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How to Plan a Perfect Pittsburgh Winter Wedding Day

4 min read

PHOTOS BY AMBER MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY

Summer and early fall are the most popular seasons for weddings, but it’s hard to deny that Pittsburgh winters can be beautiful and can give your special day an extra-romantic look. But how can you plan a wedding around snow and freezing temperatures?

Wexford-based wedding planner Madeline Kelly, owner of Madeline Kelly Events, says that a winter wedding can be a great option for many couples, especially if they’re interested in holding their ceremony and reception indoors.

“I tend to feel like winter weddings feel a little bit more elegant,” Kelly says. “I feel like winter weddings are always a little bit less on the casual side because they’re indoors and because it gets dark a bit earlier. … They always take on a little bit more of a refined and elegant feel.”

Kelly also enjoys winter weddings because they can give guests something to look forward to when there isn’t much else going on.

“One nice thing about the winter months is that the odds of your wedding weekend competing with other family and friends’ [events] is a little bit lower,” she says. “Guests are so inundated with plans and trips and other commitments in the summertime. … They can actually spend a Saturday or Sunday going to an event [in the winter].”

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PHOTOS BY RYAN ZARICHNAK; WEDDING STYLED BY MADELINE KELLY

Off-season weddings are also usually less expensive, and Kelly says they can provide more venue options for those who have a shorter guest list.

Some venues require couples to spend a minimum on food and drink, and it can be hard to reach that minimum if your wedding is smaller. However, most venues will waive these minimums for bookings during the winter because it’s typically their ‘off-season.’

Kelly also says the weather usually won’t be an issue unless you have guests traveling from out-of-state. She says that many couples are concerned about taking photos in the winter, but that also isn’t often an issue.

“There are certain seasons that [clients think] are just maybe a little bit more photography-friendly, but that’s not necessarily true,” she says. “I had a wedding this past February, and sure, the trees were bare, and it was freezing … but those pictures turned out incredible, super, super romantic. It just freshly snowed. It wasn’t a lot of snow, but it was enough that the pictures were really, really unique and different.”

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Brentwood-area photographer Amber Belveny of Amber Marie Photography agrees snow is great for pictures.

“There’s a definite different energy,” Belveny says. “Whenever you have … snow or wind, you’re going to get such a different, amazing photo, especially if it’s not something that’s typical, like snow or heavy winds or something like that. The only thing that’s … not as easy with the snow is that it’s so unpredictable.”

She stresses to her clients that the weather on their wedding day won’t affect their photos.

“I will be able to give you amazing photos, no matter the lights, no matter the weather,” she says. “So, I stick to that, and it does always work out. In the end, they’re like, ‘I’m so happy that we ended up doing it.’”

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Jenna Sasala, who owns Jenna Hidinger Photography and is based in Zelienople, says that taking photos during the winter can often be easier than other times of the year.

“You can find the best light within two hours of sunrise or within two hours of sunset,” Sasala says. “So anything outside of that can be a little bit more challenging and can require the use of a reflector. … Usually in the wintertime, it’s pretty cloudy during the day, so you don’t have to be within that time frame as much. … You could shoot all afternoon or in the middle of the day and you’ll still have pretty, soft light.”

Sasala says she loves capturing snow in wedding and engagement photography when she can.

“If you get light snowfall throughout a session, it’s just so pretty and so romantic,” she says. “I did have a session two years ago where it lightly snowed the entire time, and it was just unbelievable. … The number one thing I recommend to people during this time of year is to just have your flexible hat on.

“It can be difficult to have a good attitude when it’s cold or rainy outside, but I think that’s also such a big thing. … Have a good attitude going into it. There could be some challenges that we face during the shoot … but then we can overcome those and make awesome images.”

How to Plan a Perfect Pittsburgh Winter Wedding Day