Real Columbus Wedding: A Romantic River Elopement

The Scioto Mile ceremony wasn’t what they planned, but it was exactly what they needed.

Emma Frankart Henterly
Columbus Monthly
Carla and Tom Kowski married on Oct. 8, 2020, at the Scioto Mile.

Oct. 8, 2020 | Last year saw countless weddings cancel, reschedule or pivot in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year’s delta variant threatens the return to normalcy that so many of us have anticipated. Our featured wedding this week serves as an excellent reminder that, whether you host a large party or a tiny ceremony, your wedding will be what you make of it. 

Carla (Pfeiffer) and Tom Kowski met on the West Coast in 2017 before coming to Central Ohio (they now live in Westerville). Like many couples, the pair wrote their own vows for the ceremony and hired musicians to perform instrumental versions of their favorite songs. But instead of a large wedding, the pair opted to elope on the banks of the Scioto River, with the Downtown skyline in the background and the Main Street Bridge providing shade on a sunny, balmy day. 

“Everything was amazing, from the 70-degree weather to the blue sky to the onlookers watching from the bridge,” Carla remembers.  

Instead of her planned processional, Carla asked her ceremony musicians to play a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Lover” to open the elopement ceremony, which was filled with personal and intimate moments. 

After the ceremony and a portrait session, the newly married Kowskis enjoyed dinner and their first dance—“Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur—at nearby Strongwater Food & Spirits. 

“It was just the two of us, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was so intimate, and we could really focus on each other,” Carla says. “I’d like to say to anyone whose wedding plans have been altered: Have hope; you just may end up with the wedding you never dreamed was possible but is so much more than you’d ever imagine.” 


Ceremony: Scioto Mile  

Officiant: Amy Aurore of Run to an Elopement 

Reception: Strongwater Food & Sprits 

Cake: Moonflower Bakery 

Photographer: Derk’s Works Photography 

Florist: Blooms by Amanda 

Ceremony music: Irish Road 

Videographer: Eldon Wedding Films 

Transportation: Callahan’s Premium Car Service 

Bride’s look: Pronovias gown from Luxe Redux Bridal, Badgley Mischka shoes, SweetV jewelry; hair by Lauren Wolff Hair Design, DIY makeup (bride is the owner and lead makeup artist of Alea Beauty) 

Gown preservation: Westerville Cleaners 

Groom’s look: Indochino suit, accessories from Nordstrom 

Engagement rings: Argo & Lehne 

Wedding bands: Jewelry Point (New York City)