14 Wedding Venues For Every Budget

When it comes to planning a wedding, a bride either has the entire affair already planned out (since childhood, of course) or has absolutely no idea where to begin. No matter where you land on the spectrum, pretty much everyone winds up in the same boat at some point — stressed out.
So, to take the pressure off, we’ve rounded up 14 of our favorite venues in the city. From a showstopping new hotel to wow-worthy ballrooms to a charming BYOB option, these locations take care of one of the biggest stressors on your list. If only choosing a dress was so easy.
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Photo: Courtesy of Lovely: A Bake Shop.
Lovely: A Bake Shop
What’s in a name? Well, in the case of this quaint Wicker Park eatery, the name says it all. While its charming ambiance might not feel like a wedding venue at first glance, picture your ceremony underneath a white tent covering the patio, followed by dinner for 65 inside (or a cocktail reception for 100) over candlelit tables dressed with vintage china and silver.

The friendly staff is flexible on the menu, but comfort food items like mac and cheese and chicken-pot pie make the festivities feel very homey. And, the option to BYO your own bar fare will surely please your grandma who can’t live without her Beefeater Gin straight up. Plus, we love the custom parting favors owners Bob and Gina Hartwig (the first couple to be married at Lovely) bring to the table, like hand-painted sugar cookies or jars of house-made jam labeled with the couple’s names and wedding date.

Lovely: A Bake Shop, 1130 North Milwaukee Avenue (between Division Streets and Augusta Boulevard); 773-572-4766.
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Photo: Courtesy of City Winery Chicago.
City Winery Chicago
If the key to a good wedding is keeping the wine flowing, then there’s really no reason to look further, right? We can’t say enough about the tasty vinos being poured at City Winery, where the wine is made onsite from vineyards around the world. The 30,000-square-foot facility can accommodate more traditional-size wedding celebrations (around 150), as well as more intimate affairs — we’re partial to the Barrel Room. One long table seats 30 of your most generous, err, closest, friends and family surrounded by glass walls lined with the operational winery’s barrels. And, with one wall of windows overlooking Randolph Street, it’s both modern and unique.

City Winery Chicago, 1200 West Randolph Street (between Racine Avenue and Elizabeth Street); 312-733-9463.
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Photo: Courtesy of Newberry Library.
Newberry Library
Carrie Bradshaw may have had the idea first, but we’re willing to bet this library setting will take the cake (bird feather hair fascinator optional). There are three main event spaces: Ruggles Hall, which has been newly renovated and boasts huge windows overlooking Washington Square Park; the Lobby, which has been restored to its original 1893 design, complete with a marble staircase and 20-foot ceiling; and, the more intimate and warm Towner Fellows’ Lounge, complete with oak paneling and built-in bookshelves.

Couples have several options, ranging from an elegant seated luncheon for 50 to dinner for 200 to a cocktail reception for up to 300 guests. While you might be thinking that this is going to cost you a pretty penny, trust, this hidden gem in the heart of the Gold Coast will surprise you with its competitive rates.

Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street (between Clark and Dearborn Streets); 312-255-3595.
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Photo: Courtesy of Montgomery Club.
Montgomery Club
This massive 8,000-square-foot facility from the Gibsons Restaurant Group is large enough to accommodate up to 500 guests for a cocktail reception — that’s some bar tab! If you’re having a seated dinner, it’s ready to go with flatware, linens, and chairs, so the real fun comes into play when choosing the menu. Couples can completely customize their meal with choices from the group’s signature restaurants, which, lucky for us, happen to be some of the best in the city: Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House, Luxbar, and Quartino. Rest assured, “wedding food” never tasted so good.

Montgomery Club, 500 West Superior Street (at Kingsbury Street); 312-587-0508.
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Photo: Courtesy of MCA Chicago.
MCA Chicago
If you’re looking for a venue that’s romantic but understated, this is it. Seriously, you’d never envision that behind the contemporary museum’s boisterous exhibits is a hidden, lush green space in the heart of downtown. The inherent nature of the interior gallery gives the white space a blank canvas for you to transform. But, if you want to go really big, the MCA can seat up to 300 for dinner or host a standing cocktail reception for 900. If marriage lasts a lifetime and art last forever, this sounds like the perfect union to us.

MCA Chicago, 220 East Chicago Avenue (at Mies van der Rohe Way); 312-280-2660.
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Photo: Courtesy of Palmer House Hilton.
Palmer House Hilton
In the history of romantic love stories, we’re willing to bet it’s tough to beat “the hotel love built,” which is a nod to developer Potter Palmer who built the luxurious Palmer House as a wedding gift for his socialite bride Bertha. Today, the historic property holds the title of the longest continually operating hotel in America — not a bad conversation starter for all your guests.

Thanks to beautiful (old) bones, there are a number of lavish ballrooms to choose from. Our favorites are the cream and gold Grand Ballroom, which holds more than 1,000 for a reception; the Empire Room, which opened as a dinner club in the ’30s and hosted a roster of celeb entertainers from Carol Channing to Liberace; and the Red Lacquer Room, which can seat 450 within its baroque red walls. Neoclassical accents like bronze light sconces, painted ceilings, and other ornate details will transport guests to time when celebrations were more refined. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a Manhattan that’s served with a little pomp and circumstance.

Palmer House Hilton, 17 East Monroe Street (between State Street and Wabash Avenue); 312-726-7500.
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Photo: Furla Studio.
Spiaggia Private Events
Tucked away high above north Michigan Avenue, Spiaggia Private Events offers a unique alternative to the neighboring hotel ballrooms. And, if James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano’s amazing cuisine works for President Barack Obama and Lady Gaga, it’s sure to impress your guests, too. The ambiance — from the professional staff to modern decor — already sets an elegant tone. All you have to do is fill the private dining room, which can accommodate up to 180 guests for a sit-down dinner with dance floor and 250 guests for a cocktail reception.

Couples that host a full-floor buyout wedding November 2013 to March 2014 may take advantage of a special 10% discount per person.

Spiaggia Private Events, 980 North Michigan Avenue (at Oak Street); 312-280-3300.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pittsfield.
Pittsfield Building
Designed by the heirs of Marshall Field (and named after Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where Fields held his first job), this building was the tallest in Chicago upon its completion in 1927. It’s located in the historic Jewelers’ Row District and has been named an official Chicago landmark. All that’s well and good, but what we really love about this space is the unique five-story atrium, which is lined with balconies and a huge, drop chandelier centering the space. The Art Deco interior and gold accents give the room a rich — not dated — feel for a cocktail party for 275 guests, or sit-down dinner for almost 200 with a dance floor. And, one of our favorite caterers, Jewell Events Catering, will bring a welcome contemporary element to the soiree.

Pittsfield Building, 55 East Washington Street (between Michigan and Wabash Avenues); 312-735-2902.
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Photo: Courtesy of Stan Mansion.
Stan Mansion
This 1920s-style, off-white mansion in Logan Square is a perfect option for the couple looking for something a little more classic (the exterior is straight out of The Great Gatsby) in an urban environment. If you’re looking to have a sit-down affair, the ballroom can accommodate 300 guests or 420 revelers for a cocktail reception.

Completely restored last year, the venue includes a draped stage (perfect for the head table or a band), as well as raised spaces along the perimeter that can be converted into lounge areas. The space is yours to customize, which means choosing vendors for catering, music, event decor, valet, and a wedding cake can take some juggling, but the option to bring your own alcohol (as long as it’s served by a licensed, insured catering company) will knock a significant notch off of any budget.

Stan Mansion, 2408 North Kedzie Boulevard (between Fullerton Avenue and Altgeld Street); 773-276-0099.
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Photo: Courtesy of Café Brauer.
Café Brauer
Walking through the Lincoln Park Zoo can feel like a mini-escape within our urban environment. So, it’s no surprise that the Great Hall of Café Brauer inside the zoo is a great option for those who want a destination feel without sacrificing a central location. The space seats 250 with a dance floor and up to 500 for a standing reception, but we’re just wild about the outdoor terrace overlooking the zoo’s large pond — it truly has one of the prettiest views in the city.

Café Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 North Clark Street (just south of Fullerton Avenue); 312-742-2400.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Langham Chicago.
The Langham Chicago
Since opening over the summer, the Langham Chicago has garnered consistent attention in the press and chitchat around town. We love the clean, feminine interior inside the historic Mies van der Rohe structure, and the Devonshire Ballroom’s 22-foot ceilings and views of the Chicago River and financial district are sure to wow your 300 guests. Aside from the views, there’s nothing better than having your reception eats taste as good as the chow at Travelle, the hotel’s amazing restaurant.

The Langham Chicago, 330 North Wabash Avenue (between Kinzie Street and Wacker Drive); 312-923-9988.
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Photo: Courtesy of Venue One.
Venue One
Venue One is one of those completely customizable spaces in Chicago that gives couples many options for hosting a huge party — think dinner for up to 500 or a blowout reception for 800. After renovations this fall, the 33,000-square-foot location is now fully equipped to plan and execute your wedding completely in-house. We’re talking everything from high-tech setups like a built-in sound system and fun LED color-changing lights to Event Creative’s inventory of tables, chairs, and lounge furniture. And, the new restaurant-caliber kitchen delivers menus created by husband-and-wife team chef James De Marte and event planner Rachel De Marte. One-stop shop? Consider us signed, sealed, and delivered.

Venue One, 1044 West Randolph Street (between Carpenter and Aberdeen Streets); 312-605-8300.
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Photo: Carasco Photography.
Skyline Loft
Chicago is known for having plenty of, err, lofty wedding venues, but we love the raw, urban feel of the Skyline Loft on the fifth floor of the Bridgeport Art Center. At 18,000 square feet, the space can be sectioned off for a smaller gathering of 100, or hold a sizable crowd of 800 (translation: Your mom will be inviting every distant relative, acquaintance, and even the mail man). Historic elements in the 1911 building include exposed brick, soaring, vaulted ceilings with skylights, and a gorgeous view of the full city skyline. We also caught wind that the art center is adding another event space, the Sculpture Garden Gallery, a 12,000-square-foot space in the former Spiegel Catalog warehouse that is highlighted with repurposed art and connected to the recently opened outdoor garden.

Skyline Loft at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 West 35th Street (at Racine Avenue); 773-247-3000.
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Photo: Courtesy of Public Chicago.
Public Chicago
If anyone knows how to throw a party, it's Ian Schrager, the entrepreneur and hotelier who is known as the man behind the legendary Studio 54 nightclub. In 2011, he transformed Chicago's Ambassador East Hotel into Public Chicago, a luxe, modern hotel and the new home for the famed Pump Room restaurant. Without a doubt, the Gold Coast venue is one of the chicest in the city, but with a friendly staff and inviting open spaces (like the first floor Library and Coffee Bar with roaring fireplaces and cozy couches), it still manages to feel modest and approachable. In other words, understated elegance is its bag.

Check out the Ava Room on the 17th floor, which can accommodate up to 80 on its hidden terrace when the weather's nice enough. Otherwise, the Salon on the second floor (boasting stunning views of Lake Michigan and the North Side) can host 150 for a ceremony, 120 for seated dinner, and 150 for a cocktail reception.

Public Chicago, 1301 North State Parkway (at Goethe Street); 312-787-3700.