Driving down Prospect Avenue it may be easy to miss the grandeur of 1451 Renaissance Place. Designed by architect Solon Spencer Bemen of Chicago as the First Church of Christ, it was completed in 1909 and remained a church for the next eighty years. Today, Renaissance Place welcomes some of Milwaukee’s most magnificent wedding ceremonies, receptions and events. I stopped by last Wednesday evening for a tour and to talk with event specialist Michael Valentine.
I parked in the back lot (an east side event space with it’s own parking is a gem in itself!) and walked slowly around to the front of the building, admiring the sheer size and majesty of the building. Walking up the stairs and through the massive stone columns to the entrance of the building I couldn’t help feeling a bit special that I was being welcomed into such a stately structure. If I was impressed, surely guests being welcomed into a wedding or event would feel the same way. Walking through the doors you immediately enter into the foyer area. Perfect for cocktail hour, the elegance of the building leaves little need for decorating. The space is large enough for a reception of 300 people leaving guests room to comfortably mingle while the working fireplaces and dark wood bring an intimate feel to the space.
When it’s time for dinner, guests make there way up a large marble staircase that being located in the center of the foyer, has no doubt been tempting them the entire cocktail hour with what lies ahead. Ascending the stairs into the dining area takes your breath away. The space is larger than what you possibly imagine could be awaiting you on a second floor. Pillars again line the outside of the room illuminated by colorful up-lighting accents. A stage on one end and dance floor on the other aren’t forced, but blend perfectly into the space. There is even an interior balcony that covers the entire width of the building where guests can look out over the main floor, relaxing while watching the party heat up below.
While there are no ovens for food preparation on-site, there are two caterer’s kitchens where any licensed and insured caterer of your choosing can use to stage whatever sort of meal you can imagine. Beverage service is arranged through Renaissance Place with a wide variety of options to choose from, including a specialty martini bar.
Renaissance Place offers one of the most unique and ornate settings in Milwaukee. Anyone looking for a space that combines a rich history with classic elegance right in the heart of the east side needs to stop in for a tour. The pictures on the website cannot do the space justice which is why tours are offered the first Wednesday of every month from 4pm to 7pm.