I knew one thing and one thing alone…that I wanted our wedding to be totally and completely decked out with something we both loved, Cleveland.
I was never one of those girls who dreamed of her wedding since the age of 12 (I didn’t even have a private wedding Pinterest board, I swear). My now husband and I met in Cleveland at ripe old age of 15. Though we both enjoyed trying something new and venturing out of our hometown for college, we knew that after graduation, we were coming back and most likely never leaving again. We love everything Cleveland: the food, the people, the city, the suburbs, the sports (well he loves the sports…). So, when we got engaged, did I have everything all planned in my head already? Nope. I knew one thing and one thing alone…that I wanted our wedding to be totally and completely decked out with something we both loved, Cleveland.
A year and a half, about 100 meetings and many bottles of wine later, we were ready to show our friends and family all of our favorite parts of Cleveland through our wedding. And, we did just that. Here is a timeline of how the day went…
Bridesmaids are up and getting ready at the Marriott at Key Center right in the heart of downtown. Groomsmen are recovering from our Cleveland-themed rehearsal dinner held at one of our favorite places, Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City. We feasted on pierogies (what’s a trip here without one?!), Indians “sliders” (get it?!),Westside Market salad, locally crafted beers/wine and of course, Mitchell’s ice cream for dessert!
Ceremony begins. We knew our reception was going to be downtown and so we wanted to show our guests a different part of the city for our ceremony, Lakewood! We got married in the historic St. James church. Our guests loved the beauty of the church and also enjoyed reading the story about how it had recently closed and re-opened on our ceremony program.
Guests enjoy Cleveland as they wait for the reception to begin. People stop at the casino, grab a drink at a local bar or just walk around exploring the city. Thanks toPositively Cleveland, we were able to include guest guides and maps in our hotel welcome bags. If you give them enough notice, Positively Cleveland can provide these for large groups of visitors. We also included Great Lakes Beer, Malley’s chocolates and Indians peanuts in our hotel welcome bags – true to theme!
Meanwhile, the wedding party toured the city while stopping at some of Cleveland’s iconic landmarks to take photos. Some of my favorite landscapes were the bridges, the city skyline and one of our favorite restaurant, Cleveland Chop!
The wedding party joins guests for cocktail hour. It took me a whopping two location visits to pick the perfect spot for our cocktail hour and reception. I knew I wanted something historic and iconic so the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda was perfect. We used violinists from BW (where my parents and my husband’s mom attended school) to entertain guests as they mingled.
Guests are seated for dinner and pretty much slapped in the face with everything Cleveland. Our seating chart, table numbers, seating cards and more were decked out so if guests didn’t pick up on the Cleveland-theme yet, they certainly couldn’t miss it at their tables.
Party ensues. We were all about supporting local small businesses and entrepreneurs through the planning process so we had one of our favorite local club DJs, DJ Donkis, getting everyone on the dance floor after dinner. We knew we wanted a young, fun, party environment and this was the perfect way to do it. Everyone had a great time dancing the night away.
Unfortunately, this amazing day had to come to an end. However, it was so cool to hear all of our guests sing Cleveland’s praises after the event! We had first-time visitors from places like Illinois, California, Florida and Missouri and each and every one was so impressed with this city. I’d like to think our wedding converted some out-of-town Cleveland skeptics into definite fans!
All in all, planning a wedding themed around a place we are both so obsessed with made the whole process that much easier and more fun. Not only was it exciting to share some of the unique aspects of Cleveland with our guests, we also met so many great Clevelanders and discovered some really cool places through the planning process. The fact that our hometown was worked into the little details is something I (and I hope our guests!) will remember forever. Thank you, Cleveland, for providing the most amazing theme and backdrop for our wedding!