Wednesday, January 28, 2009

19th Century Club - Reception Site

Fortunately for readers of this blog, you were spared my search for a reception venue. S and I were engaged at the beginning of March '08 and over the following two months I searched high and low. If you even somewhat resembled a reception site, I was emailing you/calling you/searching your web site. It was frustrating, especially as I had no clue how anything else in my budget was going to pan out, so making such an important decision so early on was frightening.

One place, however, that I did not contact early on was the 19th Century Club in Oak Park. I knew exactly where it was - as I'd once upon a time lived right around the corner from it! - but I didn't think it would be "up to my standards," whatever those might have been. In my defense, when you're comparing it to locations that have flashy web sites and fancy menus, it becomes easy to overlook what is obviously a perfect fit.

Source: Oak Park Convention & Visitor's Bureau

I ended up visiting the Club last May '08 and was so warmly welcomed. It was the only reception site that I actually visited in person and I knew once I was actually in the ballroom that this was going to be the place.

The pale grey walls of the ballroom are paired with beautiful hardwood floors and a snowy white ceiling - a perfect backdrop for any reception. You don't have to worry about your decor and colors fighting with colorful drapery and rugs. On top of everything, there is a separate space on the first floor for a cocktail reception, and by renting out the ballroom for the evening you have access to the entire club. The ballroom comfortably seats around 130 people (perfect for my group!) and has a perfect location in Oak Park, which a little park across the street for photos.

Seems too good to be true? It almost is. The price is really affordable, from rental fees to catering and you don't feel pressured to sign on the dotted line about making a decision to book it (but they will pencil you into the calendar for your date without a deposit, and let you know if someone else inquires about the date, giving you the option to book immediately). Best of all, the 19th Century Club is a women's club who, amongst many of their good deeds, have many philanthropic causes including a scholarship program.

Once we booked the site, everything else has fallen into place so easily, from church to florist and everything in between. But the best part is that even though my parents live in Central Illinois, because both my sister and I lived in Oak Park for a little while just out of college, my parents know the area and can still feel like they're hosting the event, even if it's not on their home turf!


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