Real Weddings

Jessica & Scott: A Wintry Mountaintop Wedding in Lake Tahoe

Photos By Sonya Yruel

For Jessica Mishra and Scott Blasingame, it was quite literally a story of girl next door meets boy next door. The active couple—she’s an avid yogi, he’s a devoted swimmer—met in their San Francisco apartment building at a neighbor’s BBQ. A few years later, Scott popped the question atop Peak 9 in Breckenridge, Colorado. “He said he had to fix his boot when we got off the lift,” Jessica recalls. “He bent down and came back up with a ring!” The two recreated that alpine exhilaration for their March wedding, which was held on Squaw Valley’s High Camp deck beneath a bright and frosty sky. “We wanted guests to feel like they were on a fun adventure,” Jessica says, “and we wanted to embrace the beauty of Tahoe and the Sierras in winter, with pristine snow, beautiful pine trees, and a mountaintop site that made you feel like you were suspended in the clouds.” Captured by photographer Sonya Yruel, the day also featured numerous nods to Jessica’s Indian heritage. “My last name, Mishra, means “mixture”—perfect since I am a mix of ethnicities,” Jessica says. “My Indian background is very important to me, and I wanted to reflect that.” Tiny statues of Jessica’s favorite deity, Ganesha, who is thought to bless weddings and remove obstacles, made many appearances. Rich, vibrant colors traditional to Indian weddings—think burgundy and saffron—radiated warmth. An Eastern-inspired rug ran down the aisle. A throw made from sari fabrics was draped behind the cake table. “We wanted elegance and a touch of drama that stood out against the simplicity of the natural background but didn’t take away from it,” Jessica says.

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Liz & Kevin: An Eclectic Autumn Wedding in Pittsburgh

Photos By Dawn Derbyshire Photography

Kevin Hartbauer, who works for the electronics company Daktronics, popped the question to his longtime love, Liz Moore, while the two were camping beneath a canopy of stars and redwood crowns in Northern California. His grandmother had given him the heirloom ring. Nature had given him the backdrop. “It was a beautiful, starry night, and we were sitting around a campfire,” recalls Liz, a registered nurse. Despite the twinkle and flicker, however, it was still too dark for her to get a good look at her new finger bling. “We celebrated for a good 30 minutes before I asked Kevin if it was okay to turn on my headlamp and see the sparkler!” Fortunately for the Pittsburgh pair’s photographer, Dawn Derbyshire, there was plenty of light when the two tied the knot on a bright, unseasonably warm fall day at Old St. Luke’s Church. An Edgewood Club reception followed. “We chose historic venues, as it was important to us that our wedding feel authentically vintage,” Liz says. In a nod to her love of reading, the bookish bride incorporated “lots of literary touches,” such as handcrafted bookmark favors and table numbers made from antiquarian books. The event space was filled with fall foliage and enough candlelight to illuminate every detail.

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Krista & Joe: A Romantic, Eco-Friendly Wedding in Florida

Photos By Ashley McCormick Photography

Krista Beach, a physical therapist, and Joe South, a physician assistant student, met a decade ago while working at a clothing shop in Tampa. He was taken with her warm smile; she was impressed by his kindness and his fluency in Spanish. It would take Joe six more years, two of which were spent serving overseas in the Peace Corps, before he mustered up the courage to ask Krista on a date. She turned him down a few times, but in the end the stars aligned. Reader, she married him. The pair tied the knot on Earth Day in the foliage-filled garden of Florida’s Museum of Fine Arts. Krista is passionate about environmentalism, and she strove to plan an eco-conscious day filled with green details, from plantable invitations made out of bee-friendly wildflower seed paper to everlasting florals crafted out of recycled and sustainable materials.

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Sarah & Robert: A Warm, Elegant Winter Wedding in Philadelphia


Sarah Woodson and Robert Smith, both resident physicians, met during their first months of medical school at UPenn. After attending an ethics lecture one autumn afternoon, Sarah bumped into Robert at the reception table. “I was making an unseemly amount of noise while chomping on a wide variety of snacks,” Robert recalls. “Given our shared love of Philly food and our tendency to be affected by ‘hanger,’ in retrospect this seems like a rather appropriate first meeting.” The two walked home together across the Walnut Street Bridge. Robert remembers a walk “punctuated by huge smiles and frequent laughter,” the start of a “delightful friendship.” The following fall, Robert found himself trekking through a storm to Sarah’s apartment. He’d made a promise—that he would whip up a batch of pumpkin–chocolate chip pancakes for her during their study date—and he intended to keep it. “The end result was clearly edible enough to leave a lasting impression,” Robert says. While debating the relative merits of fluffy vs. cake-like pancake styles, the two realized something much more substantial—they’d fallen for each other. On a wintry evening in November, Robert popped the question beneath the twinkling lights of Addison Street after treating Sarah to dinner at an Italian BYO they’d wanted to try for years. Though neither Robert nor Sarah originally hails from Philadelphia, the city where their romance bloomed felt like the most natural locale for their wedding. “We wanted it to be classic and elegant but also warm and inviting,” Robert says. “We wanted to welcome our guests into Philly as if they were stepping into our home.” And so that’s just what they did.

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Annabelle & Matt: A Vibrant Waterfront Wedding on the Chesapeake Bay

Photos By Manda Weaver

Annabelle and Matt met in Washington, D.C., where they both began their postgrad lives. Their first date, a margarita meetup at a Mexican eatery on Capitol Hill, confirmed their chemistry. Their second date, to the National Zoo, “sealed the relationship,” says Matt, who popped the question a few summers later beneath a sprawling oak tree on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency on the Chesapeake Bay. The pair returned to this scenic Maryland spot for their spring nuptials, opting to hold their ceremony outdoors on Manor Lawn and their reception inside one of the resort’s spaciously chic ballrooms. Though theirs turned out to be a gray day in May, the couple’s punchy pink palette, whimsical touches, and radiant joy more than made up for cloudy skies. Even a sudden rain shower mid-vows didn’t dampen spirits.

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Rachel & Jon: A Rustic, Woodsy Winter Wedding in Iowa

Photos By Katie Lindgren

A Christmas engagement followed by a cozy winter wedding seems serendipitously fitting for a bride like Rachel Bunting, whose home typically assumes a Christmassy air long before the holiday arrives. “We always have our tree up the week before Thanksgiving,” says Rachel’s now-husband, Jon, who popped the question amid a mess of crumpled wrapping paper and scattered boxes after the last gift had been opened. The Iowan couple worked with White Willow Events to design their December nuptials at Barnes’ Place, a family-owned barn venue in Adel that’s short on frills and long on charm. Making decorative use of acorns, evergreen, and even mistletoe, the two tapped into the magic of the season with wintrily rustic details but sidestepped an overly overt nod to Yuletide cheer by opting for warm jewel tones—think ruby and emerald—in lieu of typical reds and greens...

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