The Planning Begins: The Hunt for a Wedding Recpetion SitePicking a date was a little more difficult than I expected. My fiance is working on his CFA designation, so we both decided it was best to get married when he wasn’t studying. We originally chose September 18, 2010. I wanted May but that’s during his study time, so it was a non-starter. So September it is, but more on the date later.

All I knew was we had to get married in Chicago and we didn’t want it at a banquet hall or hotel. We took a weekend and went to see a bunch of places. We visited the Chicago History Museum, Nature Museum, Cafe Brauer, Park Grill, Museum of Contemporary Art, and many, many, many others. Then the sticker shock hit us…we were shocked on how much these places cost to rent out! We widened our search and gave into looking into a few hotels…James Hotel, Sofitel, W on Lake Shore, Hotel 71…they were all nice, but not what we were looking for. Our favorites were the History Museum and Cafe Brauer, but at the time we didn’t think we would be able to have the reception there…we had a budget and were trying to stay within it.

We widened our search and gave into looking into a few hotels. So we took another day and went to the James Hotel, Sofitel, W on Lake Shore, and Hotel 71. They were all nice, but not what we were looking for. Our favorites were the History Museum and Cafe Brauer, but at the time we didn’t think we would be able to have the reception there. We had a budget and were trying to stay within it.

Then the stress came and time started to fly by. April, May, and June came and went and we still hadn’t made a decision. Things were starting to get booked so we needed to get a move on it. That’s when the nerves and anxiety hit! We had contacted every place in Chicago that we could possibly think of and I was running out of ideas and patience.

Of course, there were a few bumps in the road to our final decision. We thought about having it at Fulton’s on the River. The indoor space was just okay, but the outdoor space was awesome! That was one of our big things…we really wanted a great outdoor space. They took a really long time to get back to us, so we decided to move on. I wasn’t disappointed, though, so knew that wasn’t the place for me.

The search continued. We visited the Ravenswood Event Center and contacted a bunch of other places like A New Leaf, Galleria Marchetti, West Loop Studio, and were even thinking of the South Shore Cultural Center or the 63rd St. Beach House. We really liked the Ravenswood Event Center so decided to move forward with them. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out either.

I wasn’t upset, just pretty stressed out. But when my fiance told me what if we just went with one of our original favorites? He said we can make the budget work so we had to make the decision. Would we go with the History Museum or Cafe Brauer? I didn’t care anymore. I was ecstatic to be able to have our reception at either place. I knew no matter what, it would be amazing! We decided to just go for it and chose Cafe Brauer. I’m so excited and I love this place…it’s old Chicago and that is exactly what we wanted! And I don’t think I have to say how beautiful this place is! So the ceremony is at St. Clement and reception at Cafe Brauer.

So what did we choose? Well, we decided to just go for  Cafe Brauer. I’m so excited! I love this place. It’s old Chicago and that is exactly what we wanted! And I don’t think I have to say how beautiful this place is! So the ceremony is at St. Clement and reception at Cafe Brauer.

Back to the date…this was a big compromise for me. September 18, 25 and October 2 weren’t available at both the church and reception site, so I had to take September 11. I didn’t want this date because of the stigma related to it, but it was actually my parents anniversary so it held special meaning. While many people lost their lives on this tragic day in 2001, we have to remember and celebrate them. And we choose to celebrate the start of a new life on that date.

I’ve gotten all the “oh, you can’t get married that day” comments you can imagine, and I know I’m going to get more, but that is something my fiance and I will have to deal with. After all, it’s about us starting our lives as husband and wife, and celebrating that with our closest friends and family. Next on the list: Finding the perfect photographer.

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