Nick Brown and Liz Berliant were freshmen at the University of Cincinnati when they were introduced through a mutual friend. Smitten from the start, Nick asked Liz on a date, but she declined. The timing, it seems, wasn’t right. And, as the saying goes, timing is everything.
When they ran into each other again after college, however, things unfolded differently. Sparks ignited, and Nick popped the question in May 2019.
“Every Saturday morning, we would go to Echo for breakfast, then grab our dogs and take a walk through Ault Park,” Liz recalls. “I knew a proposal was coming, but he thought it was a total surprise and he was nervous, so I was trying to remain calm.”
Nick wanted to get down on one knee between the pillars at the park’s pavilion, it’s panoramic overlook as the perfect backdrop. But wouldn’t you know, people had strung hammocks between the columns, ruining his plan. He pulled Liz through a patch of fresh mulch, grumbling beneath his breath about hikers and their hammocks. But unlike the first time Nick asked Liz out on a date, her answer to his question was a resounding “Yes!”
“The funny thing is, we ended up being engaged longer than we dated because we had to postpone the wedding in the spring of 2021 due to COVID,” says Liz, operations director for the Democratic National Committee’s finance team.
The pair joyfully tied the knot on April 23, 2022, choosing to have the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception at the Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel. They also reserved a block of rooms for their guests.
“It was super convenient to have everything contained in one unit,” says Liz, who knew she wanted to plan an indoor wedding since it was in the spring, when weather can be fickle. “We looked at six or seven different places around Cincinnati, but I fell in love with the Renaissance.”
She was drawn to the art deco details and ornate ceiling, and appreciated that the rest of the room was a blank canvas to decorate as she pleased. With help from Tracy Hartman, director of catering for the Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel, and her wedding planner, Dora Manuel, owner of Viva Bella Events, she fashioned an exquisite indoor garden vibe.
“They both had a wealth of experience, so professionally I felt taken care of,” says Liz.
She bought her wedding dress early when she was on a trip to New York City with her mom and her maid of honor.
“I based the entire wedding off the incredible dress, which was truly a work of art. The feel of the dress was romantic and delicate, so we wanted to play off of that,” she notes.
To complement her dress, which was softly accented with light blue and light peach flowers, Liz incorporated pastel colors into the room, creating an enchanting atmosphere.
“We had the most stunning flowers from Robin Wood Flowers,” says Liz. They brought in a bunch of live bamboo and simulated trees, with wildflower runners on either side of the aisle that led to the chuppah. “The Renaissance was incredibly accommodating with us bringing in these massive floral arrangements.”
After the ceremony, they took the flowers in front of the aisles and placed them on the stage.
“It was like we were floating in a pool of flowers,” says Liz. “The goal was to recreate the outside, inside and we accomplished that.”
Liz not only loved the Renaissance’s décor but was also thoroughly impressed by the staff.
“My mom and I planned this wedding, hand in hand, and we are very Type A — hyper-organized with lots of lists — so we wanted a partner we could work closely with who could put up with the crazy details. Tracy was fantastic and a huge asset to the wedding,” says Liz, who also credits her mom, Jennie Rosenthal, for being such a huge help in planning.
“We really did all of this together. She was with me on every single phone call, copied on every email. I’m so grateful that my mom put so much time and energy into planning. It was such a fun experience!”
Liz appreciated the Renaissance team’s responsiveness and accommodating nature.
They were happy to work with Liz and her mother to make minor changes to their standard bar and dinner packages.
“It wasn’t, ‘You can pick from Option A, B or C,’” says Liz. “They were receptive to our ideas. They exceeded our expectations.”
Forever seared into Liz’s memory is the moment right before she and her new husband were getting ready to enter the reception area to greet their 210 guests. One of the photographers told Liz, “Just so you know, people think the room is beautiful.”
That was sweet to hear, but it didn’t fully sink in until the photographer pulled out her camera and showed Liz a few shots of people’s faces as they walked into the reception.
“They were literal jaw-drop moments, and that was super gratifying because planning a wedding is a huge amount of work,” says Liz. “My mom and I spent a million hours on it, so to see people’s delighted faces was really exciting.”
One piece of advice that Liz offers to engaged couples is to “take 10” before making that grand entrance into the reception.
“After the ceremony, Nick and I went into a room by ourselves, drank a glass of champagne and scarfed down a plate of food,” says Liz. Nick also helped his bride take off her veil, doing his best to navigate the wide world of bobby pins.
“It was nice to have that breather,” Liz says. “Plus, I don’t think we would have eaten otherwise.”
She also tells brides not to underestimate the importance of selecting an incredible band.
“Music is way more important than you might think,” she says. “I have such great memories of every friend and family member on the dance floor all night long. That was wonderful, and it’s because the music was great.”
Is Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel the perfect venue for your special day? Connect at renaissancecincinnati.com or call 513.333.0000.
Liz & Nick’s Vendors
Wedding Planners ~ Viva Bella Events
Cake ~ Icon Cake Cincinnati
Flowers ~ Robin Wood Flowers
Invitations ~ Hatch Cove
Stationary ~ Poeme
Band ~ Gold Coast
Rentals ~ All Occasion Event Rentals
Wine ~ Hart & Cru
Photographer ~Tine Hofmann
Dress ~ Randi Rahm
Makeup ~ Kat Rowekamp
Hair ~ Rachel Bayer
Lighting ~ Prestige AV & Creative Services