Venue Spotlight: Versatile Elegance at the Columbus Museum of Art

Melissa Kossler Dutton
Sarah and Andrew Schreiber's June 23, 2018, wedding at the Columbus Museum of Art

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2018.

When the Columbus Museum of Art added a new wing in 2015, one of the architect’s focuses was creating space for weddings and other events. As a longstanding attraction in the community, the museum naturally draws couples looking for an interesting wedding venue, says Susan Brehm, CMA’s director of event sales. Thanks to the renovations, couples have a lot of choices within the museum.

“It’s a destination. We’re top of mind for people planning events,” Brehm says. “There’s something very intimate about the space. We also have so much flexibility.”

The variety of spaces means couples can get married in one room, have cocktails in a second area and host their reception in a third location.

The Pavilion, the largest space in the museum, can be laid out in numerous ways depending on a couple’s focus. The room features wood floors, skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Sculpture Garden behind the museum. Many couples choose to use those windows as a backdrop for their head table. The space, which can accommodate 320 for a seated dinner, looks good with minimal ornamentation but also can accommodate chandeliers, large floral swags and extravagant decorations, Brehm says. “It’s just an elegant, versatile space,” she says. “It’s a blank canvas.”

Many couples find that the Derby Court’s traditional elements, including limestone walls from the original 1931 building, abundant skylights and a slate floor, create a great setting for their wedding ceremony. “It has a very classic look,” Brehm says. The room, which is adjacent to the Pavilion and the Broad Street Lobby, can accommodate 175 for a seated dinner or 200 for cocktails or a theater-style ceremony setup.

The Broad Street Lobby works well for a cocktail space or as an exit for couples who want to leave their reception with a little bit of fanfare. The grand lobby features an intricately painted and gilt ceiling, as well as limestone archways.

Couples wishing to wed outdoors often select the Sculpture Garden. The space provides options for members of the wedding party to descend a staircase or walk up a more traditional aisle. Located off of the Schokko Art Café, the garden also can serve as a spot for an outdoor cocktail hour or reception.

Earlier this year, the museum hired an in-house chef who prepares food for special events. Couples also have the option of choosing from the museum’s list of approved caterers. Couples appreciate the variety that’s now available to them, Brehm says.

Another perk that appeals to couples is the large dressing rooms for members of the bridal party. When the museum was renovated, the staff made sure the design included space for wedding parties to get ready and store their belongings.

The museum assigns an event specialist to everyone who books an event. That person works with the couple throughout the entire planning process and is there on the day of the event, Brehm says. Staff members are trained to handle all the details. “I don’t want the couple worrying about anything,” she says. “I want them focused on being together and enjoying the moment. They need to know we’ve got it all under control.”