Not sure what your budget is but outside the city will -generally-save you a LOT of money. For in the city, look at the chicago park district, they have some really cute spaces for smaller weddings like yours at reasonable prices. The Columbus Park Refrectory was really beautiful, not sure if there was an outdoor ceremony option. http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/permits-and-rentals/special-event-venues/
If you want to look well outside the city, a friend got married in Zion at Illinois State Beach - it was beautiful! http://www.ilresorts.com/
Lake Katherine has a small reception space and a beautiful outdoor area with lots of nature elements.
If you are looking for fun giveaways, check out www.papercinemas.com. They are a mobile flip book studio.
South Shore Cultural Center has the Solarium, which can hold a max of 150 for a seated dinner. From all the park district's venues, this one was the most adaptable. We had our ceremony in the Solarium and the recption in the Dining Hall. I haven't heard a bad word about the location.
Also check with the Lincoln Park Zoo, but not Cafe Bauer. They have a smaller venue, which is more affordable.
To really save money, go to the suburb that is closest to your family base, and get a nice country club. The views are nice, always have outdoor ceremony spots, and usually have water features, but not necessarily a lake. There are a few nice ones that I am aware of, but don't know where you would want. Oh, another plus with a country club or the burbs is that you will be able to splurge on other things that you really want. ;-)
I would reccomend looking at Fulton's on the River, which is in downtown Chicago. I am getting married here this June. This place is very nice and cocktail hour and the reception are on the river. It is very beautiful. They are also willing to work withyou in terms of bidgeting. The hall hold up to 230 guests, but think it would be something to check out. It has more of a restaurant feel than a banquet hall feel (which I love). Good luck with the wedding planning!
We got married at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. The fee was $1,000 and gave us the use of any of three spaces in the museum (one being right on the South Pond) and admission for all of our guests. It was a wonderful choice because then people could enjoy the museum and zoo before we had our reception. The parking was no problem--we were able to rent spots at the zoo and provide our guests with vouchers to cover their parking costs...all unused passes were refunded after the wedding!
Because of the politics of catering and our number of guests (320), it was expensive to host our reception there, so we had it offsite and went with an independent caterer--but you really should look into the museum for your needs, especially because you have a smaller wedding.
We are getting married at the Sears/Willis tower in September. The rental fee was pretty inexpensive compared to all the other places that we checked out in the city. We loved this place because it gave us the option to pick from 2 caterers. Blue Plate and Catered by design. Using a caterer can really save you some money, but nothing in Chicago is that inexpensive. Depending on your budjet,the cheeper option is to have your wedding in the suburbs. You can save up to 40%, plus you won't have the 10% taxes on top of it.
This is a link to the place where we are getting married. http://www.theskydeck.com/private-events
I've hard that Woman's club of Evanston is very nice. They have reasonable fees, the tables and chairs are included and it's not too far away from the city. Here is the link:
Good Luck with your wedding planning!
2 Chicago Park District Locations we would recommend near water are Promontory Point & the Columbus Park Refectory. PP is directly on Lake Michigan and will hold up to 125 guests. Contact for PP is Diane Hren at 1-312-742-4848. CPR Contact is Barbara McGowan 1-773-287-0856. We have a 5 page list of additional Venus in the Chicago area we would be happy to share with you. Conn's Catering 1-773-262-2666
Last year we attended a wedding at the Mundeline campus of Loyola. The chapel is on the lake and has a nice outdoor gathering space on the lake in front of the church. Just thought I would mention it in case you are a Loyola person or Catholic. I don't know details since we were just guests. There used to be a resturant on the lake near Larabeda(sp??) Children's Center. It's south of the Museum of Science and Industry. They did receptions--not sure if it is still there.
We had our wedding at Quartino downtown and it was AWESOME and quite affordable for downtown. It's not on the water, but it is, however, extremely accessible to all hotels, tourist activities, etc. The service there is great and they planned an awesome evening for us!
Wow! Totally forgot the Colombia Yacht Club! You're on the water! LOL
Hi, I know you planned this years ago (congrats!) but I was wondering if there were any tools that you used to plan on a budget. I've been using this free tool from AllSeated that's helped me with how to make a guest list for a wedding on a budget. Essentially it's a free floor plan software where you can plan everything out online. I'm really liking it so far, but I'm always open to other suggestions! Please let me know if you used anything regarding seating to save money that you found to be helpful. Thanks :)
Click on each tool to see a sample.