Brandi Tayloe-Jones and Damon Jones held an elegant, yet relaxed, rehearsal dinner at Gallerie Bar & Bistro.
Brandi Tayloe-Jones and Damon Jones are both Ohio natives, but they'd moved to Nashville by the time they began wedding preparations. Still, they chose Columbus for their nuptials, as it's a nice halfway spot between Jones' hometown of Toledo and Tayloe-Jones' Springfield/Dayton roots. The couple had only one weekend free to fly up and tour venues, so they made the trip count, visiting more than 20 event spaces over the course of two days.
While the couple knew they wanted a fall wedding, they intentionally held off on setting a date to maximize venue options. Even so, space limitations quickly dwindled the list.
“Many of the venues we looked at couldn't accommodate our 200 to 250 wedding guests, or would have to split them up into different areas,” explains Tayloe-Jones. “Then we toured the Hilton [Columbus Downtown], and we just knew right away this was the place for us. It had everything we needed and wanted.”
The couple was particularly drawn to the Hilton's competitive prices, ample space, central and walkable location (which kept out-of-town guests from needing to rent a car), warm and modern décor and inclusion of amenities like high-end tables, chairs and linens, preventing additional rental costs and hassle.
They quickly settled on hosting the rehearsal dinner inside Gallerie Bar & Bistro's private dining room.
“When we did our tasting for the reception, the Hilton's food frankly was so good, it only made sense to do the rehearsal dinner there, too,” says Tayloe-Jones. The couple ultimately selected a plated dinner that gave their 50 guests a choice of several entrées, appetizers and desserts.
The couple worked closely with the hotel's senior catering manager, Blaire Blechinger, who—together with her staff—provided warm, responsive service and seemingly endless personal touches, Tayloe-Jones says.
“Even when I stubbed my toenail the morning of my wedding, they immediately brought super glue up to our room to help with a quick fix,” she adds. “They hauled all of the gifts downstairs for us for the reception and set everything up. Anything we asked for or needed, it was [delivered in] a matter of seconds. They even provided special touches we didn't even think to ask for, like a personalized menu for our guests.”
Blechinger even made sure the weekend was special for the four-legged family members. “They'd mentioned that they wanted their Yorkie dog to be part of their wedding,” she recalls. “I have a Yorkie too, so I get it—the front desk and I sent a selection of dog treats to their room.”
Blechinger emphasizes that those extra touches and included amenities, like no-added-cost custom furniture and glass-top cocktail table use, are how the Hilton works to set itself apart from other area venues. She adds that the department heads meet weekly to discuss how to meet and exceed specific guest expectations.
“We offer a lot of unique modern touches, such as really cool art throughout our public spaces from Columbus artists,” she says. “Gallerie Bar & Bistro includes the private dining space overlooking High Street and [the rest of] our restaurant, so you can feel in the middle of all the energy, but from your private space.”
Tayloe-Jones adds, “There was nothing I would change about the whole weekend.” To her and Jones, it was a picture-perfect rehearsal dinner and wedding weekend, from head to (superglued) toe.