The Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel: A Love Story in Elegant, Historical Style

The Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel: A Love Story in Elegant, Historical Style

The first time Jacky Painter saw the Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel in an Instagram photo, her response was “That’s in Cincinnati? It’s gorgeous!” 

Seven years later, when Painter’s fiancé́, Sean McCloskey, popped the question, the Renaissance Cincinnati was the first place she toured. Though they checked out other venues for their August 21 wedding, the moment they stepped inside the Renaissance’s reception room, Painter’s jaw dropped. 

“The fact that it used to be an old bank vault is an intriguing historical piece, and then I saw the ceilings and envisioned how we could play with the lighting and the flowers,” Painter says. 

Painter also knew that she wanted to host a cocktail hour prior to the reception, and the space was ideal for doing that. That cocktail area is located above the ballroom, enabling guests to look down and feast their eyes on the flowers and all the detailing below. 

“When we looked at other places in Cincinnati, nowhere else stacked up to the vision Jacky had in her mind,” McCloskey says. The couple was so impressed with the entire set-up at the 

Renaissance Cincinnati, they wanted their guests to be able to spend the night in the same location as the reception and then enjoy a brunch the following morning. 

“I’d say 90% of our guests spent the night,” McCloskey says. Most of their guests bookended the wedding weekend with other activities because the couple had distributed welcome bags with fun places to go around Cincinnati. “We tried to create not just a day but an opportunity for them to experience the city,” McCloskey says. 

The hotel’s location was ideal because it was only a couple of blocks from St. Francis Xavier Church where the ceremony took place. Though it was within walking distance, the couple hired a trolley to take guests from the hotel to the church and back again. 

Though there was a lot to coordinate, Painter elected not to hire a conventional wedding planner. 

“I was of the mindset that nobody was going to plan my wedding better than I was,” she says. Nevertheless, Nicolette Holthaus, catering manager at the Renaissance, was extremely helpful in bringing Painter’s vision to fruition and helping to manage all of the moving pieces. 

With the help of Prestige Audio Visual, The Renaissance Cincinnati staff created one of the couple’s favorite memories of the reception. The pair performed a choreographed dance, and in the middle of the song, McCloskey dipped his bride and kissed her. As he was lifting her back up from the dip, the lights changed from a pink champagne hue to a party blue, cuing the wedding party and the rest of the guests to join them on the dance floor. The remainder of the night was an energetic dance party, which is precisely what the couple had envisioned. 

“We wanted an ‘elegant rager,’ and that’s what we got,” Painter says with a chuckle. “I even ruined my shoes because I was on the dance floor all night jumping up and down!” 

Following the reception, the party moved to a private area in the hotel bar. The next morning, the couple was shocked to see that the hotel staff had moved all their wedding flowers into the brunch area. 

“That brunch exceeded all of our expectations,” Painter says. “It was stunning to see that space come to life.” 

Throughout the whole process, the Renaissance staff helped with the day’s preparations and making sure everything flowed effortlessly. 

“They were always super accommodating and willing to help make me feel better in any way I needed,” Painter says. “Being such a hands-on, detail-oriented person, I needed that.” 

All in all, the newlyweds couldn’t be more pleased with how their wedding day turned out. 

“We wish we could relive it every day!” Painter says.

Want to have your wedding at Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel? Contact them at or call 513-333-0000.

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