National Aviary Wedding | Pittsburgh

Courtney & Ryan’s Autumn Jewel-Toned Literary Wedding

A bride and groom at a National Aviary wedding in Pittsburgh.
A bride holds a jewel-tone fall bouquet at a National Aviary wedding in Pittsburgh.

I feel honored when any couple invites me to be a part of their wedding celebration, but when friends and family do? It’s extra special.

When a favorite high school teacher contacted me about planning and designing her daughter’s wedding, I was so excited to reconnect and serve their family in this way. They’re just as lovely as I remembered, and getting to know Courtney and Ryan better over the course of the year was a blast.

Courtney became a PhD during their engagement, Ryan works in film, and both are involved in abolition activism. They have absolutely the biggest hearts – for each other, their friends and family, and the world around them – and I loved seeing their personalities balance and bring out the best in each other.

The two met doing summer Shakespeare, and are collectors of antiques – especially books. A jewel-toned dark academia literary vibe was just the thing.

We ended up with lovely fall weather – in October, it could’ve been cold and rainy or even snowy – and the peak leaf color weekend of the year.

The wedding party made Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh their home base – it was a perfect spot to get ready, facilitate a first look, and spend the nights they were in town. The staff at Hotel Monaco were fabulous to work with, offer fantastic rewards along with their room blocks, were super helpful with my multiple trips in and out and up and down elevators, and quickly attended to the party’s and families’ every need.

Want beautiful getting-ready photos? Start with a beautiful, stress-free space.

A wedding party at Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
A wedding party at Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.

And nothing beats a secluded and private rooftop first look.

Courtney and Ryan chose the National Aviary in Pittsburgh as their ceremony and reception venue. The rose garden was a perfect private space for the ceremony, and felt magical with its tall hedges and beautiful bird sculptures. 

A bridal party at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.
Rose Garden wedding ceremony at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

During cocktail hour, guests were able to explore the Aviary and see some of the hundreds of birds who call it home. I love a good cocktail hour activity!

National Aviary Pittsburgh rotunda with bird mobiles.
Toucan at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

The Garden Room was a perfect space for their fall reception, with its cozy fireplaces, wall of windows to enjoy the view of the park, and ample space for both a buffet and dance floor.

Mantle decor at a wedding reception at the National Aviary.
A sweetheart table at a wedding reception at the National Aviary.
Centerpieces at a literary wedding reception at the National Aviary.

If you’re considering booking the National Aviary for your wedding or event, I highly recommend doing so. Their staff was so lovely to work with and patiently answered all of my very specific questions; Atria’s dinner buffet was fabulous; and the two staffs work together like a well-oiled machine. 

Courtney’s review:

“I can’t say enough incredible things about Emily! She’s so incredibly thoughtful and detailed and seriously saved us when it came to wedding planning. She is very accessible and walks you through everything— even things you didn’t even think about. Her ability to problem solve and figure out solutions made our wedding so very special and easy.”

PS: If you can figure out from the photos where I (Emily) went to high school, mention it when you schedule your Coffee & Chat and you’ll get a discount on whatever service you book!

Lovelies who made it happen:

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