Monday, April 11, 2011

Where oh Where Shall the Wedding Be?

In case I haven't mentioned it in any conversation where I can fit it in, I am the Mother of the Groom.  And, with all that role entails (and does not entail) I am extremely grateful that I had boys.  There is so much I don't know about wedding planning and most of it would never occur to me - at least at this point in my life.  I fear that I have spent so much time floating in a testosterone laden environment, I've lost my XX edge and even believe that my uterus may slowly be shrinking.  However clueless I may be about my new role, I have been graciously included on the hunt for the perfect venue and studied up on choice options on the internet so I can, at least, speak the language.

Although I am directionally challenged, I can drive to Chicago blindfolded.  I can easily navigate my way to both my kids apartments, but anything beyond Taylor St., Racine and Michigan Ave and I'm lost.  So picturing the venues as presented by their websites has allowed me to remain geographically neutral. We have looked at four different venues.  The first was a lovely place with an lovely indoor space and a large, very nice, very lovely spacious tent attached.  They have their act together there. and we were impressed.  But. . . it's not the place. That's ok because I have no idea where it is still and fear I would probably get lost on the way to the wedding.

We looked at the Pritzker stage in Millenium Park.  It has HUGE glass doors that enclose the stage and look out onto the skyline.  Beautiful.  The whole shebang would take place on the stage including the reception and if you can get over the fishbowl feeling of it all, it's a pretty good deal.  EXCEPT, your guests enter through the back stage area strewn with backstage bric-a-brac stacked up against cold, gray cinderblock walls, up cinderblock steps and. . . it's not the place.

And then there was the Most Promising venue.  This place is a mansion downtown that was built in the twenties by Frank Lloyd Wright.  The structure is four floors in height and spans the size of half a city block.  It is enormous.  I had looked at the website before driving in and I have to say, it was WOW.  I was fairly certain this was going to be the place. We entered through the front door and were guided through the massive first floor.  It took my breath away.  The actual venue is at the back of the mansion in their Gatehouse.   And as we sashayed though the house, a museum dedicated to the family that owned it, the MOB and I were exchanging knowing smiles.  And then we entered the Gatehouse.

Down a narrow set of wooden steps, a landing where the restroom was located, and then a short set of more creaky wooden steps, we entered the venue.  The coordinator proudly pointed out the quaint period lighting, we saw bare lightbulbs dangling from metal rods.   The coordinator talked about the carefully refurbished wooden walls, I got a splinter.  The coordinator showed us the couryard where, if the weather is nice, we could hold the ceremony outside because the driveway makes a nice aisle for the bride, a crumbling cement driveway that led to the back garage. . .also known as the Gatehouse.  The coordinator kept talking and I watched as, one by one, the Bride checked out, the Groom pulled out his phone and checked his Facebook, the MOB studied the concrete floor . . .and the coordinator kept on talking ending with the following:

"And we will happily allow your guests into the mansion for tours at the cost of $5 a person.  Many wedding guests enjoy the tour.  There is also a security guard on duty during your event but that is really for the protection of the museum.  Any Questions?"


We were no more than fifteen seconds out the door when the Bride announced, "I am NOT getting married in the horse poop room of this mansion!"

That was not the place.

All I can say is, they need to give their web designer a big fat raise and sorry you'll be missing the $5 tour because we have found our venue and you'll never guess where.


  1. Great post, Judi. I really felt for you there... it can't be an easy decision to make. My wedding was pretty much entirely organised by my step mother in law so I never really experienced any of this. But I got a very strong image of you all at the Gatehouse in my mind... that would make a great scene in a movie!
    Congratulations, by the way, on your son's impending nuptials!

  2. Thanks Suzy! Luckily the Bride's mom is an event planner by day so we have a leg up on the whole process. She really does speak the language!

  3. I too, have only boys. My life has revolved around all things boyish for the last 29 years. I wouldn't know where to start if I had to organize a wedding. I enjoyed reading your post because I'm way over here in Wales. Of course we have our own very special wedding on the 29th when William marries Kate.

  4. Patti -
    I am glad you enjoyed my blog. Sometimes I have to remind myself how to be a girl! As for the upcoming wedding on your side of the pond. . .can you wrangle me an invite? I'd love to be there!