Planning a wedding in a big city like Chicago can create a fun-filled weekend for your friends and family. However, the buzz of a busy city can also present you with a few hurdles as well. With the worries of transportation, vendor load-in and load-out, countless photographers and florists to choose from, and an overwhelming variety of Chicago venues for rehearsals, ceremonies, and receptions, the decisions and worries can become stressful. Here are tips from Big City Bride on planning Chicago weddings.
1. Book a Chicago Wedding Planner
It is their job to make your day easier and allow you to enjoy your wedding. They know the best Chicago wedding vendors; the best florists, the best caterers, and the best photographers, and they know how to work with them. Don't get overwhelmed dealing with your Chicago wedding vendors; despite what you think you are not the only wedding some of them are working that weekend. Chicago wedding planners will coordinate the various vendors that day and throughout the planning process.
2. Savor the Flavor of the City
Chicagoans like to eat! Chicago is home of countless "one of a kinds" that make the city so special. Serve your guests the food that makes Chicago famous! Deep dish pizza and Chicago style hotdogs are a fantastic late night option. Garretts popcorn or Chicago original treats like Frango mints make for wonderful guest favors or desserts for your Chicago wedding.
3. Embrace Chicago
Incorporate your favorite Chicago highlights into aspects of your Chicago wedding to make it uniquely you. Use the city skyline, a picture of the Navy Pier Ferris wheel or Millennium Park's Bean sculpture as part of your save the dates. If you're a Chicago sports fan let that love shine thru on your day. Your place cards or table numbers can pay patronage to your favorite team. Host your rehearsal dinner at Chicago's famous restaurants like Gibson's, Cite, Gino's East or even at your favorite sports arena like U.S. Cellular Field.
4. Budget Accordingly
The national average for a wedding is $30,000 for approximately 150 guests. A Chicago wedding costs typically about twice that much. With that price tag comes all of the unique and unsurpassed opportunities offered for a big city wedding.
5. Location, Location, Location
It is key to choose a location for your rehearsal, ceremony, reception, and hotel that are in close proximity to each other. This will save a lot of energy when it comes to transportation costs and traffic. Cut down on stress and wasted time and keep it simple. No need to run back and forth to and from hotels and venues throughout your Chicago wedding weekend. Keep your loved ones close and enjoy your time with them.
6. Check the Event Calendar
Large cities, like Chicago, hold large events. When planning your Chicago wedding try to choose a weekend so that you avoid major Chicago conventions and events such as: the Chicago Marathon, Lollapalooza, large medical conventions, Air & Water Show or major sporting events. Even parades and festivals can cause headaches for your Chicago wedding. The cost of hotel rooms, venue availability and traffic are just a few concerns.
7. Hotel Block Booking
Booking a Chicago wedding hotel block is something that is often overlooked by brides and grooms, but something that benefits you and your guests. The hotels often give reduced rates for block bookings (and may even throw in a special treat for you and the groom i.e. bridal suite or champagne). Keeping your guests in the same hotel and potentially on the same floor makes it a more fun and memorable Chicago wedding weekend. A group hotel is also the perfect pick-up and drop-off location for transportation to and from your Chicago wedding venue.
8. Transportation Considerations
The logistics of a Chicago wedding can be more complicated for you and your guests, however Chicago wedding transportation options are limitless. Choose from buses, limos, vintage cars, trolleys, horse drawn carriages, water taxis, stretch SUV's and even rickshaws! Picking up guests from a group hotel allows for a timely and stress free Chicago wedding weekend. Try to negotiate reduced pricing for parking at the hotel for your Chicago wedding guests. Another option is to provide valet at your reception or at least ask your Chicago wedding planner to arrange for taxicabs at your reception.
9. City Guides
Big cities offer a lot of things to do and see. Create a cheat sheet for your Chicago wedding guests so they can get to know the city you love! Include your favorite restaurants and secret spots. Provide maps for your guests with the location of your church, Chicago wedding venue and some of your favorite places. Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo, Buckingham Fountain, Wrigley Field, Millennium Park and the Willis Tower are a few favorites for out of town guests. cities offer a lot of things to do and see.
10. Explore Your Option
Big cities offer endless possibilities. Chicago wedding venues span from Chicago Park District properties, to museums, historical landmarks, restaurants, warehouse or loft venues, or even swanky hotels. The options are endless for Chicago wedding venues. Some of our favorites include The Illuminating Company, Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Ivy Room, Cafe Brauer, the Adler Planetarium, Salvage One, and Cancer Survivor's Garden, the JW Marriott, Trump Tower, the Drake Hotel and the plush and sexy Blackstone Hotel.
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