June 8, 2019 – the absolute best day of my life and the start to this new and forever wifestyle with my wonderful husband, Jeff. We enjoyed a sweet season of engagement for one year leading up to our big day which entailed lots of celebration and planning. My mother, grandmothers, mother-in-law and sister-in-law were all by my side inspiring, assisting, and supporting me through the whole planning process. From dress shopping, cake tasting, and planning a bridal shower to the smaller details of addressing invites and baking cookies, I could not be more thankful for the women in my life. They truly made every event leading up to June 8th so memorable and a year I will look back on and cherish for a lifetime.
We tied the knot in Pittsburgh, Pa at a venue that was truly a dream-come-true. For the past 11 years, my family has had a Christmas tradition of traveling from West Virginia to Pittsburgh for a weekend in December, enjoying dinner overlooking the city from a restaurant on Mount Washington, exploring local festive events, and staying at the Omni William Penn Hotel, which is located right in the heart of the city. The hotel boasts Old-World charm and elegance with its sparkling crystal chandeliers and gilded gold-leaf accents. Little did I know in all my visits to the hotel that my dream would become a reality and one day this venue would hold an even more precious memory to me, my wedding day.
The Friday night before our wedding we enjoyed our rehearsal dinner over dreamy candlelight on Mount Washington with panoramic views of the Pittsburgh skyline. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law did a fabulous job of decorating the room to create a delightful and romantic ambiance. This intimate dinner preceding our wedding day was so special to share with our families, bridal parties, and our pastor and his wife. We reflected on the wonderful memories we shared with each other in the years leading up to this point and the anticipation and excitement for becoming one the next day. Reality had set in and my heart was filled with so much joy and happiness I felt like it could burst.
Saturday, wedding day, rolled around with sunshine in the sky and a warm breeze in the air! My morning started out with taking one last walk with my dad to the fountain at the point of the Three Rivers before later on walking the isle and being given over to my groom. We took a moment to sit, pause, and pray together before the wedding festivities. Though it was just a moment then, it is now a memory that I hold dear in my heart.
Once we returned to the hotel, I shared some time and tears with my parents as the emotions of the day and my gratitude for them couldn’t quite be put into words. My mother and I then headed to the bridal suite to brunch and start the glam process with my girls! We gathered together dressed in our floral and lace robes and enjoyed good fellowship while preparing for the main event! My maid of honor played messenger for Jeff and I to exchange a day-of letter to share our love and feelings before getting to see each other for the first time at the chapel.
We took a trolley over to Heinz Memorial Chapel where I anxiously awaited the clock to strike 5:30 and the organ to sound. My stunning bridesmaids made way down the aisle followed by my brothers who rolled out a runner just before my entrance. I carried a beautiful bouquet of fluffy blush roses and peonies in one hand, while my other hand clenched my father’s arm. I was so overcome by emotions when the doors swung open and I saw my handsome groom standing at the altar waiting for me. The moment I had looked forward to for 5+ years was finally here! After a welcoming from our pastor, my brother did a scripture reading of 1 Corinthians 13. We then exchanged vows and lit the unity candle while a family friend sang (fun fact: this same friend’s father sang at my parents wedding 28 years ago!). After the lighting of the candle was another moment of pause while the song continued. We held hands, locked eyes, and resonated on the words of the song “I have never been so sure of anything before, like I am in this moment here with you. Now ‘for better or for worse’ are so much more than only words and I pray every day will be the proof, that I mean what I say when I say ‘I do’.” Our ceremony concluded with a kiss to seal the deal and a pronouncement of becoming Mr. and Mrs. Hill!
The guests then shuffled out of the chapel and gathered around the stairway while shaking ribbon wands and bells to celebrate and congratulate us. Our hearts were filled with so much love and joy in this moment, surrounded by those that mean the most to us. We then took the celebration back to the hotel for cocktail hour and reception. When I first entered the reception ballroom I couldn’t believe how beautifully my florist and the event staff transformed the space! To kick off the reception, Jeff and I had our first dance followed by my dad giving a heartfelt welcome and blessing before the meal that brought me to tears. Shortly after, Jeff’s brother/best man gave a champagne toast followed by my lifelong friend/maid-of-honor that once again had me laughing one second and reaching for tissues the next. After the meal, we had our father-daughter and mother-son dances. My dad surprised me with the song we danced to by having the friend that sang at our ceremony sing “Isn’t She Lovely” with words that he changed to personalize it to me. (as if I wasn’t already an emotional mess). Our last reception event before hitting the dance floor was the cake cutting and my oh my, did Jeff have a little too much fun with that (see picture below)!
We had a wonderful DJ that set the tone with wedding classics all night and a beautiful display of thousands of cookies that family and friends had prepared for our special occasion! We felt so much love from the amazing people in our lives and are filled with gratitude to have the support system we have. Simply put, we are blessed beyond measure & living life to the fullest as husband and wife!
Takeaways for the bride to be:
- Don’t get lost in the decisions & details. When you’re holding hands with your new husband, surrounded by every person you love, nothing else matters.
- Find moments of the day to hit pause and take it all in.
- Include sentimental value in your day.
- Express gratitude to all that that came out to celebrate your love.