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By Erin Levers 11 Jul, 2017

The centerpieces you use at your wedding can make a big difference at your wedding reception. Using the right centerpieces can help set the tone of the event while also making your wedding day more magical. There's a lot to consider when choosing your centerpiece, from budget, to appearance, to the comfort and happiness of your guests.

Tie the Centerpieces Into Your Theme

Centerpieces, like every other aspect of the wedding, are an excellent opportunity to tie into the theme and keep your guests engaged. Is summer your theme? Why not sprinkle summer flower petals on the table around the centerpieces? Use sunflowers as your centerpieces, and place them in sky-blue colored vases, to mimic the beauty and elegance of the sky on a hot summer day.

Consider Your Budget

Even couples on a budget can buy beautiful, engaging centerpieces for their wedding. With a little smart shopping and creative thinking, the tables at your wedding reception can be charming, elegant, and inexpensive.

  • Buy inexpensive flowers in bulk. Gerbera daisies, carnations and mums are commonly sold inexpensively from florists. Best of all, these flowers come in a wide range of colors to match with any wedding ceremony. While you may not be in the market for high-end exotic floral arrangements, you can still impress your guests with the sheer quantity of your flowers.

  • Look for in-season, local varieties. Flowers get less expensive and easier to find when they're in season. Contacting florists that carry local flowers from local markets can help you find more affordable flowers for your wedding reception.  

  • Shop around. You'll get the best deals by looking well in advance and by consulting with a variety of different florists before making your final decision.

  • Avoid flowers altogether. Who says you need flowers to make a beautiful centerpiece? Candles, strands of lights, garland, lanterns, feathers, seashells, beads and other magical looking objects can all make beautiful centerpieces.

Go Eclectic for a Big Wedding

If you're having a very large wedding with many tables, consider using a wide variety of centerpieces, of varying sizes and made from different materials. For example, divide your centerpieces into three groups. The first group, large bouquets, will have bountiful floral arrangements with a huge variety of flowers. The second group, small bouquets, will consist of smaller bouquets made from smaller flower types. The third group will be a non-flower arrangement (using lights or candles, for example). Varying your centerpieces in this way could help liven up the space, adding visual interest to your reception.

Think of Your Guests

The beauty of the centerpieces is not the only thing you should consider when choosing centerpieces. The comfort and preferences of your guests should be considered just as much as the aesthetics. After all, your guests may spend hours at the table, talking to other guests and relaxing at your party. Choosing the right centerpieces will help make this experience more enjoyable for all.  

  • Keep the size to a minimum. Tall, wide centerpieces can make it hard to see the dance floor, the happy couple and the people across the table. Using short centerpieces that guests can see over helps keep the wedding entertaining and fun for everyone.

  • Use unscented flowers for people with allergies. Flowers that smell beautiful can certainly add a nice aroma to the air. Unfortunately, these lovely scents could force guests with allergies to leave early. Work with your florist to find flowers that have minimal scent.  

Contact Bella Sera for Your Wedding and Reception

At Bella Sera, we work with couples to plan their wedding at our venue. With first rate catering and elegant facilities, we take pride in providing the best venue for your wedding that we possibly can. To make an appointment,  contact us today  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 18 Jul, 2017

Your wedding may last only one day, but the photographs will last a lifetime. Picking the right photographer is the best way to ensure that your wedding photos will accurately represent your special day.

Know What You Want

Wedding photographs come in a variety of styles.

Photojournalistic pieces capture candid images with figures in action. Photojournalistic photographs may include shots of the bride interacting with bridesmaids, the groom interacting with parents and caterers setting up for the reception. These shots capture the essence of the wedding day from start to finish.

Portrait style photographs are posed and planned, capturing little or no action but all the beauty and splendor of the wedding ceremony.

Fine art style photographs capture images from strange angles and creative perspectives. The photographer may focus on a flower girl while the bride stands out of focus in the background, or may focus on balloons over a wedding table as the bride and groom dance to the side. These photographs can be fun and whimsical, magical and serene or edgy and full of drama.  

Many photographers will shoot a combination of these different types of photography, however, if you desire one type of photograph over another, it helps to find a photographer who is strong in that type of photography.  

Browse ALL the Listings

Knowing the different photographers in your area can help you pick the right photographer for your wedding. You should take a long time to find the right photographer, going through many options before you land on the right one.

Don't Look for a "Good Deal"

Focus less on the cost of the photographs and more on finding the right photographer for your event. A good quality photographer might be more costly, but the trade off will be the years of enjoyment that you'll get out of your wedding photographs.

Search Through Portfolios

One of the best ways to tell if a photographer is right for you is by looking at the photographer's portfolio. Most photographers will keep their portfolios online. After looking through a few portfolios, some photographers may start to blend together. Take careful notes on each photographer, their specialties and your feeling about each photographer's portfolio.

Get Referrals

Your recently married friends may be able to refer you to their wedding photographers. When asking your friends for references, ask them if they found their photographer to be reliable, personable and if they were pleased with the finished product. This will help you find a photographer who is likely to meet his or her obligations and produce photographs that you can enjoy.  

Schedule an Appointment

Once you've narrowed your search to a few candidates, meet with each potential photographer before making your final choice. Remember that your photographer will spend many hours with you on your wedding day, so the photographer you choose should be someone who you enjoy talking to and who understands your priorities.

When meeting with potential photographers, do your best to describe the look and feel of the photographs you're seeking. Ask the photographer how he or she achieves the type of photographs that you want, and ask the photographer to show you examples of work that match the style you seek. This will help you narrow your search.

At Bella Sera, we recommend  Redford Photography  for clients seeking flexible, personable photographers who can take photographs in a variety of styles. To make an appointment with Bella Sera,  contact us  today at (724) 745-5575, or  contact our photographer  at Redford photography at 724-743-5700.


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By Erin Levers 15 Aug, 2017

Winter is a great time of year to have a wedding! From sparkling icicles to snow-crusted streets, winter is a time of year when everything is white, pure and gorgeous. This makes the perfect setting for a romantic, sweet wedding ceremony. In this post, we'll discuss some of the reasons that winter is one of the best times of year to get married.

You Get the Best Deals

People hibernate when the cold weather comes, which means demand goes down and everything is cheaper in winter. Wedding venues, photographers and videographers all tend to charge less during this quiet season. Travel deals are easier to find and airfare tends to be cheaper (perhaps with the exception of the holidays).

Couples who want to go far, far away on a romantic honeymoon may find it easier to get a deal at a luxury resort, in a cabin on the beach or in a European bed and breakfast. No matter what your plans, you'll be sure to find affordable options.

Snow is Completely Romantic!

Sparkling snow is the perfect backdrop for pictures of you, your spouse to be and your loved one. Because the landscape is so white and pristine in winter, we recommend selecting bridesmaid dresses and flowers in bold colors to stand out for photographs. Deep reds, navys, dark greens and royal purples are some of the perfect wedding colors for a winter wedding.  

Winter Can Be Intimate and Cozy

Imagine you, your spouse to be, and your guests, celebrating your marriage in a room with lowlights, grand music, Champaign and a fireplace. This is a typical winter wedding. It's sure to leave you feeling cozy and happy!

Hoping for An Outdoor Wedding? No Problem!

Outdoor weddings are possible even in winter. We recommend holding your ceremony under a clear tent with outdoor heaters to keep you and your guests comfortable. Afterwards, plan to crack open the wine to warm the guests and celebrate the beautiful day.

Black Ties Are Way More Comfortable

Grooms always shy away from black tie events in summer because those tuxedos can be brutally hot. Winter weddings make tuxedos comfortable. Your groom will look and feel great all day and night as the party goes on.

Wedding Venues Decorate for the Holidays

Many wedding venues decorate when the holidays are near. If your wedding is properly timed, you may be able to take advantage of the free holiday decor.

Less Wedding Fatigue for Guests

Summer is a time when many, many people get married. By the end of the summer, some guests get tired of weddings. Wedding fatigue is a real thing that can lead to low attendance and a less spirited celebration. Winter weddings rarely ever have this problem, and guests show up to the wedding feeling refreshed and excited to celebrate the start of your new life together.

Makeup is Less Likely to Run

Brides rarely sweat for photographs in winter weddings, which means their makeup always looks pristine. In fact, cheeks take on a natural pink glow in the cold, which makes the photography even better.

The Accessories are So Cute!

Between polar bears, penguins, snowmen and snowflakes, winter accessories are adorable and fun. You'll have plenty of fun accessories to choose from when picking your theme and decorations.

Work With Bella Sera

At Bella Sera, we help couples plan the perfect wedding on our grounds. We have a beautiful fireplace, outdoor spaces and a variety of rooms where you and your loved one can start your life together. To make an appointment to see our venue,  call us today  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 08 Aug, 2017

If you've ever been to a wedding in Pittsburgh, chances are that you know what a cookie table is. The cookie table is a time-honored tradition that makes Pittsburgh weddings truly unique and special. If you're not familiar with cookie tables and you're planning a wedding in Pittsburgh, this post will cover everything you need to know!

What Is A Cookie Table?

A cookie table is exactly what it sounds like: it's a table filled to the brim with cookies. Cookie tables can vary in size. Some wedding receptions include one large cookie table, others will disperse cookie tables around the room to keep guests moving. Some weddings reveal the cookie table after the reception dinner, others set out the cookie table from the start of the reception.

No one is certain where the cookie table tradition originated, though some claim that  Eastern European or Italian immigrants  may be responsible. It's thought that cookie tables began as an alternative to the more expensive and elaborate wedding cakes traditionally served at weddings.  

A traditional cookie table will have homemade cookies, produced en masse by grandmothers, aunts and family friends. For months leading up to the wedding, cookies are baked and frozen. On the wedding day, these cookies are hauled in plastic containers to the wedding reception venue, where they are proudly displayed among the wedding decorations and professional catering.  

Cookie tables can be loaded up with thousands of cookies for wedding guests. To ensure that all of the cookies are gone when the wedding reception is over, guests are provided with take-home containers.

Are the Cookies Always Homemade?

Although tradition demands that the cookies must be homemade, many modern families order their cookies from professional bakers. To make the cookies as authentic as possible, many bakeries in and around Pittsburgh will bake straight from traditional family recipes supplied by the client.

Cookie Table Planning Tips

If you're planning to have a cookie table at your upcoming wedding, these tips will help!

  • Stay organized. Coordinate with the wedding venue ahead of time to ensure they know how many cookies you plan to display on your cookie table, and where you would like to the cookie table to be located.

  • Take guest health into account. Guests with allergies may need to know the ingredients in certain recipes. Put out small labels on each cookie type, and list ingredients whenever possible and appropriate.

  • Recruit bakers early into the process. Depending on how many cookies you need to order, you may not be able to get all of the cookies from a single baker. Finding the baker or bakers in advance will help ensure that you'll have as many cookies as you want on the day of your wedding. If you're not sure which bakers in the area can bake your wedding cookies, ask your wedding venue for recommendations and advice.

Does Your Wedding Include A Cookie Table? Work With Your Wedding Venue!

At Bella Sera, we work with couples to help them plan the wedding of a lifetime. If you're getting married in Pittsburgh and you'd like to talk to a professional wedding venue about cookie tables and other logistical concerns, we can help! To schedule a tour,  contact our Wedding Coordinator  Lauren at (724) 745-5575 (ext. 101).

By Erin Levers 01 Aug, 2017

The wedding venue is critical for ensuring a fun and happy wedding. A good wedding venue will provide variety, comfort and style to ensure that the wedding is beautiful and memorable for the guests. If you're planning a wedding a searching for a venue, knowing what to look for can help you decide which space is right for you.

Indoor and Outdoor Space

Weddings are long events that take place in many locations from beginning to end. From the preparation rooms to the alter to the party room afterwards, the wedding moves several times throughout the course of the day. Variety is important for keeping the party going and making the ceremony more meaningful.

Indoor space is good at night when it's chilly, but in times of good weather, many modern ceremonies are held outdoors under a natural archway made from wood and greenery. Look for a venue that provides indoor and outdoor spaces to ensure variety from start to finish.

Scenic Backdrops

Scenic backdrops are important for taking interesting pictures before the ceremony begins. Many couples like having a variety of backdrop options, from urban settings to natural outdoor spaces. It's not always possible to find this in one location, but couples tend to look for as much variety as possible to get the best pictures for their event.

Natural Lighting

Natural lighting is flattering, simple and inexpensive. While a sun-bathed bride commands oohs and ahhs from the crowd, a groom in soft morning daylight is romantic and makes for good memories. Venues that have big windows and lightly covered outdoor spaces are best for ensuring that the wedding ceremony is lit with natural daylight.

Rustic Decor

Rustic decor is very popular in modern weddings. Think: ball jars with votive candles inside. Twine holding together a bouquet of farm-grown roses. Antique lace. Branches with tiny bells dangling in the wind. These little touches give the wedding a timeless, simple quality that many couples strive to capture on their special day.

Rustic and vintage decor can all be brought to the wedding venue, but talk to the venue planner for good ideas to make your wedding decor standout.

Customizable Spaces

Venues that provide movable walls, multi-purpose rooms, a variety of dressing spaces and multiple kitchen areas is important for ensuring that your wedding venue meets your party's many needs. When viewing a venue for the first time, ask questions like:

  • How will all my guests fit in this space?

  • What will the table and chair configuration look like?

  • How many people from the party will be able to get ready in this one room?

  • Where will the guests lounge during the reception?

Asking questions like this can help you decide if the venue is right for your needs.

Host Bar

A host bar is one of the latest trends in modern weddings. There are a variety of ways that a host bar can be provided at affordable rates. Some venues provide packages that cover beer and wine only, others will allow the couple to provide guests with drink vouchers good up to a certain number of beverages. Talk to your venue about the different bar packages available to decide which one will fit into your budget.

Contact Your Wedding Venue

If you're getting married soon, now is the time to find your venue. At Bella Sera, we provide flexible bar options, indoor outdoor spaces, customizable spaces and beautiful backdrops for wedding photography. To view our venue,  contact us today  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 24 Jul, 2017

Looking for a videographer early in the wedding-planning process and approaching your search strategically will help ensure that you have time to find the best videographer for your budget.

Plan Ahead

Before you get started with your search, doing a little prep work can help simplify the process.

  • Know what you want. Different types of videographers shoot with different styles, just like photographers. Some film point and shoot documentary-style videos, while others shoot with more dramatic angles and artistic flare. Knowing the style that you want before looking for a videographer can help you narrow the pool of videographers early in the process.

  • Decide on a budget. Knowing how much you're able to spend can prevent you from wasting time negotiating with a videographer who is outside your budget.

Do Research

Start researching videographers in your area. Most videographers will have websites that provide information about experience, style and rates.

  • View sample reels. Look on each website for a portfolio or sample reels that demonstrate the skill of each videographer.  

  • Read online reviews. Look for online reviews. Some videographers may provide testimonials, while others will have reviews on 3rd party websites (like Yelp.) 

  • Talk to your wedding venue. Getting a reference from your wedding venue will help ensure that the videographer is an experienced, polished professional. Using the videographer referred to you by your wedding venue also helps ensure that the videographer knows the facility well. This makes it easier for your videographer to capture good lighting and angles.  

Interview Candidates

Once you've narrowed your possible videographers to two or three candidates, sit down with each candidate for an interview. It's important for the videographer to be personable and easy to work with. Remember, you'll be seeing a lot of the videographer on your wedding day, so it's important for you to choose someone who is pleasant to be around.

Some good questions to ask your potential candidates include:

  • Will you be the one shooting the footage?

  • Can you describe your pricing policies?

  • How many weddings do you film each year?

  • What kind of microphone will you use for the wedding ceremony?

  • Will you have a backup camera on hand on the day of the wedding?

  • What do you need to know from me?

Call References

A good videographer should have a list of references, and hopefully they'll be recent. Good questions to ask references include:

  • Was the videographer on time?

  • Were you happy with the final product?

  • Is there anything you wish the videographer had done differently?

  • Was the videographer a pleasant person to be around on your wedding day?

Review the Contract

Read the contract carefully and scrutinize every detail. Don't assume that any service not included in the contract will be made available. If you don't see something that you're hoping will be included in your video package, ask the videographer about it.

Contact Bella Sera

At Bella Sera, we proudly work with  All Pro USA  ,  FlashBox Films  and  TSG Studios Cinematic Wedding Films.

If you're looking for a videographer, contact any one of our preferred vendors to ensure a professional, beautiful, true-to-life wedding video! For any other questions about your upcoming wedding,  contact us today .


By Erin Levers 18 Jul, 2017

Your wedding may last only one day, but the photographs will last a lifetime. Picking the right photographer is the best way to ensure that your wedding photos will accurately represent your special day.

Know What You Want

Wedding photographs come in a variety of styles.

Photojournalistic pieces capture candid images with figures in action. Photojournalistic photographs may include shots of the bride interacting with bridesmaids, the groom interacting with parents and caterers setting up for the reception. These shots capture the essence of the wedding day from start to finish.

Portrait style photographs are posed and planned, capturing little or no action but all the beauty and splendor of the wedding ceremony.

Fine art style photographs capture images from strange angles and creative perspectives. The photographer may focus on a flower girl while the bride stands out of focus in the background, or may focus on balloons over a wedding table as the bride and groom dance to the side. These photographs can be fun and whimsical, magical and serene or edgy and full of drama.  

Many photographers will shoot a combination of these different types of photography, however, if you desire one type of photograph over another, it helps to find a photographer who is strong in that type of photography.  

Browse ALL the Listings

Knowing the different photographers in your area can help you pick the right photographer for your wedding. You should take a long time to find the right photographer, going through many options before you land on the right one.

Don't Look for a "Good Deal"

Focus less on the cost of the photographs and more on finding the right photographer for your event. A good quality photographer might be more costly, but the trade off will be the years of enjoyment that you'll get out of your wedding photographs.

Search Through Portfolios

One of the best ways to tell if a photographer is right for you is by looking at the photographer's portfolio. Most photographers will keep their portfolios online. After looking through a few portfolios, some photographers may start to blend together. Take careful notes on each photographer, their specialties and your feeling about each photographer's portfolio.

Get Referrals

Your recently married friends may be able to refer you to their wedding photographers. When asking your friends for references, ask them if they found their photographer to be reliable, personable and if they were pleased with the finished product. This will help you find a photographer who is likely to meet his or her obligations and produce photographs that you can enjoy.  

Schedule an Appointment

Once you've narrowed your search to a few candidates, meet with each potential photographer before making your final choice. Remember that your photographer will spend many hours with you on your wedding day, so the photographer you choose should be someone who you enjoy talking to and who understands your priorities.

When meeting with potential photographers, do your best to describe the look and feel of the photographs you're seeking. Ask the photographer how he or she achieves the type of photographs that you want, and ask the photographer to show you examples of work that match the style you seek. This will help you narrow your search.

At Bella Sera, we recommend  Redford Photography  for clients seeking flexible, personable photographers who can take photographs in a variety of styles. To make an appointment with Bella Sera,  contact us  today at (724) 745-5575, or  contact our photographer  at Redford photography at 724-743-5700.

By Erin Levers 11 Jul, 2017

The centerpieces you use at your wedding can make a big difference at your wedding reception. Using the right centerpieces can help set the tone of the event while also making your wedding day more magical. There's a lot to consider when choosing your centerpiece, from budget, to appearance, to the comfort and happiness of your guests.

Tie the Centerpieces Into Your Theme

Centerpieces, like every other aspect of the wedding, are an excellent opportunity to tie into the theme and keep your guests engaged. Is summer your theme? Why not sprinkle summer flower petals on the table around the centerpieces? Use sunflowers as your centerpieces, and place them in sky-blue colored vases, to mimic the beauty and elegance of the sky on a hot summer day.

Consider Your Budget

Even couples on a budget can buy beautiful, engaging centerpieces for their wedding. With a little smart shopping and creative thinking, the tables at your wedding reception can be charming, elegant, and inexpensive.

  • Buy inexpensive flowers in bulk. Gerbera daisies, carnations and mums are commonly sold inexpensively from florists. Best of all, these flowers come in a wide range of colors to match with any wedding ceremony. While you may not be in the market for high-end exotic floral arrangements, you can still impress your guests with the sheer quantity of your flowers.

  • Look for in-season, local varieties. Flowers get less expensive and easier to find when they're in season. Contacting florists that carry local flowers from local markets can help you find more affordable flowers for your wedding reception.  

  • Shop around. You'll get the best deals by looking well in advance and by consulting with a variety of different florists before making your final decision.

  • Avoid flowers altogether. Who says you need flowers to make a beautiful centerpiece? Candles, strands of lights, garland, lanterns, feathers, seashells, beads and other magical looking objects can all make beautiful centerpieces.

Go Eclectic for a Big Wedding

If you're having a very large wedding with many tables, consider using a wide variety of centerpieces, of varying sizes and made from different materials. For example, divide your centerpieces into three groups. The first group, large bouquets, will have bountiful floral arrangements with a huge variety of flowers. The second group, small bouquets, will consist of smaller bouquets made from smaller flower types. The third group will be a non-flower arrangement (using lights or candles, for example). Varying your centerpieces in this way could help liven up the space, adding visual interest to your reception.

Think of Your Guests

The beauty of the centerpieces is not the only thing you should consider when choosing centerpieces. The comfort and preferences of your guests should be considered just as much as the aesthetics. After all, your guests may spend hours at the table, talking to other guests and relaxing at your party. Choosing the right centerpieces will help make this experience more enjoyable for all.  

  • Keep the size to a minimum. Tall, wide centerpieces can make it hard to see the dance floor, the happy couple and the people across the table. Using short centerpieces that guests can see over helps keep the wedding entertaining and fun for everyone.

  • Use unscented flowers for people with allergies. Flowers that smell beautiful can certainly add a nice aroma to the air. Unfortunately, these lovely scents could force guests with allergies to leave early. Work with your florist to find flowers that have minimal scent.  

Contact Bella Sera for Your Wedding and Reception

At Bella Sera, we work with couples to plan their wedding at our venue. With first rate catering and elegant facilities, we take pride in providing the best venue for your wedding that we possibly can. To make an appointment,  contact us today  at (724) 745-5575.

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