As I mentioned earlier, we are super excited to have our wedding at Cheney Mansion, but it wasn’t without compromises.
Map via Weddingmapper
Location, location, location:
We live on the North side of Chicago, and our wedding will be on the North end of the Magnificent Mile. We really wanted our reception to be convenient to the church. That would be convenient for our guests and simpler for us. Except. There was really nothing we loved within walking distance of the church. There were places that were fine, for sure, but still pretty expensive for “Meh, it’ll work.”
When we started seriously considering making people go between locations (something both of us have done, and I know is common, but is still not convenient or my first choice), we got specific. We looked at our guest list and tried to figure out who we were inconveniencing. Shamrock’s family driving in from Indiana? It will actually be cheaper to drive out to the suburbs than park all day downtown, and they all have to drive anyhow. My family flying in from California, Texas, and Colorado? Both my parents live in Oak Park, so they might actually prefer to stay out there no matter where the wedding is (something we didn’t think of, but makes a lot of sense). Our friends who live near us in Lakeview? Can’t win ’em all”¦they would definitely prefer something downtown. But the list helped—it showed us we are inconveniencing 11 people (plus dates). That’s not that many, and they are all good friends.
Since this venue (that we like more) is less expensive than our other choices, we can provide some kind of transportation if we decide that’s important to us. Although of the friends mentioned above, several have already said that’s ridiculous and we don’t need to. (They also said they’d probably drive and would work out carpools) On the map above, the other two icons are my parents’ houses—at least it’s convenient for someone!
Status: No problem—and not as big a deal as we thought.
Image via Cheney Mansion
You can see from the picture above that the main room (the Living Room) does not hold over 100 people. In fact, the max is eight tables, so 80 people. Through the doors in the far corner is the Garden Room, which will fit two more tables, and off the left side of that room is the Parlor, which holds three more. That should fit enough people for our full wedding, but not all in the same room.
Honestly, that’s not ideal. I would want to eat in the same room as the bride & groom at a wedding, and might feel like I was missing out if I was in a different room. OK, not might. I would feel like I was missing out. But at the same time, what we love is that it’s an old house and that’s how it feels; there are a number of spaces where people can just hang out. Guests can go outside to dance, enjoy the gardens, stay inside and chat, or explore the house.
According to the coordinator, cocktail hour happens outside, then they gather everyone on the patio for the first dance and toasts (so no one has to miss anything) and then head inside for dinner. Dinner is just that, eating, so the separate rooms shouldn’t be a huge issue. We also asked both of our parents if they would be OK with their friends or family members eating in the other room, and everyone said they didn’t care at all. It’s still not great, but I don’t anticipate fights over who isn’t in the main room later on.
Status: This is a big compromise.
We have to end at 10:30 if we do dancing outside (our first choice) or 11:00 if we do dancing in the third floor ballroom. That’s on the early side, but our reception will start by 5:30. We think that’s still a long enough event and we are both very much morning people (you can usually find us up before 7:00 AM on a Saturday, but good luck finding us anywhere but asleep after 11:00 PM). While early-ish, this wasn’t a big deal for us.
Many members of Shamrock’s family are fairly likely to make the hour-plus drive home after the wedding, so a reception that didn’t go till midnight is probably a plus for them as well. (I went to a former coworker’s wedding and took the hotel shuttle—once we were in the driver kindly informed us he would be coming back for two runs—one at 12:15 and the other at 1:00 AM. What?!?! We were waiting outside with all the old people who were half asleep, and the other two weddings were already finished by then.)
Status: Not a big deal for us.
Did you have to compromise for a venue you loved? What things did you let go?