Eat, Drink, & Be Married: Your Guide To An Outdoor Wedding In Pittsburgh
Ariel Nieland and Brandon Forbes began planning their al fresco wedding with three things in mind “good food and drinks, good live music, and an intimate setting.” For the pair, the laid-back vibes required no theme or color scheme, but serious vision and the support of local vendors.
On June 8, 2013, the couple wed less than a year after they were engaged in Cinque Terre, Italy. The setting? The backyard of Ariel’s father’s 1920s Beaux-Arts-style home in Squirrel Hill. With the work of wedding planner Sean Gray of Sean Gray International, their aesthetic outlook became a reality. The intimate soirée, captured by Elizabeth and John of Craig Photography, was equal parts charm and summer, and laden with inspiring details.
The Great Outdoors
There are important items to consider if you’re planning outside nuptials. In fact, a number of Pittsburgh parks are available, providing gorgeous, lush settings. We checked in with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications Scott Roller, as well as photographer Elizabeth Craig, for their top tips.
Paperwork. Roller says you will need permits for the space, banner/sign placement, and valet, and your caterer will need an “extension of premises” permit to serve alcohol.
Weather. Have an inclement weather plan in place, he says. “This can mean rain, or unseasonably cold or warm temperatures. Most tent rental companies can provide heaters or fans. If it rains, make it fun — wear colorful galoshes, use colorful umbrellas.” Craig adds, “Choose light-colored, Pagoda-style umbrellas. Black umbrellas absorb light and solid-colored umbrellas bleed colors on to the skin and can look weird in photos.”
Footwear. Says Roller, “Wear appropriate footwear for the outdoors — super high heels will sink into the grass. Thought it’s a benefit to us (aeration), your guests won’t be happy.”
Parking and Directions. “Have a parking plan in place — a space where the valet will park the cars,” he says. “Have directional signage and if guests are using GPS, encourage them to use carefully vetted key search terms, like ‘The Overlook at Schenley Park’ and ‘Mellon Park Rose Garden.’”
Confetti. “Instead of rice or balloons, carry your outdoor theme into what you throw — wild bird seed,” says Roller. “Plus, it’s environmentally safe.”
Mother Nature. Roller encourages couples to tie the outdoor location into their stationery suite. “Use tree leaf or flower images that will be in bloom at the time of your wedding as a motif. And, use nature references in your vows.” Adds Craig, “Try to carve out time around dusk for some extra portraiture. Changing light and colors in the sky make for dramatic photos.”
Portraiture. Craig advises couples to avoid getting married by candlelight at night. “It’s romantic, but not realistic for photos,” she says. Here’s an idea: “A lantern send-off can be a fun way to end your evening, and photographically, it’s gold!”