Change of Plans

A Pretty Pittsburgh Wedding Away


March 16, 2016
Words by Sydney Bowen
Photos courtesy of Veronica Varos Photography

Madeleine and Jack initially began planning their wedding in New York, where they currently call home. After struggling to budget the type of celebration they wanted to have, they made the decision to have a destination wedding in Pittsburgh.

After choosing to look in Pittsburgh, where Jack was born and his parents still reside, they found exactly what they were looking for at the Pittsburgh Opera.

Not all of Jack and Madeleine’s family and friends responded the way the couple had hoped when they first broke the news of their location decision. “We got a lot of ‘…Pittsburgh?,’ which was frustrating to hear, but we had to tell ourselves that people who wanted to be there would be there,” says Madeleine. “Our wedding was not an inconvenience to people that mattered.”

Both Madeleine and Jack’s parents were very generous in helping with planning their big day. “Jack’s parents love hosting family events and planned a Friday night gathering at PNC Park that welcomed people to Pittsburgh and set the tone for the rest of the weekend.” 

One issue Madeleine and Jack ran into with having their wedding in Pittsburgh was Pennsylvania’s strict regulations around alcohol distribution. Instead of stressing over the regulations, they opted to use Dreadnought Wines. Dreadnought Wines delivered all the alcohol, picked up unused bottles the following day and reimbursed the cost of unopened liquor and wine.

Other vendors chosen by Jack and Madeleine were easy to coordinate with through email and shared documents in Google Drive. A day-of coordinator was hired, making the weeks leading up to the wedding much easier.

“The folks at greenSinner made everything flow smoothly, plus they knew many of our other vendors and were familiar with the space,” says Madeleine. The couple’s coordinator was able to conquer last minute hurdles and ensure that everything came together smoothly.

Madeleine also purchased A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene and visited for lots of useful, realistic wedding planning advice. The couple revisited the book’s mantra, “Focus on how your wedding feels, not how it looks.”

When it came time to arrive in Pittsburgh, many of the wedding guests opted to rent cars and drive in for the wedding. “For our journey from NYC to PIT, we had a lot of stuff that we couldn’t check on a flight, so we took Amtrak,” says Madeleine.

For their ceremony, Jack and Madeleine initially planned to have a close friend marry them, until realizing that Pennsylvania does not recognize the Universal Life Ministry. After some research, they discovered self-uniting marriages are recognized – and married themselves! Guests signed the wedding documents as witnesses.

While Madeleine admits it was a bit difficult to let go of her Pinterest dreams, Jack and Madeleine had a celebration centered on what is most important to them. In the end, the couple feel they would have been able to see and manage more of the details if they got married in New York, but felt it was better for their sanity that they weren’t so deeply involved in every element of planning. A destination wedding in Pittsburgh proved to be more cost effective than a New York wedding.

For couples planning their own destination wedding, Jack and Madeleine advise, “Be present, but don’t get carried away trying to remember every single detail. Be gentle with yourselves, it’s hard to balance the fact that this is one day with the fact that it’s a really big deal to do this.”

Vendors: Photographer: Veronica Varos Photography, Day-of Coordinator: greenSinner, Ceremony/Reception Site: Pittsburgh Opera, Florist/Décor: greenSinner, Stationery: Love vs. Design, Cake: Food Glorious Food, Hair & Makeup: Hannah Conard, Gown Designer: Olvi’s Trend, Groom’s Clothing Designer: SuitSupply, Catering: E2 Restaurant, Alcohol: Dreadnought Wines, Coffee: Caffe D’Amore, Music: DJ Tom of Modern Era Weddings

Couple in Punta Cana doing a destination wedding by the ocean
Weddings at Sandals
Black couple getting married in Jamaica
Jamaica Destination Weddings
Couple in Cancun doing a gazebo destination wedding
White couple getting married in Punta Cana, DR
destination wedding couple throwing rose petals in costa mujeres

Find a Vendor

Access our list of vendors based on your destination location.