Wedding Style: Betsy and Ryan
A memorable wedding with the couple surrounded by the people and the things they love. Betsy Pandora and Ryan Pilewski’s fall wedding was just that.
“I think my favorite part of the wedding was having all of these people from all phases and walks of life, together in one room, all bonding and celebrating and sharing this incredible moment with us,” says Pandora.
Pilewski and Pandora met while in graduate school at The Ohio State University.
“Ryan was the very first person that I met,” she recalls. “He was the social chair of our graduate student organization…and I was pretty social.”
While getting to know each other, they discovered they had quite a few Columbus musician friends in common, and grew up in towns close to each other.
“Megan Palmer, Eric Nassau, Chris Howes -all whom Ryan knew from when they played up in Ashland, WI where he went to undergrad,” she says. “Ryan’s also from Erie, Pennsylvania which is about 30 minutes away from the town where my parents are originally from called Ashtabula, Ohio. So we have a shared love of Lake Erie and similar values. When I was a little kid I would always yell out ‘ERIE PAW’ when we hit I-271 heading up to visit my grandparents.”
“It always felt like fate to me that Ryan and I found each other,” she says.
Music has always been a part of their relationship. Pilewski’s friends and co-worker have been putting on the Duck Creek Log Jam for several years, and he and Pandora have been volunteering there since it started, so it made a great backdrop for a marriage proposal.
“At the fall festival in October 2013, we went for a long hike before the music started along the Buckeye Trail and ended up at Lake Logan,” says Pandora. “We had a little picnic at the lake and were terrorized by a bee. I had no idea it was coming. Then, Ry asked if I wanted dessert and to get it out of his bag. Instead of dessert, there was a ring.”
The ring was a vintage find, made in the 1920s.
“We had been browsing vintage rings at Grandview Mercantile, and I had found the perfect ring,” she says. “When we went back a few months later it was gone and I was so mad at Ryan, thinking he had let my ring go! Little did I know…that he had gone on his own to get it and had it waiting for six months.”
Vintage and rustic details were found throughout the wedding. After the marriage ceremony at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Upper Arlington, where Pandora attended school, the festivities moved to the Garden Theatre.
“We had been looking all over and surrounding Columbus for a rustic venue that would be convenient for our large out of town families to reach,” she says. “We were driving around downtown after having looked at a bunch of venues and went past the Palace Theatre. Ryan sort of jokingly said, ‘why don’t we do it there.’ And then it just hit both of us at once…let’s do it at the Garden! My office window looks right at The Garden Theatre in the Short North Arts District and they’re incredible partners to me in my day job as Executive Director of the Short North Alliance. It was the absolute perfect venue. A place with layers of history and beauty, with great energy.”
Pandora’s dress was one she saw about six months before getting engaged.
“I was dress shopping with my cousin,” she says. “It was on a mannequin and I snapped a photo of it at David’s Bridal and would just stare at it from time to time. After we got engaged, all I could think about was trying that dress on. It was the first one I tried on and although I tried on several others, there was no other.”
A tea length gown designed by Oleg Cassini, the dress needed no alterations and looked like a mini-gown on Pandora’s five foot tall frame. Her wedding day hairstyle was inspired by a vintage look, created by her friend Tiffany Heather. Heather also loaned Pandora a hat and veil.
The groom’s gray suit with mustard colored accessories, and pops of yellow from the boutonniere kept the vintage look going.
A late fall color palette of grays and yellows, with deep woodsy browns tied it all together.
“Ryan’s wedding band is made of Damascus Steel, which is made by taking hot steel and folding it so that it forms this wood grain pattern,” she says. “We had a lot of wood in our decorations and our invitations, so we liked that connection.”
The invitations were designed by Mike Kon of Synergy Media in the Short North Arts District.
“We wanted something rustic and cool. So, he cut and sanded birchwood for the main invitation.”
Kon also created a wedding logo inspired by the couple’s dog, Otis. Other design elements incorporated wood, chalkboards, and antique items.
Music filled the entire day. The couple’s close friend Megan Palmer was the soloist and violinist during the ceremony.
A jazz quartet played during the cocktail hour at the reception. It included Colin Lazarski on guitar, Chris Guthrie on drums, Matt Pasche on Bass, and Tony Bonardi on keyboard.
“They’re all amazing Columbus musicians with regular gigs around town,” shares Pandora. “We had Chris Ortlieb with Premiere Entertainment who is an expert DJ…because yes we had to have a DJ too.”
“Finally, the evening ended with the Hocking River String Band playing till the very end,” she says. “Doug Cherryholmes, their lead singer was also the MC at our reception and the band played “Swept Me Away” by the Avett Brothers for our first dance.
Laura Harter of Short North Piece of Cake created a small two tier cake with raspberry sauce and butter cream frosting with both chocolate and vanilla bean cake, and heavy hors d’oeuvres by Deborah Qunici and her team with Freedom a la Carte rounded out the food.
“Deborah’s hors d’oeuvres rivaled some of the largest wedding buffets I’ve seen!” says Pandora.
The day came together beautifully and with the help of their great photographers, Levi and Val Ely of Ely Brothers, it was easy.
“We simply had the very best photographers,” she says. “Levi and Val are more then amazing artists and photographers, they’re problems solvers, wedding planners, crisis managers, and great friends. Our wedding day was made so special by having them and they are truly some of the most beautiful people I know.”
With their parents with them every step of the way, the day was really special.
“Having all of these beautiful special moments with them was truly priceless,” says Pandora.
The couple will soon honeymoon by taking a train from Erie, PA to Boston and then up to Maine.
Ceremony Venue: St. Andrew Catholic Church in Upper Arlington
Reception Venue: The Garden Theater
Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal
Bride’s Hair: Tiffany Heather
Bridal Party dresses: JCrew
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank, and Men’s Warehouse
Engagement Ring: Vintage from Grandview Mercantile
Groom’s Wedding Band: Alexanders Jewelers
Officiant: Rev. Mr. Thomas M. Berg, Jr.
Band: Colin Lazarski Jazz Quartet
DJ: Chris Ortlieb with Premiere Entertainment
Ceremony Musicians: Megan Palmer
Invitations: Mike Kon of Synergy Media
Food: Deborah Qunici and her team with Freedom a la Carte
Flowers: Tina Parsley with Market Blooms
Wedding Cake: Laura Harter and Short North Piece of Cake
Favors: The Awesomatic Photo booth with paper photo frames designed by Pandora’s cousin
First Dance: “Swept Me Away” by the Avett Brothers
Photography: Ely Brothers
All photos provided by Betsy Pandora.
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From June 1 through June 7, Columbus Underground is celebrating Summer Romance Week, presented by Leo Alfred Jewelers. Leo Alfred Jewelers makes the process of selecting and buying jewelry a very personal and uniquely memorable experience. Find them at LeoAlfred.com.