From the Pitcher’s Mound to Wayne Manor — All in One Pittsburgh Wedding
This baseball player and his wife let their Pittsburgh wedding venue add luxury and sophistication to their day.
(Editor’s note: Two days after the publication of this article, Jennifer passed away following a long illness. Pittsburgh Magazine extends its sincere condolences to Tommy and the couple’s family and friends.)
Houston Astros’ pitcher Thomas “Tommy” Shirley traded in his glove for a tuxedo on Nov. 5, 2022, to marry Jennifer Strunak at Sacred Heart Church in Shadyside.
The couple met through a dating app and met at Starbucks for their first date. At the time, Tommy was in between baseball teams and was living back in his home city, Pittsburgh, during the transition. He and Jennifer ended up staying until the coffee shop closed.
“I only went on one Hinge date and it was him. So it’s almost like the stars aligned,” says Jennifer.
Tommy says that he originally skipped over their Hinge encounter and told his family that he and Jennifer met at Starbucks, a white lie that has since become a running joke within the family.
Jennifer, a CPA and accountant at a public accounting firm in Carnegie, says that they briefly considered a destination wedding but quickly realized the travel would be difficult for their grandparents. They eventually settled on The Mansions On Fifth.
“As soon as we saw the mansions, I just remember turning to Tom and I was like, ‘We’re doing it here. I love it here.’ So yeah, it was almost like the venue itself inspired me,” Jennifer says.
Feeding off the aesthetic of the castle-style mansion, venue coordinator Gabby Lugaila intertwined all of the bride’s ideas from her Pinterest board with the space’s intricate woodwork, walnut paneling and bright open windows. The result was a meld of high fashion and luxury with a Victorian feel.
“I’m a very big Batman fan, and I really like Bruce Wayne,” Tommy says. “His house is old and luxury and the mansions were totally that. I felt like Bruce Wayne during the wedding with the classiness of the mansions.”
To top off the high-class nature, wedding photographer Mariah Treiber captured an editorial-style shoot of Jennifer and Tommy sitting in a 1958 Oldsmobile 88 outside the buildings. The car’s owner chauffeured the newlyweds from the ceremony to the reception.
“I think my favorite part, believe it or not, was just driving from the church to the mansions and it was a special moment between us two,” Jennifer says. “It’s emotional thinking about it because it’s just a special day for us.”
The couple kept the decorations for the evening limited because the venue was striking and beautiful on its own. Jennifer chose mute tones such as blush flowers and green bridesmaid dresses.
Jennifer’s wedding dress, from Bridal Beginning, fit with the building’s aesthetic with a high neck, long lace sleeves and mermaid-style skirt.
“I think you got to stick to your guns with what you want because I was getting a lot of opinions,” says Jennifer. “This is your day.”