Romantic Pennsylvania Ballroom Wedding
May 21, 2015
Mid Atlantic
Classic WeddingsBallroom WeddingsReligious Institution
As an inspiring event planner, this beautiful Bride has a vision for her wedding day, and that vision was completely stunning. With the help of an amazing team, her vision of an intimate (even with 514 guests!) and elegant black-tie wedding came to life. And thanks to Joey Kennedy Photography, we can enjoy all the beauty.
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From the Bride... Mine and John's love was magnetic. The second that our eyes met, my soul kicked with such joy that I knew right then that I found my forever. Yes, I was smitten with his Kennedy-esque looks, but his sense of humor and genuine demeanor pulled me in unlike anything I have ever experienced. There was never a question in my heart; I found my soul mate.

A year and a half later, we found ourselves soaking in the golden beauty that is Pennsylvania in the fall. John planned a lovely day for us that started with a tour of Fallingwater and ended with an al fresco picnic at his family's farm. Since I am normally the planner in our relationship, I sensed that something was up and that same soul-kicking feeling was fluttering inside me all day long. As silly as it sounds, I instantly regretted not wearing my new maxi dress and thanked the heavens that I by chance had my nails done (like it actually matters). While enjoying champagne and our delicious picnic spread, John rose to retrieve what would be the ring and accidentally stepped on his crystal champagne flute, sending shards of crystal all over our picnic. After a laugh-worthy clean up, some crystal foot extractions and a relocation of our picnic, John attempted to grab the ring once more and got on one knee, asking me to be his wife.

After announcing and celebrating our engagement, we set our date for September of 2014, my absolute favorite month of the year! Coming from big Irish and Italian families, we always knew that we were going to have a large Pittsburgh wedding; the wedding party itself consisted of 15 bridesmaids and 13 groomsmen! We decided to have our wedding ceremony at St. Bede Church, a small parish church where John's family belonged. With a final guest list of 514 invitees, we booked the stunning Omni William Penn Hotel ballroom to host our reception.

My bridal party and I got dolled up for the 3:00 ceremony in a suite at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Music, laughs and lovely sentiments filled the space and, when the time arrived, my girls helped me put on my blush lace Monique Lhuillier gown. I was given the honor of donning John's mother's lace cathedral veil for the occasion and I also pinned a piece of my mother's wedding dress into my dress so that I would have a piece of both of them with me all day long. I also decided to keep a sweet tradition from my collegiate years and wore the Penn State Pi Beta Phi bridal pin on my gown, which has been passed down to bride-to-be's since 1954.

The one thing I loved about hosting such a large wedding in a smaller church was that every single pew was filled with guests, decked out in their finest black tie garb. There wasn't an open seat in the house, much like a scene straight out of a movie! The excitement was contagious. This atmosphere was only amplified by John's older brother, an ordained Catholic priest and the celebrant of our Sacrament of Matrimony. Bringing the crowd to both laughter and tears, Father Chris Donley, and my now brother-in-law, delivered a heartfelt and personal homily which will sit in our hearts forever. Our ceremony was both religious and deeply personal, making it my favorite part of the day. We left for our reception in true vintage style, jumping in John's dad's 1930 Rolls Royce.

As an aspiring event planner, I had a pretty detailed vision for our wedding reception from the get-go; a blend of organic elegance with vintage touches, creating a rich, intimate atmosphere. It was important for us to host a formal, black tie event without all of the stuffiness that those can sometimes entail. Guests were welcomed into our cocktail hour with walking hors d'oeuvres and an open bar as well as some fun, personal touches; two giant gold Jenga sets and vintage typewriter guest books set the tone for the lively evening ahead.

Dinner was held in the grand ballroom, featuring kings' tables, candlelit balconies and candelabras, a live quartet and a personalized round dance floor. Shades of gold and elegant pomegranate centerpieces cast a warm tone throughout the ballroom, creating a charmingly intimate vibe throughout dinner. Personalized menus led guests to their seats where they enjoyed a four course meal and poured wine service.

One of my favorite parts of any reception is when the groom toasts his bride, and John certainly rose to the occasion. Being the stoic Irish man that he is, John is not one to share his feelings with the world, so his toast touched me deeply. The sincere and beautiful words that came from his mouth resonated with the entire room and there wasn't a dry eye in the house (mostly just the women I should add)!

After toasts and the cutting of our gilded gold cake, we were all led into the dance portion of the evening in the former cocktail hour room, which was now complete with lounge seating, a full 9-piece band, dance floor, slow motion video booth, coffee bars and a crepe station. My Italian family owns a pretty famous pizza shop in the Pittsburgh area, so the crepe station eventually made a late night switch to a pizza bar, which the guests enthusiastically embraced. The remainder of the evening was spent dancing, singing and laughing with our closest family and friends.

If I had to pick one theme for the entire day, it would be joy. It surrounded every detail and every minute of our wedding day; so tangible you could feel it! It truly was a magical day, and the best part is that it is just the beginning for us.
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