Elizabeth + Christian by Bobbi Phelps

As we journeyed along, there was not one or another defining moment, but a slow and sweet realization that God has destined us to be together like puzzle pieces became clearly evident.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…
We are two young crazy kids in love: getting engaged at 23 and 24, and married at 25 and 26, we truly feel like we haven’t “grown up”. By that, we mean we embrace our youth and love to just have fun! We do a lot of sailing on the lake nearby, and get competitive against one another in pickleball after a long day at work, as well as golfing on the weekends. You can find us outside in our city, Pittsburgh, doing one of these things – or planning our next trip full of our favorite things: visiting with friends, and being on the water. On Saturdays we love making fajitas and a fun-spin on the classic margarita together, meeting up with friends down at the local pub, or finding the bottom of an ice-cream sundae. On Sunday mornings, you’ll find us grabbing a quick coffee as we run late to church (ha!). We serve as the Host Team Leaders at church on Sundays, and love creating community within our church. Faith, family and friends are the defining measures of our lives. We are so blessed to have the most wonderful village behind us, and to officially be a ‘family’ of two!

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?
Elizabeth is the most unselfish and empathetic person I have ever met. She has the best sense of humor and she is beautiful! She is open and honest and a great communicator. I love playing pickleball, golfing, and sailing with her. We have so many common interests and goals and I couldn’t imagine doing life without her!
Christian makes everybody feel like a somebody. To know Christian is to love him! He is a natural leader, with a quiet-confidence, quick and witty sense of humor, love for fun and just love for life. He is patient, and never loses his smile (unless it’s sports lol). I’m drawn to his kind, optimistic and so-much-fun self.

Both: When we stumbled upon Amplify Church, a nondenominational and inclusive church in Pittsburgh, we began a journey where we’d find our faith together. As we journeyed along, there was not one or another defining moment, but a slow and sweet realization that God has destined us to be together like puzzle pieces became clearly evident.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…
In early March, they visited Elizabeth’s family and Christian had asked each family member for her hand in marriage. When he had asked and discussed (and celebrated!) the news of the upcoming proposal with his family too, he shared that the ring he had designed with Henne Jewelers, a Pittsburgh family jeweler, may not be ready in time. Christian’s father had the brilliant idea of a family heirloom, knowing how much Elizabeth loves heirlooms, and gifted him his mother’s ring, who was a special grandmother to Christian. It was a beautiful aquamarine set between two diamonds on a gold band. Christian elected to bring that on the trip – but not before he booked a surprise: as we love to sail together, Christian booked Elizabeth’s dream catamaran to set sail on in the Caribbean together during their trip.

Christian popped the question off the coasts of St. Thomas and St. John, after surprising Elizabeth with a romantic evening aboard The Liberty for a private sunset sail. The captain & his “crew” (wife + daughter) were in on the surprise, and had a bottle of champagne ready to celebrate. They ended the evening with calls to family, margaritas, and a night swim under the stars.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…
Our vision for the wedding was to incorporate many things that make us, “us”. One of those is that we love to sail together. When we toured the Corinthian Yacht Club’s waterfront venue, complete with a view of sailboats peppered out across the water as you sat in a white adirondack chair on dock, we knew it was the one. And, the name could not be better: we had picked the Bible verse 2 Corinthians 5:20 to be the mission of our marriage – to share a perfect love with one another, and extend it to the world. This Philadelphia yacht club’s sophisticated, classy-vintage meets maritime-museum feel gave us a vision of the essence of “family”: legacy, tradition, family trees, and ‘something olds’… meets modern, black and white, roaring 20’s soiree. We kept this vision as we incorporated a champagne tower “pour”, to cheers to our family, instead of a cake cutting ceremony. The black-tie attire, cigars, vintage Rolls Royce, gold wax-sealed stationary, black and white dancefloor, and veal chop and halibut dinner entrees set the mood as well. But, it was truly the priceless items that tied the vision together: Elizabeth’s 120+ year old veil from her ancestors, a family friend gifting her string quartet, aMuse, to play for the ceremony, the ceremony at the ornate and beautiful church that Elizabeth had called a second home all her life, and the family and village that championed them on.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?
We laughed all day! The one thing we laugh about now is how our ‘big plan’ of showing up first to cocktail hour got derailed, but it ended up working out even better than we had planned: We had a wonderful family friend give us the contact of a gentlemen who occasionally ‘rented’ his vintage Rolls Royce (which, the car itself is a former Nottingham town car) and services as a chauffeur for weddings. We connected by phone, and after conversing, had struck a deal. We kept in contact, however, there was no contract or instructions passed between us. The gentlemen honored his word, and more, by showing up early and dressed like a handsome old English driver. Our plan was to walk down the aisle as husband and wife, walk directly out of the church, and jump in this ‘getaway car’ to get down to the cocktail hour before our guests. We did not think about the fact that it is a ‘vintage’ car, and can neither go on the highways nor go very fast. Needless to say, we were worried as time passed in the backseat. However, we took it in stride and celebrated the precious moments we had for just us – and really soaked in the feelings we were sharing.

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?
The two most cherished items I’ll ever wear are the 100-year-old+ Belguim silk veil, and 3-generation wedding drop-pearls. Wearing these items that had been passed down on my maternal side was a feeling hard to put into words, adding to a day overflowing with the purposeful evidence of family. My grandmother, Catharine, put the earrings and veil on me on the morning of my wedding. It was a blessing to have her, as healthy and happy as can be, by my side. My great-great grandmother bought the silk lace during a summer in Europe, when her and her 20-year-old daughter, my great-grandmother, were sent away from Philadelphia by her husband/her father to forget the man my great-grandmother was engaged to. As she wore the engagement ring on a necklace that summer, my great-great knew her daughter’s strong will was like her own. She got the lace for the impending wedding day that would occur, that now generations of strong willed women (& stubborn romantics) have worn on their day. And these pearl-drop earrings: it was a precious, surreal moment I will hold onto forever when my grandmother, who is my favorite phone call, pen pal and beach roommate, put my late grandfather’s wedding gift to her on me, to marry my husband in. I will forever cherish this moment for the rest of my days, an earthly glimpse of perfect love pouring out from our loved ones restored in Heaven.

Ceremony Location: St David’s Episcopal Church, @stdavidschurchradnor / Reception + Catering & Beverages: Corinthian Yacht Club, @corinthian_yacht_club_of_phila / Videographer: Amanda Films, @amandafilms__ / Photographer: Bobbi Phelps Photography, @bobbi.phelps / Celebrant: Frank Allen, Head of St David’s Episcopal Church / Entertainment: (Band) DWP Live Factory, @dwplivefactory / Styling, Planning, & Flora: Bride, @elizzhep / Stationery: Minted, @mintedweddings / Registries: Williams Sonoma; Pottery Barn; Bed Bath & Beyond / Transportation: King Limo, @kinglimousine / Bride’s Dress: Le Spose di Giò, @lesposedigio / Bridal Boutique: The Wedding Shoppe PA, @the_wedding_shoppe_pa / Dress Alterations: Nilah & Company, @nilahco / Groom’s Tuxedo & Shoes + Groomsmen’s Suits: The Black Tux, @theblacktux / Ring/s: Henne Jewelers, @HenneJewelers / Veil: Bride’s great great grandmother’s, 100% silk basket-lace veil purchased as a custom-made piece in Belgium in the early 1900s for a Philadelphia wedding / Earrings: Bride’s grandmother’s freshwater pearl-drop earrings; originally a gift from her late grandfather to her grandmother on their wedding day in 1950 / Makeup: Blend Beauty Bar, @_blendbeautybar_ / Hair: Flowers in her Hair, @jamiewiththegoodhair; Alexis Richardson Hair, @alexisrichardonhair