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Is Chicago, Illinois your wedding destination of choice? Well, we’re here to help you get the ball rolling with your wedding planning by finding you the perfect venue. Outdoor weddings are definitely the most popular for warmer months and we’ve rounded up our top open-air spaces to point you in the right direction. From elegant courtyards to botanic gardens to waterfront lounges, there’s something on this list of outdoor venues for everyone.
Photo: Michael Durr
If you’re on the hunt for a romantic, historic Chicago wedding venue, The Ivy Room will be right up your alley. It has several banquet halls, but one of the most stunning event spaces is the outdoor courtyard. It features exposed brick walls, brick flooring, manicured gardens, and ivy-coated walls that make for the perfect wedding ceremony backdrop. It can accommodate up to 50 guests, making it ideal for more intimate celebrations.
Photo: Katie Kett Photography
Got a green thumb or just really love the look of a lot of greenery? Well, the Chicago Botanic Garden may just be the wedding venue for you. It’s got gorgeous lawns, manicured flowers, idyllic ponds, and enough space to put up a full marquee tent for larger receptions. It has seven outdoor areas to choose from for your big day, the largest of which can fit up to 350 guests for a cocktail reception (don’t worry - there are plenty of options for small celebrations, too!).
Chicago may not have legit castles, but it is home to manor houses that look regal enough to be castles, and Glessner House is no exception. It’s located in the South Loop area and has both indoor and outdoor spaces available for events. If you’re looking to say your “I dos” in the open air, its courtyard seriously can’t be beat. It has manicured lawns and is surrounded by exposed brick walls swathed in climbing ivy vines. It’s large enough to fit 100 guests, making it ideal for small to midsize weddings.
La Pergola at Galleria Marchetti is a gorgeous Mediterranean-inspired outdoor venue surrounded by ivy-covered brick walls. It boasts Travertine flooring, plenty of flora and greenery, and is pretty much a blank slate waiting to be transformed for your big day. Though it is an open-air venue, it has a retractable shade that allows it to be used year-round. It can accommodate between 50 and 300 guests, making it great for weddings of all sizes. P.S. Galleria Marchetti has a second garden venue (The Pavilion), if La Pergola doesn’t suit your style.
Theater on the Lake is an absolutely stunning waterfront wedding venue with an unparalleled Chicago skyline view. The venue sits almost directly on the water’s edge, giving you a seriously breathtaking backdrop for your ceremony and reception. The outdoor space is simple and chic, with a mix of table and lounge seating. It’s also partially covered, which is great if Mother Nature decides to act up in the middle of your celebration. It covers a whopping 6,000 square feet of space and can fit up to 500 guests, making it a solid choice for larger weddings and gatherings.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, located on the outskirts of Park West, is a one-of-a-kind wedding venue that’s perfect for anyone who’s in the market for something modern. It has two lovely outdoor event spaces to choose from: the Ravine & Lobby (which has a capacity of 200 guests) and the Terrace (which has a capacity of 350 guests). Both offer gorgeous natural views of the surrounding wooded area and of the breathtaking, geometric building, so you really can’t go wrong.
Head on over to the Pilsen neighborhood to check out Lacuna Events, a unique rooftop venue with panoramic views of downtown Chicago. The wooden patio is surrounded by greenery, has various bars where your guests can quench their thirst, a healthy dose of exposed brick, and a minimalist design that lends itself to almost any wedding theme. It’s 5,000 square feet and can comfortably fit up to 250 guests.
Want a true “blank canvas”-style space? Bridge 410 is calling your name. Its outdoor area is the definition of minimalist, with just an artificial grass lawn and wooden fencing to work with, the decor is completely up to you. You can turn it into a whimsical outdoor ceremony space, a wedding reception area brimming with lawn games, or fill it with tables for a fancy plated dinner - whatever suits your style. There’s also plenty of room inside the industrial-chic building, if you want to have an indoor-outdoor event. As for space, a full buyout will give you enough room for 250 guests.
The courtyard at Artifact Events is one of the most elegant outdoor wedding venues Chicago has to offer. It’s located in the historic district of Rosewood and will give you privacy and luxury on your big day. It has grand Romanesque columns, budding trees, and is surrounded by exposed brick walls. The 3,500 square foot space is completely flexible, meaning you can set up your ceremony space, dance floor, and dining area wherever you like. It’s large enough to fit up to 270 guests, so you should be able to squeeze in all of your nearest and dearest.
Salvage One in West Town has another beautiful courtyard space that’d suit any elegant wedding theme. It’s covered in greenery, so it could almost be classified as a garden wedding venue (which is awesome, if you’re all about the plants). There’s also a wooden pergola, brick-lined pathways, and a statement wall decorated with bar doors and “Chicago” written in lights, making it stand out from the other courtyards on this list. It can accommodate anywhere from 100 to 250 guests.