Hello Birdies! It’s officially spring time and that means the beginning of weddings season! Everyone where from Brides in the last few weeks or months before the wedding, to brides early in the planning process. And as always, B & B is here as a resource for all brides planing weddings in Chicago.
This week, we’re highlighting a fabulous venue in heart of Chicago’s South Loop: 19 East. I had the pleasure of corresponding with the lovely ladies of Food For Thought, Kendall Tuite, Catering manager, and Anna Boltz, Assistant Venue Manager, to hear more about 19 East!
B & B: Chicago is a big city. How should a bride go about navigate finding a venue?
KT: I think the most important factor in locating a venue is figuring out guest count. Once you have that nailed down it will be easier to filter through the many different venues in the city as your guest count will determine whether or not you can fit everyone into the venue. Next, narrow down by style. There are so many unique venues in this city!
AB: The internet is going to be your very best friend! There are so many different and unique spaces in Chicago and it can be overwhelming at times to navigate. Details such as guest count and style will help immensely in narrowing your search.
B & B: Can you give us a brief history of 19 East?
KT: 19 East is a flexible event space located in the South Loop. The venue boasts an urban, contemporary flair. The building has a rich history that dates back to the 1800’s when it belonged to the Chicago Illuminating Company, a predecessor of ComEd. Prior to being a ComEd run facility, it housed a shooting range for the infamous Al Capone.
It was recently acquired by Food For Thought, a premiere catering and events company who’s been helping clients create unforgettable moments for over 30 years.
B & B: What sets 19 East apart from other venues in the city?
KT: The versatility! There is so much wonderful built-in architectural adornment. This allows the space to stand alone without having to bring in too many extra garnishes to enhance the space. On the other hand, the built in pieces are neutral enough that it is still very much a blank canvas. Therefore, those looking to transform a space into their own unique vision have the perfect stage here at 19 East.
AB: 19 East has so many unique features from the built-in bars to mosaic tiles that sets it apart from other similar venues. The size and setup of the space really lends to the ability to bring in a variety of different events as unique as the space itself!
B & B: What type of bride do you find is attracted to 19 East?
KT: 19 East attracts the modern-day couple. This couple is looking to provide an urban and exciting experience for their guests. Each room has its own unique characteristics that lend to the ambience of the space. It is inviting and warm, while still offering that industrial look that is so on trend right now.
B & B: The space is gorgeous on its own as a blank slate. What is one of standout features of the space?
KT: The alley! I love it when clients choose to dress it up and make use of it. From lounge groupings to sprawling palms, it is a dramatic way to tie in the urban flair to the space. I also absolutely love the beautiful view we have in the Hideaway space. You get the entire cityscape with the bonus of an El that zips by just a mere few feet from our building.
AB: The shelving units in Commonwealth! It is always so neat to see what clients will put up there next. From simple yet beautiful votive candles to full-scale canvas paintings, product placement and more. The sky is the limit on how you dress up the shelves!
B & B: What is one of your favorite wedding set-ups that you’ve seen in the space so far?
KT: Each set-up is unique in its own way, but I think my favorite is when we utilize a mix of different table shapes. Rounds, rectangles and squares all add so much texture to the room. A unique space should have a unique set up!
AB: I would have to agree with Kendall! I think the mix of different shaped tables is my absolute favorite. It adds so much to the dimension and overall look of the room. I really love when different chairs are used at the different tables too.
B & B: Where did the gorgeous paintings throughout the space come from?
KT: There are two paintings on site from Chicago Native Susan M. Olmetti. The larger paintings in the main spaces are by Indiana artist David Randall.
B & B: In your time with Food For Thought, you’ve obviously seen lots of weddings so I have to ask: What’s your Favorite wedding treat?
KT: I am a big fan of anything that has a personal touch that reflects the couple. When we have the opportunity to recreate a family recipe or come up with a specialty cocktail that is personal to the couple, it is so exciting to me!
AB: Anything the represents the couple or their families! I love when cultural or family treats are tied into their day. The personal nature of it is just so special and adds a huge layer to the day.
B & B: What’s your favorite part of a wedding?
KT: At 19 East we are lucky enough to be able to host ceremonies in addition to the reception. My favorite moment of the entire day is right after the ceremony. This is the moment in which we whisk the couple away from the crowd to have a moment to themselves in the wedding suite located upstairs in the Hideaway. During this time, I have the opportunity to send them food and beverages while they bask in their first few minutes together as a married couple. There is no greater feeling in knowing we made those first few moments together a little bit more special with treats made especially for them.
B & B: Your favorite color palette?
KT: I love the look of mixed metals in this space. Coppers, silvers, golds, rose golds, gun metals and etc. all really play up the industrial accents. I absolutely love soft greys, crisp whites and lush greenery.
AB: I’m really loving jewel tones right now! I’ve seen so many beautiful arrangements utilizing them and I can’t get enough. They work really nice in the space too because of the natural palette the white walls offer.
B & B: When you’re on-site for an event, what is one thing that you always have with you?
KT: A watch! During events it is very important that I am aware of the time. As a caterer it is important that we are sticking to a timeline as closely as possible. While I do always have my phone (I love taking photos) I think it is important to also have a watch during those times when it might not be appropriate to check the time on your phone.
AB: My phone for sure! Whether it’s keeping track of the time, weather forecast, in touch with other vendors or taking photos of the space all set up, I will always have my phone with me. It’s so crucial to be easy to get ahold of during an event!
B & B: Fun Fact about yourself!
KT: I went to culinary school! I absolutely love food and working with it. While I no longer work in the back of house I do try to cook any chance I get. I learned so much in Culinary school that has been so beneficial to me in my catering career. Writing new menus for client’s is one of my favorite activities. I am so lucky to have found a profession in which I can express my culinary creativity, while still being able to connect with my clients on a personal level.
AB: I used to be a ballet dancer! I grew up dancing and actually majored in dance in college. In the dance and arts world, I was a part of and attended many events growing up. Working in events felt like a natural progression because I was around them my whole life. Events themselves are very similar to a performance in the sense that there is a lot of practice and time spent leading up to them. Each event is another performance to me!
Venue: 19 East
Venue Manager and Caterer: Food For Thought