Marissa and Dave have known one another for half of their lives: "We met in junior high school, and have been together ever since!" says Marissa. "We dated for so long that our family and friends thought we'd never get married. We like to keep things interesting." But the pair did finally decide to tie the knot, and Dave proposed on July 3, 2014, during a hike in their local park. "I mentioned how pretty the trees looked, and when I turned around, Dave was on one knee with our dog, Dakota, next to him," says the bride. Thankfully they'd already planned a pre-Fourth of July picnic for that evening, which quickly became an impromptu engagement party.
The pair wanted their wedding to reflect their love of nature so, on July 11, 2015, they invited 180 guests to join them at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, an extensive wooded area designed to preserve native plants and wildlife — and with a brand new barn on the property for weddings and events. "We wanted something natural but not too rustic, and it was perfect," Marissa says. Hues of poppy and gray brightened up the green space, highlighting everything nature had already created. Keep reading to see the pictures, taken by Hot Metal Studio.
The bride fell in love with a Claire La Faye gown, fittingly called "Enchanted." "I tried on every gown at her trunk show, and the second I put this one on, I knew. It felt so authentically like me," says Marissa. The metallic-embroidered flowers on the bodice, draped sleeves, and flowing skirt gave Marissa a perfectly boho look. She complemented her gown with a flower crown and bouquet of dahlias, peonies, gerber daisies, and silver dollar eucalyptus.
Dave wore a gray tuxedo with a white tie, and his groomsmen wore the same tux with silver ties. "He's pretty casual in his daily life, so we didn't dress it up much more than that," says Marissa.
To finish off her wedding-day ensemble, Marissa wore bright floral pumps beneath her gown.
Finding bridesmaids dresses took some hunting, since Marissa had a particular poppy hue in mind. The crinkle chiffon gowns, with a one-shoulder neckline, were flattering on everyone's frames, and were a beautiful choice for a mid-summer wedding.
The ceremony took place on the garden's plaza, in front of a beautiful stone archway. The florist decorated the space with greenery and lanterns lined the aisle. Instead of a unity candle, the couple had a love lock ceremony, where the bride and groom and their parents hung heart-shaped locks on a hand-made framed tree, which now hangs in their home.
At the reception, tables were topped with neutral linens and decorated with greenery, dahlias, lilies, and peonies in shades of poppy, coral, orange, and pink.
Outside of the barn, an open-air fireplace was decked with lush arrangements of blooms. Says the bride, "It was so warm that night, so we didn't need to light it!"
In addition to a traditional Pittsburgh cookie table featuring family recipes, the couple served a cake decorated with buttercream vines. The flavors were his and her favorites: Vanilla cake with vanilla bean filling and chocolate cake with peanut butter filling.
"A hummingbird fluttered past me during the ceremony," says Marissa. "I took that as a good omen from nature!" And the super-organized bride has a little bit of advice: "I had a timeline in my head of how the weeks leading up to the wedding would go, but it wasn't realistic at all. So remember that the timeline will change, and to trust your vendors when their timeline is different than your own. They have your best interests at heart!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden || Day-of Coordinator & Florist: greenSinner || Bride's Wedding Dress: Claire La Faye || Shoes: Ivanka Trump || Jewelry: Camilla Christine || Hair & Makeup: Esthetics || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jim Hjelm || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Jack's Tuxedos || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Frost & Co. || Invitations & Paper Goods: Papier, Wedding Paper Divas, Karly K Designs || Unity Tree: Humdinger Designs || Music: Joel Lindsey Entertainment || Catering: Tallulah's Catering || Cake: Bethel Bakery || Rentals: Ambassador Tent Rental || Favors: The Crafty Smiths || Photography: Hot Metal Studio
Searching for more natural wedding inspiration? Then check out one couple's wedding at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens in the video below.