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8.16.2011

Vendor Review: Kitchen Chicago


I’ve been married for over 90 days now, friends! An annulment is now officially not an option. He’s stuck with me unless he wants to file for divorce. ;) (Can you even joke like that on a wedding blog?) Anyways, married life is totally rockin, and I’m heading back to school to finish up my degree in Justice Studies from Northeastern Illinois University. It’s been 6 years in the making so I’m very excited to graduate next year! Wish me luck!
Ringing in our 3-month mark at a Lollapalooza after party at The W.

I am also taking on my first two day-of coordination “jobs” in October. The first one will be at a beautiful downtown location right on the river and is complete with trolley service from ceremony to reception - fancy! I’m so excited for these two lovebirds and I can’t wait to help keep the day running smoothly! For the second one, the Bride and Groom are planning their reception in an awesome pavilion in Barrington Park District’s Citizen’s Park. It will feature a DIY photobooth and outdoor s’more station! The couple has DIY’d many elements of their wedding and I’m so excited to be there to make sure the day goes exactly how they imagine it! It’s really neat to see each couple’s style reflected in their wedding day choices.

With all of that business, I give you my vendor review for our venue, Kitchen Chicago. It’s not a secret that I’m a Kitchen Chicago fan. They are located in the “Fulton Market” district on the west side of Chicago. It’s an industrial area that has become a haven for artists because the lofts and studios are fairly reasonably priced and always HUGE. I get quite a few inquiries on my experience with this space, so please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or email me for more info. I’m happy to help!

Kitchen Chicago - Booking
I chronicled our venue selection experience in previous posts, but I’ll give a quick recap for those that missed it. I found Kitchen Chicago while searching the interwebs for a non-conventional, barn-like space within Chicago city limits. We love us some Chicago and we couldn’t bring ourselves to turn our back on the city for the biggest day of our lives. This is where we met, this is where we live, and this is where we wanted to get married. So, with a large dose of determination and some razor-sharp Google skillz, I found a short list of venues that fit the criteria and an even shorter list that fit the budget.

After visiting a couple of other similarly priced venues with a similar feel, we settled on Kitchen Chicago. Our interactions with Alexis at KC (if you don’t mind the abbreviation) were relaxed and professional. I really like what she does there with the industrial kitchen space and I think her heart and mind are in the right place. She’s sincere and her main focus is not to try to screw me over on prices and “extras.” The contract is very straightforward and protects both parties from bearing undue burdens if the other messes up. Nothing more, nothing less.
Exposed beams, beautiful lighting, exposed brick. Yes please!
When we visited the space, it was like a dream come true. We knew that this was the space. The only hiccup we had with the booking was that we needed to get event insurance. Since the space is BYO everything and we were not using any one caterer per say, we had to protect her and ourselves with basic low-cost event insurance to cover incidentals that are normally covered in a certified catering contract. We got this insurance from theeventhelper.com for a total of $130.37.

The Day Before
When it was finally time to see the space come to life for our wedding, the Kitchen folks were very helpful. When my rental furniture arrived before the time I was technically allowed (per the contract) to use the space, Alexis kindly let them (and the gracious Charlene from Sweetchic Events) in so that I could have my tables and chairs! What would I have done if they would have left?!

When setting up shop, Alexis helped my friend Michelle move some of their beautiful wooden tables around for me so that I wouldn’t risk hurting myself the day before my wedding. (Good thing too because Michelle had bruises the next day!) When the rental chairs arrived dirty, Alexis tracked down some cleaner and rags for us to wipe them off so that we didn’t have to waste time running out for cleaning supplies! Since all of this ran so late, she was very accommodating in allowing my coordinator to stay to decorate past the time outlined in the contract. I don’t want to say that you should always expect this type of bend in the contract because I don’t want her to get taken advantage of, but I do want to stress that she was flexible and accommodating to the unpredictable schedule changes that arose for our event. She won’t try to nickel and dime you for your time!
Love the industrial details
My only issue with setup was that the floors were not cleaned yet when we started our set up of the chairs for the ceremony. This may have been a miscommunication or something else on the back end, but I wasn’t too terribly concerned about the cleanliness of the floors – I wanted a barn, didn’t I?

Wedding Day!
It’s a tiny bit difficult for me to review the management of the space on the wedding day since my wonderful coordinator took care of everything that day. I do know that there was a person staffed for the evening, Nicolle, and that she helped the coordinator and bartender make the day go as smoothly as possible.

Decor
The space itself looked pretty spectacular on my wedding day thanks to the help of my coordinator and amazing friend Michelle. Like I’ve said before, the space is simply beautiful and I didn’t want to take away from the organic prettiness that already existed. See this post for more details on the decor.

Accessibility
Since KC is a bit difficult to find hidden in a tall building set off from the street, I had my parents pick up some yellow and silver balloons along with balloon wedding bells to tie to the fence at street level. I also had directional signs made up to get to the second floor where KC is located but these got lost in the day-of shenanigans. Everybody found their way in regardless. We also kept the bottom door propped open and manned while guests were arriving. I wouldn’t recommend leaving the door propped, as I’m not sure the building’s rules on this. Check with Alexis to figure out the best way to handle accessibility for the stragglers that are running late.

I get a lot of questions about parking at this place too. All of our guests found street parking within short walking distance with no problems. During the weekend, this industrial area is pretty much a ghost town so all of the street parking is wide open. There are no permits necessary on most of the streets here either. We even had more than a few guests park where it was clearly marked “No Parking” and they drove away ticketless (phew!). Obviously, follow all posted signage to be sure but just note that it’s not a difficult parking area and there are no meters or fees to deal with. Win!

For those concerned with guests being physically unable to make it to the second floor, there is a fully accessible, albeit slow, elevator that will drop you off right into Kitchen Chicago. For those that are able, there is a staircase that will get you there much faster.

After the Party
Aside from my coordinator being the best lady in all the land, Kitchen Chicago really rocked it out for me post-wedding. They let in the rental company to pick up the furniture on Monday, and this went so well that I’m not even sure how it happened - I was getting my tan on in the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon. Thank you to the people behind the scenes on that one!
Relaxing on the beach while our stuff is patiently waiting for us in the closets of KC.
In addition to housing those rentals for me over two nights, KC also let my coordinator stash the leftover decorations, wine, and other randomness in the closet of the event space until we got back from our honeymoon. Can you believe that?! Alexis contacted me via email on our last night in the DR to ask about picking up the things in the closet because they had another event that weekend. I had no idea there were things in the closet and I quickly arranged for my (new) sister-in-law to pick them up for me. But how nice was that? It was a relief to work with this venue to say the least.

My Suggestions
Kitchen Chicago is a beautiful spot for a slightly off-beat wedding or for other events. The management is easy to work with, the paperwork is straightforward, and you won’t end up with surprise expenses. It’s also extremely flexible with no restrictions on catering or rentals. This can help keep costs down and allow a wide variety vendors to choose from. My total for the rental space for a cumulative total of 12 hours (over Friday & Saturday) was $1,500.

I would suggest for any event space that doesn’t include clean-up after the event to hire a cleaning crew to come in and mop the floors (sticky beer!), take out the trash, and stack your rental furniture for you. Our two-man crew was $135.00 and helped make sure that we got our full deposit back from Kitchen Chicago. A sound investment, in my opinion.


I have some other venues hidden up my sleeve that I can’t wait to post about! I’m glad so many of you have found your venue with Kitchen Chicago and I hope my other gems prove to be just as awesome… but I’ll be relying on all of you for reviews on those! Good luck in your search!

3 comments:

  1. Hello!
    Can I ask who you got to clean up after the party was done? Did you hire people you know or did you go through an actual company?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Melissa,

    We ended up using HD Cleaning. They sent in a 2-man crew (that looked very much like they came in from the street) but they did a wonderful job and were the best value we could find.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Melissa,

    Did you need to "Provide a copy of a valid City of Chicago Food Service Sanitation Certificate?"

    Thanks,
    Shannon

    ReplyDelete

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