By Meghan Schiller

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of large gatherings, including weddings.

Guest lists were slashed, and forget dancing the night away.

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When Allegheny County reached the “green” phase, local couples trying to tie the knot thought they were in the clear. But KDKA’s Meghan Schiller explains why this week’s ban on on-site alcohol consumption changes all of that.

Ali Simcho operates Wanderlust Weddings and Events and said 2020 was supposed to be the biggest year yet. But instead, it’s one hoop after the other for her brides and grooms.

She said following the county’s announcement, there is confusion in the wedding industry regarding alcohol consumption at different venues.


“The Facebook pages are definitely very blown up,” said Simcho. “Everything is very magnified because you have one bride saying, ‘Well I’m getting married at this venue and they said it doesn’t matter’ and then another bride goes to her venue and says, ‘Well this bride says at this venue it doesn’t matter.’ It’s a lot of really mixed information.”

The new on-site alcohol consumption ban in the county wants to keep everyone safe and discourage large groups of people from cramming into local bars and getting rowdy. But what does that mean for large gatherings like weddings that are still permitted?

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Simcho said many of her clients already bought and paid for their alcohol.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reached out to Allegheny County for clarification and guidance to pass along to the wedding industry. The county replied, saying the order is cut and dry.

The specific language of the new order says “on-site consumption of alcohol at bars, restaurants, or any other business establishment in Allegheny County is prohibited until further notice.”

That means no alcohol can be consumed at any business hosting a wedding. Unless a couple is getting married in a relative’s backyard, it’s going to be a dry wedding.

The county suggested vendors call an attorney if they have questions about the order.

“We’re trying to just remind clients why they’re doing this and if it’s mostly because you want all of your family here and you want to celebrate your love and celebrate your marriage, don’t do it just because you might not be able to have a dance floor or you might not be able to have alcohol,” said Simcho. “I think it’s just what do you find to be more important?”

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Simcho said many of her brides are making the tough decision to push the wedding back again, sometimes for a full year.

Meghan Schiller