Will My Friends and Family Have a Great Time? The BRIX Answers
Written by Rob Gorman, co-owner, The BRIX on the Fox, and Alexandra Dillard | Photography by Beth Joy Photography
Yes, you are getting married, but you are also throwing the biggest party of your lives. Weddings are a celebration of the couple, and a celebration of family and friends. How can we make sure that your family and friends have almost as amazing of a time as the couple? (Because let’s be clear, the couple should have the most amazing time!)
When The BRIX on the Fox was designed, it was based on creating a beautiful place to celebrate, and a venue that fulfilled all the needs of ensuring an entertaining and meaningful wedding.
Was this mission successful? Take a look at the owners’ very own daughter and son-in-law’s wedding at The BRIX on the Fox and see for yourself.
Alyssa and Shane’s wedding took place on a rainy day in May of 2021. Weddings were just beginning to start again after a pandemic-induced hiatus, and the warm glow of The BRIX venue set the scene for the much-anticipated return of gatherings.
As with any couple’s wedding, every detail was thought out, vendors were chosen with care and the result was undeniably lovely. But unlike most couples, the bride Alyssa had a hand in the design of the venue itself.
In early 2018, Rob and Tone Gorman, the “memory makers” (aka owners) of The BRIX on the Fox, shifted their careers to creating a wedding venue. With no experience in the industry, but with plenty of experience going to weddings, they designed The BRIX around what couples and their guests would enjoy. Fortunately, Rob and Tone had their own focus group with six children spanning from teens to 30s, plus their friends. Every plan and design decision was passed by the focus group and industry professionals. Their daughter Alyssa was quite involved in the planning process, from the bridal suite to the overall flow of the rooms. (She might have even thought about her soon-to-be husband, Shane, when planning it!)
Long before Alyssa and Shane said “I do,” The BRIX on the Fox had seen a rich history. Located on the scenic Fox River in Carpentersville, the building itself was constructed in the late 1800s as a dairy, supplying the historic condensed milk factory in nearby Elgin. While the dairy survived only three decades, the building later served the region as a manufacturing plant for other food and animal products until the late 1980s. In 2014, it was purchased by a developer who had started restoration for general warehouse and office space. In early 2018, the Gormans took over and began renovations to complete their dream venue: The BRIX on the Fox.
Thus, a vast venue with endless opportunities emerged. Their flagship space, “The Two-Sixty,” offers 9,000 square feet of rustic elegance and their newest space, “The Industria,” provides a separate 7,000 industrial chic square feet. Between the two wide-open spaces, the venue intentionally left ample room for imaginations to soar. Beyond flexibility in aesthetics and event flow, the venue prides itself in transparent pricing, allowing couples to choose their own vendors and live out the motto: “Your Life. Your Style.”
The venue opened in September 2018 with a huge thanks to the whole family’s input. Having never been in the industry before, people often ask the owners how they got it “so right.” Their response is, “We listened to a lot of people.” Key to this was relying on their children and their friends. After all, they knew best what their generation of engaged couples was looking for.
So when it came to planning their daughter Alyssa’s wedding, all the fundamentals were already in place. For Alyssa, getting married at The BRIX was always her desire; she helped create it, after all! Not many brides get to say that they had a hand in not only making their dream wedding come true, but in creating a venue in which many other dream weddings can occur as well.
About to become wedding guests at their own venue, Rob and Tone got to see their vision and goals in action. Weddings are designed to be wonderful for the newlyweds, but to The BRIX, how the guests enjoy their time is just as important. Just like no couple has the same style, guests are very different too. Some will celebrate by dancing while others will have their best night chatting it up with old, as well as new friends.
One thing is for sure though: all guests want to engage with the couple and be a close part of the celebration. This tenet was kept in mind when executing Alyssa and Shane’s wedding. From darling mini teepees for the children to choreographed dance routines to a live painter documenting the first dance, multiple layers of personalization and entertainment were infused from start to finish. The bride wanted her wedding to be “elegant, yet fun,” and the inviting and joyful atmosphere certainly came to life.
To further ensure that everyone feels close to the couple, The BRIX designed custom farm tables from reclaimed wood. Not only are they easy to decorate and work with many decor styles, they orient all the guests so they can see the couple and vice versa. It’s an entirely different experience for both guests and the couple when they can look into the faces of their friends versus just seeing the backs of their friends. The farm table experience allows guests to interact more naturally, in the same way they would engage in a spirited family table conversation at home. The intimacy created among guests is game changing when compared to traditional wedding seating approaches.
Clearly, the venue was already thoughtfully planned to host a great event. So with the basics of a successful wedding well established, the Gormans had space to incorporate some surprises for their daughter. Alyssa is a professional dancer and has taught dance for years. For a touching and joyful moment, some of Alyssa’s long-time students surprised her with a performance. This spirit of movement kicked off the beginning of a night full of dancing — both professional- grade and carefree.
As for dancing and music, they are not an afterthought for the venue. The BRIX prides itself on its world- class sound system. Thanks to this precise audio engineering, the venue is optimized so that the dance floor can be packed and lively while conversations are still able to flow just 20 feet away. While this sound system was not unique to Alyssa’s wedding, having it in place created the perfect atmosphere for dance to be a priority without diminishing the ability for mingling.
Needless to say, The BRIX was created for the couple and their guests. No element was overlooked and it showed. Both for their daughter’s wedding and every other wedding, Rob and Tone find it the most rewarding when couples leave and say to them, “Our friends had such an amazing night. They can’t get over the fun they had.” It validates all the design decisions that Alyssa — and so many others — contributed into helping create The BRIX.
While Alyssa and Shane’s wedding was undoubtedly a special one, it was treated no differently than any other client. “We followed the same advice we give couples as we help them plan. Follow the process then relax,” says Rob. When you have a family business, all your clients are family, too.
Part of this advice includes The BRIX’s carefully curated network of trusted wedding professionals. While the venue has no restrictions on what wedding vendors can be used, they’ve found that this short list of vetted vendors is extremely helpful. Alyssa and Shane themselves hired vendors from that list to create their wedding. On the wedding night, Rob and Tone say that knowing trusted professionals were serving their family and friends allowed them to celebrate with no concerns.
Overall, The BRIX is undeniably beautiful and enables a great guest experience, but the owners don’t take credit for each night. That credit belongs to the couple. While the owners love what they’ve created at The BRIX, a wedding is not just about the venue itself, but rather how the celebration uniquely reflects the couple. With a groundwork in place for personalization, The BRIX has instilled a new era of custom and oh-so special celebrations.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Beth Joy Photography
VIDEOGRAPHY: Daniel D Video
VENUE: The BRIX on the Fox
DÉCOR: Rustique Swan
FLORAL: JC Eden
DAY OF COORDINATION: Day of Divas
HAIR & MAKEUP: BLOVD Beauty Bar
BRIDE’S GOWN: Calla Blanche from Genevieve’s Bridal Couture
GROOM’S FORMALWEAR: Generation Tux
BRIDEMAIDS’ DRESSES: Kennedy Blue
CALLIGRAPHY: The Blonde Scribe
LIVE PAINTING: Phillip A. Ferguson
CATERING: True Cuisine