10 Pittsburgh Places Where — Yes! — You Can Hold Your Wedding
Want to get married on the Racer at Kennywood? You’re in luck.
photo BY whitling photography
While we love traditional ceremonies held in churches or elegant ballrooms, some brides might be looking for a venue that breaks from the norm. Here are 10 places in Pittsburgh that, while they’re better-known for other purposes, also will welcome couples who want to tie the knot.
**Editor's Note: This article was first published in 2015. Rates and other details for each venue may have changed.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
The bride and groom can marry with a stained-glass window as the backdrop in the studio of the museum or outside at a newly constructed park. After the ceremony, a cocktail hour in the lobby includes access to the activities in the studio, where guests can silkscreen T-shirts or tote bags that become memorable favors. Couples can take pictures throughout the museum with the ever-changing exhibits and have big fun at their reception in the Big Red Room.
Cost: Park Ceremony: $125 (through City of Pittsburgh); reception (Big Red Room) and ceremony (Studio): $3,550 for 5 hours; reception only (Big Red Room): $2,700 for 4 hours
Capacity: Big Red Room: 230
Photo courtesy Engine 25
Engine House 25
Maintaining the charm of the 100-year-old firehouse, this restored venue is home to the Clemente Museum and Engine House 25 winery. But we don’t recommend letting Grandma near the baseball bats after a few too many glasses of Chardonnay lest she try to re-enact “A League of Their Own.”
Cost: Varies based on number of guests and time frame. Call for pricing.
Capacity: Ceremony: 150; reception: 80-125
Photo courtesy Consol Energy Center
PPG Paints Arena
Maybe your dream of marrying Sidney Crosby didn’t come true, but you can still plan your wedding in the spot where he skates. For die-hard Pittsburgh Penguins fans, a reception at the Lexus Club at PPG Paints Arena is a hat trick.
The space generally can be booked no more than 60 days before the event, but despite this planning obstacle, the venue is worth the rush. A wall of windows offers guests a view of the city, and (depending on the day) couples can take pictures on the ice. Mid-summer, hockey’s offseason, is the best time to book the Lexus Club — in the past, couples have gotten married right on the ice.
Cost: Lexus Club: $2,750 (five-hour rental)
Capacity: about 230
Photo courtesy james gallery
Couples can say “I do” surrounded by fine art at the James Gallery [jamesgallery.net] in the West End Village. Already decorated with elegant creations for guests to peruse, the space requires minimal effort from the bride and groom.
The gallery mostly hosts receptions but can also hold ceremonies. Guests can mingle throughout the main gallery space, a smaller room called “the Artery” and a charming urban garden.
Cost: $2,500 (four-hour rental with two hours to set up and one hour to tear down)
Capacity: 150 cocktail style; 70 seated
PHOTO BY JON DAWSON VIA FLICKR
Ohiopyle State Park
Alternative venues throughout the park, such as Cucumber Falls, are available upon request, but most couples choose the Youghiogheny River as their backdrop. Afterward you can hit the water on a white-water rafting adventure.
Photo courtesy of hartwood acres
From late May until October, couples can hold a ceremony in the Formal Garden of the Tudor mansion. For a larger event, couples can marry inside the stately mansion in the Great Hall with a reception on the terrace and in the Hemlock Court.
Cost: Ceremony in the Formal Garden: $900 for Allegheny County Residents; ceremony and reception inside the mansion: ranges from $1,500 to $6,250 depending on Allegheny County residence and which spaces are reserved
Capacity: Formal Garden: 80-180; Great Hall: 100
photo courtesy carnegie science center
Carnegie Science Center
Deciding to hold your event at the Carnegie Science Center [carnegiesciencecenter.org] isn’t rocket science. The science center caters to science nerds as well as couples with a simple love of Pittsburgh.
Couples might consider having their ceremony “under the stars” in the Buhl Planetarium or holding their event in the Works Theater, where guests have access to exhibits on the fourth floor.
The venue also offers such science-themed additions as a laser light show, access to telescopes in the observatory or fogging Liquid Nitrogen drinks. Who doesn’t love alcohol for the sake of science?
Cost: Ceremony only: about $1,000; reception: $1,500 to $3,500
Capacity: 300 cocktail; 150 seated
photo courtesy heinz field
For those who bleed black and gold, Heinz Field offers a variety of rental spaces for ceremonies and receptions alike. Football-loving couples can hold their reception in the North Club Lounge that overlooks the playing field while also offering a view of the city. The East Club Lounge and the Hyundai West Club offer a more formal atmosphere.
Cost: East Club Lounge or Hyundai West Club Lounge: $3,000 with $12,500 food and beverage minimum
Capacity: East Club Lounge and Hyundai West Club: 500 max, usually about 350 for ceremonies
photo by beth insalaco photography
The National Aviary
Birds of a feather flock to the National Aviary [aviary.org] on the North Side to get hitched. Before you fly south for your honeymoon, consider holding your ceremony or reception in the blossoming rose garden or the glass-domed atrium.
You also can invite a feathered friend, but if you’re going black tie, we recommend one of the aviary’s penguins as a guest — and yes, he’s available. No need to rent a tux for him.
Cost: Starting at $1,500
Capacity: 500 cocktail; 180 seated; 150 dinner/dance
photo by veronica varos
On a Ride at Kennywood Park
Adrenaline junkies can say their vows on the Skycoaster, Thunderbolt, Racer or Phantom’s Revenge just before the rides set off at Kennywood Park [kennywood.com]. One couple knocked the wig from the head of their officiant with the wind from their Skycoaster launch.
Couples also can have a more traditional ceremony on a bridge in Lost Kennywood or hold a smaller event in the gazebo in the center of the park with the dancing fountain in the background. Receptions are held in the park’s pavilions and catered with Kennywood’s picnic food. Ceremonies typically take place at 10 a.m. before the park opens at 11, and then guests can ride the day away.
Cost: Ceremony only: $300; ceremony and reception (guests ride all day): $50 per person
Capacity: Bridge in Lost Kennywood: 150; gazebo: about 25