Life often has a way of surprising you. You might have a job that is just a job, truly a means to an end… A stepping stone. Nothing is wrong with these types of jobs. Stepping stones lead to bigger and better things. It takes vision and determination to know a stepping stone vs. the mountain. When you lose sight of the grander picture, those stepping stones become boulders, weigh you down, and then you fail to reach the peak. I’ve had my fair share of stepping stones. I have waited tables, delivered food, I even worked at a nursing home. All of these were great stepping stones and taught me skills that I use daily. One job in particular carved the path that I am still walking.
I met George Bozonelos, the owner of Gaslite Manor Banquets, through one of those stepping stones. I used to be a waitress at a local restaurant and my manager (Patrick) happened to be George’s cousin. Patrick knew I was terrible at waiting tables. He almost fired me on more than one occasion for dropping platters of food. What he saw in me was potential. Patrick saw a drive and determination that was greater than waiting tables. Patrick connected me with George and I began a college internship at Gaslite Manor Banquets. I was able to experience every aspect of an event from the sales and logistics to placing food orders with vendors and managing a staff of 20 people.
Eventually, the internship turned into a summer job and I was offered my very first full-time position right out of grad school. I could not have been more excited. The hours were long and I learned the meaning of “working weekends” but I wouldn’t change a thing. I consider George to be my mentor. I learned how to plan my very first wedding from watching him. He taught me to NEVER run in front of guests, even if there is a fire in the kitchen! If a guest sees you run, they know something is wrong. “Walk with purpose” is what he used to tell me. Hurry, but don’t run! I can hear his voice in my head every time I casually walk with *intense purpose* across a room.
He taught me that there are busy and slow seasons in the wedding industry and eventually it will all work itself out. He taught me that funerals can be just as entertaining as a wedding, and that when you sit in your office with the lights turned off, you will see people do the darnedest things as they exit the bathroom and think no one can see them.
Please enjoy this very candid interview with the man who put me on the path to my personal mountain, George Bozonelos. I owe this man everything.
I’ve been working in the business since I was kid, started with folding napkins and peeling potatoes. Then in September 2000 we bought Gaslite Manor Banquets, and the rest as they say is history.
Gaslite Manor Banquets has been in this location since 1968. We completely renovated the space in 2001, and again in 2008. Our crowning achievement is the addition of The Gaslite Chapel, which accommodates all weddings that we host at all 3 of our banquet facilities. Lincoln Inn Banquets in Batavia and The Courtyard Banquets in Warrenville, IL.
We have been at this location over 17 years.
We can accommodate as few as 100 people to as large as 900 people. The Gaslite Chapel can seat 160 people for the ideal wedding ceremony.
Best part of the job, by far, is watching a couple come in nervous and scared at the first consultation, to then a ball of energy and pure joy the night of the wedding.
My biggest gripe is when family members try to take over the coordination of a ceremony & reception. We have people in place to make sure that everything goes according to plan, and family tend to input their 2 cents and try to convince the bride that we aren’t doing things properly. We have been doing our job for way too long to not know how to cut a wedding cake!
The best questions to ask us, or any venue for that matter, What keeps your repeat clients coming back? Why do they trust Gaslite Manor Banquets with their important events? (Editors Note: Gaslite Manor has done baptisms, birthdays, weddings and funerals for many repeat families in the Chicagoland area)
We have 3 facilities, so we keep our referrals in the family.
We have seen more and more weddings going back to live music for their receptions. It really is a treat to not have to hear the same songs, every weekend.
Very few people booking Gaslite Manor Banquets know that I was an actor in college, and have a movie credit to my name. If you see me around, go ahead and ask. I’m not shy about telling you the details of filming a movie in Chicago.
As my time came to get married, I chose the place where it all began. I knew the passion George and his entire staff have for each event they host. I chose to celebrate my special day with the one person who gave me a tiny spark of his own passion. If our relationship tells you anything…I stopped working there years ago and I still have a key to the building.
If you are ever in Aurora, IL stop in and ask George to tell you the story of filming a *very famous* Chicago movie. But really, if you are getting married or know someone getting married and you want an awesome experience with an affordable price tag, please stop in and visit George and the rest of the talented staff. Gaslite Manor Banquets will not disappoint.