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Allow myself to introduce...myself :) (long)

Hello everyone!  I had created another post when someone recommended that I introduce myself, so here it goes:

My name is Nikki, I'm 29, and an IT dork.  My fiance, Eric (32), is a GM of bakery.  He went to culinary school and used to be a chef, but once I graduated college we never saw each other since he worked opposite hours.  So he decided to go into management with a restaurant that would allow us to actually be able to spend some time together.  Which worked out in my favor, he now cooks at home.  When he cooked for a living you wouldn't have known that we had a kitchen.  We've been together for 7 years, when he proposed on December 23.

We were exchanging our Christmas presents for each other before we left on the 24th to spend the Christmas weekend with my family in Pennsylvania.  He always hands me my presents because he has an idea in his head what order he wants me to open them in.  When he handed me my last present he didn't go back to the couch like he had with all the others, he started hovering.  I opened a very beautiful jewelrey box (that I had asked for) when out of the corner of my eye I saw him kneel down in front of me.  I looked back down at the box and noticed in the window, there was this incredibly beautiful engagement ring.  My jaw hit the floor!  He asked me to marry him and I practically screamed yes!  I have him a big hug and a kiss, and looks at me and says "will you put that on already, I've been nervous for the last 6 weeks that it won't fit!"  Well, it fit perfectly.  Then he says to me "call your dad, your brother and Ashley" (my best friend).  Turns out that the week before Thanksgiving he had driven down to Corning (we live in Rochester, NY) to meet my dad for lunch to ask his permission.  Apparently he was so nervous that he couldn't even get the question out when my dad says "of course".  So he buys the ring and hides it at my best friend's house until the week before Christmas when he wraps it and puts it under the tree.  I had no clue, I was completely surprised. He had also clued my brother in on it and had asked him to please make sure he was going to be at our family's for Christmas (he was supposed to fly to Texas to meet his girlfriend's parents).  Thankfully she completely understood and isn't mad at me!

We had debated between the finger lakes or Pittsburgh for the wedding, guess which won?  We're thinking sometime in August 2011.  My mom's a teacher, we're just waiting for her to find out when teacher's have to report back to school before we set a date.  We don't have too many details worked out yet.  We'd like to have the ceremony and reception at the same location, some place with some character (not a generic hotel ballroom).  We aren't religious and neither is my immediate family, so it's going to be a short ceremony.  Beyond that we're looking for ideas.  We have tickets to the final regular season Pens game at Mellon in April, so we're going to stay the weekend and go visit some locations.  We are both HUGE sports fans, actually so is my entire family.  I think my mom would actually be disappointed if there wasn't something in the wedding that had a sports aspect to it.

Because we have to travel to plan this and I'm not from Pittsburgh, if anyone has suggestions on reception locations, caterers, bakers, florists, photographers, pretty much any aspect of the wedding I would greatly appreciate them.  I've noticed that some of the reception locations that we like have exclusive contracts with caterers, so maybe more recommendations on the rest of the vendors I'm going to need.  Definitely want to use a DJ instead of a live band at the reception.

Re: Allow myself to introduce...myself :) (long)

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    edited December 2011
    Hi and welcome!  I'm glad you introduced yourself:-)  The proposal sounds super sweet.
    I am also a 29 year old planning from out of town.  You will find that the girls on the board are super helpful  with all your planning needs.  If you look at the sticky notes at the top of the page (there are three with thumbtacks) one of them is an introductory to this board, and it has our complete recommended vendors list-it's a great place to start with people we recommend!  There is also a beware vendors lsit as well. 
    I'll go ahead and recommend my vendors though-my photographer is Joey Kennedy, he did my cousin's wedding this past summer and his photography is beautiful.  My florist is Kerry Kennedy of KS Kennedy-he is so reasonably priced and does amazing work!  Other girls on the board have used him too.  My DJ is JJ Dellaria who works with Andy Booth-Andy Booth is a highly recommended DJ.
    Welcome to the board!
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
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    morainemommorainemom member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Hi Nikki!  I love the proposal story!

    (I'm Pam and my daughter just got married in October. I am slowly weaning myself off the boards.)

    I can't really help you with the venue choices - my daughter's wedding was at Heinz Chapel and the reception was at LeMont.  We highly reccommend both places.    LeMont has a view that is just out of this world.

    Our photographer was the extremely talented and gifted Joanna Fassinger.  My daughter's wedding and slideslow are currently on her blog: 

    http://joannafassinger.blogspot.com/

    Her work is phenomenal and she is a wonderful woman.  I can't say enough good things about her!  We love her photos and are so happy that we booked her as the photographer!

    Our DJ was Jodi Colella of Accents Unlimited, LLC.  She's a hidden gem of Pittsburgh DJs!  She did a fantastic job DJing the wedding.  Music was great, she has a wonderful voice for the announcements and she kept everything on schedule all night long. 

    She is very highly recommended!

    http://www.accentsunlimited.blogspot.com/

    Autumn Bupp of Autumn's Cakes made the wedding cake, groom's cake and also 2 cakes for my daughter's bridal shower.

    Best cake I have ever tasted!  And she's an amazing decorator as well!   Everyone loved the cakes!

    http://www.autumnscakes.com/

    Our florist was Blooms.  Michael Jacobs was awesome!  The flowers were so beautiful and vibrant!  And he is such a nice man - we really "clicked" with him and enjoyed planning and creating the flowers with him.

    www.bloomsflorist.com

    If you go to Joanna's blog you will see lots of photos of Autumn and Derek's wedding - cake, flowers, LeMont, etc.

    Welcome to the board, congratulations on your engagement and happy planning!  :)
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    edited December 2011
    Welcome!

    I love that you are a Pens fan!  I will be at that game too!  I am including the Pens into several things at our reception.  I am using Jason Hitt from Big Day Entertainment.  We clicked really fast with him.  He is also on the list.  We are holding our reception at the Georgetown Centre which is just outside of Pittsburgh.  I am using a family friend for the flowers and his company is Awesome Blossoms by Al.    Randi Voss is my photographer.  She has been used by several brides on the board.  Since you are getting married in August I would stay away from the stadiums.  Well.. it all depends on which day of the weekend you will be getting married. 

    How much are you looking to spend per person?  That can help everyone recommend places.

    Happy Planning.

    -PS-I'm a Niki too!
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    edited December 2011
    Welcome!  What a cute proposal story!  Congrats to you and DF!

    I would say look at Heinz Feild for your wedding, but I'm not sure what their policy is during the season.  I'm interested to see if the new Consol Energy Center will have a ballroom/rentable space. 

    I LOVE my photography Skys The Limit Photography.  Edward does great work!  He has taken our E-pics so far and we are impressed!

    Can't wait to hear more details of your big day!  Hope to see you around often!
    image
    Favorite Thing About Fall- Fall Foods, apple pie, pumpkin cookies, apple cider... YUM!

    Planning Bio

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    edited December 2011
    Hello and welcome! That's a sweet proposal story. No recs here, since my wedding was in the suburbs, but good luck as you begin to plan- the time will go quickly!
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    NJSLNJSL member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thank you for all the rec's so far, I'll definitely look into them.  The budget talk with our families is still a few weeks away so I can't say how much we're looking to spend per person yet, but as soon as I find out I'm sure I'll be posting.

    Right now my fiance loves the idea of having the wedding at Heinz field, even though he's a Giants fan.  The one part we're uneasy with is that they won't confirm your date until after the Steelers, Panthers, and concert schedule is released.  After we talk with our parents I'm going to contact the Pens to see if there's someone we can talk to about possible banquet facilities at Consol, and to see if we can get on the ice to take a photo to use on our save the date.  It would be nice if the interior of Consol was finished enough to take a tour, but that might be asking a bit much in April.

    We went to a wedding last Christmas, the bride was the daughter of my fiance's parents best friend's (if that makes sense).  The day after the wedding the bride's parents and his parents took a moonlight limo tour of PItt then went to dinner at Lamont with a window-side table.  They still rave about it to this day, so it's some place that's definitely on our radar. I'm just not sure where we could have the ceremony near there.
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