Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Modern-Day New Year’s Eve Elopement

One wanted to elope, the other wanted a big celebration. Find out how this bride and groom compromised with a party that rang in the New Year in style.




Photos by Cat Carty Buswell

 

Caitlin Harpster and Alex Toner were looking for the perfect wedding ceremony to fit Caitlin’s desire to skip the wedding — and Alex’s need for a more traditional experience.

The couple, Caitlin, a director of development at the Mattress Factory, and Alex, a records manager at the University of Pittsburgh, met through mutual friends at a bar in Lawrenceville in April 2013. On their third anniversary, which also happened to be Caitlin’s birthday, Alex proposed.

“He took me to the BNY Mellon building, up to one of the executive floors, which had a beautiful view of Pittsburgh,” says Caitlin. “He told me we were there to get professional couples photos taken, something we had never done, for my birthday, and then once we got to the window that overlooks the city he pulled out the ring.”
 


 

Caitlin never dreamed of having a big fancy wedding, and when Alex proposed she was ready to walk to the courthouse and sign the papers. Her fiance, on the other hand, wanted the more traditional experience. To compromise, the couple decided on a “modern-day” elopement, followed by a weekend-long celebration.

On Dec. 30, 2016, after six months of planning and booking an appointment at the Allegheny Courthouse, the couple gathered with close relatives for a self-uniting ceremony and exchanging of vows led by one of Alex’s close friends. The morning started with the bride- and groom-to-be getting ready at Hotel Monaco. They dressed in more “modern” wedding attire; Caitlin wore a simple yet elegant dress from Reformation and Alex a blue suit and tie.

The following night the couple rented the abandoned Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny on the North Side for a New Year’s Eve dance party with their friends and family.

“We weren’t going to do traditional wedding things like cutting the cake, so we needed an excuse to celebrate, and New Year’s Eve was a great way to bring everyone together for a party,” says Caitlin.
 


 

“We exchanged personal vows because we knew everyone was expecting to see some wedding aspect,” she says. “I thought the rest of the night was going to be a dance party, but my husband had surprised me with an original song he had written for me.”

With their one-year anniversary approaching, Caitlin and Alex are planning a trip to travel across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. “We didn’t go on a honeymoon after our wedding so we are really looking forward to it,” says Caitlin.
 


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Pittsburgh Restaurant News: Reduced Hours and a Chef Change

Two Oakland restaurants now have shorter hours and a chef moves from Downtown to Lawrenceville.

What Unites Us In the Wake of the Tree of Life Tragedy

We asked local faith leaders for their response to the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill –– and how we can come together and more forward as a community.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Review: Molinaro Ristorante

Ron Molinaro's Downtown restaurant offers high-end Italian dishes made with top-notch ingredients, but is it worth the price premium?

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2018 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished judges in the field.

Nursing Shortage in Pittsburgh Calls for Creative Solutions

RetuRN to Practice entices retired nurses back Into the field.

Fine Art Meets High Fashion at the Carnegie International

With the Carnegie International as the backdrop, we feature work by local fashion designer Elaine Healey, who has been morphing from luxury womenswear to a more “non-binary” style.

The 400-Word Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

While Harry Potter diehards will find more than enough sustenance in the sequel, non-devotees may have a rough time following the action.

Pittsburgh's Tomorrow – What We Need in the Future

As the year comes to a close, we look forward to what Pittsburgh can be –– and what we'd like to see change –– in the coming years.

How to Shop Like a Pro for Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

Our guide to produce, pastries, libations and more will help your table brim with tasty treats from Pittsburgh-area businesses.

Drink Like the French on Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Why and where to celebrate on Thursday, which marks the annual release of the young wine.

‘X’ Marks the Spot for This Wedding Scavenger Hunt

She thought she was going on a simple scavenger hunt. She never dreamed it would end with a wedding.

Pittsburgh Just Dodged the Amazon Bullet

We should be relieved that the tech giant opted not to move in.

It's Official: Amazon HQ2 is Not Coming to Pittsburgh

Instead of one city, the giant retailer is splitting its second headquarters between northern Virginia and New York City.

Schoolhouse Electric Brings Hip Lighting, Coffee, to Pittsburgh

The Portland, Ore-based lighting and furnishings store, which shares space with a high-end coffeehouse from the team behind The Vandal restaurant, is located in East Liberty's Detective Building.

The 400-Word Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Coen Brothers' western anthology is less than the sum of its parts, but it boasts some great tales.