CLEVELAND, Ohio – As a photographer, Justin Lipsky knows a thing or two about the makings of a special moment. Like serendipitously meeting his future wife, Sarah Pochedly, when the two ended up working at neighboring stores at a mall more than a decade ago.
So when they decided to finally exchange vows last October, everything was, of course, picture-perfect. That’s not hard when a couple complements each other so well. Lipsky describes himself as the logical one, Pochedly as the whimsical one.
For their big day, they brought in some of the city’s top talent, from local food to indie acts to provide the soundtrack.
“We definitely have similar interests but also embrace each other’s differences and understand that it’s totally okay if we don’t have the exact same likes and dislikes,” Pochedly says.
It also doesn’t hurt when your venue is the Western Reserve Historical Society, and its Hanna Courtyard Garden just enhances a classy, minimalist feel bursting with natural elements and greenery. Pochedly’s aunt and uncle, the owners of Pochedly’s Greenhouse in Hiram, provided white mums for a clean, bright accent.
“The garden needed literally no decor other than a few ferns – it’s an amazing old courtyard garden that the museum allows to grow ‘wild’ and doesn’t do a lot of grounds maintenance on, so we didn’t want anything too ‘done’ or perfect to detract from that ‘secret garden at an abandoned mansion’ vibe,” Pochedly says.
After the ceremony, guests headed indoors for a reception at the Crawford Auto Museum.
“The interior of the museum needed very little decor because it would have been completely overlooked by our guests, who were much more interested in all of the awesome cars, planes, boats, carousel – and the Delorean!” Lipsky remembers.
The couple enlisted esteemed chef Matt Mytro of Flour in Moreland Hills to craft a modern Italian menu for guests. A salad of local greens was served family-style at the table before attendees moved on to stations filled with chicken picatta, bolognese with housemade pasta and a salt-crusted ribeye. Sides included mustard-crusted fingerling potatoes and sauteed green beans and red peppers.
“We heard after the wedding that the ribeye got some people who hadn’t eaten red meat in years to indulge,” Lipsky says. “And we can’t forget to mention the mind blowing homemade focaccia. Seriously best bread ever.”
When it came to desserts, this couple didn’t cut corners. Ten round cakes from A Cookie and a Cupcake – including Oreo, lemon raspberry and almond vanilla flavors – drew on their color scheme with simple white and gold buttercream with fresh greenery accents.
“The first time Sarah ever went to A Cookie and A Cupcake, she thought it would be awesome to have them do a special occasion cake, so this was obviously a perfect opportunity,” Lipsky says.
They also served six flavors of Jack Frost Donuts. Given the option to have any “special” decoration or frosting color, they chose to incorporate their gold theme with edible gold glitter.
Doughnuts at weddings may be on-trend – but Lipsky and Pochedly have a special backstory when it comes to Cleveland’s venerable Jack Frost bake shop.
The couple had picked out an engagement ring together, so Pochedly knew Lipsky would pop the question, just not when it would happen. One day, she came home after work and saw a Jack Frost box sitting on the kitchen counter. Naturally, she opened it right up to grab a doughnut – and saw the ring box inside.
“So I knew what was going on before Justin even realized I had opened the doughnut box,” Pochedly recalls.
Don’t worry, Lipsky saved the big surprise for the next day. After taking Pochedly to a celebratory dinner at L’Albatros, Lipsky told her that a few friends wanted to hang out in Coventry Village so they headed to the cozy underground bar La Cav du Vine.
“When Sarah walked in, she was totally blindsided by the fact that all their friends and family were there and she honestly had no idea what was going on for about 2.75 minutes,” Lipsky says. “So that part was a surprise and it was super-duper great. And Sarah is not big on surprises – she always reads the end of a book first and reads movie summaries before (or while) she watches them.”
Suffice to say, these two know how to party.
Their magical day featured ceremony music care of an acoustic performance by Cleveland’s Marcus Alan Ward. He also helped provide the reception music, alongside Tommy Sheridan and Corey Grand, to keep the dancefloor moving throughout the entire night.
Surrounded by family and friends, it was the perfect ending to the duo finally tying the knot – and the perfect beginning to the rest of their lives.
More about the big day, as told by Justin and Sarah
Photography: Casey Rearick, Pre-ceremony and ceremony photos
Photography: Kevin Inthavong, Reception photos and engagement mini photoshoot. “We didn’t want to do engagement photos, but needed more pictures for our website, so that’s how that engagement shoot came to be.”
Videography: Frankie Gallo
Dress: Badgley Mischka from Brides by the Falls (Chagrin Falls)
Suit: Custom suit from Brigade (Beachwood)
Invitations: Mike Lombardy. “We bought all of the paper from Hollo’s, and Justin created the fonts and overall design and Mike printed them. Then we assembled a team of Sarah’s mom, Mike, and our friend Destanie and we all assembled them. Tip: If you’re making your own invites and need to glue anything, use Zip Dry.”
Floral: “Meghan Wingenfeld of Wild Fox & Flower provided all the florals and greenery. Meghan has a farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where she grows all her flowers. We are so happy to be supporting a local farmer and helping the local ecosystem. All of Meghan’s flowers are sustainably grown and harvested. Plus, everything was beautiful and she executed our vision perfectly!”
Decor: “Lakewood Plant Company provided large plants (bird of paradise and palms) for interior decor. They delivered and picked up the plants and had really reasonable prices.”
Officiant: Sahadeo Ramharrack. “We waited till pretty much the last minute to find an officiant, and Deo was so amazing. He sat with us for a couple hours and got to know us and what we were looking for in a ceremony, and then crafted something totally unique that had elements from so many different cultures. We wanted to do something unique, so Deo suggested a stone ceremony. So we got river stones and put one on each seat. Toward the end of the ceremony, Deo explained the stone ceremony, asked each guest to hold their stone and think of a positive intention, and as each guest exited the ceremony, they put their stones into a large vessel we had placed on a table. It was a really unique piece to add to the ceremony and made it a little interactive and was something I don’t think a lot of people had seen at a wedding. These are river stones, so we can put them in a nice bowl with some air plants, or around a candle … much easier to incorporate into the decor!”
Table linens: L’Nique Specialty Linens. “Leah from L’Nique was so easy to work with and dealt with Sarah’s constantly changing linen choices without batting an eye. Everything looked awesome and blended perfectly into the classy, minimal vibe of the wedding.”
Event assistant: Rick Turner
Day-of coordinator: Andrea Sutton. “She was really amazing and a godsend for the day-of. I was kind of – OK, seriously – freaking out about who would help the florist if needed, who would out the place cards out, who’s going to clean up all the decor at the end of the night, all that extra stuff you don’t even think about until the last minute. But she was fabulous and worked with the museum’s event coordinators and everything was perfect and I was much less stressed knowing that she would handle everything.”
Rings: IMG Jewelers. “Ernie and Steve were so great to work with and made the ring buying process really easy and actually fun. Plus, IMG has really awesome estate and custom pieces, so every time you go in, there’s something new and fantastic in the cases. Sarah’s wedding band was actually a last minute (no surprise there) purchase from the estate case. It was a set of two bands and when she tried them on with her engagement ring, they really looked perfect together. It was really cool to know that we were essentially ‘recycling’ a ring. IMG was also great with coming up with something for Justin’s band. He wanted something he’d actually wear, so it had to be really minimal and unobtrusive. So they made a sterling band and put a custom finish on it, and it turned out so nice.”
After-party: Ninja City. “After the wedding, it’s the after party! We decided to keep the party going with a late-night session at Ninja City with a bar sponsored by D’USSE – big thank you to Kelton Crenshaw for organizing that, and some munchies. Dylan and Ninja City did an awesome job keeping our guests occupied until we got there.”
Cocktails: Middle West Spirits. “Justin and Tommy Haywood of Middle West Spirits have worked together on events before, so when we decided to do a brunch the day after the wedding at Southside in Tremont, Tommy arranged for a signature cocktail to go with the brunch – some Middle West Spirits’ Vim & Petal Gin with blueberry maple shrub topped off with champagne.”