Columbus' Best Winter Wedding Locations

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Emily and Philip Jackson wed on Dec. 14, 2013, at St. Joan of Arc Parish before taking the party to The Venue at dock580.

"Having a November wedding made sense for us," says Julie Willey, who wed Alex on Nov. 3, 2012, and hosted her reception at Scioto Reserve Country Club in Dublin. "Benefits definitely include less competition for the vendors. We were able to get our first choice for all our vendors, which we were pleased with."

A bonus happy accident also occurred with their winter date: "The most genius decision we made-by accident-[was hosting] our wedding the night of daylight saving time," she adds. "Our guests got an extra hour of sleep afterward."

For Becca Thompson and Chris Apfelstadt, choosing to get married in December was a no-brainer.

"December is 'our month,' " Becca says. "We started dating in December and got engaged in December, so it seemed fitting to also have our wedding then."

Following an exchange of vows in a church ceremony Dec. 29, 2013, the pair hosted a reception at Via Vecchia, a winery in the Brewery District.

"My husband owns a holiday lighting company, so we are also partial to being able to decorate with white lights and had a lot of fun playing in the snow and posing in Columbus Commons in front of the giant tree [Chris] had decorated earlier," Becca recalls. "A big benefit for us was that our families and a lot of out-of-town guests were in town already for Christmas and simply extended their stay instead of booking a separate trip."

But the snowfall did pose a problem at one point in their day.

"Our trolley got stuck in the fresh snow, and the groom and groomsmen had to push it in their dress shoes to get going," Becca says. If you, too, are having a winter affair, Becca offers this advice: "Pack a shovel for the trolley or limo or bus."

To make sure your destination is worth the shoveling, consider having your magical white wedding at one of these locations, all of which have unique attributes that make them particularly appealing to wintertime brides and grooms.

Cost: Venue rental costs $3,500 and includes a five-hour reception, four-and-a-half hours of bar time and two hours of decorating time, as well as the ceremony, a one-hour rehearsal and the use of the ever-popular Chiavari chairs. Beer-and-wine drink packages start at $21.95 per person, while unlimited juice and soda costs $8.95 per person.

Winter features: "I think the aesthetics of the space are its biggest attraction," co-creator and owner Michael Elmer says of Via Vecchia's multi-space venue, which features original exposed-brick arches, limestone walls and soaring wood-beam ceilings. Soft white holiday lighting is divine in this place. As far as practicalities go, the winery is located near several Downtown hotels, so guests won't have to travel far in the cold. Bonus: A parking lot is available, too, with a $300 rental fee. "It's a very nontraditional space that lets brides create the space and event they want," Elmer adds. For example, a recent couple wanted a very traditional Italian village-style wedding. They had their ceremony on the elevated concrete stoop outside the winery as lights twinkled above them. Guests looked on from below. Couples can also rent the space's open-air photo booth for $895; it's one less vendor to have to worry about getting to a location on a bad-traffic day.

Bad-weather rules: "We've never had to cancel a wedding, but we have had shuttles that run late," Elmer says. "We will be flexible."

A hidden assurance for Via Vecchia brides, he continues, is the venue's location on the main city power grid; because it shares a grid with important city buildings, Via Vecchia never loses power for long.

Additional highlights: Via Vecchia has a private Facebook page available for its future and past brides. Recent brides often sell decor items they used at their Via Vecchia wedding, providing soon-to-wed brides with a bargain as well as peace of mind that they're purchasing something that fits the venue. The little community has blossomed in the past year, Elmer says.

"Our brides are very proud of the fact that they've had their weddings here," he adds.

485 S. Front St., Brewery District, 614-893-5455, 485 S. Front St., Brewery District, 614-893-5455,

Cost: Packages start at $78 per person.

Winter features: A tent with walls can cover the venue's courtyard, and heaters can make the tent 72 degrees. The venue is within walking distance to Downtown hotels, so guests don't have to worry about parking or driving. For those who do drive, there are more than 400 on-site parking spaces available for guests at no additional charge.

Bad-weather rules: "In the 1,800-plus receptions we have hosted, there has only been one event that could have been canceled due to snow, and the family decided to proceed with the reception," says Jay Curatti, director of operations. "We are currently exploring the addition of a generator for backup power, should it be needed in any season."

Additional highlights: Outdoor terraces with optional heaters are available at both reception locations within dock580 (The Venue and The Loft), and food is prepared on-location with a seemingly endless menu. Gorgeous views of the Columbus skyline, from both inside and out, are the cherry on top."I selected dock580 for its Downtown location, its historic and industrial feel, and the fact that it had the outdoor space," says Stephanie Fickersen, who married Tony on Sept. 1, 2013. "I don't like traditional ballrooms and golf courses and wanted something slightly more casual."

The couple envisioned its wedding to be a preppy end-of-summer celebration, a party on the cusp of a season change that welcomed fall with open arms. Their navy, white and pink color scheme was lovely in the space, which also provided activities for their wedding guests on the outdoor patio, including a giant game of Jenga. "The process was really simple with them," Stephanie adds. "In my head, the reception planning seemed like it would be really overwhelming, but they made it so simple I thought, 'Is that it?' once we got into it."

580 N. Fourth St., Downtown, 614-464-9999, 580 N. Fourth St., Downtown,614-464-9999,

Cost: A reception for 150 people costs around $19,000, but that cost depends on the day of the week and the space being used. The facility fee for a Saturday evening starts at $4,000, not including food, service, bar and equipment.

Winter features: The CMA staff is diligent about maintaining a snow- and ice-free sidewalk and parking lot. And with so many visually interesting rooms, couples can take their wedding photos with priceless works of art from the museum's permanent collection as the backdrop; there's little need to take outdoor photos in the freezing cold.

Bad-weather rules: While there isn't a cancellation policy in place, the museum will work with the couple if cancellation is necessary.

Additional highlights: The museum is a stunning wedding location. The Derby Court, the spacious reception area in which CMA weddings are held, boasts vaulted glass ceilings and colorful Dale Chihuly artwork.

480 E. Broad St., Downtown, 614-221-6801, 480 E. Broad St., Downtown, 614-221-6801,

Cost: Friday weddings have a $750 room-rental fee and a $7,500 food-and-beverage minimum; Saturday room-rental fees increase to $1,500 with a $15,000 food-and-beverage minimum.

Winter features: The historic ballroom is rife with unique indoor photo opportunities-100-year-old hand-painted ceilings, an ornate fireplace, bay windows and wood floors-and a winding marble staircase is a local photographer favorite. The club also has a newly renovated bowling alley, so your guests can beat the cold and stay and play during the after party.

Bad-weather rules: Cancellations are evaluated on an individual basis by the club's general manager.

Additional highlights: The rental cost includes many services, such as full table settings, complimentary use of a baby grand piano and set-up and tear-down services. "We knew we wanted to be in a beautiful space that was centrally located and contained some of the old Columbus charm we both love," says Valerie Geisler of her marriage to Gregory on Aug. 9, 2013. "We also looked for venues where we wouldn't have to do a lot of decorating-places where the space was stunning on its own." The couple opted for a late-evening cocktail party instead of a traditional sit-down dinner. "It was a little out of the ordinary, but the ACC staff just rolled with it and made it a huge success," Geisler says.

136 E. Broad St., Downtown, 614-221-3344, 136 E. Broad St., Downtown, 614-221-3344,

Cost: The wedding-reception minimum ranges from $5,000 to $12,000, and anything supplied by the venue-including food, beverage, table linens and other decorations and service staff-contributes to that number.

Winter features: Planning a winter wedding requires strategic use of a multi-functional space, and The Bluestone offers many options for a seasonal bride. The 115-year-old converted Baptist church (it still has the stained-glass windows!) is a great choice for a large wedding. It can accommodate up to 500 guests for an hors d'oeuvre-style reception and 300 comfortably for a seated dinner with a dance floor. The cavernous building has several different rooms through which guests can move during stages of your wedding, eliminating travel between ceremony, dinner and reception. Enhance the ornately cool cathedral vibe with bows of evergreens to really set the mood. A parking lot is available, and there are plenty of indoor places for unique photos, including in front of the myriad rock posters in the upstairs of the concert venue.

Bad-weather rules: Couples who have their wedding at The Bluestone have the whole building to themselves, which means there won't be a time block-and the day's schedule can be quite flexible. If Ohio's winter weather gets in the way, delays and adjustments will be made accordingly.

Additional highlights: A Bluestone events director will work with couples to create the perfect wedding and will help plan a ceremony on the sanctuary stage-your guests look on from audience-style seats-and a cocktail hour in the great room for mingling while the staff flips the setup for the reception. Following an intimate reception, guests ready to bust a move will appreicate the large dance floor, as others watch the scene from the upstairs loft.

583 E. Broad St., Downtown, 614-884-4646, 583 E. Broad St., Downtown, 614-884-4646,