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The best wedding venues in Chicago are different for every bride and groom—it’s a choice that’s dependent on your budget, guest count, and the vibe you’re going for. But there are a few key factors that make some rise above the rest. Here, we outline those standout places to get married in Chicago, ranking them according to superlatives that couples will want to consider when choosing that special destination.
In a sea of options, a wedding venue rises to the top when it offers amenities that fit into a specific niche—luxury amenities, outdoor options, accommodations for small weddings, and so on. Each of the venues in our list does just that, and also offers amenities, add-ons, and extras that can help couples pull off the perfect wedding day.
A number of factors were taken into consideration when reviewing these Chicago wedding venues: amenities, location, views, dining, and variety in package offerings and event spaces. We consulted esteemed planning team Bianca Hall and Erica Vanco of Estera Events for their expert opinions, too. All things considered, Chicago Athletic Association came out on top as our pick for best overall place to get married in Chicago.
Chicago Athletic Association’s central location means it offers easy access to some of the city’s landmarks and institutions, plus incredible views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. But weds-to-be and their guests won’t even need to leave the property. “It really is a one-stop shop,” Hall says, citing the getting-ready suites, rehearsal dinner options, guests amenities—and the White City Ballroom’s stunning marble floors—as reasons it’s her top pick.
How to Choose the Best Wedding Venues in Chicago
The venues in our list were selected based on their versatility. Factors like variety of rental spaces to accommodate different guest counts and tiered wedding packages to hit varying budgets—as well as their central location in Chicago and proximity to major attractions—were considered. Ultimately, the aim was to showcase a group of venues that represents a variety of budget and sizes while still encapsulating what it looks like to get married in Chicago—the history, beauty, and city vibes.
Guide for Choosing the Best Wedding Venues in Chicago
Is a Wedding Venue in Chicago Right for You?
Is Chicago the right location for your wedding? If you’re looking for a city with both urban and natural amenities, experiential destinations for your guests, and an incredible talent pool for vendors from florals to catering, the answer is probably yes. “One of my favorite things about Chicago is that you can get that feel of the city but also find very nature-filled areas,” says Erica Vanco, co-owner of wedding planning firm Estera Events. “Chicago is just so classic, there’s so much history here and it’s just naturally beautiful.” The sheer variety of venues, from blank-canvas lofts to glamorous hotel ballrooms to cultural landmarks and institutions—all steps for stunning Lake Michigan—make Chicago a fantastic place to get married.
Comparing Wedding Venues in Chicago
There are countless factors to consider when selecting a wedding venue in Chicago—and it’s all about asking the right questions when you tour each. We turned once again to wedding and event planners Bianca Hall and Erica Vanco of Estera Events to weigh in on what couples should consider.
“Establish your budget and guest count first, to make sure that the venue aligns with what can be done,” suggests Vanco. “That’s huge, because you want to start off on the right foot and not be stressed out.”
Find out what is included in the rental fee (i.e. tables, chairs, linens) and make sure those items align with your personal style, or be prepared to factor in that extra cost of rental furniture. Find out if food and beverage is provided through the venue or should be outsourced.
Each venue will have different specifications about what is allowed or not allowed. “For example, museums are beautiful places to get married, but a lot of times they don’t allow candles,” Hall says. “So if your vision is to have a ton of candles at your wedding, you want to make sure that’s allowed.” Review the proposed contract thoroughly for those details.
- Noise and sound ordinances
Many venues, especially those with outdoor space or located in a residential neighborhood, have sound restrictions that cut the party off earlier than you may want. Make sure to find out what time music can be played until, and at what level.
Keep in mind what season of the year you’ll be getting married. Some venues, such as the Chicago Botanic Garden, have in- and off-season pricing, as the landscape is more beautiful in the summer; other venues rely on outdoor space that’s unavailable in winter. Dates for in-season venues usually book up quickly, so make sure to plan far in advance.
Consider your guests when selecting a venue. Chicago is a destination city, so many guests may come and spend the whole weekend or a few days. Centrally located venues with restaurants, parks, and cultural institutions within walking distance—not to mention great views—will provide guests with activities all weekend long.
Book Your Chicago Wedding Venue Today
You’ve found your dream wedding venue in Chicago—so what’s next? Reach out to the venue’s wedding or event specialist to request personalized pricing information or request a quote through the venue’s website (while there may be a pricing list available online, prices are subject to change and differ based on the guest count, rental needs, and other factors). Once you’ve selected an available date and reviewed the contract details, most venues will require couples to put down a deposit of up to 50%, with the remainder due a few weeks before the wedding date. Make sure to budget accordingly, or work out a payment plan directly with your venue.
The range varies greatly, and there is a venue for every budget. Costs are based on two main factors: space rental fee, and food and beverage pricing (for all-inclusive venues). The venues included in the list we’ve curated above range from a space rental fee of $8,000 (food and beverage not included), to an all-inclusive per guest cost of $425 (putting a wedding of 150 around $64,000 for food, beverage and space rental). Costs can be higher or lower and are subject to change.
While each venue offers different specifics—tables and chairs, linens, A/V equipment, and so on—there are a few things you’re guaranteed when getting married in Chicago: Your venue will likely have a great view (whether that be of the skyline, lake, river, park, or other landscape), and be walkable to a host of restaurants, parks, museums, theaters, and more. Each neighborhood location offers something different, but they are all exciting and immersive.
From lofts to ballrooms to outdoor terraces to museums, there are countless types of wedding venues in Chicago. Each comes with its own set of rules—parks may have noise restrictions, museums may have regulations about open flames, and so on—so the type of venue is an important factor to consider in your selection. Decor is also a factor: Ballrooms often have ornate details or chandeliers; lofts are a blank canvas. Figure out your vision and style before you select a venue.
Many wedding venues in Chicago are all-inclusive (or work with an exclusive catering company) when it comes to food and beverages; others allow couples to bring in their own caterers. Few if any, however, are entirely all-inclusive: Couples will be required to bring in additional vendors for things like floral and decor, tabletop rentals or linens, photo booths, and additional amenities, and may be required or encouraged to hire an outside planner.