What used to be referred to as “The Second City”, Chicago is known for many things—deep dish pizza, jazz, Al Capone, the Sears Tower, the Cubs and Bears, and mega-low temps—but something that should be added to Chicago’s resume is its robust offering of fabulous and affordable wedding venues. Engaged athletes, Pinterest-lovers, history buffs, and more will find that this iconic city has something for everyone, regardless of your big day budget. Here are five of the most amazing and affordable wedding venues in Chicago!
This 1870s mansion, located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, is an ideal setting for an intimate wedding any time of year. An emerald green lawn offers a lush setting for summer ceremonies, while the art gallery and parlor provide indoor options featuring period-charm. The Prairie Avenue Gallery, located within the Keith House, allows guests to browse an eclectic art collection as they sip champagne and celebrate love. In addition, the owner Marcy, who stays on-site during events, is said to be fabulous, helping to sprinkle extra magic on your special day.
Typical Cost: $4,500
Bonus: This Second Empire style structure sits on a street known as the “sunny street that held the sifted few,” which hints at the exclusivity of this section of Prairie Avenue in the 19th century.
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Bathed in classic Chicago vibes, this venue frames spectacular views of the city skyline and spills onto the river that sparkles in the evening as it’s kissed by the lights of the surrounding city. Original exposed brick walls, accented with billowing drapes, sleek lighting fixtures, chandeliers, and delicate twinkle lights allow the interior of this space to exude a compelling mix of historical romance and contemporary flair. As a restaurant that serves highly-acclaimed New American meets British food (think Mini Beef Wellington, Deviled Eggs with Crispy Bacon, and Seared Seasonal Salmon) you’re sure to have guests raving about the delicious nosh.
Typical Cost: $60-$165 per person
Bonus: If you’re a brunch-lover, River Roast offers Sunday brunch weddings where classic breakfast fare and a blood Mary bar are offered.
For a space that offers bowling and bocce ball, Pinstripes has surprisingly chic ballrooms with hardwood floors and sleek lighting, and outdoor spaces offer a fire pit and epic views of downtown Chicago. And, Pinstripes is no cheap beer and fake-cheese nachos style of bowling venue – Chef Cesar Gutierrez turns out Italian-American bistro food like pizzas cooked in a wood-burning stove and assorted small plates – and you can be assured that any meat you eat here is organic and free-range. This is a space where you can achieve sophisticated wedding vibes while also offering unique bursts of let-your-hair-down fun.
Typical Cost: $80-$105 per person
Capacity: Up to 220
Bonus: Your guests won’t feel awkward bowling in their formal attire as the 18 lanes are set in an uber-luxurious atmosphere.
With a Frank Lloyd Wright prairie-style clubhouse that’s surrounded by rolling hills of groomed grass, this venue offers an upscale atmosphere, for a moderate price. While you’re treated to stunning views through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the clubhouse, you can step out on the terrace to enjoy unobstructed views of the surrounding golf courses, cityscape, and Lake Calumet. In regards to food, an on-site chef will work with you to create a customized four-course dinner for your celebration. If you’re hoping for a wedding with tranquil vibes and rustic sophistication, this is your spot.
Typical Cost: Call or email to inquire
Capacity: 230 max
Bonus: The on-site event planner is super hands-on and will ensure you feel taken care for the many months you’ll likely be corresponding.
Once the world’s largest macaroni factory, the three unique event spaces in the Lacuna building maintain the historic charm while also providing modern vibes, with views of the Pilsen neighborhood the structure is situated in. The 5,000 square foot rooftop deck is ideal for weddings occurring in the warmer months and will charm guests with sweeping 5th story views of the Chicago skyline. If you’re looking for a clean canvas to sprinkle all your Pinterest ideas upon, the Blank Canvas Gallery is for you—hardwood floors, exposed ceilings, and pillars create an ideal backdrop for anything from twinkle light filled mason jars, to fresh garlands snaking across the ceiling. And finally, for those throwing a massive bash, the 15,000 square foot Reverie Gallery can comfortably house up to 700 of your nearest and dearest.
Typical Cost: $3,000 – $7,500
Bonus: The food. Brides rave about the customized fresh and seasonal menus provided by LM Catering. Kosher and Indian cuisine can also be served.
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Bailey Gaddis is the author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, a childbirth preparation educator, birth doula, and hypnotherapist who works with mothers-to-be, new mothers, and their support teams. She is also a regular contributor to media outlets including Disney’s Babble, Working Mother, Pregnancy & Newborn, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. In addition to her childbirth-prep work, she volunteers for families in need of postpartum support. She lives in Ojai, California.