Attention, lovebirds: Here’s how to get married for free at Carnegie Museum of Art

The catch: Strangers will watch your vows. In February.

Imagine getting married here — for free.

Imagine getting married here — for free.

Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art
Rossilynne Culgan

This Valentine’s Day, forget dinner-and-a-movie, and celebrate with something more meaningful and less expensive: A wedding at one of Pittsburgh’s swankiest venues.

A wedding, you ask? But those cost tens of thousands of dollars.

True … unless you win one courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

The Oakland museum is giving away a wedding as a part of its love-themed Third Thursday event on Feb. 21, just a few days after Cupid’s holiday.

Third Thursday, a monthly program, offers the chance to stroll the galleries until 11 p.m. and provides music and activities for $10. But this will be the event’s first-ever wedding.

“Everybody has their own story about what the museum means to them, and what better way to cement that relationship with the museum by saying your vows, being wed at the museum?” said Laura Zorch McDermit, the museum’s manager of social and entrepreneurial experiences (and an Incline Who’s Nexter).

Interested couples must fill out an online form to explain how they met, share a defining moment in their relationship, and detail why they want to get married at the museum. Couples renewing their vows are also eligible to apply. The submission deadline is noon Jan. 24.

“We’re asking folks to be as creative as possible,” she said.

A committee at the museum will pick the top three couples and a public voting session will crown the winner.

The winning sweethearts will say their vows during Third Thursday and get other surprises, including official wedding photography, a wedding cake, and a membership to the museum.

Options for the ceremony include the resplendent Music Hall Foyer or the ornate Hall of Architecture. The couple can bring their own officiant or work with the museum to find one, and the sweethearts can invite their friends and family for free.

The Hall of Architecture, one option for the vows.

The Hall of Architecture, one option for the vows.

Photo by Bryan Conley / Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art

One catch: The couple must be OK with inviting all of Pittsburgh to their big day.

“You’ll have a couple hundred people who you most likely won’t know at your wedding, but it’s kind of a cool way to make a bunch of new friends,” McDermit said.

Anybody can attend Third Thursday to watch the ceremony, dance to a DJ’s soundtrack for the night, snap pictures in a photo booth, make paper flowers, and tour the museum’s collection focusing on all things romantic.

“Pull out the old bridesmaids dresses, get all decked out, and come party with the lucky couple,” McDermit said.

Just to be clear, yes, you do need to supply your own bride or groom. This isn’t a Bachelor-type situation.

“It takes somebody certainly non-traditional that is not super into having a very traditional wedding day and experience but allowing us to sort of plan their party for them,” McDermit said. “For somebody who wants to make a little flash on their wedding day, this is something super unique. You won’t be able to do this anywhere else.”