• Arielle Link

Master a City Wedding

When you think of a city wedding, you think of iconic landmarks. In Chicago...Cloud Gate, Navy Pier, Grant Park, and Willis Tower. In New York City...Empire State Building, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, and Brooklyn Bridge. In Los Angeles...Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Bowl, Griffith Observatory, and the Hollywood Sign – there are endless reasons to want to have a wedding in The Windy City. However, the average wedding here runs 60k – here are some tips to get that big city wedding on your (relatively) small budget.

Keep It Small, Keep it Close

Keep It Small: The fewer the people, the less expensive it’s going to be. Also, if you want to take advantage of the elements of the city that are cost prohibitive, a smaller guest count will definitely help contain costs and make it easier to utilize untraditional spaces.

Keep It Close

Are there any landmarks in particular you want to have your wedding at? How about having it close by at another venue instead– you’re still close enough to take pictures at the landmark or have it in the background. Have a friend with an apartment in the area? If so, see if you could use their rooftop or common room - with all those views day and night, decor costs will be at a minimum. Better yet, know someone with a boat? Yes, get married on board with most of the landmarks you love in the background of every shot.

ReUse, Reduce, Recycle

Re- Use…the same venue for ceremony and reception, It’s cost effective. When reserving a space, you can usually negotiate a better deal if you book it for the whole day, rather than just a few hours.

Reduce…Traffic: Traffic is so unpredictable, and who wants to be late to their own reception - or arrive to find only a few guests. Using the same space for ceremony and reception keeps the energy alive - four time bride Joan Crawford swore by this entertaining rule: never move an event from one location to another, doing so could kill the energy. Using the same space for ceremony and reception also allows you to recycle the ceremony flowers.

Don’t be a Hostage to Tradition Don’t dismiss a venue because it’s untraditional, sometimes that’s where the best values can be found. You don’t need to have your wedding at a reception hall or ballroom reserved for parties. What about a wedding at an art gallery, museum, or rooftop garden? There are so many magical places in the city that aren’t event spaces, per se, but can certainly function as a great – and memorable - location. Caterers are expensive. A great way to save money on food costs is a buffet - which are less expensive than plated meals. A creative buffet idea - food stations from your favorite restaurants. Not only will it save money, it will also reflect the diversity of your city.

The Bottom Line

To have the wedding you want, focus on what’s most important to you – really think about what you want to spend your money on. Every couple has their preferences – maybe your fiancé is a foodie and you’re a nature lover – splurge on the food and the flowers, save on the venue, dress, décor (that’s where your love of flowers will save you) invites, and bar selections.

Having a city wedding is not going to be cheap - but it is attainable. Dedicate a reasonable amount to achieve a city wedding, do your research and see if you can make it work. Having a wedding in Chicago, It's more than downtown – so, if you can’t make it work in the heart of the city, incorporate elements of the city – like a restaurant buffet featuring Lou Malnati’s pizza and Karyn’s Raw items – at a location that does work. Don’t forget, you can still do your photos downtown.

Your wedding day is just that, a day – so be mindful of what is truly worth splurging on. Whatever you do, be true to yourself.

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