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A CLE Connection
CLE Clothing Co. founder Mike Kubinski and Laura Polutnik tied the knot last fall, weaving their love for each other, family and friends and their city into their big day.
Lyndsey Frey

Mike Kubinski and Laura Polutnik really love Cleveland. And it’s not hard to understand why. ❡ The duo met and fell in love here. Their romance began in 2007 while hanging out with mutual friends at Tremont’s Prosperity Social Club. Polutnik, who was dragged out that evening by her roommate, was introduced to Kubinski, and the two hit it off right away.

“I knew I liked him right away,” Polutnik, 31, says. “He is so well-rounded. He played college sports, but he was an arts major and a frat boy all at the same time. I always saw myself as a similar person — into all different things.”

“I found my best friend,” Kubinski responds simply.

Kubinski recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of CLE Clothing Co., a flourishing retail business that boasts Cleveland pride — one in which Polutnik recently joined as director of operations — that has expanded to include two successful area storefronts.

“[Cleveland] is my hometown. I’ve built a business around it,” Kubinski, 33, says.

So when the couple tied the knot last fall, they also were determined to infuse their civic pride into their wedding day.

“We’re both from here; we’re so proud of it,” Polutnik says. “We met in the city, we live in the city, and we have a fabulous business here. Everything had to be in the city of Cleveland. That was non-negotiable for us.”

On Oct. 5, the couple exchanged vows at the Saint Patrick Church in Ohio City, a long-standing, gorgeous cathedral that has served the near West Side’s community for more than a century. Afterward, they celebrated their union with about 150 guests at the Doubletree by Hilton-The Tudor Arms Hotel in University Circle. The long history of the Tudor Arms Building traces back to the early 1930s when it once hosted lavish parties as the exclusive Cleveland Club and since has served many purposes throughout its years.

“I never envisioned myself as a ballroom bride, but when I walked into that room, I couldn’t resist,” Polutnik says. “It had so much history.”

Kubinski’s interests were reflected in the day as well. He designed the couple’s wedding program, a heart-shaped card with gray-and-yellow, art-deco font styling. In fact, as a former graphic designer, he created all the printed pieces for their wedding, including the programs, menu cards and a poster that all of their guests signed as they entered the hall. The printed materials were branded by the couple’s color scheme — gray and yellow — and included a wedding logo Kubinski created. It features two Cupid arrows crossed to form an X with their initials on either side, a heart on top and below, Kubinski’s signature “love Ohio” design that is printed on items throughout his stores.

Many of the day’s details were personal and handmade by family and friends, including the silver and gold spray-painted wine bottles that served as floral vases for table centerpieces and the marquee-style, 3-foot letters “M” and “L” that Kubinski’s cousin made out of wood to illuminated the DJ stage.

But Polutnik’s favorite touch was her bridal bouquet made by her mother. Instead of flowers, it was created entirely from beautiful brooches given to her by close family and friends at her bridal shower.

“I saw this idea online years ago, and it always stuck with me,” she says. “It’s a beautiful idea, and it’s something you have forever.”

The reception was a traditional plated sit-down dinner with the option for a steak, fish or vegetarian dish. But the kids’ menu — featuring chicken fingers, mac ‘n’ cheese and a fruit cup to ensure the couple’s eight nieces and nephews were happy — was a hit. Some adults ordered off the kids menu.

Even the evening’s signature cocktail — which the couple named the CLE Spritzer — was Cleveland centric. The recipe, a vodka tonic with a splash of freshly squeezed lemonade, garnished with a lemon wedge, came about happenstance while ordering a drink at another wedding earlier that year. Kubinski asked for a vodka tonic, and saw the lemonade pitcher on the bar, and simply asked the bartender to “throw in some of that.”

The electrifying night of dancing and entertainment kicked off when Polutnik and her father broke into a polka dance during the father/daughter dance to celebrate her Slovenian heritage. Her uncle supplied the accompanying music by playing the accordion.

“Everything went off without a hitch,” Polutnik says. “I do special events [in my job at Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio], and I’ve never worked with a staff so organized. We created a dream team of Cleveland vendors.”

For dessert, guests enjoyed wedding cake designed and baked by the couple’s friend, a local pastry chef. It was a true labor of love that mirrored the duo’s love for one another, their family and friends and their hometown city. It featured the Cleveland skyline, their wedding logo, Kubinski’s artwork and many other personal touches.

“For me, the sum is greater than the parts,” Polutnik says. “We were both really proud of it. It was a true reflection of us.”

A Proposal to Remember

On last year’s unusually warm leap day, Mike Kubinski asked Laura Polutnik to marry him.

The CLE Clothing Co. founder devised a false business meeting at the Viaduct Lounge. When the couple arrived and there were no business partners to be seen, Kubinski suggested a walk down the viaduct to admire the view and take in the warm breeze. They walked slowly until Kubinski abruptly stopped and proceeded to get down on one knee to ask for her hand
in marriage.

As Kubinski awaited an answer, Polutnik was running in circles, screaming in her surprise and excitement.

“It was the best surprise ever,” she says.

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