Pittsburgh Visit

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This is a boring wedding planning blog post. Unless you enjoy photos of exotic birds and pretty Pennsylvania countryside.

Birds at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh

For the winter holidays, we went back to Pennsylvania and stuffed in some wedding venue shopping time. We visited two places, completely and totally different from each other: the National Aviary and a farm.

The constraints we were working with were not insane: (1) Pittsburgh-area, (2) ceremony/reception not need copious extra decorations, (3) not a banquet hall, (4) venue does weddings regularly, and (5) in a particular price range [which is difficult to articulate because every venue does a different pricing approach for the necessities]. This nonsense gets tricky when you live 2,600 miles away!

The National Aviary

National Aviary 12/31/2015 - The Atrium
I'd been to the National Aviary twice before: once with J 3 months into our relationship and a second time with my parents, 2 months later. Two Aviary visits in 2010, I sure know how to live!

Weddings at the Aviary happen after hours, giving you private access to most of the exhibits. You can even have a penguin or other bird stop by during the reception. They have an outdoor rose garden, and numerous indoor spaces available. The space next to the penguins smells a little birdy, but the main reception area in the atrium does not. One million weddings appear to take place at the Aviary ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]), which means that at the very least the staff probably knows what they're doing. The reviews seem to support this. The Aviary is a pretty nifty idea at a reasonable-ish price, although, with weddings, everyone's 'reasonable price' seems to be different. It's a bit tricky to deal with. Everything's a bit tricky.

National Aviary Site Visit 12/31/2015
National Aviary - Jungle Room
National Aviary - Rose Garden in December
National Aviary 12/31/2015 - The Atrium
National Aviary Site - Penguin Point (buffet tables)
National Aviary - Flight Zone (from audience)
Birds at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh
Lorries / Lorikeet
Stuck in a Bubble!

Horizon View Farms

We loved Horizon View Farms out in the Laurel Highlands, too. We'd been out near there before, for our first backpacking experience or frequently camping in Ohiopyle. It really is a lovely area, and this particular farm had all kinds of options: a pond, a hill with an overlook, a pine forest, an arena barn, and a cozy rustic barn with built-in dance floor. All of which photograph fantastically.

However, once we looked into the cost of renting and transporting tables/chairs/whatever, we realized the actual price for this venue was about triple what they posted. I mean, $1,700 for a very necessary toilet trailer + transporting other necessities into the middle of nowhere. It adds up fast.

But just look how pretty! Even in the middle of December!
Horizon View Farms - Bed & Breakfast
Horizon View Farms - Dance Barn
Horizon View Farms - Inside the Wedding Barn
Horizon View Farms - The bar
Horizon View Farms - Large Tree
Horizon View Farms - Horizon Hill
Horizon View Farms - Pond
Horizon View Farms - Magical Pine Forest
Horizon View Farms - Magical Pine Forest


rooth said...

Oh that farm though... that's definitely got my vote

rainmelon said...

Please tell me you have a 2015 picture of Jim with his face in the glass .... if not, we shall have to scheme for the 2016 version. Deja vu and all.

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