Host your best bash in a creative venue

"Throwing a party in a venue doesn't mean throwing away your personality."

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Art Barn

Host your best bash in a creative venue

Written by: Kathryn MacNeil
March 28, 2018


The cold-weather glut of celebrations has passedThanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, the Super Bowl and Valentines Day—but that doesn’t mean the party’s over. Indeed, the advent of spring ushers in a bright bouquet of gatherings (think anniversaries, showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day and graduations) that will keep us clinking glasses together until we all hit the road for our summer travel adventures.  

For those fortunate enough to host an event, Michelle Samardzija, of Mad Momma Events & Styling in Valparaiso, recommends considering the benefits of selecting a local venue over a private home when planning a bash. “We have all been there,” she says. “You clean the house before an event and then spend the evening cleaning it again after the event.

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The cold-weather glut of celebrations has passedThanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, the Super Bowl and Valentines Day—but that doesn’t mean the party’s over. Indeed, the advent of spring ushers in a bright bouquet of gatherings (think anniversaries, showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day and graduations) that will keep us clinking glasses together until we all hit the road for our summer travel adventures.  

For those fortunate enough to host an event, Michelle Samardzija, of Mad Momma Events & Styling in Valparaiso, recommends considering the benefits of selecting a local venue over a private home when planning a bash. “We have all been there,” she says. “You clean the house before an event and then spend the evening cleaning it again after the event.

“On top of that, you have dishes and more trash than your outdoor garbage bin can handle. Venues often include a cleaning fee and have ample trash accommodations. You can spend your time sorting through gifts and writing thank-you cards [instead].” 

However, Samardzija cautions that there are several key questions you should ask when exploring a potential party space. “It is important to know if the venue will provide tables and chairs,” she says. “It is not cheap to rent these items, so it should be factored into your budget. Also, how many hours will your rental be? Will you have time to set up everything you plan to do?” 

And don’t forget to do your research on the all-important food and libations. “If you are planning on making cocktails, does your venue allow for alcohol?” Samardzija asks. “Many of the venues do not allow food to be brought in, so discuss the menu before signing any contracts. Oftentimes rental is affordable, but the menu is lacking choices and pricey.”  

Here are a few local venues that offer spaces for a memorable, stress-free party. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Art Barn
Art Barn
Photo Credit: Joseph Gonzalez
Center for Visual and Performing Arts
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Art Barn
Art Barn
Photo Credit: Joseph Gonzalez
Center for Visual and Performing Arts

Art Barn
695 N 400 E, Valparaiso
artbarnschool.org 

Described as a “school, gallery, venue and farm,” the Art Barn School of Art is a not-for-profit organization devoted to visual arts education, located in a charming rural environment. Ideal for both indoor and outdoor parties, the beautiful venue offers gardens and rustic buildings, a small pond, and scenic trails.  

Center for Visual and Performing Arts
1040 Ridge Rd, Munster
cvpa.org 

The 72,660-square-foot facility—dedicated to the cultural and educational needs of the community—offers a variety of elegant spaces for private gatherings. The dining room can be divided for smaller parties, and the lobby atrium and art gallery space create a unique oasis of arts and culture for planned events. Hosts are invited to work with Chef Joseph Trama to plan delicious and inventive menus to accommodate any theme or price point. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Market
The Market

Enzo’s Attic at Trattoria Enzo
601 Michigan Ave, LaPorte
trattoriaenzo.com 

The family-owned Trattoria Enzo has been a mainstay of downtown LaPorte since 1999. Serving upscale Italian cuisine in a rustic, casual atmosphere, the eatery also boasts Enzo’s Attic, a private dining area that is ideal for groups of up to 35 guests.  

Lighthouse Restaurant
7501 Constitution Ave, Cedar Lake
cedarlakelighthouse.com 

The fabulous cuisine and gorgeous lakeside views have made Lighthouse Restaurant one of south Lake County’s premier special-occasion dining destinations, but the restaurant also offers a private facility that accommodates from 25 to 250 guests. The beautiful event room, located upstairs, includes all tables and chairs for events, and the downstairs restaurant can also be rented for parties. 

The Market Gatherings & Events
2405 US Hwy 30, Valparaiso
themarketvalpo.com 

The Market loves throwing parties with gracious hospitality and delicious food, and when it comes to smaller gatherings such as showers, they like to serve up a creative menu of heavy appetizers, Bloody Marys and mimosa bars. The venue’s Compass Room boasts a personality of its own, and allows guests to mingle comfortably with family and friends. Hosts receive the event planner’s cell phone number, along with 24-hour access to party planning through the Market’s online program.