George Street Wedding Blog

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What better way to start a Monday morning than by hearing from one of our favorite couples? For this segment of Let’s Hear it From the Bride, we sat down with a duo who managed to plan a wedding that told their love story through each sweet, stunning detail. Kristen and Michael have officially stolen our hearts…and their wedding? Let’s just say it was complete perfection! Read on to see how they put it all together!

A bride and groom posing for an outdoor photo by the Pittsburgh skyline

The love story…

Michael and I met through mutual friends in college. My friends from high school became Michael’s friends during college and they introduced us! And actually, four of those guys were groomsmen in our wedding! Though we were just friends for several years after we met, Michael always says it was love at first sight.

The proposal…

Michael proposed at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. We both love to snowboard, so it was fitting! I had taught him how to snowboard back when we were just friends. On our first run together, I strapped him to his snowboard and it wasn’t long before he was hooked. He proposed in that exact same spot three years later. It takes guts to take a diamond ring out on the slopes!

The location…

Choosing our ceremony location was easy! We live on Mt. Washington, one of the highest points in Pittsburgh and a neighborhood that looks out over downtown. Our church, St. Mary of the Mount, is located on the main road of Mt. Washington and from the steps of the church, you can see the city scape.

Couple posing during a winter wedding at St. Mary of Mount in Pittsburgh

The attire…

I always pictured myself in an all-lace wedding dress, like my grandma had worn. I took some of the lace appliques from her gown and wrapped them around my bouquet. It was comforting to have a piece of her with me that day!

The theme for the event was classic and timeless, and I wanted all of our bridal party’s look to reflect that! Plus, dark purple is my absolute favorite color, so I definitely wanted gowns that contrasted that! We decided on gold dresses, which complemented the purple perfectly.

A winter wedding party posing candidly for an outdoor photo in Pittsburgh

Michael looks really handsome in a suit, so for the guys, we chose suits instead of tuxes! And because we wanted a timeless look, bow-ties made sense. Dark purple, of course!

The details…

We wanted everything to feel personal, so we let the things we love inspire us. Remember that proposal story I told you about? Well, our cake topper was a little snowboarding couple! It was one of my favorite touches of our wedding and a great conversation starter for the guests who didn’t know our proposal story.

A creative wire cake topper on top of a white wedding cakeA couple cutting the wedding cake at Renaissance Hotel in Pittsburgh

Our favors were bottles of wine — one red and one white — each with a unique photo from our engagement session on them. I also love rosettes so they appeared on our ring pillow, on our flower girl’s dress and on our wedding cake.

Customized wine bottles for wedding guest favorsPersonal notes for guests as wedding favors

Another favorite touch, and one that seemed to be a guest favorite too, was the personal notes we wrote for everyone. We wanted to shared our appreciation for our guests and thank them for being there with us that day. We included a personal memory and an expression of gratitude…it was really touching to watch some of the reactions when they realized it was written just for them!

The highlights…

Michael’s favorite part was our first dance, which was to “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Ray Charles. It was very romantic and even though we were both a bit nervous about dancing with all eyes on us, everyone in the room faded away when the song started.

My favorite moment was being introduced for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lewandowski. I had been so excited for that day and for our future together, and finally turning toward our loved ones in the church and being announced…seeing all of their smiling faces was just indescribable. It was the proudest moment of my life — to finally stand beside Michael as his wife.

A couple dancing during a wedding at the Renaissance Hotel

It’s hard to remember this while you’re in the throes of planning, but what’s most important is at the end of the day, you’re married to the person you love. All of the details – from the flowers to escort cards – are truly not worth stressing over! As long as you love all of the individual elements, the day will come together as perfectly as you’ve always imagined.

Ceremony Venue: St. Mary of the Mount / Reception Venue: The Renaissance Hotel-Pittsburgh
 

Wishing you the happiest of Fridays, readers! We’ve got a special treat for you all today! We absolutely adore the team at Happily Ever Borrowed — not only are we constantly swooning over their incredible jewelry line (all of which you can rent, by the way!), but we also adore their amazing team. So much that we invited the lovely Jenn, HEB’s sweet social media assistant, to share her expertise on one of our favorite topics — personalized wedding details! Take it away, Jenn!

Wooden engraved lovebird wedding cake toppers

What makes a wedding unique from your best friend’s or even your sister’s? Well, it’s a question that seems to be asked a lot today! You want your wedding to be exceptional, fun and memorable — think about it…this one day has been on your mind since you were a little girl!

So, how can you make it extra special? By adding a few small personal touches to your ceremony or reception! You can even create them on your own without having to spend too much extra money (and who doesn’t love some fun DIY crafts?!)

Here are a few ‘do it yourself’ projects to help you personalize all the details for your special day.

1. Cake Toppers: One of the first things your wedding guests will look for at the reception is the beautiful wedding cake! Whether big or small, chocolate or vanilla, it’s always the star of the show. Why not use this to your advantage and add a unique little twist to it? Try placing personalized toppers with your name or initials on top of the cake. This would be great for pictures, as well!

Cute DIY rustic lovebird wedding cake toppers

2. Centerpieces: Wedding tables are quite a popular place to be during the reception, so give your guests something fun to look at! Instead of using the common flower display, try personalizing the centerpiece. You can simply gather some sentimental adornments that would really spark a fond memory with your loved ones. Maybe your grandma’s salt and pepper shakers, or your best friend’s favorite candle!

Vintage heirloom centerpiece with a wildflower arrangement

3. Favors: You’ll be sure to please your guests if you hand out a desirable favor at the end of the night! How about putting your secret brownie mix into a jar with a sweet thank you note on the label, or even a package of candy from your all-time favorite candy shop? Not only will your guests be thrilled, but it’s also a way for them to connect personally with you and your groom!

Personalized colorful candy wedding favors

4. Wall Décor: Forget the standard guestbook…how about giant chalk boards for your guests to sign instead?! Not only does this serve as a unique decoration for the reception, but once the day is over, the two of you can take these boards back home for your own wall décor. This will definitely keep the special wedding day memories alive and give you a sense of comfort when reading all the personalized messages from your loved ones.

DIY chalkboard wedding guestbook

Although you might prefer the traditional route when it comes to your décor and activities, you’ll also want it to stand out from the crowd. So, put your creative cap on and get to it!

Thank you to Jenn and the entire team at Happily Ever Borrowed for their amazing tips! For more inspiration on everything from beauty to fashion to jewelry, head on over to their blog! Have a lovely weekend! Xo, Amanda

 

Happy Thursday, everyone! As we gear up for a weekend of wonderful summer weddings, we figured a little sugar…er…energy boost would be the perfect way to get us through the rest of the week. So, who do we turn to when our sugar levels are running low? Enter Amanda C., one of our oh-so-sweet Wedding Consultants!

Amanda is famous around the George Street office for her legendary pie-making skills — and when we say legendary, we’re not kidding. This all-around-amazing gal knows how to whip up the best pie this side of the Chicago River! Just how does she do it? Hear it from the chef herself!

Some people paint, some people play guitar…I create pie. And I plot and scheme and experiment to create the perfect crust, the prettiest design and the best fruit! My husband’s letter to me on our wedding day even mentioned my pie-making abilities as a key reason he chose to marry me!

How to make a homemade pie for summer parties

I started making pies as a young girl in Indiana when I was enrolled in 4-H. My mom taught me how to bake all sorts of stuff — cakes, cookies, and of course, pies. She passed on some of her “pro-tips” that have served me well to this day! I get requests for pie with every season, and I was even a co-sponsor for GSPV’s Pi(e) Day!

Intricate detailing on a homemade summer pie

For those of you who want to make your own pretty pies, I highly recommend using Pinterest to brainstorm ideas. I have an entire board solely dedicated to pie! Here are a few other tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:

1. No matter where your crust comes from — be it store-bought or homemade — don’t overwork it. Dough isn’t bread, meaning it shouldn’t be kneaded or turned excessively. It’ll become dry and crumbly, and your pie will fall apart! (Lesson learned the hard way…)

2. When using a juicy fruit like berries or apples, use a pie bird. They help the liquid evaporate so your bottom crust isn’t soggy!

3. While your pie is baking, always put a baking sheet on the lower rack of your oven (underneath the pie). Trust me — you don’t want to clean up the mess if you don’t!

4. Back to dough! If you opt to make your own, use a blend of butter and shortening/lard. All-lard dough makes the best texture, but the blandest taste. All-butter shrinks, burns and is a bit harder to work with, in general. And remember — don’t overdo it!

5. There is no such thing as an ugly pie. All pies are pretty when your taste buds are concerned!

At the end of the day, I make pies because I like to make people happy, and pie is a happy food! Join the fun!

How to make a homemade pie for summer parties

Amanda (right) making all of us happy with her incredible pie!

Thanks for sharing your tips with us, Amanda! Stay tuned for more fun In the Kitchen posts from other HQ chefs!

 

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s an oh-so-incredible Philadelphia wedding fit for a superhero! Does the “superhero” part of that sentence stump you? Just take a look at the photos from Shawna and Domenic’s magical soirée. These two joined forces (quite literally) to craft an affair that looks as though it popped straight out of a comic book! From Shawna’s wonderful yellow pumps to the adorable superhero shirts tucked beneath the groomsmen’s suits, this wedding is guaranteed to inspire you — in fact, you might be hard-pressed to develop some super powers of your own! Xo, Amanda

Still life shot of a wedding ring for a glamorous weddingPhiladelphia bride and groom poses for an outdoor wedding photoBridal party in navy blue and yellow attire poses for an outdoor photoGroomsmen wearing superhero shirts pose for a playful wedding photoPhoto of a yellow citrus summer wedding detailVintage framed photo decor for an outdoor wedding Philadelphia bride walks down the aisle for an outdoor ceremonyCouple during an outdoor wedding ceremony at the Brandywine ManorA photo of a playful superhero wedding centerpiece Photo of colorful and playful wedding place cardsA playful DIY boutonniere featuring a Superman figurine Bright and colorful comic book wedding centerpiecesA couple poses for an outdoor wedding photo in PhiladelphiaA photo of a DIY yellow sweet table at a colorful weddingHandmade superhero wedding cake toppers A Philadelphia couple shares a moment during their first danceFun superhero themed props for a wedding photo boothA bride and groom candidly pose for an outdoor wedding photo A bride wears bright yellow embellished wedding heels

Location: Brandywine Manor
 

If you’re a regular of our Props, Pops & Poses series, you know we’ve run the gamut in covering all types of engagement session inspiration — from casual charm to bold colors to gorgeous glamour and more! With all that under our belts, we scratched our heads thinking of the best way to bid farewell to the series, and to leave you all with one last dose of dazzling inspiration!

And readers, once we chatted with the adorable Melissa — otherwise known as Wedding Coordinator Extraordinaire — we knew we’d found it! I think the first sentence of her Q&A perfectly summarizes what engagements, weddings and true love are all about: You found your soulmate, so why not shout it from the rooftops?

Modern city chic engagement photos

Dreamy and romantic, or vibrant and colorful? Spill the details on what “look and feel” you envision for your ideal engagement session!

I found my true love — and I don’t want to hide it! Besides being happy and joyful, my picture-perfect engagement session would have an energetic, modern and urban feel.

Location, location, location!! If you could pick any spot to shoot your e-session, where would it be?!

I’m a city girl at heart, so capturing Chicago’s Art Deco architecture, street murals and El train stops are a must! I’m also a HUGE White Sox fan. So, a few shots at Comiskey…er…U.S. Cellular Field would be a bonus!

A little bit of color can go a long way! What stunning shades best characterize your engagement style?

My favorite color is turquoise, so I’d have to incorporate that into the session! That, accented with pops of yellow and coral. Those shades would offer a crisp, modern vibe against the urban backdrop.

Sweet signs, a picnic for two…there’s no doubt props can add an extra dose of pizzazz to any engagement session! What props — if any — would you include in your session?

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of props. But, if we somehow stumble upon a cute bakery or stop in for a cup of coffee at our favorite café, I think a shot that reflects the atmosphere of the location — for instance, matching mugs — would be cute and aesthetically appropriate! It would also add some more personality to the session, and for me, that’s what it’s all about!

Engagement photos are all about capturing that newly engaged glow! During your dream e-session, would you plan to strike a pose or simply live in the moment?

It’d be wonderful to look as posed and poised as a supermodel during my session…I mean, who wouldn’t want that? But I think it’s really important for engagement photos to highlight the couple’s personalities and the uniqueness of their relationship, rather than poses. Different couples possess different qualities and quirks that make their relationship special…and those are things only candid moments can reflect!

Thank you to Melissa for sharing her sweet tips and inspiration with us! And thanks to all of you who have tuned into our Props, Pops & Poses series each Monday. Be sure to come back next week for even more amazing inspiration! Xo, Amanda

George Street Photo & Video

All About Melissa… A chic city gal with a soft spot for weddings and the White Sox, Melissa is a member of George Street’s talented Wedding Coordination Team! She loves coming to work every day and helping brides navigate the in’s and out’s of one of her greatest passions — photography! Melissa prides herself on being a donut connoisseur and a karaoke goddess — a girl after my own heart!