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need everyone's opinion on wedding venue! ahhh!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
So now, we have 2 places on hold for November 3, 2007. We're like 80% sure that this will be THE date now.

The two places we have on hold:
The Elizabeth Cheney Mansion, which is an old restored historic mansion in Oak Park
and
The Crystal Ballroom at the Fairmont Chicago

I'm really, really torn.

Pros of Cheney Mansion:
-It's really beautiful
-It's private. We'd be the only event there
-It's unique...who DOESN'T use a hotel ballroom?
-We can do both the ceremony and the reception there
-Did I mention it's private?

Cons of Cheney Mansion
-It's expensive. Wildly, wildly expensive, to the tune of being 5K over budget right out of the gate. The rental on the place is just under 3K which is the least expensive of any private place I was able to scout out, but the meals START at $100 a person. They START there. They WILL let us bring our own caterer (the guy my family uses for all of our big parties charges between $40-70 a plate total with service and glassware), only they have to meet with him 3 times and to do that they need to charge us $500 extra and completely inconvenience our other caterer. But it's possible.
-We'd only have the place for 5 hours...which seems like a lot, but between a ceremony, the receiving lines, the meal, the toasts...that leaves very little time for anything else.
-The dining and dancing would be on two separate floors and the mansion itself is NOT handicapped accessible. This means that my grandfather, for one, who has been such a fundamental part of my upbringing and life, would miss our first dance and other festivities.

Pros of the Fairmont:
-IT'S THE FAIRMONT
-The food would be unbelievable. There would be cocktails. They would blow out all the stops. It would be right out of a book and I wouldn't have to lift a single finger at any point.
-We could DANCE. ALL. NIGHT.
-The head of catering has been my dad's patient since I was a baby. They're good friends and my dad has helped Wayne out a lot. Therefore, Wayne is going to help us out a lot. By waiving all of the rentals and negotiating on the price. Which is normally about $250 a head. My dad could probably talk him down to about $100 a person, and with no rentals, we'd save the money we'd be spending on the Cheney mansion
-Whever we needed a break or if we wanted to head to bed early, we'd be staying there for our wedding night anyway.

Cons of the Fairmont:
-The room we have on hold, while it has, according to the website "magnificent sconces", does not have windows overlooking the city. That room was booked. I'm going to ask if they have that room open the following week, which is why the date could still change, but I don't like the idea of being enclosed in a ballroom, sconces or not.
-Ballrooms are generic. I mean, even at the Fairmont...they're generic.
-There would be other events going on. Possibly other weddings. For me, that somehow cheapens it a little. Of course, I'll probably be oblivious and not care or remember when it actually comes down to it. but, yeah...
-On the same note, because my family pays $59 a night to stay at the F-mont, my out of town guests would probably be staying there. As would Ian and I on our wedding night. That sort of weirds me out. Maybe they could arrange it so no one else knows where we are in the hotel and we're far, far away from everyone else.
-We'd have to find somewhere else to put the ceremony, which costs more money.

So, thoughts anyone?!?!?! I love me some TCS advice!!!
post #2 of 26
Fairmont. Sounds much better

Cons of the Fairmont:
-The room we have on hold, while it has, according to the website "magnificent sconces", does not have windows overlooking the city. That room was booked. I'm going to ask if they have that room open the following week, which is why the date could still change, but I don't like the idea of being enclosed in a ballroom, sconces or not.

Everyone's going to be looking at you, not out the windows Now that I think of it - our reception was fully enclosed, and I never even thought about windows or lack thereof. How far a walk would it be for people to go outside and get fresh air?

-Ballrooms are generic. I mean, even at the Fairmont...they're generic.

Maybe people use ballrooms because they're the most practical place to seat a large number of guests? Whatever the name, all you need is a large space, and you make the interior of it an non-generic as you can.


-There would be other events going on. Possibly other weddings. For me, that somehow cheapens it a little. Of course, I'll probably be oblivious and not care or remember when it actually comes down to it. but, yeah...

That doesn't make your day less special. It's not as though people are going to get bored with your wedding and go to someone elses Pretty much everyone gets married at some stage of their life (sometimes more than once, greedy people!), so yes, odds are there may be others there. Who cares? You won't see them from your enclosed ballroom

-On the same note, because my family pays $59 a night to stay at the F-mont, my out of town guests would probably be staying there. As would Ian and I on our wedding night. That sort of weirds me out. Maybe they could arrange it so no one else knows where we are in the hotel and we're far, far away from everyone else.

There was accommodation at the place we had our wedding, and I've stayed in the same hotel as the bridal party for weddings, and I actually like it. It was really nice to go downstairs the next morning for a buffet breakfast, and have everyone else come and go while they had breakfast as well. It was lovely to catch up with the people who had made an effort to travel since it was so hard to see them the night before.


-We'd have to find somewhere else to put the ceremony, which costs more money.

I'm sure you could find somewhere nearby that would be within the budget. A nice park maybe? Gardens? You've got a year to plan it - plenty of time to find something nice.

It sounds as though the people running the Fairmont will go the extra mile to make things perfect for you, especially since you know someone there, whereas that may not be the case at the other place. Ultimately, whatever you choose, it's going to be beautiful, and you'll be surrounded by your loved ones marrying the man of your dreams. Little things like lack of windows, or someone else getting married on the floor above you really aren't going to matter.
post #3 of 26
I think the very very most important thing to consider is your grandfather. I've had 2 weddings - they were fun, and a fun party, but the things I remember the most are the emotional things like toasts, and dancing and people. At my first wedding I never even got to eat! Go for the Fairmont and make sure this special, special person can share it with you!
post #4 of 26
Just on the incovenience of your grandfather (and any other guests who may be handicapped or have trouble with stairs) I would go with the Fairmont, and as far as the cons, I agree with everything Sarah said
post #5 of 26
I'm kind of leaning towards the Fairmont as well. Take it from me, your wedding will go by so quickly anyways that if you only had the venue for 5 hours it would be far too short.
post #6 of 26
No brainer.... fairmont
post #7 of 26
Yes - definitely the Fairmont. You will never forgive yourself if your grandfather can't be there! And it sounds lovely!
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LokisMum View Post
Yes - definitely the Fairmont. You will never forgive yourself if your grandfather can't be there! And it sounds lovely!
I say the Fairmont too They are least likely to screw up too I think..
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
post #10 of 26
Cheney mansion looks really nice, but I still think the Fairmont is the winner...
post #11 of 26
I'm with everyone else - the Fairmont for sure.It's very important that your grandfather be able to attend. In the end, a wedding is about celebration with the people who care about you. And you'll remember this more than the prettier view at the other place, or the million other little things that we tend to get carried away on when planning our weddings.
post #12 of 26
I say the Fairmont also, trust me 2 weeks after the wedding no one will remember how, where or what, but you and your grandfather will remember for the rest of your lives that he wasn't there I barely remembered any detail of my wedding or reception, i was so busy, my reception was around 7-8 hrs long too We're split up now, but boy do I wish I would've had a videographer
post #13 of 26
There are lots of things to consider, and I agree with many of the responses ahead of mine. Here's my over-arching advice: while this will be one of the biggest days of your life - celebrating your love - it's still just a party. Try not to get caught up in the wedding industry hype. I don't think it's worth going into debt for it. The Mansion will put you 5k over budget from the start, which is a lot of money. Looking back, you don't want to regret spending money on one night that you could have used for something else in your new life together. (5k can be used toward a great vacation or two, towards the down payment of a house, etc.)

When my DH and I got married, we were very conscious of staying within a certain budget and several years later are still very glad we got/did the important things we wanted, yet didn't blow out and go over-the-top.

Good luck in making your decision. Besides the money factor, you'll want to consider the comfort and ease for your guests...so from my standpoint, it sounds like the Fairmont is the best bet. You can plan a lot of other things to make the ceremony and reception unique.

Enjoy your planning! The time will go quickly!
post #14 of 26
The fairmont sounds like a good option. Hotels should know what they are doing as they have done it lots of times before, it will be cheaper and your grandfather can attend. Wherever you choose, I'm sure you will have a fantastic day, and the most important thing is the love between you and your fiance. It will be a lovely day, surrounded by all your family and friends
post #15 of 26
The Mansion is gorgeous, but: Your wedding day is going to be pretty much of a blur within a very short time, and Murphy's Law definitely applies to weddings, so I'd say save yourself some money, and make sure your grandfather can fully participate.
Your marriage is more important than the wedding ceremony. Want to hear a horrific story? Friends of mine spent ages planning the perfect wedding. I was abroad in the interim year, and came back just in time to attend the wedding. To my horror, they had split up, and the bride married another guy, using the same reservations, plans, what have you!!! She at least had the invitations reprinted, but still - I never had the same respect for her, because the "show" was more important to her than the relationship. My sister had an incredibly elaborate wedding way back in 1980, and all anybody remembers is that the groom somehow managed to lose his shoes at the reception!
As far as guests staying at the same hotel is concerned, you both might be too exhausted to actually "consummate" the marriage(, and how many brides are actually virgins nowadays?) Our wedding day was so long (religious and civil ceremonies in one day) that most of our guests ended up spending the night, and we spent our first night of "marital bliss" on a lounge chair in a storage closet!
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
As far as guests staying at the same hotel is concerned, you both might be too exhausted to actually "consummate" the marriage(, and how many brides are actually virgins nowadays?) Our wedding day was so long (religious and civil ceremonies in one day) that most of our guests ended up spending the night, and we spent our first night of "marital bliss" on a lounge chair in a storage closet!
We were exhausted by the end of the day. It was a huge day and I never went to the bathroom once I had that dress on (around midday), cause it was just too hard, so by the time we got to bed, I had a belly ache, I was tired, and had to undo all the hair pins which took aaaages, then shower to get rid of all the make up and hairspray.

All we could think about was sleep!!!!!!
post #17 of 26
I would go with the Crystal Ballroom at the Fairmont.
post #18 of 26
I would go with the Fairmont. Everybody is right the day just goes by so fast. I got married at a beautiful mansion right near my house and I really don't remember a bit of it. And to tell you the truth I didn't get compliments on the mansion everybody was talking about the decorations that my family and I worked on. I had pictures of my husband and I during different seasons scattered around the room as well as my cats. Some of the pictures were really clever. Two were made to look like magazine covers, Cosmootpolitian, since it is a moot point on those types of articles and ZQ and now my husband can snooze rather than go out. I had titles of articles like Never cook again. How to marry a personal chef. and my husbands article was Don't bring your work home. How to get her to go out for dinner and other clever things that had people laughing. Most people remember the sentimental things, the touches that make the day special and about the two of you and the love you share together.

As a caterer we have done many wedding and listening to guests if the wedding is from the heart and have personal touches that is what the guest remember most.

I wish you all the best and I am sure your day will be beautiful whatever you decide.
post #19 of 26
I personally, would go for the Fairmont! Although the other does sound like a beautiful place, The cost is just ridiculous! Especially on a budget...!
post #20 of 26
I didn't look at the pictures as I concur with the others about the having it at the Fairmont.
I do not know what time you are getting married but remember in November it does get dark by 5:30 or so. The prices blow me away!!! (since I was married in 1985) Would you rather have people walk around the place or visit with friends and family. Plus 5 hours isn't alot of time!! And your grandfather's disability must be taken into consideration too.
post #21 of 26
I agree with the Fairmont as well. Its GORGEOUS!!
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by babyharley View Post
I agree with the Fairmont as well. Its GORGEOUS!!
Yeah, generally the Fairmont is regarded along with the Ritz and the Drake around here. A wedding reception would generally start at about $235 a person and go up up and up more depending on what you want. This place would definitely NOT be a consideration unless we knew Wayne as well as we do, along with knowing about 10-12 other staff members. As it is, the rooms start at about $390 a night...we pay $59 since we have so many close friends there.

In Chicago, the AVERAGE price for a wedding is about $150 a person for a suburban or chain-hotel affair....and right on up from there. Downtown, a moderatly sized wedding with the basics will cost right around $25,000-30,000. And it's a shame because there's nowhere else for us to go....both of our families live either around here, or in his case, NYC and in my case Boston. Translation: not any cheaper. And the 'burb I grew up in is sort of the Beverly Hills of Northern IL, so, yeah. THere's no escaping these prices. Unless we do a destination wedding to Kenosha or something. My parents, who are very traditional, do not want us to elope or have a destination wedding and have agreed to give us about 15 grand, and his family will be sending us on our honeymoon and covering the Rehearsal.
We will have between 80 and 100 guests.

But....yeah. Coming in at about $3,000 for the rental, the Cheney mansion was literally the cheapest private location we would find. Except for this one divey ballroom on the near-west side that only cost like 2K. It's RIDICULOUS.

I tell ya, this whole wedding thing is a racket. Who wants to change careers and go into the wedding business with me?!

Ian and have discussed this, and the more we think about it and take everyone else's opinions and advice into consideration, we're leaning towards the Fairmont, but want to go back to both places again before we put down our non-refundable deposit. The Fairmont doesn't fit into our original vision of the day, but the more we think about it, the better that idea becomes. But we'll see. It's a November wedding in Chicago after all...not the most beautiful or popular time of year. Maybe the Cheney mansion will make us an offer we can't refuse.

But I'm pretty sure our friends will really go the extra mile for us. We'll see what they have to say when Ian and I go to see them next week.
post #23 of 26
For me it would be a no-brainer. I would gladly give up a city view for a view of my grandfather at my reception. The city will always be here, your grandfather will not.

Take it from someone who has lost a lot of family members, don't ever give up a second of your time that you should have spent with them. Ever. I'm willing to bet you would regret it.
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post
For me it would be a no-brainer. I would gladly give up a city view for a view of my grandfather at my reception. The city will always be here, your grandfather will not.

Take it from someone who has lost a lot of family members, don't ever give up a second of your time that you should have spent with them. Ever. I'm willing to bet you would regret it.
Well, he'd still BE there at the Cheney mansion, but if we can't get a wheelchair up the stairs, he'd miss the dancing
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
Well, he'd still BE there at the Cheney mansion, but if we can't get a wheelchair up the stairs, he'd miss the dancing
I agree with Kelly. There'd be no way I'd have my wedding/reception at a location that my whole family couldnt attend - I know you'll make the right decision on where to have it! Either way, we all know its going to be a beautiful, beautiful wedding
post #26 of 26
I have to agree with the Fairmont. Your grandfather should be able to take part in all activities. I am sure he would be crushed if he couldn't witness your first dance, etc. It would just remind him further of his disabilities.
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