Places to Have a Wedding in Chicago
Take your pick from historic to exotic venues in the Windy City
By Jennifer Olvera
Chicago is a city filled with many historic buildings and structures that exude new world glamor. It's the kind of place where any type of wedding is possible, from an intimate fete with friends to an all-out bash amid sky-high views. The trick is choosing from the many options some of which are included below.
Ballrooms abound in Chicago, and many have jaw-dropping architectural details. Specifically, consider the Grand Ballroom in the Renaissance Revival building, which can comfortably seat as many as 708, which may come in handy if you're having a big wedding. Another is Germania Place in the city's Gold Coast neighborhood, a circa 1888 building with expansive ceilings, gilded domes and vintage crystal chandeliers. Keep in mind that room rental rates can range from $3,500 to $4,500 depending on the day of the week but you also get other amentities and services with your complete package.
Museums, gardens and zoos
Chicago is one of the nation's greenest cities with some historic outdoor locations like Millennium Park and Lincoln Park among others. The former offers several indoor and outdoor options spanning a variety of budgets. Couples on the hunt for less expensive, popular options in the summer can choose from beach parks along Lake Michigan's western coast. Or you can opt for more formal settings such as the picturesque Great Hall of Café Brauer, a timelessly elegant building at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Other venues that host weddings include the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Cuneo Museum & Gardens and the Civic Opera House.
Although they tend to get a bad rap, banquet facilities are plentiful, and you can find some great, distinct options in Chicago. Among the more unusual options include the Opera Restaurant, which sports lush, romantic private space for small gatherings, and Everest, a notable, and award-winning restaurant from Jean Joho on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange. Similarly the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center offers marvelous views of downtown Chicago and the surrounding area.
Aboard a boat
Chicago in the summer time is hard to beat both on land and water. If you want to have a non-traditional wedding, consider having your event on one of the cities many cruise ships or boats. Most allow you to have private events on board and for an hourly rate, to which you can add food and beverage service.
Those looking to host a wedding and reception in the same locale, however, may need to consider more traditional venues, such as at one of the cities many downtown hotels. The W hotel on Lake Shore drive offers scenic views of Lake Michigan as well as the breathtaking Revolving Rooftop banquet room, but there are many stellar options to choose from including the Peninsula Hotel and the very unique looking Sofitel hotel. Most hotels will offer some form of wedding planning services, provided you're looking for a pricier option for a venue.
About the Author
Jennifer Olvera is a freelance writer specializing in topics such as weddings, food and travel.
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Want to keep decor costs to a minimum? Consider a winery or other outdoor setting to provide a natural pretty scene. Hotels, country clubs and restaurants are also popular choices -- some will require more decor help than others. If you have your heart set on an off-site caterer, make sure your venue allows it.
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Catering services supplied by the wedding venue. If a venue offers in-house catering, typically off-site caterers are not permitted.View the Full Weddings Glossary