816 Allen Ave, Saint Louis, MO | Directions 6310438.607340 -90.204363
Neighborhoods: Saint Louis, Soulard
We couldn't have been happier to have discovered the Franklin Room which proved to the perfect choice for our wedding reception. The Owners, Michele and Doug, are a truly amazing duo. Michele goes the extra mile to help plan and coordinate all the reception details (no matter how much gets thrown at her!) and her husband, Doug, who is also Head Chef, hooks your taste buds with the delicious food prepared in his kitchen. The food here is really amazing, We literally sat for the first tasting (one of many venues) and knew instantly that this was the place. My husband recommends the Cajun style stuffed mushrooms! In fact, he asked Doug to call him anytime anyone orders them so he can place a side order for pickup. ?
The Franklin Room was built back during the World fair, and it carries a certain charm that you do not find in many, if any, venues in St. Louis. It has a huge ballroom with wood floors, high ceilings (this was a must for me and very hard to find) and a great stage which we were able to fully utilize (we had a live jazz trio during cocktail hour and dinner, along with a DJ to MC and take over the dance floor later, we even had room for a special performer to come in, all of which were done on the stage!) Feedback from our guests all included how impressed by this place they were, how shocked they had not heard of it sooner since it was so unique and beautiful, and the food was really delicious! We really wanted to provide a unique wedding experience for all our friends and family, which we felt was achieved many times over.
Michele was so accommodating, she is like the “fairy godmother” of wedding receptions, as corny as that might sound, I’m still in awe of how the wedding reception was able to come together perfectly with her help, she was there all along the way. Any time I had a question, she always had good insight to provide, and if she didn’t right away, she would find a way to get you a solution. I consider myself pretty detail attentive and I had probably gone over details with her over and over, but every time she was very patient with what I had to say/ask, and helped me resolve any worries I might have had. Looking back on the wedding, I can honestly say my wedding would not have gone as smoothly without Michele, and for that I am so thankful for her.
Michele and Doug are really wonderful people, and if you go with the Franklin Room, you will truly be in very good hands. We have nothing but good things to say and remember about this place, We love the Franklin Room!
Glad we didn't read the reviews until after we booked – Let me start by saying that our wedding isn't until August. That said, I feel like I owe it to the Swaney's to post this now. We booked with them in November of 2011, then started reading reviews.... This happened because we were so swept away by the venue and the reasonable price that we didn't want to lose our day. I'm so very glad it happened that way, otherwise we might have not booked with them.
There are many negative reviews out there regarding The Franklin Room, but I want to put your mind at ease if you're considering booking. The negative reviews are not in response to the services provided by the current owners Michelle and Doug Swaney, but towards the former owners.
We toured 20+ places to find our reception venue - let me tell you a little about The Franklin Room. First, the place is amazing. It's a historical building (world's fair historical), with 30 ft ceilings, completely wooden floors (can you say HUGE dance floor), it has a stage for the DJ, and it's simply beautiful. We actually changed our date, it was that nice.
That said, you'd expect the price to be high, especially for the area, right? Wrong! They were far more reasonable than 90% of the places we visited. We're paying for most of this wedding ourselves, so we were looking for a "best bang for your buck" kinda place, we found it, without a doubt. They have several options and price ranges, but their level 1 buffet will please most people, and the price is right (call Bob Barker.. he'll tell you).
Now, about the Swaneys. Michelle has been extremely accommodating. There were several "would it be possible to" questions we had, and "yes" has been the answer every time. They were the only proprietors to request we come for dinner, instead of us having to request a tasting. Which, of course, leads me to the food.
We just had our tasting, and it was delicious. We tasted roast beef (it was cooked correctly, not surprisingly), chicken with 3 different sauces, several different vegetables, mostaccioli, and a simple salad. I was using this tasting as a two-part decision. First, was the food good... YES! Second, should we upgrade to the level 2 buffet (carved prime rib, etc). No need, even though the price difference is only $4 per person (read as extremely reasonable). If money wasn't an issue we might have, but we agreed it was far better than what we expected for the price.
Michelle is extremely responsive, and accommodating. Her husband (the cook) makes food that is impeccable. They've been available everytime we needed something, whether by email or by phone. So far, everything has been extremely stress free when working with them. I'll update this thread once our wedding is over, but I am positive I'll have nothing but good things to say. There's a reason I'm writing this review now, they deserve the business.
Best of luck in your search. Make sure you include The Franklin Room in your list of possible venues. I am sure you won't be disappointed.
Update: Had the wedding last night. It was an awesome party! Everyone kept mentioning how great everything was. The food, the venue, the food.... We felt Michelle and Doug were great to work with from start to finish. The food was amazing. Definitely one of the nicest weddings we've ever been to, and so glad it was ours! We couldn't have asked for anything more.. really. Thank you again Michelle and Doug!!
My wedding was held at The Franklin Room on June 9, 2012, and it was the the best experience I could have asked for. I can't imagine working with anyone more professional, accommodating, and kind than Michele Swaney. She, along with her husband (the chef) Doug Swaney, are the owners of The Franklin Room and they are incredible to work with.
The Franklin Room is very reasonably priced, especially considering how beautiful the room is and how little decoration or extras are really needed because the room has so much character itself. More importantly, Doug and Michele were willing to work with us in so many situations. We wanted to do dinner a bit non-traditionally and do heavy appetizers instead of a sit-down dinner or buffet. They had never done this before, but they didn't hesitate to say that they would make it happen for us. We went to a tasting - they fed not only myself and my now husband, but my mom and dad as well- and the food was absolutely delicious. I don't doubt that their normal dinner would have been excellent as well, but the appetizers were absolutely to die for.
Being that I live in a different town than where my wedding was located, it was important that I could meet with Michele on the few weekends that I was in town. This was never a problem. We were always able to schedule times convenient for me, and there were even times when I called at the last minute because one relative or another wanted to see the space, and she was always willing to meet even though she hadn't planned on being at the space at the time. She made planning my wedding easy, if that's possible. I was able to meet when was convenient for me, set up decorations when was convenient for me, and pick everything up after the event when was convenient for me.
The night of the event could not have gone more smoothly. Michele stayed the entire time and was always nearby if I had a question for her or needed to talk to her, but it never felt like she was hovering or watching in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. And the guests just RAVED about the food. Though Michele and Doug hadn't done the heavy appetizers before, it was handled perfectly and turned out exactly the way my husband and I wanted it.
I have no doubt if that if someone looking for an event space lays eyes on The Franklin Room, they will want their event to take place there. If there are any reservations about whether or not to work with Doug and Michele, put them aside now because I have never worked with two more accommodating and professional people.
Avoid at all costs. Complete rip-off. – I attended the Mardi Gras celebration at the Franklin Room on Saturday, March 5th, 2011. Their student special flyer advertised "$40... All you can eat food & drink. Draft beer, hurricanes & wine, $65 for non-students.” When I arrived at 11:00 am, they were completely out of food and hurricanes. So little food was prepared that when it was finally brought out at 12:00 it had to be rationed out to the ~20 people waiting. I received 1/4 cup of rice. The self-serve hurricane cooler was finally restocked 2 hours after my arrival. Both food and hurricanes were restocked consistently thereon every 45-75 minutes. When new food was brought out, it was only enough to fill 1/3 of a shallow buffet pan. There was constantly a crowd of ~20 people waiting patiently at both the cooler and the "buffet" that many people who refused to blindly wait around simply did not get served. Complaints to the staff resulted in "we've got someone working on it," with no ETA. Each time I looked inside their kitchen they only had 1 person cooking the food while 2 others stood nearby assisting/watching/chit-chatting. None of the staff seemed anxious or like they were in any hurry to try and meet the demand, and were almost entirely apathetic when people complained. Service did not improve until approximately half the crowd left around 4 in the afternoon. There really is no excuse for how poorly Franklin Room mismanaged their Mardi Gras celebration, especially for a venue that apparently hosts wedding receptions. If I factor in the additional cost of the restaurant I had to go to for food and cab fare, Franklin Room actually cost me about $60. If I hadn’t been a student, that would have been $85 for one night at the Franklin Room. I believe Franklin Room intentionally understaffed themselves and trickled out the food and booze to maximize profit. I will recommend against Mardi Gras at the Franklin Room next year to everyone who will listen. Next year I will be returning to the Bud Light tent for $100, whose service was magnitudes beyond what I experienced at Franklin Room.
Great Wedding Recption – We just had our daughters wedding reception at the Franklin Room. The new owners, Doug and Michelle are wonderful to work with. We had compliments all evening on the hall, the food and the kindness of Michelle. We could not have asked for anything better for our daughter and new son-in-law. I would highly recommend this hall to anyone.
TERRIBLE! – The managers at this Hall are terrible to work with -- they are difficult, rude, and very unprofessional -
DO NOT HOLD YOUR EVENT HERE!
Do not choose this hall for a wedding reception – My wife and I had a very bad experience planning a wedding reception at the hall.
The 2 older managers are very difficult to work with and promise the world. Seating was a huge problem! They kept changing their story abotut how many people they could accomodate in a uniformed manner. We were not allowed to taste the food. We only allowed a limited time to decorate the hall before the wedding. We ended up not having our reception at the facility because the story kept changing.
The 2 guys would not give our deposit back. I should have listened to friends in St. Louis. Many folks told me not to have a reception due to their personal experiences at the hall. We should have listened.
Please look elsewhere because you will be disappointed. It's the most important day of your life and we are lucky we did not have the event at the Franklin Room.
Winter 07 Wedding – We had our wedding reception at the Franklin Room in November. We looked at many facilities before deciding on the Franklin Room. The room is like a beautiful old fashioned ball room. The managers are very organized and helped us have a worry free night. They were constantly asking if there was anything they could do for us. The food was delicious and served very quickly to enable us to enjoy a wonderful time with our guests. There is no elevator but the management discreetly accommodated our guest that needed assistance up the stairs.
Loved our Reception at Franklin Room – We loved our reception in this beautifully restored and elegant venue. Everything about our reception went smoothly, and we received many compliments on the food, the atmosphere, etc. We found the owners to be upfront and professional. Great experience!
Wedding Reception Venue – I had my wedding reception here. The hall was beautiful but the two men who run the hall are very hard to work with. They would not let me visit the hall again after booking with them, even though i wanted to see it again to decide on decorations. They would not allow a taste testing of the food and the food turned out to be horrible. They would not turn up the air for us even though it was very hot in there. They told us what we needed to here to book and then backed on promises. GET EVERYTHING in writing from them.
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