It’s 2020 and Hawaii is definitely out for a honeymoon destination – they’re stricter than strict on the quarantine. Europe will have to wait – au revoir, France! I don’t think even our neighbors to the north are letting us in, eh Canada? Some places like Antigua and St. Lucia and Croatia ARE, as of this writing, letting in US Citizens, but you have to have a negative COVID test and quarantine before and after and it’s just a lot right now – so most people are sticking closer to home including yours truly!  It doesn’t look like I will hit my goal of going to all 7 continents by next year – I was on track, but Antarctica shall have to wait. Of course, for a honeymoon, you can always do Myrtle Beach or OBX (Kill Devil Hills is my favorite, especially off-season as school goes back!) or Virginia Beach – I just wanted to highlight a few places that might be closer or under the radar or different and let you avoid hotspots!

This year, with COVID-19, we all have to find safer ways to travel. The silver lining is that I’m discovering more places close to home to do little short getaways! My couples and my social media followers suggested some great places nearby to honeymoon or minimoon (that’s a short trip you take right after the wedding) or anniversary trip – no flights needed! Note: Some of these links are sponsored/I’m an associate and I get paid if you book through them. Full disclosure! https://www.airbnb.com/associates/52556?c=.pi115.pk0_11&a4ptk=11681_0_11_52556&af=115&s=67&unique_share_id=1654bdd9-58d2-46f4-98af-b7f2aa6bd848

 

I can’t vouch for all of these, but I wanted to throw out a few ideas I love and have been dreaming about myself. As always, travel safely and follow all local rules. If any of these places should pop up on a hot spot list, either allow time for quarantining when you return or switch locations – that’s the beauty of 2020, being flexible and last minute with plans. Plan on eating outside or getting takeout for the most part and stay socially distanced while wearing your mask. For a planner like me, it’s definitely hard to embrace this new normal, but letting go of perfection and just living in the moment has been a big coronavirus lesson for me.

In a way, COVID is bringing back some old school traditions – when my parents got married in 1979, it was a pretty big deal to take a honeymoon you had to fly to! Almost no one took 3 weeks in Southeast Asia or did Bali or Fiji. I’ve heard a lot of trips to Virginia Beach or a motel with a AAA discount or a road trip to the national parks and sleeping a few nights in the car. This is a return to a simpler time – take the time to ask your parents and grandparents about their honeymoons – I love hearing the stories!

I’m peppering this post with photos of my travels over the past few years, home and abroad!

1. Getaway House – if you use my link to book, I get $25 off my next trip!

I’m pretty much obsessed with these tiny houses. The founder was on Shark Tank a few years back and they’ve exploded in popularity! This is camping light – basically glamping. It’s pet friendly. I’ve been here a few times – it’s just an hour from the North Hills of Pittsburgh! It’s fun to play hipster in the woods, the location is great for Instagram, and the socially distancing is A+. I’ll be honest – you either LOVE it here and can’t wait to come back and wish you could own a tiny house, or you are very “ehhhh it was fine” – I find it delightful!

If the tiny cabin is rocking, don’t come a-knocking is what they say. Actually, wait, no one says that except me and that’s just me being silly and immature, but it is amazing to fall asleep next to the giant window and look out and see stars.

When I went to Denmark in early 2020, we stayed at this adorable little house from the 1700’s that had survived the great Copenhagen fire. We scored this rental on AirBnb.

2. Presque Isle

How far do you think Erie is from Pittsburgh? In my head, I always thought it was 4 hours. It’s actually 2! I JUST went to Presque Isle State Park last weekend after living in PA about 30 out of 35 years – it was really nice! There are dog friendly beaches. It’s a fun getaway! We stayed at Fairfield Inn at Millcreek Mall – it’s also pet-friendly and friendly on the wallet and they had great COVID procedures. While you’re up there, you can try Tim Horton’s – a Canadian tradition, although my sister didn’t think their caramel iced coffee was very good! We found Beach 6 good for swimming and for the dog, but it got crowded – Beach 11, WAY in the back, was prettier, rockier, and empty. There are some lovely AirBnb’s up there, you can rent bikes and boats – it seemed to be a great, relaxing time!  Note: I am an AirBnb Associate and earn money if you book through our link!

3. Put-in-Bay and Geneva-on-the-Lake

Admittedly, I know nothing about these two spots, but they’re mentioned all the time! Here’s a cute place I found near the ferry to Put-in-Bay on AirBnb! Here’s a spot at Geneva-on-the-Lake too! My friend Charlene goes up to Geneva-on-the-Lake to camp every fall, but this year, she was able to squeeze in a trip during peak season when everything was open.

4. The Resorts – Omni Bedford Springs or Nemacolin

I’ve also never been to either of these resorts, but on stressful days, I’ve dreamed about them and the spa! (Also, does anyone remember the episode of the Bachelor where they went to Nemacolin and did dog sledding and then of course, it was bowchickabowwow hot tub time? Ahhhh trash TV) I’ve had several friends go to Omni Bedford Springs for their babymoons!

5. Hocking Hills or Ohiopyle or the Laurel Highlands

Fall is going to be here soon and it’s going to be gorgeous.

Have you ever tried skiing? If your getaway is this winter, maybe try Seven Springs for skiing in the Laurel Highlands! I love snowskiing and have gone since I was ten years old (thanks, middle school ski club) – it can be fun to hit the slopes. A few years ago, we rented a condo for Allison’s 30th birthday and that was tons of fun for all her friends for a weekend.

Here’s a cool Hocking Hills Treehouse – Hocking Hills accomodations seem fun – lots of old shipping containers and creative stays! And you know I love tiny houses!

6. Breweries and BnB’s and Wineries – Road Tripping

I hear Columbus has a great zoo. I didn’t take this photo in a zoo – but tell me that young hyenas aren’t actually kind of cute?!

One of my June brides, Betsy, did a little exploration of some wineries and went to a BnB that she and her husband had gone to before! I think familiarity is a good thing at this time! If you (or your partner!) is a beer drinker, then Columbus opened up a hotel that’s literally inside a brewery and I understand that they have a shower beer fridge. Columbus is a short drive and they have a great science center and zoo! My friend Charlene also told me they have those fun scooter rentals – you can scoot around town, preferably before you go to the brewery!

Again, fall is just around the corner and you could also do a safe and socially distanced road trip through New England. Vermont’s “peak leaf” is supposed to be around October 3rd-10th this year.  Kristen, isn’t New England far to road trip? When I was in 3rd grade, we took a road trip to visit my cousins in Massachusetts and we had 8 people in a 7 passenger van and I had to sit on an Igloo cooler for 12 hours on the ride home with a plant my mom bought in front of me and also, 1993 was a different time. So yeah, my answer is, road tripping to New England is fine. Just don’t sit on a cooler without a seatbelt.  Also, when I went to Massachusetts, I slept on my aunt’s gameroom floor in a sleeping bag – but YOU can stay here in this gorgeous inn in the Berkshires – the owners’ photos make me want to paint my own bathroom at home a very dark gray or black or forest green!

7. “On Top of Old Smokey…” Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg, Tennessee

“On top of spaghetti
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody sneezed. “

Do you guys remember singing that nonsense in elementary school? No, just me? Okay, well, let’s not talk about sneezes because – let’s just not.

The National Parks are some of the United States’ finest treasures and this one is close enough to drive to! Also, you guys might notice, I love filtering AirBnb’s by “hot tub” status and I can’t decide if that makes me weird. I am totally the person who would go in that champagne hot tub I saw in the Poconos on Married at First Sight and why yes, I DO have a new show to binge-watch during quarantine, thanks very much. Here’s a place in Gatlinburg! Also, here’s a platform tent for glamping ala Girl Scout Camp in 1996 – this is adorable!

8. Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-in-naw I believe)

When I was in maybe 5th grade, I was still going to soccer, rather reluctantly. I remember this girl on our team, her family vacationed every summer to Mackinac Island. She always told me how it was amazing – there were no cars and you had to take horses and bikes around. I never heard of such a place but it seemed so cool to 10-year-old me. I’m 35 now and yeah, it still seems amazing and now I have the internet and can look up this island – it seems to be such a cool spot. One of our July brides honeymooned here and I was loving her Instagram stories – it’s now a goal of mine to stay at and photograph a wedding at the Grand Hotel on the island!


  
Wherever you roam this year and next, stay safe and healthy, mask up, wash those hands, and enjoy every minute!




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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.

Aviary
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2016/08/yanting-and-nick-wedding-ceremony-at-st-pauls-cathedral-in-oakland-reception-at-the-national-aviary-garden-tent-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html

Phipps
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2013/07/kristin-and-brian-married-heinz-chapel-wedding-ceremony-and-phipps-conservatory-reception.html


Armstrong Farms Westminster Property – and they might be able to work something out at Fieldstone property as well
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2015/11/kate-and-jeff-wedding-ceremony-and-reception-at-armstrong-farms-westminster-preserve.html

Bella Sera – outdoor tent
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2016/09/lindsey-and-jack-married-wedding-ceremony-at-epiphany-catholic-church-in-pittsburgh-and-reception-at-bella-sera-in-canonsburg.html

Gathering Place at Darlington Lake
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2016/10/kristen-and-chuck-are-married-the-gathering-place-at-darlington.html
http://www.customportraitsbycharlene.com/blog/kristen-chuck-gathering-place-at-darlington-lake-wedding-photography/

Springwood
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2014/09/jennifer-and-david-wedding-ceremony-and-reception-at-springwood-in-verona.html

Succop
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2017/08/jamie-and-cody-mcclellands-wedding-succop-conservancy.html

Sewickley Heights Golf Club (already tented for cocktail hour, may need to go bigger)
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2019/01/maddison-and-jonah-ceremony-and-reception-at-sewickley-heights-golf-club.html
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2017/08/katie-and-ben-wedding-sewickley-heights-golf-club.html

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.
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2013/11/maria-and-jason-married-peters-creek-prebsyterian-church-ceremony-and-private-home-reception.html

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts – I’m not sure they are still doing weddings, large tented space on back
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2015/12/rachel-and-greg-married-wedding-ceremony-at-first-unitarian-church-of-pittsburgh-and-reception-at-pittsburgh-center-for-the-arts.html

Pittsburgh Zoo Tent
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2012/06/kathryn-and-brandon-married-first-free-evangelical-church-and-pittsburgh-zoo-wedding.html

Public Park such as Riverview Chapel Shelter (I’ve seen this tented) as well as North Park
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2018/08/lisa-and-nate-ceremony-and-reception-at-riverview-park-chapel-shelter.html

White Barn – I hear they may now have a tent available.
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2015/08/kayla-and-jeremy-married-wedding-ceremony-and-reception-at-the-white-barn-in-prospect-pennsylvania.html
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2015/10/bekah-and-connor-married-wedding-ceremony-and-reception-at-the-white-barn-in-prospect-pennsylvania.html


Hotel Monaco Rooftop – smaller gatherings
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2017/11/katie-and-gabe-ceremony-at-st-pauls-cathedral-and-reception-at-hotel-monaco.html

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 – https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2017/09/sarah-and-lou-ceremony-at-st-bernards-and-reception-at-valleybrook-country-club.html
The Atrium – https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2015/08/shelby-and-stephen-married-wedding-ceremony-and-reception-at-the-atrium-in-butler-pennsylvania.html
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 – https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2020/01/jocelyn-and-dan-ceremony-and-reception-at-hilton-garden-inn-pittsburgh-southpointe.html
https://www.kristenwynnphotography.com/2019/07/laura-and-jason-ceremony-and-reception-at-hilton-garden-inn-pittsburgh-southpointe.html

I hope this helps some of you on your search!




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Bridget and Rory were married on Valentine´s weekend this year on a blustery cold but sunshine-y day. These two met on a dating app – Bridget gave Rory a card that said ¨So glad I swiped right¨ as part of his wedding present. It was a great wedding present because it also featured cufflinks, socks (Mr. Rogers socks!), a bow tie and a chocolate cake flown in from Chicago. These two got engaged following a YoYoMa concert in Chicago.

Bridget´s veil came from her grandmother´s wedding in 1939 and even featured a headpiece that was vintage that you simply just don´t see anymore! Bridget´s sister had worn this veil previously as well.

Bridget brought in a lot of vintage touches for the wedding day. A great option for the ladies was using Rent the Runway for bridesmaid dresses – they rented them once in December for trying on and then were able to rent the exact size they needed in February for the wedding.

For dessert, rather than cake – these two served up mini pies, the Pittsburgh cookie table, and some delicious popsicles they brought with them all the way from Chicago where they make their home now!

Note to the couple:
Bridget and Rory, thank you for letting us be a part of your special day! It was a pleasure to work with the two of you! We thank you for choosing Kristen Wynn Photography and wish you a lifetime of love and happiness always. Congratulations!

Be sure to see our full galleries here!

Vendors:
Invitation: Minted
Prep location: AC Hotel by Marriott
Gown Designer: Sottero and Midgley
Bridal Salon: Bridal Beginning
Shoes: Rachel Simpson
Veil: family heirloom
Earrings: Etsy/tiachia
Purse: Etsy/tiachia
Bridesmaid Dresses: Rent the Runway/Badgley Mischka
Men’s Formalwear: Jos. A Bank
Florist: Blumengarten Florist
Hair Stylist: Hair by Bri
Make-Up Artist: Allison Renock Makeup
Hotel Accommodations: AC Hotel by Marriott
Transportation: Ace Vintage Bus (Antique Coach Excursions)
Ceremony venue: St. Bernard Church
Reception venue: Heinz History Center
Pies: Signature Desserts and Prohibition Pastries
Catering: Common Plea Catering
Entertainment: J Helbig No Cheese Boutique DJ & MC
Engagement Ring: family engagement ring
Wedding Bands: New York Jewelers (Chicago) and Etsy
Linens: Mosaic Inc.
Photo Booth: Action Inc.
Favors: Pretty Cool Ice Cream mini popsicles
Alterations: Bridesmaid´s mom
Rehearsal Dinner Location: Bados Pizza Grille and Ale House
Programs: Paper Chaser
Table numbers: Etsy/JonNi Paper Goods
Photographer: Kristen Wynn Photography




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We met up with Kaci and JC and their little one on a windy day in late fall! These two are engaged and mom and dad came along to help out with their baby – we combined a family session and engagement session together! Thanks so much you two!

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I loved getting to know this sweet little family for their daughter’s third birthday. They’re new in town and we hope they are loving Pittsburgh! Welcome home!




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Megan and Corey are getting married this year – and we met up with them for their engagement session on a warm fall evening!

Corey proposed using some Easter eggs, so we incorporated that into a few shots.

I LOVED going down to Brew Gentlemen and hitting up their outdoor beer garden for some photos. Braddock is such a cool town – love what’s going on there from the artwork, the fixing up of the houses, the brewery going in, Superior Motors down the street, some cool antique shops.

These two are very go with the flow and I love that Corey wore his hat for some shots! Washington’s Landing is always modern and elegant.

We can’t wait to celebrate with you two soon!




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With the shutdown/lockdown of 2020, we’re making our way through our backlog of blogs! We were so delighted last spring to do something different – some First Holy Communion photos for this sweet family. I realize this spring that first communions have been delayed – I do hope they get to be celebrated this summer and fall! We can’t wait to celebrate all life’s special moments!     




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04.20.20

We loved working with Megan’s sweet family! Her daughter Cece turned one. It was great to incorporate their dog in the photos. We did the whole session right on their property – they have such a lovely home. Thanks so much, guys!




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Mark and Mykenzie were engaged on September 13th on Mt. Washington! Mykenzie is originally from Iowa and Mark is from Michigan and they came to Pittsburgh for a Steelers game. Mykenzie’s family was also in town for the game so it was perfect timing for a beautiful sunset proposal. We wish the couple so much happiness!




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We finished out our 2019 wedding season with Dr. and Dr. W! Sarah and Paul have been together over three years after meeting at the University of Pittsburgh and they like to travel, try new restaurants, and try out some of our area breweries! They got engaged on a walk in Mellon Park with their puppy Kona! They’re quiet and reserved and don’t love being the center of attention – I love their quiet calmness and sweetness toward each other!

We started off at the townhouses near the Priory for the prep before heading to St. Peter’s Church on Arch Street. Due to the combination of multiple parishes and consolidations in the Pittsburgh Diocese, we’ve been doing a lot of weddings at St. Peter’s of Arch Street and I love this church for its pretty light, long aisle, nice staircase, and good grounds right outside the door for photos at the edge of Allegheny Commons Park. Sarah wore her sister’s veil as a something borrowed.

One of my favorite memories from the day was seeing the guys gently tease a groomsman who put his whole vest on already buttoned – just pulled it right over his head like a t-shirt.

After church, we headed out to some of the best photo spots in town – the classic CMU Columns and then over to Mellon Park where these two were engaged. The reception featured a caricaturist and these beautifully lighted trees – my editor commented she wished all couples had those trees because it just lends such a great background for dancing and toast photos.

The rain started at the end of the night – so we snapped a few rain photos and one in the grand balcony near the organ before wishing the couple well!

I hope Mexico was amazing!

Note to the couple:

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Sarah and Paul, thank you for letting us be a part of your special day! It was a pleasure to work with the two of you! We thank you for choosing Kristen Wynn Photography and wish you a lifetime of love and happiness always. Congratulations!

Be sure to see our full galleries here!

Vendors:
Invitation: Minted
Prep location: The Priory Hotel
Gown Designer: Sottero and Midgley
Bridal Salon: Sorelle Bridal Salon
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Veil: Bride’s sister
Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy
Men’s Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Florist: Kohler’s Florist
Hair Stylist: Jessie Bickel
Make-Up Artist: Jennifer Palermo
Hotel Accommodations: The Priory Hotel
Transportation: Lenzner Tour and Travel/Coach USA
Ceremony venue: Saint Peter Church
Reception venue: Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory
Cake: Priory Fine Pastries
Catering: Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory
Entertainment: John Parker Band
Linens: Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory
Favors: Succulents
Lighting: Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory
Alterations: Sorelle Bridal Salon
Rehearsal Dinner Location: Southern Tier Brewing Company
Photographer: Kristen Wynn Photography




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