Eugenia Marie Finizio, managing editor at theSkimm, and Michael William Cassidy connected through mutual friends in college but didn’t go to the same school— she went to George Washington University and he was at Wake Forest. After years of only knowing of each other, he took the train into New York, where she had found a job after graduation and took her on a first date.
The two went out for three years, all long-distance from NYC and Philadelphia, before he proposed. “We both spent lots of quality time with the New Jersey turnpike,” she says.
Eugenia was home for Christmas in Pittsburgh and was meeting a friend for dinner in the lobby of her favorite hotel, The William Penn. Her mother offered to drive her into the city. “I didn’t think anything of it, but now, it’s so nice to look back thinking that my mom was able to drive me to the place where she knew I was going to get engaged,” Eugenia says.
Once seated in the lobby, Michael called and said something about how she “looked nice for dinner.” He surprised her right there and knowing his future-fiancé was not into a public proposal, led her across the street to a small park and got down on one knee.
Eugenia had always thought she’d get married in the same hotel where Michael surprised her, but after getting engaged, her mother found an alternate venue. The Pennsylvanian used to be Pittsburgh’s train station and is now an apartment building with a beautiful wedding venue space. “When I found out it was the train line that connected Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and New York, I knew we had to get married there,” the bride says. To help plan everything, they hired Shayne Souleret of Soirée by Souleret.
One weekend, Eugenia’s mom came into town to go dress shopping, and as soon as she tried on a long-sleeve Amsale gown, they both knew it was the one. To complete the look, she wore her cousin’s cathedral-length veil with a piece of her mother’s and grandmother’s veil sewn into it.
In the church where she grew up, the bride walked down the long aisle with her father. “My grandfather passed away a few years ago, and he was a trumpet player, so my cousin played my grandfather’s trumpet, as I walked down the aisle,” Eugenia says. Her mom was her matron of honor, and Michael’s dad was his best man, so the two of them were standing at the altar with their children for the whole Roman Catholic service. Once declared husband and wife, everyone made their way to the The Pennsylvanian for the reception.
Eugenia’s mother created the evening space’s look and had a canopy built over the dance floor with greenery and chandeliers hanging down to draw everyone to the center of the room. The newlyweds made their entrance and had their first dance to “Suitcase” by Pittsburgh native Steve Moakler.
Before the seated meal, the bride’s uncle from Rome gave a short blessing in Italian, and guests were treated to pasta served family style as the first course. Once everyone was well fed, Eugenia surprised Michael with his chance to be the headliner of his own concert, performing “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” by Bruce Springsteen with the band. “Looking back, it makes me laugh because I should have chosen a song that he knew all of the words to, but watching all of our friends and family watch him sing onstage is definitely my favorite memory from the night,” she says.
Once the dancing winded down in the ballroom, it picked right back up again at the after-party around the corner. “By the end of the night, the bottom of my dress was brown from being danced on, and we ordered room service and ate a second dinner at 3 a.m.— the perfect end to the night.”