So, with the help of some of the same friends, I (and they) did a little more research. Last night, I typed the words "Chicago" and "Museum" into the Google, and started looking at the options. Yes, I know that museums are often over-priced when it comes to renting them out for events, but hey... why not? It can't hurt to look.
First, I came across The Field Museum -- a lovely building, located on Lake Michigan, south of downtown, but not too far south. Sure a grand hall that can handle a dinner reception for well over 1,000 is bound to be $10,000, but a terrace? A terrace doesn't even involve walls or a roof over your head. It's just a big, fancy patio for all intensive purposes... and wouldn't it be soooooo pretty to be on the water at night on a terrace underneath a tent? Oh, yes... it would.
Maybe... just maybe... it's semi-affordable...
Not a chance:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding holding a wedding reception at The Field Museum. The following is detailed information on areas we use for wedding receptions.And with that, the consideration ends.
* Stanley Field Hall, our premium event site includes 2 levels of reception and dining space as well as access to SUE, our world famous T-Rex. Additionally, guests may tour galleries on both levels of the museum. Stanley Field Hall is $10,000.00 for the first 3 hours. Each additional hour is $3,000.00. We ask for a $10,000.00 non-refundable deposit which is applied toward your Final Invoice.
* The intimate mystery of Rice Hall includes access to the stunning collection of dioramas in the Hall of Asian Mammals. Capacity ranges from 25-250 guests (cocktail reception). Full dinner seating is available for up to 150 guests. Cocktails are served in the hall leading to the Rice Pavilion, which is home to the world famous Man Eating Lions of Tsavo. African Mammals and a panorama mural of the African Plains grace this beautiful event space. Rice Hall is $6,000.00 for 3 hours. Each additional hour is $1,000.00.
* The architectural splendor of The Field Museum is celebrated and revisited in our newest event space, the East Atrium Pavilion. This space is a sky-lit beauty providing easy access to our building from the east side of the museum. Guests enter the atrium and may cocktail in the entryway or in the adjoining hallway. Both areas provide reception space for up to 400 guests and full dinner seating for up to 350. Saturday evening in the East Atrium Pavilion is $8,000.00 for the first 3 hours. Each additional hour is $2,000.00.
* We also have Terraces to rent. A tent is recommended for inclement weather. A cook tent is also required for the caterer. The Northeast Terrace is $6,000.00 for the first 3/hours and $2,000.00 for each additional hour. If you wish to book the Terrace along with Stanley Field Hall or the East Atrium Pavilion the fee is $3,000.00 flat. Tenting may be arranged through one of our preferred tent vendors.
Venue rentals include coat check, museum security, housekeeping, event management, support staff and electrician. Rental does not include catering, bar packages, equipment rental or audio/visual services.
Table and chair rental is provided by Hall's rentals, exclusively and your event manager will handle this for you. Here is a sample list of prices for tables and chairs:
60" dining rounds @ $9.50 ea.
72" dining rounds @ $11.50 ea.
48" dining rounds @ $8.50 ea.
30" cabaret tables @ $7.50/ a.
Hi boy cocktail tables @ $12.00 ea.
Black Padded folding chairs @ $4.00 ea.
Black Versailles ballroom chairs @ $9.50 ea.
3 X 4 stage sections @ $21.00 ea.
Delivery, set-up and removal: $950.00
We work with a list of 4 caterers and 5 floral/decor vendors to choose from. They will invoice you separately. Caterer's handle your linen, china, flat wear and glasses. They also provide all the non-alcoholic beverages. Decorative lighting (if desired) is provided by Frost Sound & Lighting who is our exclusive vendor. ALL OF OUR EXCLUSIVE VENDORS ARE INSURED WITH US AND DO NOT REQUIRE ANY ADDITIONAL INSURANCE FOR YOUR EVENT. You may bring in your own D.J., band or orchestra - they must have their own insurance.
You must also carry insurance for the day of your event. Your regular insurance carrier can provide this.
Parking at The Field Museum is arranged through Soldier Field and Standard parking. The lots operated by Soldier Field are located on the museum campus and are easily accessed by your guests from Museum Campus Drive. You may arrange for an attendant for a nominal fee, which will allow your guests to pay cash to self-park. If you wish to purchase the parking spaces in advance or provide a valet service, you may do so. Please contact Soldier Field in advance of contracting your event in order to arrange for guest parking. The contact person is Amy Whelan. She can be reached at 312-235-7202.
If you would like to discuss any of the above with me or to make an appointment for a site inspection to view any of the above areas please call or e-mail me.
Thank you for considering The Field Museum for your wedding.
Dear The Field Museum:Big shocker, getting married in Chicago, or any other major metropolitan area (or anywhere else for that matter), can get a little pricey. As we keep moving forward in this process, I want to balance what's important -- the whole commitment, spending the rest of our lives together thing and not the part where we have a big party -- with the fact that yes, this day will only happen one time and it should be fantastic and as close to "what we want" as possible. MM and I are going to look at two more venue possibilities this weekend. Hopefully we'll find something more affordable, but still lovely.
You must be out of your mind. The money I would spend to hold a ceremony/reception at your facility would run me approximately:
*Terrace for 3 hours: $6,000
*Extra 2 hours because 5 hours seems more reasonable: $4,000
*Delivery, set-up and removal: $950
*Total, not including caterer, tent, bar, flowers, dance floor, DJ, decorative lighting and insurance: $11,450
This of course does not include all of the other crap that ends up in a wedding budget, including my dress, various gifts, transportation to and from various places, invitations, photographer, cake, wedding rings, and the all encompassing "miscellaneous." We are only going to go semi-broke planning and paying for this wedding, not totally broke.
Thanks, but no thanks,