If you are planning any kind of special event during spring, Chicago is the perfect place for it. Whether you are organizing a wedding, bachelor/bachelorette party, or any other special occasion, the Windy City has plenty to offer to make that event special and full of fun and excitement. But if you are still on the fence about using Chicago as the backdrop for your event, here are a few tips to consider that may just push you over to seeing that your best options are right here in Chicagoland.
Tip 1 – Get to Know Your Settings
Chicago has been the host for tens of thousands of weddings. The stunning setting of the city along the shores of Lake Michigan gives it a special appeal that you don’t see in most urban centers. Plus, when you consider the historic structures and iconic sports venues that exist in and around the city, you have a lot of choices that should make matching a venue for your wedding theme much easier. Add to this the number of world-renowned museums and Michelin-starred or rated restaurants and you won’t go wrong with a setting in the city to exchange your vows. As for transportation needs to get family and friends to your wedding, Chicago is home to two major airports (O’Hare International and Chicago Midway International) and is not far away from other urban centers should your family be within driving distance.
Tip 2 – Plan for Unpredictable Weather
Chicago didn’t earn the nickname The Windy City by accident. Though summers are generally mild, winters can be extremely cold and windy. January is typically the coldest month, but springtime is, well, sometimes a gamble. You could end up with a beautiful sunny and warm spring day or one that is chilly with rain. If your special event in springtime in Chicago is outdoors, it would be a good idea to have a Plan B indoor venue on reserve should the weather turn on you before you can get your event started. But remember, too, that the flowers of Chicago’s famed lakefront Grant Park really start blooming in late April and early May—often a perfect time for an event.
Tip 3 – Pick A Centrally Located Venue
When you are planning your special event, one of the most important factors is the location and type of venue. Your guest list will help you a great deal with this specific tip. The type of event you are planning will also assist you in narrowing down the perfect spot. To give you some inspiration, a bachelor party would likely be best planned to take place somewhere like a pub, a nice steakhouse, or at a sporting event. Or say you’re planning a baby shower and need a Chicago baby shower venue (Party Slate has a guide with some strong options)–you want the location to be convenient for both local friends and family and people staying in hotels.
Tip 4 – Provide Accommodations Where Required
If you are planning a wedding or an event where you are expecting out-of-town visitors, you want to be able to put them up somewhere nice to enjoy all that Chicago offers during springtime. This will take some planning, but the location of your venue can help you to decide where you’ll book rooms for visitors to stay. Fortunately, in Chicago, there are hundreds of hotels throughout the city. You are very likely going to find some that are close to your event venue. When you book the rooms, be sure to indicate why you need them as you may qualify for discounted rates or other special offers to give your guests.
Tip 5 – Select Your Photo Backdrop
Chicago offers some spectacular opportunities for your wedding photos. You may not notice them right away and that is why it is important to explore the city in advance to look around and see what there is. One unique landmark is the Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the US—with a glass balcony enabling you to step 1300 feet in the air and see four states! Navy Pier is another popular photo destination with a 3,300-foot long pier on the Chicago shoreline. For sports fans, the over 100-year-old Wrigley Field is an iconic backdrop, and the Art Institute of Chicago lends a touch of magnificence to photos taken on the steps of this historic art museum.
Tip 6 – Follow Your Planning Checklist
If you are organizing a wedding, make sure you have all the proper permits and licenses to allow you to proceed with the ceremony in Chicago. State regulations must be followed although you have many options related to who conducts the ceremony. You can even have the Mayor of Chicago (Lori Lightfoot) officiate if you so desired. To be sure who can and cannot perform the wedding ceremony, check the Illinois state marriage requirements online. You don’t want to have all the other details completed on your planning checklist without these as well. You can also find checklist templates online to assist you with each step.
Tip 7 – Some Dates to Avoid for Your Chicago Event
You are fairly safe in planning your event in springtime in Chicago. The only main consideration would be related to sporting activity. Because Chicago is home to several major league sports teams, save yourself some potential headaches by reviewing the game schedules of these teams and plan your date away from any major tournaments. Festival season in Chicago generally starts in early summer and that means not only crowds but a lot of traffic and hotel rooms will be filled. With the right date, you’ll be sure of being able to accommodate all the needs of those attending your bachelorette party or other function without having to compromise.
Chicago is a wonderful place to host a springtime event such as a wedding or baby shower. You have to be mindful of the weather if your event is outdoors and by choosing a centrally-located venue you make it easy for participants to attend the function. If you avoid certain dates, rooms will be available and venues will not be as crowded, making your special occasion all that more enjoyable for you and your guests. With no shortage of settings and venues in Chicago, you should be able to find the right fit for your wedding, party, or event.