Monday, June 29, 2009

Narrowin' It Down

Finally down to the final two venues!

This process has honestly been kind of a pain and taken way longer than we'd hoped, but the sooner we can sign the contract and do the fun stuff the better, and we're down to two. Unfortunately, our Number One choice won't let us lock it down til' this fall, so that means waiting for three more months or praying they return all the millions of questions we have in writing so we don't get any nasty surprises. HUGE THANK YOU to Johnny's mom who worked her art of negotiation skills to get us an earlier signing date.

To be fair, our backup plan is nice too, just not everything we've dreamed of. It's close by, so that helps, but it honestly needs a lot more imagination that I feel like mustering up for monetarily. Also, it has no windows and so having a wedding in the Fall kind of loses it's reasoning when you're spending most of the wedding not seeing any of the natural beauty around you.

I'll probably be keeping the final details on hold until we settle everything, but in the meantime, friend Robin sent along this Yelp list that helped me find some of the not so well known wedding reception places. It's a pretty comprehensive list, and I have added some additional venues I looked into in case you're on the search for a Chicago wedding venue and want to explore all of the alternatives out there.

Garfield Park Conservatory
South Shore Cultural Center [$4800 for the ceremony and reception (that is the cost to just have the building, no linens, security, etc) and you have to use their caterers].
Chicago Cultural Center-Grand Army of the Republic
Chicago Cultural Center-Maxims
Cafe Brauer
Architectural Artefacts
Harold Washington Library
Newberry Library
Lincoln Park Conservatory
Peggy Notebaert Nature M.
Jackson Park 63rd Beach House
Columbus Park Refectory
Promontory Point
Chicago History Museum
The Rookery
Marmon Grand
Murphy Auditorium, American College of Surgeons
A New Leaf
Stan Mansion
Grand Piazza
Crystal Garden Ballroom
Ravenswood Billboard Factory
Civic Opera House
Ivy Room
Irish American Heritage Center
Copernicus Center
Chicago Illuminating Company
Union League Room
West Loop Studio
Cheney Mansion
Union Station
Estudio Tres
Zam Zam
Garden Terrace, Garden Manor, Garden Walk, Royal Gardens
Winnetka Community House
Women's Club Evanston
Manzo's Banquets
Logan Square Auditorium
Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel
Prairie Production
Chicago Club
Midday Club
Green Dolphin St
Waveland Clock Tower
Canterbury Inn
Embassy Suites Downtown
Elks Lodge
Flat Files Gallery
Germania Place
Michelle's Ballroom
Dewes Mansion
Salvage One
Catalyst Ranch
Galleria Marchetti
Columbus Refectory Park
Victoria in the Park
Lincoln Park Conservatory Gardens
Brookfield Zoo
Knickerbocker Hotel ($40K min. and they're dead serious)
White Pines Inn (Mount Morris, IL)
Odyssey Cruises


  1. Hi! First, congrats! Second, I was searching through yelp and came across your post and then landed here. Thanks for adding the list of venues. Sounds like you're doing a Fall 2010 Chicago wedding, which is what I want to do too. I just got engaged and am now in planning mode. Wondering if you actually found Chicago places available for next year. I'v heard you have to book some places more than a year in advance....

  2. Thanks Michele!
    Glad you found the post helpful and Congratulations to you too!

    I'm not sure what your budget looks like, but if you start now on the venue search for next year you should be fine. It takes awhile to find the perfect place to hold your party (which is another big part, you don't want someplace too big if you're having an intimate group and you don't want someplace too squeezed, no matter how lovely if you're wedding is larger). the usual suspects: The Drake, Cafe Brauer, The Adler Planetarium...those might book up quick, but if you're flexible with your date you can probably work it out.

    I didn't have any trouble yet. I imagine once it's Fall there will be more bookings, so if you search a lot in August it might help you get exactly what you want.

  3. obviously this post is aged now but for anyone new stumbling upon it like myself.

    the swedish heritage museum in andersonville rents their modern art gallery as an event space. they will let you bring in your own food and booze or work with any caterer you like.

    $800 for the space
    $200 for a rep from the space to be present
    includes tables, chairs and a large on-site kitchen.
    insurance not included. that will run you about $600 including a million dollar liability policy and a liquor liability policy.

  4. Hi there. I just started digging around in search of a reception site for a Chicago wedding this fall, and stumbled across your blog because we've been looking into Humboldt Park as an option. We're concerned about the catering constraints, but it sounds from your blog like that may be a bit more flexible than it comes across online...? Or maybe that's an old regime. Either way, the list in this post looks INVALUABLE. It contains every single venue I've thus far either come across in my own searching or had recommended. Thank you so much for this, and for all of the other incredibly helpful suggestions, reflections, and info contained in this blog!