This post is long and there are lots of pictures - obviously all necessary!
Our beautiful, perfect, magical wedding was just over a year ago on September 8, 2017. From the time I woke up to the time we went to sleep, I couldn't have asked for a better day. My sister and niece slept over the night before, and around 9:30-10 my mom, mother-in-law, other niece, and bridesmaids started to show up to my house. It was so important to me to be at home the morning and afternoon of -- I wanted to be comfortable, be able to hang on our back deck, and get pictures at home. My sister/maid of honor went and got donuts, and my matron of honor showed up with a whole brunch spread -- bloody marys, mimosas, beermosas, quiche, fruit -- it was all so delicious!
A few of us had our hair done, and my cousin/bridesmaid did my make-up. We popped champagne, shotgunned a few beers - my mom was proud of that one - ate, laughed, took pictures and had the best time. Finally it was time to get dressed. My dress was super simple and for the ceremony I wore my favorite pair of gold wedges (gold Converse were saved for the reception). My jewelry was exactly what I wanted, all from Lucky Brand, and I made my flower crown. My bridesmaids all wore different navy dresses from LuLus and the flower girls wore comfy, perfect for twirling, ivory dresses from Zulily. I definitely made it a goal of mine during the whole planning process to be conscious of where money was spent. I had spent thousands and thousands of dollars on bridesmaids dresses that are all hanging in a closet at my moms house, never worn again. We took some photos on my back deck, and a few on the front porch, realized we spent too much time having fun and needed to rush out to get to our venue. I didn't rent any kind of fancy transportation, we all piled in my moms car and drove the ten minutes to Mr. Smalls -- where our ceremony and reception were both being held.
We walked up to the green room, spent more time eating, drinking and taking pictures. Our flowers were waiting for us and they were BEAUTIFUL -- exactly what I imagined. Community Flower Shop really kills at the flower game. I still wasn't feeling nervous, a little antsy, but just because I was excited. Next thing I know it was go time.
We walked outside the side door and down the sidewalk and made our way to the front of the venue. As guests walked in they were met with a table with handmade tambourines and wands to wave at the end of the ceremony. Instead of the normal place cards, I made tickets with each persons name and table number -- they took their ticket for the "show" and replaced it with a Polaroid! We served Pittsburgh Popcorn, flavored water and iced tea during the ceremony. One of the best moments of the night/my life happened seconds before I was about to walk down the aisle. My two nieces and ring-bearer were the last to go before my step-dad and I were to walk in, the doors opened and my niece Callie turned around and whispered, "Aunt Kate, I love you!" and was quickly on her way. Cue the tears. The doors opened and I could not believe all of the people and how perfect everything looked. One of our favorite humans, Mike DeLuca, sang Tom Petty's Wildflowers as I walked down the aisle. I could see Shawn from a distance up on the stage and our beautiful bridal party. I loved how informal our ceremony was -- guests were all at the tables they would be sitting at during the reception. I felt so close to everyone and got to see the joy and excitement on so many faces. My uncle was our officiant -- the Christian ceremony was simple, personal, and incorporated some of the people closest to us reading different versus and quotes. Before we knew it people were up from their seats cheering as we kissed and walked down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs.! Those couple moments outside right afterwards were some of my favorites. Our photographer, Justin, snuck out and took the cutest pictures of us -- and of our bridal party cheering and hugging us as they each walked out. I didn't want to spend forever taking pictures, I wanted everyone to enjoy the happy hour, so we ran out to the front, did a few group photos, some of Shawn and me, then met with our family inside. The happy hour band, City Dwelling Nature Seekers, is one of my favorites, so I really wanted to be out on the patio to listen to them. It really is true, everything goes by so fast. You try to take it all in and there is just so much going on you feel like you're in a dream.
After the hour people made their way back down in to the main room to start the reception. Jimbo and the Soup Bones were set up on stage. Our parents were announced, then our bridal party, then us! We came out to Bill Withers "Lovely Day." The next few parts are kind of a blur -- my old boss and a great friend of mine, Bill Deasy, sand Leon Russell's "A Song for You" as we danced our first dance. I danced to "Just Breathe" by Pearl Jam with my step-dad, and Trace Atkins "She Thinks We're Just Fishin'" with my Dad. Shawn and his mom danced then the maid/matron of honors and best man gave their speeches. Shawn's Uncle Chris gave the blessing. We ate some of our favorite food -- all comfort, wholesome food -- pot roast, a mac n cheese bar, bacon brussel sprouts, and pierogie's from Starlite Lounge.
The cookie table was PACKED with cookies that my mom worked hard to make. My dad made this awesome donut stand since it was crucial that we have donuts at the wedding. Our cake was made by Shawn's Aunt Sharon and it was such a hit.
Instead of traditional favors, we wanted to stick with the music theme and I created a "merch bar" filled with things you could find if you went to a concert. I made different pins and stickers, temporary tattoos, magnets, match books, small prints, and one of my favorite things were the "concert posters" I made that were put up around the venue. The flowers on the tables and throughout the venue were all put together by my mom and me -- we spend months collecting bottles and jars -- it really all came together.
Because so many musicians were at our wedding, it seemed like there was always someone new on stage singing. Members from Wreckloose, The Commonheart, and other local musicians sang some of our favorite songs. My mom surprised me and had a local polka singer who performed at so many family weddings come out to sing for the dollar dance. This was so special because this was always my pap's favorite part of weddings -- he would go on stage and sing, and at our wedding my uncle and cousin Brian got up on stage to do his part. We closed out the night with a group singalong to The Band's "The Weight" -- it was seriously a dream.
We are so lucky that Whirl and Pittsburgh Magazine asked to feature our wedding a few different times -- this was so special to me because so much thought, love, and time went in to planning our wedding, and I'm so proud to share it with Pittsburgh!