Wedding Review: Hotel Blocks on a Steelers Weekend

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wedding: Getting Ready
There are many wedding venues located in the North Shore / Downtown Pittsburgh area (i.e., the Children's Museum, Mattress Factory, National Aviary, Heinz History Center, etc.) and if your selected wedding weekend coincides with a Steelers game (or Pirates baseball, or Penguins hockey, or a big Pitt game), then it might be impossible for you to reserve a convenient hotel block. This was the case for us, but we solved it rather simply: by reserving a hotel block at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pittsburgh West - Green Tree. The Green Tree Holiday Inn offers a free shuttle to/from the airport and a free shuttle to/from destinations in downtown Pittsburgh. Services stop running to the North Shore ~2 hours before a sports event, and the last shuttle run is around 10:30pm. So it actually works pretty conveniently for guests without a car!

Green Tree is not a very exciting place, so we also reserved a small hotel block at the Quality Inn University Center in East Pittsburgh (Oakland). Their shuttle is not very useful for downtown destination, but with Lyft & Uber in Pittsburgh it's not too tricky to get around. The Quality Inn is walking distance from some good restaurants (I like Korea Garden & Fuel & Fuddle). It's certainly not necessary to set-up two hotel blocks, but it's usually free to do so, so why not?

Ordinarily, one might attempt hotel blocks at the {Residence Inn North Shore, the Springfield Suites North Shore, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pittsburgh North Shore}, or downtown in the {Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh-Downtown, the William Penn Omni, Hilton Garden Inn, or the Wyndham Grand}. If you want to use any of these, you may wish to organize your hotel block before the team schedules are announced. Or, if it's really important that you stay in one of these establishments, that you reserve your rooms before the schedule announcement. Why? Prior to the Steelers schedule announcement, our rooms at the Springhill Suites North Shore cost $270. After the announcement, they went up $200 to $470. So. Reserve those bride/groom/family rooms early!

Now that you've got your hotel blocks set-up, you just have to figure out how to communicate the convenience to your guests. Using only the wedding website was not very effective for us. I think only 3 people ended up using our hotel blocks. Most everyone else chose to save money by staying near the airport (probably about $80/night difference).

Wedding: First Look
Photos by Caitlin's Living Photography
If you do successfully get a room booked in the downtown or North Shore area, there's some nice spots for photos: Allegheny Landing and Three Rivers Heritage Trail is close to all the North Shore hotels; Mellon Square & Mellon Green are near the William Penn Omni; and there's Point State Park for the Wyndham, too.

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