How To Find Beautiful, Unique Accommodations For Ceremonies And Parties | Bar•Bat Mitzvah
After the COVID-19 pandemic suspended many celebrations in 2020, weddings and b’nai mitzvahs began to return to the scene in 2021 with fervor. This year looks no different, as venues expect rescheduled and newly planned celebrations to bring their spaces to life.
Radhika Reddy, founder and majority owner of Ariel International Center in Cleveland; David Rabinsky, director of social catering at the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland; and Kathleen Dangelo, president and owner of Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens in Chagrin Falls, are among those set to host the upcoming celebrations at their sites.
Ariel International Center
Located in a historic Cleveland warehouse with views of the lake, skyline and city landmarks, the Ariel International Center offers a scenic venue to hold a wedding ceremony, reception or b’nai mitzvah.
“Ariel International Center seats about 350 people without a dance floor,” Reddy says, adding that it can accommodate up to 300 people with the dance floor. “And the beauty is that it is an old warehouse, a red brick building converted into an event space. The fourth floor, called the Skyline Lake Room, has a great view of the Cleveland skyline on the west side and on the north it overlooks the lake.
The Skyline Lake Room is the main venue available for hire, but celebrants can also add on the rooftop, often used for wedding ceremonies and cocktail parties. The third floor also has a view of the lake, serving as a backup for inclement weather, she says.
Reddy also owns Ariel Pearl Center, Ariel Broadway Hotel and Ariel Ventures – a 100% women-owned and minority-owned company – as well as a community development financial institution, Ariel Economic Development Fund, which has invested in EventWorks4D, a holographic event technology company of which Reddy is the CEO.
With a hologram lounge on the first floor of the Ariel International Center, Reddy’s partner and President of EventWorks4D, Joel Solloway, helped create a special bat mitzvah when he made a hologram of the celebrant to wow guests.
“He did the script with the mom and the kid and they created a hologram on stage.” Reddy said. “And as people came, they stopped in the hologram room and saw her on stage and they thought it was real – because the holograms look like real life.”
She notes how shocked people were when the girl came out on stage to reveal the illusion. Although adding a hologram version of yourself or as a couple can be expensive, it can certainly make any party unforgettable.
EventWorks4D also helped create the technology to recreate the hologram of Holocaust survivors with voice recognition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, one of the first in the world, Reddy says (the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood also uses hologram-like technology to share the story of late local Holocaust survivor Stanley Bernath).
As for the other services offered at the Ariel International Centre, a team will set up and take down tables and chairs before and after the event. Outdoor dining is permitted for a fee, and the venue has a liquor license to provide liquor and bartenders.
“We have an event supervisor, set-up crew, and breakdown crew, so we really rent the venue, set up the tables and chairs,” Reddy explains. “We rent linens, but beyond that, we have privileged caterers who bring the food.”
The Ritz-Carlton offers a range of venue options to suit the needs of any celebration and with rooms available, it’s like the party never ends.
From The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, The Radiant Room, Highball Cleveland and The Silver Grille, Ritz-Carlton staff will work with each interested party to find the right solution for any size celebration.
“Before COVID, we really renovated all of our spaces,” says Rabinsky. “In the hotel proper, we have our ballroom, the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, which can accommodate up to approximately 240 guests with a dance floor for a wedding reception. We also have the Radiant Room which is a smaller, smaller space that can accommodate up to 90 people with a beautiful view of the Cuyahoga River. It is also an ideal location for wedding ceremonies for up to a few hundred people.
The ballroom is a great place for a b’nai mitvah, as the foyer can be used for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for the adults while the teens enjoy the dance floor, soft drinks and separate hors d’oeuvres in the ballroom, says Rabinski.
The Silver Grille, located in the Higbee Building and connected by Tower City, is a historic 10th floor venue that has been renovated and seats 350 guests with a large dance floor.
Highball Cleveland is one of the newer spaces and features an octagonal marble bar, complete with the latest technology, lighting and built-in furniture, says Rabinsky.
“It can accommodate up to around 90 to 95 people for cocktails. It’s also a great place for after parties, after weddings for those who want to stay, whether it’s a wedding in the ballroom or coming from the Silver Grille or even the Radiant Room” , says Rabinsky. “It turned out to be quite popular that way.”
While newly renovated spaces and rooms are an eye-catching celebration, another Ritz-Carlton highlight is kosher cuisine.
“Our chef has been with us for a number of years and has trained at several Ritz-Carltons around the world – across the pond in London, Ireland, also in different parts of the United States – United – and likes to find out exactly what the guests are looking for to ensure that it is unique and that their menu satisfies their vision and taste to make it different from any other wedding,” he says.
Sapphire Creek Winery and Gardens
Looking to trade the views of the skyline and the city for the beauty of nature? Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens provides seamless interaction with the outdoors and makes a busy wedding day as relaxing as possible.
“When you book a wedding at Sapphire Creek Winery, because there’s so much interaction with the outdoors, the decor is so simple because you really don’t want to compete with the outdoors,” says Dangelo. “It’s not like you walk into a big room where you have to decorate everything. … We provide cutlery, glassware, crockery, whatever you need. Our couples only have to provide the linens and the ceremonial chairs.
The entire venue, which can accommodate up to around 250 guests and features expansive outdoor gardens perfect for photos, is available to hire for outdoor ceremonies. Receptions are held in the Oak Room.
“Most of our couples have an outdoor ceremony on our Great Lawn or Woodlands Pavilion, then they have a cocktail outside on our white patio, and then they move in for dinner,” says Dangelo. “For dinner, it’s really nice because our biggest room, the Oak Room, is closed with these very, very big brown doors and just before dinner we open. It is very spectacular, it is a very beautiful entrance for the guests in the dining room.
Although guests have plenty to enjoy throughout the evening, the bridal party has access to the venue all day.
“Most of our couples rent the entire venue for their wedding, which gives you access to the cellar from 10 a.m. to midnight,” Dangelo explains. “It really is a beautiful day.”
The bride and bridesmaids will get ready in the loft, then have lunch with mimosas, while the groom and groomsmen will get ready in the cellar and enjoy beer and sandwiches, says Dangelo.
“It’s a really relaxing and really nice day – and people don’t have to run around,” she adds.
One final aspect that makes a wedding at Sapphire Creek Winery so special is the Bourbon Garden tradition.
“It’s a fun thing unique to Sapphire Creek where couples come 30 days before their wedding and bury a bottle of bourbon upside down in our bourbon garden,” Dangelo says, adding that it’s a southern tradition intended to bring good luck for the good weather on the wedding day. “And after the wedding, they come and dig up the bourbon and share it with their bridal party and their guests. They all enjoy it.”