Best of Columbus Weddings 2022 Photo Shoot & Winners
We asked, and you responded. Here are the top wedding vendors in Central Ohio, as chosen by Columbus Weddings readers.
Photo Shoot Vendors
PHOTOGRAPHER: Starling Studio
DESIGN: MMJ Events
COORDINATION: Aisle & Co.
VENUE: Columbus Museum of Art
FLORIST: Prema Designs
RENTALS: Aiden & Grace
CAKE: Lavender & Honey
BRIDAL GOWN AND ACCESSORIES: La Jeune Mariee
BRIDESMAID GOWNS: Gilded Social
HAIR: Tallullah and Zoey of Penzone Salons + Spas
MAKEUP: Tyler and Athena of Penzone Salons + Spas
OFFICIANT: Run to an Elopement
STATIONERY and CALLIGRAPHY: Ink & Ivory
DJ and SPECIAL EFFECTS: Josh Staley Productions
BRIDE and GROOM MODELS: Janessa Scott and DJ Goliday
BRIDESMAID MODELS: Dona Gibbs, Maria Chafins and Riane Paige of Sigal Models & Talent
Rings are models’ own
Below is a list of vendors who won in each category. For a more in-depth look at each winner, visit cbuswedmag.com/Best2022.
Deacon Roger Minner says St. Mary’s appeal stems from its welcoming atmosphere as much as its convenient location and beautiful design. The German Village venue features intricate, traditional décor and can host the ceremony for any bride and groom, as long as one of them currently belongs to a Catholic diocese. Between 30 and 40 couples wed here each year, and leadership will soon break ground on-site for a reception hall.
RUNNER-UP: St. Joseph Cathedral, 16.3%
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (24.3%, 26.8%, 41.9%)
Whether your wedding is indoors or outside, Franklin Park Conservatory is the place to be, according to readers over the last three years. It’s also the best location for a garden- or greenhouse-themed reception. “The beauty of the conservatory gardens and inside venues is that clients have built-in decor,” says senior sales manager Brandon Flory. “Plus they get amazing photos and precious memories.”
RECEPTION: HOTEL/EVENT CENTER
Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph (11.3%)
Located in the heart of the Short North Arts District and boasting a reception venue with 38 feet of floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the neighborhood, it’s no shock that Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph is a favorite reception venue for our readers. The hotel’s all-inclusive packages are also a draw, says senior catering sales manager Sheri Brock, because they make the budgeting and planning of couples’ big day that much simpler.
RUNNER-UP: Westin Great Southern Columbus, 10.3%
Once again, the Ohio Statehouse takes home the gold in this category thanks to its stunning architecture and staff’s keen focus on ensuring the big day runs smoothly. The 160-year-old structure’s Greek Revival stylings are bound to make a statement, but it’s the amenities that truly stand out. The venue provides an on-site coordinator, multiple event spaces and newly expanded options for tables, chairs and other furnishings.
RUNNER-UP: Athletic Club of Columbus, 12.3%
As Columbus has revitalized many of its central, historical neighborhoods over the years, there’s been no shortage of industrial-chic wedding venues popping up. Tied for favorite among our readers are brick-clad beauty High Line Car House, located in Columbus’ Brewery District, and Strongwater, located in nearby Franklinton’s iconic warehouse space at 400 West Rich.
RUNNER-UP: The Ivory Room, 12.4%
From historically ornate to sleek and modern, the Columbus Museum of Art offers a variety of venues for couples to curate their perfect wedding day. Individual spaces include Derby Court, the Schottenstein Property Group Pavilion and the Patricia M. Jurgensen Sculpture Garden. (All three of which were backdrops for our styled photo shoot on these pages.) In addition to breathtaking art and architecture, the museum provides a designated events team along with furnishings, catering and bar services.
With its natural beauty, bucolic charm and impeccable service, Jorgensen Farms Historic Barn unites form and function on 100 pastoral acres between New Albany and Westerville. The barn, an 1800s post-and-beam structure with soaring ceilings and chandeliers, is one of several thoughtfully composed settings. The picturesque venue offers on-site services, including catering, floral design and specialty linens, along with a wedding coordinator, complimentary parking and attendants.
RUNNERS-UP: Wells Barn at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 15.1%; Magnolia Hill Farm, 14.8%
Perennial favorite Scioto Reserve Country Club is joined this year by new co-winner Pinnacle Golf Club. Each venue offers elegant landscaping and facilities for every matrimonial need. Scioto Reserve’s food and beverage-driven packages ensure guests will be dining in style, with bountiful options for entertainment and décor provided by partnered vendors. Pinnacle features multiple spaces ranging from intimate terraces to a grand ballroom, allowing it to accommodate any size gathering. Both come with experienced staff who will keep the big day running smoothly.
RUNNER-UP: The Country Club at Muirfield Village, 12.7%
Despite being a small, boutique hotel, Hotel LeVeque offers a wealth of options for couples and their guests. It has become a popular choice for wedding blocks and especially for couples’ wedding night (as evidenced by readers voting it into the top spot three years running), but also offers three smaller event spaces that can host minimonies or elopements. Plus, sales manager Adam Kowaleski highlights the property’s luxurious, 815-square-foot getting-ready suites as an unforgettable favorite.
Hocking Hills Wedding Chapel, from the folks at Valley View Cabins, offers couples a woodland wedding retreat just a quick hour’s drive from the city. Situated in the lush greenery of Ohio’s beloved Hocking Hills State Park, the picturesque log chapel pairs rustic charm with a simple elegance that frames each wedding as the focal point of the day.
RUNNER-UP: Gervasi Vineyard, 11.9%
Whether for a sophisticated rehearsal dinner or relaxed morning-after brunch, readers recognize German Village institution Lindey’s for its award-winning cuisine and atmosphere to match. Three second-floor spaces can be rented individually or together, or have your meal catered off-site to the location of your choice.
When couples select CMPE to cater their wedding, they’re not signing up for a prefab package. “Everyone is unique; everyone is different,” says vice president Melissa Johnson. Tailoring their offerings to each client, the events portion of the Cameron Mitchell organization starts with top-tier food and service, but can also include vendor coordination, design assistance and venue selection.
RUNNER-UP: Carfagna’s Catering, 10.6%
Pizza doesn’t have to be reserved for Friday nights and Super Bowl get-togethers. To end their big day on a comfort-food note, Central Ohio couples prefer Mikey’s Late-Night Slice, which offers multiple varieties of its delicious pies as well as plentiful sides, including salads, garlic breadsticks and wildly colorful Unicorn Bars (rainbow-hued crisped rice treats).
RUNNER-UP: Buckeye Donuts (OSU campus), 19.4%
For an added spark to any wedding look, Aiden & Grace is a go-to for couples in search of a diverse collection. “I knew there was a need after I built a 16-foot round bar,” says founder Meleka Jolliff, who also owns MMJ Events. (See the bar for yourself on Pages 36-37.) “I wanted people to have special, unique things.” Clients can create wish lists online, and the studio delivers items.
RUNNERS-UP: Lasting Impressions Event Rentals, 10.1%; All Occasions Party Rental, 9.7%; Got Ya Covered Linens, 9.5%; Petals & Leaves, 9.5%
Once again, Columbus Trolley Co./Coach Quarters takes the cake for wedding-day transportation. The service provides rustic replica trolleys that can shuttle up to 27 guests at a time. Trolleys can be booked for six hours or more, guaranteeing reliable transport with experienced drivers and high-quality sound systems.
Editor’s note: Short North Trolley appeared on the ballot with the winner in light of news that the companies planned to merge. The merger did not happen, and Short North Trolley appears to be out of business.
RUNNERS-UP: Fun Bus, 12.2%; Xtreme Limo, 11.8%
For the third year, the Hilton Columbus Downtown has won over readers as the premier hotel in the city for hosting wedding guests. The property will offer 1,000 rooms following the debut of its newly built expansion this fall. Plus, guests are guaranteed an unbeatable location between the Short North Arts District, the Arena District and Downtown Columbus.
RUNNER-UP: AC Marriott Columbus Dublin, 11%
With locations throughout Greater Columbus—including Downtown, Dublin’s Bridge Park and Easton Town Center—grooms and their friends enjoy Pins for its numerous games, including duckpin bowling, foosball, pingpong and more pinball machines than you can shake a stick at. If the amusements aren’t enough to keep the evening light, a variety of libations, from cocktails to local craft beers, are on hand. Private and semi-private events are available for groups of 20 or more.
RUNNER-UP: Topgolf, 15%
The ninth-floor Short North restaurant makes an event out of every meal, which is why our readers love it for bachelorette parties. “It’s people going out together, letting their hair down, having a good time,” says Amberlyn Heiney, regional director of operations at parent company Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. A retractable roof makes for a festive atmosphere year-round (it can feel like a snow globe during the winter, Heiney says), and booths provide an intimate setting even among large crowds.
RUNNER-UP: Pins Mechanical Co., 11.7%
La Jeune Mariee tops the category again this year; with over 500 gowns to choose from in a size- and price-inclusive range, it’s easy to see why word of mouth keeps spreading about this Downtown bridal boutique. Owner Lindsay Fork and staff have been helping brides-to-be find “the one” (designer wedding gown, that is) for 18 years by always putting the focus on an exceptional experience the customer will always remember.
RUNNER-UP: Wendy’s Bridal, 20.7%
Trends may change with the seasons, but Lindsay Fork and her staff at Luxe Redux know that finding the perfect dress at an incredible value will never go out of style. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because you read it in the previous category—Fork’s stores once again topped the charts. This Short North fave features off-the-rack designer wedding gowns and accessories that can be taken home immediately (or even shopped online), without sacrificing the ambiance of the gown-shopping experience.
RUNNER-UP: Off White, 29.5%
For the third consecutive year, Dublin Cleaners is our readers’ choice for wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Most brides clean their gown after the wedding, but gowns purchased “off the rack” often need cleaning before the ceremony, says Margaret Butler, who co-founded the business with her husband of 50 years, Greg. “Preserving the gown after cleaning protects this most treasured garment,” she adds.
RUNNER-UP: Columbus Lace Dry Cleaning, 14.9%
With one of Central Ohio’s largest selections of bridesmaid gowns (including more than 100 plus-size samples) and a focus on personalized service, Gilded Social once again tops this competitive category this year, joined in a tie with last year’s runner-up, Wendy’s Bridal in Dublin, one of the area’s largest and longest-running bridal boutiques with an extended range of size options from petite to plus.
RUNNERS-UP: Henri’s Bridal, 15.2%; Off White, 14.3%
Topping the category once more this year, Red Giraffe Designs’ hand-stamped touches like initials, dates or even longitudinal coordinates have become a perennial favorite of brides and weddings parties looking for that special “something new” to slip on for the big day, or for a meaningful and personalized gift at an affordable price point.
RUNNER-UP: Honey Rose & K, 18.6%
This year is the Diamond Jubilee at Diamond Cellar: In business for 75 years, this full-service jeweler has grown to five locations in three states. “We began as a very small repair and fabrication jewelry upstart,” says partner and president Alex Johnson, grandson of founder Robert Johnson, noting his stores are now among the largest independent jewelry companies in the nation. “Our aim is to be your family’s jeweler for generations.” The jeweler took home top honors in three of our jewelry categories again this year.
RUNNER-UP IN RESPECTIVE CATEGORIES: Worthington Jewelers, 19.8%, 18.6%, 24.6%
Mercifully gone are the days when a rumpled, rented tux represented the height of wedding menswear (at least, for all but the upper echelon). These days, Nate DeMars and the team at Short North formalwear boutique Pursuit guide wedding parties through a fun and easy process to pick the perfect men’s (and women’s!) suiting, tuxedos and accessories for any style and budget.
RUNNER-UP: Romanoff’s Classic Tuxedo, 14.6%
For a sweet way to say “thank you” to family and friends who’ve gathered for their wedding day, Central Ohio couples are fans of Cheryl’s Cookies. Cheryl’s is known for its hand-crafted cut-out cookies with buttercream frosting that are among a selection of more than 100 specialty-designed cookies (with or without frosting), brownies and chocolate-covered pretzels. Cookies are individually wrapped, making them ideal for wedding favors. Headquartered in Westerville, Cheryl’s is now owned by 1-800-Flowers.
RUNNER-UP: Winans Chocolates + Coffees, 12.7%
Looking for one person for all your wedding day needs? Natasha Churches and her staff at Aisle & Co. handle design, logistics and vendors. According to Churches, versatility is a big strength. “Every client brings something different to us and helps us grow,” she says. “There’s no budget that is ideal, no aesthetic that’s [ideal], and I think that’s why we reach so many different people—because we can accommodate so many different needs.”
RUNNER-UP: MMJ Events, 15.5%
In middle school, MMJ Events founder Meleka Jolliff carried a notebook full of clippings from events featured in bridal magazines. In 2009, she turned that passion into a luxury design studio. Jolliff gets to know each client well so she can incorporate personal details into every event. “Nothing’s too small,” she says. “If you’re obsessed with Dr. Pepper, I want to know about it.”
RUNNER-UP: Aisle & Co., 13.4%
Laura Frazier started Bliss Honeymoons in 2005 and prides herself on special experiences. “We take the time to cater the right trip for the right client,” she says. “We don’t do cookie-cutter honeymoons.” With 10 contractors, Frazier delivers on details and offers perks like a 24-hour emergency line. Wanderlust Travel & Tours is an independent travel agency owned by Leslie Sobnosky. With 13 years of experience, Sobnosky has a reputation for personalized service, or “Wanderlust moments,” which range from transfer upgrades to unexpected Champagne and surprise limo services.
RUNNER-UP: Island Travel Co., 14.9%
Josh Staley knows how to throw a party: He and his team of DJs not only spin tunes, but entertain with on-trend visual effects and energizing live experiences. After two years of scaled-back and postponed weddings, “the trend now is epic parties,” Staley says. “Let’s have fun; let’s celebrate our love and families and friends coming together.” One measure of his success: “I can’t remember the last time I had an empty dance floor.”
RUNNER-UP: Buckeye Entertainment, 12.1%
A mix of versatility, outstanding musicianship and personal relationships with clients earned The Conspiracy Band another first-place finish in this year’s readers’ poll. The band, which numbers between nine and 14 members, can deliver everything from country and rock to jazz and hip-hop. Leader Rodney Sutton says the band takes time to learn about each couple to make their day meaningful and keeps current on music with maximum danceability.
RUNNER-UP: MojoFlo, 15%
This year, The Flowerman (which won outright in 2021) and Prema Designs share honors for top florist. Founded by husband-and-wife team Steve and Jane Smith 38 years ago, The Flowerman was an innovator in DIY flowers. “It saves money and creates memories,” says their daughter Kate M. Smith, marketing and media director. Amrta Saliaj, who founded the full-service floral design company Prema Designs 12 years ago, cultivates a couple’s vision to yield stunning floral results. “I started this company with the desire to bring my clients’ inspirations to life,” she says.
RUNNERS-UP: Petals & Leaves, 7.5%; SunflowerKate Florals, 6.7%
In the Central Ohio wedding cake wars, let’s call a draw: Lavender & Honey and Short North Piece of Cake both have their own styles, and both are defined by a commitment to customer service. Lavender & Honey owner Kelly Jo Jackson delivers tastings of her plethora of cake flavors to couple’s doorsteps, a pandemic-era innovation that’s continued. “You can do your tastings in your pajamas if you want,” she says. Meanwhile, Short North Piece of Cake owner Bryce Minamyer prides himself on fulfilling each couples’ vision for their cake. “We listen to what their wants and needs are,” Minamyer says.
RUNNER-UP: Capital City Cakes, 9%
Many of us think of a slice of cheesecake as that perfect after-dinner treat, but there’s no reason why the treat can’t carry the dessert load at a larger event. Happily, The Cheesecake Girl owner Samantha Strange’s bakery offers catering services for weddings. The only challenge is picking which flavor(s) to serve, from cherry cobbler to carrot cake to good, old-fashioned strawberry.
RUNNER-UP: Pistacia Vera, 10.1%
The vegan/organic bakery’s staff takes pride in accommodating dietary restrictions, but they made their name on the sheer scrumptiousness of their goodies. “A majority of our base are just folks who enjoy our baked goods,” says Molly Shea, one of the cooperative bakery’s eight owners. “Whether they even know that they’re vegan or not is sometimes a pretty big question.” Befitting its back-to-basics approach to baking, the bakery specializes in cakes with a rustic or natural design.
RUNNER-UP: Bake Me Happy, 26.4%
Starling Studio owner Tessa Berg has been photographing and celebrating love for over a decade, crediting her success as a wedding photographer to her photojournalism background. “My eye for detail means you don’t see your love story unfold—you feel it,” she says. Berg captures both candid moments and magazine-worthy portraits to “transport her clients back to the big day.”
RUNNER-UP: Kismet Visuals, 9.3%
Kristin Gibson’s boudoir photography adventure started in 2013—and according to the 614 Boudoir owner and three-time category winner, it “escalated very quickly.” Gibson believes her signature style is what sets her apart. “Many boudoir photographers shoot dark and moody. I shoot light, bright and bold,” she says. “I want my clients to see themselves without holding back.”
RUNNER-UP: Nicole Leoné Miller Photography, 13.6%
In just four years as a wedding videographer, two-time “Best Of Columbus Weddings” winner Nathan Peppers has built a reputation for creating wedding videos worth repeat viewing. His secret? Capturing the candid moments. “It shows who they really are together,” Peppers says. Packages include five- to seven-minute highlight reels; raw footage can be purchased separately.
RUNNERS-UP: ALC Productions, 12.4%; Columbus Wedding Videos, 12%
As a photographer with 300-plus weddings under her belt, Kismet Visuals owner Allison Leonard knows that capturing the energy of the reception is best done in real-time. To facilitate that, in 2019 Leonard started the The Selfie Spot 614, an updated version of a photo booth for the social media era. Guests can create GIFs, Boomerangs or photos and share them via text, email or directly to their socials.
RUNNERS-UP: Josh Staley Productions, 12.5%; Fizzy Cat Photo Booth, 12%
Former architectural illustrator Keith Hasenbalg has taken his talents to the wedding aisle, capturing nuptial moments on canvas for dozens of couples each year. The best part is guests can watch these moments become immortalized as works of art before their very eyes. Hasenbalg spends several hours at the reception rendering a painting of the couple’s chosen scene and inviting guests to observe, ask questions and even contribute a few brushstrokes.
RUNNERS-UP: Kurt Dreier Caricatures and Illustration, 14.5%; FunFaces by Steve Campbell, 14.2%
Design studio Ink & Ivory has been crafting breathtaking wedding invitations, programs, menus and more for the past decade. Founder Kaitlin Sockman brings her clients through the design process, ensuring everything from the lettering to the texture is picture-perfect. Whether you’re looking for a beautifully executed thank-you card or an intricately designed invitation, Sockman’s Ink & Ivory won’t disappoint.
Regardless of the wedding size, Run to an Elopement’s Windi Noble will make the ceremony a meaningful one to remember. “I have always taken a loving, humanistic approach to serving my clients. I pride myself on being inclusive,” says Noble, who also offers mentoring services for new officiants and coaching services for family and friends who get ordained to perform ceremonies for loved ones. This year, Run to an Elopement is tied for first place with Wows and Vows, last year’s runner-up. “We over-deliver, in the sense that we want to help couples articulate their vision and then some, with 30 years of resources to draw from,” says owner Meb McMahon.
RUNNER-UP: Columbus Wedding Officiants, 13.3%
With locations in Dublin, Northeast Columbus, Upper Arlington, German Village, Polaris and the Short North, Penzone Salons + Spas has become a go-to when it comes to preparations for tying the knot. Whether you’re looking for a specific hairstyle, expert makeup application or to wind down with a spa treatment before the big day, Penzone has you covered as it takes the cake in the hair and spa categories, as well as tying for first place in the makeup category. “We want you to live beautifully from the outside in,” says marketing manager Alecia Frankart.
For the third year in a row, Central Ohio chain Penzone Salons + Spas has earned the top spot in the wedding-day makeup category. The beauty and self-care powerhouse with six area locations is joined for the second year running by 614 Beauty, owned and operated by 20-year veteran makeup artist Delcina Brown and her staff of independent contractors. “It’s personal for us,” says Brown, who has no interest in making her brides look like anyone but themselves. “We are very authentic and really want to get to know our clients.”
RUNNER-UP: Le Rêve Makeup & Hair, 8.3%
Raised by parents running a family-owned business, sisters and Ohio natives Lauren Hunter and Manda Mason grew up wanting to open a business of their own. Enter W Nail Bar, a nail salon focused on sustainability that opened its doors in 2015. “We believe that creating a safe, clean and supportive environment for our team translates to a better guest experience,” says marketing manager Ali Graver. The company currently has 11 locations across two states, including nine salons in Central Ohio.
RUNNERS-UP: Lacquer Gallery, 13.5%; Penzone Salons + Spas, 12.5%
This story first appeared in the fall/winter 2022 issue of Columbus Weddings, which published in June 2022.