Wedding Questions

Chicago wedding on the cheap

January 23, 2018 12:11:45 pm

Posted in Chicago, IL, USA
297604 Stella Lopez Wedding date: May 11, 2013 12426 Rockingham Pike Rd., Elkton, VA, USA

I'm so glad I found this website and hope I can get some help in this matter! I am trying to get married in 2013 and am trying to find a location to accomodate between 75-100 guests. We started planning back in December but have scratched the plans after the budget got shredded. I think the best place to start would be to find a nice venue, so does anyone have any ideas? I'm looking for a private, open area. I am partial to water, so anything near a body of water would be lovely. I would love to get married outside. We live in Chicago but are willing to look around into the suburbs. Any idea would be helpful!

12 Replies

181767 Annette and Joe Wedding date: November 06, 2010

April 09, 2012 6:53:20 pm

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.
If you want to look well outside the city, a friend got married in Zion at Illinois State Beach - it was beautiful!


Emptyprofileicon Janell and Roderick Wedding date: August 13, 2011

April 09, 2012 7:21:36 pm

Lake Katherine has a small reception space and a beautiful outdoor area with lots of nature elements.


Emptyprofileicon Chuan and Tram Wedding date: September 01, 2012

April 09, 2012 8:13:53 pm

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Emptyprofileicon Mary Styrczula Wedding date: September 17, 2011 Chicago, IL, USA

April 09, 2012 9:41:09 pm

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. ;-)


Emptyprofileicon Olivia and Michael Wedding date: January 16, 2012

April 10, 2012 7:28:40 am


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!


258531 Laurel and Mark Wedding date: October 09, 2011 Chicago, IL, USA

April 10, 2012 8:53:11 am

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.


Emptyprofileicon Chrissy Harvey and Bride Wedding date: September 08, 2012

April 10, 2012 9:59:38 am

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.

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!


Emptyprofileicon Brent Conn

April 10, 2012 10:13:08 am

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


Emptyprofileicon Anonymous Wedding date: December 21, 2009

April 10, 2012 11:24:34 am

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.
Good luck!


Emptyprofileicon Ann and Timothy Wedding date: October 01, 2011

April 10, 2012 2:07:24 pm

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!


Emptyprofileicon Mary Styrczula Wedding date: September 17, 2011 Chicago, IL, USA

April 10, 2012 2:18:18 pm

Wow! Totally forgot the Colombia Yacht Club! You're on the water! LOL


512819 Jessica Haverford Wedding date: August 25, 2018 Chicago, IL, USA

June 12, 2017 7:04:16 am

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 :)


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