|We were tentatively planning to hold the ceremony and reception in the fall of 1999 at the Westin Great Southern Hotel, a Columbus landmark dating to 1897. Alas, upon closer inspection, the rooms they have (other than the Grand Ballroom, which is amazing and would be perfect at about one-third or even half the size and price!) just don't provide the atmosphere we're looking for.|
The first alternative to be investigated was the Palm House at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The Palm House is the original 100-year-old building of the Conservatory; more modern structures have been added to it, but the Palm House itself has kept its Victorian architectural and atmospheric charm, inside and out. Jack, Jody (the maid of honor) and I checked this one out, and even saw a reception in progress. It's veddyveddy nice indeed.
Some other possibilies turned up when I picked the brain of a theatre friend, Sandy Davies, who works for the Ohio Historical Society's Preservation office. They included the Kelton House Museum, the Jeffrey Mansion, the Thurber House, the Columbus Museum of Art, and...
The Winner Is...
The Columbus Athenaeum! This is the former Masonic Temple in downtown Columbus, first opened in 1898. It was bought by a private company which began restoring it in 1996, and there's still work to be done in parts of the building, which means we've gotten to see rooms with restoration in progress--very cool. The Temple was expanded in 1914 and again in 1934; both of the rooms we'll be using are in the oldest section. Events Coordinator Christine Natsios is very friendly, very professional, and just as into the history of this immensely cool place as she should be.
Our ceremony was held in The Priory, a medieval-style chapel decorated with hand-painted faux marble and scenes from the Crusades. This is the original paint from 1898, and it's just amazing.
For the reception, we will moved down a flight and across the hall into the Athenian Room, with its hand-painted ceiling, velvet drapes, and small stage and balcony with all sorts of possibilities! Also plenty of room for guests in big costumes. :-)