Franklin Park, IL 60131
Chicago Minibus was great to work with - we were able to reserve the 3 minibuses a few months out without a deposit, giving us the opportunity to get our RSVPs back in order to figure out how many minibuses we needed to transport our out of town guests to the ceremony and then back to the hotel.
The buses were clean, the drivers courteous and knowledgeable. We did have one minor issue of one of the bus drivers getting lost on the way down to the ceremony which was in Hyde Park on the University of Chicago campus, but that was quickly resolved and our guests arrived on time.
The bridal party also used a minibus to go downtown for photos in between the ceremony and reception - it was a great alternative to a limo, in that there was plenty of room and I didn't have to fuss around with my dress fitting in/out of the vehicle. This was also a very affordable transportation option versus using a limo or trolley. I'd highly recommend Chicago Mini Bus for wedding transportation.
Chicago, IL 60611
Chicago City Centre Hotel was a Holiday Inn hotel when we had our reception there in August 2005. It is now (2007) an independent hotel, not affiliated with Holiday Inn. My husband and I paid for our wedding ourselves and this was definitely one of the more affordable downtown hotels to have our reception. Extras like included bridal suite, parents' rooms, and linens, chairties, candelabras, etc. were part of the package at the time of our wedding.
There were unfortunately no views to the downstairs ballroom, but we had the ballroom and cocktail area all to ourselves (only 1 wedding takes place at time at this hotel) and the space was more than large enough for the 165+ people we had at our reception. Julie Atkinson was the wedding coordinator at the hotel and she and her staff were accommodating to our requests, such as having Maker's mark at the reception for my husband and his friends and she threw in some extras like coordinating red napkins. She was also open to working in some Asian themes for the menu, which we ultimately opted not to do, as a third of our guests were Chinese and we decided that the food was not going to be authentic enough to accommodate that crowd. We served Chicken Wellington as an entree and I thought the food at our reception was good, though probably not memorable for our guests.
I do have to say that I did have to work to stay on top of things - conversations and e-mails regarding previously discussed details had to be rehashed a few times and there was a mix-up with the parking situation for our guests that thankfully my day of coordinator sorted out.
All in all, though our guests had a great time at our reception - the ballroom was a large space with tall ceilings that was beautifully decorated, the dance floor was plenty big and the parking issue resolved. I'd recommend the Chicago City Centre Hotel as definitely an option to check out for an affordable downtown Chicago wedding, especially for larger weddings, as I believe they can accommodate up to 800 people.
Additionally, we also used Chicago City Centre Hotel as our hotel block for our out of town guests. We had a great experience using the hotel for our hotel block.
Mary is a complete doll and is super talented. She works out of her basement in Schiller Park (out by O'Hare), but is definitely worth the drive. She took in the sides of my dress and did my bustle and added a row of tulle to my crinoline, took in the elastic waistband of my crinoline and made my red reception dress and had me there for about 6 fittings for both dresses since my weight fluctuated so much before my wedding - all of this and she only charged me $125!!!!!!!
Deja Vu Band rocked the house!! They had the dance floor going the whole night of our wedding! They played a variety of music from different eras and genres and really read the crowd and kept people dancing! We booked Deja Vu Band because they were the band that my MOH had at her wedding in May 2004 and we were blown away at how fun and energetic the band was! We had an 8 piece band with both female and male vocalists and they sounded amazing! We also had paid for a jazz pianist during cocktail hour and Chris De Pinto decided to add a saxophonist free of charge because he decided it sounded better - this is just one example of how great Chris and this band is - they really go out of their way to make people happy! I also thought they were very reasonable as far as costs, when we booked in November 2004 (I have no idea what they charge now). I would highly recommend Deja Vu Band, if you're looking for someone to play at your wedding.
Ann was great - amazingly organized, supremely calm, resourceful and up beat. She came to the rehearsal and then got there early in the AM of my wedding day to help greet vendors and help with deliveries: florist, lunch, etc. She transported the altar arrangements, signs for the chapel, programs, fans, and unity candle from the hotel to the chapel and helped set the whole thing up. She was also a lifesaver in dealing with some of the issues that cropped up during the reception due to my hotel coordinator (see reception site review) - I had no idea about some of the issues, until I pried the information from Ann after the fact! I would highly recommend getting a day of coordinator or having someone in that role, because it does make your day run very smoothly. Ann kept us organized and on schedule and was everywhere to help with all the little things.
Lisa has been my hair stylist for the past 2 years or so and is awesome - she did my hair, my 4 bridesmaids, my mom, MIL, SIL and 2 1/2 year old flower girl and everyone's hair looked great all night. I completey trusted Lisa to do a great job since she's been doing my hair for so long. She normally works at a salon in the Gold Coast area, but I know she's looking to do more weddings and will freelance from time to time if her schedule allows. Her rates range from $65-85 per person, depending on length and complexity. Totally worth it, IMO. Lisa was so patient with me in deciding to go last minute with flowers in my hair and was totally on top of things and even got there early, which worked out great, since my MOH decided last minute to do hair (she hadn't wanted to but saw what a great job Lisa was doing and decided to have her hair done and loved it!!)
Chicago, IL 60626
Sonia is fabulous!! Book her if you can!! I had Sonia do airbrush make-up for me, my 4 bridesmaids, my mom, MIL and SIL and everyone's make-up was flawless. I've never seen my sisters and mom look so gorgeous. We had fun getting ready together and Sonia did lashes on everyone and wow - STUNNING!! As a testament to how great airbrush make-up is, I bawled something awful during the ceremony - I'm talking tears and snot running down my face and my make-up still looked fresh even after I wiped a few times with a handkerchief. My MOH was afraid of what I would look like since I was crying so much I started laughing, but I turned around and she didn't even have to do a touch up. Sonia is a sweetheart and so much fun to be around. I'd almost get married again just to have her do my make-up!! LOL.