Nicole & Jeff

March 30, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

Nicole and Jeff Mountain 

A little over a year ago, Nicole called me to ask about my availability for February of 2015.  She said that Jeff had proposed and they were planning a winter wedding in 12 months.  They had not yet found their venue, but were so excited about my photography that she wanted to be sure of my open dates before she chose the available Saturday they would end up with at their wedding venue. {ME: Flattered!}  I knew immediately they were a perfect fit for me (something I always encourage couples to explore, since we're going to be spending a lot of time together on their most important day).   They loved my dramatic/colorful style, I loved their bold style, the shoe fit perfectly. {foreshadow hint}

 

We started our photographic journey that summer with an engagement session in the city. Nicole's shoes were ordered specifically from Christian Louboutin to match the iconic Pittsburgh bridges... of course!

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Jeff, How did you propose to Nicole?

 

"I proposed to Nicole March 2nd 2014 in Chicago's Millennium Park. I began planning this several months prior, and I chose Chicago because we both love that city but have never experienced it together before.  Since Nicole is a huge Penguin's fan I knew that I could take her to a game and she wouldn't suspect anything.  So I surprised Nicole with tickets for the Stadium Series hockey game and a trip to Chicago.  With the help of a terrific staff at the Hyatt I was able to have a little assistance with my plans.  The most difficult part was trying to make definitive plans without Nicole making plans of her own.  We fly in that Saturday and went to the hockey game in probably the coldest weather either of us had ever experienced.  The next day my plan was to get Nicole to Millennium Park and propose there. I chose Millennium Park because of "The Bean", as known as the Cloud Gate.  Ever since we met and found we both loved the city of Chicago, Nicole always talked about "The Bean", and could not believe I had not seen it before.  So with temperatures close to 0 degrees I convinced her to show me "The Bean" on our way to dinner.  And it was a battle for me to convince her that this was the right time to go there and she should still keep her heels on to go to dinner.  So we caught a cab from the hotel and headed for the park. The cab dropped us at the entrance to the park and arm in arm we headed for "The Bean", keeping each other warm.  When we arrived, there were a few people around us taking pictures enjoying the beautiful sight of the city, as Nicole was doing the same, I dropped to one knee and asked her to be my wife!  After an emotional 'yes', we headed out of the park while she was still in complete shock.  I arranged for a limo to pick us up with flowers and champagne and drive us through the city before we finished off with dinner in a private restaruant where we would call friends and family."

 


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A few months later, Nicole was showered with love by her bridesmaids, mother, mother in law, aunts, grandmother, and lots of family and friends. Of course... shoe cupcakes were a must!

Notice the blue cupcakes in front of the cake {Foreshadow hint #2} 

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Then, on February 21st, complete with a sudden snow and ice storm... the day had finally come. The blistery cold and snowflakes added to the romantic excitement of waiting for such an amazing day to arrive. My first photo of the day? Nicole's shoes and signature red lipstick. 

 

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I decided to interview Nicole about her wedding, to get the bride's point of view.

The remainder of this blog contains her first person narration of the big day! 

 

 

 

 

Nicole, tell us about "the shoes".

 

"Ahhh the shoes. My favorite part. I have known for a very long time what shoes I wanted to wear on my wedding day. I am going to sound like a total clichéd girl here, but I was a huge Sex and the City fan. In my favorite episode, “A Woman’s Right to Shoes,” Carrie wears a very “special” pair of silver Manolo Blahnik shoes at the end of the episode. They are called the ‘Sedaraby’ Open Toe d’Orsay Pump. They also come in blue. Since that episode I have loved those shoes and admired them in Nordstrom waiting for something special to wear them to. I wanted them to be my “something blue” as well.

Of course, in the Sex and the City movie, Carrie also marries Big in a pair of blue Manolos. It was all about the shoes."

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Mountain_048Mountain_048 Who did your nails? 

I got my nails done at Angel Nails in Penn Center.  Trinh Nguyen is fabulous! It is a small, family-owned salon in Penn Center and they are the sweetest people. Trinh helped me select the "Ruby Pumps" color for my bridesmaids.  Trinh and her husband just welcomed a baby boy into their family and she was on maternity leave at the time of our wedding. She actually came in to work just to do my nails for our wedding! Mountain_049Mountain_049

 

Nicole's Hair and Make-up was done by Pretty Hair Salon

 

"I gave my girls each a little present at my bridal shower. I gave them the nail polish they would wear at the wedding. It was a very glam red with a shimmer to it.  It was a China Glaze color called 'Ruby Pumps'.  I found the name to be quite fitting as well.  I bought each of the girls their red lipstick as well...they could choose between MAC's Ruby Woo or Viva Glam Rihanna Red."

 

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Did you add any alcoholic flair to the wedding?

 

"The snowflake martini was my signature drink (to fit into the winter theme), and Dewers and soda was Jeff's signature drink.

We also had an “adult” hot chocolate bar for our guests. Jeff and I got engaged in Chicago last March. It was about -4 degrees outside! So we decided to have some fun with the winter theme."

 

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{Nicole is not the only one to love a good pair of shoes... check out the Jimmy Choo shoes Jeff had!!}

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Jeff, what was your most cherished moment?

 

"My favorite memory of the wedding was actually the ceremony. I loved the way everything was set up and that I was right in the mix with all of our guests. As we were all gathering in the train station behind the train car I was able to interact with everyone and even facetime with my dad who couldn't make it to the wedding because he was in the hospital.  I felt like all the guest had a chance to see the phases of emotion while I anticipated Nicole walking down through the tunnel (aisle).  Of the ceremony my single favorite part was watching each bridesmaid walk down as my anticipation grew for the sight of Nicole.  As I watched Nicole turn that corner at the end of the tunnel with her dad escorting her, and seeing her beautiful face, that was my favorite memory of the wedding."

 

Floral bouquets done by The Curly Window

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How did you decide on the bridesmaid look?

 

"I have been a bridesmaid several times and one of the things that is a constant theme is that the bridesmaids hate their dresses. It’s not always so much about the style of the dress because everyone usually agrees that it is the bride’s day and should reflect her style, but the fit. Let’s face it, everyone is not built the same. What looks fabulous on one person may look terrible on another and vice versa. On top of that, you may have bridesmaids that are just plain uncomfortable and self-conscious in what they are asked to wear. What always makes matters worse is knowing that you are going to be photographed that way when what you really want to do is crawl in a hole and hide! HAHA

I chose a completely different approach: I let my bridesmaids all choose the dresses they wanted to wear and I didn't require the normal matching bridesmaid “look.” I have beautiful friends, but each one is very different. They have different styles, different personalities and different body types. I wanted to work with that instead of against it.

 I wanted each girls individual style and personality show and I wanted everyone to feel comfortable and beautiful in what they wore. So, I chose a day and that we all went together and they chose what dresses they wanted to try on and wear. The only requirement was that they chose a black dress. Everything else was entirely up to them. The dresses were from Nordstrom."

 

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Tell us about your dress! 

 

"Many girls know what they want their wedding dress to look like from the time they are a little girl. Not me. I never envisioned myself twirling in a big, ruffled dress. For me it was about the shoes! I had absolutely no idea what I wanted my wedding dress to look like. What I did know was what I didn’t want: I didn’t want flowers, or pouf. My worst nightmare was walking down the aisle and Jeff thinking to himself, “wow, she looks stupid.” HAHA

Pouf was not my thing. I did not want to look like a cupcake! After visiting a couple of bridal shops and being chased (literally) into fitting rooms by consultants telling me how beautiful I looked in things that were TOTALLY wrong for me, I knew one thing: I needed less “bridal” and more red carpet. I found that at Bridal Beginnings in Mt. Lebanon. From the moment that I walked in there my experience was COMPLETELY different than at any other store. Sam was my consultant and she was FABULOUS! She actually took me into a room and listened to what I wanted. I showed her pictures of dresses I liked and talked to her about us as a couple, my personal style, and of course, my shoes. She found 4 dresses she thought I would like, and I actually liked them all when I put them on. Considering the number of “wrong” dresses I was forced to try on at other stores, my mother and I were thrilled. When I put this dress on I said, “this is my dress,” but wanted to try the other 3. When I asked Sam who the designer was, tears came to both mine and my mom’s eyes.

My dress was by designer Cristiano Lucci. Cristiano was my Grandmother and Grandfather’s last name. I was sold!"

 

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Nicole's dress was done by Bridal Beginnings & Jeff's Tux Montaj Custom Tailor

 

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All food, appetizers, and Tiramisu Desert was made by DiSalvo's Restaurant.   Centerpieces were designed by her Aunt Debbie Mancini

 

Did you do any DIY projects for the decor? 

"If by DIY you mean, “your aunt,” then  yes, we had a few DIY items at the wedding. HAHA! I am a very creative person…however I am NOT crafty. I cannot stress this enough. I can visualize what I want, but I can’t actually make it. My Aunt Debbie is fabulous with crafts and floral arrangements etc. She is the DIY queen. We enlisted her help on a couple of the projects. I ordered the table numbers from ETSY and she made the candle luminaries that were on each table. She also made our centerpieces. We did not want traditional floral centerpieces. We felt that DiSalvo’s station had so much character on its own and we had a very old Hollywood glam theme working. We just didn’t feel flowers fit in to that. Ostrich feathers were a very common decorative piece during that time and were commonly seen in old movies etc. We approached a couple of florists with this idea and received pretty much the same reaction that I had when shopping for my wedding dress: they all tried to talk us out of what we wanted and in to flowers. It is amazing just how non-personal and non-creative everyone believes your wedding should be. So, I showed some pictures to Debbie of what I wanted and she created those as well."

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Candy Buffet by Pittsburgh Sweet Treats and Deserts/cake Jennuine Cakes & Cafe

 

Tell me about the shoe & cigar themed items.  

 

"Jeff and I really wanted the wedding to reflect who we are as individuals and as a couple. We wanted our wedding to be unique and our guests enjoyment was our top priority. We wanted our guests to walk away from the wedding truly feeling that it was the most enjoyable wedding they had attended. We wanted a big party with lots of food and drinks.  We also didn’t want to be pressured into certain traditions just because you are “supposed” to have them at a wedding. Take the wedding cake, for example. We chose to have a delicious tiramisu dessert served to each guest at dinner as well as a selection of sweets and treats that they could snack on throughout the night, any time they desired.

It’s no secret that I love shoes. In fact, if you asked most people to name something they know about me…shoes will usually be the answer. So, I chose to have a variety of flavored cupcakes with shoes on them.

It is also no secret that Jeff loves his cigars. He owns The Cigar House cigar shop in Verona, PA.  

Jeff chose to have a variety of flavored cupcakes with cigars on them. The cupcakes were all displayed in empty cigar boxes. In addition to the cupcakes, we also had mint chocolate chip brownies and miniature cheesecakes. All of the desserts on the table were made by Jen at Jennuine Cakes and Café in Murrysville. She is absolutely fabulous! She met with us and listened to our ideas and created the most beautiful display.

There was one more dessert displayed outside of the train car in the main dining room and that was the small wedding cake that we had made (also Jen at Jennuine) special for the two of us to cut. It was surrounded by a display of tiramisu flavored square cupcakes for our guests.

Oh, and I almost forget one of my favorite little details ~ the place card holders were little silver shoes. I loved them!"

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Dj was Jay Schimmel 

 

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What is your best memory from the day?

 

"Every. Single. Minute. It turned out exactly as we hoped that it would. But if I had to choose a favorite memory I would say seeing the bright red lipstick all over Jeff’s face after our kiss and trying to wipe it off. MAC’s Viva Glam Rihanna red lipstick was a great color on him ;)"

 

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{Alongside Jeff and some friends... The owner, Joey Disalvo, took a break for a cigar at the end of the night, in the cigar bar basement!}

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{As the waiters cleaned up the party... Nicole and Jeff stole a final kiss inside the classic train car.}

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Chair covers/ table runners Fabulous Affair

 

 

Why did you choose Disalvo's Station for your event?

 

"We chose Disalvo’s Station for two reasons.

We initially went to look at DiSalvo’s because a close friend of Jeff’s, Mike Fossati, is the General Manager there. Jeff said if anyone would work hard to be sure our wedding went exactly as planned, it would be Mike. I will admit, I was not sold on the idea because it was in Latrobe and I am much more of a city girl. I was originally interested in venues like the Andy Warhol and Phipps Conservatory. But Mike was Jeff’s friend, so, we went to check it out. I trusted that if Jeff said Mike would do a good job, he would. It was at least worth looking into.  I know that I keep repeating myself when I say this, but we wanted unique. When we walked into DiSalvo’s through the tunnel, we knew that was our place.

It was as unique as a venue could be. We both love the World War II era and this place just had that look and feel about it. The train car was fabulous and the cigar bar downstairs was all Jeff needed to seal the deal. We wanted to work with the character of the venue, so that is where the idea of the Old Hollywood Glam look and feel came in to play. We thought that it all coordinated perfectly.

Our rehearsal dinner was held there as well, and the wedding party got to eat in the train car both nights. They loved it! Who needs a bridal party table when you can have your very own train car?

As Jeff had promised, Mike did an amazing job. He coordinated every last detail and worked with us and all of our vendors to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible. It was perfect!"

 

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The last shot of the evening was one Bill captured from the icy parking lot! 

 

 

What did you like about Skysight Photography when you decided to choose us for your wedding?  

 

"Jeff and I truly wanted a unique wedding. We didn’t want our wedding to be remembered as just another one of the “cookie cutter” weddings. This was true about every aspect of the wedding, including our photos. We didn’t want “cheesy” engagement pictures. I am constantly seeing engagement photos of couples on swings or frolicking in the park. Ok, when was the last time you and your fiancé actually walked around a park barefoot holding hands??? They are not even remotely realistic and often the couple looks extremely awkward and uncomfortable (especially the guys). Wedding photos usually consist of the bridal party standing on the altar or everyone looking at the bride and groom. We wanted different. We wanted unique. We wanted creativity.

 I had been following you on Facebook for some time and I knew that you had a style that I really liked. Over the year prior to our engagement, you posted pictures from several sessions that made me stop and say, “wow, she is fabulous.” When we got engaged and started to select vendors, I was adamant that you had to be our photographer. In fact, I actually called you to check your availability before we even set our wedding date. I’m pretty certain everyone thought I was nuts choosing my wedding day based upon a photographer’s availability. Pretty unheard of, right? When I showed your work to Jeff, he loved it. When I showed him some of the cigar shots you had previously done…he was sold! We showed your work to our parents and they understood immediately why we wanted to work with you."

 

 

Congratulations Nicole and Jeff...We were so honored to be a part of your wedding process from beginning to end! Sincerely, Autumn and Bill Stankay


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