Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mill 1 at Open Square: A Diamond in the Urban Chic Rough

Mill 1 at Open Square:
A Diamond in the Urban Chic Rough

Our continuous hunt for all things fabulous and budget friendly, has led us on a new journey to locate wedding venues that will give DIY Brides that “something special yet affordable” vibe you’ve been longing for. I mean let’s face it, no matter what you do in life, sometimes it really is all about location, location, location. We select our homes, our jobs, our coffee shops, our fav hang out spots; based on a location that we’re near or an area that we know and love. And that same idea also takes effect when shopping for a wedding venue.

One might be surprised to discover beauty and upscale excellence in the midst of an industrial and urban landscape in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Yet, that’s exactly what we’ve uncovered at Mill 1 at Open Square! 

Long gone are the functioning paper mills that dot Lyman and Dwight Streets. All that stands are the historic buildings built originally in 1848, now ingeniously restored to accommodate office space for fifty businesses. Open Square opened fifteen years ago, providing a canopy of character for retailers, a café, and a bridal salon. When we sat down with Sales & Communications Director, Maggie Bergin, we learned a tremendous amount about the event space nestled inside of the urban exterior.
Mill 1 is the brainchild of Maggie’s husband, John Aubin. It was developed four years ago to take advantage of a particular niche that the Holyoke area lacked as far as event space goes; uniqueness.

Like most cities, there are tons of venues that have probably been in business for forever, providing services many times over to you and your family for every celebration under the sun. But that’s the problem! They all look alike, the food tastes alike, and they’re all priced alike! And most people you know have been there, done that! Who wants “been there, done that” for their wedding??? Uh, no one! If your Great Aunt Helen remembers your christening taking place at the neighborhood venue, it’s time to broaden your search for your wedding. So look no further!!!

Mill 1 is the epitome of urban class, and industrial chic. John Aubin is a master craftsman, having designed the space. He refurbished the original milled maple floors and returned the exposed ceiling to the grandeur of 1848. During our tour, I asked Maggie, what was the best physical feature of the space; basically, what did most brides fall in love with. One step through the door and I knew…..brides fall in love with everything!!!


An elegant bar made of recycled cyprus wood greets you at the entrance. Amazing windows and views give way to a rustic interior of brick and maple wood beams. Modern lighting adds dimension, while chiseled spots of time and history are exposed on some of the doorways and surfaces to add character. 

And although its beauty is what hooks you, Mill 1 is also smart! Winner of Wedding Wire’s Brides Choice Awards for Best Ceremony & Reception for the past two years, the staff strives to excel in customer service, professionalism, and to go beyond expectations. When I asked Maggie what makes this venue stand out from the rest, she simply responded, “We love working with people, we love working with our vendors, we love working with couples.”  They pride themselves on loving all couples, no matter the race, religion, sexual preference, or physical ability. They make sure everyone receives the care and attention they require for an amazing experience at Mill 1. Bottom line, Maggie stated, “We just love love, and we’re honored to host so much of it in this space.” 

From a DIY Bride perspective, Mill 1 stacks up on the affordability scale as well.  Rental of the space varies between $1,200 and $2,100 depending upon the day of the week that you select. Most brides who rent the space are “Pinterest brides” according to Maggie, so they’re on a budget. That means, if you work your DIY planning magic right, you can afford to rent the space as well as everything else that goes along with getting a blank canvas and having to bring everything in…caterer, linens, décor, etc.

They are definitely flexible in terms of scheduling set up and decoration time, as long as their rental hours permit. And for your protection, they require that your caterer is licensed and insured. I mean, you gotta love the care and concern that’s placed even in their regulations and restrictions!

And now down to the nuts and bolts of DIY Bride planning: the Amenities. What else can Mill 1 offer the DIY Bride in addition to a fabulous rental space? Rental includes a Ceremony/Cocktail Hour space, so you can have the much desired one location wedding that most budget brides need to save money on transportation. Their website offers an extensive Preferred Vendor List, which is priority number one! At your finger-tips info on vendors that have worked the space before is priceless! Amazing photo ops is high on the list as well. The place screams trendy urban chic from wall to wall and everywhere in between! Using the building’s character as your backdrop, eliminates the need & expense required to travel to a different location to capture the memories of a lifetime. Mill 1 is also very close to major highways for convenience, and we spotted a few hotels in the area for your guests to recover from their “love” hangover.


When asked what improvements or changes are in the future for Mill 1, Maggie mentioned possibly adding an outdoor space, like a balcony, in the next year or so. But their primary focus right now, is securing an exclusive caterer for the space. Since we all know bundles are king, Mill 1 plans to incorporate a caterer into the rental price of the space! Can I get a Amen from all my DIY Brides?! A caterer that you don’t have to find yourself! What?! That saves you time, effort, energy, and money!

All in all, I knew I loved Mill 1 just from seeing pics online, but now that I’ve toured it, I completely adore it. As a decorator, I’d give up my tablet and clipboard for a chance to deck this hall! LMBO! But its beauty can’t ever compare to the people behind the scenes that enhance your experience to the fullest.

If you’re shopping venues in the CT and Western, MA area, you NEED to take a look at Mill 1 at Open Square! The hour drive from Hartford is well worth the trip for a unique, affordable, mind-blowing wedding space. A discovered diamond in the urban chic rough.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Let Your Groom Get His Groove On" : Put him to work!

Next up on "Let Your Groom Get His Groove On"...
Let's face it, your guy or partner may not be all that fascinated with the pretty stuff you are planning for the wedding. He's like, flowers and centerpieces, who cares? So give your guy or partner a few wedding planning responsibilities that he's actually interested in.

A few suggestions of items that your guy will enjoy handling for you:
  • Finding and selecting the DJ
  • Researching and selecting the Transportation to/from the Church to the Reception
  • Selecting the attire for him and his boys
  • Taste testing the beer or wine selection for the cocktail hour

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Let Your Groom Get His Groove On!": Budget & Must Have List

"Let Your Groom Get His Groove On!": Budget & Must Have List

This week, we're talking about ways DIY Brides can get their Grooms to help with the planning!
"Let Your Groom Get His Grove On" starts right now!

Up first on "Let Your Groom Get His Grove On"...we all know your guy or partner probably hates all the "pretty stuff" involved with planning the wedding. So you do the "pretty stuff", and give him a few responsibilities that he can handle, and some that excites him!

First things first! You and your groom/partner should have the talk..the budget and "MUST HAVE" talk. That's when you figure out how much you can afford to spend on the wedding, and the elements that you must have to make your day fabulous!

Pick a date/time when your guy/partner is available. Pick a stress free location like your fav coffee shop. Pick up a pen and paper. Then check out our May 19, 2014 blog on budget setting and MUST HAVE Lists to help you get started!

Get your groom to tell you what he's most comfortable with spending for your wedding. Let him give you guidelines, that you have to follow, ladies! Then allow him to brainstorm the items he needs to have at the wedding that will make his day complete. For example, if you MUST HAVE roses as your flowers or you'll absolutely cry...his MUST HAVE might be craft beer, a great DJ, a military theme, his best friend flown in from out of the country. Whatever his wishes, add it to the list.

Next, we'll talk about giving your groom responsibilities that he's ACTUALLY interested in!