Say 'hello' to the dream (wedding) team
Whether you're envisioning an enormous celebration with hundreds of guests or an intimate to-do of just your nearest and dearest, planning a wedding can feel like a big undertaking. Of course, when you've got an experienced specialist working with you every step of the way to turn your unique vision of the perfect wedding into a reality, the planning process can be a lot more enjoyable. Enter: Erin Rose, Lindsey Yealy, and Caroline Van Patten, our Wedding Specialists. They've got the expertise, the vendor connections and a passion for all things wedding-related from the big ideas to the littlest details, not to mention they're just fun to work with. Below you can get to know Erin, Lindsey, and Caroline a little with a short Q&A.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the wedding day?
My favorite part is when you're ceremony is on site—I love being the last one to see the happy couple before they walk down the aisle. That moment of quiet and calm before your entrance always gives me goosebumps, and makes our Director of Banquets cry! My least favorite part is also right before the ceremony—getting your entire wedding party lined up and quiet is always a challenge! They are SO excited!
You've hired a hotel team and vendors who will fully plan your day—try to relax! Your morning will start with hair and makeup and photos before the ceremony. Timing planned to the minute! Once you're on site, we take care of you the rest of your evening.
Always ask for a full estimate—including service fees and taxes, this will help ‘uncover’ hidden fees—but it’s also easier to understand package pricing looks with it in front of you!
This is the first time you've planned an event like this—you don't know what you don't know. I take it one step at a time and plan your day based upon what is important to you! The best part about weddings these days, is that there really aren't any standard ‘must do's' anymore. We can customize your evening completely, including the timeline, setup and the food and beverage.
Think about a winter wedding! Not only are the prices more affordable but the entire hotel is really celebrating you. You can make it really easy and have everything on-site, from your rehearsal to your ceremony and reception to your send-off brunch the next morning. With our unique space, we can create a different feel for each of your events!
Really, the only time we would need you on-site is during the tasting! The rest of the planning, from the timeline to diagrams and setup, can all be done virtually—phone, email, Zoom, FaceTime...your choice! We have worked in the area for a long time, we're happy to connect you with our preferred vendors who we select based upon their reliability, quality execution and ease to work with.
Consider a first look. This is such a special time for the two of you to connect before the craziness really starts. It's so special to capture those moments together, alone or with your closest friends and family. It also really helps your timeline throughout the evening, giving you plenty of time for photos so you aren't rushing to get to the reception. You may even be able to join your cocktail hour!
I love all of our nods to Pittsburgh…our partnerships with millie’s and press house coffee. Late night french fries, pretzels or our buffalo chicken spring roll. Our signature cookie table cocktail, think birthday cake ice cream…as a cocktail. Our signature short rib entrée, it’s been on our menu since the hotel opened in 2016! It’s hard to pick one, but that’s why I love working at Hotel Monaco—there’s so much to love!
I love adding a signature drink—it doesn't have to be something over the top, just what you like. Maybe it was something you had on your first date or it's favorite drink to start the weekend. I love doing a bride's drink and a groom's drink and if you use simple ingredients, you can just use the bar package and it doesn't add any cost, just bring a sign for the bars!
Get back to your life—date nights, work, going out with friends and Netflix. And don't put off writing the thank you cards. Do a few a day after your wedding, you'll regret putting it off!
What do you like about planning a wedding?
I truly love working with couples and their loved ones to make the most magical day of their lives happen. By the end of our time together, I feel like we are family. There is so much love and happiness that day, it is impossible not to enjoy yourself. I love meeting with couples to put their ideas and visions to paper and make that dream a reality. It is the most rewarding career I could ever ask for! I simply could not imagine doing anything else.
Yes! While I understand wanting to see each other for the first time walking down the aisle, this special one-on-one time is the only time that day where it will just be the two of you. This first look often ends up being our couple’s favorite part of the day. It is very personal and intimate!
Always ask what is included with the venue. For example, cake cutting and cookie platting and serving. Do not forget about the service fees and taxes! These items can add up quickly if not included. Also ask about tear-down and set-up. The last thing you want is for your family and friends to be setting up everything and breaking it down after a long day!
The tasting! Not only is this the most fun part of the planning process, but this is truly when we will go through all of the details (large and small) for your big day. In my experience, this is the moment our couples seem to enjoy the most from a planning aspect. We cover so much throughout the tasting and this is when our couples often have that “Oh my gosh this really real and this is happening soon!” moment. On a personal note, I like the tasting because we spend the day getting to know one another!
My favorite part of the wedding day is when I sneak the happy couple into the ballroom before dinner begins and guests are seated. At this point- champagne has been poured, candles are lit and the lights are dimmed. I get emotional every single time! I love seeing their reactions and all of their dreams and vision come to life!
One of my favorite photo spots is in our meeting room wing on the famous green couch. The couch is such a fun pop of color! I love this for brides and their bridal party or even for the happy couple—such a fun and unique spot, guaranteed to make you smile.
I think either a champagne toast or wine with dinner can completely change your wedding reception! This is such a small but mighty addition to your tablescape and to your guests’ experience.
I love a mix of both round tables and long rectangular tables! This set-up really helps give the ballroom some dimension and is a nice alternative to setting up with only round tables. This also allows for your florist to get really creative and include some long greenery pieces and candles or tall centerpieces for rounds. The options are truly endless!
I once had a cake delivered to me that was not refrigerated and arrived damaged. The cake was unsalvageable. This was about three hours before the reception doors opened. We called every local bakery we could think of to get a replacement delivered on time. 15 minutes before we opened the doors for guests, the cake arrived! We put the original flowers on the new cake and let out the biggest sigh of relief.
What is your favorite part during the planning process?
I love our tastings. This is such a fun and stress-free time for the couple! Envision yourself tasting food over multiple courses prepared by a phenomenal chef and enjoying exceptional service. Who wouldn’t love that? The only choice that you’ll have to make during your tasting is what is going to be on your menu. It makes what could feel like a monumental task into a fun, easygoing meal. There are no bad choices here!
To have FUN! There are going to be a lot of people with many opinions about your big day; but remember what it is about: it’s about celebrating you and your favorite person! Make the decisions that are going to bring you the most happiness.
It is going to add a layer of planning but it doesn’t have to be hard. My best advice if you don’t live in the area would be to hire a wedding planner. We are always here to help you, but a wedding planner can really alleviate planning stress! Also, plan ahead to come and do all things wedding in the same weekend so you don’t have to make too many extra trips.
The Sheffield Foyer! This space is my favorite in the hotel and I love seeing our couples light up when they notice the detail. The grand columns and double doors lining the space are amazing, while the herringbone design of the wood floor brings a modern edge to the space.
Make sure you’re spending the day in the way that you want. If you don’t want to do things like traditional table visits, then don’t! Think about giving a welcome or thank you toast instead. If you want to be on the dance floor the whole time, do it!
Hors D’oeuvres: Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Date, Maryland Style Crab Cake, Mushroom and Brie Toast & Buffalo Chicken Spring RollDisplay: Artisan BreadSalad: Heirloom Cherry Tomato and BurrataEntree: Mushroom Stuffed Chicken BreastLate Night Bites: Truffle Popcorn & Commoner Shoestring Fries
Someone told me this while I was touring venues for my own wedding and it really resonated with me. Your wedding is about the people who are present in your lives right now and not a reunion tour of your life.
Personalization! We have a lot of amazing packages for weddings but these can all be curated to fit exactly what you are looking for. You do not have to settle.
The Rooftop; hands down. It is beautiful at all times of the day and you just cannot recreate natural light.
Check out the public bathroom situation. I know this sounds crazy and weird but a lot of wedding venues don’t have ample facilities. Countless times, I have waited in a line for the bathroom just as the DJ or band plays my favorite song.