Stock & Barrel contributor Jim Ellison and his wife Jamie (Paoloni) shut down a local brewery and threw the most local wedding of all-time; here they offer guidelines for doing it yourself.
One night in November, over delicious ooey-gooey sandwiches at Melt, my then girlfriend and I decided to get hitched. Being slightly older than your average bears, we knew that we didn’t want to draw out our engagement nor delay our honeymoon for more than a year (my wife is a teacher so that limits when we can travel). However, we knew that with prom/wedding season approaching, spaces were going to be limited. So we munched away on our lactose-infused meal and mapped out our wedding plan on a napkin. As I write this, we are exactly two months after the big day, and people are still talking about how much they enjoyed our unique, non-traditional wedding. So how did we do it?
Our marriage allowed for a union of the two things that have ruled my life for the last three years: local craft beer and mobile food. Our marriage allowed for a union of the two things that have ruled my life for the last three years: local craft beer and mobile food. At the onset, we both agreed that we wanted the wedding to be catered by food trucks, saving us time, money, and hassle. It would also open up the range of venues we could seek for our big day. We needed a spot that could hold all 100 of her “big fat” family members as well as any additional friends that we’d squeeze in to share our wedding celebration. We opted for two food trucks close to our heart: the Green Meanie, which was the first food truck that we ever ate at together; and the Explorers Club, our most frequented restaurant in Columbus. We were able to work with the chefs to create menus of our favorite items for our guests. While non-traditional, the food choices added a personal touch to our day while supporting local businesses. We were proud to introduce many of our guests to food they never would have tried on their own. Checking with a few of the more “traditional” wedding venues, either to find that they were booked, too small or too expensive, only confirmed we had to think outside of the box. Knowing that we needed a space for at least 150 people, I immediately thought of Seventh Son Brewing Company. After seeing it, my wife-to-be was convinced 7 was our lucky number and THE space for us. To add a special, personal touch to the day, one of my best friends agreed to obtain a minister’s license online and conduct the ceremony. My friend, now known as the Reverend Dude, is currently the only registered Dudeist minister in the state of Ohio (complete with his own bathrobe). Immediately after we were announced as bride and groom, the reception launched into full swing, which did make our bar bill a little higher than budgeted. Still, a very wise decision not to skimp on the booze. Instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner, we opted for a “meet and greet” to be able to share Friday night with all of our out-of-town guests. We chose Barley’s Underground as the venue, since it is conveniently within walking distance of all the downtown hotels and a wonderful space for private events. The Underground is complete with its own bar and bathrooms, as well as a lot of history. Now you might be saying to yourself that this all sounds wonderful – if you have a million dollars. But in actuality, we did all of this on a budget, coming in about $14,000 below your average wedding, which according to wedding planning website www.theknot.com is about $28,858. So how did we go big on the cheap? First, the food trucks saved us a ton of money. We had delicious food, personalized to our tastes, for a very reasonable cost. Because people would be able to eat when they chose throughout the evening, we also did not have to create seating charts, plot out an eating schedule, or any other formal dinner options. Another money saver was our decision to have wedding donuts vs. wedding cake. For a while, we shopped around for wedding cupcakes but never found any that truly suited our taste – or more importanly, our budget. After suggesting to my future wife that we have wedding donuts, she bought in to the idea once we completed the hunt at the perfect donut destination. Our donuts (from DK Diner in Grandview) were equally as delicious, for a fraction of the cost. Our wedding favors were customized pint glasses purchased through Egrandstand.com, as suggested by several local establishments. We used every rebate, e-bate and coupon for our invitations. It also helped that the owner of OH! Burgers and OH! Chips is a friend, so our guests literally engulfed a trough of artisan potato chips that owner Brian Thornton donated to the cause. Our wedding ended up being everything we had hoped and then some.
Who needs champagne and caviar when you have donuts and IPAs?
• Here are a few tips to help your enjoy your wedding day: • Seventh Son is a great venue (but our marriage is the last time the entire Brewery and Bar will be closed for a private event). Scout for other breweries and similar spaces that hold 50 to 100. • We worked with Seventh Son to premix three cocktails by the gallon – this saved time and money and the results were delicious • Barley’s Underground books quickly for Friday nights so contact them as soon as you read this at www.barleysbrewing.com/events