We asked, and you responded. Here are the top wedding vendors in Columbus and surrounding areas, as chosen by Columbus Weddings readers.
This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2020 issue of Columbus Weddings, published August 2020.
When we decided to redesign Columbus Weddings, one feature seemed like a given: We had to have a reader poll, in line with those of our sister magazines. Months of planning, researching, ballot-building and promoting later, we’re proud to present the results of the first-ever Best of Columbus Weddings.
We populated the ballot with our favorite local vendors and our advertising partners, then set it loose into the public for voting. The result: dozens of vendors that have the seal of approval from the Columbus Weddings team and local newlyweds and engaged couples alike. In all, more than 5,500 people voted for their faves (though not every person voted in every category).
You may notice that some categories have more than one winner. That’s because we decided, in the interest of showcasing as much local talent as possible, to award a tie to any vendor whose percentage of votes came within 1 percentage point of the top vote-getter.Like what you’re reading? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
We’re already planning Best of Columbus Weddings for 2021; look for voting to open up with the release of our next issue in December 2020. Until then, enjoy learning more about the most popular vendors in the city this year below and by visiting cbuswedmag.com/Best2020, where you’ll find more in-depth profiles of each winner.
Profiles by Heather Barr, Nancy Byron, Rylan Lee, Shelley Mann, Brooke Preston, Peter Tonguette and Rebecca Walters
St. Joseph Cathedral (24.6%)
Exuding majestic charm, Downtown’s St. Joseph Cathedral provides a “princess-like setting” for wedding ceremonies. With high ceilings, marbled floors, stained-glass windows and a long aisle, this Gothic-style church is a dream come true for many brides, says Sarah Wilson, wedding coordinator for St. Joseph, which can accommodate up to 600 people and is available to Catholic Diocese of Columbus member parishes.
RUNNER UP: Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 17.1%
CEREMONY, INDOOR; CEREMONY, OUTDOOR; RECEPTION, GARDEN/GREENHOUSE
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (29.9%, 26.8%, 48.1%)
“The conservatory has been a premier wedding venue in Columbus for years,” says senior sales manager Brandon Flory. “We even get people who reach out and say, ‘I was married there in 1980.’” The site boasts several spots ideal for a ceremony or reception; rentals come with not only the indoor space but an adjacent outdoor area.
RUNNER UP, INDOOR: Columbus Museum of Art, 13%
RUNNER UP, OUTDOOR: Park of Roses, 10%; Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 9.6%; Strongwater Food + Spirits, 9.1%
RUNNER UP, GARDEN/GREENHOUSE: Jorgensen Farms Oak Grove, 34.8%
RECEPTION, HOTEL/EVENT CENTER
Westin Great Southern Hotel (16.8%) and Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph (16.2%)
Toss a coin to decide which of these stellar hotels should host your reception. The Westin Great Southern Hotel, which has graced South High Street since 1897, boasts a 4,140-square-foot Grand Ballroom, a dazzling space that deserves its highfalutin title. “Our beautiful Grand Ballroom looks the same today as it did on opening day 123 years ago,” says director of sales and marketing Tom Graffeo. Meanwhile, the Short North-situated The Joseph is bedecked with over 500 works of art on its walls as well as several magnificent spaces. “Our event space offers captivating views, with floor-to-ceiling windows in each event room,” says brand and marketing manager Maureen Caldwell.
RUNNER UP: Hilton Columbus Downtown, 11.8%
Ohio Statehouse (19.4%)
Built in the 1800s and still used for day-to-day government functions, the Ohio Statehouse is available to rent for evening wedding ceremonies and receptions. It offers a historic feel, with original flooring and details throughout the building. Wedding packages include tables, chairs, hands-on event staff, event security and AV equipment to help the day run smoothly.
RUNNERS UP: Granville Inn, 14%; High Line Car House, 13.8%; Athletic Club of Columbus, 13.1%
Strongwater Food + Spirits (26.7%)
Situated in a Franklinton warehouse, Strongwater’s event venue exudes an urban-industrial vibe, providing day-of coordination support, two wedding suites, parking and indoor/outdoor space for up to 200 guests. “Strongwater strives to be the forerunner in communal gathering,” says Molly Blundred, event manager. “We love to flex our creative skills to make our clients’ day as personal, unique and special as they are.”
RUNNER UP: Dock580, 23.9% (now closed)
RECEPTION, MUSEUM/GALLERY; RECEPTION, CONTEMPORARY/MODERN
Columbus Museum of Art (58.8%, 23.9%)
Readers loved receptions at the Columbus Museum of Art, voting them to the top of two related categories. With a range of rental spaces—each more dramatic and beautiful than the last—a liquor license and the option to choose in-house, full-service catering or from a list of approved local caterers, the museum offers something many ballrooms and traditional venues can’t: elegant versatility.
RUNNER UP, MUSEUM/GALLERY: COSI, 15.6%
RUNNER UP, CONTEMPORARY/MODERN: Juniper, 21.1% (now closed)
Jorgensen Farms Historic Barn (43.8%)
For those seeking a picture-perfect rustic wedding, readers overwhelmingly agree that Westerville’s Jorgensen Farms Historic Barn is unparalleled. The charming, historic farm (divided into four unique and customizable areas) also packs more included amenities than many traditional venues, including a wedding coordinator, complimentary parking and attendants, and more. Available on-site services like catering, floral design and specialty linens balance pastoral presentation with professional polish.
RUNNER UP: Wells Barn at Franklin Park Conservatory, 19.4%
RECEPTION, GOLF/COUNTRY CLUB
Scioto Reserve Country Club (22.9%)
With elegant settings and spectacular golf course views, Scioto Reserve Country Club is a perfect backdrop for ceremonies and receptions. The venue has assisted hundreds of couples in planning their perfect day and is committed to exceeding expectations, says Ann Marie Orren, director of catering. “Wedding planning should be fun,” she says. “It’s the next chapter of the rest of your life together, so enjoy the time.”
RUNNER UP: The Country Club at Murfield Village, 11.3%
OHIO DESTINATION WEDDINGS
Hocking Hills Wedding Chapel (20.3%)
Owned by husband-and-wife team Eric and Karen Thompson, this charming destination was chosen by readers as the spot to host an Ohio-based destination wedding. This venue is the perfect backdrop for couples looking for an adventurous wedding and breathtaking photos. Ceremonies can take place in the charming log chapel, under the quaint log gazebo or in front of a rustic, outdoor stone fireplace. A short drive from the Columbus airport, the chapel offers on-site lodging for guests and a range of packages, from a two-person elopement to a “dream package” ceremony and reception for up to 55 guests. A DIY option lets you build a plan to your individual needs, too.
RUNNERS UP: Gervasi Vineyard, 11.3%; Grand Barn at the Mohicans, 11%
REHEARSAL DINNER; NEXT-DAY BRUNCH
Lindey’s (14.6%, 17.8%)
Established in 1981 by Sue Doody, Lindey’s is known for its hospitality—just one of the reasons the restaurant’s private dining spaces have been a longstanding favorite for rehearsal dinners, brunches and engagement parties. “We go above and beyond what others in the city do,” says Grant Cassidy, director of catering and sales. Special requests are Lindey’s specialty. “We strive for excellence in all aspects,” Cassidy adds. Perhaps that’s why voters selected the eatery, modeled with the East Side bistros of New York City in mind, as a top choice for the meals that bookend the wedding weekend.
RUNNER UP, REHEARSAL DINNER: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, 9.6%
RUNNER UP, BRUNCH: Cap City Fine Diner, 15%
Aisle & Co. (15.9%)
The planners at Aisle & Co. promise an individualized approach to wedding planning. “We believe that your wedding should be the best reflection of who you are as a couple,” says owner Natasha Churches. “We want all clients from different traditions, cultures, budgets and aesthetics to be a part of the Aisle & Co. portfolio,” she adds. “This mindset, combined with our desire to truly celebrate love in a personal and curated way, is what sets us apart.”
RUNNER UP: Red Letter Day Events, 10.6%
Petals & Leaves (8.1%) and Bear Roots Floral (7.3%)
Easily the most contested category in our poll, two florists nonetheless stood out to readers. Petals & Leaves does it all, offering custom bridal packages and à la carte products and services for florals, linens and lighting. Petals & Leaves excels at creativity and attention to detail, says owner Dee Conrad. Stylistically different, Bear Roots Floral is no less creative or client-focused. “We approach each wedding as if it were our own,” says Meghan Greek, wedding and event manager. Bear Roots Floral emanates a “wild modern” style, combining elements of nature and art. Offerings include bouquets, corsages, centerpieces, arch designs and hanging installations.
RUNNERS UP: Madison House Designs, 6.5%; Rose & Berry (formerly Botanica 215), 6.2%; Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts, 6.2%; The Flowerman, 6.1%; Natural Designs, 5.9%; Evergreen Flower Co., 5.5%
Kismet Visuals (12.4%)
Allison Leonard and the Kismet Visuals team don’t just snap pictures; they capture moments. The moment a groom first sees a bride in her dress. The moment a cake gets cut. The moment a couple begins their life together. Kismet’s professionalism, turnaround time and overall commitment to excellence led readers to vote them into the top spot in a category that had nearly 200 contenders.
RUNNER UP: Photo 243, 7.7%
614 Boudoir Photography (30.8%)
A luxury, confidence-inspired experience is what customers will find during a 614 Boudoir Photography session. Kristin Gibson has been photographing boudoir since 2014 and is “incredibly passionate about empowering women of every age, shape, size and walk of life.” At her Gahanna studio, Gibson offers full-service sessions that include hair, makeup, wardrobe styling, expert posing and a same-day image reveal.
RUNNER UP: Columbus Boudoir, 19.5%
Columbus Wedding Videos (18.6%)
Nathan Schivley founded this company 11 years ago, the same year he got married. Since then, the business has grown to five additional videographers, a team that captures 50 to 60 weddings each year. Its popularity can be attributed to videographers’ “fly-on-the-wall” style and their artfully crafted highlight reels.
RUNNERS UP: Capstone Cinema (formerly Clear Sky Video), 13%; Josh Dyer Films, 12.7%
The Columbus Photo Booth Co. (41.6%)
This growing, 12-year-old business offers more than its namesake product. DJs, videographers, photographers, bubble blasters and confetti cannons are also available. “We also have a huge selection of props that come standard with any rental,” says owner and CEO Chad Zwayer. “My job is to reduce your stress and make this fun.”
RUNNER UP: Picture Perfect, 24.6%
Short North Piece of Cake (15.4%)
Short North Piece of Cake is the crème de la crème when it comes to Columbus bakeries. It’s known for its signature European buttercream frosting and obsessive attention to detail. The bakery offers a variety of dessert options for weddings, with cakes ranging from elaborate, six-tier creations to simpler two-tier cakes with additional sheet cakes that can be served from the kitchen.
RUNNER UP: Capital City Cakes, 10.2%
BAKER, OTHER DESSERTS
Pistacia Vera (19.8%)
Along with those of us seeking to satisfy a sweet tooth, area brides- and grooms-to-be have long flocked to Pistacia Vera. Some couples forego traditional cakes altogether in favor of a flourless torte or Chocolate Bombe. Couples who wish to supplement their cake can select from an assortment of Parisian macarons or other delectable desserts to create a stunning sweets display. Call it having your cake—and adding to it, too.
RUNNER UP: Duck Donuts, 15.7%
Lovely Arrows Designs (32.8%)
Calligrapher Kristin Baisden has found her groove with whimsical, hand-lettered wedding offerings, including welcome signage, place cards, menus, custom maps and more. “I don’t like doing cookie-cutter things,” Baisden says. “I want to incorporate something into each person’s event that represents them. I want to make it customized to them and give the event a little personality, too.”
RUNNER UP: Script One Four, 26.7%
On Paper (16.9%) and Lumaca Paper (15.9%)
Under new ownership this year, Short North stationer On Paper offers tailor-made collections of wedding paper goods, says owner Margaret Lydy-Meeker. Specializing in letterpress, digital and thermography printing, On Paper also offers engraving, foil stamping and personalized customer service. Located in the East Franklinton Arts District, Lumaca Paper (formerly Cheer Up Letterpress) specializes in providing luxury papers and letterpress printing with sustainability in mind. “We infuse craftsmanship and thoughtfulness into every detail of the creative process,” says owner Alaina Cherup. From hand-printing letterpress invitations to sketching, painting and designing, “we breathe life into custom-tailored invitation suites.”
RUNNERS UP: Igloo Letterpress, 13%; Avant-Garde Impressions, 12.6%
Wows and Vows (25.9%) and Run to an Elopement (25.6%)
Wows and Vows brings 30 years of experience and a “yes, we can do that” attitude to weddings ranging from last-minute elopements to large civil or religious ceremonies. As their website states, “we listen to your wedding vision without imposing our own.” Similarly, Run to an Elopement’s owner and officiant Windi Noble and her team are experts in the art of “writing unforgettable ceremonies for unique couples,” making sure to meet each couple’s specific goals with ceremonies, readings and more that go beyond boilerplate into beautifully bespoke. Both companies are LGBTQ-friendly and gladly cater to all religions and traditions.
RUNNER UP: Columbus Wedding Officiants, 15.3%
SALON, HAIR; SALON, MAKEUP
Penzone Salons + Spas (18.9%, 16.1%)
The Penzone name is a Columbus institution. Couples and their wedding parties love to get pampered in these luxe environs. With a team of bridal coordinators, a newly expanded collection of bridal services and six locations across Central Ohio that (with recent renovations) feel as fresh and contemporary as they are upscale, it’s no wonder that readers voted Penzone as the best salon for wedding hair and makeup services.
RUNNER UP, HAIR: The Bride Bar / The Blowout Bar, 13.1%
RUNNERS UP, MAKEUP: 614 Beauty, 8.2%; Kenneth’s Salons & Spas, 8%
W Nail Bar (27.1%)
W Nail Bar doesn’t just do great nails. They also offer the ability to accommodate bridal parties of three to 30-plus, expertise on a variety of wedding styles and trends from classic to avant-garde, and an inviting, upscale experience. Since co-founders and sisters Manda Mason and Lauren Hunter first opened W in 2015, it has quickly grown into a Columbus favorite with brides, grooms and guests alike.
RUNNER UP: Lacquer Gallery, 19.7%
Wanderlust Travel & Tours (37.2%)
Leslie Sobnosky, owner of this locally based travel agency, earned the top travel adviser spot from readers for her experience, high level of personalized service and discerning eye for honeymoon and vacation properties. On her site, Sobnosky says, “I would never send you to a resort, destination or cruise ship I wouldn’t take myself ... and I’m pretty picky.” She prides herself on gifting/arranging a bonus “wow moment” for each couple she serves.
RUNNER UP: Compass Travel, 23.7%
Josh Staley Productions (20.8%) and Buckeye Entertainment (19.6%)
There are people who show up with a couple of speakers and a tired playlist, and then there are DJs who can absolutely turn a wedding reception into a dance party to remember. Josh Staley and Buckeye Entertainment are both the latter. Their experience and ease at keeping things moving and shaking during wedding receptions in a wide range of traditions, sizes and venues compelled readers to vote them as equally deserving co-winners among a crowded field.
RUNNER UP: Party Pleasers, 8%
The Conspiracy Band (33.8%)
With 30 years of serenading Columbus ears under their belt, it’s no shock that The Conspiracy Band won over our readers. Manager—and member—Rodney Sutton has been with the band since the beginning and attributes the band’s stance as a Columbus wedding staple to truly listening to customers and offering versatility that reflects the individuality of every wedding and every couple.
RUNNER UP: MojoFlo, 22.8%
WEDDING GOWNS, NEW
Wendy’s Bridal (22.1%) and La Jeune Mariee (21.3%)
Finding the right style and fit is the goal at Wendy’s Bridal in Dublin. “The best dress in the world has lost meaning if it’s not tailored correctly,” says Lil Stalnaker, general manager. Wendy’s has six in-house seamstresses and 47 years of experience. Designers include Essense of Australia, Watters, Stella York, Morilee, Allure, Maggie Sottero and more. La Jeune Mariee in Downtown Columbus draws brides from throughout Ohio and five surrounding states. “We have several designers that are exclusive to us [in Ohio],” says owner Lindsay Fork. “We also have a wide variety of price points and great stylists to help the brides.” Designers here range from moderately priced lines (Calla Blanche, Jenny Yoo) to upscale brands (Ines Di Santo, Rivini, Paloma Blanca) to more couture names (Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera).
RUNNER UP: Twirl, 16.6%
WEDDING GOWNS, CONSIGNMENT
Luxe Redux Bridal (44.5%)
This Short North shop selling designer sample gowns has five locations and a shop-at-home program—Luxe in a Box—that’s going gangbusters. “The concept of buying off the rack and sustainability is really big,” says Lindsay Fork, founder and creative director. Fork’s inventory comes from La Jeune Mariee, which she also owns. “We’re so blessed that we have such a great selection,” she says.
RUNNER UP: Off White, 30.6%
WEDDING GOWNS, CLEANING/PRESERVATION
Dublin Cleaners (49.1%)
Cleaning and preserving a gown promptly after a wedding is important. “Soil and perspiration can deteriorate the delicate fabrics,” says Margaret Butler, bridal specialist with Dublin Cleaners. “Stains can oxidize, and sugar-based stains will eventually turn brown.” Margaret and her husband Greg, who founded the business together in 1982, still clean and preserve every wedding gown themselves. Last year they handled 948. The company also offers pre-wedding services, such as pressing your gown to lay just so or cleaning up any makeup stains from your giddy at-home try-on.
RUNNER UP: Columbus Lace Dry Cleaning, 22%
Gilded Social (28.5%)
Here, the focus is on everyone in the wedding party but the bride. “We provide a great event and experience for the people you are asking to celebrate your wedding with you,” says owner Tanya Hartman. Her Downtown shop specializes in hosting bridal party groups shopping together for bridesmaids dresses and also stocks dresses for mothers of the bride and flower girls. Hartman recently expanded the space to better serve her clients. In addition to bridesmaid gowns, the shop also carries accessories by Loren Hope and wedding-guest-worthy masks by Katie May. (The “Disco Ball” pink sequined model is an editor favorite.)
RUNNER UP: Twirl, 24.8%
Nate DeMars first envisioned a different type of suit store for an entrepreneurship class project. “It was clear to me that most people were buying suits from stores not designed for them,” he says, “and a more focused approach with high customer service and a reasonable price could really stand out.” Pursuit prides itself on being a modern suit store with old-fashioned customer service. New in 2020 is a line featuring women’s suiting—perfect for the bride or wedding guest who prefers to dress up sans dress.
RUNNER UP: Godfrys Men’s & Women’s Clothier, 20.5%
JEWELRY, ENGAGEMENT RINGS; JEWELRY, WEDDING BANDS
Diamond Cellar (28.6%, 27.7%)
In business since 1947, Diamond Cellar today is one of the largest independent luxury jewelers in the country, providing diamonds, engagement rings and wedding bands, as well as accessories for men and women. “If we do not have exactly what you are looking for, or you have something specific in mind, we have the latest technology and best goldsmiths to make a custom design,” says Alex Johnson, partner and executive vice president.
RUNNER UP, ENGAGEMENT RINGS: Worthington Jewelers, 18.7%
RUNNER UP, WEDDING BANDS: Worthington Jewelers, 19.7%
JEWELRY, LOCALLY MADE
Worthington Jewelers (28.2%)
Celebrating 20 years in business, Worthington Jewelers is just the starting point for many couples. With more than 1,300 engagement and wedding styles, the store is known for its bright, welcoming environment. “We engage with customers to find jewelry that fits their unique style and budget,” say owners Bob and Theresa Capace. “If you can dream it, our designers and goldsmiths can make it.” The brand is known for its custom work, from tweaking an existing design to incorporating heirloom stones into a new setting to designing a completely unique ring set from scratch.
RUNNER UP: Red Giraffe Designs, 22.2%
LOCAL GIFTS & FAVORS
The Candle Lab (32.9%)
Deciding on wedding party gifts and guest favors can be tricky. Gifts need to be portable (for those traveling) and within your budget, yet something that expresses both class and gratitude. The Candle Lab checked all those boxes and more with readers with their made-in-Columbus soy candles and bath/body products. Couples can design custom scents to help guests celebrate and remember their big day. It’s also a popular destination for group activities—think bachelorette parties and bridal showers—where guests can create a scented product of their very own.
RUNNER UP: Krema Nut Co., 18.2%
Cameron Mitchell Premier Events (22.1%)
Many couples looking to make the most of their wedding reception turn to Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, the catering arm of the noted restaurant business. For close to two decades, the group has transplanted the Cameron Mitchell restaurant vibe to a couple’s venue of choice. The group offers vendor coordination and manages several venues, including The Exchange in Dublin, The Terrace in the Short North and The Ivory Room in Downtown Columbus.
RUNNER UP: The Berwick, 9.4%
CATERER, LATE-NIGHT BITES
Mikey’s Late Night Slice (37.2%)
This local staple opened in 2009 and has since expanded to include three locations in Columbus, one in Cincinnati and a roaming food truck that can be rented to cater weddings and other events. Mikey’s is known for oversized slices, specialty sauces and a laid-back atmosphere, making it perfect for a pizza-loving couple looking for something unique for their after-party.
RUNNER UP: Sweet Carrot Food Truck, 14.9%
Aiden & Grace Specialty Rentals (27.9%)
From modern and luxurious to bohemian-style accents, couples looking for unique items to pull off a theme for weddings and receptions look to Aiden & Grace. “Whether you want to style your event yourself using our pieces or you need a design tip or two, we are here to help,” says owner Meleka Jolliff. The studio offers bar options, lounge groupings, backdrops and more.
RUNNER UP: Lasting Impressions Event Rentals, 26.8%
Short North Trolley (18.8%)
Readers chose Short North Trolley for its vintage-inspired transportation option that also holds more people than the traditional limo or van services and makes for fun pictures. Riders can also bring their own booze in coolers, and when the weather is nice, the trolley’s windows can open to let in a breeze. Short North Trolley will be merging with runner-up Columbus Trolley Co. / Coach Quarters to better serve the local market.
RUNNER UP: Columbus Trolley Co. / Coach Quarters, 16.6%
Hotel LeVeque (21.1%)
Boasting a much-noted celestial-themed decor, Hotel LeVeque has proven to be especially heavenly with newlyweds. Couples can kick back in a romantic King Suite that offers a view of the Scioto Mile. The hotel can also easily handle an entire wedding party. “Wedding room blocks are very popular with us,” says brand marketing manager Holly Hollingsworth. “We also offer private rehearsal dinners and after-wedding brunches.”
RUNNER UP: Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, 17.2%
Hilton Columbus Downtown (16.4%)
One of the Hilton Columbus Downtown’s biggest upsides is right in its name: It’s conveniently located Downtown, nestled at the walkable confluence of the neighborhood with the Arena District and the Short North, with the North Market located next door. All this, plus a rare Downtown hotel pool and the famed Hilton level of comfort and service, compelled readers to vote the Hilton to the top place for guests of weddings in Columbus.
RUNNER UP: Hilton Columbus at Easton, 11.3%
Fun is the No. 1 priority at Topgolf, which is why the sports entertainment venue off Ikea Way is a hotspot for bachelor parties. Fueled by food and drinks, games are tailored to skill levels—from beginners to advanced—for long and short games. Amenities include 100-plus hitting bays, more than 200 HDTVs, a rooftop terrace with a fire pit and private event spaces. The on-site restaurant features a full bar and a menu of pub grub and sharables. All-inclusive packages include game time, food and drink, and a dedicated staff.
RUNNER UP: Dueling Axes, 22.1%
Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar (41.4%)
On any given (non-pandemic) weekend, visitors to Big Bang are virtually guaranteed to spot at least one sash-wearing, squad-leading bride-to-be at this rockin’ piano bar. Two pianists on a low stage take requests from the audience all night long, covering the gamut from ’90s pop to classic rock to Top 40 hits. If a crowd has a particularly large number of bachelorettes in attendance, they might get invited on stage to boogie with the pianists.
RUNNER UP: Pedal Wagon, 24.7%