Picking a Wedding Reception Location in Chicago Area
Picking a date for my wedding has hinged on finding a location to hold the wedding reception in the Chicago Area. There is 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 anything 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.
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 a 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 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 is 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:
ASTORIA’S LIMITED TIME SPECIAL OFFER:
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 southwest 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 an $11,000.00 minimum spend also. So, they’re out too.
I was going to consider 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://manzosbanquetscom/