Tag Archives: locations

Summer Event Temptations

Who doesn’t love a summer party?  The gardens are in bloom, the temperatures balmy, everything is green & your clothes are light weight.  I certainly don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but if you’re thinking this is the perfect time to have your event, let me alert you to a few of the pitfalls that can sabotage a summer party:  First, is the heat.  There are never any guarantees on the weather, but if it’s over ninety degrees & your facility has no air conditioning, you’re going to have uncomfortable & unhappy guests.  I know this seems obvious, but you have NO idea how many times a dewey-eyed bride will say “But, I’ve always dreamed of having my wedding in a barn!”   Those dreams can lead to heat stroke & ruined suits.  It’s not very romantic but there it is.  On a related note, if you’re outside in a garden, forest preserve, lake or country club, you have to consider the bugs.  They like a party as much as the next person.  But the next person may be your Aunt Edna & she’s allergic to bee stings!   A third booby trap of the beautiful setting, is it can separate your guests.  Put a bar outside & half the people will go there, never to come in again.  If you want cohesive, enthusiastic partying & dancing, you need the whole crowd joining in, so you want to keep them together. If you plan ahead, considering some of these challenges which may relate to your choice of venue, then you can avoid these pitfalls & have the perfect party.  & without a doubt, everyone loves a summer party.

What’s been happening in the New Year of 2015!

January 2015 004 Beside lot’s of snow in January, which we had to expect, we had one very nice surprise!  For those of you planning an event in the Southwest Suburbs, you may want to take a look at The Empress in Addison.  We were involved in planning a fourth wedding for a family that liked to do things Big.  When they informed us they had chosen The Empress, we were surprised & a little worried.  We hadn’t been there in many, many years.  There is usually a reason for that!  How could they accommodate the “Big Plans” of this family we knew so well & how could they handle the needs of our “big” production?  The answer was:  extremely well.  The staff was great to work with from beginning to end, with an accurate grasp of what the client envisioned.  What they produced for them was elegant & top drawer.  & they didn’t have so many of the inconveniences of having to go Downtown to get the kind of wedding they wanted.  They were also able to give us the stage size, power & other production items important to us.  Overall, it was a delightful experience for everyone & at the end of the night, we were all happy! Planning a function in Southwest Chicagoland?  Consider The Empress.

You can’t have “The Blues” in “The House”

We’re still buzzed about our performance at The House of Blues here in Chicago!  (houseofblues.com/Chicago)     We do a phenomenal Show which we call The Chicago Music Revue, incorporating our musicians doing selections from the band Chicago (as good as the original band, if I do say so myself), numbers by the Blues sensation Pistol Pete & the Mystique Dancers performing costumed numbers from the musical Chicago.  It’s done in vignette form, in this case for an international company’s awards program.   We then follow with the whole Band doing Dance music!  It’s pretty incredible.

There were approximately four hundred guests at this event & so were upstairs in the Mainstage area.  What a fabulous stage to play, first of all.  The multilevel, wraparound viewing areas make every seat in the house great.  The décor is the coolest.  The food is wonderful.  However, what is stand up & apart is the staff there.  For example, the technical staff:  we always bring our own gear & sound specialists, because most of the time, “in house” technicians don’t have the experience of a huge group (26 on stage!) like us.  Looking good is not enough:  we have to sound great.   Imagine our surprise & pleasure when we found the in house technical staff not only knowledgeable, accommodating, but they cared!  They WANTED to do a great job & they did.  We made use of their state of the art sound & lights with delight.

The Catering & Sales staff could not have been more helpful or friendly, not only for our Client, but for us as well.  We are always friendly & easy to work with, but unfortunately it’s not always reciprocal.  Our Client had never done anything this ambitious before & they came into our on site production meeting nervously.  I’m proud to say, they walked out very excited & confident that between us & The House of Blues, everything was going to be great.  & it went better than they ever dreamed! 

At the end of the evening, our Clients (drenched in sweat from non-stop dancing) shook their heads & one said “How are we EVER going to top this?!?”  I’m confident, that it’s going to be REAL hard!


A well kept secret downtown Chicago spot for your event!

We had such a pleasant surprise last weekend, when we performed at the Holiday Inn Merchandise Mart martplaza.com   It had been a long time since we were there–so long that my memory was a bit fuzzy, but for some reason, I had been previously underwhelmed by it.  However, last Saturday night, I was pleasantly impressed with this little hidden gem.  First of all, they had extremely prompt & friendly Valet Service, always a HUGE plus for any of your guests visiting from the suburbs.  All the Hotel services are on the 15th floor, a quick elevator ride.  The entire south wall of the 15th floor is floor to ceiling windows, including one wall of the Ballroom & the view is one of the best in the city!  We were treated to a city sunset that was remarkable.  The Ballroom was medium sized with a private foyer & was intimate without being claustrophobic, thanks to that window to the city.   Because of it’s location, this is not the kind of Hotel that attracts the walk-in public, so you have all the convenience of a Hotel, but you have very much of a Private feeling here. 

The staff was efficient & extremely accommodating.  When we can easily work with the staff at any facility, it makes for a mutually successful venture for everyone, including our Clients!  On the same level as the Ballroom, they have a fantastic bar, the perfect place for guests to gather at the end of the night, before being able to go up to their hotel rooms.  Additionally, on the same level, they have a restaurant called Italiasia, with cuisine to match it’s name.  The food was great & another plus for your guests staying the night.  If you want a downtown location & you would like a beautiful view, a feeling of privacy & the convenience of a Hotel, this may be the place for you!

Choosing the Right facility for your event

When planning a Special Event in a large Metropolitan place like Chicago, you are awash in choices of location.  There are a few things common sense criteria to consider: 

First: Do you have a lot of out of town guests?  If you do, then a hotel may be at the top of your list of considerations.  Most Hotels offer a Ballroom, discount to your guests, a Honeymoon Suite (if it’s a wedding your planning) & maybe even discounted parking for your guests.  You have the option of all your activities, i.e. meetings, Ceremony/Reception, hospitality etc.  in one place.  You also tempt people from the suburbs that don’t want to attend your event, then drive home.  They can stay for the night & not worry.  Hotels have the advantage of in-house food to choose from, to fit whatever your budget.  Lots of pluses.

Second:  Are a lot of your guests from the surrounding area?  If you are thinking of a “downtown” choice for your location, it may be difficult for the embedded suburbanites to navigate in the city.  It will be added expenses for them, the least of which is parking.   This can be very intimidating for many people.

Thirdly: Do you want the place to yourself?  If you are planning a once in a lifetime event, such as a wedding or anniversary, when you go to a hotel or larger facility, it is open to the public & you will be sharing that space with others.  If you are having a small group, you may want to explore unique spaces in your area that cater to Special Events, such as Museums, Historic Homes or Botanic Gardens, for instance.  You have certain restrictions when choosing places like this, but they do make for beautiful & very special events. 

Make sure you consult professional Event Specialists for their experiences & recommendations for your Very Special Event! 

Winter weddings!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!  At least it is here in Chicago right now.  Most people feel like they want to plan a wedding during the pleasant weather, but there are advantages to a winter wedding or a holiday wedding.  First of all, there is not the competition for dates, so you have a better chance of booking unique, desirable locations for your party.  Another advantage is that people come in to spend the holidays with their families, so out of towners have an easier time attending!  A further perk is that most event locations decorate for the holidays & that makes for beautiful pictures! 

You may also want to consider January or February weddings, even though in the Midwest these can be tricky as far as weather complications.  However, the post holiday season can be fun, as it gives everyone something to look forward to, you have a very good chance of negotiating awesome prices & hopefully you can get away to a warm place for your honeymoon!