I was wondering the same thing. I will have about the same amount of people, and just found out we had to foot the bill ourself.
Epic Bistro Downtown Kalamazoo should be your first choice!
The reastaurant does have a private dining room up to 24 or
they have wonderful open seating with natural light.
Lucas Ross is the General Mangaer and he will help your create
a personal, budget friendly, menu.
If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to
call me at: 269.492.1617
I've been so happy planing my reception at the Park Club! They are downtown in Kalamazoo, right across the street from the Library. They are NOT exclusive and very willing to do weddings and private parties for non members and the food is PHENOMENAL! Polite, respectful, responsive, fun! I can't say enough good about them. Here's their website: http://www.parkclub.net/
Hope that helps!
I'm also a recently launched photographer. If anyone needs low cost, elegant photography my work is at http://www.facebook.com/almostfantasy
I had my ceremony at First Presbyterian too! I had my rehearsal dinner at The Oaklands on western Michigan's campus. This is a historic home that doubles as a bed and breakfast and a place for events. It is catered by western Michigan university and the prices are very reasonable! I used the money I saved in food and venue to hire a piano player to play on their grand piano while dinner was served. It was an elegant location but was very frugal, I thought that this place was a great find! http://www.wmich.edu/oaklands/
I thought I'd let everyone know what I decided to do, although I haven't officially reserved the space yet. We're going to use the private room at the University Roadhouse. While it isn't as formal or as private as I was hoping for (the room doesn't have doors that close, it's just sort of a walled in space), it will be economical. There isn't a room rental fee, just a $250 minimum on food which we'll meet easily. For the 24 people, I think we'll be able to feed everyone whatever they want, serve plenty of beer, and include gratuity for under $600. Since we're footing the bill ourselves for the majority of the wedding and all of the rehearsal dinner, economy was important.
Here's the other options I looked at that I decided against:
Bilbo's on Stadium: the only other option that looked economical. We just decided it was too casual.
Mangia Mangia: they require a $1000 minimum to use their private room on a Friday night.
Martini's: they require at least 50 people to use their private room.
Old Burdick's: they have their group menu online, their cheapest option without any alcohol would be over $600 with tip for my group.
London Grill: they also have their group menu online and while it's a bit cheaper than Burdicks, including any alcohol would still have been over $600 for 24 people. We also thought their cuisine was a bit too specialized for what we were going for.
Fieldstone Grill: Cheaper than both London Grill and Burdicks but we decided it was too far away. I didn't look into Epic but considering it's more upscale than Fieldstone, I assumed the prices would be higher.
The Oaklands: this was a bit too formal for what we're going for, not to mention it looks like a reasonable amount of planning to get the furniture moved out and tables moved in, plus dealing with a seperate caterer. Too much hassle for me.
Hope this helps...
So awesome of you to post so much of your time consuming research! Thanks so much AmandaS! :)
Alright, another update. We ended up not doing the Roadhouse because they thought it would be a little too cramped in the "private" room with the number of people we had. We booked a private room at Gallagher's on Stadium last night. This is much more of what I was thinking and I'm glad we found it before we booked something else. The room itself is a cool library type room with a fireplace and it is indeed a private room with doors that close, a big bonus for me.
As far as fees go, there's no rental fee, just a $400 minimum for the room we picked and because it's a Friday night. They let you pick 3-4 menu options for guests to pick from and you can do alcohol anyway you choose (open bar, limited bar, by dollar amount etc). Should work out well.
Glad to finally have this checked off my list!
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