Wedding Traditions with a Twist

Feb14 NC web banner-1By Paula Green and Marianne Reid Anderson

Adding your own unique flare to your wedding will keep your guests talking for years. Check out these great ideas and locations for help expressing the wonderful and one-of-a-kind couple you are.

THEMES – Beach-themed wedding are very romantic.  If you aren’t able to do a destination wedding at the beach, then capture the essences at the reception by incorporating beach or ocean-related decors to your reception venue.  For the color motif incorporate base colors – such as a deep-sea blue, light emerald-green, or a medium blue.  You could also have an outdoor-theme, complete with butterflies, roses, or other favorite outdoor flowers.  Rustic country-themed receptions are growing in popularity as well.  An angel-themed wedding would be divine, with fluffy white feathers, cute cherubs, Grecian columns and urns, and of course, angel wings to use as a decorating scheme.   You could also capture the essence of a celestial marriage celebration with this starry night theme wedding – complete with dark blues and celestial stars.  A sports-themed wedding is sure to be a hit.   Choose your favorite sport or team, and use the colors and symbols available to help build your wedding theme.  It will score big points with your guests. Contact General Rental for all kinds of items to spice up the big day. In addition to the conventional party rentals such as tents, tables, chairs, linens and much, much more, they have fun rentals too including dunk tanks, bounce houses, cotton candy machines and frozen drink dispensers. We are constantly updating our inventory with new games and concession equipment, so be sure and visit their Cranberry location. To learn more, call (724) 776-6990 to speak with an event planner or visit

BRIDAL SHOWER – Take the shower out of the living room and out of the house. Instead, move it to someplace elegant, filled with charm and grace. This way, no one in your wedding party needs to worry about decorating and best of all, no clean-up, leaving you time to visit with your guests for some real girl-bonding time. The Johnston House Tea Room located in Mars near Cranberry is just such a place. It offers a blend of romance, luxury and old world charm inside and out with unmatched options and impeccable service. Their core purpose for over 25 years is “making memories” and “making people feel at home.” For more information on this one-of-a-kind location, contact their event coordinators at (724) 625-2636.

ACCOMODATIONS for OUT of TOWN GUESTS – Forget the fold-out sofa and the futon on the floor, book a block of rooms at Home2 suites to give your out-of-town guest that homey feel without the work and chaos. Home2 Suites by Hilton are walking distance to all of the shops, eateries and cinemas in McCandless Crossing for your guest to enjoy while you are busy getting ready for the wedding. In addition, each Home 2 Suite gives your guests a kitchenette, free breakfast and a great place to relax and enjoy. Also, be sure and provide a welcome gift and thank you note for each guest. To see what all Home2 Suites have to offer your out-of-town guests, visit

SAVE THE DATE –If you are bored with Save the Date cards, then why not created a board game like the game of Life?  It can be accompanied by bride and groom game pieces. Another option would be to create a “comic book” style Save the Date.  Share with your invited guest an abridged version of your relationship or proposal.  Or you could showcase your writing skills by composing a magazine-format Save the Date or even a Crossword puzzle – “How Well Do You Know the Bride and Groom?”  Passport covers are another creative Save the Date option – be sure to select ones that match your wedding colors. You could also choose to tantalize the intended guest taste buds by sending out a cookie box Save the Date.  It is definitely a sweet option!  Whatever you decide be sure to make it as fun and personalized as possible.

INVITATIONS – Wedding invitations now comes in many imaginative designs.  A guided concept is to – “Map-it out” – set up the invite to read like road map directions.  Are you travel buffs?  Then design your invitations to look like airplane tickets or passports. Vinyl records may be yesterday’s news, but you can utilize them for a record label invitations – just affix your wedding invitation right on the label and you could even make a recording on the vinyl record.  Feeling like you hit the jackpot – then design your wedding invites as lottery. For help designing your invitations, use the Print Daughters at the Print Shop at Office Things in Mars. In addition to invitation, they can help with all your printing and wedding item needs including programs, place cards, napkins, favors, thank you notes and so much more. To see what all they have to offer, visit

TABLE DÉCOR – Find some innovative ways to number your guest’s tables.   One idea is burlap bags. Wrap the table’s wine in a cute burlap bag stamped with the table number for a rustic table number idea.  You can write the words for “love” and “marriage” in different foreign languages.  Have sports-themed tables.  Or name the table after your favorite movies, TV shows, actors or actresses.  Or could names the tables after birds, flowers, parks or trees.  How about taking a historical spin-on things, name them after favorite presidents, historical dates or monuments.  For food and drink tables you can name them after your favorite restaurants, desserts, or cocktails.  For centerpieces you could have mason jars with fresh flowers, or hiking centerpieces with wooden flower holders, or perhaps a nice little teapot with fresh buds.  Instead of going floral, try a few unique centerpieces – lamps, ice sculptures, candles, or seashells and corals.  Be imaginative and have fun, your guests will enjoy your creativity.

VENUES – How about tying the knot on a bridge?  Just pick out your favorite one, because Pittsburgh has 446 to choose from.  Great local reception venues include, The Crystal Conservatory at St. Barnabas, The Magnolia Room, The Camelot, and The Colombian Room. The Crystal Conservatories at St. Barnabas is a four building complex that includes a Pre-function room ideal for mingling, The Main Conservatory with a large indoor heated pool featuring poolside dining, the Tower Conservatory which is a glass house with buffet and bar areas, tables and a loft and the Cruise Deck with patio dining and room to socialize outside and adjacent to the pool. Visit The Magnolia Room offers classic elegance in a contemporary setting, located only 1.1 miles from Pittsburgh Mills Mall and the Magnolia Room also includes a Bridal Room where the bridal party enjoys hors d’oeuvres and can freshen up before being announced to guests. Visit to learn more. The Camelot, in Warrendale is an idyllic location for a wedding reception with its large, individual ballroom; it offers seating for 75-200 guests.  The Camelot team also offers another remarkable venue, The Columbian Room, located in Wexford which accommodate 175-300 guests. “We offer an inclusive package – the cake, the linens, the food, really everything needed for a beautiful event with the exception of the DJ and the photographer.  What sets us apart is our unique venues, our amazing in-house catering team, experience, and owner involvement. We help the couple with the whole reception process every step of the way,” said The Camelot’s owner and events manager, Valerie Sarel.   Her husband Ryan is also the owner, and he serves as the executive chef as well.

Want more wedding ideas with a twist, including registries, favors, proposals and so much more? Be sure and check out our website at and our Facebook page!


2015 Wedding Guide Vendors

The Print Shop

Chiropractic Family Health Center

The Magnolia Room

The Camelot Banquet Hall
The Columbian Room in Wexford

Home 2 Suites

Crystal Conservatory

General Rental Center

Wexford Nails & Spa

The Johnston House

Saint James Catholic Church