HGI is a newly renovated large hotel set atop the mountains in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. From getting ready to the after party HGI has you covered with amazing service, staff, spaces and photo locations - offering a versatile wedding venue for all stages of your wedding day. Strictly speaking from a vendor stand point, HGI is amazing to work with - Alex and her team do a phenomenal job at making sure your vision comes through in all aspects of your day. They are very friendly and accommodating with all vendors, which is really helpful in making your day go smoothly. Most importantly they are on time. If your ceremony is slated to start at 1, the attendants are lined up and ready to go at 1. This is something we really appreciate as vendors. All the staff - from the coordinators down to the servers are friendly and easy to talk to. Above that the hotel itself is beautiful with a contemporary setting for special events. Since you aren’t able to go check it out yourself right now, here are some photos and a little bit of what it’s like to host a wedding at HGI. All the photos are of couples who celebrated their wedding receptions at HGI.
Wedding Day Prep
HGI recently got a remodeled wedding prep room. This room is gorgeous. You absolutely feel like royalty getting ready in a well lit gigantic space complete with a floor light feature and 2 wall to wall - floor to ceiling - lush black sofas, perfect for robe and getting ready group shots. There is also a bar and lots of places for hair and makeup to get done. Typically when guests are in cocktail hour (if this is your getting ready room) it will also be your private cocktail hour space - if you’re done with photos in time.
There are other places at HGI where you may get ready as well. There is a big board room with a giant table and tv, perfect for the gamer who wants to get some game time in with the gang while getting ready. You could also choose to get ready in a room instead - this would be better for a smaller bridal party or if getting ready alone.
Wedding Ceremonies at Hilton Garden Inn - Southpointe
Outdoor ceremonies are the best at HGI! Seriously, the lighting is so amazing, and the white structure is perfect alone, with florals, linens or even paper lanterns. When planning your wedding Alex and her team know what time to plan ceremonies according to when the light will be the best at that time of year. The best part is the silence. The ceremony space is located at the back of the hotel, where there isn’t much traffic and the noise from the highway isn’t very loud which is nice so all the guests can hear the vows crystal clear.
Indoor Ceremonies at HGI are amazing too. Typically they block off a section of the ballroom and make a nice ceremony space free from the elements. The ceremony is typically set up with guest comfort in mind, the chairs are spaced and there are still aisles down the side for photo/video teams to walk. If you are planning on an outside wedding, but have to move it inside for weather purposes not only will you still have awesome photos but you will have a team that will make the transition effortlessly.
During cocktail hour while the bridal party takes photos - guests are enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres in the giant foyer outside the ballroom with the ability to wonder outside if desired. What we love about separate space for the cocktail hour is the reaction of the guests as they enter the ballroom, lights dim, uplighting on, atmospheric music playing - it is really an awesome transition from one event space to the next setting the tone for the evening. Many times the team will even give the couple a glimpse of the room before they open the doors. Honestly this is the best part of the day, finally you and your now spouse can take in a part of your day together.
Wedding Receptions at Hilton Garden Inn - Southpointe
The ballrooms at HGI were recently remodeled to a much more modern style. The old HGI has faded away to a modern grey pallet, giving way to a beautiful blank canvas - even when left blank is elegant. Along with the new color pallet HGI got some new pretty awesome chandeliers that look great in the background of your photos. The bathrooms look pretty slick too, if that matters. A recurring theme is being on time, we are sticklers for timelines and schedules - there’s a lot to get done, one event running long can change the course of the evening. Dinner service is always on time, hot and delicious - we know because we are never given a vendor meal at HGI. There are no rooms above the ballroom area, so you can party guilt free into the night. They offer accommodations for after parties to be hosted in a different room, as well as Jackson’s bar on the other side of the hotel giving a space to the party goers who don’t want to stop the fun.
When 2nd II None brings the party
We just wanted to show the killer parties we host at HGI. Sorry most of these are in the old ballroom.
Photo Locations Near HGI
You can absolutely take all your photos on HGI’s grounds, from the front lobby to the outdoor ceremony space there are many options to take photos right there. Here are some examples:
A close place you can slip to with your photographer is located directly below the hotel behind the directory for Southpointe. A hidden waterfall feature. We suggest if going between the ceremony and reception only the couple and the photographer go to cut down on the time spent there. Remember you only have about 45 minutes for pictures after your ceremony - this includes family pictures, bridal party pictures and couple photos, so plan accordingly. Also HGI doesn’t offer any shuttle services down to the waterfall feature so you have to provide transportation.
Downtown Southpointe makes for a great backdrop in the winter months when the water feature is shut down and the streets are lined in lights. There is also another water fall in Southpointe, it belongs to Consol and you will need a permit to be on it - many times the water is not running.
Other very Pittsburgh locations that are not too far. These are better for first looks and pictures before the ceremony or on your way to the reception if your ceremony isn't at HGI.
Mt Washington - North Shore - Clemente Bridge - Point State Park - all are about 25 minutes away & Oakland about 35 - limo time (not factoring in any sporting events or concerts that may slow travel).
HGI allows sparkler exits, which is a great send off - though we recommend doing it earlier in the night, drunk people and fire are not always the best combination. HGI has an amazing view overlooking a valley (ok so it's a highway, but you can't see that if you don't try) which gives for some pretty fantastic sunset shots. Not to mention a nice backlit shot in the ceremony space is a great way to end your gallery.
Tips for a great wedding at HGI:
* If you are having a ceremony and reception at HGI and want a ton of photos (or any city photos) - do a first look.
* If you don’t want to do a first look, get all the bridesmaid and groomsmen photos out of the way before the ceremony so you can concentrate on other groupings.
* Hire 2NDIINONE Productions if you want a killer party & amazing photos & video
* Book uplighting to transform the ballroom
* HGI does not offer shuttle services - plan accordingly
* Relax and have fun - Alex and the crew have you covered