Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wedding Wednesday: When and Where We Are Getting Married

Pittsburgh wedding
I am SO excited to finally be able to write this post! This is, in my opinion, the absolute first thing that you need to do once you get engaged: pick a date, book your ceremony site, and reception site. 

Since I have been in the events industry, I totally knew that time was of the essence and therefore, I called the church a week after we got engaged (in hindsight, I should have contacted them the next morning, ha!) as well as started to look at venues in order to select which one was best for us. If you are newly engaged or about to get engaged, I cannot stress enough that this is truly something you should do immediately- even if you think it is ridiculously early, it's probably not and you can see why from my example below...

I really wanted a December 2019 wedding. However, I was bummed to find out that both the church and the venue I wanted were booked- entirely. Usually, you don't run into too many problems when planning a year out- especially in the smaller Pittsburgh market- it's when you have less than a year that it can sometimes get tricky. So, I figured December wouldn't be an issue since that was exactly one year from when we got engaged. 

We had to reassess when we would want to get married. It had to be in 2020 because the venue we wanted was entirely booked every Saturday for 2019. 

I had been looking as far out as June 2020 but shockingly the church was booked for the June date I had in mind! Back to the drawing board...

Our Date
The stars finally all aligned and we will be getting married late spring 2020! I am not going to share exact details just for privacy reasons (I'll share all of the specifics after our wedding!) but I am SO excited that I was eventually able to get the exact venue I wanted as well as get the exact time at the church that I wanted (I thought I was going to have to compromise and get the early church time which was not ideal).

If you are newly engaged and haven't booked anything yet, keep these things in mind as you are choosing at a date, ceremony site, and reception venue:

- Budget- duh! Also keep in mind the service charges and taxes- most of the time, the numbers do not include any of that and a service charge is anywhere between 20-25% plus the tax here in PA is 7%, these will also inflate your costs but you don't see them at first glance!
- Guest Count- this one is something that is pretty important because you don't want to book something that is too small for everyone to be seated comfortably and you don't want to book a venue that is too large for your count because then the room will look sparse. You also have to keep in mind space for a dance floor. The venue we will be having our wedding is on the smaller side so we have to keep our guest list low because we will need to fit our guests and a dance floor! This also changes if you want cocktail style instead of seated but we will be having seated!
- Accommodations- This is something else that you don't have to necessarily have figured out or have dictate your venue choice but if you will have a lot of out of town guests, you want to make sure that there are two hotels- one inexpensive option and one nicer option for your guests (within a reasonable distance). Luckily our venue is in downtown Pittsburgh so this isn't an issue for us but I know a lot of those who choose to have barn/farm weddings that are further from towns/cities, this can be tougher! You don't want to have a wedding where your guest list is 300 people- all needing rooms- and there is only one hotel within a decent distance from your venue!
- Ceremony Location- You'll want to make sure that if your ceremony location is not at your reception venue, that it is somewhat close!
- Ceremony Time- This was a really annoying part of the puzzle for us! Our church only offers two ceremony times: 1pm and 3pm. I thought I was going to have to choose the 1pm ceremony time (luckily, I didn't) but you might want to rethink your date if you can't get your preferable ceremony time- that is exactly what we did. That would mean your ceremony would end around 2pm and you'd either have a huge gap before you start your reception or you'd have to have a daytime wedding. Obviously, if either of those things are what you want, then that is great! But we really wanted a nighttime wedding so securing that later ceremony time was really key!
- Weather- Obviously, the weather will play a big part in your reasoning behind choosing a date. But if you are dreaming of a winter wedding but live somewhere really cold, you have to think about the possibility of a snowstorm prohibiting guests and vendors from traveling to get to your wedding. Same if you are having an outdoor/tented wedding and you choose a rainy season- you'll need to have a backup plan- just in case and it's important to see if the venue offers/ has a backup plan!
-Misc.- These are all little things but think of the things you want at your wedding. Some venues have to follow noise ordinances so if you think you want your wedding to go into the wee hours, you need to choose a venue that can accommodate this. For me, I wanted open flame taper candles. For insurance purposes, a lot of venues do not allow this (some don't allow open flames at all- aka no candles) and I just got super lucky that our venue will allow not only open flames but allow tapers without a hurricane!!

Our Location/Venue
We will be getting married in our family's Catholic church (where I got all of my sacraments) and then havig our reception at a private club in downtown Pittsburgh. This was exactly what I had in mind and I am so excited that it is starting to take shape and so thrilled that my fiancé loved what I was envisioning, too (since he is not from Pittsburgh)!

Now that the date, church, and venue are all set, I can finally chill a bit- especially since we will have a longer engagement! I'm happy to have plenty of time to enjoy being engaged. It's such a finite time period in life and I want to soak it all in and not take any moment for granted! 

I think sometimes the urgency and stress of wedding planning can take away from the real reason that two people are coming together to celebrate their life long commitment to each other and it is important to me not to lose the real reason that all of this planning is happening! Looking forward to our life together is what is most important and exciting! 

My parents are hosting our engagement party at their house this weekend so that will be lots of fun and I'll be sure to share a recap of that, too! 


Maureen said...

Sounds like things are falling into place beautifully despite the slight date snag! How fun! Enjoy every moment!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! It's so wonderful that you were able to book your own church and the Duquesne Club. What a perfect combination. Looking forward to all the details.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused- you'll get married in a Catholic church, but then get married in a downtown club? 🤔

maryphoebe said...

We are getting married June 2020 for very similar reasons, but I'm actually so excited to have a longer engagement. It's just more time to be a bride and make sure everything is PERFECT! I love being engaged at the same time as you, it's so fun!

Sarah said...

It's so hard trying to make all the pieces fit, but once they do you really breathe a huge sigh of relief!

It's interesting to hear your perspective on the ceremony times. We had a choice between 1 pm and 3 pm as well, but we wanted the earlier time, so that we had enough time for photos before the dinner, program, and dance! However, that is kind of just how it is done around here. We got married in a huge burst of friends marriages (I'd say about 40 weddings over three years), and we always looked forward to grabbing drinks with other friends between the ceremony and the reception!

Sweet Spontaneity

Casey said...

So there's two wedding ceremonies, one at the church and one at the club? Or is it just the reception at the club?

Summer Wind said...

Whoops- worded that wrong! Getting married at a Catholic church and then RECEPTION at the club!

Summer Wind said...


Interesting to hear your thoughts/opinions about the time gap, too! I haven't been to a wedding with multiple hours of a gap before!

Summer Wind said...

Mary Phoebe,

SO exciting, congratulations!! I agree I'm totally on board with a longer engagement! It's just such a short period of time in your life, so why not extend it a bit?! Especially because right now my new house is taking up most of my free time so it's nice to be able to now focus on that for the next few months and then get back to wedding planning about a year out!

Kalee said...

Thanks for sharing! Excited to follow along on your wedding planning journey.


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