5 factors that make it difficult to plan a Chicago wedding

Chicago is clearly our favorite city, it’s our home. And although there are a million things we love about the windy city, there are some factors that make it difficult to plan a wedding.

Vendor and Venue Choices

This can be seen as a positive or a negative factor. Chicago is a very condensed market with hundreds of vendors in every category (photographers, florists, DJs, etc.). If you look hard enough, you’re bound to find a vendor with your exact style and your desired pricing due to the immense number of vendors to choose from. BUT we’re not saying this is easy to come by, especially if you do not have a wedding planner guiding you. You will find yourself spending hours and hours trying to find that perfect vendor. We have seen some clients get “vendor overload” when beginning the process. One google search will have your mind spinning. Who’s good? Who’s not? Are these vendors high on google because they’re fabulous? Or because they’ve been in business for 20 years? Or because they pay to have that google spot? It’s hard to say unless if you have experience with that vendor or if someone personally recommends that vendor to you. For us, we’ve spent years cultivating an amazing list of trusted vendors in every style and price. This makes us confident to source the perfect vendors for every individual client.

Besides the vendors, we believe that venue selection can be even more difficult. Your venue should be one of your first decisions to make. It’s clearly is the largest decision because everything is based around the venues size and capabilities. This is why for our Full Planning and Design clients, it takes a while to narrow down the search to find spaces that our clients love aesthetically AND fit within their budget. There are so many beautiful places to visit but for someone unexperienced with Chicago venues, it can be extremely difficult to find the perfect spot.


We’re not saying Chicago is the most expensive (thank goodness!) but we are saying it’s not the cheapest city to tie the knot. The average wedding in Chicago costs $50,934. Just for catering alone, the average dinner plate (including appetizers, salad, entrée, beverage, service, etc.) per person is between $100.00-250.00++/person. Once you do the math estimating a few hundred guests, you’ll see how it can add up. Before committing to any venue or vendor, make sure you discuss overall budget with all people contributing to the wedding. This could save you a headache in the long run if you set aside the correct amount of money. We always recommend add a few thousand on top of whatever you’re imagining spending due to random miscellaneous costs that will pop up that you were not accounting for in the beginning stages.

Unrealistic Expectations/Pinterest Hype/Unobtainable Expectations

Are you a Pinterest addict? Do you read a lot of wedding blogs? If you do, this category is definitely going to apply to you. Some of the most magical destinations around the world are taking over the wedding world. It’s easy to find inspirational weddings in the dessert, on the beach, in the jungles, and many other fascinating and unique locations. Even if you see a beautiful backyard wedding with string lights hanging between trees, chances are the wedding is in a warm location that does not have to take into consideration the fluctuating weather Chicago is granted with (read more in the paragraph below!).

Travel Time

Have you noticed it can take longer to drive a mile in Chicago than to drive two miles in the suburbs? This is something you have to consider when scheduling your timeline. We hate our clients feeling rushed. It’s the number one way our clients forget their wedding day because it’s impossible to embrace the moment if you’re constantly worried about checking your watch. If you are dying to take a picture in Lincoln Park even though your wedding is in Bridgeport, make sure you think of this logically in advance. Maybe you should take your engagement photos up North so you don’t have to waste an hour sitting on a shuttle. Yes, there may be booze and fun music on the shuttle, but you still don’t want to waste time being on it. The day goes by so fast.

If you are hosting your wedding on a Friday, you have to add even more time into your day. Rush hour in Chicago is basically sitting at red lights without moving. You have to be much more careful about transportation time on that day of the week.

Helpful Hint*  Make sure you check with your hotels and venues if they have an awning out front. There are some hotels and venues that have a height restriction which do not allow some transportation (tall shuttles) to go through. We’ve run into this problem once before and now always warn our clients to check in advance. This can cause a delay in the transportation if the guests have to walk a distance to reach the shuttle.


Deciding to have a wedding in Chicago means you’re anticipating it may not be the perfect weather, no matter the time of year. There is nothing you can do to avoid it, but there are ways to help decipher what time of year may work best for your wedding. There are also ways to plan ahead so rain and excessive heat do not impact your day as much. Were you able to check out our blog last month that talks about weather in Chicago? We encourage you to read up about that as well if you’re getting married in the city. For more information, click THIS link!

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