The Big Day
Three couples share the stories behind their unique Ohio wedding venues.
Lauren & David Kodish
The Tudor Arms Hotel, July 10, 2015
As an event planner, Lauren Kodish had a feel for the variety of wedding venues available in downtown Cleveland. But the 2011 conversion of a 1931 Gothic Revival building near the city’s University Circle neighborhood to a Hilton Doubletree hotel made a lasting impression on her and her fiance, David.
The building’s arched, 35-foot ceiling and large leaded glass windows offered an air of elegance, and its past as an exclusive club and jazz music destination added a touch of history.
“We wanted something that was classic and fit our personalities,” Lauren explains. “There’s hardwood throughout the Crystal Ballroom, the architecture of the space is stunning, and logistically it flows very nicely for doing an event.”
The bridesmaids got ready for the big day in the Juliet room, a guest suite with a balcony overlooking the ballroom. Lolly the Trolley — a local sightseeing and transportation service — ferried the bridal party to the nearby Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Cultural Gardens for photographs prior to the ceremony.
The entire event took place on the hotel’s second floor, from the ceremony beneath the wooden-beamed ceiling of the Tudor Room to a marble-enhanced lounge for cocktails to the spacious Crystal Ballroom for the reception. The hotel staff remained flexible with the ballroom’s set-up, allowing a mixture of round and rectangular tables and working with all the couple’s vendors, so Lauren and David could be free of worries.
“I wanted to keep everything elegant and romantic looking, but not too feminine,” Lauren says. Bridal party bouquets were repurposed for the head table, and low centerpieces adorned with hydrangeas and candles complemented the ballroom’s details. “It’s a great backdrop,” Lauren adds. “It’s timeless, and it makes your day feel romantic.”
Sarah & Nick Arnold
Rivercrest Farm, Sept. 6, 2014
Sarah and Nick Arnold knew they wanted to take a do-it-yourself approach to their wedding. So, when searching for the perfect space, two factors played a role for the Marietta couple: They needed a location that was easy to access for both Sarah’s northeast Ohio-based family and Nick’s relatives from the western United States, and they desired a place that would allow them to get creative.
“My mom and I did a lot of the decor ourselves, so we wanted a venue where we had the freedom to nail something into the wall if we wanted to, and we had so much freedom,” Sarah says.
Rivercrest Farm in Tuscarawas County transitioned from dairy barn to event venue over its four generations in owner Deanna Vickery’s family. She doubled the size of the original barn, allowing Sarah and Nick to hold their ceremony in the new half before walking right next door into the original portion for the reception. A catering kitchen, restrooms, bridal suite and groomsmen bunkhouse are all updated features as well, and the entire bridal party stayed overnight before the wedding. Sarah and her mom arrived earlier, allowing them more time to decorate.
Sarah, an architectural designer with graphic design experience, created window decals featuring meaningful quotes and Bible verses. A family tree with silhouettes of the couple, their parents and grandparents hung above the cake.
“My goal was to fill the barn with mirrors,” Sarah says, adding that she collected them throughout the year from thrift shops and painted the glass of gold picture frames with mirror paint in order to add a touch of elegance to the rustic barn.
Another benefit of the Amish country location was the picturesque setting. As the sun began to set, the wedding photographer led Sarah and Nick to the top of a hill to capture them among the beautiful scenery.
“That was really a special moment,” Sarah says, “and probably the best pictures from our wedding.”
Brittany & Matt Snider
Dayton Memorial Hall, March 7, 2014
Some wedding spots speak for themselves, and that’s what Brittany and Matt Snider were searching for in a venue. The registrar at Columbus’ renowned Pizzuti Collection, Brittany was familiar with various museums and aware of the range of historic buildings available in her and Matt’s hometown of Dayton.
Dayton History, Montgomery County’s historical society, has options ranging from the Transportation Center — featuring a train and trolley collection — to the quaint Patterson Homestead. Brittany and Matt chose Dayton Memorial Hall, a French Renaissance-style building built in 1907 as a tribute to local soldiers who served in the Civil and Spanish-American wars. It was a perfect fit for the 125-person guest list and required few additions in the form of decorations.
“The vaulted ceilings, the columns, the stained glass, it needed nothing else,” Brittany explains. The mother of the bride suggested tying flowers on the chairs down the aisle and adding lanterns. “I was going for a more vintage, classic feel,” Brittany adds. “The lanterns played into the feeling of the space.”
After the ceremony, guests needed only travel by stairs or elevator to the reception on the lower level. The couple’s goal was to keep plans for the evening simple, so having the event entirely at one location was a plus.
The reception decor was also kept minimal. Tables were adorned with milk glass the couple found at thrift stores. They chose to use a selection of dahlias, roses, daisies and other silk flowers instead of fresh-cut options. Draperies lined with strings of lights hung above the dance floor. To match the vintage vibe, they swapped out the traditional white lights for antique-looking bulbs.
“The building is so old, and it has so much history,” Brittany says, “but now Matt and I are part of its history.”
Did you or someone you know get married at an amazing Ohio venue in the past year? We want to share your wedding story with our readers! To be included, email a short description of what made this wedding special, along with photos showing off the venue and decor to firstname.lastname@example.org.