Kelly Jenk setting up for wedding inside Riviera

Kelly Jenk arranges boat-shaped centerpieces on dinner tables June 29 for a wedding reception inside Lake Geneva’s historic Riviera ballroom. (Photo by Scott Williams/Regional News)

The cost to hold a wedding at the Riviera ballroom is going up, but only for those living outside Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva aldermen have been considering rental rate increases for wedding events at the city-owned Riviera.

A proposal presented by city staff and endorsed by two city council committees called for non-residents to pay rates increasing from $3,000 to $3,900 for Saturday rentals, from $3,000 to $3,400 for Friday and Sunday, and from $500 to $1,250 on Monday through Thursday.

Rates for city residents would have increased from $2,500 to $3,000 for Saturday, from $500 to $950 for Monday through Thursday, and would have remain unchanged at $2,500 for Friday and Sunday.

The City Council on July 8 approved the fee increases for non-residents, but aldermen decided to give city residents a bigger break.

By a 5-3 vote, the council decided that city residents would pay only half as much as non-residents to hold wedding events in the popular lakefront venue.

Residents will now pay $1,950 to rent the Riviera for a Saturday wedding, $1,700 on Friday and Sunday, and $625 Monday through Thursday.

Alderwoman Selena Proksa was among those voicing support for lowering the fees for city residents.

“We don’t feel that we’re giving our residents enough of a break,” Proksa said. “We haven’t had any interest from them in using our facility, which is kind of a shame.”

No projections were presented on how the lower resident fees would impact city revenue from the Riviera.

The city last year collected $146,139 in Riviera rental fees, including events other than weddings.

Voting against the rental fee decrease for city residents were Aldermen Doug Skates, Richard Hedlund and Ken Howell.

Alderwoman Shari Straube said the cost to rent the Riviera is already less than other local wedding venues. She said she was in favor of increasing the rental rates, but at a cost that still makes the Riviera seem like a valuable place to conduct a wedding.

“The desirability can go up when the price goes up, too,” Straube said. “We’re not pricing ourselves out to the other wedding venues by any means.”

The Riviera ballroom can accommodate about 320 people.

City staff had recommended fee increases in an effort to steer more couples to book their wedding celebrations during off-peak dates.

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