Best Wedding Venues in Chicago

Chicago Athletic Association takes the cake as best overall destination to get married in Chicago

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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.

Best Overall: Chicago Athletic Association

Chicago Athletic Association

Chicago Athletic Association

Key Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • All-inclusive: yes
  • Max Guests: 280

Why We Chose It

Good food and great views are the name of the game at Chicago Athletic Association, a hotel and wedding venue steeped in history. Originally a members-only club dating back to the 1890s, it’s now a modern, inclusive, and upgraded space with four unique ballrooms to choose from. 

Pros

  • Tiered pricing packages for differing budgets
  • Four different spaces to choose from, seating 150-280 guests for dinner and dancing
  • Building has historical significance and a true Chicago story

Cons

  • Parking costs are additional 
  • There are required additional fees, such as coat check during winter months
  • Certain spaces, such as The Tank, are only semi-private

Part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Chicago Athletic Association is a former private athletic club (whose members included Olympic gold medalists and the first professional football player) dating back to 1893; since its early days the building has embodied the spirit of play in the City of Big Shoulders. The building underwent a two-year restoration before opening its doors as a boutique lifestyle hotel in 2015. Situated along Michigan Avenue and directly across from Millennium Park, CAA is centrally located: Wedding guests can make excursions on foot to The Bean or The Art Institute of Chicago—that is, if they ever want to leave the property, which boasts a number of restaurants and unique hang-out spaces. Four ballrooms exude 19th-century glamour through Venetian Gothic architecture, masculine decor and original details (think millwork, Carrara marble floors, and stained glass). The per-person price ($189-$289, subject to change) includes hors d’oeuvres, a three-course dinner, wedding cake, and premium bar service for 4-5 hours. Its stellar reviews and accolades—being named one of Chicago’s top 10 hotels by Travel + Leisure in 2018, for example—speak for themselves. The philosophy: Your venue should be as legendary as your love story. 

Notable Amenities

  • Complimentary wedding suite for couple (plus a complimentary one-night stay on your first anniversary)
  • Linens, china, table numbers, and personalized menu cards 
  • Add-on packages available for pre-wedding bachelor and bachelorette parties in the venue’s other entertainment spaces, such as the Game Room or Cindy’s rooftop bar
  • Views of Millennium Park

Best in Chicago Suburbs: Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden

Key Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • All-inclusive: yes
  • Max Guests: 500

Why We Chose It

Chicago Botanic Garden is an oasis of serenity and beauty just north of Chicago, boasting incredible lush landscapes and florals, an exclusive gourmet catering division, and a variety of spaces to host ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception onsite. 

Pros

  • Large variety of spaces accommodate many different guest counts and budgets
  • Picturesque setting with lots of natural florals
  • Can host ceremony and reception onsite 

Cons

  • Couples are required to have a wedding planner or day-of planner outside of venue 
  • Additional space rental fee on top of the per person costs
  • In-season space rental costs (May-December) are substantially higher

Located just 25 miles north of downtown Chicago in Glencoe, the venue is close enough to the city that out-of-town guests can still take advantage of all Chicago has to offer—but being on the picturesque property still feels like an escape. The venue’s roots go back to 1890 with the founding of The Chicago Horticultural Society, and the current permanent location opened in the 1970s. The huge variety of spaces set this venue apart—and each is more beautiful than the next. Couples can host their ceremony in the tree-lined Rose Terrace—fragrant florals wafting in the air—cocktail hour in the adjoining Rose Garden and dinner and dancing for 230 people in the popular McGinley Pavilion overlooking a lake. For larger events of up to 500 guests, the Esplanade is an expansive space that requires a tent at an additional cost. Gourmet cuisine is provided through Chicago Botanic Garden’s exclusive caterer, Culinary Landscape; besides catering, though, there are no limitations on vendors. Weddings begin at $195 per guest (subject to change), plus space rental fees.

Notable Amenities

  • Dressing rooms for bride and groom
  • Beautiful natural landscape
  • Reserved indoor space as backup for inclement weather
  • Free parking
  • Chairs and linens included

Best for Unique: Field Museum

Field Museum

Field Museum

Key Specs

  • Price: $$$$
  • All-inclusive: no
  • Max Guests: 1,500

Why We Chose It

It doesn’t get more unique than this: A T. rex in your wedding portraits or an elephant next to a guest table; enormous hanging gardens suspended over the dance floor; a skyline and lake view as a backdrop for your ceremony. All this and more is offered at the Field Museum, our pick for the most unique place to get married in Chicago. 

Pros

  • Rentals include use of the outdoor terrace for ceremony or cocktail hour, with a back-up rain plan
  • High guest count capacity
  • Guests have exclusive access to explore museum exhibitions

Cons

  • Limited to vendors (decor, catering, etc.) from the museum’s approved vendor list
  • Alcohol must be purchased through the venue
  • Parking not included 

It’s easy to see what makes the Field Museum a unique pick—dinosaurs stomping through the event space and gliding through the air, ancient artifacts at every turn, incredible architecture—but it’s practical as well. There is ample room for up to 1,500 seated guests, a variety of customizable spaces to host each part of your event, and a list of approved vendors to make wedding planning easier. It’s one of the most historic spaces in Chicago: First conceived around the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, the museum moved into its current building on the lake in 1921. Stanley Field Hall is the main event space, with soaring 76-foot ceilings and more than 21,000 square feet of space. Gleaming marble and columns set the scene, and an accessible second-floor balcony overlooks it all. Rental fees vary based on guest count, time needed, and other factors.

Notable Amenities

  • Account manager onsite day-of to help manage logistics
  • Access to various museum exhibitions
  • Lake and skyline views from outdoor terrace

Best for Luxury: The Langham, Chicago

The Langham, Chicago

The Langham, Chicago

Key Specs

  • Price: $$$$
  • All-inclusive: yes
  • Max Guests: 260

Why We Chose It

A renowned luxury brand all across the world, The Langham’s Chicago location is no exception. The service is stellar, the cuisine is award-winning, and the overall experience is elevated and elegant. 

Pros

  • Award-winning culinary team 
  • Centrally located near great city photo ops
  • Impeccable service and high-touch details

Cons

  • Among the most expensive places to get married in Chicago
  • Parking and valet additional cost to guests
  • Many of the unique services come at additional costs

Luxury is found in the details, and it’s the details that make The Langham, Chicago shine. Edible flowers in the reception Champagne service, a martini cart rolled to the bride and groom’s rooms the night before the wedding, and a personal monogrammed gift for the couple from the hotel are just a few of the high-touch details for weddings at the luxury hotel. Opened in 2013 in a Mies van der Rohe-designed building—which gained Chicago Landmark status in 2007—the hotel boasts three venue spaces for weddings varying in size from 130-260. The largest is the nearly 5,000-square-foot Devonshire Ballroom, an exquisitely designed space that can be transformed in many configurations to accommodate both ceremony and reception. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer incredible views of the skyline and Chicago River, and contemporary chandeliers hang from 22-foot ceilings. Three tiered dinner packages ($260-$350, subject to change) are crafted by an award-winning culinary team, and optional add-ons elevate the experience: think a sushi and dim sum station during the reception, a liquid nitrogen ice cream bar late-night, or signature chocolate truffle boxes as guest favors.

Notable Amenities

  • Chairs and linens included
  • Photo op for bride and groom with the Langham’s famous pink English taxi
  • Complimentary suite for the bride and groom for two nights
  • Daily guest room amenity for the bride and groom

Best for All-Inclusive: Hilton Chicago

Hilton Chicago

Hilton Chicago

Key Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • All-inclusive: yes
  • Max Guests: 1,100

Why We Chose It

One of the largest hotels in Chicago, Hilton’s downtown hotel features a stunning ballroom, variety of tiered wedding dining packages and customizations, and numerous spaces to host ancillary wedding events and keep guests entertained.

Pros

  • Can accommodate a large guest count, including all cultural weddings 
  • Tiered packages make dinner customizable (stations or plated) 
  • Centrally located on Michigan Avenue

Cons

  • Large space requires lots of decor
  • Guest parking not included
  • Other events may be happening on property 

Hilton Chicago is a massive property on South Michigan Avenue, boasting more than 234,000 square feet of event space across more than a dozen ballrooms and salons, and more than 1,500 guest rooms to house every last wedding guest. There’s enough space for all of your events, and an excellent culinary team to provide customized food and beverage packages—making it our pick for the best all-inclusive wedding venue in Chicago. The hotel originally opened in 1927 as The Stevens Hotel and was purchased by the Hilton Corporation in the 1940s. (Fun fact for film geeks: It has set the stage for movies like The Fugitive, Home Alone 2, and Road to Perdition.) For weddings, the epic Grand Ballroom drips with historic opulence, boasting eight crystal chandeliers suspended from old-world ornamentation on the ceiling, a wraparound balcony overlooking the space, and gilded details. More intimate spaces like the Waldorf Room and the 720 South Bar cater to smaller crowds—without compromising on historic, intricate architecture and decor—or offer options for rehearsals, morning-after brunches, and more. No need to book transportation between events or back home after the party ends: Couples and their guests will never have to leave the property. Tiered wedding dining packages are fully customizable and range from $160-$210 per guest (subject to change). 

Notable Amenities

  • Can create a unique attendee website for guests to get event updates, book rooms in the block, and more
  • Dedicated wedding specialist for each couple
  • Baby grand pianos available onsite
  • Lake and park views

Best for Historic: University Club of Chicago

University Club of Chicago

University Club of Chicago

Key Specs

  • Price: $$$$
  • All-inclusive: yes
  • Max Guests: 300 

Why We Chose It

Rich with history and tradition, the University Club of Chicago is a landmark situated right off Michigan Avenue, and the exclusive-club feel translates beautifully to weddings.  

Pros

  • Nearby major attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Magnificent Mile
  • Can host ceremony and reception on site 
  • Large and small spaces available for a variety of wedding sizes

Cons

  • Must be a member (or sponsored by a member) to get married there
  • Small guest room count may require getting a hotel block elsewhere
  • Room rental fee is additional to food and beverage minimum

With a history rooted in education, arts, and literature—it was founded as a gathering place for a small group of college graduates and was granted a charter by the State of Illinois in 1887—the University Club of Chicago takes the cake as one of the most historic places to get married in Chicago. To this day it remains a member-owned private club, and membership or sponsorship (meaning a current member must sponsor the couple for approval) is required to book the venue for weddings. But once you’re in, the all-inclusive options are endless. Multi-course wedding dinners are crafted by Executive Chef Rafat Alzein and served alongside wines from the club’s extensive cellars. As for vibe? Neo-Gothic architecture and decor in the opulent Cathedral Hall includes stained glass windows depicting fields of endeavor from law and science to music and literature, and the cavernous space can seat up to 300 for dinner with a dance floor. A 12th floor gallery offers unparalleled city skyline views from floor-to-ceiling Gothic windows that open onto a balcony for picturesque portraits.

Notable Amenities

  • Dance floor included
  • China, flatware, glassware, tables, and chairs included
  • Picturesque lake views
  • Central location

Best for Outdoor: Café Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo

Café Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo

Café Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo

Key Specs

  • Price: $$
  • All-inclusive: no
  • Max Guest: 250

Why We Chose It

Situated in lush Lincoln Park, Café Brauer has two terraces ideal for an al fresco ceremony or cocktail hour before the stunning reception—and the surrounding gardens, lily pool, and Nature Boardwalk offer countless photo opportunities for outdoorsy couples in an urban environment. 

Pros

  • Outdoor space available
  • Security included in rental fee
  • Ceremony and reception can be hosted onsite 

Cons

  • Must book far in advance due to popularity
  • Onsite rehearsals not available
  • Additional fees for things like parking and coat check

An ultra popular pick for weddings of many different styles and vibes, the versatile Café Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo is perhaps best known for its picturesque setting, making it our pick for the best outdoor place to get married in Chicago. Covered open-air terraces, known as loggias, on the north and south sides of the Great Hall offer a sweet outdoor setting for the ceremony and cocktail hour (and heated tents included in the rental fee November through April make the spaces available year-round). Dinner and dancing takes place back indoors, but the venue’s interior is just as impressive, and its Prairie-style architecture is an ode to Chicago; brick walls and rustic accents can be played up or down with decor. Tigerlily Events is a full-service catering and event management company for the Lincoln Park Zoo, including its restaurants and venue spaces like Café Brauer; the culinary team crafts elevated and delectable dishes offered in two tiered menus ($185 to $220 per person, plus a beverage minimum of $9,500 for Saturday nights; pricing subject to change). 

Notable Amenities

  • Unique and stunning architecture and views
  • In-house catering and service staff
  • Location nearby many hotels, shopping, and destinations

Most Affordable: Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center

Key Specs

  • Price: $$
  • All-inclusive: no
  • Max Guests: 420

Why We Chose It

Nothing says Chicago quite like the Cultural Center, whose famed Tiffany Dome is a Windy City icon. The venue’s existing architectural details require little added decor (keeping costs down).

Pros

  • A variety of spaces available to fit most weddings
  • Can host ceremony and reception on site
  • Central downtown location, across the street from Millennium Park

Cons

  • The largest space is only available for rentals October-December
  • Some additional fees required, such as for a union electrician
  • Since it’s owned by the city, the venue is subject to city mandates and department policies and procedures, and has a number of decor and loading restrictions

Completed in 1897 as Chicago’s first central public library, the Chicago Cultural Center boasts not one but two incredible stained glass domes, one of which is the world’s largest Tiffany dome. Elements remain from the original masterful construction: Think imported marble, polished brass, mother-of-pearl details. The venue’s most well-known and popular weddings space is Preston Bradley Hall, which can seat 320 for a dinner and dancing reception. A stellar view of Millennium Park is outdone only by the interior decor, which includes 25 Tiffany glass chandeliers and graceful arches inlaid with sparkling mosaics (and requires very little additional decor). Meanwhile, the palatial GAR Hall includes a rotunda atrium, and the Sidney R. Yates Gallery—which occupies nearly half city block—can be reserved for larger events of up to 420 seated guests. The venue is owned and managed by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is the perfect way to incorporate a bit of Chicago history into your epic love story. Weekend rentals range from $12,000 to $15,000 (subject to change). 

Notable Amenities

  • Off-duty police officers included in rental price to keep guests safe
  • Bridal and groom’s rooms
  • Dance floor included
  • Multiple chair options, with upgrades available

Final Verdict

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. 

  • Guest count and budget 

“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.”

  • Inclusions in rental

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.

  • Specific venue rules

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. 

  • Seasonality

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. 

  • Location

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.

FAQ
  • How Much Do Wedding Venues in Chicago Cost?

    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.

  • What Do Wedding Venues in Chicago Offer?

    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.

  • What Types of Wedding Venues Are Available in Chicago?

    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.

  • Are Wedding Venues in Chicago All-Inclusive?

    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. 

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