Nothing goes better with a storybook romance than actual storybooks. Here in Chicago, book-loving brides and grooms looking to start their next chapter surrounded by the classics can check out several literary locations in the area. Whether you're hoping for a more academic atmosphere or just a touch of tattered covers, Chicago's volume of volumes, shelves, and cerebral charm is bound to impress you and the love interest in the story of your life. Here are five Chicago libraries that can totally double as wedding venues.
As a working public library and the Chicago library system's main location, this downtown structure named for the city's first black mayor has perhaps the most authentic library energy of the bunch. On the building's ninth floor, the grand glass-roofed Winter Garden is a rentable sun-drenched reception favorite with its many architectural details and room for up to 400 guests.
For a more studious feel, the Gold Coast's Newberry Library for independent research offers a number of exclusive scholarly settings. The 1893 library (which, like the Harold Washington center, is also still in use) has been fully-restored in recent years and provides spaces including Ruggles Hall with its soaring ceilings, the oak-paneled Towner Fellows Lounge and the ornate original lobby. Across the street, Washington Square Park is an ideal spot for photos. And brides looking for a grand entrance won't have to search far: historic details like a dramatic staircase, chandeliers and columns can be found throughout the building.
Once you've experienced the spectacular Tiffany dome — the world's largest — that anchors the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall, it's hard to focus on much else. What is now the Cultural Center served as Chicago's first central public library from the time it was completed in 1897 and today is one of the most sought-after wedding destinations in the area. Architecture buffs will appreciate "The People's Palace" for both its sparkling mosaics and dramatic archways, and of course, its nods to its bookish past. Beyond the "crowned jewel" Bradley Hall, several other rooms, galleries and rotundas are also available.
It may not sound as traditionally romantic as the other locales, but spaces like the gallery and The Point within this downtown collection feature sweeping views of Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park. For a touch of timelessness, The Point displays artifacts like a hand-sewn 1898 American flag and a World War II Medal of Honor veterans or history fans on your guest list will love.
University of Chicago student groups and university departments make use of this 1916 former women's gymnasium and social center for a variety of gatherings, but couples looking to wed within its walls will find the cozy confines of the building's library and adjacent lounge to be a perfect fit. With room for an intimate seated dinner and views of the university's Midway Plaisance and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, the scene is academic chic right down to the wood-paneled fireplace and built-in bookshelves.
Old world charm meets modern style. Decked out with more than 50,000 law books lining dramatic two-story shelves, this palatial place can accommodate up to 200 guests. Other sophisticated highlights include a custom mahogany bar, Palladian windows overlooking Lake Michigan and old school leather chairs and sofas dotting intimate alcoves.