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At Hartwood Acres, headaches mount over wedding woes

WTAE Pittsburgh 9/29/2022
bride and groom figurines lying at destroyed wedding cake on tiled floor. © Jeffrey Hamilton bride and groom figurines lying at destroyed wedding cake on tiled floor.

Summer is behind us, but wedding planner Heather Davis just can't shake her frustration over a season of hiccups at one particular venue: Hartwood Acres.

"I didn't realize this was happening every single weekend," Davis said, referring to a pattern of disruptions her clients encountered during their parties.

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Davis owns Day of Pittsburgh, a wedding planning service that had four weddings at Hartwood Acres this summer.

This month, she took to Instagram to recount her experiences at Hartwood. She said that during each party, staff at the venue attempted to shut down the party at 10 p.m., despite the couples having been told they could rent the space until 11 p.m.

"The house lights went up and they tried to shut the entire party down," Davis said, "which is bizarre and literally never happens. It was the first time ever."

For the last two days, Pittsburgh's Action News 4 reporter Mike Valente has exchanged messages with several women whose wedding receptions were held at Hartwood. They echoed much of what Davis said. In one case, a woman said the police were called to break up her party after a noise complaint by a neighbor.

Events at Hartwood Acres are overseen by Allegheny County. In a statement to Pittsburgh's Action News 4, Kelsey Dowd, chief marketing officer for the county, noted that the venue is "nestled in the middle of several neighborhoods and is surrounded by residential properties."

"We were notified by that residents who live in the vicinity of the park expressed concerns with the volume of outdoor wedding events at the pavilion," she said. "We were asked by those officials to address the issue, and thank them for reaching out to us regarding these concerns."

Dowd also explained that current contracts signed by couples state that all parties are subject to local laws and ordinances. In Indiana Township, she noted, there is an ordinance that addresses "excessive noise."

The online chatter about Hartwood Acres has given some engaged couples pause about going through with their plans to have their weddings at the venue.

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