You just got engaged. Congratulations! It’s pretty rad, right? You get to tell all your friends and family the big news, drink all that champagne and kick back with your wonderful, soon-to-be spouse.

Now for the wedding planning …

If you’re anything like me, also newly engaged, you’re thinking “Where do I even begin?”

Let’s start by asking a few questions. Where do you want to celebrate? How many friends and family do you want to invite? What time of year do you want to get married?

The answers will help you narrow down the big one—choosing a venue. In Pittsburgh there are countless places where a couple can get married, from the traditional to under the radar spots. Whether you want a big party or small celebration, whether you know your specific style or don’t have a clue, this wedding guide from NEXTpittsburgh can help—before wedding planning becomes an engagement buzzkill.

Feel free to mix and match styles. Stick to the traditions or go as far off the beaten path as you like. Get creative and pop another bottle because this can be fun. Trust me.

At Pittsburgh Opera for the wedding of Eileen French and Patrick Jordan. Photo by Joey Kennedy.

At Pittsburgh Opera for the wedding of Eileen French and Patrick Jordan. Photo by Joey Kennedy.

A FORMAL AFFAIR

There are plenty of places in Pittsburgh where your wedding can be as elegant and opulent as you can imagine, and you can show your guests the finest of our town. Downtown, right off of the newly renovated Mellon Square and its sparkling fountains, is the Omni William Penn where you can choose from two of the grand ballrooms or host a more intimate gathering in the Urban Room known for its Art Deco style.

Closer to Market Square is The Fairmont, a fairly new hotel that makes for an elegant yet contemporary wedding venue and welcomes up to 450 guests in the main ballroom.

The Priory, just minutes from downtown on the North Shore, is Pittsburgh’s first historical boutique hotel. Host up to 350 guests (or 500 if it’s only cocktails) in the gilded Grand Ballroom or put together a more intimate affair in what used to be the monastery’s dining room with its adjoining garden patio.

The newest boutique hotel is downtown’s Hotel Monaco with a hip and bold decor that provides an instant lift for guests and lends itself to more creative weddings.

Morning Glory Inn is a quaint bed and breakfast on the South Side where more than 300 couples have said ‘I do’ in the romantic setting of the candlelit courtyard.

Mansions on Fifth Hotel, with its grand staircase and stained glass windows, is in Shadyside and allows for a grand yet still secluded celebration. Guests will love staying in the beautiful and historic rooms.

The Pittsburgh Renaissance Hotel is a turn-of-the-century landmark with a ballroom that offers beautiful views of the Allegheny River and North Shore. The Symphony Ballroom will give your guests iconic snapshots of the city’s sister bridges. 

For those who appreciate great architecture, there’s the Daniel Burnham-designed Pennsylvanian with its stunning rotunda, perfect for outdoor ‘I dos.’ Inside is a sweeping and glorious, high-ceilinged room. Just watch for the tricky acoustics.

Looking for a big old banquet space to throw a great reception?  The Mount Tory Ballroom has been hosting wedding receptions for over 45 years and has a staff ready to work through every detail to perfection.

The Boiler Room on Banksville Rd. is one of the newer banquet spaces in the Burgh, with big windows that invite natural lighting.

Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum has several wedding rental spaces—like the Grand Ballroom or the Patio—for a unique setting and special evening inside or out.

Inside the Pennsylvanian for a wedding catered by Opening Night. Photo by Kristi Telnov.

Inside the Pennsylvanian for a wedding catered by Opening Night. Photo by Kristi Telnov.

Or would you prefer an elegant garden setting? Apply for a permit from the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and you can get married in front of the fountain in Mellon Park’s Memorial Walled Garden. Your guests will enjoy the original architecture and the blooms in season, and they can eat, drink and be merry either inside The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts or under the white tent.