Check 1 and 2: Booking a venue and setting the date

You know you’ve picked the right wedding venue when you go out of your way to drive past it After weeks of scrutinizing our guest list, budget and vision, we finally took the plunge and put down a deposit for June 12, 2010 at the Ravenswood Billboard Factory.  I am so in love with this space it hurts.

We wanted an un-traditional wedding venue, that was urban, striking and chic.  We wanted the option to buy our own liquor and personalize the space with African and Polish elements, and – we are on a budget.

Essentially, Ravenswood was everything we were looking for in a venue plus more!  Not only will we have aceess to two floors (dinner in the loft and cocktails/dancing in the atrium on the top floor with floor-to-ceiling windows), we also have two rooftops! You can see the view of the Chicago skyline, including the Sears Tower, from the rooftop and the Chicago “El” (our metro) passes right by every ten minutes.  The plan is to have cocktails in the atrium at 5pm while it is light outside, dinner in the loft space from 6-8, then dancing and drinks back up in the atrium at nightfall until 2am (which is way too early to end a Polish wedding, but you know, you gotta work with what you got).

The Atrium (3rd floor)

The Atrium (3rd floor) where cocktail hour and then dancing will be held.

One would think that this far in advance, I would have the pick of the litter when it comes to dates. Surprisingly to us, we didn’t have much of a choice.  My fiance and I were on the same page wanting a summer wedding in Chicago (we have lots of OOT guests and it would be a punishment to make them come in the winter).  This summer was too soon since both of us are starting new jobs, so that left summer 2010.  Chicago in July and August is as unbearable as the winter is in January and February, so that left June.  Now, get this…Ravenswood was already booked for 3 weekends in June 2010 so that left only June 12.  So that’s what we took.

It took us longer than most couples to decide the venue, but only because it required a lot of work.  Booking a blank loft space is not easy.  I had to get estimates for everything from napkins, to glasses, to service, to lighting.  There were points when I wanted to give up (on my dream) and choose an “easier” venue.  However, after all our research, after calculating the costs, Ravenswood is less than any other “easy” space we were looking for in the city.  So yes, it’s more work, but if you have the energy, it’s worth it in the end.

We will be personalizing the space, the liquor and the menu ourselves, and I plan on doing many DIY projects to offset the venue fee – so I look forward to sharing those details to you as we make them.

{David Wittig}


View of the atrium and the adjacent rooftop.


View of the Loft (2nd floor) where dinner will be held.


View of the two rooftops (one comes off the Atrium and the lower one comes off the Loft where dinner will be held)