Are you planning to tie the knot in the West Loop and searching for the picture-perfect place to exchange vows and celebrate? If so, you have come to the right place! We’ve rounded up the best West Loop wedding venues that every couple can fall in love with, so you can make your big day unforgettable.
Whether you’re planning a black-tie extravaganza, gunning for a more intimate affair with close friends and family, or hoping to find a contemporary loft that offers stunning views of the Chicago skyline, these are the best West Loop wedding venues for any kind of wedding aesthetic.
What should I look for in a wedding venue?
While every single choice you make during the planning process plays a vital role in crafting an unforgettable wedding, none makes more impact than booking an ideal venue. The right place has the power to set both the tone and atmosphere of your wedding, which is why selecting it wisely is indispensable.
And given that the average cost for a West Loop wedding venue is around $4,244, with the bill going upwards of $9,000 for popular spots, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly. You’ll want to ensure your venue is on point and offers a good bang for your buck.
Here are key factors that you should consider when looking for a wedding venue:
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it is super important your venue has a roomy fit. See to it that the venue space or ceremony hall is roomy enough to comfortably accommodate your entire guest list. You can’t simply cram 250 guests into a venue with a standard capacity of 150.
The other way around is also true. The worst mistake you can make is to book a site that’s too big for your guest count. It will not only cost you a small fortune to rent and decorate but may also make your wedding seem less intimate, poorly attended, and somewhat dull.
Remember the site may appear spacious when it is empty, but once the decorations, tables, DJ stations, chairs, and other wedding essentials are set up, the place will fill up pretty quickly. Your guest will require some legroom, too.
With that in mind, an excellent way to size up a venue is to visit it when another wedding (preferably of the same size) is fully set up. Make sure that both the reception and the ceremony space can accommodate your whole guest list. You don’t want the party space to feel stuffy or too empty for your guest count.
– Lighting and ambiance
Light does affect both the space and mood of a wedding. If you plan to wed during the daytime, make sure the venue has multiple floor-to-ceiling windows to let in plenty of natural light. Well, who would want to spend 4 hours in a dark hall when the sun is beaming idyllically?
On the other hand, if you’re hosting an evening wedding, double-check that your venue is well-lit and airy enough. Even better, the lighting should be tweaked for the first dance, dinner, main ceremony, and big entrance. If you’re planning an outdoor affair, perhaps in the evening, will the venue allow you to set up outdoor lighting or candles?
To be sure the venue has great lighting, we suggest that you visit the site at around the same time your wedding is scheduled.
Every couple’s dream is to snag a photogenic venue. However, you also have to think about the views the site offers. If the guests like what they see while walking into the ceremony, your wedding is likely going to be the talk of the town.
In this case, a venue with a view that you like should rank top on your list. Whether it’s a stunning river vista, Chicago city skyline, or beautiful botanicals, sites with great backdrops and amazing views are always a bonus.
– Areas for partying, drinking, and eating
The venue of your choice should have logical spots where your guests can dance, mingle, drink, eat, and make merry. With the help of a wedding planner, try to figure out which location offers the best areas for your ceremony and reception. The planner will use her experience and skills to map out the venue’s space, so you can throw a memorable event.
– Your budget
The cost of renting a West Loop wedding venue runs around $4,244, which is slightly pricier than the average of $4,103 for the entire Chicago area. Note that venue costs in this neighborhood vary greatly, and some of the most popular locations can set you back up to $25,000 or even higher.
The rule of thumb is to find a venue that costs roughly between 10 and 15 percent of your total wedding budget. You can push it up to 20 percent if the venue comes with some extras like an on-site bar, decorations, or in-house caterers.
– Packages on offer
Picking up from the last point, you should also consider packages offered by the venue. Some locations don’t offer the entire works— i.e. staffing, bar, catering, etc. — which usually leads to a lower-cost package. If a site provides a full service, you can expect to set aside between 40 and 50 percent of your wedding budget for the venue.
However, to make sure that you’re getting value for your money, check if it makes financial sense to hire caterers, music, and other vendors on your own.
– Transportation and parking
This is an area where West Loop wedding venues shine. Even still, try to double-check that the venue is close to public transport, affordable hotels, and has plenty of parking spaces for your guests. If it’s out of the way for privacy reasons, does the venue offer some form of pickup service?
As a general rule of thumb, check in with nearby hotels to make sure there’ll be vacancies for your guests. All in all, it pays to ensure that your guests will be able to get in and around the venue with much hassle.
– Proper bathrooms
Bathrooms are an aspect of a wedding that most couples often overlook. Yet it can make or break your big day. Check the restrooms within your prospective sites and ensure that they can accommodate the needs of all your guests. This is especially crucial if any of your guests need ADA-compliant restrooms.
What’s special about the West Loop?
The West Loop is a neighborhood unlike any other in Chicago. It’s nestled right in the heart of everything you love about the Windy City, just across the river from the famous central Loop. Because of its strategic location, it has plenty to see, do, and experience, including to-die-for nightlife and entertainment options, as well as lush parks, stunning skyline views, and award-winning restaurants.
The art-forward area is also a foodie haven. It’s a melting pot of the world’s cuisine, with a raft of superb eateries having taken over the former meat-packing district. They have turned the industrial warehouses into some of Chicago’s most sought-after restaurants.
Greektown is also found in the neighborhood. Aside from being home to the iconic National Hellenic Museum, it’s a bustling culinary mecca teeming with authentic delis, bakeries, traditional bars, restaurants, and other mouth-watering eateries.
Other reasons to fall in love with West Loop abound:
- Walkable sidewalks and convenient access to downtown Chicago
- It’s traditional yet passes the ‘cool factor’ test, making it a great destination for all generations and personalities.
- Randolph Street Market, a great place to shop, dine, mingle, or play. It also hosts fashion, vintage, antiques, music, and art festivals almost every other weekend.
- It’s also home to several museums and art galleries
Why should I host my wedding in the West Loop?
With a lively dense urban vibe like no other in Chicago, the West Loop is an incredible place to not only throw a wedding but also entertain out-of-town guests. It sports a nice blend of dreamy wedding venues, from restored historic buildings to high-rise banquet lofts and even private garden venues.
When all’s said and done, here are the top reasons why you should consider hosting your wedding in the West Loop:
> The scrumptious food, drinks, and music
Whether you’re a local or planning a destination wedding in Chicago, the West Loop is the place to be if you want a culinary experience your guests will never forget. The neighborhood is known for its sizzling-hot food scene and master chefs.
From the entrée to the main course to the bar, West Loop caterers and restaurants guarantee a dining experience that you will look back and remember for years. You and your guests will most likely remember two things fondly: music and food. Trust me–no other area does these two aspects of a wedding like the West Loop.
> Wide choice of wedding venues
In bygone days, the West Loop was a bustling meat-packing district and an industrial park. Today, the place still offers that industrial charm combined with a contemporary vibe. Wedding venues come in a wide variety to meet just about any wedding aesthetic.
From fire stations, gardens, banquet lofts located in skyscrapers at dizzying heights, repurposed warehouses, and even water locales, these are all jaw-dropping wedding venues available in the West Loop. So, whether you’re planning a vintage, traditional, rustic, bohemian, glamorous, or outdoor wedding, there’s definitely a great venue to meet your specific style and personality.
Located adjacent to many parks, skyscrapers, former warehouses, and a branch of the Chicago River, the West Loop offers up breathtaking backdrops for a wedding of any style. Best of all, most West Loop wedding venues flaunt amazing banquet halls, lofts, gardens, and much more. You can use them as a blank canvas, so you can incorporate your décor and floral choices to make your wedding truly personal.
> Holistic experience
You can plan and execute every aspect of your wedding (and even an engagement party) without leaving the West Loop. In fact, the neighborhood, along with the larger Chicago area, is one of the most coveted destinations for bachelorette parties, wedding gown shopping, and of course, throwing elegant and fun wedding ceremonies and receptions.
What types of venues are in the West Loop?
The West Loop has become a darling of couples because it offers a huge variety of wedding venues. You can expect to find classy, quirky, industrial, or garden venues, as well as many banquet halls and lofts with great views of the Windy City.
Can I change the venue layout?
Yes. Most of the West Loop wedding venues on this list are ultra-flexible when it comes to the seating arrangement, decorations, tables, stages, and much more. When you rent a venue, the site space is yours to decorate, change the layout, and set it up as you see fit.
Are there hotels and accommodation in this neighborhood?
The West Loop provides guests with a varied selection of accommodation and hotels. Luxury is the name of the game here, but you’ll find hotels from big players like Hilton, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn & Suites, and Crown Plaza, as well as boutique guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and motels.
Is this neighborhood safe?
Based on official reports, the West Loop is a pretty safe neighborhood with a low crime rate. It also scores highly on walkability and access and boasts well-lit streets, walkable sidewalks, and hospitable people.
How do I learn more about these venues?
We recommend that you pick your five favorite West Loop wedding venues from this list based on your wedding style, size, etc. You can then narrow down your list to one by doing more research.
Check out their website – When going through their site, make sure to take note of their packages. Do they offer a full-service, venue-only, or any other venue in-between? If they don’t offer all the works, you might want to check out their preferred vendors. Other things to review include their testimonials, reviews, contacts, and level of activity on the site.
Read more reviews – There are many wedding venue review sites. Make sure the reviews don’t sound too good to be true. Another thing to note is that no wedding venue is 100% perfect. Because weddings are a personal affair, you should ignore some negative reviews and complaints that seem to come from a place of emotion rather than facts.
Visit them – Your visit should coincide with the time of day you wish to host your wedding. This way, you can get a real-time feel of the venue, as well as plan your decorations and other bits of the wedding accordingly.
On your visit, check the lighting, available space, the bar, restrooms, catering area, dance floor, and ease of entrance—basically, leave no stone unturned.