Lessons Learned In Chicago Wedding Venues
Let’s just say, searching for banquet halls in Windy City suburbs wasn’t really something that we had planned to do… 3 weeks before the wedding. When John popped the question in March, I thought that we had all the time in the world. Honestly, we could not have been more wrong about that. Though, in our defense, this one wasn’t really our fault.
The Milwaukee Wedding Venue Incident
One of the first things we decided to do was to take care of all the ‘time sensitive’ issues first, such as picking out wedding venues, sending out invitations and so forth… so, when we had all these major tasks out of the way, we were able to breathe easily.
We decided to get married near where we were thinking about buying a house: Milwaukee. We found this cute wedding venue just outside the city, and it really made us excited! The features they provided were unbelievable – catering, banquet halls, outdoor options, and even overnight rooms. How was the pricing? Stellar. It seemed almost too good to be true.
Turns out, it was.
My first inklings that something was ‘off’ happened on the day we decided to scope the place out. I have to say, we were floored when we arrived at the venue – it was an absolutely gorgeous estate …very picturesque.
We got the tour of the venue, and I was sold. John seemed all for the idea as well, so it wasn’t just me. Then, as we decided to finalize the deal, the ‘manager’ took us into the ‘office’. That was when I noticed – there were no personal pictures in the room of staff and their families. Who does that? Were they just being super professional? The office itself was spotless… almost as if it was seldom used.
However, because I figured John was also on board, we just decided to finalize the deal right then. Bam. 75% of our wedding budget had just been blown when I wrote the check. These guys were good. After shaking hands, and even getting a hug from the ‘manager’s wife’, John and I left that wedding venue overly excited. We had just knocked that deal out of the park! Right.
We hadn’t heard back from them in months. We thought this was normal, actually – that is until one of my bridesmaids asked me if the venue had contacted us to confirm details. When she replied, “Well, that’s odd,” with a suspicious look on her face, my mind began to wander. Immediately, I dug my phone out of my purse, and called the venue’s number… and I heard that iconic, yet horrifying, “The number you have dialed has been disconnected…”
I left for Milwaukee the following morning, only to find that the property was ‘closed’. I could not find a single bit of contact information, nor way to track these guys down.
The police would later tell us that they were most likely scam artists, and investigators are doing their best to find them. Wedding date: 3 weeks to go.
Chicago For the Save
Luckily, we still had some money left. We saved a bundle on flowers, baked our own cake, and bought my wedding dress on Etsy. Also, John was able to get a Christmas bonus, so that really helped.
With 2 weeks to go, we decided to try Chicago wedding venues, and see if there were any openings. Called dozen places including Astoria Banquets. There was not one to be found. However, a week before, we received a call from Max at Astoria, asking us if we were still looking for an opening. The rest of the story? We lived happily ever after.
Ladies and gentlemen, do your research on a venue before you blow the budget. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.