When I'm not photographing or with my family, I get lost in pop- impressionism oil paintings. Check out some of my work here.
There is something to be said for a simple and intimate wedding. A wedding where the bride gets ready in her childhood home, surrounded by family and loved ones. A wedding where the bride opts for a bridesmaids dress because it was exactly what it was she was looking for. A small and historic church filled with the warmth of love and laughter. Tom and Gwen’s Old St. Luke’s Wedding is all this and MORE!
The rain couldn’t stop their smiles as they say ‘I do’ in one of the most romantic ceremonies I’ve ever experienced. This little chapel is EVERYTHING. Gwen share’s more about her priorities while planning below, be sure you read all she has to say. So much wisdom! Congrats Gwen and Tom!
What was your inspiration behind your Old St. Luke’s Wedding?
We really wanted a wedding day that felt authentic to us as a couple. We wanted to keep the parts of a traditional wedding that we liked, and eliminate the parts that weren’t congruent with us as people. It was very important to us to be intentional about each decision we made, since this was a day that we had chosen to share with our family and friends. We knew it would be probably the largest event we would ever put on, and we wanted to create an atmosphere that was comfortable yet elevated, while allowing for everyone to have a good time. We chose to get married in the middle of Fall in November, so we made choices that fit with that time of year. such as using earth tones, and embracing the coziness that we hoped our guests would feel inside our log cabin venue on a November day in Pittsburgh. In general, we wanted everything from the ceremony, to the reception, to the way we looked and felt to be timeless, understated, and warm. We both wanted to be able to look back on pictures of our wedding day and feel like we were presenting ourselves as we are as individuals, and that our choices were 100% us as a couple.
Advice to share with brides planning now?
Elope! Ha ha, just kidding (sort of.) One of the things that I think worked well for us in the planning of our wedding, was to make choices that felt right to us even if they were not understood by others. To a lot of people, a wedding has to include certain things, but only you and your partner know whether those things feel right to you. Some of the choices we made that strayed from others’ expectations are some of the things I liked most about our wedding.
How did you and your spouse meet?
We had known each other as acquaintances since middle school, and went to Prom together (though we weren’t dating; we had a similar friend group.) Once I graduated college in December 2015, we reconnected over Christmas break, and continued talking with each other while Tom finished his last year of college at Penn State and I moved to Vienna, Austria for an internship. That next summer I came home and was Tom’s date to his brother’s wedding. We started dating shortly thereafter.
Proposal Details! How did it happen? 🙂
We were living in Arlington, VA, it was a Monday evening after work, it was raining pretty good, and I went out to get groceries at Aldi. Before I left I asked Tom to keep an ear out for when I came back so he could help me bring the haul into our apartment. When I returned, Tom did not come outside to help. I was irritated and ready to make a snarky comment when I walked in and saw the room dimly lit with candles, and Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ playing on the record player. Tom had prepared one of our favorite dinners and a bottle of wine was waiting there, and I assumed he had just wanted to prepare us a nice dinner to enjoy. Instead of a snarky comment I felt bad and just said, “Aw, are you being cute?” I truly didn’t even consider he was going to propose, and then he did. Of course I said yes, and it ended up not being such a terrible, rainy Monday.
What was your favorite memory from your big day?
My favorite memory was when the dance floor finally opened and everyone was dancing and having a good time. Honestly, wedding planning was extremely stressful and not something I’d sign up for again in hindsight, so by that point in the night most of the stress was over and we could finally enjoy the party with our family and friends. After all, the reason for a reception is to celebrate and share this major life event with the important people in your life, and that moment felt like that was when everyone was able to fully relax and celebrate.
Old St. Luke’s Wedding Vendors
Ceremony: Old St. Luke’s Church
Reception: Mayernik Center at Avonworth Community Park
Florist: Steel City Florals
Wedding Dress Designer: Jasmine Bridal (actually a bridesmaid dress!)
Wedding Dress Boutique: MB Bride & Special Occasion
Hairstylist: Sarah Gearhart at Simply Stated Hair Studio
Make-up: Dessa Marie Artistry
Accessory Information: Cape veil: The Lotus Bloom co. (Etsy: the lotusbloomco)
Bride’s Shoe Designer: Bella Belle Shoes
Bride’s Ring Designer: Wedding ring: AverieJewelry (Etsy shop); Engagement ring: Don Conkey & Sons
Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: Revelry
Groom Attire Designer:Tux jacket: Theory; Other garments: Men’s Wearhouse
Groom Ring Designer:Blazer Arts (Etsy shop)
Paper Goods:A mix of Paper Culture and Minted
Catering: Remo’s Catering
Entertainment: Pittsburgh DJ Company
Bakery:Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery