It’s the day. And you want it your way. Why not? As couples look outside the box at venues for their nuptials, there really is no typical reception — and there really is a great deal of creativity, energy and personality. Here’s one of four weddings held at distinctly different venues and why the couples fell in love with the sites.
A garden museum ceremony and industrial Downtown reception — the yin-yang of juxtaposing aesthetics appealed to Jillian and Eamonn Walsh, who wanted to showcase the city for all of their out-of-town friends and family. And it was a destination wedding for them, too, as residents of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, though she grew up in Bay Village and he in Rocky River. They met as freshmen at Miami University
Jillian wanted a secular service, and Eamonn grew up Catholic. He agreed to getting married in an outdoor setting, not in church, but hoped the ceremony could be a separate event from the reception like the traditional setup he was used to. This posed a bit of a challenge. “We had to find a location that fit our vision for the day but was willing to do just the ceremony,” Jillian says.
They happened upon the Hanna Courtyard Garden at Western Reserve Historical Society. “We saw the pictures online and it checked all the boxes and almost seemed too good to be true,” Jillian says, relating that the architecture and history was a “true reflection of Cleveland.”
They could easily take pictures around Downtown and guests were close to their reception venue at Windows on the River. “There were really no hiccups for moving around, and with the gap after a 2 p.m. ceremony and cocktail hour, guests could choose their own adventure,” Jillian says, adding that they covered parking at the museum and Windows.
Jillian says months after their summer 2023 wedding, she is still receiving compliments about the food at Windows — a plated menu that included filet, sea bass or chicken. “When the sorbet came out served in martini glasses, that was a 10-out-of-10 moment, a definite highlight,” she says.
Considering the two separate downtown venues for one, big day, it was seamless. And because the Hanna Courtyard Garden could supply its own chairs, sound system and had capacity for the party, the ceremony was turn-key, too.
Jillian says, “It all fell into place.”
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