412.427.2877 | 5516 Maple Heights Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
« go home

Weddings at The Mansion

Nicki Ann's Wedding Blog

In her blog, Nikki Ann shares with you her insights, thoughts, and feelings on all things women, wedding, marriage, and event-related.

Friday Finds 10.28.11

October 28th, 2011

I absolutely love accessories that pop. Especially when we are talking about wedding apparel. I came across this adorable clutch and knew I had to share it. 

The Flower Hard Case Clutch from The Limited is so feminine and pretty that it just screams wedding. And the best thing is that it comes in black too. Rather than having your bridesmaids carry flowers, you can have them go the practical route and carry this clutch! Super cute!


Vendor Spotlight: Brooke Rockwell Hair Designs

October 26th, 2011

For those of you who know all about the Mansion, you know that we have some absolutely AMAZING preferred vendors. I had the chance to ask a few questions to Brooke Rockwell, owner of Brooke Rockwell Hair Designs. First of all, I have to say that I just adore Brooke. She is one of those people that you HAVE to be friends with because she is so sweet and sincere. She did my hair for my wedding day and I was not disappointed one bit.

Since I know photos are what we all want to see, I have featured some of Brooke’s styles on some of my Mansion bride sisters. Enjoy!

NA: Tell me about yourself.
BR: I have been doing hair for 25 years this year! I went to cosmetology school during high school. I have had my salon for almost 19 years. I started as an assistant at a small salon in Oakland.
NA: What should brides bring with them when they are coming in for a trial run? How long does this take?
BR: They should bring anything they plan to use in their hair, a camera, and some pictures of styles they love and don’t love. We allow for an hour for the trial. Most of the time we don’t use the whole hour.
NA: How far in advance should brides book with you?
BR: As soon as the bride knows her wedding date she should give us a call. We have brides scheduled for next November already!
NA: How do we know what time to get started?
BR: Our hairstyles will last for hours so it’s better to be done a little early than cutting it too close. We usually plan 1 hour for the bride and 30 minutes for anyone else. You decide how much time you need and work back from the time you want everyone finished.
NA: If you were going to renew your vows, how would you have your hair styled?
BR: If I was renewing my vows, I would wear my hair down and in glamorous 1940’s waves. Maybe with a birdcage veil, they are so great.  I know I would definitely do a fun bright pink or green shoe!
NA: Well, you are a girl after my own heart. So, what else do you want brides to know?
BR: The bride should always be honest about what she likes and doesn’t like. It won’t hurt my feelings if our first couple styles aren’t perfect.  It’s part of the trial to try things and see what works best. That’s why the trial is so important. The wedding day goes smoother if the guess work is already done. Choosing a hairstyle should always be the fun part of wedding planning!

Ok, now that you love her as much as I do, there is one more important thing to know. Where you can find her! Brooke Rockwell Hair Designs is located in Washington Plaza Apartments at 1420 Centre Avenue in Suite 4B. This is right beside the Consol Energy Center if you are trying to get an idea of where it is. You can call her with any questions or to set up an appointment at 412.471.9122. You can also email her at I’d also suggest checking out her website: You can also check her out on facebook!! 


As always, feel free to email me at or call at 412.427.2877 with any questions!

Until next time,


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 16

October 25th, 2011

Well, it’s the end of Tuesday. I’ve been busy. Not that I am complaining! There must be lots of proposals going on out there. Either that or there are a lot of people who have waited until this wedding season is over to start planning for their own day. Either way, it is the end of Tuesday and I can’t let one pass without posting a cute pair of shoes!

You know that song Red High Heels by Kelly Pickler? Yeah, I think of that when I see these red peep toes by RSVP. Fierce! Love Love Love! And so reasonably priced… one of the major reasons why I absolutely love Zappos!


Friday Finds 10.21.11

October 21st, 2011

Yesterday, I took a trip to Eighty-four, PA. Why, you ask? Well because that is where the headquarters of All Occasions Party Rentals is and I wanted to see it for myself. It is hard to explain to brides how awesome with showroom there is without actually seeing it! I met with Betty Ann, who gave me the full tour. I have to say I am quite impressed! It is quite the production! People are everywhere organizing their inventory and making sure everything is in tip-top shape for the events they are serving. While I plan on getting into more detail soon with a “Vendor Spotlight,” I had to share this awesome find from All Occasions.

Now ladies, I don’t know if you know how much product $5,000 will get you or not. But let me tell you that your event would have a complete overhaul if you won this contest! All Occasions has everything from flatware, bar ware, and place settings to tents, stages, and lounge furniture. Anything you need that your venue does not have – Chiavari chairs, ghost chairs, you name it, All Occasions has it. If you are looking to really personalize your event, this is the way to do it! It doesn’t hurt to enter. Just click on the “Click here for entry form” above and you can enter in one easy click.


Vendor Spotlight: Orr’s Jewelers

October 20th, 2011

I’m like a bird. No, not like Nelly Furtado. When I see something shiny, I have to stop to investigate. I have to stop and investigate even more closely when that shiny stuff just so happens to be jewelry. One of the preferred vendors of the Mansion at Maple Heights is Orr’s Jewelers, so when I had the opportunity to visit and check out some of their goods, I quickly took it. They actually have two locations- Squirrel Hill and Sewickley. We visited the Squirrel Hill location and had a chance to chat with Karen Nicola for a few minutes.

***Unengaged ladies… This is the post you want to forward to your boyfriends!!! Just sayin’. And from this point on, I am going to talk directly to the men since this is really aimed at them.

Now there are a few things you should know about when going to purchase an engagement ring. Karen says that you “should get an idea of what kind of style she likes as far as jewelry goes. What kind of metal she prefers, whether white or yellow, and the cut of the stone (round brilliant, cushion, princess) are very important.” At Orr’s, they will sit down with you and educate you on the 4 Cs – cut, color, clarity and carat weight. They will also explain the GIA reports and explain the important types of diamonds and what to look for when buying. This is can be quite a large investment, so you want to be educated and get the best quality for your money.

A popular misconception about purchasing an engagement ring is how much should be spent. The rule of “spending 3 months salary is more of an old tale nowadays,” says Karen. She thinks “you should really focus on what they would like and the style.”

It is also important to note that size isn’t everything. “I think it is definitely the quality of the diamond [that is most important]. Something that has a nice cut and is going to shine on your finger. The cut of the diamond is the most important factor. It is how the diamond reflects the light. Sometimes people come in and want the bigger diamond. The 2 carat might have a lot of inclusions or the cut is poor as opposed to a 1 carat that has little or no inclusions and a good cut,” says Karen. So she’s saying to go with quality over quantity.

So what are the most popular trends right now, you ask? At Orr’s, three things seem to stand out. The first is the type of metal used to make the ring. They find that platinum is the most popular with palladium coming in a close second. “The palladium market has been popular because of the price. It is more economical. It is still in the platinum family and is a pure white metal and very durable. It has been around for a long time but because of the market, but it has become much more popular because it is so economical.”

Second, is the cut of the diamond. The most popular is the round brilliant, which “is the most traditional cut for the bride and gives you the most sparkle because it has 58 facets.”

Lastly, the style of ring that has been most popular is the diamond halo with the smaller diamonds surrounding the center diamond to highlight it.


With all of the knowledge that Karen has, she said she “would go with a round brilliant and style would be very traditional. My original was a solitaire mounting. Very traditional with a nice cut.”

Now what about the guys? I didn’t want to leave you out, so I was sure to ask about your wedding bands too :) “Platinum would be the most popular, but palladium is also very popular. It is good to wear everyday.”

Now, what happens if I didn’t write this post in time and you are already engaged? “We have so many styles of wedding bands whether it is a traditional channel set or a plain polished wedding band, so we can certainly help them because we carry such a vast assortment so we can certainly help them in that category.” So there you go. You can still have the pleasure of working with Karen at Orr’s.

And the most important question… where can you find Karen? You can visit the Squirrel Hill location at 5857 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217 to see Karen in person. I highly recommend it because she really knows her stuff. They also have a location in Sewickley (532 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143). Even though I have not met anyone there, I have no doubt they know their stuff too. Service is something they pride themselves on at Orr’s. You can see it as soon as you walk in. You can also give them a call at 412.421.6777 and you should most definitely check out their website:


As always, feel free to email me at or give me a call (412.427.2877) if you have any questions about this post or just in general!



Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 15

October 18th, 2011

OK, one more from BHLDN then I promise next week I will find something else! There are just too many!!! And I am sticking with my theme of non-wedding day shoes. I just adore these Liberty D’Orsays for a bridal shower! All you brides out there getting married next summer, these shoes would be perfect for your spring showers! I love the flower detail and just want to wear them all year ’round!


Friday Finds 10.14.11

October 14th, 2011

I came across these adorable dresses when I was reading one of my many blogs. It was a real wedding, but within that wedding I found this little gem. I had to share this amazing Etsy shop this week. Sohomode creates these vintage tea dresses that I absolutely adore! I love the idea of each bridesmaid being slightly different from the next.

The turn-around for these dresses is just about 8 weeks too, which is not bad at all! Just make sure you order in plenty of time and convo with the artist to ensure your dresses will be ready in time!

*** I just wanted to clarify the order time… They hope to have the dresses to you in as soon as possible, but turn around time can vary depending on a number of factors. As I mentioned, please convo with the shop to find out how long they will take before placing your order!****


Inspiration: Rainy Day Blues

October 12th, 2011

As I sit in my office and look outside, all I see is rain and gloom. Yuck! I thought everyone’s day could be brightened with an inspiration board of my creation. My favorite color is blue. It has been since I was little. I love all shades of it. I figured the best way for me to cure my rainy day blues is to create something in the color I love. I am pretty sure you will all agree that these “blues” are the cure for all. Oh and a small bonus is that you will have your “something blue” covered!

Credits (Clockwise):

1. Wedding Dress Label: MHLinen on Etsy  2. Bridal Crystal Hair Comb: YJ PAW on Etsy  3. “Holey Moley” Clutch: ItsSoClutch on Etsy  4. Cake: The Knot  5. Jones Sodas: The Knot  6. Something Blue Bridal Earrings: YJ Design on Etsy  7. Boutonniere: The Knot  8. Blue Reception: Project Wedding  9. S’more Favors: The Knot  10. Gown: Romona Keveza  11. Shoes: Manolo Blahnik  12.  Blue Champagne: The Knot  13. Invitations: Crescent Moon Paper on Etsy








Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 14

October 11th, 2011

My new obsession is the BHLDN website. So many cute shoes, so few Tuesdays!! As I mentioned, I usually feature shoes for the wedding day. But there are so many other important occasions included with your wedding other than the day itself. How about an engagement party? How cute are these simple, black booties?

They would be perfect for all your brides who are planning engagement parties now that the weather is getting cooler! That can be your excuse to buy them, then you can play up their value to your future hubby-to-be by explaining how versatile they are and that you can wear them with everything because they are black. Yeah. There you go.


Real Wedding: Nicole & Joe 7.16.11

October 5th, 2011

I loved every aspect of my day. Everything went so smoothly and was incredibly easy. Since it would be odd to interview myself, I am going to use this post to feature my amazing vendors. I could not have had such a perfect day without them. This post may get a little long because I have to talk about each and every person. Plus I have so many photos to share!! Just warning you now…

I absolutely loved my hair! Brooke from Brooke Rockwell Hair Design is one of those people who is just downright impossible to dislike. She is as sweet as pie and darn good at what she does. As I mentioned I do have naturally curly hair. I was so concerned with those pesky little hairs along my forehead because I did not want them to do their curly weird thing that they tend to do when it is humid. As you know, this summer was a humid one. I don’t know what she did, but I never once had that problem.

See the woman in the background sizing up her blank slate? That, my friends, is Julie Marckisotto owner of Pittsburgh Makeup. I am not a girl who spends a ton of money or time doing my makeup. I like to do a little more for fun nights out, but not for my day to day. So when I went in for my trial run with Julie, I just told her that she could have her way with me. One thing I knew I wanted was air-brushed foundation. I used to HATE my freckles and curly hair, but as I grew older I learned to accept them as part of me and actually embrace both. I love the sun-kissed look I have in the summer when my freckles stand out just a little more than in the winter. I knew that I did not want so much foundation on my face that they were invisible. Julie did such a wonderful job with my makeup and I truly feel like I was just a more beautiful version of myself the day of my wedding. It was light and airy and I never felt like my face was going to melt off despite the 85-90 degree temperature that day.

Ok now lets move on to apparel. My dress is from David’s Bridal. But this is no stock dress. I found my dress and fell in love. I had that moment that everyone talks about when you just know. I really wanted to have some earrings that made a statement (which are from YJDesigns on Etsy) paired with a funky bracelet (from Jurgita Handmade also on Etsy). But the problem was that I wanted some bling! My gown had no bling :( It had gorgeous beading, but no shiny stuff. When I met Beteena Milacci owner of Beteena’s in Bridgeville, I knew my problems were over. Not only did she add gem stone details to my dress, but she made my gorgeous veil and the flower for my hair too. Oh and she altered my gown while she was at it. I kept her VERY busy!

The bakery appointment was one of the few that Joey insisted on being present. Of course, he wanted to taste the cake! We went to Signature Desserts because they have an awesome dessert package. Neither one of us are big cake people, so we wanted people to have an option. In fact, we did not even get enough cake for everyone to have a piece. Our desserts were set up as a buffet rather than served. The cookies were thoughtfully made by our friends and family. Of course we couldn’t skip the traditional cookie table! In fact, I am pretty sure I have enough frozen cookies, pies, cheesecakes, etc. to eat something every day for the next year.

Now let’s talk flowers… Bill Chisnell Productions is AMAZING! I honestly could have never imagined how wonderful my centerpieces, bouquets and boutonierres turned out. Bill and Allegra were so great to work with and so talented. I had an idea of what I wanted my centerpieces to look like, but they took them to a whole other level. Knowing that it would be difficult to find flowers that would go with my Tiffany blue and black theme, I knew I had to choose a third color to help the flowers pop. I saw a photo online of red with Tiffany blue and knew immediately that was my third color. Looking at these photos, I know I did not make a wrong decision. And tell me those Tiffany lamour linens from Mosaic don’t make all the difference?! I mean, they fell perfectly into my vision.

Now these are just the people who we have photos to prove their work. There was also Mr. Shannon Ritter of Power House Entertainment who provided our 80s Rock mix cocktail hour and dinner music. We didn’t want to go with the typical Frank and Dean for our dinner music, so we were happy when he obliged our request for 80s rock. He did a pretty great job of providing all our favorites. We also had Justin Yeckley of Iron City Productions behind the video camera documenting our day so I can force Joey to watch our ceremony every year on our anniversary :)

None of this would have been possible without the staff at the Mansion at Maple Heights. The best part is that I can say this without sounding conceited because I wasn’t technically a part of the staff yet. They know how grateful I am for everything…

Then of course the woman behind all of these gorgeous photos, Miss Erica Hilliard. She has such a great eye and is able to really create art. There are quite a few photos that I want to hang on my wall, not because they are my wedding photos, but because they really look like something you would buy in a gallery.