Pop goes the wedding: How Cuyahoga Valley National Park is keeping the bridal dream alive

May typically signals the start of wedding season, but in the face of COVID-19, the forecast looks a whole lot different this year. According to a Bridebook estimate, 64 percent of weddings planned in 2020 have been cancelled or postponed—and the popular wedding venues at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) have been no exception.


“Most of our calendar cleared out as soon as we heard news of the shutdown and stay-at-home order,” says Lindsay Regan, director of sales and guest services for the Conservancy for CVNP. “From April through June, we had 20 cancellations, and the remaining 41 [bookings] postponed.”


But, like all good love stories, it looks like CVNP will have a happy ending after all for couples who want to say “I do” sooner than later. Thanks to a new partnership with Haus of Cool, the scenic national park’s two wedding venues will offer “pop-up wedding” packages on six dates throughout the summer (June 20 and 27; July 4 and 18; and Aug. 22 and 29). Six one-hour slots will be available on each date.


Hines Hill CampusPriced at $1,800, the packages include use of the venue for a 45-minute ceremony; wedding photography; an officiant; a bridal bouquet and boutonniere; champagne; and a take-home wedding cake — along with all related services, such as set-up, teardown, and planning. Couples also have a choice between the Happy Days Lodge and Hines Hill Campus locations.


“We handle everything so that it is 100% stress-free for the couple who doesn’t want to move their wedding date, but still wants something more than a courthouse or backyard wedding,” says Kattie Cool, founder of Haus of Cool. “I always tell clients that what they’re getting is an Instagram-worthy photograph and a Pinterest-worthy, beautiful wedding.”

On that note, Cool has partnered up with various local vendors such as Sweet Treats by Jen and Beck Photo Co. to bring the pop-up weddings to life. For Cool, pop-up weddings are the linchpin of her business, which she founded one year ago in May 2019 to provide more affordable, intimate options for couples getting married. A former makeup artist, Cool hopes to provide a “one-stop shop” and put the focus back on the marriage ritual.


“People tend to get lost in the big, fun party, and what they typically remember is the food, the bar, and the dancing rather than the ceremony,” says Cool. “Pop-up weddings put the emphasis back on the couple and remove all of the stress from planning to give them a chic and intimate boutique-style wedding.”

And what better place to do that than in Ohio's only national park?

Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

As an enthusiastic CLE-vangelist, Jen Jones Donatelli enjoys diving headfirst into her work with FreshWater Cleveland. Upon moving back to Cleveland after 16 years in Los Angeles, Jen served as FreshWater's managing editor for two years (2017-2019) and continues her work with the publication as a contributing editor and host of the FreshFaces podcast. Along with her work at FreshWater, she is the editor-of-chief of Edible Cleveland and a contributing editor for Destination Cleveland. When not typing the day away at her laptop, she teaches writing and creativity classes for Creative Groove, Literary Cleveland, Cleveland State University, and more. Jen is a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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