Classically Elegant Catholic Wedding in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mariateresa and Paul

Photographed by: Joey Kennedy PhotographyLocation: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Halloween isn’t often thought of as a holiday that brings people together, but Mariateresa Schiappa and Paul Snyder’s clandestine meeting is the exception. While out with their respective friend groups to celebrate, the pair first locked eyes at a nightclub. “Paul was all suited and looking good as per his authentic Mod aesthetic,” remembers Mariateresa. “I walked up to him, thinking this must be a group costume and asked, ‘Are you supposed to be Mods?’ Cool as a cucumber, he replies, ‘I always dress like this.’ I said, ‘Well, I love it!’ and the seed was planted.” After a brief misunderstanding over a telephone number, Paul found himself on a date with Mariateresa’s friend – to which she tagged along – a few nights later. They felt an immediate connection, and when Paul’s date went to meet up with other people, she asked him to drive Mariateresa home. “We realized we weren’t ready for the evening to end. We talked the night away and the rest is history,” Mariateresa reveals.

Several years later, Paul flew from Chicago to Pittsburgh in order to ask for the blessing of his girlfriend’s parents before he proposed – which he heartily received. A few days later, he met his beloved after work and they began to stroll the streets of the city. “When I picked her up, she asked how my day was and I lied and said it had been a really rough day,” Paul admits. He suggested they get a drink before heading home. As they passed several bars and restaurants, Mariateresa pointed out each one as a possible destination. “I wanted us to get back to the bar where we ended up on our first night as a couple and hadn’t been back to since,” he notes. When they finally arrived, they discovered the place wouldn’t open for another ten minutes. Not wanting to wait a second longer, Paul made his move. “I decided to do it right there under the sign. I said, ‘Mariateresa, I have to come clean. I didn’t have a bad day at work. I had a really great day, and I think we’re going to have a great night together, and I think we’re going to have a great life together.’” With no hesitation, she fervently accepted his proposal.

The couple knew they’d tie the knot in Pittsburgh. “We are fairly old fashioned when it comes to important traditions or life milestones, so I knew that I was going to get married in Pittsburgh, where my mom lived and 45 minutes down the road from my hometown of Steubenville, Ohio,” the bride explains. Her mother played an integral role in the planning process, helping the pair with every decision. Mariateresa had a very clear vision of what she wanted their special day to look like. “The theme could be summed up in three words: classic, formal, and elegant,” she asserts. “I love jewel tones and I find that they really look lovely on any skin tone. I love the rich depth of eggplant. We thought the perfect colors to both enhance and contrast it would be ivory and gold.”

Mariateresa’s bridal look perfectly reflected the motif of the day: a stunning tulle ball gown with gem embellishments and illusion detailing paired with a sophisticated bun coiffure, bejeweled headpieces, and a long chapel veil with a blusher. Five bridesmaids in graceful, deep purple dresses carrying bouquets of pastel-hued blooms preceded the bride down the aisle of the opulent Catholic church that played host to their ceremony. “When they opened the doors, the sunlight from outside glared through, so you just saw her silhouette and it was like she was walking out of a dream,” gushes the groom. 

After the traditional vows – which included a beautiful cello performance by Paul’s 13-year-old cousin – their 200 guests left the wedding party to take formal photos and went on to the reception at a famed museum space. They found their seats at round tables bedecked with soft ivory-and-gold linens and opulent floral centerpieces housed in either tall, medium, or low vases featuring white hydreangea blooms, pink spray roses, blush-and-white cherry blossoms, and greenery. Tablescapes were scattered with votives and each place setting showcased elegant menus in gilt calligraphy. Though their picture session ran a little late, the newlyweds arrived soon after and took their seats at the small, round sweetheart table with a sparkling white linen and a cluster of cascading orchids. 

“The most memorable moment of the reception for me was when we went out on the dance floor for our first dance to a version of ‘Baby, I’m Yours’ by the Arctic Monkeys. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, if I hear that song I will smile and be reminded of how much I love my Paul,” the bride muses. As revelers danced the night away, they were sustained by not only one confection, but two: Mariateresa and Paul provided guests with a classic five-tier white wedding cake as well as a groom’s cake made to look like a vintage record player.

Mariateresa has very simple, practical advice for any future brides: “Make certain to designate one person (does not necessarily have to be in the wedding party, although it would be convenient) that you trust to make sure to let you know when you should touch up your makeup, including powder under the eyes, lipstick, or gloss because all that smiling will dry you out, etc. This might seem small, but those pictures and video last forever!”