After being introduced at the end of their sophomore year at Duquesne University, Nicholas Milone texted Gracyn Gabauer to ask if she’d attend a fraternity party with him. Initially hesitant because the frat boys didn’t have the best reputation, she kept an open mind. “I didn’t answer right away because I needed to talk to my grandma – it was her and my paps’ anniversary and we were very close,” she explains. “I told her I was asked on a date and wanted to make sure I could miss their dinner for the date. Once she said yes and she urged me to go, I replied and told him I’d love to join him.” 

Beyond attending the party, the pair also spent the next few weeks going on library study dates and walking downtown to Market Square to enjoy some nice spring weather. “Right before we went home for the summer, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Six years later, we were married!” confirms Gracyn. 

As they started the process of organizing their dream day, Gracyn and Nicholas were thankful they had hired the “best wedding-planning team” because they made it feel easy. “Nick was very involved in planning, along with our families. My dad was the most involved I would say, and it’s funny because he actually planned his and my mom’s wedding by himself – my mom had no idea what it was going to be like until she got there,” Gracyn shares with a smile. “There was some compromise along the way, but I must say he is very organized and has a great eye for things!” 

The couple sought to host the wedding in Pittsburgh, as it’s the city where they met and now live. Since the majority of Nick’s family would be traveling from out of town, they opted for a hotel venue for the ease of guests coming from afar. The one surprising challenge the bride faced was collecting attendees’ information. “I did not realize how long it would take to gather addresses!” exclaims Gracyn. 

“The floral arrangements really set the tone for the day and were unlike anything I had ever seen.”

A traditional Catholic ceremony was arranged and though the church did not allow for many decorations, Joe Mineo Creative brought in a few large flower arrangements to the already-remarkable sanctuary. “The florals featured pops of color in them. They were beautiful!” illustrates the bride. It was important to the couple to have someone who knew them marry them, so they chose a priest who was a family friend who allowed them to integrate their own vows into the service. “It was also special for us to get married in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit as Duquesne University because one of our first dates was going to mass together at that chapel.” 

The bride wore a sophisticated bridal gown featuring a hand-sewn embellished pattern and carried a lovely, full arrangement of orchids and roses. Nicholas opted for a classic black tuxedo with a matching hand-tied bow tie. The polished couple looked as refined as their ancestors whose wedding photos were framed and showcased on a table with signage that read “Generations of Love” as a sweet tribute to the love stories that preceded their own. 

The transformation of the reception ballroom was extraordinary. “The floral arrangements really set the tone for the day and were unlike anything I had ever seen,” admits the groom. Gracyn and Nick desired an elegant affair that incorporated the bride’s love of nature, so they opted for an all-white palette featuring compilations of verdure. 

“We told Joe [Mineo] we wanted a lot of greenery and white flowers and gave him freedom of designing what it would look like, and boy did they deliver!” illustrates Gracyn. “The arrangements varied with each table, ranging from short styles, tall versions, overhead designs, and even four large trees in the center of tables.” 

When it was time for the newlyweds’ grand entrance, they entered the ballroom from the balcony above the dance floor. “Walking down towards the middle of all of our friends and family was extremely memorable… it truly felt like a scene out of a movie,” reminisces Nick. Everyone enjoyed the sit-down dinner, followed by slices of cake and cookies from the “Pittsburgh Cookie Table,” which is a tradition where family and friends get together and bake dozens of cookies for the wedding of a loved one. 

Even the favors were given a special touch from relatives. “My family makes a sweet Italian liquor meant to be sipped called Latavia. It consists of a few types of wine, along with some grain alcohol, cherries, and cherry juice and is made a few months ahead of time to allow time to ferment,” details Gracyn. 

There isn’t much that the bride would change about the fairy-tale day, except to eat lunch. “I was a little shaky and surviving off the Jolly Rancher® candies I had in my purse,” she laughs. “It sounds cliché, but it was really the perfect day.” Gracyn’s advice for others planning their nuptials is to simply enjoy the wedding-planning process: “Take photos along the way, such as the cake tasting, because it’s so nice to look back and have those memories!”

This real wedding was originally published in the Winter 2024 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

To order a copy of the Winter 2024 issue, visit our library of Inside Weddings back issues available for purchase.

Some of the links included may be affiliate; however, everything we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. When you make a purchase, we may receive revenue. Thank you for your support!