By Caitlin Cesa

Jeffrey Lins + Don Gillin

After two years of dating, Jeffrey Lins decided that he was ready for a lifetime of happiness with Don Gillin and popped the age-old question at The Carlton Restaurant — one the couple’s favorite spots. Don and Jeffrey had an intimate ceremony, which they held in their home. Forty of their closest friends and family members joined them for their nuptials, and Don’s brother, Tom, officiated the ceremony. They welcomed 250 guests at the reception, held in The Grand Hall and The Rotunda at The Pennsylvanian. Their ivory and gold palette paired perfectly with the venue’s dramatic archways and ornately painted ceiling. Don and Jeffrey’s first dance as husbands was to Etta James’ “At Last.” The couple took ballroom dance lessons for six long weeks to prepare, but Don says, “[they were] worthless, as we both have two left feet.” While planning a wedding can be stressful, it only brought Don and Jeffrey closer. “We made every decision together, and it was a wonderful experience.”    

Photographs from Katelyn Patraitis

The gentlemen accented their suits with different colored bowties.

A figure of the couple and their dog, Claude, topped the cake from Rania’s Catering.

The couple’s favorite part of their wedding day was exchanging vows. Don says, “Our commitment to each other could not have been more genuine, appropriate, and full of so much love.”

Stunning floral arrangements showcasing the couple’s favorite flowers, hydrangeas, accented the reception space.

Maeve Klutch + Jonathan Ruggieri

While some couples turn to Pinterest or bridal magazines for inspiration for their big day, the muse of Maeve Klutch and Jonathan Ruggieri was an illustrated portrait that Jonathan commissioned from the couple’s favorite artist, Danielle Duer. “Danielle did such a great job capturing our personalities and our relationship that we used it as the foundation for our theme. Our colors, our invitations, everything,” says Jonathan. A life-sized version of the portrait served as the focal point of the reception. The detail-oriented couple planned every aspect of the day themselves. They even wrote portions of their vows, each spending months trying to think of the perfect way to express their love for one another. Maeve walked down the aisle of the Barn at Fallingwater in a strapless gown, from Glitter & Grit, with a sweetheart neckline and beaded detailing at the waist. She carried a bouquet of warm hues — bold yellows, pale peaches, and vibrant purples. Her wedding party dressed in shades of navy and gray. “One of the best compliments we received from our friends and family after the reception was that every part of the wedding felt like ‘us,’” Maeve says, “which was exactly what we were going for.”

Photographs from Caitlin Thomas Photography, Illustration by Danielle Duer

Colorful, rustic arrangements adorned each table at the reception.

The portrait that inspired it all, an original work by the couple’s favorite artist.

In addition to their non-traditional cake — which was comprised of wheels of cheese! — the couple served a delicious spread of donuts. “It took a while to convince [our family] that a donut table was more ‘us’ than the traditional Pittsburgh cookie table.”

Maeve and Jonathan met while working at a design firm in Pittsburgh. They often worked on projects together and, Jonathan says, “the rest is history!”

Marie Pace + Chris Joliat

When Marie Pace and Chris Joliat first got engaged, their initial plan was to elope on the beach in Turks & Caicos. But when they announced that to their family, there was an out cry of disappointment. “They really wanted to be a part of our special day, so we changed our plans and decided to have a celebration in Pittsburgh instead,” Marie says. The winter wedding came together in just two months, thanks to the help of Melissa Crawford of Devoted to You. “I’m so Type A, but was surprisingly very relaxed about the wedding planning,” she says. Close family members gathered for a heartfelt ceremony in The Frick Building foyer. Marie cascaded down the white marble staircase and then down the candle-lined aisle to Chris. They included a touching salt ceremony to symbolize the blending of their new family, since Marie was lucky enough to gain two children in the union. After saying their “I do’s,” friends joined the newlyweds for a reception at Perlé. “I loved the intimacy of our ceremony, we were surrounded by our families in such a unique and beautiful space,” Marie says. “The reception was a fabulous celebration filled with music and dancing thanks to Tim Ruff and DJ David Pugliano. “Everyone had so much fun. It was the perfect day.” — Rachel Jones

Photographs from Nicole Jarock

To coordinate with the jeweled details of her illusion neckline, Marie borrowed the tiara her sister wore on her wedding day 15 years earlier.

Chris proposed to Marie shortly before she moved in with him. “The offer [on my house] was accepted, I was all packed,” she says. “He picked me up for dinner and asked me to marry him right there, surrounded by moving boxes.”

“We planned the wedding in two months so our family and friends could all celebrate together,” Marie says.

Marie’s brother-in-law, Jon Kamin, gave her away on her special day.

Audryana Phillips + Richard Hatcher

Richard Hatcher first met Audryana Phillips when he jumped into a photo she was taking with a friend on a night out. Richard says, “They were both shocked and amused. We hit it off from there, so I suppose it was a good first move!” Though not as abrupt, Richard’s proposal was just as unexpected. The couple’s three-year-old son, Caleb, surprised Audryana when he showed up at her birthday dinner holding a box with the engagement ring inside. The couple was blessed with beautiful weather for their outdoor ceremony at Northmoreland Park. A five-piece band played Eric Benét’s “Spend My Life With You” as the bride walked down the aisle, wearing an ivory, layered chiffon gown with an empire waist. “Seeing her come down [the aisle] was like hitting the lottery,” Richard says. Loved ones joined in the celebration at the Northmoreland Park Boathouse reception, which was bedecked in beautiful burgundy and gold décor. The couple shared their first dance as husband and wife to Etta James’ “At Last,” which perfectly articulated the message that Richard and Audryana chose to carry throughout the theme of their wedding: “At last, my love has come along.” — Caitlin Cesa

Photographs from Shane Austin Photography

After dating for five years, the couple was happy to finally make their relationship official.

Audryana and Richard served a two-tiered almond cake with raspberry filling and buttercream icing.

Dina DelPizzo + Bradley Mawhinney

In the midst of renovating her mother’s rental home, Dina DelPizzo and Bradley Mawhinney stopped by to check out floor and paint colors. Walking through the house, which Dina grew up in, Bradley waved her over to her childhood bedroom. “Inside the closet were over 200 roses, candles, and 100 pictures of us throughout our whole relationship,” Dina says. “Brad said, so sweetly, ‘I know that you have been dreaming of your wedding day since you were a little girl in this exact room, and I want to start that journey with you in this same place.’” Those wedding dreams came true with an “elegant, romantic, and glamorous” day starting with a St. Stanislaus Kostka Church ceremony and ending with an Omni William Penn Hotel reception. Luscious, gilded details, lit by soft candles, came together for a breathtaking ambiance. Dina radiated in a custom-made Ysa Makino gown, featuring intricate crystal work and a sheer, beaded back. The crafty bride even created 13 brooch bouquets — with the help of her cousins! — for the bridesmaids and herself. “Every piece of a wedding is so planned out and every detail is confirmed by you,” Dina says, “so make every part of it both of you! Make sure to choose vendors that take time to understand your vision.” — Rachel Jones

Photographs from Whitling Photography

“Our first dance song was ‘True Companion’ by Marc Cohn,” Dina says. “When I was in eighth grade religion class, my teacher played this song for us. I said, ‘Someday, I will get married to this song.’”

To give their reception a romantic glow, Dina and Bradley had over 300 glass columns with candles lining the balcony. The ambiance complemented the arrangements of ivory and Champagne roses and hydrangeas, created by Primrose Florist. “There was never a doubt that she would make my dream wedding a reality with her floral magic,” Dina says.

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