On a scale of 1 – 10, this Highland Park block party wedding scores BIG! Kaitlin and Josh wanted to keep things simple – a bunch of family, a bunch of friends, a bunch of food, and an old-fashioned good time. They love their neighborhood and those who live around them, and what better way to celebrate than by including EVERYONE? One week after an intimate, breathtaking ceremony in the middle of a grove of trees in Cook Forest, this creative pair planned one heck of a shin dig for their entire community. The street was shut down with a block party permit obtained from the city, tents were constructed, and the grills were fired up for an epic wedding celebration unlike any other. Neighbors even pitched in baking treats for the Pittsburgh cookie table! It was casual, homespun, and very endearing – and so perfectly captured by Whitling Photography. THIS is what it’s all about, folks!
P.S. In just a few weeks, we’ll celebrate Earth Day but we’re dedicating the entire month of April to eco-friendly weddings! Look for green wedding ideas and celebrations with less impact. This month is going to be gooooood!
About the Couple
Like all modern romances, Tinder brought us together one warm summer evening in August 2017. Over a few beers and easy conversation, we found out that our shared interests were many. It didn’t take long for us to start spending a lot of our time together, meeting friends and family, cooking, and exploring the city.
Fast forward to fall of 2018, we decided that we wanted to walk through life together. After long conversations on what we as individuals wanted out of life and what life would look like in a partnership, we decided to get engaged! This choice was made, loving what we knew about the other, and trusting who the other would become in the future.
About the Wedding
We wanted to keep our wedding simple. We decided to split up the wedding ceremony and the reception. We invited our immediate families for a weekend in Cook Forest. We rented cabins so that everyone could stay close together. As our fourteen guests arrived Friday night, a beef stew and a blazing campfire were waiting! It was perfect.
We had picked out a spot for the ceremony in the woods. We asked our guests to wait in the chosen spot, while my dad played a song on his guitar. We walked hand-in-hand over a bridge to our families. The symbolism of us making this choice together was important to us.
Gathered in an intimate circle, the ceremony was unique and represented us as a couple. Our favorite part of the ceremony was the Quaker Wedding Tradition. We invited everyone to share a hope, wish, or blessing for us as a couple. Since the ceremony was small, this allowed all of our guests to feel comfortable to speak. It was so powerful to hear the words of our loved ones.
The next weekend, we threw a block party to celebrate with our neighbors, friends, and family! All of the neighbors were excited and wanted to help plan! We applied for a block party permit from the city and ordered some tents, tables, chairs, and a fancy port-a-potty!
We had the privilege of working with the very talented Jaclyn Miller from Party Darling. She helped us to coordinate vendors, organize, and execute our dream celebration! She was a joy to work with and is incredibly talented at her job.
Food was ordered from Salem’s in the Strip District. Salem’s came out and grilled on the street. Flowers were ordered from Doug the Flower Guy (he owns the flower stand outside of Penn Mac in the Strip District) and vases were purchased from garage sales. Cookies were made by neighbors, friends, and family! Kegs were picked up from East End Brewing. Finally, a playlist was made and plugged in! The party was ready to start!
After days of rainy forecast, the morning of the wedding was sunny and 65 degrees. It was perfect! The street was closed off at 9 a.m. Tents were set up. We had collected table clothes from our families, so the street was colorful and casual. Music was playing, food was grilling, and guests began to arrive!
The block party was a huge success! When I bought my house, I instantly fell in love with my block and neighbors. When Josh moved in with me, it didn’t take long for him to fall in love with their street and neighbors as well. As we spoke to our guests from their steps, our hearts felt full looking out and seeing neighbors, friends, and family all coming together to celebrate.
Our favorite part of the wedding ceremony in Cook Forest was when everyone spoke during the Quaker Wedding Tradition. Hearing the words from our family was a powerful experience. We chose to get married on a public space; there were hikers, families, and fisherman around, but it felt like our circle of family were covered by a sacred bubble.
During the block party, we went into the house to take a quick break. Just as we decided to walk back out and enjoy the party, it started to rain and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston came on. Our guests were dancing under the tent and in the rain. We walked out of the house, just as the chorus came on, and all of our family and friends started to cheer as we joined everyone on the dance floor! It was such an impromptu and joyful moment!