Wedding Venues: Phipps

This is the first in a series of posts on Pittsburgh Wedding Venues. Phipps Conservatory & Botanic Garden is the first venue I've decided to cover for a few reasons. First it's fresh on my mind because I have a wedding coming up there soon that I'm finalizing the planning for with my couple. Second it's one of the best venues in Pittsburgh for weddings. Full disclosure, I am contracted to teach photography at Phipps.

Phipps Conservatory & Botanic Gardens

Wedding Venue: Phipps Conservatory and Botanic GardenPhipps Conservatory & Botanic Gardens are a prized location for your wedding for a number of reasons. Phipps is just an amazing place to visit, wedding or not. The flowers, the warm perfectly humidified air, the fun exhibits, and the variety of really great rooms full of beautiful plants and art work like the giant glass sculptures by the artist Dale Chihuly make Phipps an oasis in the middle of Oakland.

When it comes to weddings venues Phipps is hard to beat. Yes, the venue is naturally beautiful with all of the flowers and gardens but the staff is also top notch. They are incredibly professional and have always been very helpful. I nearly got married there myself but we just couldn't make it work for the date and time we wanted. All of my couples that have had their weddings at Phipps have raved about how helpful the staff is.

One challenge that so many venues have is the limited selection of vendors they allow. Photographers are not limited and as far as I know DJs are not either but the big one is caterers. To be fair to Phipps this is not just a problem there. In fact it's a really wide spread problem. A lot of wedding venues limit who can cater for a lot of really important reasons but it can be really frustrating if you're hoping to provide your own catering so be aware that Phipps has a small but very good list of approved caterers.

I've photographed somewhere near a dozen weddings at Phipps over the years. I'm very excited to photograph the upcoming wedding I have booked there because it's such a perfect place with so many beautiful backdrops. There is virtually no way to take a bad photo in Phipps. This is a great bonus because it means your family and friend's photos should turn out very nice even if they don't know anything about taking photos.

Some other considerations for booking your wedding at Phipps include the easy parking and entry. There are disabled parking spaces very close to the entrance and the staff is very helpful and can aid your older or less mobile family and attendees in getting into the venue.

The central location of Phipps makes it very easy to find even for out-of-towners. Even better the proximity to a number of hotels in and around Oakland make it the perfect place for even the most directionally challenged visitor. It's very hard to miss the giant glass domes of Phipps and it's proximity to so many hotels means that Ubers and taxis are very affordable.

One last thing I love about Phipps is their commitment to the environment. Their commitment is both easy to observe and hard to see all of. From their renewable energy use and water conservation to their more visible efforts like their onsite food choices and composting, if being environmentally conscious matters to you then you'll love what Phipps is doing.

No matter what season, if you're looking for a great wedding venue in Pittsburgh then be sure to check out Phipps. Check back for more reviews as this will be a regular feature covering some of my favorite venues in Pittsburgh and around Western PA.

New Website, Same Great Photography

Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Hello and welcome! Yes this is a new website, with the same great photography you've always been able to count on from me, professional photographer Don Orkoskey, owner of WDO Photography. I've used WordPress for a very long time and the wedding website has been on WordPress since at least 2008. At some point in Sept of 2021 we had a plugin that auto updated which caused a critical error. It was so bad that I couldn't get into the site to disable the plugin in question. I couldn't even roll back the update. I had a choice to make, spend a lot of time trying to get it back up and running or pull the plug and start from scratch.

There is one thing the last few years of this global pandemic have taught me. To know what is important and focus on those things. That made the decision to restart the site from scratch a lot easier. I still have all the photos I've added to the website over the years, I still know what I want to say to you my clients and prospective clients. It made a lot more sense to make a fresh start rather than mess around for days or even weeks trying to recover the old site.

So here we are. Here is the new website, offering the same great photography I've always done. There's something else here too. I've learned a few other things over the last few years. I've learned to value what is important and prioritize it as I said, I've also learned to simplify things and to concentrate on telling valuable stories. Some of those are my stories, some are yours that I'll help you tell.

Wedding Photography

My wedding photography, like all the photography I do is centered in two things.

  1. Understanding - We both need to have an understanding of what you want your photographs to say. Weddings have a lot of common themes but we each have a story, when we get together, when we combine those stories, figuring out what we want to say can be hard but I am here to help you to tell your story. It may just be the beginning of that story together but together we will work out how to tell it in a way that is honest, caring, and will remind you for years to come what your wedding meant to you. 

    Part of creating this understanding will involve some back and forth between us. We'll talk about how you see yourselves, how you see each other, what you mean to each other, what this day means, and more. I will share some of my knowledge about photography with you and together we will create a plan for your wedding photos that will tell the story you want told.

  2. Storytelling - Once we understand what you want to say how we say it becomes the question. I understand lighting, posing, lenses, and more. Knowing how to use those to tell your story is my job. Ensuring I tell that story as you wish it to be told is critical to what I do. This is your wedding, not mine, this is your story, not mine. I will do everything I can to make sure that I am handling the telling of your story in the exact way that we've decided you want it told. Your voice, your vision, your story will shine through - that is my promise.
    We're all stories in the end.  - Doctor Who

New Website

So here is the new website. It's a bit barebones at the moment but in the near future I'll build it out with a lot of great information that can help you figure out how to choose a great wedding photographer (even if that's not me), how to choose great locations for formal portraits, engagement photos, and more. Tips to help you before and during your wedding, and a lot more. Of course I'll also begin to add back some of the old posts that I lost when I decided to start the website over from scratch.

Same Great Photography

As always you can expect the same great photography from me, Don Orkoskey, of WDO Photography. From wedding photography to portraits, to nature photography, and photography teaching I promise to always be transparent about the process, to work with you in good faith and with a positive attitude, and to help you tell your stories because that is what I am here for. It's what I am passionate about. Contact me today and let's talk about your wedding. I can't wait to hear from you!