have you looked into the rookery? it was perfect for a wedding of about 150 people...
we got married at the Crystal Gardens at navy pier, it was SOOOO magical and amazing, gorgeous, and the food was totally outstanding people went up for 2nds and 3rds and it was really cool for everyone to interact with eachtoher instead of a traditional sit down. (which you can also have) everyone loved it. we did the minimum, and stayed within our budget. i would TOTALLY recommend this, and ANY of my guests would too. the service was outstanding also, the wedding coordinator does everything for you Samantha, and the servers saved me 1 of each appetizer and dessert, incase i missed anything and are totally attentive.
Have you looked at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum? They can seat 200 for dinner.
Highly recommend Pazzo's! We had the best time at our wedding there and thought it was just so beautiful. Not one bad thing happened that day, and Fay runs a highly organized and efficient operation to ensure you have nothing to worry about. She's also felxible on the options without charging extra (i.e. we did Cabernet and Pinot Grigio for wine since I despise Chardonnay, at no extra charge).
I agree that the River East and the Museum are gorgeous venues, and with that there is a higher price tag and more to coordinate. I didnt want to have to worry about all of the details that day; i wanted to enjoy myself so that and the cost was how we decided on Pazzo's. So glad too, becuase had we done anything else we'd have been way over our budget. Little things add up more and more the closer you get to the big day.
If you want to see photos of the venue how we had it setup, check out Yelp for photos and also my photographer's slideshow around Image 48-88. http://www.thorsenphotography.com/kristin_mike/.
Hope that helps!
Ditto above post about Pazzo's. Our wedding is there in October and Fay has been extremely helpful. We just had our tasting and everything was amazing! And the price is definitley right!
Though my wedding is not until July, I love working with Pazzo's. I have several family and friends that have been to weddings there and loved it. The food was excellent at the tastings.
I really wanted MCA at first, but I saw the initial quote and it was out of control. I think that Pazzo's atmosphere is something unusal that people will remember.
All three do a great job, so the best advice I have is to go with your instincts and pick the place that best represents your style and/or theme, with the coordinator/manager that you "click" with best, and offers you the most value for whatever your budget level is. From a photo perspective, here are some additional notes about each place: River East has the beautiful River Walk right behind it, Pazzos also has a nice river bridge nearby, and the Museum has an amazing staircase and other great interior spots for pictures. Also, what you have going for you with all of these locations is since they already have stunning decor it won't really be necessary to invest as much on additional embellishments as you would with some other venues, so maybe knowing you can likely save a little on decorations will give you a bit more leeway on your options with venues to help with your decision.
Here a few pictures of a recent wedding we did at Pazzos:
I'm assuming you're having around 150 guests, so here are a few other "modern design" places in the area that you might also want to check out:
The Wit Hotel - http://www.thewithotel.com
Carnivale - http://www.carnivalechicago.com
Adler Planetarium - http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/private/index.shtml
Follow your heart and trust your instincts. Advice from friends and family is good, but make sure you use it to help confirm YOUR own choices. The #1 regret I hear from brides later is that they wished they would have done more of the things they wanted to do, and not always what everyone was telling them to do. Good luck!
We had our wedding at Pazzos in September. We had many, many compliments on the venue overall, and the food was a huge hit as well. Since it is a restaurant, the food will likely be better (and cheaper) than any place you can cater from. Additionally, we used the North hallway at the top of the elevators for our cocktail hour, which was a big hit and made the venue appear that much larger and elegant. Keep in mind, if you use that option, you will have to figure out music for that area, but our DJ was very reasonable and set up another system up there for very little extra. Faye is wonderful to work with and she was extremely accommodating. There was a table missing for some reason when we arrived, but Faye was on it so quick it was barely noticed. You won't need a wedding planner with her at the helm. She has personally attended every single wedding she has organized since she started there.
I agree with the above posts, the venue is incredibly unique and the photos are beautiful. Trust me, at the end of the day, whatever you decide will be beautiful. The price of everything gets so out of control, I don't think you can get a more unique venue for the price and the service.
I can't speak to these venues in much detail but since it seems like you're stepping away from a typical ballroom space (good idea!), thought I'd offer up the Ivy Room at Tree Studios. http://www.ivyroomchicago.com/home.shtml This is a little pricier but where you spend on venue you can save on booze - we're bringing in our own from Binny's and saving about $3500! The venue (if you choose summer) is stunning with the outdoor courtyard. Indoors, the hardwood floor and high ceilings make for a really nice blank canvas to do whatever you wish. I adore this venue so I'm a little bias. One consideration w/ the River East Art Center is while the space is great, the huge white columns block some guests' view, making for several 'bad seats.' though not a deal breaker. Best of luck!
Thank you everyone for all of the comments! Every comment has been helpful and I will be looking at all of the other venue suggestions.
Pazzo's seems to have such an overwhelmingly positive response - it will definitely remain on our short list. However, I would like to hear more feed back about the River East Art Center. Does anyone have any personal experience in dealing with this venue?
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