It’s July 19th, 2020 – so we as a nation are a little more than 4 months into this crisis/shutdown, and as a world – COVID probably has existed for what we think is about eight months, maybe longer if you use data from search engines searches last fall in the Hubei province. Either way, it almost seems like we don’t know much more than when this first started – but in many ways, we do! We are learning every day how to stay safer and live with this virus.

I haven’t blogged about COVID because the regulations and rules are rapidly changing as we learn more about the virus. Gathering sizes change weekly. It’s a fluid situation and I’m no epidemiologist, just a pretty opinionated (about weddings!) Pittsburgh wedding photographer.

It’s fairly clear now that the virus does not spread as much outdoors when six feet of distance is maintained and masks are used (when six feet of distance cannot be maintained). It does spread more rapidly indoors, especially in areas where there is low ventilation, few windows, HVAC is used, and masks come off (for eating and drinking) – hence the risk of eating inside a restaurant right now.

Therefore, many clients wishing to proceed with their weddings in some form this summer/fall (July, August, September, October – after that, it gets pretty cold!) are looking into outdoor solutions, as at the time of this writing, gathering limits are 25 indoors in the state of Pennsylvania (with the caveat that some venues may fall under a rule that allows them to do 25% of fire capacity rather than 25 guests – this is debatable), 50 outdoors in Allegheny County, and 250 outdoors in other counties in western Pennsylvania. This rule remains until lifted – so there’s no telling how long this will be in effect, but I would guess through the summer at the minimum.

This can change at any time, but if you are looking for outdoor/tented reception spaces, my list is below as a resource.

I have tons of thoughts and tips and even some concerns about tented/backyard events – but those can wait for a future blog post or video!

My ultimate advice is: if you decide to switch to an outdoor event, it is safer than proceeding indoors. However, distancing, masks, and all other safety rules should be followed, you should think very carefully about your inclement weather plan as Pittsburgh is not ideal for outdoor events (cold, heat, wind, rain), and I wouldn’t necessarily move venues with the thought that you will be able to have 150+. Some downsizing of your event may still occur due to tent space limits and new restrictions, so if having a large number of guests is extremely important to you, you might want to postpone. Additionally, you likely selected your original venue for a reason, and those reasons may make you want to wait and continue to see the rules in effect.



Armstrong Farms Westminster Property – and they might be able to work something out at Fieldstone property as well

Bella Sera – outdoor tent

Gathering Place at Darlington Lake



Sewickley Heights Golf Club (already tented for cocktail hour, may need to go bigger)

Another option is to ask your existing venue if they can place a tent on the property.

Private home/yard – possibly the best option for many people in terms of regulations. Family Tent Rental, Windswept, All Occasions Party Rental, and Taylor Rental all rent tents in the Pittsburgh area.

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts – I’m not sure they are still doing weddings, large tented space on back

Pittsburgh Zoo Tent

Public Park such as Riverview Chapel Shelter (I’ve seen this tented) as well as North Park

White Barn – I hear they may now have a tent available.

Hotel Monaco Rooftop – smaller gatherings

I can’t vouch for the outdoor options at the following venues, but have heard there are outdoor options at these sites from my couples and fellow vendors:
Rustic Acres (JPC Event Group)
Aspinwall Riverfront (JPC Event Group)
Hartwood Acres – tent and glass pavilion
Valley Brook Golf Club – under the portico –
The Atrium –
Grand Estate at Hidden Acres
Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens
Gardens of Stonebridge (JPC Event Group)
AirBnB but allows for events – must check with owners first
Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe –
Greendance Winery – Mt. Pleasant, PA – Westmoreland County
Butler Country Club – I believe they may now have a tent.
Grand Estate at Hidden Acres
Holy Trinity Center in the McCandless area (currently has a tent installed outside) –

I hope this helps some of you on your search!

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