Chicago is one of the coolest places in the country to plan a wedding in. Between the beautiful venues, the awesome vendors all throughout the city, and ALL of the views that make up the city, Chicago is one of the best cities to get married in. Planning a wedding in Chicago though isn’t necessarily an easy feat! There are SO many things that go into planning a wedding it can definitely get overwhelming. That’s why with this blog we are going over my top tips for planning a wedding in Chicago!!!!
This rule isn’t necessarily exclusive to Chicago, BUT, the first thing you will want to think about after you’re engaged is booking must-have vendors. With Chicago being such a popular spot for weddings, you will want to start your planning early. The great thing about Chicago is there is a super tight-knit community here, so once you find your venue, finding the rest of your vendors will be a breeze! Reach out to your venue, find your photographer and if you’re not sure where to go from there, don’t be afraid to ask either vendor if they have a preferred vendors list, or vendor friends they would suggest for your wedding day. If you’re still looking for a space to hold your wedding day, check out this blog post for venue ideas and tips for planning your wedding day!
When setting a date for your wedding you will want to make sure you think through ALL of the possibilities that come with Chicago weather, as well as the Chicago season. Summer weather is great but also brings in a lot of crowds to some of the most popular spots. Winter weather can be harsh but there are typically a lot less people out and about for photos. Along with the seasons, there are a handful of dates throughout the Chicago summer that you will want to avoid for your wedding day.
Those dates are:
If you’re planning your wedding for one of these weekends just be sure to take note of what highways and streets these will affect and let your guests know ahead of time! You will want to factor transportation into your timeline no matter how far you have to travel so try to make sure it is as accurate as possible.
If you’re planning to take your wedding photos throughout the city of Chicago, it’s important to have transportation prepared so you and your wedding party can easily get from one place to another. Parking is a challenge for anyone in the city, so when it comes to transportation for your wedding party and even sometimes your family, a party bus or trolley is the way to go!
Companies like Second City Trolley or Chicago Cloud 9 Limo have a ton of great options when it comes to setting up transportation for your wedding day. I HIGHLY recommend booking transportation if you plan to take photos at more than one location or if you plan to have your ceremony at a location that is different from your venue.
If you’re from the Chicagoland area, you know that the weather can be…unpredictable to say the least. As you prepare for your wedding day, you’re going to want to make sure you’re ready for anything good ole’ mother nature will throw your way! Having clear umbrellas ready if you want to take portraits outside, or having a backup location for any part of your wedding day that might be outside is SUPER important for Chicago area weddings.
If you’re planning for a winter wedding in Chicago you’ll want to be ready for frigid temperatures as well as wet snow. Clear umbrellas can also be useful in the winter to keep your hair dry from snow. With the frigid temperatures, you will also want to consider coats and hand warmers for you and your wedding party if you want photos outdoors! My personal favorite hand warmers are these little electric ones that fit perfectly in any pocket!
It can be overwhelming when deciding where to go for wedding portraits in Chicago. There are SO many cool places for photos, I am sure there is even some right outside your venue! If you’re not sure where to start when choosing a location, check out some of these options for both indoor and outdoor wedding portraits.
Lincoln Park Boardwalk– When planning your wedding photos at the Lincoln Park Boardwalk, you will want to call ahead of time and file for a permit so that you and your wedding party will be good to go when your wedding day comes around!
The Art Institute Gardens– Believe it or not, you don’t need a permit to shoot at the Art Institute Gardens. These iconic Chicago gardens are a BEAUTIFUL backdrop for wedding party photos and newly wed portraits.
Tribune Towers Chicago– The Tribune Towers are arguably one of the most popular spots for wedding party photos in Chicago and it’s easy to see why! These two gothic revival buildings have some of the coolest architecture in the city!
The Riverwalk– When planning your wedding in Chicago, the riverwalk is one of the easiest spots to access for wedding portraits. Its centralized location near so many of the coolest spots in Chicago for photos makes it a super popular spot for Chicago weddings.
The Lakefront- There are SO many cool beaches throughout Chicago that are perfect for your wedding party photos. Wherever you plan to get married in Chicago there is more than likely a beach just a short drive away from your venue, making it a perfect spot to stop and take some wedding party photos. Milton Lee Olive Park is one of the most popular spots for wedding party photos as it is one of the less crowded lakefront parks but still has a great view of the city.
When it comes to planning your wedding in Chicago, there is always a chance that the weather will be less than ideal for outdoor photos. Though these locations are typically available for wedding photos, they can become fairly congested when the weather is unruly. If possible I always recommend booking a venue that you could do portraits in if you had to and if you do choose to go to one of these locations, be sure to always get a permit if necessary.
Union Station- The overhang at union station is a great spot for wedding party photos and couples portraits. With great natural light shining through the beams and plenty of space for photos, this is one of the most popular spots for Chicago couples when the weather is unruly.
The Honeycomb– The Honeycomb at the Lincoln Park Board Walk definitely is the most popular spot for wedding portraits in the city. Between its ease of access, the gorgeous views, and all the space it provides for photos, you really can’t go wrong!
Your Hotel- Chicago is home to some of the most beautiful spaces when it comes to architecture, really any hotel you walk into will have eye-catching decor hotels can be some of the coolest spots in the city for photos if you have access to their space. If you do plan to use your hotel as the backdrop for your wedding photos, be sure to check in with the hotel ahead of time to make sure they allow it!
As you’re planning out your wedding day, there might be a number of places you want to go for your wedding photos. I get it, Chicago is AMAZING, and there are so many beautiful places throughout the city, however, you’re not going to want to spend your entire wedding day on a trolley.
I recommend looking for places near your venue for photos when planning your Chicago wedding. Having a plan and a more centralized group of places to go for portraits and events throughout your wedding day will not only make your experience much more pleasurable, but it will also give you more flexibility and time to relax on your wedding day timeline. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend avoiding commutes more 15 minutes from your wedding venue for your wedding portraits.
When planning your Chicago wedding, remember that your wedding day doesn’t necessarily have to be in Chicago. If you’re not completely sold on Chicago itself, but you’re still looking for some urban vibes for your wedding day, you’re in luck! The Chicago suburbs are FILLED with cute little downtowns that have SO many fun wedding venues. I highly recommend checking out some of these urban-styled venues throughout the Chicago suburbs for your wedding day! Not only will they be a little bit less expensive than most of your Chicago wedding venues, but they will also eliminate some of the hustle that typically comes with a city wedding.
Here are some of my favorite urban-styled venues in the Chicago suburbs.
Riverside Receptions- St. Charles IL
The Moment on Main- Wheaton IL
I may be biased but I do believe the Chicagoland area is one of the BEST places to plan a wedding. There are so many AMAZING options when it comes to venues, vendors, and experiences, you really can’t go wrong! If you’re looking to start planning your own Chicago wedding, head to my blog to find more resources to help you plan the wedding of your dreams!!
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