Edited by Rachel Jones + Liz Petoniak
It’s often said that the most beautiful relationships blossom from the roots of great friendships. This was the case for Katie Jones and Ted Booth, who met through mutual friends during their sophomore year at Virginia Tech. After attending the 2005 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans to cheer on the Hokies, the friends became a couple. Seven years later while living in Pittsburgh, Katie’s hometown, Ted got down on one knee in front of the PPG Christmas tree after rain spoiled the couple’s plans to go ice skating. Katie, a lover of all things Christmas, was thrilled with the proposal just a few days before the holiday! The couple held a sweet ceremony in front of 170 guests at Heinz Chapel, as Katie’s parents are both University of Pittsburgh alumni. The party then made its way to the Grand Ballroom of the Omni William Penn Hotel, where a beautiful reception and a night full of dancing awaited. Both Katie and Ted say their fondest memory from the big day was their first dance as a couple to the band’s rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “La Vie en Rose.” The newlyweds spent a week on the white sands of the Sugar Beach Viceroy Resort in St. Lucia after, celebrating just how much their friendship had grown. — Jayla Andrulonis
Photographs from Araujo Photography.
The love between Becky Martello and Sam Badolato is no secret, but their wedding was! Six months after their engagement in Napa, Calif., the Pittsburgh pair traveled back to wine country with their children for the holidays. “We wanted to surprise them with our wedding,” Becky says. “We placed invitations in their hotel rooms in San Francisco the morning of our wedding, letting them know the time, place, and attire.” The place was Nicholson Ranch Winery, where the couple exchanged vows in a 60-year-old chapel at the top of a steep hill. The owner originally built the chapel for his family’s christenings, making the couple the first to wed in its intimate quarters. “It fit six people, us and our children,” Becky says. “The view was breathtaking.” A six-course dinner in the Ranch wine cave followed, each one paired with Nicholson Ranch vino, and a string quartet played “Speak Softly My Love” to complete the romantic day. “My favorite memory was my bouquet, which Sam made the morning of our wedding,” Becky says. “He used lemons, lemon leaves, olives, olive branches, mini artichokes, and mossy oak — all grown on the property. It was very fitting, being made by a chef.” — Rachel Jones
Photograph from Deborah Laver Photography.
Where you plant love, it will grow. For Julie Nowak and Steven Bedford’s rustic wedding at Lingrow Farm in Leechburg, the couple celebrated their love with a special tree ceremony. Taking soil from each of their parents’ yards, Julie and Steven combined the earth in a potted tree that they watered together during the ceremony. They planted the tree in their yard at home, as a memory of where they came from and a symbol of growing together. Keeping with the day’s nature theme, Julie’s bridesmaids wore long, cornflower blue gowns, and Leechburg Floral decorated the reception with assorted flowers and long branches in mason jars. Oakmont Bakery whipped up a classic four-tiered cake with tree branches, hydrangeas, and daisies growing up the sides. Her favorite detail? A custom cake-topper from Etsy, featuring the couple and their pooches Riley and Elliott, who were in attendance on the big day, in front of a tree carved with their initials, “J+S.” Julie’s best advice for brides is to spend the time and attention on “things that you and your husband will appreciate and enjoy.” She says, “After we were announced and waiting for dinner, we looked around and realized that all of our family and friends were there for us. It felt really special.” — Katherine McGrath
Photograph from Veronica Varos Photography.