Wedding planner opening new event venue in downtown Wheaton
Alexis Heller is everything brides-to-be want and need in a wedding planner: accommodating, calm and obsessed with the details.
Raised in a military family, Heller comes across just as levelheaded and organized getting ready to open a new event venue on Main Street in downtown Wheaton by the end of the month.
The Moment on Main will host wedding ceremonies and receptions, birthday celebrations and baby showers, corporate meetings and nonprofit fundraisers in a completely renovated space that used to hold a resale shop. Dates already are filling up well into next year, Heller said.
It's been a juggling act scheduling events, helping couples tie the knot in the COVID-19 era, giving tours of the venue while it's still under construction, and toiling over all the design choices.
"I love all the details and really creating timelines constantly and figuring out how to make things work," Heller said.
For the space itself, Heller wanted an elegant, modern look that could suit any style of wedding.
The dark wood floors could complement a rustic theme. Sputnik chandeliers can appeal to couples with more contemporary tastes. With off-white walls, the interior on the whole feels bright and airy.
"Our venue is not overshadowing someone's style," Heller said. "I really want to welcome everyone's style and personality in this space."
Heller earned a college degree in hospitality management, started her career in Wheaton and served a two-year term on the chamber of commerce board. She's coming back to Wheaton as downtown developments create new buzz.
"Wheaton is evolving, continuing to evolve," said Heller, who grew up in West Chicago and now lives in St. Charles. "We're getting more restaurants, more bars, newer businesses in there, but the one thing that I think would benefit the community would be an event venue to bring people outside of Wheaton to downtown Wheaton."
The facade of the Main Street building has gone through its own evolution.
After the Wise Penny resale shop closed, an investment company leased the space, originally envisioning a furniture store that could host events. Heller initially was brought on as a consultant before the concept turned into The Moment on Main.
The building now has an exterior of white brick and large, black-framed windows, making a stretch of Main Street a "bit more modern," Heller said, in the same way that new restaurants have breathed new life into Hale Street.
"Moment on Main offers a unique, refreshing alternative to the standard by bringing a modern contemporary design approach to their venue," said Elle Withall, executive director of the Downtown Wheaton Association. "Because of that, now downtown Wheaton has another anchor tenant destination business. It's a huge win for the downtown."
Heller said the location was desirable because the downtown has a florist, salons and barbershops where couples can get glam. Outdoor ceremonies also can be held at nearby parks.
As for wedding trends, Heller said many couples are choosing more intimate nuptials and cocktail parties rather than the traditional plated meal.
Adapting to the pandemic, some couples want smaller guest lists limited to immediate family. The 5,600-square-foot venue can accommodate up to 180 people with an open dance floor and as many as 230 for a cocktail reception. Hand-washing stations also are available.
"Sit-down receptions will forever remain a classic event, but 2020 made us realize it's OK to mix things up a bit," Heller wrote in a blog post for The Moment on Main.
She's eager to get to know couples and what makes them tick so she can plan a dream wedding that embodies their personalities.
"Just seeing how happy they are that day and the fact that I got to help build that and make that happen is a really good feeling," she said.