Pittsburgh Wedding Traditions

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“Benefits of getting married in the ‘Burgh”
By: Paula Green 

             Pittsburgh is some place special that is why many betrothed couples take advantage of its uniqueness and exchange vows here, because of its perks.

             As mentioned in my “Cookie Trivia” column, the cookie table is a given in Pittsburgh.  Different areas of the U.S. have their own distinctive traditions.  Lynn Aufman of Cranberry Twp. witnessed cultural differences when her daughter Elyse married William Everett of Morton, Miss. on Dec. 28.  The couple held their reception at the Camelot in Warrendale.

           “It was quite a culture shock for the southerners.  They had never heard of a cookie table, let alone the “money dance” with shots.  Their events are dry.  In fact, they don’t serve dinner at weddings either, only hors d’oeuvres,” said Lynn.  “And they didn’t have any special outdoor photos taken; anything below 60 degrees is freezing for southerners.”

             Another custom gaining popularity at Pittsburgh weddings is a “Memory Table.”  Sabrina Van Arsdale of Cranberry Twp. had one at her Nov. 9, nuptials to John Wilt.  Their reception was also held at the Camelot.  

           “John and I both lost our grandfathers in months prior to our wedding, so we wanted a special way to remember them.  We wanted in some way feel like they were with us.  We had their names, along with John’s aunt and my other grandfather placed on a candle and we had pictures of each of them,” Sabrina said.

           Speaking of photos, the latest trend is photo booths.  This custom has taken off according to Three Rivers Photo Booth owner Richard De Paolis.  “Photo booths are a fun activity for people of all ages.  They’re a great way to get your guests intermingling with one another.  Besides the entertainment aspect, photo booths can provide the couple with a photo guestbook.  A professional photographer’s album sometimes lacks pictures of the guests.  We can provide a photo booth guestbook with pictures of guests having fun next to their handwritten message. Three Rivers Photo Booth also offers photo strip frames and magnets.  We are happy to consult with brides and create an individualized wedding package.” 

           Pittsburgh offers some breath-taking scenery for taking wedding pictures. If you want pictures taken on the Roberto Clemente Bridge or Hot Metal Bridge or any other bridge in the city, then you’re in luck because Pittsburgh has 446 of them, more than any other city in the world!

           Other picturesque places to take wedding pictures include – Point State Park, Mount Washington, the Duquesne Incline, Station Square, the Waterfront, the North Shore, Kennywood Park, Frick Park, Mellon Park, The Carnegie Museum of Art, Phipps Conservatory, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, the Children’s Museum, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the Cathedral of Learning, the Strip District, Downtown Pittsburgh, the West End Overlook, PNC Park, Heinz Field, Consol Energy Center, Hartwood Acres or any other Pittsburgh locale that  has special meaning for the couple.

            “We took our wedding pictures at Pine Park.  John and I met in high school (Pine-Richland).  It was special for us because that’s where we took our prom pictures,” explained Sabrina.

             Bridal couples are also getting creative with favors, like – coasters, lip balms, cookie cutters, and bottle openers.  The selections are endless with hundreds of different options.

             Transportation is also exciting in the tri-state area.  In addition to limo service, newlyweds also can utilize a trolley service, vans, and chartered buses.

             Sports can play a part in Pittsburgh wedding traditions.  Groomsmen often enjoy playing a round of golf before the wedding.  Other “Burgh” sports themed customs include – waving the “The Terrible Towel®” when the bridal party is announced, or donning Pirates, Penguins or Steelers shirts. Proceeds from Myron Cope’s official “The Terrible Towel” benefit NHS Allegheny Valley School which provides life-long opportunities for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

              No matter which “Pittsburgh” traditions you choose for your “big day” it will be special and filled with a lifetime full of beautiful memories.