Choosing Your Chicago Wedding Venue

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We’re going to run with the theme of “how to choose…” and share the importance and process of choosing your Chicago wedding venue. Big City Bride posts blogs often about this topic because it is one of the most important decisions in your Chicago wedding planning.  Here is what to consider when making the big decision:

  • Date: When planning a city wedding, know that your venue choice will determine your wedding date based on their availability. It’s much more difficult to decide on a wedding date and then find a venue you like to match the day. Don’t compromise on your Chicago wedding venue, be as flexible as possible.
  • Location: City or Suburbs? Obviously the city offers more for your guests, but the suburbs might offer spaces for larger guest lists and lower budgets. For out of town guests, a city location is not only more convenient but more fun – offering endless opportunities for site seeing, museum visits, restaurants and shopping for a weekend away. Consider the feel and area of Chicago that you’re interested in (historical, in the action, park, edgy, industrial, etc.) Also consider the ease for your guests and whether you’d like to provide guest transportation to and from the ceremony and/or the reception.
  • Capacity: Your guest count is of great importance when choosing the right venue. Some brides and grooms are willing to reduce their guest count for a venue they love, and some are not. Do not challenge the maximum guest count. Chicago wedding venues will provide a number possible for their space but your Chicago wedding planner would never encourage you to reach it! 
  • Budget: The venue is a driving force for your expenses. Don’t only consider the rental cost. Also consider the many other expenses that the Chicago wedding venue will incur such as chairs, linens, tables, catering, alcohol, lighting, decor, and transportation.
  • Exclusive Vendors: Some Chicago venues have exclusive vendor lists to limit your options for catering and decor. In some cases this is not an issue because of the available options and a wide selection. In others it can be limiting and drive your budget.
  • Food & Beverage Minimums: Hotels and restaurants require you to meet a minimum in order to reserve their space. Keep in mind that if your guest count is large enough, you will always exceed their minimum. In order to attract your business they could reduce the minimum to $100. You will be required to choose from their packages and to pay their service and gratuity charges. Make sure you work up an estimate based on your guest count rather than rely on the minimum when comparing costs with other venues.
  • Style: There are historic buildings, public spaces, outdoor areas, parks, tents, ballrooms, hotels, warehouses, and lofts … all available to be transformed into your event space. Chicago has wonderful event spaces with endless potential for decor. Choose a space that fits your style. If your’e unsure what design direction you’d like to take, consider your home and how you decorate as a good indicator of your taste.




The venue search may be daunting and we understand that! Big City Bride offers venue search assistance in our Grand Plan package. We love an opportunity to research and suggest the very best Chicago wedding venues that fit the criteria we discussed above. Rather than setting up 15 appointments on your own to view the spaces and try to understand the costs, pros, and cons for each space…Big City Bride can help! We’ll take you on a site visit, spending a day driving you around the city, touring spaces, showing photos (it’s hard to see an empty venue space and understand the potential) and discussing all of the possibilities. Once you choose your top Chicago wedding venue (or two if you’re undecided!) Big City Bride can create an estimated budget for the space(s) so from the very beginning you have an understanding of what is to come.

It’s all very exciting! The venue search is the beginning of the planning and however stressful it might seem, do your best to enjoy it!