Our First Venue Meeting: Rooftop of Detroit Opera House

Now that I’ve ranted about my possible venues, here is a venue that has been great to work with.

Nick and I decided immediately after he popped the question that we wanted a rooftop reception. Our song has been “Rooftops” by LostProphets since we were 16, so we knew a rooftop location would truly create a magical night.

Unfortunately this has left a very narrow selection for venues, as well as expensive rental costs. For the time being, it looks like only two of our rooftop venues can actually host a wedding – and I just met with the first one on Friday.

The venue is the Detroit Opera House. Their rooftop space is called the Sky Deck and can hold up to 150 seated guests – a number we feel we can actually make happen. Upon first emailing about the space, I was actually told they do not generally do this, but added the clarifier that we could work something out. I jumped all over this “maybe” response after receiving so many “no”s and it has lead me here!

I met with Jason, the Theatre Director, and he showed me the spaces available for use. I told him we would like to have the ceremony in the theater itself and then move upstairs to the rooftop for the reception. He gave me a play-by-play on how the ceremony worked in the theater to really give me a feel for what it would be like. I even got to stand on the stage and look out to the empty crowd. I absolutely adore being on a stage, and the magnificence of the theater from that point of view was breath-taking.

DOH Theater2DOH Theater

On top of the walk-through Jason showed me for my walk down the aisle, he showed me how ushers and red carpet would greet my friends and family in the lobby. For anyone who has been to the opera house, you know that the lobby is the best part:

DOH Lobby

Needless to say, I became very excited for this possible reality. I may even consider just having the ceremony in the lobby too! Walk down the staircase instead of theater aisles. Mmmmm

Jason then showed me the way to the elevator that would take us to the rooftop. The one concern is that the main elevator does not actually go all the way to the rooftop, but rather the top floor and then you need to take a flight of steps to the rooftop. For any elderly family members, they’d have to walk to the other side of the theater to get to the elevator that actually goes all the way up. Even with that, there are still two steps involved. Also, the walk from the ceremony to the elevator is a hefty walk, as well as from the top of that elevator to the reception side of the rooftop. Soooo we’ll have to think about this speedbump…

But once I got to the rooftop I, again, got super excited. From up there the view was splendid! I could see Comerica Park (our Detroit Tiger’s baseball stadium) and our signature whale painting:
DOH Comerica ViewDetroit Whale Mural

The rooftop space had room for circle tables seating 10, a bar, and a stage, as well as a few lounge sofas along the edge. Minus the gravel floor, I loved it. On the note of the gravel floor though, there were rubber walkway runners laid out, and Jason informed me that the Opera House would lay out a dancefloor for people. I know for sure though that if this becomes our venue, we will have to have one of those flip-flop baskets for anyone uncomfortable walking the gravel in heels.
DOH Sky Deck

So our fingers are crossed! When Jason ran through some of the costs with me, it did come out over-budget. What was nice though is that he printed out my estimate with an itemized list, so I can see what areas are costing the most and I can cut down on (surprise surprise, alcohol was the largest expense).

Wish me luck!

Below is a great guide for questions to ask your venue:

1. Do you have my date available?
2. How many people can the space hold? Is that number seated or standing?
3. What is the fee for renting the space?
4. What exactly does this fee include? Venues range from just a room rental rate to an all-inclusive (catering, tables, chairs, linens, lighting, etc.).
5. What is excluded from the rental fee? How many hours does the rental rate include?
6. How much is an additional hour?
7. How many parking spots are available for guests?
8. Can we rental additional parking spacing if needed?
9. Can I use any vendor or do you have list of preferred vendors?
10. Do you do all set up and tear down of items you provide?
11. If the ceremony and reception will be held in the same space will you have enough time and staff to make this a seamless transition?
12. When can I begin set up on my wedding day?
13. If we have an outdoor element do you provide a back-up location if the weather is bad?
14. Are there any restrictions on use of the space? Often times you can’t hang from the ceiling or use open flame candles.
15. Are there restrictions on photography or videography?
16. Are there any noise restrictions?
17. Do I need to get any permits or insurance for the wedding?
18. Is there a bridal room and a groom’s suite?
19. Can I see a sample of items you provide? This is often tables, chairs, linens and china.
20. How much is the deposit?
21. When is the balance due?
22. What forms of payment do you take?
23. What is your cancellation policy?


3 thoughts on “Our First Venue Meeting: Rooftop of Detroit Opera House

  1. I am currently in the process of looking for a venue for my wedding. The opera house is one of my favorite places
    In Detroit and actually where my fiancé proposed to me. So this would be ideal for us and it fits our theme. If you don’t mind sharing, what was the total cost for the venue?


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