Chicago, Lake Michigan’s glistening cityscape, is among one of the largest cities in the United States. This diverse and dynamic destination receives over 52 million visitors a year, and it’s no wonder why. Walt Disney’s birth place boasts 5,195 restaurants, 369 landmarks, 250 theaters, 60 museums, 26 miles of lakefront, 26 beaches, 580 parks and countless wedding venues. With all this going on, we understand that choosing the perfect wedding venue for your special day is nearly an impossible task. Well, not with our help.
Gone are the days in which wedding venues consisted of just churches and dining halls. Now, you can get married pretty much anywhere with a license, be that on land, sea or sky. For all it’s variety as a city of art and modern culture, Chicago definitely doesn’t disappoint. Here, you can choose from an eclectic mix of alternative, modern, creative or historic wedding venues to suit any style. Our top 10 spaces are all fantastically unique, just scroll through and choose your favorite for an unforgettable day!
For a Botanical Garden Paradise: Crystal Gardens
Imagine holding your special day in a 1-acre botanical garden, enclosed within a majestic 6-story glass atrium. You’ll definitely make a statement. Think lush green foliage and twinkly lights, it doesn’t get more romantic than this!
Not only is the interior of the Crystal Gardens a wedding wonderland, but its location is also to die for. Situated on Chicago’s infamous Navy Pier, the Crystal Gardens boast spectacular views of the city skyline and the glistening waters of Lake Michigan. The venue can hold between 80 to 500 guests, and instead of paying for venue rental, you pay per head for delicious, award-winning catering. This wonderfully unique venue space combines the magic of the natural world with the elegance of Chicago city.
For Colorful Hispanic Flare: Carnivale
In central Chicago, you’ll find this colorful gem of a renowned restaurant and alternative venue. Carnivale is a dynamic restaurant and venue space, specialising in South-American, Spanish and Caribbean cuisines and atmospheres. Go exotic with a tropical theme and festive day of color that no-one will ever forget!
With Carnivale as your wedding ceremony and reception venue, you can host from 10 – 1000 guests in any of their 8 private event spaces. It’s an extraordinarily unique venue complete with attentive staff who pay attention to even the smallest of details.
So, if you’re a fun-loving couple, that appreciates lively music, color, exotic food and delicious cocktails, then Carnivale is most certainly for you. Escape the city hustle and bustle and enter this vibrant and festive utopia for an unrivalled wedding fiesta.
For Panoramic City Views: Skyline Loft
At Bridgeport Art Center, ‘the sky is the limit’ with their transformable loft space that boasts sweeping skyline views. A unique space that can host any event, especially perfect for rustic chic weddings due to it’s beautiful natural wood interior.
This vast space with stunning views over Chicago can host between 100 to 600 guests when seated; it has guest parking, a well-equipped catering kitchen and a separate service elevator, so its a practical venue with a spectacular outcome.
Located in Bridgeport, just 5 minutes from downtown Chicago, this venue is great for the afternoon and evening reception of your special day: you can celebrate as the sun goes down and the stars come out over the magical city.
For an Elegant Ballroom Reception: Stan Mansion
Situated within Chicago’s Logan Square Historic District, the authentic and grand Stan Mansion has stood relatively unchanged for 100 years. Its splendour has since become popular among Chicago brides seeking a traditional venue in which to hold their elegant ceremony and reception.
Why wouldn’t you want to get married in one of Chicago’s oldest neighbourhoods? Marriage is a traditional ritual, a history of romance. Formerly a masonic temple, this restored mansion is perfect for a fairytale wedding.
Grand facades and stunning exterior aside, within Stan Mansion, you can choose between two exquisite ballrooms for your reception. After welcome drinks in a chic bar/lounge area, either sit your guests in the Grand Ballroom (up to 300 guests) or in the Lower Ballroom (up to 250 guests). Whatever your theme or tastes, these versatile spaces can be dressed up or down to suit any type of event.
When it comes to quenching your guests’ thirst, Stan Mansion is a BYOB venue, and so welcomes its doors to bars of all types from any licensed caterers.
For Adding Your Personal Touch: Loft on the Lake
Another transformable, unique loft space. Loft on the Lake has an authentic canvas of brick walls, finished wood beams, chandeliers and spotlights, upon which you can add your personal style. Add twinkly fairy lights, blooming flowers, creative table decorations and balloons… whatever most suits your style! In Loft on the Lake you can have both a beautiful ceremony and a flawless wedding reception.
With a dedicated team of caterers and wedding co-ordinators, Loft on the Lake will work with you in order to plan the best possible layout within this versatile space: they’ll order the furniture, the linen, the lights, and whatever you need to set up the day of your dreams.
Loft on the Lake offers a variety of menus, and can cater for any dietary requirements from vegan to kosher. To get the party started, choose from various top liquor packages, or opt for a cocktail menu. For everything else, check their website for recommended Chicago vendors and to see their own great wedding photography service from accomplished photographer, Steve Garrat.
For a Historic and Modern Blend: The Ivy Room
The Ivy Room is the stunning wedding venue space of Tree Studios, a historic building that has been a creative hub for artists since 1894. Many of Chicago’s greatest artists had workshops here, and now this center for Chicago’s history and culture can be where you celebrate your big day. Tree Studios was restored in 2000 to blend it’s historic heritage with elegant modern features.
When it comes to your ceremony and reception at The Ivy Room, you can choose flexibly among a few spaces: the ballroom, the courtyard and the lower level lounge. For small or larger parties, click here for detailed floor plans of the venue.
When it comes to the all-important entertaining, The Ivy Room has you covered. You can choose delicious menus according to the season: from fresh garden vegetables, gazpacho and fresh fish in summer, to roasted cauliflower steak and warm pear-cranberry crumble in winter. They also offer a selection of brunch menus, sweet stations and late night snacks, so your guests can indulge all night long!
For Sophistication and Modern Grandeur: Room 1520
A historic gear factory in the artistic West Loop of Chicago, renovated into a light, airy and modern event space. Complete with high ceilings, Italian chandeliers and a grand entrance and staircase, this loft space can be renovated to suit any style or theme.
Room 1520 is perfect as a raw urban space for a sleek and modern wedding. Overall, it spreads across 4,000 square ft. but with available drape dividers, you can have your reception as large or as intimate as you like. Its minimalist charm is what attracts stylish brides from all over the city, its yours to do with it as you want.
For Authentic Renaissance Romance: Osteria Via Stato
The Italians are known for their warm hospitality, delicious food and their Renaissance culture of love. So, if you can’t have a European destination wedding in dreamy Italy, then why not have it brought to you in the center of Chicago? Osteria Via Stato is about authentic and romantic as it gets: a renowned name for Italian dining and catering, with a fairytale rustic brick interior and alcoved ceilings.
Osteria Via Stato pride themselves upon La Dolce Vita, and so ensure that every wedding has the most festive atmosphere possible, so that your day is nothing less than a celebration. This restaurant venue is totally dedicated to recreating the hustle and bustle of authentic Italian gastronomic city cafes and family-owned taverns. Voted as one of the Best 25 Tastes of Chicago (Where Magazine Chicago), you’ll be comfortable knowing that the atmosphere and flavors of your celebration will be perfect.
You can hire the entire restaurant for up to 225 guests (with a dancefloor), or you can choose their private rooms or the Chef’s table for more intimate parties. The Custom Events Manager at Osteria Via Stato will then work with you to pull off your dream day, and the venue either provides or works with local vendors for flowers, table centrepieces etc. Just think about it, a dreamy and delicious Italian stress-free wedding!
For a Candlelit and Opulent Landmark: University Club Chicago
In the heart of Chicago city, opposite Millennium Park, The Orchestra Club and The Art Institute, you’ll find University Club Chicago standing proud. A chic and stately venue characterised by architectural heritage and endless glamour. Whether you have a guest list of 10 to 300 people, this exclusive social club venue can cater a delicious 4-course menu to all those lucky enough to be invited!
Choose between a number of elegant private dining rooms on offer at University Club, or go for the grand Cathedral Hall or Michigan Room for an unforgettable reception.
So, with a stunning city bursting with incredible wedding venues, which one will you choose? First things first, decide on your preferred style, and then you’ll really know whether a modern and versatile loft, a historical landmark, a grand ballroom, an indoor botanical garden or a creative and cultural restaurant party is for you! You can thank us later… send us your #realwedding stories!