I'm Engaged, Now What? Expert Advice from 'Burgh Brides

Congratulations to all the new Pittsburgh brides-and-grooms-to-be! After the high of getting engaged wears off, reality sets in. Now, you need to plan a wedding! Don’t fret — we have you covered.


Q: We want a friend or family member to officiate our wedding ceremony. How can they become ordained?
A: Good news! Allegheny County doesn’t require that an ordained officiant perform your ceremony. Simply request a self-uniting marriage license from the Department of Court Records and anyone can preside over the exchange of vows. Keep in mind, you’ll still need to file all of the paperwork afterward to make it officially legal! If you’re saying “I do” outside of Greater Pittsburgh, be sure to confirm the rules and procedures of the respective county.

Q: What is the best way to keep our wedding small without hurting anyone’s feelings?
A: Your wedding guest list and budget can quickly and easily get out of control. If a small soiree is more your style, go for it. Communicate your desire for an intimate affair to friends and family early, as a way to manage expectations. It helps to have someone who respects your wishes act as a buffer between you and those who may have been expecting an invite — someone who has your back to help to deal with any potential family drama. At the end of the day, remember — it’s your wedding.

Q: We love kids, but we don’t want them at our wedding. How do we communicate that guests should leave the little ones at home?
A: First, don’t feel badly about wanting a celebration sans children. You have the right to spend your wedding day with whomever you choose, even if it’s all grown-ups. Set and manage expectations early. When addressing save-the-dates and invitations, include only the names of those actually invited on the envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson” not “The Johnson family.” Be sure your invitation states that an “adults-only reception” will follow the ceremony. Guests should get the hint that they need to find a babysitter for the evening.

Q: We just got engaged, and I have no idea where to begin! Help!
A: My favorite piece of advice for newly engaged couples may surprise you. The first thing you should do after the proposal is … nothing. Don’t jump into wedding planning, don’t round up your bridal party, just pause. Your engagement will be one of the most special times in your life. Try not to rush it. Take a little bit of time to bask in that “I said yes!” glow before the craziness of wedding planning begins. After that, start off with determining a realistic budget and guest list, two things that will influence almost every other wedding decision.

Q: Best advice on how to stick to our wedding budget?
A: The No. 1, sure-fire way to impact your wedding budget is with the guest list. Fewer guests mean fewer invitations, tables, chairs, centerpieces, favors, meals ordered, etc. Use a spreadsheet or app (The Knot has a great one!) to track expenses and your budget balance. Whatever you do, avoid racking up credit card or loan debt. A wedding is not worth going into the red!

Victoria Deardorff is the owner and editor of Pittsburgh’s wedding blog, Burgh Brides (burghbrides.com). Look for her new “Ask the Expert” column in each issue of Pittsburgh Magazine Weddings.

Categories: Bridal Buzz