Finding a Venue

All of the websites I read (and books from the library) made it sound like I had plenty of time to figure out where our reception would be. Once we decided we would be getting married next summer, I relaxed.

We had a good start to a guest list, a (really broad) range for a budget and a general season. Looking into a location seemed like a logical next step, and with my student teacher taking over for three weeks I had some time to do it.

OMG so many choices. Chicago has approximately a million different venues.

I kicked off my search at, which is a pretty good site. From there, I checked out the weddingbee local boards, a couple photographer’s sites, and read reviews on venues I thought sounded like a possible fit (sometimes those would say “but I liked xxx better”).

Contenders were googled as “venue wedding chicago” and then I hit images on Google. If I liked what I saw, I went for more information, and listed it in my spreadsheet.

After round one, I had about six solid contenders, but Mike knocked out two of them, so I went back for more. Right now, we’re considering:

  • Hotel Allerton
  • Columbus Park Refectory
  • The Rookery
  • ????

We need to check out some of the new adds to my list, and I’ve barely seen Mike in three weeks, so hopefully we’ll be able to talk through this over the weekend.

And if you’re from Chicago, here’s my ridiculous list of city venues



  • Hotel Allerton
  • Millenium Knickerbocker
  • Sofitel
  • Park Hyatt
  • Four Seasons
  • Hotel Palomar
  • Hotel Sax
  • James Hotel
  • Allegro Hotel
  • The Wit
  • There are obviously a billion more hotels in Chicago, but they were either gorgeous-but-crazy-expensive-and-overbooked (Drake) or generic (lots of them)


  • Spiaggia
  • Galleria Marchetti
  • Pazzos 331
  • Fultons on the River
  • Carmichaels
  • Maxim’s
  • Salvatore’s
  • There are also obviously a billion more restaurant-type places. I got bored.


  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Harold Washington Library
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Field Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Museum of Science and Industry

Classic Event Spaces:

  • The Murphy
  • Newberry Library
  • Cafe Brauer
  • The Rookery
  • Stan Mansion
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago Ballroom
  • Cheney Mansion (Oak Park)
  • Chicago Cultural Center
  • Germania Place
  • Glessner House
  • Dank Haus

Park District Spaces:

  • Promontory Point
  • South Shore Cultural Center
  • Columbus Park Refectory
  • Millenium Park Rooftop Terrace (this is a tent. And not technically rooftop. But whatever.)
  • There are more (gorgeous) field houses out there too

Galleries/Modern Event Spaces:

  • Architectural Artifacts
  • VenueONE
  • Floating World Gallery
  • Salvage One
  • A New Leaf
  • Prairie Production
  • Ivy Room
  • Navy Pier Crystal Gardens
  • Loft on Lake
  • Greenhouse Loft
  • Bridgeport Arts Center
  • Chicago Illuminating Company
  • River East Arts Center
  • Lincoln Hall
  • Mars Gallery
  • Kitchen Chicago
  • Ravenswood Event Center
  • ARTango

 Places with Club in the Name:

  • Union League Club
  • Standard Club
  • Metropolitan Club
  • University Club
  • 19th Century Women’s Club (Oak Park)
  • Quadrangle Club (University of Chicago)

5 thoughts on “Finding a Venue

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