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My husband and I chose the Irish American Heritage Center for our mixed culture wedding. I think overall we were a quite a bit disappointed but we did walk away with some positives.
-The center truly represents the Irish Heritage, which is why I wanted to go with it - because I am Irish but my husband is not, so it was a great experience for his family
-The main ballroom - the Erin Room, is beautiful and the bar is lovely.
-The Fifth Province is also very quaint
-There is plenty of free parking on both sides of the building
-We had to pay for extra things like using a classroom for our dancers to practice (even though they were all open being a Saturday night)
-We were not allowed to bring our own alcohol or soft drinks, which ended up being quite pricey as well. Other cultural centers, like the Dankhaus, allow you to bring your own.
-Speaking of the bar - my guests were extremely disappointed. The prices fluctuated every time someone went to order a new drink - that's ridiculous. I was told we would have 3 bartenders working the evening but only 1 was actually serving drinks to people! And she was so slow to respond to people at the bar. It took forever to get my own drinks delivered to me, being the bride. We didn't even have that many people drinking in the end, because the service was bad.
-Some of my biggest frustrations involved the process of organizing the event from start to finish. Initially, the event staff at the IAHC was very accommodating and allowed us to view the rooms multiple times and were quite responsive to emails. But as the year went on, when I had questions - it would take days to hear a response and getting in for viewing became a challenge. There were a few times when I went to go see the venue and the event persons who I spoke to were not even there! Or they left right before I was to arrive. That is one way to make a bride feel not welcome.
My husband and I could not be happier with our choice to have our wedding at the Irish American Heritage Center. Natalie was our event coordinator throughout our planning with the IAHC. She made the whole planning process easy-going and hassle free for us. Natalie let us come in multiple times to see the space before we even booked. She would let us know when there was a wedding that day so we could come in and see the layouts and how it would look all decorated. She was very flexible with everything and was very reassuring every time I had questions or concerns. For a Chicago venue, the IAHC is priced very reasonably. They require you to use their bar packages but you can choose all other vendors/caterers of your choice.
I had my ceremony and cocktail hour in the Fifth Province Room and my reception in the Erin Room. The space was just perfect for my wedding and all of my guests were awed by the uniqueness of the venue. There was a convenient bridal room that I took full advantage of when I needed to get my dress bustled or just to take a breather away from the crowd. Overall, I was a very happy bride and wouldn't change a thing about my wedding at the IAHC!
We wer're so pleased with the IAHC! Awesome service, awesome space, awesome energy! Weeks after, we are still hearing from our guests about how much they loved the reception and venue. We are still talking about how thankful we are to have chosen the IAHC!
We had the most wonderful wedding in the Fifth Province at the IAHC. There is a large dining room just across the hall from the pub, and we had the run of the place on a Saturday afternoon. The pub is open to the public at 5:00, but not many people came in and this presented no problem. And in fact it was nice to let the party continue in the pub after we had to vacate the dining room at 7:00 for the next party.
Buffet tables were set up in the hall and the dining room comfortably fit 15 tables (140 guests) plus a band stage and dance floor. The large windows on either side of the wing let in beautiful autumn sunlight. The building is very tastefully decorated without being too ornate. It's a great family environment.
On a Saturday afternoon, the room cost only $450.
There is ample parking in the lot and the place is easy to get to. You bring your own caterer (which I preferred) and buy their beverages. They are very flexible about bar packages; Kevin O'Kennedy, my contact there, really worked with me to keep the liquor prices manageable.
Everyone had a great time and commented on what a beautiful space it was.
My only complaint was that Kevin was at times slow to return phone calls or emails. I almost gave up on the place initially because I couldn't get a call back. Once we signed up, he was really good about returning emails until the very end, when there was some confusion about which kitchens the caterer could use. Both I and my caterer felt that he did not read our emails carefully enough to respond to all of our questions. We had a few nervous moments in the last week.
That said, in the end everything worked out just fine. And in fact, Kevin and his staff were extremely accommodating. I could not have picked a better venue for the reception.
What a gorgeous place, the Erin Room was just renovated in the last year and no one would believe the transformation. There are at least 9 chandeliers, a tray ceiling, an unbelievable wooden bar in the back of the room, a stage for a band, and screens on each side of the stage in order to play a slide show/DVD.
We had the cocktail hour on the first floor which worked out well but we had not thought about people wanting to place their gifts somewhere, right away – (we had the gift table on the 3rd floor where the Erin Room is located) --- the staff made sure all the gifts and cards were brought upstairs.
There is a new bridal room off the stairwell with sinks and stalls a nice retreat.
The staff was phenomenal, they made sure that things went according to plan, I can not say enough --- I would recommend this venue to even the non Irish.