Wedding Series Pt. 1 - Planning a Pittsburgh Wedding; Our First Key Steps
I've known since I started the blog a couple months ago that I wanted to do a series about our wedding so that 1) I can always look back on these posts and 2) also hopefully provide some insight for any potential 'burgh brides. Today I'm going to start with the basics - our planning and the key vendors and venues that we chose in the Pittsburgh area.
I'll always remember the first week after we got engaged, which was during the holiday season in 2015. I had the impending doom of heading into a busy season at work, and despite my mom offering her (sage) advice to soak in the moment, I also felt a little bit of pressure to pick a date prior to being swamped. When my (now) husband and I got engaged, we were currently living in Boston, but the majority of our immediate family lived in the Pittsburgh area. So, it felt natural that we plan our wedding long distance from Boston to Pittsburgh.
In this first post, I wanted to share with you the key vendors that we knew we needed to book QUICKLY, and a summary of our (spoiler alert: overwhelmingly wonderful) experience with all of them. In upcoming posts, you can look forward to additional vendor details, the days leading up to the wedding, our rehearsal dinner, and the big day!
Wedding Planner: The BEST decision we made in this entire process was our decision to hire a wedding planner. Like many people, we both have busy jobs, and we were also planning long-distance from Boston. Having a planner local to the area to visit potential venues and connect with vendors saved our sanity so many times. Further still, the immense amount of knowledge of everything required to plan and execute a wedding was invaluable. To be honest, having a planner saved us so much time, money, and tears in the long-run. Within the first couple weeks of engagement, we had a couple calls with potential planners. We definitely relied on our intuition - and there were a couple that didn't give us a warm and fuzzy feeling. Until we talked to Shayne Souleret. Shayne blew us away with her professionalism, warmth, and immense knowledge. We both immediately felt a strong sense of trust and ultimately decided that the decision to have a planner was worth it for us. I do think that there's a little bit of judgement that can come with hiring a wedding planner (for me, the self-imposed judgement of can't I just do this myself??) and I can honestly say that NO, I personally could NOT have done this much planning long-distance, with a demanding job, by myself. Shayne was able to connect us with the most amazing vendors which truly shaped our entire wedding planning experience and our wedding day. I'm a broken record here - but this was the best decision that we could have made for ourselves.
Venue: We knew the first thing we wanted to book was our venue, as well as reserve the church where the ceremony would be held so that we could have an *official wedding date*! With Shayne's help, we ultimately settled on the Pennsylvanian, which is located in downtown Pittsburgh. We also debated Phipps Conservatory and the Opera House, which also seemed like wonderful options, but the Pennsylvanian ultimately won out for many reasons, including (but definitely not limited to) that we could bring our own alcohol!
Church: We knew that we wanted a Lutheran ceremony, and we were so lucky that there was a church about half a mile away from our venue location. We couldn't have been happier that there was an opening at both the church and venue on June 24th, 2017. We felt "at home" at this church, and Pastor Brian Evans made us feel immediately comfortable and included. He was a truly wonderful man that we're both so grateful to have gotten to know over the course of the year we were planning for the wedding.
Photographer: Guys, I know that I mention her a lot on the blog, but we worked with Levana Melamed as our wedding photographer. From the second that we started our engagement photo session (which let's be real, is slightly awkward by nature), we both felt immediately comfortable and relaxed. Levana was an absolute JOY, and the most amazing photographer. I'd imagine it's pretty darn rare to find someone this talented, as well as calm, composed, and joyful throughout the entire process. I'm SO thankful that she was our photographer, and I love that we still keep in touch today. If you are in Pittsburgh and thinking about planning a wedding - book Levana! I have a feeling she's filling up very very quickly these days. Check her out at http://levanamelamed.com. All pictures on these posts were shot by Levana, and the proof is in the pudding!
DJ: The final step we were able to squeeze in before work just got too overwhelming to wedding plan, was to book our DJ. We ended up working with Eric Scheimer. DJ Eric was a pleasure to work with from start to finish throughout the entire course of our Pittsburgh wedding. Our venue was slightly complicated for acoustics with the super high ceilings and large space, and he handled the challenge without a problem. He was so genuinely enthusiastic about our vision and playlist, and had such fun song choices to fill in where we had some gaps. I would not hesitate to recommend DJ Eric to anyone planning a Pittsburgh wedding!
With all of those vendors booked, we were able to breathe a little sigh of relief for the next couple months. In the upcoming posts in this series, I'll give you the scoop on our remaining vendors, our rehearsal dinner, and the big day! I'm so excited to share the immense joy we felt on this day with all of you.