Picking a Wedding Reception Location in Chicago & Suburbs

Picking a Wedding Reception Location in Chicago Area

This is Arrowhead Country Club in Wheaton. Nice Decor, high minimum price of $14,000.00 on Saturdays and price per person of $90 and up.
This is Arrowhead Country Club in Wheaton. Nice Decor, high minimum price of $14,000.00 on Saturdays and price per person of $90 and up

Picking a date for my wedding has hinged on finding a location to hold the wedding reception in Chicago Area. There are no shortage of Country Clubs, Golf Clubs, Banquet Halls, Hotels and Large Restaurant locations in Chicago and the suburbs, but yet my wedding reception search has been difficult.

The reasons the search for a reception location in planning my wedding has been difficult are that:

1. We have a small wedding. Maybe 75 people will be there. It won’t meet minimum spend requirements for large places like Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton or the Naperville Country Club.

2. We don’t want to spend a huge amount per person. We would like good food and a pleasant atmosphere for the wedding reception but we don’t need something overly extravagant. We thought the prices would be between $50 and $100 per person and they are. That said, $100 per person or more is just too much. So we often don’t meet the minimum spend for the banquet rooms we like. Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton has a $14,000.00 minimum cost on Saturdays and Naperville Country Club has a minimum spend of $10,000.00 for a Saturday Wedding reception. We can’t make that total spend without going over $100.00 per person with this few guests.

3. We are finding that the nice places to have a wedding reception are already booked for weddings on many Saturdays throughout the year. We were originally planning on late April 2018 but now we are also considering July 2018 for family travel reasons. Some smaller less cool looking places may have better availability. We haven’t heard back from Seven Bridges in Woodridge or Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien yet.

Naperville Country Club is nice too, but they have a $10,000.00 minimum and price per person of $75+
Naperville Country Club is nice too, but they have a $10,000.00 minimum and price per person of $75+

So, this leaves us 2 weeks into being engaged and no date or location planned for the wedding yet. Booking a reception hall in Chicago is a lot harder than it looks if you have a small wedding. If Seven Bridges in Woodridge doesn’t have room or a good cost and Carriage Greens in Darien doesn’t either, we may not know where to go next. Maybe we would look at some hotels like the Hilton in Lisle or the Mariott Rennisance in Oak Brook? The problem is that we only can look on Saturdays and Sundays and otherwise we don’t make any progress. It is slow planning a wedding when you have to work all week.

I am not a fan of the strip mall banquet rooms like the Abbington next to Wal Mart in Glen Ellyn or the Ashton Place in Darien. I had my prom at Ashton Place and the Marie’s Catering was horrible. The food was almost unedible and my date got so sick we had to go home while he spent a few hours on the toilet. Granted, that was back in 1993 but if it is the same company running it I can’t take the risk of my guests getting sick at my wedding.

Generally though all the Country Clubs, Banquet Halls and Hotels all have a lot included in their packages. Most have gone to a package deal kind of service where everything from the dinner to the drinks to the cake are included. Some even throw in some fringe benefit like a free room for the bride and groom or spa package as a perk. The problem though is that they expect you to sign and commit to the booking before doing a food tasting and without knowing your total number of guests. It is really like spending $8,000 on a car sight unseen. In any other industry this would never be acceptable. Sometimes I can’t believe the things the wedding industry gets away with and how much of a marked up racket it really is.

Finally I’ve found a perfect place for my Wedding:


1375 W.  Dundee Rd
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
banquet hall in chicago
ASTORIA BANQUETS is my #1 so far,their Special offer hits the spot:







3 Month Out All-Inclusive Ceremony & Reception Special

  (The perfect plan for a last minute wedding)

$6,900 Sunday

$7,900 Friday

$8,900 Saturday

Weekday Mon-Thursday $5,900

Sunday Wedding Savings: Signature Package Regular Price: $56 per person, Sunday Evening: $47.60 per person, Sunday Afternoon: $39.20 per person, Friday Wedding Savings: Friday Evening: $50.40 per person, Any Afternoon, without open bar: $30.00 per person WOW!

Follow this link to see what’s included: http://www.astoriabanquets.com/weddings/promotions


The Final lessons learned about planning a wedding reception in Chicago Area:

1. If you have a small wedding stay away from big banquet halls and country clubs, they have minimums you can’t meet unless you pay over $100.00 per person and to do that you would have to serve lobster tail.

2. It is possible to plan a quick wedding (even if there is no baby) in 2, 3 or 6 months. This plan it over 12-18 months thing is really unnecessary unless you have to save up to pay for it.

3. Every wedding planner at these reception locations is really a high pressure sales person that is trying to lock you into a deal where they provide everything and they don’t do ala carte services. So, if you want to have a particular bakery make your cake or a certain type of wine expect it to be difficult to get them to break it out of the price because it is less money for them.

4. There is no guarantee of service or quality of food when you book a wedding reception location in Chicago or the south west suburbs. You can’t taste the food beforehand and they don’t guarantee anything. Plus your full payment is demanded 10 days before the wedding so there isn’t even anything you can withhold if they don’t follow through. Asking for a refund will fall on deaf ears.

So, basically I am not happy right now. Nothing we thought would work out has actually worked so far. We haven’t made any progress in 2 weeks. Hopefully I will have better news the next time I post.

Update: The Seven Bridges club also got back to us and they have a 100 person minimum and a $11,000.00 minimum spend also. So, they’re out too.

I was going to consider beautiful Manzo’s Banquets in Des Plaines, but the date was already booked, too bad the venue looks gorgeous , here is the website if you want to take a look: http://manzosbanquets.com/

chicago banquet hall
(847) 593-2233
1571 South Elmhurst Rd., Des Plaines, IL

How to choose and Buy an Engagement Ring

The classic engagement ring with a 1 CT center round brilliant diamond

The classic engagement ring with a 1 CT center round brilliant diamond

The first step in our engagement process was to find and buy an engagement ring.

I went through many iterations of what I thought was a pretty engagement ring over the years, and as styles changed I came back to liking a very classic style. I was not sure what Steve was going to think of this since engagement rings are one of the most expensive parts of getting engaged and married. I did not know how much to spend on a ring and he did not either. This was a totally new process for both of us.

Later in the day after we got engaged, (realizing all the jewelry stores were closed that day already) we sat down at the computer together and looked at some jewelry web sites and some engagement rings online. Steve ended up at the same site I have seen every guy end up at: BlueNile.com. They must come up #1 in Google for the search on “engagement rings”. We didn’t find much selection there in the engagement ring and wedding ring sets that I liked but we did find a good description of the different diamond grades, the color, cut and carat weight values and a search option for the stones themselves.

The cost of a 1 carat (1ct) diamond stone can range from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00. That is a huge range in price! I am not sure if the difference in the diamonds was evident looking at them though because there were no pictures from that individual diamond stone search function on the site, just the grades and cost info. (I am pretty sure they all sparkle) Then we decided we would go to James and Williams Jewelers in Berwyn and Fay & Co in Naperville next weekend so we could look in person. (My parents got their rings at James and Williams in Berwynin 1965 and Steve’s parents have bought things at Fay & Co before so they were recommended) The budget part of this was tricky, Steve knew that he would most likley buy his ring, but since I wasn’t sure how much it would cost and they are soooo expensive I offered to help out a little with the cost too. Saving money on a diamond would be nice but since you wear it forever I wanted a nice one and was willing to help pay or contribute small stones I had in other rings. This whole next six months is going to be expensive and we do have to stay within budget. Continue reading “How to choose and Buy an Engagement Ring”

OMG! I just got engaged, how my boyfriend proposed

how to propose
How to propose to your girlfriend the old fashioned way

Welcome to my blog: The Chicago Wedding Locations and Bridal Blog by a real live Chicago bride. I just got engaged to my boyfriend Steve on Saturday 9/30/2017 and I am thrilled! I wanted to blog about the process that we are going through now to plan our wedding. It is also something I wanted to do because I wanted to archive this time in my life because it passes so quickly. I have 3 other blogs already so it made sense to write about this aspect of my life on a new blog especially if it can be of help to other Chicago brides and couples looking to research this very happy yet expensive time. I plan to write about all the companies and vendors I meet and how we plan on getting this whole event together for less than the average amount of money it costs to get married these days.

I am still not sure if everything has hit me yet. I am not giddy or crying or a mess. I can recall though how my boyfriend popped the proposal question: Continue reading “OMG! I just got engaged, how my boyfriend proposed”