The Folklore of the Pittsburgh Cookie Table

The Pittsburgh cookie table is one of the reasons why this city is the perfect place for me to work.

Pittsburgh cookie table

Sure—the wedding industry in this city is an active and creative one.

There’s also all the interesting things I discover shooting engagement photos and weddings in new churches and chapels.

Another plus—I get to be a part of one of life’s happiest moments for countless people every year!

But really, the cherry on top of everything?

It’s the Pittsburgh cookie table.

Pittsburgh cookie table

Psst: some of my clients recently won awards for their cookie tables. Check out the features in Pittsburgh Magazine here and here!

A cookie table is a spread of literally thousands of cookies in dozens of different varieties that sometimes replaces the cake as the center of attention during dessert.  Just as often, though, an ornate cake will accompany this vast array of sweets.

Pittsburgh cookie table

The important part, though, for many Pittsburgh weddings is that there’s a table stacked with home-baked goods.  The tradition of unveiling the table is as long-standing for some families as the couple’s first dance or the exchanging of rings.

The cookie table is a local phenomenon that stretches back almost a hundred years, according to some accounts.  In fact, it’s so embedded in some families’ wedding celebrations that you might be just as surprised that people haven’t heard of a cookie table!

Pittsburgh cookie table

It’s not without its controversy, though. While any born and bred Pittsburgher will tell you the idea started in their hometown, it’s often contested that Youngstown, Ohio holds the title of “Birthplace of America’s Cookie Table.” Regardless, the Pittsburgh cookie table is wholly regional, stretching no further than the tri-state area.

Pittsburgh cookie table

Not only is the cookie table a local phenomenon, it’s also cultural. It is often seen at weddings where at least one member of the happy couple is of Eastern European or Italian descent. Of course, no one single culture lays an undisputed claim to inventing this sweet tooth titan.

As you may imagine, the cookie table isn’t simply about filling up on sweets.  It’s an endearing way for families to come together and share part of their heritage.  It’s also a way for families to bridge their different histories as they come together to celebrate.  It is truly one of the most seamless frameworks for past, present and future to mesh in a delicate–and delicious–harmony.

Pittsburgh cookie table

While the cookie table is traditionally a time for grandmothers, aunts and mothers to whip up some of their legendary classics, local vendors have recently caught on and have started offering to cater cookie tables.  Others will charge a plating fee for homemade cookies. 

(Pro-tip: looking for an amazing resource to help you fill up your cookie table with really original cookies? Check out!)

But there is probably one question still on your mind: why is the cookie table so important to me as a wedding photographer?

Well, it’s confession time…

Not only are cookie tables visually stunning, but I am, in fact, the human version of the Cookie Monster.

If it were sensible to request payment in cookies, it’s something I’d consider.

Pittsburgh cookie table

If you have any favorite cookie recipes, share them with me in the comments! (I may even bake them and make a post about it!)

In search of award-winning Pittsburgh wedding photography? Contact Palermo Photography now!