Friday, January 16, 2009

Step 1: Picking a place

I'm itching to send out my save-the-dates, because I know how scarce Chicago hotel rooms can be in the summertime and I don't want our out-of-towners to have to overpay for a room (or have trouble getting one!). Obviously we can't send anything out until we've picked a venue, so AF and I have been on the prowl. I've lived in Chicago longer than AF and know more about different special event spots, so I made a short list of places I thought we should consider.

Off the bat, I really, really wanted North Pond, because I love the place. The Arts & Crafts style architecture of the restaurant reminds me of the Gamble House in Pasadena that AF and I toured together a few years ago. I also thought the Lincoln Park location would be perfect, especially because right in front of the restaurant there's a beautiful view of the Hancock Building that makes a wonderful backdrop for photos. The restaurant size and layout are also exactly what we wanted for our ceremony/reception. North Pond was the first venue I contacted right away and, much to my excitement, they were available for our first choice date. Unfortunately, the cost to buy out the restaurant for the night is $20,000, which was beyond what we want to pay, so we scratched North Pond.

When contacting the venues, I just threw out summer 2009 to see what I'd come back with, but we're flexible. Here's an abbreviated version of my spreadsheet of potential wedding venues (in no particular order):

Art Institute of ChicagoAvailable; still waiting to tour
Architectural ArtifactsAvailable; strong possibility
Chicago History MuseumAvailable; strong possibility
Chicago Cultural CenterUnavailable
Ivy RoomUnavailable
Newberry LibraryUnavailable
Peggy Notebaert Nature MuseumUnavailable
River East Arts CenterAvailable; expensive ($10,000)
Wrigley FieldAvailable; not sure if right venue for us
Murphy AuditoriumNo response

Of all of these I think I would rank Art Institute at the top because (according to its brochure) it seems to be not that expensive, plus it's located near lots of hotel options. Communication with event managers is slow going, though. I've been contacted by three different people already, but when trying to set up a time to see the place, days go by before I hear back from them.

My goal is to have the save-the-dates out the door by the end of January, so I will keep on trucking.


  1. Can you believe North Pond is $20K? I almost fell of my chair when I heard that!

  2. Oh wow!! That would break my life for the next 20 years!!!
    When is your wedding date?

  3. hello bride to be and welcome to the blogosphere!! i am also getting married, but in the kansas city area. you can find me blogging about my $8k soiree and other endeavors in my life at Keep in touch and I will touchbase often!!


  4. congratulations on starting a blog and welcome! found you via tina's blog. :)

  5. Thanks for the comments-- you've made my day :)!! Our tentative dates are May 23, June 6, June 20 or August 15...all depending on where.