Location, Location, Location

We know that we have to book an event space as soon as possible for a number of reasons.

  1. We want to get our first choice spot. If we fall in love with a place then find out it’s not available on the day we were really hoping for, sadness ensues.
  2. If we book far enough in advance, we may be able to cut a deal with the venue if their calendar is still wide open.
  3. I want to know what the space looks like and how big it is so I can plan rental furniture and decorations accordingly.
Naturally, our first choice was the Adler Planetarium (see first post). It’s a really special spot and has unreal views of the city, Navy Pier, and Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, once I started looking into it further, I discovered that event rental space is about as much as our total budget for that time of year. We did consider getting married in the low season – dead of winter – so that we could have this space but decided that we couldn’t put our families through a visit to Chicago in the winter. That’s just mean.

Wedding at the Adler Planetarium.

(photo from here)

Since that was out of the question, I decided that I want a venue off the beaten path a little. Not your typical hotel space with 4 walls and bad carpet. (No offense to those that choose hotels. There are many great reasons to go that route. Easy set up, experienced staff, room to get ready, often less expensive, etc.) I want a unique space. And hopefully, if I can find a space that isn’t necessarily popular for weddings, I can get it on the cheap.

The following are the spots I am considering or did heavily consider:

Salvage One
This place is AWESOME. It’s full of unique, vintage furniture, has hardwood floors, tall ceilings, and an outdoor garden area – not to mention this extremely swoon-worthy Chicago art piece pictured below. Basically, I would consider this spot to have everything I could ever want in a wedding venue. Here’s the bummer: it’s $6500 for the day. Unless we don’t eat or drink anything and dance to the radio at our wedding, we can’t afford it. SAD FACE!

Salvage One
(photo from here)

Garfield Park Conservatory
Ok, so here’s a nice alternative spot. The conservatory! The price is right – $2,500. Plus, no need to buy a lot of decorations or flowers. The place is basically already styled for me. I just have to add tables and chairs and maybe some mood lighting. I foresee a problem with sound since the ceilings are so high and I know that places like this have weird acoustics. The other possible problem is that they have a restricted catering list which means that I must use one of their caterers. Caterers = $$$. Most of them have minimum packages that can quickly put me over my budget. More research needs to be done here. Very good possibility, though.

Horitculture Hall at the Garfield Park Conservatory
(photo from here)

Westgrand Studios Loft
We found out about this spot from a coworker. The website is terrible, but I sent them an email anyways since the photo looked nice and it is right down the street from our apartment. The price is very competitive for what the owner is offering. $2,500 gets the space for the full day, Friday set-up (if nobody is booked that day), a kitchen prep area, a rolling bar, no catering or alcohol restrictions (bring my own! yay!), and a beautiful view of the city skyline. I’m only a little hesitant because the website is so disorganized and the phone number I called had a full mailbox.

Westgrand Studios Loft
(photo from here)

Kitchen Chicago

I have no idea how I found this space at all. Kitchen Chicago is exactly what is sounds like – an industrial kitchen on the west side of Chicago (about 4 blocks from our apartment) that is available for hourly rental by area chefs without their own kitchens. Fortunately, the kitchen has an event space attached that is available at the unreal price of $1500 for the whole event day. The space is BYOB and I can bring any caterer I want, but they do have a list of caterers that use their kitchen. I’m sure the managers would love to get them some business.

Kitchen Chicago loft space
(photo from here)
Time to set up some appointments, ask many many questions, and take many many pictures. 🙂


  1. nichewhite says:

    Hi Crystal! I love the look of Kitchen Chicago, great find! Have you looked at Loft on Lake and West Loop Studio? I’m not sure about pricing but they are both great, open, blank canvas lofts for events.

    Also, as a former employee of the place I highly recommend The Park Grill. If you’re not familiar they are the restaurant in Millenium Park, right under the bean. They have a private room as well as a great outdoor space for weddings. They have a great event staff too. Good luck in your search, looks like you’re off to a great start!

  2. budget brides. chicago. says:

    Hi! Thanks! Yes, I did look at both of those loft spaces and they are about $2000-$3000 more than the ones I featured here and are very similar. To me, there wasn’t enough difference in the space to justify the cost difference.

    I will check out The Park Grill. I’ve been there several times. I just didn’t think to check that one. I’ll let you know what I find out. Thanks again!!

  3. 10000dollarwedding says:

    We’re checking out Kitchen Chicago and Westgrand Loft as well. I’m interested to see what you find out about the Chicago park district. I saw the price for the day and was all, “WOW! It’s affordable!” and then their caterers were a little “Yikes” priced. Have you looked at Logan Square Kitchen?

  4. Up in the Air Somewhere says:

    I’m glad I came across your blog! I’m planning my wedding in Chicago, too, and I feel like we’re hunting for the same kind of venue.

    At first I thought the venue would be the biggest expense, but after looking into food I’m realizing that the food is where it’s really going to hurt. That is unless I find a place that is BYOB and let’s me use whatever food option I choose.

    The Park District buildings seem really beautiful, unique and affordable, but they have pretty limited hours and require extra fees like security, clean-up, insurance, etc. Also they have a list of caterers you must use.

    I’ll check back here to see what you discover!

  5. Lost at The End says:

    I find myself in a very similar situation. I need somewhere that is Byob, that does not have an approved caterer list, and that (ideally) has a kitchen: my mother who is a caterer wants to cook the food. Logan Square Kitchen is too small. I have to be able to sit 200. Any updates to Budget Bride’s post would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  6. Sachin Bisaani says:

    Last week i attended wedding party at Martinique Banquets, ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS PLACE!!!! The service was great and the food was amazing!!! I will be looking to have my wedding here sometime in the summer. Staff was more than accommodating for all of our needs throughout the night and I would recommend this place to anybody. Visit Here To see there website.

  7. mary matuszak says:

    Flamingo Cafe near Midway Airport was reasonable priced and excellent service. Food, alcohol, and some decorations under $40 a person: ) close to hotels for visitors out of town: )

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