Illinois-Chicago

Looking for venue in Chicago area

Hey everyone! We got engaged in October and are now starting to hit it hard with planning. I found a planner we would like to work with but she doesn't want to start planning until April. We are getting married in 2016 (right now the hope is September) and have already had some venues we wanted tell me they're booked solid in 2016! So now I'm going into freak out mode because we don't have a CLUE where to go lol.

Here's kind of what we want, if anyone could be so kind as to help us out with some places or suggestions. We want to have an outdoor ceremony in a unique setting. We want an indoor reception that can hold up to 200 people or close to it (i can try to cut my guest list). It doesn't matter to us if it's in the city or the suburs. Not sure of our budget yet because I'm still waiting for my mom (the one who's paying for most of it) to let me know what she is willing to contribute.

Thanks for reading, let me know if you have anything to help!

Thanks,
Kate & Nic

Re: Looking for venue in Chicago area

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 2015
    Congratulations.  Let me offer a few suggestions/comments.  Without knowing your budget, it will be very difficult to recommend venues.  There are some big cost factors between suburban and city venues, especially service/specialty taxes. 

    Secondly, it would help to know whether you need a venue that is in close proximity to hotels.  Do you have a lot of OOT guests?  That will also make a difference in your selection.  You may also want to look into hotels that offer free shuttle services. 

    Outdoor ceremonies are wonderful, but it is always important to have a "ready" Plan B.  If you are a Chicagoan, you know in any given summer week your laundry basket will contain both that cute sundress and your fleece hoody!  My son married in a gorgeous courtyard on the campus of the University of Chicago.  It was a week when temperatures were averaging 100+ degrees.  Their plan B was being able to utilize the building on the courtyard property.  We literally "sweated" as to whether the weather would cooperate.  By the grace of God, by the time their early evening ceremony began, it was a gorgeous 80!

    Many suburban golf courses have beautiful outdoor ceremony spaces, with the added bonus of a built in Plan B.  They are nice because often you are the only wedding in attendance, so you have the place to yourself. (That was important to my daughter.)  There are hotels that offer outdoor tented options, such as the Marriott in Lincolnshire, or places like The Cuneo Mansion in Vernon HIlls. 

    Again, once you can be a bit more forthcoming with a few additional details, the Chicago brides are always happy to recommend places!
  • Hi- we were looking for the exact same thing, so I have some helpful hints. Have you looked at Independence Grove in Libertyville? They have some some really picturesque ceremony locations and a few indoor venues. Unfortunately, they were 100% booked for 2015 Saturdays when we looked, so we couldn't book there- but it's definitely work looking in to. I'd look soon though b/c they book up fast!

    We are having our ceremony/reception at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort. They have beautiful outdoor grounds for the ceremony and then an indoor ballroom for the reception and they can hold up to 250 people. They are pretty mid-range on price for the area I am finding. 

    One other thing to consider is having a ceremony at the Forest Preserve and a reception at a hotel that can give you back up space in case of rain. We also looked at the Northbrook Hilton at this option, but decided that getting there ceremony set up would be a lot of work the day of and we didn't want to ask anyone to feel like they had to work the morning of.
  • Thanks for your replies! To answer some questions, we do have a lot of out-of-towners so hotel and shuttle is important. I'm guessing our budget will be around 30-50k but I'm hoping to know for sure by February (crossing my fingers!) I am from Chicago suburbs (currently in Downers Grove) so i know the weather is crazy. The venues we have looked into so far do have indoor backups for outdoor ceremonies. We are both huge dorks so we are going for a Lord of the Rings sort of feel for the day :) if anyone has some suggestions on that, that would be great! I will be looking into Independence Grove, chloe, thanks for that suggestion!
  • If I were you, I'd stop using that planner. They are there to do what you say, not put it off for three months. If you're doing the planning and calling around yourself, why use him/her?

    Also that's a shit ton of money to spend on a wedding!
  • chloe97chloe97 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited January 2015
    hollycs said:
    .

    Also that's a shit ton of money to spend on a wedding!

    From what I've seen 30k-50k is a midrange Chicago wedding. Our budget is around 30k and 90% of its catering cost. We've forgone most extras....I've had florists tell me that their floral packages START at $7000. Do I agree it's insane to spend this kind of money on one day? Of course- but unfortunately living in Chicago that's the kind of money that is spent. And in any event who are you to judge someone else's budget- whether it's $200 or $200,000 everyone has different circumstances.
  • I had a fantastic wedding with food people still talk about, on the North side, for about 17K. It's all in what you choose for sure.
    bellaluna290
  • Thanks for feedback guys. Looking at budget this weekend with my mom and his mom and what we can pull togEther we have about 30k to go with. I found a place called the Monte Bello Estate (used to be Narnia). They are very expensive, anyone have experience with them and negotiating price? This one seems ideal to us because it goes really well with the Lord of the Rings theme and it's 5 minutes from my grandma's and aunts house.
  • I have never heard of it (we were really focused on the north suburbs), but it looks beautiful! Good luck!
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Thanks for feedback guys. Looking at budget this weekend with my mom and his mom and what we can pull togEther we have about 30k to go with. I found a place called the Monte Bello Estate (used to be Narnia). They are very expensive, anyone have experience with them and negotiating price? This one seems ideal to us because it goes really well with the Lord of the Rings theme and it's 5 minutes from my grandma's and aunts house.
    Typically, Friday evenings and Sunday weddings are less expensive.  Would you consider a Sunday brunch wedding?  You might be able to lessen some cost through the bar package.  Instead of an open bar, perhaps they would allow you to have a beer and wine package, or beer, wine, and a signature drink.  It is also within etiquette to have a dry wedding as well. Hopefully, they will cut you a small deal if you have your ceremony there as well as your reception.  Your ony other option is to cut your guest list if the venue is more important than the number of invited guests.

    You could also cut costs elsewhere depending on what their package includes.  Their inclusive centerpieces might be all you need. 
  • Garden Chalet or Riviera Country Club
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    @hollycs Congrats? that you had a wonderful wedding for 17k. But its not even remotely on topic.

    @kate plans to spend more than that on her day and there is nothing wrong with that. Its her money and she can spend it however she feels likes it. And I agree that looking at Friday or Sundays might give you more bang for your buck, so would getting married in an off season like winter.

    BabyFruit Ticker
    chloe97
  • hicocohicoco Chicago member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    kate said:
    Hey everyone! We got engaged in October and are now starting to hit it hard with planning. I found a planner we would like to work with but she doesn't want to start planning until April. We are getting married in 2016 (right now the hope is September) and have already had some venues we wanted tell me they're booked solid in 2016! So now I'm going into freak out mode because we don't have a CLUE where to go lol. Here's kind of what we want, if anyone could be so kind as to help us out with some places or suggestions. We want to have an outdoor ceremony in a unique setting. We want an indoor reception that can hold up to 200 people or close to it (i can try to cut my guest list). It doesn't matter to us if it's in the city or the suburs. Not sure of our budget yet because I'm still waiting for my mom (the one who's paying for most of it) to let me know what she is willing to contribute. Thanks for reading, let me know if you have anything to help! Thanks, Kate & Nic
    I would suggest the Bolingbrook Golf Club. My FI's cousin had her ceremony there and then her reception. It was indoors, but they have outdoors as well and the pictures I've seen look amazing. They have a FANTASTIC wedding coordinator there who truly covers EVERYTHING you could think of and a lot you probably didn't think of. I am getting married there this October and have been so happy every step of the way with them. It is a bit pricy, but you get what you pay for and like others have said, you can always find ways to cut costs.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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