Every once in awhile, I find a venue that welcomes me like family. As a wedding planner, connections are so important. I call my encounter with the hottest venue in the burbs an incredible chance of luck and even happier accident. Late one night, instead of sleeping, I was killing time, while surfing Facebook…doesn’t everyone do that these days!?! I answered a status request for a possible wedding assistant at a venue I have never heard of, The Haight. Pronounced HATE. As a boutique wedding planner, I book a handful of event each year. I work a lot of weekends but typically not every weekend. I figured, why not!? It would be some extra cash, I get to see a new space and it will keep me involved in the wedding industry even when they are not “my” clients. I figured I would try it for awhile and then leave after the busy season. Two full wedding seasons, I am still here and loving every minute. My roles have changed and the Haight family has been so incredibly generous to me and all of the staff they have acquired over the past few years. It is really hard running your own business. (girl speaking from 40+ years of family run businesses) but this family has opened it arms and is making the very best of what they have to offer to brides in suburban Elgin.
I am happy to introduce you to two venue managers who I am also happy to call my friends! Briana and Lauren.
1. Tell me how you (the venue manager) got started in the wedding business.
B: I did events throughout my university and loved it! I got an internship with a national events company once I graduated and then found a job as a wedding planner once that internship ended. I just love planning events so much and weddings were definitely my niche!
L: I got started in the wedding business by a happy accident. I had been working in a management position in the service industry and was thinking about moving on when I ran into an old acquaintance, whose wife just happens to be one of the owners at The Haight. He let me know they were looking for someone and a few emails and an interview later I became a part of the Haight family and the wedding business.
2. How did your Venue come to be? Are there any interesting facts about the space? What was the space before it became a wedding venue?
B: The Haight family had owned it since the 80’s and John Haight Sr. rented it out to companies that used it as a factory or warehouse. It wasn’t until Doree, his daughter, got engaged and they decided to renovate it for her own wedding! Obviously, the space is gorgeous so everyone kept telling them they just HAD to make it a business and so they did! Everyone always asks “Why The Haight?” since it’s just a unique name, especially for a wedding venue, but it was named after John Haight Sr. who passed away before Doree’s wedding. I’m sure he would be extremely proud at what they’ve accomplished today with his old warehouse building in downtown Elgin. Who knew?
L: Everything Briana said, but in addition, our building is over 100 years old and the cocktail area once housed horses! The building has a long history, it began as the Elgin Storage and Transfer Company, then it became a warehouse for Ludwig Dairy, and was home to a chalkboard factory as well.
3. How long have you been at The Haight?
B: I have been here 2 years and 7 months!
L: I have been working at The Haight since August of 2016.
4. How many people does the space fit for a cocktail reception? Sit down dinner? Can you accommodate Ceremonies as well?
B: We can do up to 400 for a cocktail reception, 300 or 250 with a dance floor for a sit down dinner and up to 200 max for a ceremony.
5. What do you love about the job?
B: Working with our amazing couples and getting coordinate the best day of their lives. I love creating friendships with my couples and thank social media for allowing me to stay connected with them even after their wedding is over.
L: I love that we get to work with so many different couple for their big day. Every event might take place in the same location but no two are the same. I love to see how each client changes the space to match their style and their vision. It is so much fun to be a part of the big day and help make it come to life.
6. What is something you wish all couples looking at The Haight considered or asked when booking a venue?
B: Compare apples to apples!! Almost all venues are priced differently so take into consideration the ALL-IN pricing, not just the venue pricing! Just because X venue is a cheaper price does not mean your catering or bar will be! We had a couple almost go to a different venue because they were $1,000 less than us, but factoring in our bar prices vs. the other venues, they would be SAVING $300 by booking us! It’s not easy, but it is worth it in the long run if you’re in-between 2 venues and price is a determining factor.
L: This isn’t just for our venue or our line of work, but ask the professionals you are working with what works best. We know what works best in our space because we are here for a wedding or other event every weekend. Chances are if we suggest something different then what you had in mind it is because it didn’t work well in the past for someone else.
7. Besides your venue (obviously!), what other venues do you respect or refer clients to if you are booked? Why?
B: We like referring Firehouse Chicago because their venue works well for a smaller wedding. We don’t do many weddings under 100 guests due to our size, and Firehouse is such a cool space.
L: We are always happy to give suggestions for other venues when our space is not the right fit for someone or we don’t have a date available. We see so many great places when networking it is hard to pick one!
8. What is your favorite wedding trend for 2017 or 2018?
B: Velvet (suits, dresses, an table runners) SWOON!!!
L: I am loving hanging florals!
The Haight offers a beautiful bridal suite which is ideal for getting ready prior to the ceremony. The guys even have their own space fully equipped with Nintendo to ease those wedding nerves! Contact the Haight today to see if your wedding date is available! Click HERE to see their calendar of availability!
Photo credit can be found on the Haight’s full website.