Whether you want to plan the least mainstream wedding celebration or you want to DIY your heart out, you’ve got lots of options.

Get married amongst the polka dots and infinity mirrors and then treat your guests to a night spent wandering around the one and only Mattress Factory. Rent just one room or the whole museum.

Or say ‘I do’ at Randyland, the iconic and boldly colorful building, also on the North Side. This community space invites couples to create lasting memories against its artsy and eclectic backdrop.

Two other art-inspired spaces, both of which welcome any atmosphere from black tie to dinner party, are the Andy Warhol Museum where you have the choice of one of three floors, or check out one of the modern art galleries or the beautiful outdoor space at The James Gallery in West End Village.

If finding a blank space to create the perfect day is your goal, try the cool environs of Engine House 25  (where they make their own wine) or The Union Hall above Bar Marco, both in the Strip.

Need a bigger blank space? Rent out the inviting New Hazlett Theater on the North Side for the night or head to Union Project, a restored church in the East End that now rents out three event spaces—plus their kitchen.

Or invite your lucky guests to a reception party (sorry, no ceremonies here) at Penn Brewery where they can sip local and seasonal microbrews outside in the Beirgarten or inside in Eisenhalle.

At Choderwood, couples can have a small ceremony overlooking the Allegheny River and spend the evening with friends and family enjoying such amenities as a fire pit, a meditation hut and the Buddha bed. Just a heads up—you might have a few wedding crashers—the resident chickens that roam the property.

Crafting your own party space means that the food is entirely up to you. Opening Night Catering has catered many a spectacular wedding at Phipps, the Pennsylvanian and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, with sit down options and fabulous tasting stations. All in Good Taste Productions with Bob Sendall is another popular caterer in town, as is Rania’s.

The restaurant folks at big Burrito Restaurant Group offer seated dinners, tasting stations or buffets for most venues. Or you can call a locally sourced food company, like Wild Purveyors or Sweet Peaches, to discuss catering options.

Once you double check with your venue for things like service fees or alcohol permits, you can consider anything from your favorite farm-to-table restaurant (many, like E2 have catering partnerships with venues) to having a food truck (like PGH Taco Truck) roll up with noms. Not into a fancy fondant cake? Call Peace Love & Little Donuts and they will build you a donut tower.

At Phipps Conservatory. Eva Lin photo.
At Phipps Conservatory. Eva Lin photo.


Pittsburgh is now one the greenest cities around, boasting many LEED-certified buildings and noted green spaces. For couples who wish to get married outdoors, there are dozens of options in Pittsburgh’s many parks.

In the heart of Oakland, there is Schenley Plaza, where you can have your ceremony under the white tent near the lawn and offer rides on the charming carousel nearby. Another popular Schenley Park destination is the Schenley Park Visitor’s Center, which hosts small gatherings inside, but also offers the option to expand with the use of an outdoor tent.

Over on the North Side, the Chapel Shelter at Riverview Park serves as both a ceremony and reception venue, and nearby Observatory Hill affords photos with stunning background views. With the right permit (usually around $150) combined with knowledgeable event staff, you can say ‘I do’ outside, in any season in almost every park.

Vows have been said anywhere from Allegheny Commons to Highland Park’s Entry Garden to the wetlands of lower Frick Park. Unless you are looking at Point State Park (a county park), contact the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to check out your options.

For those who don’t want to piece together your day, there are several nature-friendly venues. Have both your wedding and reception at Phipps Conservatory, one of the nation’s oldest Victorian greenhouses, not to mention one of the greenest facilities in the country. Here couples can choose between the Outdoor Garden (May-October) or sections of the indoor space such as the Tropical Rainforest Room and Special Events Hall.

A similar option to Phipps, especially if you enjoy creatures of flight, is The National Aviary, where you can share your day with over 500 exotic and endangered birds in either the Rose Garden or the Atrium.

At the Pittsburgh Opera wedding of Eileen French and Patrick Jordan. Joey Kennedy photo.
At the wedding of Eileen French and Patrick Jordan at the Pittsburgh Opera headquarters. Joey Kennedy photo.

Although an outside venue seems an obvious way to show a love of nature, you can also honor the earth by choosing a venue where going green is highly encouraged. The Pittsburgh Opera headquarters, the original George Washington Air Brake Factory that is now home to the Pittsburgh Opera, doubles as a cool industrial warehouse space and gives renters a discount if they commit to “green rentals.”

It’s basically a shell, so you can bring in your own vendors and really make it your own, says Eileen French who got married there in December (see photos here). “The location is ideal and you can mix up urban and gritty with super high end, chic elements.”

A tip for a wedding like this? “Hire the right people and let them do their thing,” says Eileen who has planned her share of events through her company, Revive Marketing Group. “Take their advice and direction and let them be creative. It’s what they do best.”

At Phipps Conservatory, the wedding of Jake and Antonia. Photo by Eva Lin.
At Phipps Conservatory, the wedding of Jake and Antonia. Photo by Eva Lin.


What could be more Pittsburgh than getting married on a bridge? Yes, it’s been done—on the Roberto Clemente Bridge—and today the city is currently working to open up the three sister bridges for events such as weddings.

For black and gold fans, Heinz Field offers several spaces to rent but if you want a field view, ask about the North Club for an inside reception or the South Plaza to celebrate outside where you can also see The Point and the Jumbotron.

PNC Park is another wedding-welcoming sports venue. For sit-down affairs and spectacular views, choose the Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club among their list of event spaces.

PPG Place, the Phillip Johnson-designed building complex made entirely of Pittsburgh Plate Glass, rents out its Wintergarden. It will feel like you’re getting married in a glass castle in downtown Pittsburgh.

For some of the best views in town, head across the West End Bridge and up to the West End / Elliot Overlook and get a shelter permit to exchange vows against a postcard-perfect backdrop. Then rent the facility or set up a white tent for your reception.

Jeff and Victor at their wedding at the Unitarian Church in Mt. Lebanon.
Jeff and Victor at their wedding at the Unitarian Church in Mt. Lebanon.

Feeling a bit of nostalgia for the history of Western PA? You can book one room or the entire facility at the Heinz History Center and allow guests to mosey around the museum.

The University Club in Oakland has been hosting weddings since 1923. Choose from one of the wedding packages and give your guests the best view of the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning with a cocktail reception on the rooftop terrace.

The Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze has been a long-standing and gorgeous setting for both indoor weddings in The Frick Art Museum rotunda and outdoor ceremonies on the lawn.

For couples who grew up with the Carnegie Science Center as your playground, a ceremony and reception there make for a memorable and playful day. Or share your day with the the otters and tiger sharks when you get married at Water’s Edge at the PPG Aquarium. If you’re not into aquatic life, then The Garden Tent is great space for dinner and dancing, too.

Get crazy with color and have fun with a wedding at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. You have a choice between the Big Red Room, which includes the backyard, or renting the entire (and quite wonderful) museum.

Still hankering to say ‘I do’ on a river? Have your ceremony and reception on The Gateway Clipper. It might not be on a bridge, but you’ll get to cruise along under most of them and get a sparkling view of the city and its three rivers from every angle.

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Kristen Wynn Photography.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Kristen Wynn Photography.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Kristen Wynn Photography.

About That Dress—and the photographer

Searching for the wedding dress of your dreams (brides, that’s you)? Then book a champagne-infused appointment at Glitter & Grit. Erin runs her very own bridal boutique right on Butler Street where she showcases local designers and draws a big trunk show crowd. It’s chic and sparkling and so very Pittsburgh. You can also follow Glitter & Grit on Facebook to keep up with the sample sales and special events.

Pittsburgh is rife with experienced wedding photographers who can do anything from capture natural light on a rainy day to create urban whimsy. If you don’t choose a talented friend of the family to photograph your day, here are a few photographers who know their way around a Pittsburgh wedding.

Joey Kennedy Photography

Rachel Rowland

Hot Metal Studio

Ryan Zarichnak Photography

Eva Lin Photography

Electric Lime Studios

Ashley Giffin

Looking for more ideas? Check out Hitchburgh for local artisan wedding planning.

Janna is happily rediscovering Pittsburgh after spending nearly a decade living New York City. She’s a writer by trade—magazines, blogs and a book called He Never Liked Cake. And she’s also a yoga teacher. Her classes can be found pretty much all around this city.