10 Historic Chicago Wedding Venues We Love
Cathedral Hall at the University Club of Chicago76 East Monroe Street, Chicago; (312) 726-2840; UCCO.com
The University Club isn't just a bookworm haven. The large Cathedral Hall, established by university graduates who wanted a space to appreciate literature and the arts, can accommodate up to 300 people for a sit-down dinner and reception. Best of all, it offers a lakefront view. Work with their in-house catering staff to choose from a selection of dishes, as packages require a minimum of four courses.
Chicago History Museum1601 North Clark Street, Chicago; (312) 799-2254; ChicagoHistory.org
You can actually get married at this famous art space. Choose the Chicago Room or hold your ceremony and reception on the outdoor plaza with a view of Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast. The Chicago Room fits 310 guests for a seated dinner and a dance floor, but before dancing the night away, choose from one of the museum's four exclusive caterers.
Chicago Public Library: Harold Washington Library Center400 South State Street, Chicago; (312) 747-4300; ChiPubLib.org
Join past notable guests at the Chicago Public Library -- presidents, first ladies, Civil Rights activists, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and celebrities have all celebrated at library locations since it was established in 1873. Have your reception in the Winter Garden, a European courtyard-style marble terrace. Covered with a 52-foot glass ceiling, it can accommodate up to 400 guests. For food, you can choose from a list of selected caterers all familiar with the rules and layout of the library.
Civic Opera House20 North Wacker Drive, Chicago; (312) 827-2580; CivicOperaHouse.com
For a large and theatrical wedding, hold your ceremony and reception at the home of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The limestone skyscraper faces the Chicago River -- and it's not just the views that are impressive. The Ardos Krainik Theatre is six floors and boasts one of the largest stages in downtown Chicago. The entire theatre itself easily accommodates 3,600 people or, for a party of 50 to 850 people, hold the reception on the stage. There's also the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foyer, with its Art Deco design, for receptions of up to 150 seated guests.
Germania Place108 West Germania Place, Chicago; (312) 573-1968; GermaniaPlace.com
For a wedding that feels like a fairy tale, consider the Germania Place, where a formal doorman in a top hat and tails greets all the guests at the entrance. The Grand ballroom, with its high ceilings, balcony and chandeliers, can seat up to 400 people when using the balcony. Work with the Kenmare Catering and Events to put together your menu (exceptions can be made for Kosher requirements).
Hotel Baker100 West Main Street, St. Charles; (630) 584-2100; HotelBaker.com
If you're a fan of the swinging 1920s, Hotel Baker's old-world elegance is the perfect place to hold your wedding. Right on the river in downtown St. Charles, the hotel features several ballrooms and gardens for your wedding and reception. The dramatic Rainbow Room, with mahogany columns and a circular balcony, seats up to 200 for the reception. Or, hold your wedding in the Waterfront Ballroom with large windows looking out onto the Fox River for more intimate receptions of up to 100 people. Work with the on-site banquet team to create your meal.
The Ivy Room12 East Ohio Street, Chicago; (312) 645-7760; IvyRoomChicago.com
While the building dates back to the late 1800s, The Ivy Room is a cool, urban space -- making it the perfect spot if you're after a timeless vibe. Exchange vows in the lush and gorgeous "hidden courtyard," an oasis tucked away from the busy downtown street. After the ceremony, dine and dance (the space can accommodate 200 guests) in the ballroom, complete with original maple hardwood floors from the 1930s. The most-talked about feature: perfectly detailed French doors which lead out to Juliet balconies overlooking the courtyard garden -- a must for pictures.
The Murphy50 East Erie Street, Chicago; (312) 280-8447; The-Murphy.com
Can't go to Paris for your wedding? Have your wedding at The Murphy, which was modeled after one of the chapels at Notre Dame in Paris. The domed ceilings, mahogany floors, limestone façade and state-of-the-art staircase will set the scene for your ceremony and reception, which can both be held in the same space. You can fit 210 for a seated dinner and choose from their preferred lists of caterers and florists.
Stock Exchange Trading Room at the Art Institute of Chicago111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago; (312) 443-3530; artic.edu/eventplanning
Hold your ceremony at the Chicago Stock Exchange, a two-floor space decorated with elaborate stencils, molded plaster capitals and art glass -- all designed by Chicago's important architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler in the 1890s. You'll snag a great photo outside the art institute next to the pair of bronze lions on the entrance at Michigan Avenue. Catering-wise, work with Bon Appetit, the exclusive on-site caterer for a meal for up to 400, but outside bakers are welcome to provide cake.
Union Station210 South Canal Street, Chicago; (312) 329-1234; ChicagoUnionStation.com
The Great Hall at the Chicago Union Station, with its 20,000-foot classic Beaux Arts style room, soaring columns, terracotta walls, pink marble floors and five-story high ceilings, is the place to rent for a big wedding. (It can hold up to 1,500 people.) For a smaller, more intimate setup, choose the Union Gallery, which opens up to the Great Hall, a 3,500-square-foot space with high ceilings that fits up to 150 for a seated dinner. Choose from their list of preferred catering companies.