Rachel Elizabeth Arffa and Matthew Chen Yang

July 5, 2008

Parent’ names

Sharon and Robert Arffa; Phanny and Raymond Yang


These high school sweethearts married on the campus of Matt’s alma mater, Shady Side Academy (423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel; shadysideacademy.org). The Jewish ceremony took place in the Hillman Center for Performing Arts. Rabbi Amy Hertz from Temple Rodef Shalom Congregation (412/621-6566, rodefshalom.org) officiated. To incorporate Matt’s Chinese heritage, guests received red fans with the couple’s initials on them.

Wedding Planner

Rachel and Matt enlisted the professional expertise of Katherine Elise Shaw (412/267-2108, trendstotraditions.com). She helped them fuse their diverse cultures and put their mark on a distinctive event.


Christopher Gooden (724/344-9967, chrisgoodenweddings.com)


Gerard Boeh Flowers (20555 Route 19, Cranberry Township; 724/779-3900, gerardboehflowers.com) created bouquets and centerpieces using lilies and roses in red and white.

On the Bride

The bride wore a taffeta dress designed by Maggie Sottero; it was purchased out of state.

On the Groom

Katherine Shaw provided tuxes for the groom and his groomsmen.


The aquarium at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium (412/365-2536, pittsburghzoo.com) served as a beautiful backdrop for the reception. The aquarium housed newly hatched baby penguins, and photos in front of the two-story shark tank were dramatic. With the addition of Chinese lanterns strung over wide-open spaces and white, red, and silver accents, the space reflected Matt’s Asian heritage.


April Gruver at Vanilla Pastry Studio (6014 Penn Circle, East Liberty; 412/361-2306, vanillapastry.com) created a classic round, tiered cake covered in fondant. The exterior was embellished with the couple’s initials; inside were two different fillings: chocolate mocha and strawberry shortcake.


For the ceremony, the couple booked the Steve Ehrlich String Quartet through Entertainment Unlimited (412/343-7700, entertainmentunlimited.com). Appropriate Moods (412/920-4976, appropriatemoods.com) rocked the reception with a play list that included pop, hip-hop, alternative, Asian and Brazilian music.

Categories: Weddings