This past weekend Paul and I drove up to Pittsburgh for our friends Darra and Henry’s wedding. She grew up outside of Pittsburgh and went to college at the University of Pittsburgh, so they got married in Pitt’s chapel. We drove up after work on Friday night and arrived around 9. Some of the people went out after the rehearsal dinner, but we had just checked into our hotel and didn’t feel like getting back in the care to go meet them. We were not surprised upon checking in to see that there were 5 wedding parties staying in the hotel. That plus it being parents’ weekend at Pitt explained the fact that every hotel anywhere near that location was completely booked for the weekend, and the only reason we got a room was because we got a room in the wedding block. We noticed because there were 5 different bags for wedding guests to be given when they checked into the hotel. I joked that I was going to complain to Darra because her’s was the smallest of the 5.
Saturday morning Tracie and I had to drop off the cookies we had baked for the cookie table (more on that later) at the reception venue, so we met up to walk over together and then we plus our husbands grabbed breakfast together. Then we went over to Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning, which as the name implies is an actual cathedral, except dedicated to learning as opposed to religion. Many of the rooms on the outer ring of the main level of the cathedral are what they call nationality rooms. Each of the rooms is designed and decorated by people from various nationalities. Most of these were built in the 1930s and 1940s. They have also added additional rooms on the third floor from the late 80s through today and apparently still have some more in the works. They do have guided tours of the rooms in the afternoon, but we just took the self-guided tour. The rooms are very neat, and if you’re ever in Pittsburgh I would highly recommend checking them out. Although I’m very glad I don’t have to take a class in any of them. The furniture in most of the rooms is not comfortable. Not to mention the fact that I don’t know how any students who are even a little bit overweight fit in some of the chairs. I’m rather tiny and could barely fit my butt down in some of the room around the built in desks. Here’s only a small selection of the photos I took of the rooms. Unfortunately a lot of them run together at this point and I don’t remember which rooms they are from. I’ve labeled the ones I know.
The wedding was in Heinz Chapel on Pitt’s campus, which was also a very beautiful space. It was a lovely service. I’m pretty sure Darra sobbed through the entire thing (of happiness people don’t worry). I’m pretty sure she’s the only bride I’ve ever seen crying as she walked down the aisle. I am surprised by none of this, as of course I’m sure is the case for anyone else who knows her.
The reception was at the University Club, which was just a short walk from the chapel. It was a also a very nice space. The food was pretty good for wedding food, and I will say that I was very impressed by how hot everything was when it got to our tables. Usually at these kinds of things the food is lukewarm at best when they’re serving 150 people at the same time. My one complaint is the DJ. The music was way too loud. I have never been to a wedding where you literally couldn’t talk to anyone at your table who wasn’t sitting right next to you without shouting. It made for a bit of an awkward dinner, and I felt bad for the guy at our table who didn’t know any of us anyway, but who it was very difficult for us to try and include in the conversation. The music levels got even worse once the dancing starting. I couldn’t stand to be on the dance floor for very long because the music was too loud. Even standing in the hallway area outside the music seemed too loud to me. This is something I have never experienced at a wedding before, and I was kind of disappointed because I always enjoy wedding dancing. So yo DJ whoever you are turn your music down a bit. I’m guessing you’re deaf by now, but the rest of us aren’t yet and don’t want to be.
The wedding also featured a Pittsburgh tradition: the cookie table. From what I gather from the weddings I’ve been to where these have existed is that close friends and family bake cookies and they are put out for people to eat while at the wedding. Then people are also supplied with boxes or bags of some sort to take cookies home with them as well. I don’t know the official count, but if everyone made the exact number of cookies they signed up for there was supposed to be 140 dozen cookies. I myself wound up with about 4 dozen more than I promised, so there may have been more that that. I had bought some wedding cookie cutters to make cookies for Tracie’s wedding several years ago, so I got the chance to use them again for Darra’s wedding. I could have made something simpler than cookies that had to be cut out and decorated, but I know everyone loves this recipe. I heard some people talking about them last night when they were getting cookies though, so I’m glad my effort did not go unappreciated. And yes there were so many cookies I couldn’t fit them all in one picture.
As a bonus during the trip I also got to meet up with one of my Twitter friends in person. Amy is a fellow librarian who lives in Pittsburgh who I befriended over Twitter at some point in the last few years. I told her I was going to be up there for a wedding and asked if she wanted to get together while I was in town, so we made plans to meet up for brunch before we headed back to Baltimore this morning. We had a lovely brunch with her and her husband before heading home. It was great to get to meet her person finally. Even though she’s a librarian, she is what we in the profession call a special librarian meaning she doesn’t work in a public library, university library, or school library. They tend to run in different conference circles than the rest of us, so we don’t generally attend the same conferences, which is how I wind up meeting up with most of the library friends who I’ve met via Twitter. Hopefully we’ll see each other in real life again one day.
Overall it was a lovely wedding and a wonderful weekend. I am really happy for Darra and Henry. I wish them so much love and happiness in their new life together.