Interview with the Bride…

Why did you choose your ceremony venue?

Josh and I married on the coast of California during a unique “progressive ceremony” on August 12, 2016. Early on in our relationship, we traveled to California and drove the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur. This is where we fell in love with each other… and the west coast. So when it came time to decide where to promise our lives to each other, there was no other place to choose! We rented an Airbnb and a large passenger van to recreate our trip for our guests! We started in Monterey with 9 of our closest friends and family and drove down Rt 1, stopping at meaningful sights and picturesque vistas along the way. For each stop, we allowed time to take in the view, take pictures, and shared a memory tied to the site and our first Cali trip (ie climbing down the treacherous 180’ cliff at Bixby Bridge to reach the secluded beach below and write our names in the sand) or we had a loved one share a poem chosen by them, toast, or excerpt from the bible. Our private ceremony was at Garrapata Beach—surrounded by rocky Big Sur cliffs and crashing Pacific Ocean waves—and performed by the bride’s brother, who was ordained specifically for the occasion.

Why did you choose your reception venue?

We chose the Barn at Madison in Madison, PA because the personality and drama of the venue resonated deeply with us and we liked the idea of sharing the upstairs apartment (3 bedrooms including master suite, den, kitchen, dining area, 2 bathrooms, and a Maiden’s Parlor) with our bridal party for a weekend of celebrating. Also, the value of the barn and helpfulness of the owners, Annie and Brandon, could not be beat!!!

Did you face any obstacles while planning your wedding? If so, please explain.

Trying to do everything from scratch and with very minimal help from our bridal party members. Although this meant everything was one-of-a-kind, personalized, and generally less expensive, it was a lot of work and a lot of stress! Especially since we were essentially planning 2 celebrations on opposite ends of the country!

Did everything go as planned on your wedding day?

Oh my, no! We misplaced dog outfits (tutu for the flower-dog and cuffs/collar and bow-tie for the ring-bearer dog). Also, the night before the receptions, we learned that we would not have the grand cake that we were planning on having, so we bought a small cake for cake-cutting from a local bakery morning of, and served sheet cake from the back of the house.

Looking back on your wedding day, is there anything you would have done differently? Big or small.

Things were far from perfect, but they were memorable and “us”. I was marrying my soulmate… everything else was just minor details.

Your favorite wedding day moment…

When my brother was preparing to marry us, I asked him to work in a moment to “breathe” before the ceremony really got underway. I have heard so many times from other brides that the ceremony was just a blur. Having a beat to “breathe” allowed the opportunity to soak in the moment… the sound of the waves, the smell of the salt, the view of my groom’s handsome smile and his hair blowing in the wind. It’s a vivid memory that I relive in my mind nearly every day.

Any advice or tips to give to a Bride-To-Be?

Look seriously into hiring a wedding planner, even if you are wishing to diy a lot of aspects; having a professional to help organize vendors and keep you focused could be invaluable. Had we done this, I think it would have alleviated a ton of stress!

Vendor Information

DJ: The Acoustic Crooner and DJ Dean

Cake Designer: Giant Eagle in Irwin

Caterer: Jaden’s Catering

Reception Venue Contact Person: Brandon and Annie Yeager

Bride’s Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero dress. Altered to be backless with fit-n-flare silhouette by Pam Long Horn, Imler, PA.

Bride’s Shoes: Nina New York

Bride’s Dress Store: Bridal Beginning, Pittsburgh, PA

Groom’s Attire By: Pleather and tweed vest designed by bride & groom; Sewn by Pam Long Horn, Imler, PA. Jeans: BKE Boots: Timberland Boot Co.

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal

Additional Vendor Information (linen, favors, etc)

Bride’s Ring: Designed by bride & groom; custom created by James Douglas Jewelers, Monroeville, PA.
Groom’s Ring: Todd Reed Jewelry, Boulder, CO, black diamonds added by groom’s request.
Favors: Young succulents in eggshells propagated/grown by bride.
Centerpieces: Designed and created by bride
Linens & Place Settings: Smarty Had a Party (online vendor)