Pittsburgh is a hot bed for the creative wizards that are wedding planners. We prodded them for their “best of” list of brilliant brainstorms. Let these pages serve as your idea board, or tuck them away at the beginning of the infamous bridal binder.

“For a wonderfully romantic wedding, you can   rent a tent, drape it with beautiful fabric, floor it, carpet it, air condition it, and line the ceiling with crystal chandeliers. Gorgeous flowers, china, crystal, linens, and chair treatments add the finishing touches.”  — Sheila Weiner of The Event Group

I set up a candy buffet at the reception to match the color scheme. This brightened up the room and was a nice departure from the cookie table.” — Jodi Colella

A cost-effective tip: Find a venue where you can bring in your own alcohol (such as Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, The Edgewood Club, and the National Aviary). It is a huge money-saver.” — Jodi Colella of Accents Unlimited

We pinned escort cards vertically to hanging ribbons. We were tight on space and didn’t have room for a table, so the ribbons were hung on a tension rod and placed in a recessed alcove in the hallway outside the reception ballroom. They looked pretty and saved space.” — Shari Zatman of Perfectly Planned by Shari


Attach your escort cards to custom-made ‘envelopes,’ and hang them by beautiful ribbons to a centerpiece in your reception’s entryway, like this designspace creation at Carnegie Music Hall. Utilize the same design on all of your printed materials.”

— Shari Zatman

“I haven’t done a wedding in three years that didn’t feature a signature cocktail. They add such a fun personality to the start of a reception. Plus, this is a chance to incorporate your color scheme, your theme, or even your reception destination.” — Natalie Berger of Natalie’s  Bridal Consultant and Party Planner

“I did a wedding at Tara — A Country Inn, close to the Fourth of July, and instead of throwing rice or blowing bubbles, we did sparklers. There were glossy matchboxes on every table, with the names of the bride and groom, and they got a gorgeous send-off.”
— Earla Marshall of EFM Image Consultants

1. Book a unique venue, such as a museum or gallery, where guests can take tours during cocktail hour.

2. Incorporate a photo booth, with props. (Photo strips double as a favor for the guests and triple as a unique guest book for the bride and groom!)

3. Develop themed stations for dinner. (Stations can reflect the bride and groom’s origin of ethnicity, such as Italian, Mexican, Syrian, Asian, etc.)

4. Supplement a traditional wedding cake with a sundae bar!

5. Consider a brunch wedding. These can save money on popular times and save on the bar bill as well. Some venues offer discounted rates for late morning/early afternoon reception time slots.

— Ansley Esterline of Bliss Events


A cupcake cake is a great alternative to the traditional wedding cake. People can grab a cupcake at their leisure, there’s nothing to be cut, plated, and served, and you can set up a little box display for guests to take a treat home.” — Shaun Pierce of Pierce Events

Unexpected colors, such as bold pinks, purples, and oranges, provide a fun twist to the wedding environment. The cake and linens are always fun places to include these colors.” — Katherine Shaw of Trends to Traditions

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