When Chris Orlando proposed to Jennifer Hall on Christmas 2004, the two had very different ideas about a wedding. Jennifer wanted a small wedding; while Chris wanted a large gala that included his family and a large group of friends.
“I thought a destination wedding would be great and easy, and Chris wouldn’t have any part of that,” recalls Jennifer Orlando. Chris, whose father Chester “Sonny” Orlando is one of the owners of Cleveland’s Orlando Baking Company, had other ideas. “I wanted a bigger wedding, Jennifer wanted to fly to Vegas or a beach or something,” he says. “She said ‘you want to have a big wedding, you plan it.’ ”
And so the wedding went forward — on February 18, 2006 — at the Bertram Inn and Conference Center in Aurora.
The Orlandos entertained about 330 guests at their wedding. Both bride and groom, plus many guests, stayed at the Bertram Inn for the ceremony, reception and sleeping accommodations.
“We did the whole thing there, we didn’t want people having to drive around,” says Chris. The few minutes that guests had to move from one area to the next were heated and covered.
After a short ceremony in one ballroom, the couple moved the guests to the main hall for an hour-and-a-half cocktail party. Meanwhile, the bridal party did pictures. A longer cocktail hour gave the wedding party time to pose for pictures and still enjoy the passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.
The cocktail reception was followed by a sit-down dinner consisting of a filet and sea bass combination plate. Table cards were placed on tree branches on small tress. The dining room was lit only by spotlights over the silver centerpieces and red-lit walls.
Then the dancing went into full force. The Orlandos had a harpist and flautist for the ceremony, then alternated bands between the Jerry Bruno orchestra and the Rock Shop. “The two alternated throughout the night,” he says.
While Chris and Jennifer picked the two bands to suit everyone’s tastes, they found that their guests enjoyed all of the music. “We thought the older guests were going to sit down [with the rock music], but they were the ones who liked it even more,” says Jennifer.
Chris and Jennifer say they were pleased with the Bertram staff for its flexibility in handling their needs. They were also pleased with their florist and wedding coordinator.
“It was a great time, it was really very easy,” Jennifer says.