Posts Tagged ‘Wedding Cookies’

When you think of Pittsburgh traditions, there are a  few things that usually jump to the front of your thoughts:

  • The Terrible Towel
  • People in Steeler’s gear, regardless of season or solemnity of occasion
  • Pierogies
  • Chair parking space holders

But there’s one more thing that makes ‘Burghers famous throughout the rest of the country: Wedding Cookies.

“But wait,” the unknowing non-Burgher might say, “People eat CAKE at weddings.”

True.  But while the traditional wedding cake still retains its touted position and remains a wonderful source of candid, frosting-smeared photos, the mighty cookie table often completely overshadows it.

The History of the Wedding Cookie Tradition

There are as many theories as to why we are such a cookie-loving people as there are types of cookies adorning the table at even the simplest of Pittsburgh weddings.

Necessity as the Mother of (delicious) Invention?

The wedding cookie tradition could have been born of necessity. As the steel mills closed down – and Pittsburghers began to tighten their collective belts, lavish wedding cakes were probably one of the first things to go.  Many a bride’s disappointment must have eased as her entire family pitched in for days (sometimes weeks) to bake and freeze a dizzying array of traditional wedding cookies for the big event. In many ways, baking the wedding cookies is as meaningful for the mother of the bride as it is for the bride herself!

A Cultural Melting Pot

Much of Pittsburgh’s population descends from hardworking immigrants who came to Pittsburgh in search of industrial work. There’s a strong possibility that the wedding cookie tradition came with them. Pinpointing which ethnicity made the tradition popular would be nearly impossible.  The credit for the Pittsburgh wedding cookie table is most often given to the Mediterranean and Eastern European cultural influences in this area.

The Popularity of Wedding Cookies

Regardless of where the wedding cookie table originated, it has certainly transcended its origins and has been embraced by an entire region of America. Though Pittsburgh is well known for it, the tradition is also prevalent in Ohio and parts of West Virginia and Virginia.  Articles on where to get custom wedding cookies that match the wedding color schemes are popping up in high-end bridal magazines and people across the country are starting to adopt the tradition.

There is definitely something very warm and inviting about packing up dozens of cookies to send home with guests as edible reminders of a fantastic and memorable evening. It’s no wonder the wedding cookie tradition is still strong and growing!

We’d love to see pictures of your wedding cookie tables! Feel free to upload them in the comments section!

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