Weddings Under Glass: David and Mike
Jul 28

Weddings Under Glass: David and Mike

By Heather Poling

Weddings Under Glass is a monthly blog series where we highlight the stories of couples who chose to begin their happily ever after in the lush backdrop of Phipps, named one of the best outdoor garden wedding venues by Elle and Harper’s Bazaar.

It was in 2015 at The Snow Ball, a creative black-tie Gala in Jersey City, NJ, where David first saw Mike. A talented fashion designer Mike’s jean style tuxedo pants and smoking jacket, which he designed and constructed, along with his smooth dance moves helped him catch David’s eye.

At a nice dinner on Mount Washington, Mike was taken by surprise when David asked him to marry him. “Mike thought David was joking when he popped the question and asked sarcastically to see the ring, at which point David pulled out an aquamarine ring he had gotten on Amazon Prime for $34.” Despite his shock, the answer was an obvious yes! The waiter even joined them at the table to celebrate the happy occasion.

After researching many venues, the happy couple made a list of five to visit. While their love of cultural institutions, historic Pittsburgh architecture and plants made Phipps the obvious choice for their wedding venue, the Tropical Forest Hawai’i exhibit sealed the deal.  Mike had lived in Hawai’i, and his “best person was married there”, making the space that much more special to them. They still visited the other venues on their list but that only confirmed their decision that Phipps was the place they wanted to be married!

David and Mike were married on June 17th, 2023, in front of the waterfall outside the Tropical Forest, followed by a reception in the Special Events Hall. Mike took the lead on the design of the wedding, choosing white and light blue as their colors. Mike designed linen suits for the grooms, as well as looks for all the ladies in the wedding party! To showcase all the amazing ensembles Mike created for the occasion they fittingly included a runway walk at their reception, at which the guests showed their approval with “many hoots and hollers.”

The couple’s favorite part about getting married at Phipps was that “Our wedding coincided with the Phipps Billy Porter fashion exhibition, which was perfect for a queer couple that includes a fashion designer.” In fact, their flowers designed by local florist Bramble and Blossom, were displayed as dresses on two of the dress forms from Mikes studio. They had Michael Marquez, a fashion photographer and the husband of Mike’s “best person”, photograph the wedding. Another friend from Jersey City, Paul Mendoza, was their DJ, “mixing in lots of 80’s classics”. Although it was the first wedding experience for both the DJ and the photographer, the grooms thought they were fantastic!

After their epic celebration, the couple had a staycation for their honeymoon. Mike continues to build his fashion design business, NolanKouri while David prepares to start a new job as a professor at Chatham University this fall. The couple is so excited to see what the future holds!


Flowers: Bramble & Blossom 

Photographer: Michael Marquez Photography

DJ: Paul Mendoza