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While reading @HuffPostWedding this morning and sipping my favorite strawberry Italian soda, it occurred to me, “If Huffington Post can cover their favorite Etsy Wedding items and Oprah can give away her favorite things on her show then I can totally blog about mine.”

MY FAVORITE HAIRPIECE

If you’re like me, you love little details just like this simply adorable mini hat by Fine and Fleurie.

I found this pretty little mini hat actually on the Huffington Post Wedding list of their favorite items on Etsy.  According to the website (which is linked by clicking on the image):

This sweet mini hat features three entirely handmade dupioni silk flowers in the prettiest blush pink shade. Peeking out from behind the flower petals are vintage millinery leaves and a spray of rhinestone leaves. Each flower is centered with a faceted silver rhinestone focal, for just the right amount of sparkle. Hat has an elastic band for stability and ribbon ties for a perfect custom fit.

Super cute!!  For me, this is kind off reminiscent of the fascinator hats that became  popular in England a few years ago and that I absolutely fell in love with (Sadly, I’m still waiting for the trend to pick up in Pittsburgh).  Personally, I don’t want a veil for my wedding and would love to wear my hair in a loose bun with waves, curls and tendrils so this headpiece is ideal for a style like that.  What I also love about this mini hat is the versatility… if you’re a bride and want a veil, you can still suggest it to your attendants or the mommy of your flower girl for a pretty and very feminine accessory (oh and apparently Fine and Fleurie sells shoes that match??!)

MY FAVORITE VENUE

Destination weddings are some couple’s thing.  While a trip to Las Vegas or the beach sounds fantastic, I’d rather save the traveling for the honeymoon and keep the ceremony and reception close to home.

Luckily, my groom agrees with me on this point.

And while to the outside eye, Pittsburgh may appear to be a black and gold clad mecca to steel workers and people with funny accents, us Yinzers know that our city is a virtual cornucopia of small (and grand) venues that can play host to any event you can dream up.  We have rivers, barns, reception halls (both rural and urban), bridges, hotels, theatres and stadiums.  All of them are ripe for the booking.

Renaissance Pittsburgh Downtown has a sentimental meaning to my groom and I as it’s where we first met, flirted and arranged our first date.  Though both of us have since moved on professionally, the memories created on the sidewalk in front of the building will always be special to both of us.

Located at 107 6th Street in Downtown, this historic building has played home to offices and a VA hospital in the past.  Today, Renaissance Pittsburgh Downtown boasts 14 floors of luxury, a spectacular view of the Allegheny River and Pittsburgh’s North Shore and the most amazing wedding coordinator in the city, Tony Lee.  Renaissance is a Marriott Property so click the image for a link to their website to get booking information.

If you’re interested in reviews from previous events, WeddingWire.com’s Profile of Renaissance has a complete FAQ section that covers everything a Would-Be-Bride could ever want to know about the venue: tastings, add-ons, time availabilities, capacity limits, etc.  It’s a very helpful resource but what you won’t find there is information on how very hands on Tony Lee is.  There is not a detail that goes unnoticed or a snafu that isn’t anticipated and planned for well in advance.  Tony is simply the best in his field.

MY FAVORITE PITTSBURGH JEWELER

When it comes to jewelry, there will never be a bigger or more important purchase made in a groom’s (or bride’s) life than that coveted engagement ring.

I’m still waiting for the question to officially be popped but since Brad and I are very transparent people, we’ve gone ring shopping together several times.  We went to big, corporate retailers like Jared’s, Zales and Kay Jewelers and had less than positive experiences (Jared’s in particular was very sales oriented and much less personable than the others). We went to the Clark Building on Liberty Ave in downtown to check out the Tacori selection at Goldstock.

The absolute best and most personalized service we got was at Orr’s Jewelers.

Orr’s Jewelers is located right on Forbes Ave in Squirrel Hill (they also have a 2nd store in Sewickley on Beaver Street).  According to the website, the store opened in 1952 in Midland, PA but eventually moved to its current location in 1996 due to overwhelming business demands and is still one of the largest collections of fine jewelry in the US.

Speaking from personal experience, walking into Orr’s Jewelers is everything a “shopping for an engagement ring experience” should be.  We were immediately approached by a friendly and knowledgeable associate who helped us narrow the field and find a happy medium between price and taste.  She showed us from case to case, looking at different designers halo, solitaire and pave settings and pointing out the difference in each.  She voluntarily priced our choices by contacting the vendors directly several times and eventually even asked her manager to help us out by showing us their CAD program which allows Brad to completely design his own ring if he chose to.

They were extremely patient with us and explained that their sales associates do not work on commission so everything is 100% about the client and building loyalty.  They want us to be happy with their product just as much as we want to be happy with their product.

Are you a Bride-To-Be (or past or current) and know someone (or something) that I absolutely MUST check out and/or blog about? Are you a vendor with a great product?

Please let me know via email or comment on the blog!

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