By Kelsey O’Shaughnessy Podgorski, Event Coordinator at Barrington’s White House
Hosting your event in the Chicagoland area offers plenty of options when it comes to venue style and aesthetic. There are historical sites, barns, industrial lofts, ballrooms, and more. It’s important to go into each with a few consistent questions in order to select the space that works best for your private event.
1. What is the capacity?
Nothing is more uncomfortable than trying to squeeze two hundred guests into a space that’s really meant for a hundred and fifty. And on the other hand, having a group of twenty-five in a place that usually holds three hundred can be just as awkward. Finding your “Goldilocks” zone will be paramount in finding the appropriately sized venue for your wedding or event. Don’t forget to ask about parking options, as well, to be certain there are ample options for your guests.
2. What’s included?
Many venues will have chairs or tables that are included in the price of your rental. However, some may not mention that the use of their equipment has an extra cost. Always ask what is available for your use and if there is an additional charge. Also, ask to see the items. Not all chairs are created equal and you want to know what you’re paying for ahead of time. For example, we allow guests to use our tables and gold chiavari chairs at no extra cost, but our AV equipment may be an extra charge.
3. How long will we have the space?
The answer to this question is different at every venue. At Barrington’s White House, we generally suggest a ten-hour package for a wedding or large event, as you need to consider set-up and clean-up time, not just the time allotted for the event itself. We also allow guests to use our venue for an hourly rate. If you do rent at an hourly cost, be sure to ask your venue if there is a minimum number of hours required for the day of the week you will be renting.
4. Are there any rules we need to know about?
It’s always good to ask about rules and restrictions before signing a contract. For instance, the White House is a gorgeous historical site with a lot of beautifully restored wood. To protect the integrity of the mansion, we do not allow flames in the house – all events must use fake candles. This is good to know before you begin planning your décor.
5. Are there restrictions on vendor choice?
Some venues have a list of exclusive vendors they use. Others, like Barrington’s White House, will allow you to bring in any vendor that suits your event. Either way, it’s always a good idea to ask if there are any requirements for new vendors – for instance, the venue may require that a new vendor take a tour of the space prior to your event. For food vendors, the venue may need a copy of different certifications or licenses. Even if the venue does not have required vendors, they may be able to provide a list of great people who have performed well in the space at previous events.
Bonus Tip: Take pictures at every venue and be sure to take a few notes so you don’t get them confused. Also, if you need a second tour, just ask! We’re always happy to offer you another look.
Barrington’s White House is a unique, historic venue located in the heart of downtown Barrington at 145 West Main Street. This meticulously restored 1898 mansion hosts cultural and community events, and is also available for rental for weddings, corporate meetings, non-profit fundraisers and family celebrations. Visit the web site or call 224-512-4292 for your private tour.