The Chicago Park District has access to some of the city's best venues. Settings with sweeping views of Lake Michigan? Check. Historic buildings reminiscent of fairytales? Check. Be warned: Booking one comes with a host of added responsibilities — like permits and extended waits to confirm the venue and date of your choice. These five stunning locations more than make up for it and present the perfect places to swap I dos.
Steps from Buckingham Fountain, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Celebration Garden gives you the chance to wed in the heart of the city. The outdoor space, created thanks to a $1.25-million grant from Tiffany & Co. in 2008, welcomes up to 150 guests with white, pink, purple, and burgundy blossoms. From there, they'll catch views of the Museum Campus to the south and the city looking north. You and your fiancé will exchange vows with Buckingham Fountain as your backdrop. It doesn't get more Chicago than this!
Guests will feel like they've escaped to a tropical paradise when they step foot in the multi-room greenhouse. Built in 1908, the conservatory hosts rainforest plants, lush moss, and plenty of other greenery. The Horticulture Hall is the room to rent for your reception. Its windowed, domed structure is the one you likely picture when you think of the space. Sixty to 75 weddings take place here each year, so the staff is fully prepared to execute large events. But as with most park district weddings, it requires a little extra planning: Set up and clean up are in your hands.
Promontory Point, on the city's south side, got a makeover in 2013 courtesy of George Lucas. It's easy to see why the "Star Wars" creator chose this site to wed: The location offers views of the Chicago skyline and lush greenery that makes you feel miles away from the city. The building itself was made for the rustic, elegant bride. Green French doors open to a warm interior, and stone verandas invite you to wander outside and take in the lake breeze.
The beach house dates back to 1919 and sits on Jackson Park, which was designed by two famed landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. With access to one of the city's largest beaches, the open-air structure delivers a whimsical outdoor wedding setting you wouldn't expect in Chicago. The fountain courtyard and covered promenade give guests plenty of space to spread out with views of Lake Michigan at every turn.
Just off the highway that leads to the western suburbs, Columbus Park features a goldmine of natural beauty with waterfalls and greenery covering its 135 acres. The building is a sight to be seen on its own. You'll find dramatic arched entryways, painted murals, a wood-beam ceiling, and several chandeliers. Best of all, the dance hall overlooks the park's lagoon.