Alana in Costarellos for her Relaxed & Intimate New York Dinner Party Inspired Wedding

51 Costarellos Bride New York wedding copy 1

We’re heading state-side today for the chic and elegant black-tie wedding of Alana and Matthew, who tied the knot on 21st August 2021 at The Mansion at Knox Farm in East Aurora, New York.

Alana chose the most beautiful gown by Costarellos Bridal, a find at the White Toronto bridal boutique. The couple wanted to create a relaxed and intimate dinner party vibe and did so beautifully with the support of their wedding planner, Social Maven.

Enjoy these beautiful images by Shaw Photography.

The Dress

I went dress shopping once in Pittsburgh just to get a general idea. But I had my heart set on the Greek designer Costarellos Bridal. All their work is just so ethereal and dreamy I never really considered anyone else (stumbled upon them online one night).

I searched for the closest seller and found the incredible bridal boutique White Toronto. Andrea at White is just the kindest person with the absolute best eye. Her shop is to die for.

They only had a handful of Costarello’s gowns and when I tried on my dress it truly was that moment where it just felt like the dress.

With Andrea’s help we made some changes to some of the dress’s details (it was originally midi length etc.), we picked fabric for my veil which was custom and I had my dream ensemble. This was about a month before the pandemic began so sadly I never got to go back and actually get my dress in person

I worked virtually with Andrea and over the phone, when it became clear the borders wouldn’t open in time she shipped the dress and I had a few tiny alterations done in Pittsburgh. Luckily it was made to order so nothing major was needed. Everything, but my shoes (pink low heel Jimmy Choo shoes), were from White. I can’t say enough glowing things about Andrea, she is amazing.

Veil Shoes & Accessories

I wore a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. The hair pins I used from Jennifer Behr sold out everywhere, but at the eleventh hour, Andrea shipped those to my parents in Buffalo from her shop.

For my something old, borrowed, and blue I wore my grandmothers engagement ring on my right hand. She is 99 and it has sapphires so it hit all the checkmarks in one item. Our original 2020 date was her and my grandfather’s wedding date.

Pandemic Postponement

Our day changed pretty significantly; we were originally supposed to get married September 12, 2020 and moved to August 21, 2021. Because of the new date we had to get a new photographer and band then originally planned. In May 2021 however, things didn’t feel right with our original venue, but we came across a cancellation we found through Syrie at Knox.

Our wedding could not have been more us and more perfect and that really had to do with the venue change, the look of the tent rentals, and the caterer who was so fun and flexible and let us really make the event exactly what we wanted. They also have the kindest staff, everyone commented on how great the food, bar, and service was. Everyone who attended was so comfortable celebrating outside, it felt worry free and safe. It was the best choice.

Syrie’s team made everything so manageable. The idea of going out to the venue to supervise set up and make sure everything looked right would have been completely impossible. Syrie ensured everything was set up exactly as we wanted. Her team on day of made things so beyond smooth. All these little run around things that I or my mom would have had to worry about became worry free. Any vendor need, any hiccup, and any bag of ice for the groom to hold in a tux on a 90 degree day was done with like royal secret service level speed and stealth. Matt and I and our family was treated like royalty.

The Groom

Matt got a bespoke tux with Surmesur. Coincidentally, also a Canadian brand with a local shop in Pittsburgh. He went for the perfect black tux classic look. He looked incredible.

He had a little fun with the inside of his jacket and made the lining emerald green, matching my engagement ring, and had our wedding date sewn in.

Floral Design

Flowers were my favourite part of the process. Christy of Wild Blossom Hollow is amazing. I just wanted late summer early autumn colours. They are my favourite. I wanted the flowers to basically be the “theme” of the wedding. I actually have framed photos of the arrangements in our house.

Matt and I have September and October birthdays so some of the flower choices were birth month flowers. But we love orange and those August / September tones of earthy browns, orange, peaches. The flowers were the show and Christy does the most beautiful, natural job.

The Ceremony

We walked down to what my dad has always said was the most beautiful song, Clair de Lune by Claude DeBussy

One of St. Michael’s priest’s Father Benjamin Fiore. We have known him as church members for a long time. He did such a beautiful and insightful job with his readings and warmth he gave to the ceremony. It was also an impressively short Catholic ceremony 🙂

During the mass we said the traditional Catholic ceremony vows. We shared our own vows in private together, we kind of wrote a mix of vows that ended up being thoughts on our past, present, and future. Despite keeping them a surprise they were actually almost identical in their message.

We did a reading from the Song of Songs, First Corinthians, a Gospel according to Matthew, and I wrote a family focused Prayer of the Faithful dedicated to our marriage healthy and happiness, all couples and their marriages, those we have lost and wished could’ve been there to celebrate, and for all of our family members and those gathered
The readings were done by my cousin’s Matt and Megan who I am very close with and my husband’s closest friend from childhood, yet another Matt.

We bought our bands at the same place Matt did my custom engagement ring, Trinity Jewelers. We just went really traditional. I wanted a rose gold band to match my engagement ring. We picked an etched option that I adore. And Matt ended up getting a plain rose gold band as well he tried it on and it just looked perfect. Amy at Trinity has such a great eye and is so knowledgeable.


We hired  Shaw Photography. All their wedding photos are beautiful, they capture such beautiful light. Day of they were so great they made us feel like friends were taking the photos and removed the awkwardness of it.

Also, they really directed the timeline of the day in a mellow way and seamlessly grabbed those important moments without feeling photo pressure, or that photos were taking over the day and felt stiff (which was a fear of mine). Would absolutely recommend them!

How They Met

We met in college, at Allegheny College, and were friends – it wasn’t until after college that we started dating. We were long distance for a couple of years when I went to get my masters degree in New York City and lived the sad Megabus trip for a once a month visit for a while. Eventually Matt somehow convinced be back to Pittsburgh.

One of our first dates was dinner and going to Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden in Pittsburgh for their beautiful holiday show. Years later a few weeks prior to the show opening in November Matt booked a private room and a photographer to be in the poinsettia room and took me there under the pretence of seeing the show and proposed.

It was beautiful, there was champagne and we spent about an hour with the photographer he had hiding to just enjoy the moment and roam around Phipps.

The surprise became a bit more obvious after all the ladies at the ticket check points kept smiling at him, and right before we walked into the poinsettia room he muttered I may want to take off my coat. After that we went to our favourite restaurant where we have had countless dates and celebrations, Girasole, and enjoyed dinner and toasting to the occasion.

This is why the little wedding crest we had on the napkins and matches (illustrated by Crystal Ocha) features poinsettias and sunflowers (girasole is Italian for sunflower).

Reception, Detail & Decor

We wanted our wedding to feel as beautiful as possible while also feeling like a relaxed intimate dinner party. We have September and October birthdays and we both love orange tones so I really wanted those late summer early autumn florals to set the tone for the event.

The beauty of the outdoor venue really just spoke for itself. Paired with the amazing in season florals, and the stunning tent and linen work from McCarthy Rentals.

I thought the space was perfect; crisp, clean white textured linens, light wooden flooring, white chandeliers, light gray taper candles, a white sailcloth tent, and then the expansive view. It was exactly what I always wanted and envisioned. We thought it was stunning and wouldn’t change a thing.

I love grey and gold and then we had really lovely textured crisp linens in grey and white so the outdoor venue and florals just popped. I also wanted the grey taper candles to carry the colour tone of our stunning vintage feel invitations. It all came together and felt exactly how I hoped, just very us.

Favourite Moments

Our favourite moments were probably arriving hearing the fun of cocktail hour and the band playing in the distance while we took those initial photos in the front of Knox. There was such an excited feeling in that pre arrival to the party buzz to anticipate while taking our first photos together as husband and wife. And driving, just the two of us to the reception after all the ceremony butterflies.

My other most favourite moment (though the whole day was) was when we first sat down at our head table, just taking in the party, the incredible view with the florals against the backdrop of the Knox grounds, sitting next to Matt in our perfect outfits. It was pure magic.

And of course my dad’s speech was a major moment and accomplishment everyone enjoyed I would say. Post stroke (occurred in 2019) my parents worked on that for months. It was just so my dad, and it went perfectly. Everyone standing up clapping still brings tears to my eyes.

The whole day was just so full of love, fun, warmth, and positivity. We loved absolutely every second; dancing with my parents, each other, family friends, watching everyone enjoy themselves. Simply walking around together as husband and wife. It was perfect.

Words of Wedded Wisdom

I don’t think there is anything we would change. It truly was a perfect day. The one thing I wish I did was been more aware of my posture. But generally speaking anything that were more rushed were really only pandemic related and in the end it didn’t matter.

Of course make it exactly what you hope to have and don’t let other peoples opinions guide you, but also don’t take it too seriously. I think the nice thing about postponing from 2020 to 2021 due to the pandemic was it cut out all the nonsense. It was truly just about getting married and enjoying our nearest and dearest. None of the silly stress like fad diets or other weird wedding pressure was relevant. It was just about the moment and the day, and it was perfection.

I would also say one of my favourite memories and a choice I would really advocate for is taking a private moment together. Matt and I were driven from the church after our ceremony to our reception venue in our own car just the two of us. We were able to have a quiet moment together, talk about the ceremony, our outfits, and just the moment. It was exactly what we needed and really cherished before the whirlwind of the reception.

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Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.