With only a short window of time to choose a wedding venue while both Jennifer and Brian were in Ohio during the summer of 2014, the couple put out a request to friends and family for suggestions. An uncle responded with a link to Lakeside, having only seen pictures and heard of it himself.
Lakeside was the first and only venue they visited, since they quickly decided that the kindness, hospitality and beautiful scenery they found here made it the perfect place to get married.
The rest of the wedding details were organized from all across the globe, with the bride in Hong Kong, the groom in Ohio, and the wedding planner in Tunisia.
Through a year of Internet phone calls and document sharing, the couple was able to work with Lakeside’s Director of Conference & Event Planning, Amber Schlering, and her staff to pull together their vision for the special day.
They planned a beautiful outdoor wedding on the Hotel Lakeside lawn for June 27, 2015.
Nature had other plans. As the big day approached, forecasts predicted that Lakeside was to be overwhelmed by an intense summer nor’easter. Damaging winds and crashing waves would make tents on the waterfront too dangerous.
Disappointed that their dream, outdoor wedding was no longer a possibility, Jennifer and Brian agreed to move the event indoors to Wesley Lodge, assured that in the two days remaining, the new venue would be just as beautiful.
Jennifer explains, “When the day of the wedding came, we had never seen weather so bad. The rain and the wind were unbelievable to the point of losing power at Lakeside the morning of the wedding!”
The bridal party dressed at the hotel, and then was brought in through the back door, so Jennifer hadn’t seen the decorated lodge prior to her walk down the aisle.
“As I crossed over from the reception area on one side of Wesley Lodge to the ceremony side, all I can explain was this overwhelming sense of God’s peace and absolute amazement.”
Brian describes her entrance as “breathtaking and unforgettable.”
In a ceremony performed by both the bride and groom’s fathers, enfolded in flowers and candles inside and blustering winds outside, guests witnessed the joyous marriage of two people joined by love and God’s purpose.
Jennifer and Brian’s wedding guests had traveled from all over the U.S. and globe to share in the celebration, most having never been to Lakeside before.
“Many were amazed that we had not only pulled off the indoor wedding, but that it was as if it had been planned for that venue all along,” Jennifer recalls. “Little did they know the hard work, love, energy and efforts that went into that day.”
“If Amber and her interns represent the whole of what Lakeside is about, that should never change. The openness, kindness, honesty and integrity of her and her team were moving to Brian and me, and to my entire family that witnessed their sacrifice of time, energy and skills. They were what made that day beautiful.“
Jennifer and Brian see Lakeside as “a comfortable and welcoming community with the beauty of God’s creation surrounding and enveloping its character.”
The couple stopped by Lakeside over the winter to reminisce.
Jennifer shares, “As we pulled up to Wesley Lodge, such a flood of precious memories came back, as well as laughter that we had lived through all those changes and turned out to be the best day possible.”
Though new to Lakeside, the Belmonts have quickly gained an understanding of what it means to be a Lakesider.
“We can sense that to be a Lakesider means to be committed to community. This does not just mean living in a community, but being a member that is like-minded and that pitches in to help everyone out. They work together for the greater good, and we definitely sensed this community in our wedding.”
Lakeside Chautauqua hosts hundreds of groups year-round, including youth groups, weddings, family reunions, birthday parties, anniversaries, church groups and business retreats.
For more information about booking your next group event at Lakeside Chautauqua, visit www.lakesideohio.com/groups.