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In the last several months, many of you have asked WHERE in Detroit did you have your Detroit wedding?  And the answer is: Greektown Casino-Hotel.  I know – you’d have to comb the site to figure out where we had our reception.  Well, here’s why… 

When I first began blogging back in Fall 2008, I had written several posts RAVING about how wonderful Greektown Casino-Hotel was and how happy we were with our venue.  These posts had generated a fair amount of business for them. (Ok, A LOT of business for them. One thing I love about this blog is that it’s generated some business for my wonderful and extremely talented vendors! Thank you, dear readers!)

However, because we were no longer having a positive experience with Greektown in the several weeks leading up to the wedding, I had pulled all posts relating to my reception venue down.  Why?  Because the last thing I wanted to do was give bad advice to married.2.be’s and I didn’t think they were deserving of any more free publicity.

And, those of you who’ve been following know very well, I haven’t publicly written a peep about our experience!  Well, I did that for a couple of reasons.  1) We believe they breached our contract and we were considering taking legal action, (ssrly, we contacted a lawyer! Look for My Where’s the Beef Post!) and 2) I wanted to write objectively and not solely based upon emotion. 

While NOTHING could have ruined our beautiful wedding day, the Greektown experience was quite disastrous.  Now, if you ask our wedding guests, they probably wouldn’t be able to pick up all the points, but some were certainly clear enough.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than dealing with an incompetent and inexperienced vendor in the weeks leading up to your very own wedding!

To be fair to Greektown, I think Greektown’s wedding coordinator was responsible for many of the issues.  She blatantly disregarded many of the details.  She was inexperienced and she proved to be incompetent. I know, harsh, right!?  But, I say it like it is.  (Please note, that particular wedding coordinator no longer works there.)

While I won’t go into the nitty gritty details about our particular situation (at least not in this post), I will tell you Kenny and I sat down with Greektown to go over everything that went wrong – line item by line item.  It was one hell of a list. But, it was important for us to let them know because we truly think Greektown is one of the best locations in Detroit to have the kind of wedding we wanted to have.  Needless to say, the VP was mortified and put several countermeasures in place so those things wouldn’t happen again.

Sorry for the long post.  It feels good to purge. And, I’m happy I waited to post because I think it’s important to remain objective.  Some people have GREAT experiences with a vendor/venue and others don’t.  With that said, it doesn’t mean your experience will be like mine.  It’s important to make your own judgement call.

Anyway, I still plan to post a My Detroit Vendor Review about Greektown Casino-Hotel, so stay tuned for the grade!

Source

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Detroit News)

The Crystal ballroom in the newly renovated Fort Shelby Hotel in Detroit. (Source: Detroit News) I'll post my own pics on Saturday!

After much stalking, I finally have the Fort Shelby Hotel details.  And, they’ve piqued my interest enough for a visit.  Watch out Greektown!  

As we know, a lot of the Detroit reception and ceremony venues have incredibly steep prices!  But, the Double Tree Fort Shelby Hotel, they’re quite reasonable.  Here’s the details:

The Double Tree Fort Shelby Hotel, which is located on West Lafayette Street between First and Second Streets in downtown Detroit, has two ballrooms that will accomodate about 200 guests and a dance floor.  Each ballroom may be able to accomodate more, but they won’t know for sure until they until they lay out the room. 

Venue & Accomodations:
The renovated Crystal ballroom, which was the premiere ballroom back in 1917, is located on the second floor and features ornate cathedral ceilings, marble floors and three large windows overlooking the street.  The room can comfortably accomodate 200 sit down guests and a dance floor.   The minimum for this room on any Saturday night is $10K.  They don’t have defined prices for a Friday or Sunday wedding, but you’ll surely get it for a steal.

They also have a second ballroom, called the Terrace which is a not as extravagent as the Crystal ballroom, but does offer a more intimate feel.  The room also features two different entrances allowing the bridal party a separate entrance from guests.  This room also accomodates 200 guests and a dance floor.  The minimum for this room on any Saturday is $8K.  And, Friday and Sunday’s also are negotiable.

Your wedding guests can stay at the Double Tree for $99, which is a discounted rated from the $129 weekend rate and $189 weekday rate.  I’m sure with a little finnagling, you get could an additional discount for your guests that is competitive with what other Detroit hotels offer for wedding guests. (Greektown, Mariott and others offer more competitive rates.)  They also will be offering a Sunday buffet at their new Finn and Porter restaurant.  So if you choose, the bridal party and guests and other guests can reconnect for brunch the day after the wedding.

Packages:
Packages for both ballrooms start at $75 per head and don’t include tax and gratuity – but, they do include plated dinner, standard bar, room charge, guest parking, chair covers and sash, a complimentary suite for the bride and groom the night of the wedding with breakfast the next morning.

Fort Street Church

Fort Street Church

Ceremony Site:
If you’re looking to have your ceremony at or near the Fort Shelby, they offer several different onsite locations and they’ve also partnered with the nearby Fort Street Presbyterian Church.  The great thing about this partnership is that you don’t have to be Presbyterian to be married here, they allow parties of different faiths to utilize their space.  I even think you can bring in your own minister – but I’m not entirely sure.  Also, I’m not sure what the fee would be…

If you’d rather wed at the hotel, they offer different indoor ceremony sites for your to chose from depening upon your needs and preferences. 

To date, they have about six weddings on the books for 2009 and are talking with several couples about their soon-to-be weddings. 

Pro’s: Great Detroit location just minutes away from other restaurants and the casinos.  Reasonably prices compared to other Detroit venues.  Offer guest accomodations and complimentary bridal suite night of the wedding.  Complimentary shuttle for guests that takes them within a 5-mile radius.  Free parking.  Offer ceremony site locations including the historic Fort Presbytarian Church!

Con’s: Packages begin at $75 and tax and gratuity are not included. 

Contact:
Dee (313) 963 8900 Ext. 5024

Model D)

The new Doubletree Suites Fort Shelby Hotel in Detroit (Source: Model D)

Today marked the re-opening of the historic Fort Shelby Hotel in Detroit.  Now dubbed as the Doubletree Suites Fort Shelby, not only does this symbolize another step towards Detroit’s revitalization, but this offers couples yet another snazzy location for a Detroit wedding. 

Located on the Lafayette between First and Second Street, the hotel offers 203 suite-type guest rooms and 56 rental apartments on the upper floors.  Eventually, when the economy stablizes the apartments could be sold as condominums. 

The Fort Shelby first opened it’s doors in 1916 and served as one of Detroit’s premiere highrise hotels.  But like most great Detroit structures, the hotel closed its doors in the 70s.  According to the Free Press, the Fort Shelby was slated for demolition until Detroit-area real estate investors teamed-up with Doubletree to revitalize the property.

Surely, there’s more to come… And,  you better believe I already have a call in to talk with the event coordinator about wedding details.  Contact info and details to follow in another post.

Read all about the Fort Shelby reopening and revitalization:
Detroit News: Fort Shelby Poised For Gleaming Debut 
Detroit News: Ballroom at Doubletree Hotel Gets Classy Facelift
Free Press: Historic Fort Shelby Hotel to Reopen as Doubletree
Free Press: Fort Shelby in Detroit Goes From Eyesore to Elegance

Detroit News

Source: Detroit News

It’s no surprise that I’m a huge advocate of Greektown Casino and Hotel.  And, it’s not just because my fiance and I shared our first kiss there or that it’s our favorite place to try our luck.  It’s the fact that they’re service-oriented.  When you call them, you get a call back within 24 hours.  And, while I really don’t like to tattle on other Detroit venues, the other two Detroit casino’s either didn’t call me back or seemed impatient with my questioning and the fact that I wanted to meet on the weekend. 

Not with Greektown.  They’ve been helpful, patient, accomodating and just as enthusiastic as we are to plan the wedding.  And, anything is an option.  You have special needs or requests – they’ll work with you.   And, I have to reiterate that I have NOT seen the ballroom – I’ve seen a rendering and I’ve seen it during construction.  Talk about faith based on great customer service.

I know some people have been hesitant about booking Greektown because of the recent news reporting their chapter 11 status and the pending completion of their new hotel and banquet facility.  I say, there’s little reason to worry.   Here’s an update on Greektown:

Today, the Detroit News reported that Greektown and a consortium of creditors have signed a pact that will allow the casino to pave its own path out of Chapter 11 protections before February.  The article also said documents filed with the court show Greektown to be financially solvent.  If you remember just about two weeks ago, the News and Free Press reported that  Detroit city lawyers were claiming Greektown was in danger of running out of cash.   So, it seems that those city lawyers were incorrect!  Some would call that speculation.  

Also, Greektown issue a press release today stating that it’s now training 170 new full time and part time employees to staff their International Buffet which is due to open Dec. 22, 2008.  And, the casino is in the process of hiring 150 more employees to staff  its new hotel.  In total, the casino is adding about 400 new workers for the expanded casino and 400-room hotel.  So, in a town that’s riddle with news of layoffs, Greektown is offering creating jobs. 

The new hotel will open.  Wait and see.

On a side Note: No Spa – No Worries     
Last week, the Detroit News reported that Greektown Casino and Hotel would be forgoing construction of the previously planned upscale spa – at least for the Feb. 09 grand opening.   I say no worries.  There are plenty of area spas that will be happy to accomodate my wedding party.  And, as we’ve seen with MotorCity and MGM, the casino spas seems to be a bit pricey.

Check out my other Greektown Blog posts here.

Model D

Source: Model D

This past Wednesday night I found myself at the Colony Club for a professional event.  All I have to say is  – Where have I been?? And how come I didn’t know about this place?  I can’t believe I missed this gem in my Detroit vendor stalk!  It’s a perfect venue for a swanky Detroit wedding.  

And, while I’m perfectly content with my current reception location at Greektown Casino and Hotel, I can’t help but imagine dancing the night away in the Grand Ball Room at the Colony Club.  It really is breathtaking. 

Anyway, if I can’t have it, I want everyone else to know about it.  Here’s the scoop.

The Colony Club, which is under the direction of the Gem and Century Theatre,  is located right on the corner of Park Avenue and Montcalm in downtown Detroit.  If you can’t picture that, it’s right next store to the Fox Parking Garage, across the street from the coveted Town Pump and adjacent from the Centaur bar.  And, a short walk would take you to Hockey Town Cafe, Fox Theatre and Comerica Park.

Model D

Source: Model D

A Little History
Built in 1927, the Colony Club was one of four women’s clubs in the surrounding area which provided a social retreat for Detroit’s active women.  It was only open four short years before it fell into foreclure during the Great Depression.  Interestingly enough, in the 1960s it functioned as the Detroit headquarters for the United Auto Workers.  In 1984 Charles Forbes purchased the building and leased it to the Detroit Police Department.  And  upon the news of the Super Bowl XL making its way to Detroit in 2006, Forbes Management began spiffing-up the place.  The Club briefly re-opened for an ESPN event during Super Bowl XL Detroit and just re-opened again in the summer of 2008.      

What’s so impressive about the Colony Club is its Louis XVI Grand Ballroom.  With its gorgeous hardwood floors, antique chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows it’ll surely make for an impressive Detroit wedding location.  And, the ballroom has a mezzanine where the bride could toss her bouquet!

Here’s the skinny if you’re interested:
The Colony Club can comfortably accomodate a sitdown wedding with 350 people and a dance floor.  Wedding packages range from $65 – $95.  The minimum for a Saturday night wedding any season is $15K.  There’s no minimum for Friday or Sunday weddings and you’ll also get an additional $5 off per head on the wedding packages for booking one of those nights.

ME... sorry for the bad pic)

The mezzanine (Source: ME... sorry for the bad pic)

They do allow wedding ceremonies in conjunction with the reception.  You can hold your ceremony at the Gem Theatre for an additional $1500 or the Century Theatre fo an additional $800.  And they’re already booked from June through August in Summer of 09, with the exception of Fourth of July weekend.

Pro’s: Parking at the Fox Parking Garage is included in the wedding package.  Coat check service, which is located in the swanky first floor lobby also is included.  You can also have your ceremony here 0r at one of the other Gem and Century Theatre venues. Great downtown location close to bars and local hotels (Greektown, Athenium, Marriott, Hyatt).  Chivari chairs are standard.

Con’s:  Tax and gratuity are not included in the package price.  But, they do have all inclusive deals.  Depending on the package, it could be pricey.

Note: They’re currently reviewing their 2009 pricing.

Contact: 
Dawn at (313) 463-6243.

rooster-tail2While I’ve decided not to shake my tail feather at the Roostertail in Detroit, I thought I’d give them another glance-over.  It is one of the coolest landing-spots for a Detroit wedding.  So, I called them up this afternoon and asked them if they were reducing their 2009 pricing.  The answer is no, but they’re willing to be more flexible with their off season pricing.  Apparently, the sour economy isn’t leaving a bad taste in their mouth since they’re booked with proms and weddings throughout 2009 and 2010.

Here’s the skinny on their peak and off-season pricing:

Peak season April 1 – Dec. 31
During peak seasons, the minimum amount you must spend on a Saturday night is $17,800.  How does that break down?  Basically, the minimum number of guests you must have on a Saturday is 200.  At $89 per plate, (includes standard meal, standard bar, cake cutting, champagne toast, linens, tax and gratuity) at 200 people it adds up to almost $18K.  Once you start customizing the package, your reception can easily exceed $20K.   Now, if you choose a Thursday, Friday or Sunday to throw your wedding soire, the price will drop, but not so significantly.

Off season Jan. 1 – March 31
During off seasons, there’s a little more flexibility.  The standard price per head is $69 and the Saturday night minimum can drop down to about 150.  This amounts to $10,350.  I’m sure there’s a little more wiggle room for negotiating a price drop… 

Pros: Located on the Detroit River, it’s a beautiful Detroit wedding spot that will surely impress your guests.  If you choose, and the space is available, you can opt to have an outdoor ceremony overlooking the river or on their back patio.  They have plenty of parking and security on site patrolling the lot.  Linens are included in the package and they offer a variety of colors.  Special events are all they do, so they have this wedding business down to a science.     

Cons: Price, price, price.  And the owner is a bit insensitive regarding the harsh Detroit econonic environment.  Click here to read about my personal experience. 

Contact:
313-212-1234

The Park Shelton Condominum complex in Midtown Detroit.

The Park Shelton Condominum complex in Midtown Detroit.

I love the Model D – it’s an awesome, all-about Metro Detroit weekly online magazine and Website devoted to showcasing the positive and sustained transformation of Detroit.  So, if you live in Metro Detroit and want to know cool things to do in the area, you should subsribe to their free weekly newsletter.  (I love it, love it love it!) 

Last month they featured a story about a Detroit couple who had their wedding ceremony and reception on the Park Shelton rooftop in Detroit.  Located in the cultural midtown district on the corner of Kirby and Woodward, the Park Shelton is a perfect venue for an outdoor wedding location. 

Built in 1926, the historic 12-story structure was originally known as the Wardell Apartment Hotel.  More than a half decade ago, the Wardell was a prestigious landingspot for the likes of Diego Rivera, Bob Hope, George Burns and Raymond Burr.  As the city evolved, so did the Wardell, and in the early 1970s, the apartment-hotel  was converted into an apartment complex.  In 2004, McIntosh Poris Associates transformed the Wardell into the swanky Park Shelton, a luxury condominium complex.  If you’re looking to be a tentant, one perk happens to be its rooftop community area, among other things.

The Park Shelton Rooftop in Midtown Detroit.

The Park Shelton Rooftop in Midtown Detroit. (Source: Model D)

Park Shelton Rooftop Rental Details
So my next question is: If you’re not a Park Shelton tenant, can you rent the rooftop space?  The answer is maybe.  

Being the vendor stalker I am I called them up to get the skinny.   I spoke to the event coordinator Ms. Davis who was amazingly helpful in answering my questions.   Basically, the rooftop is reserved for the building’s residents.  If you’re a resident, you can have the space free-of-charge.  But, for non-residents potential rentals must be evaluated and approved by the property management.  

As it works now, management hasn’t yet transferred all rights over to the condo association yet, which is scheduled for some time next year, and they need to ensure the association approves the external event so it’s binding even after the tranfer.  Am I confusing you? I hope not…  Anyway, once the association has power, they’ll probably create a formal external rental process or they could nix external rentals all together.  (Hopefully, the latter is not the case!)    

Because of this unique situation its hard to quote a rental price for a ceremony or reception.  But, she did say $3,000 is a good ballpark figure when thinking about having both a reception and ceremony.  I’d assume there’d be a price drop if you wanted the area just for a detroit ceremony site. 

I think the rooftop would make for a fabulous outdoor ceremony site with the Detroit skyline in the distance.  And, they could always flip the space for an evening rooftop reception too.  Very cool.  The site can accomodate from 100-150 guests.

Pro’s:  Unique outdoor-only Detroit ceremony and reception location.  Overlooks Detroit.  Complimentary to Park Shelton residents! Ample parking.  Located in the heart of Detroit cultural center and down the street from great Detroit bars and hotels.

Con’s:  Could be quite pricey if you’re not a resident.  I don’t believe they allow tents due to the height of the building, so there isn’t much of an alternative in case of rain.    

Contact:
Davina Davis at (313) 872-7275

(Check out Girl in the D’s blog post for more history on the Wardell/Park Shelton)

Kenny and I decided we’re getting married in the “D.”  Why go anywhere when you have Detroit, right? 

Ok, honestly- Detroit wasn’t top of mind when we decided to have the wedding somewhere around here, in Metro Detroit.  I looked into a ton of places… Clarkston, Commerce, Birmingham, Troy, and the list goes on. Either I was overwhelmed by the price or underwhelmed by the banquet hall or location.  Or, all of our friends had already had their wedding there.  I wanted something new… something fresh.  And, I needed some place with WINDOWS.  I’ve been trapped in too many window-less conference rooms for work-related events.  Just can’t do it on my wedding day! 

Big Rock Chop House in Birmingham, Mich.  This place has the best food and service!

Big Rock Chop House in Birmingham, Mich. This place has the best food and service!

Some of the places we looked at were Big Rock Chop House in Birmingham, Mich.  They have a really beautiful banquet hall, called The Reserve.  The owner Norm LePaige went to Ecuador and bought silver place settings and silverware.  Simply gorgeous!  And, the Reserve has custom lighting to accent the theme of your wedding.  It’s really a top-notch place.  Vera Day-Rizer is wonderful to work with!  (Oh yeah – I put myself through college working at Big Rock… and here’s another little tidbit, my ex and I worked there together for almost four years.  Not someplace I think I want to get married.)  So, scratch The Reserve.  Also, it’s a little pricey, but if you can afford it, it’s a great place to say “I Do” and have a snazzy reception.  

Some other Metro Detroit Wedding Ceremony/Reception locations I looked at were:

The Pine Knob Mansion – Clarkston, Mich. – They offer both an indoor and outdoor venue (with windows).  Very beautiful!  They have a couple different locations for both the ceremony and reception.  I think this place would be perfect!  But, there was no where to go afterwards for an afterglow party.  I want my wedding to be a party.  It’s the first party Kenny and I are hosting as husband and wife and I want it to be a BLAST. 

Meadow Brook – Rochester Hills, Mich. – This place has history.  It’s beautiful, elegant and EXPENSIVE!  Since, Kenny and I paying for our wedding ourself, we have to be a little modest with reception prices.  But, if you can swing it, they offer both indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception locations.  Also, it doesn’t have the atmosphere Kenny and I want.  We would rather have laid-back elegance, with a hint of debauchery.  (Yeah, we like to gamble and have a good time!) 

Wabeek Country Club's outdoor patio.  Makes for a great evening wedding.

Wabeek Country Club - This is the outdoor patio - At night it's gorgeous.

Wabeek Country Club – Bloomfield Hill, Mich. – This place is awesome!  But, our friends had their reception here a couple years ago.  They had an outdoor cocktail and passed appetizer hour.  It was impressive.  The wedding was well done.  Great flow to the evening.  The hall has windows overlooking the golf course and had an outdoor patio. 

The Rooster Tail – Detroit, Mich. – Ok, I was so excited to see this place.  It’s located right on the Detroit River, with Canada across the way, it’s a striking location.  They have floor-to-ceiling windows, a couple different outdoor ceremony locations and a beautiful fountain show.  They also have the custom lighting – but they offer a variety of table linens, as well.  I felt really good about checking this place out.  And, while I knew it would be a little pricey, I was convinced Kenny would LOVE it.  

Tom, Owner of the Roostertail.

Tom, Owner of the Roostertail.

But, let me tell you, our visit was a debacle!  And, Tom, the owner,  happened to ruffle my fiance’s tail feathers.  Way to go, Tom!  (Look for my Starry Night Debacle post later to read about the Rooster Tail incident!)  

I was starting to think that I needed to hire someone to scout locations for me, when my mom called me up and told me she had talked with someone over at Greektown Casino.  The new hotel is scheduled to open January 2009 and they were already booking events.  One of the first dates Kenny took me on, was to Greektown.  We had flaming cheese, lamb and then hit the casino.  It also happens to be the location of our first kiss!

After talking with my mom, I just knew Greektown was the ideal place for us to have our wedding reception!  How fun would that be?  The only question is: Do they have windows?

Email Me

MyDetroitWedding(at)gmail.com

Email me if you have a question or if you'd like to submit your real Metro Detroit wedding or other inspiration ideas.

Married September 19, 2009

About Me

I love my guy. I love my town. I could have a torrid affair with every cake, cookie and cupcake I come across. I love sharing a good bottle wine with good people! And, I truly enjoy blogging about wedding finds. Which is why...

Change is Coming!
When planning my wedding I loved researching and stalking out Metro Detroit venues, vendors and other finds. Now that I'm married, I'd like to turn this blog into a Metro Detroit Wedding resource for all of you. So, change is coming soon!

Please share great venue, vendor and other finds with my by emailing me!

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