One of the most difficult wedding questions for the bride and groom is figuring out the perfect venue. Before you can even begin to look at a venue you have to decide how many people will be invited and where exactly you want to get married. Contrary to what people think, we found it to better for us to go into it without having a set date in mind as that can limit a lot of places.
The Montgomery Club located in the river north neighborhood of Chicago stood out immediately among the several venues that we visited and managed to hit all the things on my “wish list.” One of my biggest tips would be to make that initial list and then pick 3-5 things you aren’t willing to compromise on. For me those were: excellent in-house catering, a space that didn’t require a lot of extra decorating, and good service and easy people to work with.
Excellent In-House Catering
If you didn’t already know The Montgomery Club is owned by the Gibson’s Restaurant Group (Gibson’s Steakhouse, Hugo’s Frog Bar, Luxbar, Quartinos), all of which I’ve frequented many times and knew the quality of their service and food. Before we even chose The Montgomery Club as our venue, Taste Tester #1 had actually set up a small dinner party the night of our engagement at Quartinos. Being the foodies that we are, having excellent food was a super important part of our evening and we were determined not to be the bride and groom that didn’t eat at their own wedding.
Of course our favorite part of wedding planning was trying all the menu options for the big day. We knew at the beginning we wanted to have our dinner have the feel of an extended cocktail hour and so the concept of “stations” was decided on as the best option. In the end we had a slider station with filet, tilapia, and veggie sliders; a pasta station with two different types of prepared pasta: Penne Fattoria with chicken and Rigatoni Country Style with Italian sausage, along with a customizable pasta option; and a taco station with mahi mahi, chicken, steak and of course all the delicious taco fixings. We actually did get to eat the dinner we picked out and it was all absolutely amazing. The wedding coordinators called up a few tables at a time and with the stations each staffed by an attendant the dinner service was seamless.
In addition the Montgomery Club also has an outstanding pastry chef that put together a whole dessert table with fruit tarts, chocolate chip cookies, and an assortment of different cupcakes with fall colored frosting. We also didn’t forget the late night food! Passed mini cheeseburgers and Italian beef topped off the evening and kept all of the guests dancing until midnight.
My original dream wedding was to run off to Hawaii or Colorado and get married on a mountaintop. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I knew that having some natural light and some sort of outdoor option was what I needed to feel happy on my wedding day. The Montgomery Club has one whole wall with beautiful floor to ceiling windows and doors that open out to a wonderful patio setting. If the weather had cooperated on the wedding day, we were planning on having the cocktail hour outdoors under the comfort of heat lamps, but because it was a rainy Halloween, the wind and rain kept us indoors. Even though the sun had already set by the time our celebrations began, I felt like the windows made the venue feel open, warm and welcoming.
While some brides want to customize their venue to make it their own, my goal was to find a venue with a lot of its own character, where I didn’t have to spend a lot of extra time (and money) gussying it up. The room where we held our ceremony was a smaller, more intimate setting with plush red carpet and dark wood paneling giving it a vintage glamorous feel. The brass lighting fixtures complimented our chuppah perfectly. In the Jewish religion the bride and groom are married under the chuppah, a small canopy that represents the home we will build together. With our wedding party and parents standing up near the front, we had just enough seats to sit everyone in attendance. It was such an amazing feeling to look out and see a room full of everyone that matter so much to us.
The room the cocktail hour and reception took place in has beautiful mosaic tiling on the floor, dark wood paneling with several mirrors, high 20 foot ceilings and an amazing mural over the bar. Classic and stylish, the venue only required minimal decoration, as it really stood on its own as a beautiful space. I loved that because the floor was tile, we didn’t need to bring in our own dancefloor, another way to save some time and money. I also loved that the venue provided a beautiful baby grand piano, we always wanted a way to incorporate more friends into our wedding and music was the perfect fit. We had one of our closest friends and her brother, both accomplished musicians, play the music during our ceremony and it was absolutely beautiful and so meaningful to us.
Overall we couldn’t have asked for easier people to work with while planning our special day. Lynette Velez, the director of sales at Gibsons Restaurant Group took the lead on working with us to create the perfect wedding. Lynette was extremely responsive to our excessive amount of questions, emails, and phone calls all while staying perfectly calm, cool and collected throughout the entire planning process. We could tell immediately upon our first meeting that our wedding was not her first rodeo! We were able to fully trust in Lynette’s advice when it came to both our food and drink packages, and guiding us when it came to deciding which room would be the right fit for each part of the wedding day.
In addition, Lynette’s whole team consisting of Nicole, Jessica and more were on top of everything before, during and after the wedding. Anything that was happening behind the scenes was unknown to us, and that’s just the way we wanted it. When I first arrived to the venue before the ceremony everything was set-up just how I had imagined, and if you would believe it the wedding actually started right on time. Throughout the evening we saw Lynette and her team making sure that dinner flowed well, the speeches and dances were on time, and that our guests were tended to.
Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better venue to work with on our wedding day. I would highly recommend the Montgomery Club to any bride and/or groom looking for the perfect venue in the heart of downtown Chicago.
The Montgomery Club
500 W. Superior St
Chicago, IL 60654
Photos by Tony at Arsii Photo and Video