Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Best Wedding Vendors in the CLE (a.k.a Mine!)


Hard to believe it's been nearly a month since Mike & I got hitched, but here we all, are married & stuff. Our professional photos aren't in yet (keep an eye on Instagram!), but while it's all still fresh in my mind, I wanted to share a bit about the local vendors we used & loved. 

Venue: Ariel Pearl Center

We booked our venue on the spot, although it was still being renovated. What a find! It's an old bank building with high ceilings & lots of marble, so our bars were vintage bank tables, & our photobooth was in the vault. We didn't have to do much decorating because the venue was so beautiful on its own. If you're considering this venue for your own wedding, get at me for a few thoughts I won't share here - but overall, we loved the space, & it was the right locale for us.

Welcome Dinner: The Winking Lizard

It wouldn't occurred to me turn to this local chain for a rehearsal dinner, but it's right across the street from Mike's office, so we decided to look into it when we had trouble finding a large enough location. It turned out to be a great spot! The Huron location has a private party room with its own bar, servers, & a buffet menu, & they let us set up our own speaker system for toasts. Our attendees enjoyed the best wings in the CLE, & we enjoyed the casual space & low cost.

Coordination: McPherson Events & Design

I didn't plan to hire a wedding coordinator, but I sure am glad I did. Enter Denise McPherson, local planner extraordinaire, who helped manage every element of our big day, from coordinating with vendors to pressing us to make decisions on details we might've overlooked. She also set up & took down everything the day of the wedding itself, & she oversaw flipping the room between our ceremony & reception, ensuring that everything ran smoothly.

Food: Taproot Catering

Another caterer quoted us $15k - wayyyy outside our budget - so our coordinator recommended we look into Taproot, based in Kent. We knew upon our first meeting with the owner, Brian, that it was the right choice. He created the menu of our dreams, complete with a pierogi bar & a sandwich bar featuring mini Polish boys & reubens. It was some of the best food we've ever had - which is saying a lot for food generally, but especially for wedding food, which is so frequently subpar.

Photography: The Oberports

This duo isn't actually from Cleveland - or even Ohio - but I had to include them here. They're based in Charleston, WV, but I went to college with the wife half of their husband/wife team, & having them as our wedding photographers was the only thing I knew I wanted for my own wedding. They were definitely a splurge for us, but without even seeing our pictures, I know they were absolutely worth it.

Tailoring: Christina Catherine Sewing

How lucky am I to have a friend who's also a professional tailor? Christina holds a fashion degree from Kent State & worked for a designer in NYC before moving home to Cleveland & opening her eponymous shop in Little Italy. She tailored both my wedding dress (an Oleg Cassini from David's Bridal) and my welcome dinner dress (on sale from Eloquii), as well as my mom's mother-of-the-bride dress. She was also kind enough to bustle me before cocktail hour so my bridesmaids didn't have to figure out her complicated loop-&-button system!

Earrings: Bombay Taxi Boutique

I knew I wanted, if possible, to incorporate Shibani's jewelry, handmade in India, into my wedding day wardrobe. I was deciding between a few pairs of earrings, but ultimately, my dress was so busy that I needed something simple. I decided on the Kiara earrings in moonstone, which, as I said in the last post, were fancy enough for the big day but simple enough to wear on a day-to-day basis. I love wearing them with jeans & a sweater & thinking of our wedding day when I do.

Sound & Lighting: Freddie James DJs

Freddie James, a local radio DJ with an absolutely incredibly speaking voice, also runs a company that brings together local radio personalities to DJ weddings & other events on the side. Their company did a great job DJing two of our friends' weddings, so hiring them was a no-brainer for us. Our DJ was friendly, upbeat, & fun, getting the crowd on the dance floor to some of our favorite songs.

Accommodations: Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center

We wanted our out-of-town guests to stay at a downtown location that showed off all Cleveland has to offer... especially because our venue was located in a neighborhood that doesn't do the city justice. My uncle's close friend is a Marriott exec, so whenever possible, we go the Marriott route; in this case, it was a perfect choice because the hotel is located right on Public Square. It was also a great spot for outdoor photos, freezing cold though the day was.

Transportation: West Side Shuffle

I let this detail slip until nearly the last minute, but luckily, our wedding coordinator came through with another great recommendation. OK, OK, so I was expecting our ride to a shuttle bus rather than a renovated school bus, but for such a nice price, I can't complain. Our driver was friendly & let the bridal party drink, charge our phones, & play "The Final Countdown" on our ride to the venue, & he made multiple trips to get all our guests safely to & from the reception.

Did you use any of our vendors? If you're planning a CLE wedding & are interested in learning more about our experiences with any of these companies, hit me up. I'd love to tell you more! 

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