Post # 1
We are down to two venues for both our ceremony and reception – the Irish American Heritage Center and Ravenswood Event Center. Has anyone had any experience with either of these places? Good, bad or otherwise??
Post # 3
we helped some friends of ours host their 10th anniversary party at the Irish American Heritage Center. we used the semi-private space on the first floor, not their fancier spaces on the higher floors. Everything went smoothly, and the staff we dealt with was very easy going and accomodating; and there weren’t that many upcharges… but that event was much lower key than a wedding (as I’ve now learned, in planning my own wedding this year!).
Post # 4
@bigfatgrace: Congrats on narrowing down your venue choices! My fiance and I are getting married at Ravenswood Event Center next August and they have been a dream to work with! They’ve been very quick to reply with any questions I’ve had, no matter how small or trivial. I also love the location – easily accessible by train, plenty of cabs, and not too far from the downtown hotels.
While our wedding hasn’t happened yet, I will say that I’ve been to a number of events there and each one has taken my breath away. It’s such a unique venue and for people who haven’t been there before, it’s an amazing surprise. The entranceway looks like that of an office building, but you’re suddenly transported into a fun and elegant event space. I think it has that wow-factor.
If you haven’t made your decision yet, I’d be happy to answer any specific questions you might have about our experience working with the team at Ravenswood Event Center.
Post # 5
I’ve been to the Irish Heritage Center many a times, but never for a wedding. It’s a pretty lovely space. Nothing glamourous or exciting, really. But it’s great if you are looking for a subdued space. The Ravenswood Event Center, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. Same goes with price. It’s a bargain to go the Irish Heritage Center route. You’re looking at 120/person at the Ravenswood space.
Post # 6
We are also looking into the IAHC for our Reception. I’ve heard great things about price and that the bar package is usually negotiable. Bigfatgrace, did you decide on IAHC vs. Ravenswood Event Center??
I am just recently engaged, but planning on a September wedding. Still waiting for a callback or email from someone at the Heritage Center…
Post # 7
@SeptBride81 – We decided on IAHC. After meeting with Andy at Ravenswood Event Center, I was pretty annoyed. He double booked our date with barely an apology and when we were trying to find another that would work, he was very tight-lipped about telling us what was available. (I get that you don’t want to broadcast that your venue is wide open but geez – you think you could be a little flexible since you screwed up your calendar!) We settled on a new date, discussed options for our budget and Andy agreed to send us a proposal which he never did – even after follow up requests. So in the end I’m not sure who dumped who but we felt we didn’t love the space that much to deal with someone we were uncomfortable with and we just didn’t think we could write all those checks to someone so jerky. I know others have had great experiences there – it just didn’t feel right for us.
Kevin at IAHC however is the nicest man ever. He is very busy though and I find the best way to get in touch with him is via email. He’s usually pretty quick to respond but his emails tend to be very short and just answer your questions directly without any fluff. His office hours are from 2-10pm Tues -Sat which works great if you have 9-5 type job. Because there are lots of events and a bar on the first floor that are open to the public, you can pretty much go in there to look around whenever you want. There have been a few occasions when we dropped by with family from out of town and there was always a volunteer available to show us the Erin Ballroon upstairs as long as no one else was using it.
We are having our ceremony in the Fifth Province Hall on the first floor and the reception in the Erin Ballroom on the fourth. We’re expecting about 200 people.
– you can use any vendor you want for anything
– huge free parking lot
– 1/2 block off the highway
– piano on site – they can recommend pianists if you want that for yoru ceremony
– Erin Room is huge and beautiful – 9 or 12 (can’t remember) Waterford Crystal chandaliers, huge bar, wood floors, sconces, stage, retractable screens for slide show, strobe lights in ceiling above dance floor etc. It’s painted a pretty neutral green so you can use any colors in there that would look great.
– Bar package, though pricey, is pretty cool – 4 beers on tap (you can bring in personal favorites) plus a whole lot more bottled options. They will bring in whatever wine and spirits brands you want as well.
– Currently repaving the front of the building with one of those brick fundraisers so you can get a brick with your names and wedding date or whatever.
– closest decent hotel is the Holiday Inn on Touhy – about 3.5 miles up 94
– pricey bar package
– guests will have to go downstairs and outside to smoke
– Fifth Province area is a little small would need some dressing up for the ceremony
I’m sure there’s more but that’s all I can think of right now. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.
Post # 8
@bigfatgrace: THANK YOU so much for the detailed post!
We are getting married at St. Benedict Church nearby, and I think we have also decided on the Erin Room at the IAHC. We are also considering a cocktail hour in the 2nd floor museam. Finally got in to look at the whole building last week, and we have been working with Deirdre, and she is great to deal with. (I guess they underwent some internal change, which is why they were so slow in getting back to me). It’s an amazing space with so many “pros”, but I agree with you about the “cons” you listed. Just some questions/comments – I want your opinion about (this is stressful!)
– I checked out the Marriott Spring Hill Suites on Higgins & Cumberland…nicer than that Holday Inn, and at only $99/night (includes parking & free breakfast).
– Bar package IS steep. We are considering the mid-level open bar package ($30/person). Which did you choose? I am debating if doing a tab at the end of the night would turn out to be cheaper than the approx $6000 (with tip/tax) package option.
– What catering company are you using? I am getting info from 3 of the companies on the IAHC’s preferred vendor list. My concern is that they need to provide all dishes/flatware/glasses and linens.
– Are you doing chaircovers? The basic chairs they have in the Erin Room are kind of 80s
I would love to get your feedback, as another bride in my situation!!
Post # 9
We are going with the premium bar package because we are insane. 🙂 We have a big family and they all like a good drink so we decided early on that was one area we had to splurge on. Good idea about going the tab route though – I am going to ask about that as well.
We are using C-Catering Boutique which is actually the high-end catering arm of Biaggio’s. At first I did not really think we would go with them because I was only familiar with their casual “pasta over a sterno” type catering but we went for the tasting anyway and it was great! We’re having stations – some of the items include bbq pulled pork, short ribs, mac and cheese, toasted orza salad, etc, etc. Since we’re getting married on Cinco de Mayo (not on purpose!) we’re having a Mexican Food themed station too. Their plate cost includes a colored silk linen but I’m fuzzy on the rest of those details – we’re supposed to go over that sometime next week. The caterer is bringing all the linens, dishes for the table, water glasses and coffee cups. The rest of the glassware is provided by the bar.
I don’t think we are going to bother with chair covers. I don’t love them either but they we figured they are netural enough so that was one area we were going to cut.
Yay! Awesome to find someone using the same venue. I’ll keep ya posted!
Post # 10
@ ohmybears 48, @bigfatrace and @septbride81
I’m having my wedding at the IAHC next September (9/28/13). I’m using the 5th province for my ceremony and the Erin Room for my reception. I’ve been going back and forth regarding caterers and who to select. I have’t gone to any tastings yet, as it’s too soon. Instead i’ve been reading reviews about each of the preferred vendors. I have a guest list that was at 300 and i’ve got it down to 270. To me, having food stations causes inconsistencies with when people get up and when people are seated with a group that size. Some will be finished eating while others are just getting their food. However, I’m not totally ruling it out.
Therefore, I’m wondering what helped you with your decisions on hiring the caterer. Was it the tasting? What ameneties they offer? Service?
In addition, I was also looking into chair covers only because of the condition of the chairs. When I saw them they looked dirty and stained. I really don’t want to get them if I don’t have to. Maybe with the lights dimmed, no one will really notice???
Also, thanks posting info on the hotels. I was totally leaning toward the Holiday Inn b/c it is right off of 94 – basically a straight shot. My attention getter with the hotels is which one can shuttle my guests to the hotel after the reception so no one drives drunk.
I look forward to being a part of this thread with you! This is so helpful!
Post # 11
@bigfatgrace: I was wondering if you could tell me how much it is to have the reception at the heritage center. Deirdre is out till the 11th and I am trying to get my information all striaghtened out. Also, the heritage center provides the alcohol not the caterer? Can you bring your own in or no? Also, the caterer provides the linens, not the center? Let me know, thanks.