Via Vecchia embraces a modern aesthetic in its new space.

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2019.

For nearly a decade, Via Vecchia Winery was the place to go for an upscale, rustic wedding with a touch of urban sophistication. Located in the Brewery District, the winery-cum-event venue had a charming brick alley for ceremonies, a cozy barrel room for cocktail hour, and an inviting, brick-walled reception space.

That all changed this year, when Via Vecchia—which means “the old way” in Italian—moved farther south and reopened at The Fort, a new business complex in the Steelton neighborhood, a onetime industrial district in South Columbus.

“We were kind of outgrowing that space,” said Michael Elmer in an interview with Columbus Weddings’ sister publication, The Columbus Dispatch. Elmer also cited construction issues and an impending loss of parking spaces at the former Brewery District site, which shuttered in January 2019 to prepare for the move. The Steelton site opened just this summer; a media preview event in August gave Columbus Weddings staff the chance to see the space firsthand.

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“We kept things really, really raw. That was one of the things that we really wanted to do,” says Elmer. He runs Via Vecchia with business partner and vintner Paolo Rosi. “It’s fun to watch your place kind of transform. … If you keep it raw and you keep it neutral, then every weekend it’s a completely different [space]. Every wedding can be a completely different wedding.”

The open, airy main space of the venue features polished concrete floors, cinder-block walls and exposed girders, giving it the perfect industrial-chic structure to build on; floor-to-ceiling garage-door-style windows flood the room with natural light. During the preview event, it had been decorated by Madison House Designs, Prema Designs and Got Ya Covered Linens.

The full bar—serving Via Vecchia wines, among other offerings—sits behind the main area, next to a staircase leading up to the mezzanine level. There, Elmer says, is the perfect spot for a photo booth and the DJ, who can overlook the dance floor from on high without cluttering the action below.

When we visited, the space had been transformed with trendy touches of gold, marble and greenery. But equally elegant would be warm wood paneling and succulents in ceramic planters; mercury glass vases and dangling Edison bulbs; or brass details with candles providing a soft glow throughout.

The 13,000-square-foot outdoor space includes a 3,000-square-foot patio with a ceremony arch and benches for guest seating. The veranda that connects the indoor and outdoor spaces is strung with charming café lights.

Head to the back of the main room, past the bar, to find the bridal suite, complete with its own private restroom. There’s also a parents’ room with a changing table, as well as a comfortable chair and bottle warmer/cooler for nursing mothers.

“To me, a wedding is about the guest experience,” Elmer says. “The first time you have a wedding and you don’t have a place for a nursing mother, it’s pretty embarrassing. So I know that it’s not a requirement [to have a parents’ room], but it’s something that we really wanted to have.”

Via Vecchia can accomodate up to 300 guests for dinner.

Find more photos of the styled space in our feature at cbuswedmag.com/spotlight.