses, and hanging crystal adornments surrounded by black tea light holders and a beaded, diamond band around the top,” Courtney says. She credits the day’s perfection to her wedding planner – who is also her best friend! – and the dedicated staff of the Embassy Suites Hotel by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown. “A wedding planner is a necessity,” Courtney says. “The entire Embassy Suites staff stepped in and exceeded all of our expectations.”

Photographs from James K. of Big Day Entertainment

“We wanted our wedding to be a true celebration with family and friends, forgoing many usual wedding traditions,” Courtney says. “A party vibe was enjoyed by all!”

Courtney’s bouquet of giant calla lilies served as a tribute to her grandmother, who also carried a bouquet of calla lilies on her wedding day.

Lea Guarino + Rick Blatz

When Lea Guarino and Rick Blatz met at the River’s Casino, luck was definitely on their side! A chance encounter and compliment of Lea’s dazzling smile turned into nearly three years of dating before Rick surprised her with an equally dazzling engagement ring. As an ode to their meet-cute, the couple planned a casino-themed wedding. Casino tables provided after-dinner entertainment, and lottery tickets were gifted as favors. “My mom and I also made a card box that looked like a slot machine,” Lea says. “Everything was sparkly and blingy.” For Lea, a shining memory from the day was when her father sang one of her favorite Italian songs, “Volare,” with the accompaniment of a mandolin player. Having family and friends share in the love they have for each other made the entire day extra special for Lea and Rick, and having their help through the planning process made everything even more enjoyable. “There are way too many things to do yourself, so pass off some duties to others,” Lea says. “Also, trust that your vendors will do their job successfully. If you hire professionals, they will know what is right. Don’t try to control everything.”

Photographs by Danelle

Lea found her gorgeous, glittery gown at Sorelle Bridal Salon. “It was my ‘OMG’ dress that I didn’t say for any others.”

“Believe it or not, my cake came from Market District,” Lea says. “On display was a fake, five-tiered cake with sparkles all over and our initials as the topper. The top tier was real, which we cut!”

 

 

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