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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 3.7.14

March 7th, 2014

I have been seeing a ton of naked wedding cakes popping up everywhere. I personally love this idea because I am not a huge fan of icing. It would be perfect for me! What do you think?

naked cake


naked cake2



naked cake 3



Friday Finds 3.29.13

March 29th, 2013

Today is the start of our wedding season for 2013. I am super excited to get back into the swing of things. But first, I have to give you a find for the day so I can be distracted all day by getting things in tip top shape for this weekend’s awesome couple.

I found these cute wine glass charms and thought they would be perfect for any wedding.


Then, I started looking around the Etsy shop, Charlie Chalk Designs, and knew there was more to this store than the cute wine glass charms. So many adorable things!! I just love everything! You can literally personalize just about anything with something from their shop. Super cute way to bring your own little flair to your wedding, don’t you think? Here’s another favorite of mine.



What is your favorite?


Friday Finds 3.1.13

March 1st, 2013

Brides seem to be focusing on the social aspect of their weddings more and more these days. So many couples comment that they want their guests to be able to mix and mingle rather than being “stuck” with people they don’t know. There are a ton of different ways to do this. When I found this on Martha Stewart Weddings, I knew this was the perfect way to get your guests chatting.


Your guests will laugh and reminisce about you and your intended and write lots of fun things for you two to read when you get back from your honeymoon. The best part is that this is DIY! Click here to go to the directions and have some fun!


Friday Finds 2.15.13

February 15th, 2013

Happy day after Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you had a little romance yesterday or are planning a special weekend with your loves!

I came across this adorable shop that does custom embroidery on all types of items. This one in particular stood out to me since I know so many brides are sticking with that vintage theme.



I love this idea and think it would be an absolute wonderful addition to a sweetheart table during the reception! Imagine this placed beside a beautiful, low, all white, garden-style arrangement in a cute tin… Dreamy! You can find this and many other great items for your wedding at the Etsy shop for oktak.


Friday Finds 2.1.13

February 1st, 2013

I have mixed feelings about unity ceremonies. I like the meaning behind them. I just don’t see how practical it is after the fact. People rarely burn the candles after the wedding and years down the road you are likely to find it half melted in a box in the attic. Sand ceremonies are cute. But again, how many people will display that for the long haul? I’ve come across some unity ceremonies that I like before, but this one really stood out to me. A couple this past October had it and I knew it was something I needed to share with you.



I really like this one because not only is the sand incorporated, but you can also add in other items as keepsakes for the big day like the champagne cork from the first bottle you opened after the ceremony (as seen above) or even the ribbon from your bouquet! So many options!! I love it! I found this one online at Daisy Days.


Friday Finds 11.9.12

November 9th, 2012

Today’s find is for all you DIY brides out there who love nothing more than to curl up with a good book. Brought to you by Martha Stewart Weddings, this adorable Save the Date is perfect to show the literary side of you and your future hubby.

I love that every time your guests open up their book, they will be reminded of your wedding. It is a cute keepsake before and after the wedding. And since they are DIY you can always add your own twist and keep everything to your budget!


Friday Finds 10.19.12

October 19th, 2012

Back in action this week and it feels so good! I found this adorable alternative guest book on Pinterest and knew I had to share with you. I think this would be perfect for all those rustic weddings. This would be the perfect way to remember how you and all your guests were feeling the day of your wedding.

Besides, are you ever going to read through those signatures in a guest book? Probably not. Just warn your guests not to drop the stones in if you use a glass container. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones for a reason.


Friday Finds 7.27.12

July 27th, 2012

Some say there should be no children at weddings. The fact of the matter is that many brides and grooms have a ton of kids in their family or have children of their own. So if there are going to be children at your wedding, why not give them something to keep them occupied? I saw this and knew this was the perfect find for today.

I am lovingly dubbing these “Kid Packs.” They will keep the children busy during those tender moments like your toasts, blessing, and first dance. And if it is at all in your budget, it might be worth hiring someone to come after dinner to keep an eye on them and to keep them busy. That way the parents can sit back and relax for a bit.


Vendor Spotlight: Purple Wagon Designs

June 4th, 2012

In a planning meeting with one of our 2013 brides, she mentioned that she was dreading the whole invitation selection process. She explained that her sister and a few other friends said it was the most boring and tiresome process. They had gone to different places to choose wedding invitations and looked through hundreds of samples and a ton of books. After awhile, they all ran together and looked the same. I told her to save herself the time and energy and just find someone who will custom design the invitations, immediately suggesting that they talk to Kim from Purple Wagon Designs.

So what is so great about Purple Wagon Designs? Well, Kim is not only awesome, fun and incredibly creative, but she is dedicated to making sure you get what you want. No exceptions! I am so glad she was able to take some time to answer some questions for me to share with you. I think you’ll agree that for your invitations, custom is the way to go. After all, each and every detail of your wedding should reflect you and your soon-to-be spouse and not be chosen out of some book that hundreds of other brides have used.

NA: Tell me a little bit about Purple Wagon Designs.

PWD: Purple Wagon Designs is a full-service design studio that specializes in wedding stationery, from the Save the Date and Invitation, through the Ceremony Programs, Table Numbers, and Place Cards at the actual event, all the way to the Thank You Notes. I take great pride in making sure that every detail is just right… for each individual couple. I’m all about customization. Not every couple cares about custom wedding invitations, and that’s perfectly fine. But I’m here for the people who want their invitations to go above and beyond what can be ordered in 20 minutes on the Internet. Try finding a wedding invitation that features the Pittsburgh skyline and Roberto Clemente Bridge on the internet… in purple! That’s what one of my couples wanted, and that’s what I gave them! 
Purple Wagon is the stationery division of my graphic and website design business, Design Intervention. I started Purple Wagon a few years ago when I began designing more and more wedding invitations, and I wanted to be able to market the two companies more effectively. While Design Intervention is my real ‘bread and butter’, Purple Wagon is where I get to have a lot of fun!
NA: What got you interested in designing invitations? 
PWD: Creating wedding invitations combines two of my passions: Design and weddings! I’ve always adored weddings! I love how different they can be depending on a couple’s personal preferences: Rustic weddings in barns; traditional weddings in churches; casual weddings at beaches; elegant weddings at The Mansion; etc. I like helping couples articulate the feel they are hoping to evoke for their Big Day and create something unique that they may not be able to get anywhere else.
NA: How does the process of designing invitations work?
PWD: I’ve streamlined the process to allow couples to have custom wedding invitations without all the stress. The first step is obviously to get in touch with me! We can discuss the details of their wedding over the phone, via email, or in person if they’re local to Pittsburgh. I ask a bunch of questions about the couple, the event, and any requests they have going in – some people have specific ideas in mind and some have no clue what they want… I’ve worked with all kinds!
Following the initial consultation, I put together an estimate that outlines all of the items we discussed. Once we have the particulars settled, it gets to the fun part – the creating! Based on what we’ve discussed, I craft a draft of the wedding invitation. That gets sent to the couple, who then provides me with feedback: What they like, what they don’t like, what they want me to change. I make revisions to the design and send it back for another review. This process continues until the design is exactly right.
After we finalize the design of the invitation, I incorporate it into the other pieces of the Wedding Suite: Reply card, Ceremony program, Table numbers, Place cards, Thank you notes – whatever the couple wants! I make sure each piece has a consistent look and feel so that there’s no mistaking it’s for THEIR wedding!
Once all of the pieces are finalized and proofed, I get everything printed. I then take care of any final details the couple has requested: Assembly; addition of special embellishments like pocket folders or ribbons; and/or addressing in calligraphy. After that, I deliver them to the happy couple to stamp and mail out to their guests!
NA: Is it possible to have custom designed invites on any budget?
PWD: Absolutely! Wedding invitations can vary greatly – in complexity, style, and price. No matter what a couple’s preference and budget, I am confident that I can provide them with invitations that will fit their style, funds, and wedding theme. In the initial consultation, I always ask if they have a budget or a price target for the invitations and wedding papers so that I can make appropriate suggestions to get them the look they are after without exceeding what they’ve designated for this aspect of their wedding. 

I also offer a 10% discount to couples getting married at The Mansion! 
NA: Woo!! Who doesn’t love discounts?? You mentioned that you have a graphic and website design company, too. How does that differ from designing invitations?
PWD: Actually, there are more similarities than differences! The elements and principles of design remain the same no matter what you are creating: Line, color, shape, form, balance, unity, rhythm, etc. What changes is what you are creating – a logo, a brochure, a website, a wedding invitation – and who you are creating it for. Purple Wagon’s parent company, Design Intervention, has a corporate clientele, so the items that I create for them are generally more formal, but that, too, depends on the company! For instance, I designed the logo and website for The Mansion’s preferred bakery, Vanilla Pastry, and that was one of my most fun projects of all time (and not just because of all the cupcakes I ate as “research”!). For the most part, though, designing wedding invitations is a more exciting job than designing business cards and brochures :)
NA: What do you love most about your work?
PWD: That’s a tough question because there’s so much that I love about what I do! I really enjoy meeting so many different couples, talking to them about their wedding plans and their personal preferences, and then taking that information and designing something that is uniquely THEM. It’s quite gratifying to see the finished products, and I feel honored to have a small part in the BIG DAYS of so many wonderful couples!
NA: Blank Canvas: Tell me anything else you think is important that I might have missed!
PWD: Oh man, Nicole! You’re such a great interviewer that I don’t think you missed anything! Of course, if anyone has any follow-up questions – either general invitation questions or questions specific to their event – I’d be happy to answer them! You can find me at and on Facebook at
Well there you have it folks. I can’t think of a single reason to pick an invitation out of a book after reading that, can you? Now, hurry up and call her. She’s booking up quickly!!!

Friday Finds 5.25.12

May 25th, 2012

I found these adorable favors and fell in love. Skeleton keys are a super cute way to add in a bit of rustic flair to your wedding decor. Unless you plan on buying the skeleton keys in bulk, which can get pricey especially since this is a huge trend right now, you may be looking for a cute alternative.

Let’s talk about why I love these favors…

1. They are very practical because they combine the favor and the escort card into one.

2. They are actually made of plantable paper, so your guests can just plant them and watch them grow! What a great way to remind them of you and your future intended after the wedding!

3. They are not something personalized with your wedding date. No one is going to use that after the wedding making them a waste of your time and money.

4. They are super cute!!

You can find them on the Etsy site for a cute little shop, Recycled Ideas. If these aren’t your thing, check out the other items in their shop. I am sure you’ll find something!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend everyone! Thank a soldier (or ten)!