November 7, 2013

Pittsburgh Athletic Association Wedding : Laura + Ross

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I was just browsing my Twitter feed the first time I stumbled upon Secret Agent L. It was years ago. All of a sudden, it seemed everyone was tweeting about a new movement that had started in Pittsburgh but was spreading all over. An anonymous woman with the twitter handle @SecretAgentL was behind it all. Buy a small gift – a bit of candy, a gift card, a motivational book – and leave it somewhere for someone to find accompanied by a card explaining that the gift was for YOU! (You being anyone who stumbled upon it.) People were finding her gifts and paying it forward by doing the same.

Immediately, I was hooked, following the stories of this kind and mysterious woman on Twitter. At some point, I wrapped up some jewelry I had made and sent it to her along with a card explaining that the jewelry was for her to leave as random gifts for others. And, well, the card also may have been rather long. I opened up to a stranger whose selflessness I admired and found myself explaining that things were rough in my life at that moment, (I had just started caring for my young nephew full time and was feeling a bit lost,) but that what she was doing was so incredibly positive and uplifting – even to just read about from afar. Within days, an unexpected response from her was in my mailbox. I was truly touched.

Soon after, things skyrocketed for Laura aka Secret Agent L. From CNN to Huffington Post to Glamour Magazine – she was all over the place and the city of Pittsburgh couldn’t have been more proud.

Eventually, I met Laura and her then-boyfriend Ross for a portrait session. Their chemistry was so obvious and they were clearly bursting with love for each another. They spent much of their session holding one another and giggling. It wasn’t long before I heard about the engagement. I was over-the-moon excited for them.

On the big day, the weather was flawless. From their bridal suite at the Renaissance Hotel, Laura and her bridesmaids watched as Pittsburgh set up the bridge party to welcome the touring giant rubber duck. It was an incredibly relaxed and joyous atmosphere. Her makeup application was repeatedly (and adorably) interrupted by friends and family members she hadn’t seen in ages streaming through. There were many hugs, lots of laughs, and a few shrieks of pure and utter joy. It was clear the day would be an emotional one for all involved.

I left the ladies to spend time with Ross and his best man while they finished preparing. In true super-excited -groom fashion, between the tying of the tie and the final bits of nervous dressing, plenty of silly faces were made and lots of laughs were had. In those moments, he never stopped smiling and you could feel the big moment drawing nearer as his excitement grew.

Ross headed for the altar while Laura made her way up the stairs to meet her father. She held her his arm and as she watched her mother walk down the aisle, she began to cry. “Get it together, Miller, we have a job to do,” she said while laughing.

The ceremony began and the breathtakingly beautiful music echoed in the giant cathedral. Teary eyed guests stood with their hands to their mouths as Laura’s father lifted her veil and handed her off to Ross.

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(A school bus stopped near us. Hanging out of all of the windows – young girls screaming, “I love you!” and “You look beautiful!” to Ross and Laura.)

black and white artistic portrait of bride on wedding day

bride stands beautifully beside the pillars of carnegie mellon university

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Preparation: Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel
Ceremony: St. Paul Cathedral
Reception: Pittsburgh Athletic Association
Florist: Blooms
Cake: Oakmont Bakery
Caterer: Pittsburgh Athletic Association
Pittsburgh Athletic Association Wedding Photographer: Veronica Varos
Dress: Vera Wang White
Tux: Vera Wang Black
DJ/Band: Jason Kendall Productions
Transportation: Elite Transportation