Famed for its striking skyscrapers and bold architectural landmarks, Chicago perches on the shores of Lake Michigan in Illinois. It serves as a financial, cultural, and tech hub and has been consistently voted one of the best large cities to live in the United States.
When it comes to tying the knot, wedding venues in Chicago tick all the right boxes, with dramatic architecture and waterfront vistas as your backdrop. You can find upscale hotels and country clubs or glamorous ballrooms and estates, as well as gorgeous gardens and parks for outdoor nuptials. But aside from the classic wedding venue options, you can also get creative by holding your wedding in one of Chicago’s industrial-chic lofts, light-filled galleries, or historic homes.
Wedding Options in Chicago
Executing a memorable and stress-free wedding day is all about having the right vendors on your team, working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. As a large city, Chicago boasts plenty of wedding professionals who will get the job done, ranging from experienced photographers to creative florists and talented hair and makeup artists.
When it comes to dining, there is no shortage of catering options in Chicago, whether you want a three-course meal or a buffet. You can select from fine-dining cuisine, rustic fare, or something more playful, such as burgers and donut wheels.
No matter what style or color scheme you’ve selected, you’ll be able to find Chicago florists who can create your dream bouquet and beautiful boutonnieres to match.
Your wedding day will pass by in the blink of an eye, which is why it’s so important to hire a professional photographer to capture your special day. From all the candid moments of the getting ready session to the first kiss and the dance floor action, they’ll tell the story of your special day so you can relive it again and again.
No wedding reception is complete without a DJ who knows how to get everyone on the dance floor and will play your favorite tunes well into the night.
- Hair & Makeup Artists
After all those hours scouring through beauty magazines to find the look you’re after, it’s time to bring it to life with the help of a professional makeup artist and hairstylist.
Wedding Companies in Chicago
When it comes to organizing a wedding, you can do it all yourself or let a team of professional wedding planners do the hard work for you. With years of experience under their belts, they know what works (and what doesn’t) and will ensure your special day is executed without a hitch.
- Big City Bride
Based out of Lincoln Park, Big City Bride receives rave reviews from couples when it comes to their wedding planning talents. From open lines of communication to the warmth of their operations and the care of a family-run business, they also know the ins and outs of countless wedding venues in Chicago.
- Couture Events
Offering affordability and reliability, Couture Events organizes everything from intimate affairs to destination weddings and large cultural celebrations. Based in Lake View East, this wedding planning company employs a team of highly skilled professionals that include stylists and social media specialists.
- LOLA Event Productions
With over 60 years of combined experience, the wedding planners at LOLA Event Productions are second-to-none. The company has appeared on Brides magazine’s “Best of Planners” list, as well as in The Knot’s “Vendor Hall of Fame.” Based out of their Bucktown studio, LOLA prides itself on fostering an environment where clients can be creative and bring their visions to life.
Pros and Cons of Weddings in Chicago
The “Windy City” offers plenty of advantages for brides and grooms looking for their dream wedding venue; however, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind.
- Diverse choice of wedding venues
The diverse choice of wedding venues in Chicago is a big “plus” to holding your special day in the city. Whether you’re after an intimate celebration in a newly renovated loft or want to book an artsy penthouse with 360-degree views, you can find wedding venues with the space and aesthetic you’re seeking.
- Experienced vendors
With such a huge choice of experienced wedding vendors based in Chicago, you’ll have lots of options when it comes to finding your “dream team.” From florists and photographers to DJs and stylists, you can select those with the exact skills you’re looking for.
- Affordable property prices
Compared to some of the United States’ other major cities, Chicago is relatively affordable. This means that wedding venues in Chicago don’t cost as much to hire, helping to keep your wedding budget in check.
- Easy transportation options
If you’re planning a wedding with lots of out-of-town guests, getting to Chicago is a breeze. They can fly into O’Hare or Midway International airports, catch a train to Chicago Union Station, or drive along one of the highways that connect Chicago to major cities across the United States.
- It’s a cultural and sporting hub
If you’re planning a destination wedding in Chicago, you (and your guests) can use the opportunity to experience the city’s legendary museums and sporting culture. See the Chicago Cubs or White Sox in action, visit the Art Institute of Chicago, and get hands-on at the interactive Museum of Science and Industry.
- Crime scene
Chicago has long been associated with some of the biggest names in crime, such as Al Capone and Baby Face Nelson. Unfortunately, the city still has a relatively high crime rate today.
- Unfavorable weather
Chicago hasn’t been nicknamed the “Windy City” for no reason, and the wind can be relentless at times. Summers are often hot and humid, while the winters can get incredibly cold with significant snowfall.
- Traffic is notorious
It’s not uncommon for the city’s streets to come to a standstill during rush hour, so you may need to buffer in an extra hour or so to get to and from your wedding venue in Chicago.
- Parking is difficult
Parking is also challenging, with it sometimes nearly impossible to find a space in paid parking areas. Most locals use taxis or ride-share services to get around this problem, and it might be a good idea to recommend these to your guests also.
- High taxes
In Chicago, groceries and restaurant bills are taxed, which is something to keep in mind when selecting your wedding caterer.
Famous Locations in Chicago
- Chicago’s Murals
For a pop of color, many brides and grooms opt to have their wedding photos taken in front of Chicago’s vibrant murals that appear throughout the city’s eclectic neighborhoods.
- Chicago’s Lakefront
If you’re after a waterfront backdrop, there are plenty of places along the shores of Lake Michigan for wedding photoshoots, including Promontory Point, Olive Park, and The Adler Planetarium.
- The Loop
Home to many of Chicago’s architectural icons, this downtown area is an ideal setting for wedding portraits if you want the city’s striking buildings as your backdrop.
- Lincoln Park
After a more natural setting? Head to beautiful Lincoln Park to celebrate your new union amidst its landscaped gardens and lakefront trails.