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an honest event experience

Opening Spring 2020

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“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look…To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 The Walden Experience

Our honest and inclusive process promotes design-driven rather than budget-constrained events. Seamless planning and creative production reduce costs and promote collaboration, allowing you to focus on what is most important to you.

We accomplish this through full-service event planning, chef-driven cuisine, a modern beverage program, rentals, staffing and other exceptional amenities under one beautiful, environmentally friendly West Town roof. We treat your event like a mosaic, pulling together all the different pieces with the common theme to create a full, unforgettable picture.

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Full Service Event Planning

From inquiry to execution, the full support of Walden’s Plum & Ivy planning team is included with the space rental and can be customized based on specific needs. We provide detailed timelines, budgets, and planning documents to seamlessly guide you through the planning process. Our thorough event planning allows you to be a guest at your own wedding, focusing on creating a day that you would want to relive over and over full of intimate moments, personal touches and unforgettable memories.

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Chef-Driven Experience

Walden’s culinary program is executed by industry leader Real Kitchen, operating out of an on-site 1,000-square-foot restaurant-grade kitchen. With chefs trained at Charlie Trotter’s and other award-winning restaurants, guests will be treated to a memorable dining experience. Preparation of everything a-la-minute at Walden ensures the highest quality food for your event. Wide-ranging dynamic seasonal menus are offered, and we welcome the opportunity to customize dishes to your tastes. Comprehensive pricing includes staffing, rentals, bar and food, and allows for wide flexibility in menu, service style and design.

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Modern Beverage Program

Walden was designed with a party in mind. Which is why our main event space features a 32-foot bar with 20 draft lines for beer, wine and cocktails, and our second floor has a 12-foot built-in bar for usage during cocktail hour or for smaller, more intimate gatherings. The per-guest pricing is for full open-bar service for 5 hours and includes curated cocktails of your choosing, table wine service, and the choice between a table champagne toast or a welcome cocktail. A full selection of garnishes and mixers is also included.

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Venue Design Details

Located in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, Walden’s 19,000-square-foot space has been designed with the ultimate event in mind. Light, bright and airy, the modern two-story interior provides a gorgeous blank slate to create the customized event of your dreams. Whether you’re planning a seated dinner for 300 that begins with a cocktail hour at the bar followed by dancing later in the evening or a cocktail reception for 500, Walden provides the perfect setting.

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Green Initiatives

It is hard to be environmentally conscious in the event industry—from the trucking of food and rentals and the lack of proper resources for recycling to the nature of pop-up events where everything ends up in the trash when it’s over. Walden is designed with environmental sustainability in mind. Through our efforts, an average-sized event at Walden will generate a third of a ton of CO2 less when compared to a similar event in other settings. That is equivalent to the CO2 absorption of a single tree over 13 years or a 45-acre forest in a single day.

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Corporate Events

With its neutral yet natural and fresh design, Walden provides a perfect setting for any type of corporate event. Located in West Town, minutes west of Chicago's downtown and its luxury hotels with easy access via the I-290 and Dan Ryan Expressway, our interior space can be easily transformed to capture the uniqueness and message of your brand. With the guidance and support of our experienced in-house planning team, your event will be seamless from initial conception through final production. By integrating custom food and beverage menus, full state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, contemporary design elements and in-house printing for personalized collateral, Walden brings all the special details of your corporate event to life.

Capacities

Walden has two floors, each with its own restroom and bar

Main Event Space

300

Cocktail hour at the bar followed by a seated meal and dance floor with a band or DJ

500

Cocktail-style standing event with limited seating and dance floor with a band or DJ

 
 

Second Floor

250

Seated ceremony or cocktail hour

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Pricing

 May 2020 through February 2021

Weekday Hourly/Buyout Contact us

Friday Buyout $10,000

Saturday Buyout $11,000

Sunday Buyout $7,000

March through December 2021

Weekday Hourly/Buyout Contact us

Friday Buyout $11,000

Saturday Buyout $13,000

Sunday Buyout $8,000

PLUS

$165 PER GUEST

Inclusive of Full Service Planning, Food, Bar, Rentals, Staffing, and Walden Amenities

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Lets get the conversation started!

 
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our team

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Our Story

“Our goal is to create an instant connection with each client, providing honest and approachable services at a high professional and innovative level.” —The Walden Team

With some 60 years of event industry experience between them, the partners behind Walden have plenty of thoughtful ideas when it comes to creating the perfect party. When their paths would cross over the years while working at many of the city’s top events, they would often discuss ways to ensure both clients and vendors have a exceptional and seamless experience every time. From there, their innovative event company began to take shape. Central to their concept was bringing all the major components of an event under one roof for one pre-set price with no last-minute financial surprises. Equally important was taking what is often a complicated and stressful process and simplifying it. Its name is a nod to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, a reflection on simple living in natural surroundings.

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Maria Collins

Partner - Director of Sales

Maria grew up in a family of seven. In other words, every day was a production. At an early age, she knew she would be doing something with food, events, and planning. After earning her culinary and entrepreneurship degrees from Johnson & Wales University, Maria spent many years in the catering and event planning world. Inspired by her clients, Maria opened Plum & Ivy Events in 2014, where she developed a team of passionate and detailed event planners. Since then, Maria and her team have executed numerous events and weddings throughout Chicagoland and the Midwest. Being a visionary, she is excited to marry the Plum & Ivy and Walden teams and create an event experience like no other, where all the moving parts behind an event can work seamlessly together.

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Erika Baumgartner

Senior Event Planner

Erika has always worked in the Hospitality industry. After graduating with a degree in Event Management from Western Michigan University, she immediately moved to Chicago to pursue her career. Erika has always been interested in wedding planning and loves that she gets to do it every day. It has been her dream to use her creativity and passion for coordinating events to help clients bring their vision to life. Erika takes pride in developing strong relationships with her clients and identifying what is important to them to make their day special. In her spare time, she loves to explore Chicago, travel, exercise, and spend time with friends. She enjoys everything big city life has to offer despite loving growing up in a small northern Michigan town.

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Brittany Reynolds

Senior Event Planner

Brittany was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and also was a Plum & Ivy Bride. After planning her own wedding— with the help from the Plum & Ivy team, of course—she knew this was something about which she was truly passionate. She loves bringing a client’s vision to life and making sure their special day exceeds their wildest dreams. Brittany is a planner in all aspects of her life and brings attention to detail and organization to the team. Her positive attitude, thoughtfulness, and willingness to go above and beyond for clients make her a wonderful planner and an integral part of Walden’s Plum & Ivy dream team.

 
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Nick Schmuck

Partner - Food

Where do you go after being the saucier at one of the country’s top restaurants? If you’re Nick, you partner with two other chefs with equally impressive fine-dining resumes and open Real Kitchen, which specializes in preparing approachable, gourmet food made from scratch daily using the freshest ingredients. Its refined cuisine has been served at some of the city’s top social and corporate events. For Real Kitchen’s many fans, it’s a good thing Nick rethought entering medical school after earning a neuroscience degree and instead went to work at various restaurants across the country, before ending up at Chicago’s Charlie Trotter’s. At Walden, Nick continues to craft food that exceeds expectations creating memories in the process.

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Bob Krause

Partner - Corporate Relations

A funny thing happened to Bob during his travels as the national sales manager for a manufacturing company: He found his dream job. Well, sort of. Originally, Bob wanted to open a barbecue restaurant. But when he joined a catering company, It didn’t take long for Bob to realize his passion was the event planning side of the hospitality business. After over a decade, Bob still has the same passion for the event industry, which allows him to tap into his entrepreneurial and creative sides while always focusing on the experience from the client’s perspective.

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Maurizio Fiori

Partner - Beverage

For Maurizio, working in the hospitality industry is all about creating special memories for guests—whether it’s a major life event or simply an everyday occurrence. For the last decade, he’s been able to do just that while helping to launch a leading Chicago brewery and overseeing its two full-service taprooms. Prior to that, Maurizio owned and operated a music venue as well as a café and cocktail bar in Sardinia, Italy, where he is from. While the world of wine was his first love, he’s lately turned his professional attention to beer as, in his opinion, beer is the most democratic of drinks, offering something for everyone. When not serving guests a hoppy brew, Maurizio enjoys cooking simple Italian food, making Negroni’s and generally spending quality time with his wife and two young children at his Logan Square home.

 
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