Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Frightening & Lovely: A Gothic Inspired Wedding in Pittsburgh

Nina Sainato and Freddie Nelson passed over the bouquet toss and the wedding cake for gothic candelabras and a “Hocus Pocus” soundtrack.




Photos by Tara Bennett Photography

 

Local recording artist Nina Sainato wanted her wedding to be dark.

Nina says she’s loved Tim Burton since she was a child, asking her parents for the “Edward Scissorhands” score when she was 8 so she could play it on the piano. She decided she would incorporate elements from that film, as well as “Corpse Bride” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” into her October wedding.

“I wanted an eerie, enchanted garden wedding,” Nina says.
 


 

Though not a Halloween wedding per se (the wedding was initially set to occur in September but Nina’s singer husband-to-be was asked to perform in Tokyo that month) she loved that the proximity to the holiday allowed her to play up the theme at her wedding on Oct. 16 to Freddie Nelson.

Freddie and Nina met in 2012. Nina happened to be attending one of his benefit shows and knew she had to meet him after she was astounded by the way he sounded like Freddie Mercury while covering a Queen song.

Nina’s friends introduced her to Freddie after the show, and the pair immediately fell for one another.

“It was instant. It was like, OK, that’s it. We started messaging each other and going to each others’ shows, and we’ve been together four years now,” Nina says.
 


 

When the doors opened to the reception space in Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, guests saw dark candelabra centerpieces with globes and candles floating above tables. The flower arrangements by Hens & Chicks were dark and desaturated with hues of eggplant and sage as Nina had requested. The theme to “Edward Scissorhands” was playing, and it repeated for Nina and Freddie’s first dance.

Nina’s cousin and maid of honor Adrienne Rozzi of Poison Apple Printshop hand-drew all of Nina and Freddie’s invitations and stationery, which helped them expand on their theme.
 


Nina sang “I Put A Spell On You” from “Hocus Pocus,” and the dessert table by Bella Christie & Lil’ Z’s Sweet Boutique though absent a cake, featured a “Corpse Bride”-inspired display Nina created. Guests were encouraged to hashtag their photos from throughout the night #NightmareBeforeNelson.

But the wedding had deeply sentimental moments also. 

When the couple began dating, Nina had already lost her father to cancer and Freddie’s mother was sick with multiple ailments. By 2015, the couple was living together and saw no rush to get married. It was something they knew would happen, but they “hadn’t gotten around to it.” Then Freddie’s mom passed away in October 2015. Nina suggested they think about marriage so they could have her mother and his father at the wedding.

Then Freddie’s father died unexpectedly three weeks later. That set Nina and Freddie into motion. They went to a Marlene Harris Jewelry in Blawnox to pick out an antique ring together, and Freddie got ready to propose in December 2015. He asked her to marry him on their way to a show in the same venue where they first met.


 

To commemorate their parents, Nina and Freddie sang a medley of songs dedicated to them at the wedding, leaving “not a dry eye in the house,” she says.

The couple had a small ceremony in Phipps’ Broderie Room with only immediate family, a maid of honor and a best man.

Prior to the ceremony, the couple took “first look” pictures at The Mansions on Fifth in Shadyside, where they returned after the reception with their guests to spend the night. They took pictures on an elegant staircase and at a grand piano, which Nina says was perfect because the looming mansion “felt haunted.”

Throughout the evening, a massive supermoon hung in the sky. It was of course not Nina’s planning, but it fit her theme perfectly.
 


 

As the fall is a busy show season for both Nina and Freddie — Freddie is releasing a solo album soon and both are performing at numerous local and charity shows — they have postponed their honeymoon to Aruba until January.

For now, they are reflecting on the wedding and letting themselves soak in the experience. Nina still fields calls from friends who ask her, “How did you do that? Why am I still thinking about this wedding?”

“What really makes a wedding special is taking all of these elements of your own life and incorporating them into that day,” Nina says. “I made lists for the DJs of what to play, who to dedicate it to. I dedicated throwbacks to my cousins, rock songs to Freddie’s friends. I walked down the aisle to pieces I played when I was young. Things like that really tied that day together — not just for me but for everyone involved.”
 


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

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

The Latest

Halloween in Pittsburgh: How to Embrace the Fright

From haunted houses and scary movies to pumpkin patches and zombie bars –– we are here to help you experience as much of the ghoulish holiday as you dare.

Perspectives: Mourning Without a Road Map

A 30-year-old woman “who had lost her father too soon” learns the importance of following a plan when saying goodbye.

On Fitness: Peace and Posture Instead of No Pain, No Gain

Client by client, personal trainer Ian Riggins is dismantling the aggressive side of the fitness industry.

Angling for Tranquility: The Lure of Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing is growing in popularity as anglers discover the peaceful joys of casting a line from the water's surface.

MultiStories: Pittsburgh's Art Deco Obelisk – The Gulf Building

As the Gulf Building rose into Pittsburgh skyline in the early 1930s, the prospects of its owner were headed in the opposite direction.

“First Man” Author to Appear at Heinz History Center

James R. Hansen, author of the authorized Neil Armstrong biography, will speak about the astronaut’s life on Nov. 1.

Results Are In: Jobs are Plentiful in Pittsburgh

Glassdoor’s newly released city shortlist for hot jobs ranks Pittsburgh #1.

The 400-Word Review: The Old Man and the Gun

Robert Redford's alleged final performance is a quiet, fitting farewell.

Sandwich, Helmet, Teammates Await Bell’s Return to Steelers

Le’Veon Bell reportedly intends to return to the Steelers before the second Browns game on Oct. 28, but hasn’t yet. But that didn’t stop some of his teammates from trying to have some fun with Bell at the media’s expense.

A New Day for Craft Beer in Pittsburgh

Day Bracey, along with Ed Bailey and Mike Potter, forges a more inclusive approach to craft brewing.

Southern Cuisine Served with a Big Side of Hospitality

Sugar and Smoke owner Andrea Robinson not only wants to feed customers of her new eatery in Bloomfield –– she wants to know their names.

Meet Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2018

For two decades, Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP have presented the annual 40 Under 40 list. And every year, 40 people who have been alive for less than four decades are chosen because of their career accomplishments, dogged volunteer work and commitment to the Pittsburgh region. This year is no different. Read on to learn more about some of our very best neighbors.

Restaurant Review: Pie for Breakfast

Pittsburgh gets an updated, all-day diner with a sense of place from the owners of Legume Bistro and Butterjoint.

This is Not a Drill: Can Pittsburgh Survive a Disaster?

Location and geography make Pittsburgh one of the safer places to be in a disaster, but just how well would we do in the face of a cataclysmic event?

Finding Her Voice: An Acid Attack Victim Fights Back

Hanifa Nakiryowa's life changed forever after becoming a victim of a disfiguring acid attack.