While cheesesteaks, pretzels, Tastykakes, and much more help to shape the food story of Philadelphia weddings, Pittsburgh is influenced by a specific sweet treat that sometimes has a full room devoted to it at weddings. In this case, we’re talking about cookies!
Although sometimes the vast amount and variety of cookies can overflow at weddings, it started as an affordable DIY during The Great Depression when couples wanted to find a wedding cake alternative, according to Heather Davis, Founder and CEO of the wedding planning company Day of Pgh. Today it has continued because couples and their family members all adore it as a way for loved ones to incorporate their treasured recipes of choice into the festivities.
So, how does a Pittsburgh cookie table happen at a wedding, what are the most popular cookies at a soiree, and how can you incorporate your wedding design or a favorite furry family member into your cookies? We asked Heather to share all of the cook-ie details with us and you.
Pennsylvania Weddings Magazine: How do family members prepare a Pittsburgh cookie table?
Heather Davis: The female relatives of the couple (all those moms, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and cousins) spend weeks — sometimes months — before the wedding baking hundreds of cookies. They’ll freeze them for freshness, and deliver their offering to the couple in labeled Tupperware and sometimes even pizza boxes. Day of, the cookie table is filled with every type of cookie imaginable — and plating them all can get pretty intense! If Aunt Colleen’s cookies aren’t out on the table, you bet the wedding planner will hear about it.
PWM: Is everything homemade, or do some people turn to a bakery?
HD: Some couples opt to order cookies from a local bakery instead of baking them homemade, especially if relatives are traveling to attend the wedding. We always recommend a dozen cookies per guest, but it somehow always ends up being (way) more than that! If you’re going all out on the cookie table, don’t forget to order to-go boxes for your guests! It’s the perfect morning after treat.
PWM: What are the most popular cookies for cookie tables?
HD: Classic favorites like buckeyes, lady locks, Pizzelles, and, of course, chocolate chip are common cookie types you will see stacked on platters at a Pittsburgh wedding. Newer trends can also be seen with the no-bake Oreo balls, cheesecake cups, and also chocolate covered strawberries and mini cupcakes.
PWM: What are some ways couples can incorporate their cookie table into their wedding theme or design?
HD: Couples can get really creative with their cookie table theme or display, and they can become an interactive (and delicious!) piece of
their wedding reception design. A 2020 Day of Pgh couple added laser-cut bridges from their hometowns (San Francisco and Pittsburgh) into their display, and others dress it up with florals, candles, and tiered trays to add depth. We’ve also had more than one ‘cookie room’ at weddings which is exactly what it sounds like! Another popular choice is to incorporate the cat or dog of the couple by creating a cookie in their pets’ likeness, or even offering doggie treat cookies for the guests’ furry friends! Just make sure they are labeled!
Tell us! Did you know about the Pittsburgh Cookie Table? Would you like one at your wedding?