5 Types of Weddings in Chicago You Need To Know About!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Today’s brides and grooms have more options than ever before when planning their Chicago wedding. From intimate elopements in Chicago to lavish ballroom glamour, we are seeing and celebrating love in so many ways! 

What type of Chicago weddings are you imagining? Even though there’s plenty of room for flexibility and creativity in the planning process, we recommend you and your partner settle on a general approach to the type of wedding you want. This might look like a warm and breezy Chicago beach wedding, a golf course or country club soiree, a destination wedding, a cultural wedding, or a Chicago micro wedding.

Whether you’re just starting out on your wedding planning journey or already have some ideas about the event of your dreams, you’ll find this post to be full of ideas and tips from the best wedding planners in Chicago

Check out our last article: 7 Things to Know before Hiring a Chicago Wedding Planner >>

Wedding Planner Chicago Packages

If you’ve begun to research the planning process for your wedding, you may have come across a variety of wedding planner packages in Chicago. For most planners, services range from least-involved to most-involved, often with a third option that falls in-between. Offering more than a one-size fits all approach means that each client will be able to choose the type of planning assistance that they are most comfortable with. 

For brides and grooms who have already settled on their venue, vendors, and wish for assistance for the event’s execution, top wedding planners in Chicago provide Day of Coordination / Month of Coordination / Wedding Planner Assistant services. Along with double-checking the details - from the timeline to the seating chart - these services include support on the big day itself, ensuring that the behind-the-scenes are running according to plan so that you can relax and enjoy the excitement without worry. 

Partial planning wedding packages in Chicago are a few steps up from day-of or month-of services. With more collaboration between the planner and the couple in preparation for the day, these packages may include assistance with the selection of some of the vendors, support on the wedding party wardrobe, and oversight of a larger portion of the lead-up to the big day. 

For couples who are planning elaborate events or wish for support from the very start, we always recommend full wedding planning packages. These include the help of a professional full-service planner to settle on your vision for the day, work to contract with the ideal vendor team, decide on a venue, budget, and all of the other aspects of planning and carrying out your big day. Perfect for busy couples or for brides and grooms who are overwhelmed by their vision and unsure how to proceed, full-service wedding planning packages provide reassurance, direction, and the collaboration of an experienced professional to ensure that the process is smooth and stress-free.

Chicago Wedding Budget

Your wedding budget will also very likely influence the type of wedding you will have. Not only will your budget impact the venues, vendors, and design of your event, it may even influence things like the time of year your wedding takes place and other aspects of your big day. 

Having a wedding planner assistant in Chicago or a destination wedding coordinator involved in your planning processes is one way that many couples actually end up saving money on their wedding. The best wedding consultants in Chicago can frequently provide access to top-quality, reputable vendors in Chicago. Besides allowing their clients to access sometimes-exclusive vendor networks, this also means that having a planner will stretch every dollar of your budget so that you can achieve the dream wedding you’ve always envisioned. The average wedding cost in Chicago is about $51,000 in 2021.

Types of Chicago Weddings:

Chicago is an amazing city, a place where almost anything is possible. This even extends to weddings! You can have a destination in Chicago or plan one from Chicago, you can have a micro wedding or elopement, a Chicago beach wedding, a DIY wedding, or any number of religious ceremonies. We’re excited to share some of our favorite types of Chicago weddings, so read on! 

Destination Weddings (to or from Chicago)

A major travel hub in the United States, Chicago makes a great location for a destination weddings or point of departure for a wedding held elsewhere. Its proximity to lodging and catering options of all kinds, world-class venues and entertainment, and unique feel of cosmopolitan energy mixed with historical charm makes Chicago a fantastic destination for couples and events of all types.

When planning a destination wedding to take place in Chicago, we highly recommend working with an event planner who is familiar and experienced in planning both destination events and Chicago weddings. These skills will be essential for smooth guest experiences and for ensuring that you are able to access the vendors and venues that fit with your wedding vision. 

Planning a destination wedding requires booking travel methods, planning accommodations, providing information about the destination location, and ensuring that the wedding day details are settled, and all of this must generally occur on a significantly earlier timeline than a non-destination wedding. Guests will likely need to request more time off work, save or budget, and arrange travel plans in advance of a destination wedding, whether it is in Chicago or elsewhere. For these reasons, hiring an experienced Chicago wedding planner can be incredibly valuable for destination weddings. 

Chicago Micro Wedding

Micro weddings, which are typically smaller and more intimate than traditional weddings, often with fewer than around 25 guests, are extremely popular among today’s couples. With shorter guest lists, these celebrations can be more flexible and atypical, with out-of-the-box locations or activities that can be customized to reflect each couple’s individual style. Another benefit? More of your budget is freed up for details, splurging on great food, stepping up your florals, or whatever other touches will make your day sparkle. 

Micro weddings in Chicago are no exception. There are so many options for your Chicago micro wedding! A few of our favorite venues are Homestead on the Roof, First Lady Cruises on Lake Michigan, City Winery, and anything at Navy Pier. This is just a sampling of the options, though - search micro wedding Illinois and prepare to be inspired! 

Chicago Beach Wedding


From a waters-edge Park District wedding to saying your I do’s aboard a cruise ship on Lake Michigan, Chicago beach weddings are memorable, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind. There are historic waterfront estates and gardens, modern museums and lakefront restaurants, and plenty of outdoor venues where you can feel the cool breeze ruffling your wedding gown. 

With such variety, there’s a lot to choose from, and it’s worthwhile to consider the following to narrow down your options. First, are you considering a springtime, summer, or fall wedding by the beach? The evenings can be cool, and spring and fall especially will likely require that an indoor space is available if the weather turns or if it gets chilly. 

Second, are you envisioning a beachfront ballroom or an intimate outdoor affair? How much you’d like the waterfront incorporated into your event will also contribute to your venue choice and event style. Third, are you working with one of the best wedding planners in Chicago? A planner can help you with the details of a Chicago beach wedding, assisting with any permit requirements you may need, choosing among preferred vendors (if required), and applying their familiarity with venues, timelines, and transportation needs.  

DIY Weddings (and the list of things to watch out for!)

If customization is important to you, a DIY wedding is likely very appealing. After all, you’re at the helm of the decorations, design, and other aspects that are often delegated to a vendor crew. Especially if you’re someone working with a tight budget or if you have a particular style in mind, it can feel like a natural fit to opt to do it yourself. 

However, even though it might sound surprising, DIY weddings are frequently much more work and require an even higher budget than traditional weddings that outsource to vendors. Why is this? Vendors have streamlined their processes, sourcing and networks, smoothing out the roadbumps and creating templates for their products along the way. If you’re going the DIY route, there’s a chance you may make mistakes that cost precious time, resources (like money!) and energy that is avoided by working with a vendor team. 

It can also be easy to get carried away with trendy ideas that you could regret later. This isn’t to say you should always avoid the current styles - but when going DIY, it can be easy to forget that sometimes, less is more (especially in decorations). Vendors and planners can provide worthwhile advice and feedback through this process, if you do opt to do a largely DIY wedding. 

Notably, when you’re working with a tight budget, it can be especially worthwhile to hire a planner or Chicago wedding coordinator. These professionals have networks across the industry who frequently provide wedding services packages, and by bundling these services, the planners end up saving you substantial funds. 

Religious Wedding Ceremonies

In today’s lifestyle, weddings frequently bridge the secular and religious. Some couples celebrate with strictly civil traditions, involving signing the marriage license and celebrating with a social gathering. On the other hand, many couples opt for the integration of religious ceremonies, from vows and prayers, to traditions of cultural significance. 

Chicago is rich with diversity of culture and religion, so whether you’re opting for a Christian church wedding or a 3-day Indian wedding, you’ll be able to find venues and vendors who can bring your vision to life.


Jewish weddings are frequently large celebratory events, and most Jewish wedding ceremonies share a number of elements, though specifics will also reflect each couple’s wishes and heritage. Commonly for Jewish weddings, a chuppah will cover the bride, groom, and rabbi during the ceremony. Chuppahs may be adorned with fabric, florals, or natural materials, and vary widely, with some appearing very industrial and some more rustic. 

As part of the ceremonial blessings and rites, the couple will drink wine, cover the glass with cloth, and crush it with his foot. This symbolic act honors the Jewish mourning that followed ancient Jerusalem’s Temple’s destruction. In another sign of respect, men cover their heads with small caps, called yarmulkes, while in the synagogue. 


With about a quarter of the world’s religious identifying as Muslim, it is not surprising that Islamic traditions vary widely the world over. In America, there is much variety as well, though marriage traditions have a number of cross-cultural commonalities. 

In many ways, Islamic weddings in Chicago may not appear very different from non-Islamic weddings - you can expect speeches, cake-cutting, first dances, and dances with the parents. Many couples choose to have first looks and other contemporary traditions as well. While some Muslim couples will choose to don traditional clothing, with colorful and ornate skirts, sashes, and head coverings, many brides select white bridal gowns - it’s up to the couple and the family. As drinking alcohol is considered forbidden for many who practice Islam, it is unlikely that alcohol will be served at the wedding reception or dinner. 

During the ceremony, the couple will sign a marriage contract, which frequently contains details about the Mahr, which is similar to a dowry, in which the groom presents a gift to the bride. This gift may be a ring, which is similar to the Western ring tradition, but it may also be money or symbolic items. 


Indian weddings vary widely the world over, depending on many factors, including the couple’s geographical roots in India, regional differences in how Hinduism or other religions are practiced, the adoption of rituals made popular thanks to Bollywood, and more. In general, however, Indian weddings are joyful, colorful events that celebrate family and customs with music, flowers, food, gifts, blessings of all kinds, and high energy. If you are looking for an Indian wedding planner in Chicago, speak to us at B-Weddings :)

Some of the popular traditions that an Indian wedding in Chicago may incorporate are the exchange of garlands between the bride and groom, which symbolizes the shift from unmarried to married, guests tossing rice upon the couple as a blessing, and a henna ceremony. Another common part of an Indian wedding is called the baraat, in which the groom’s family arrives at the wedding location with music, instruments, and dance. These are just a few of the many varied traditions that a couple may incorporate into their wedding.

ASIAN WEDDING (Japanese, Korean and Chinese are very different from each other)

Asian weddings in Chicago, from the Japanese rite of crane-folding before the big day to Chinese tea ceremonies, incorporate a wide range of different aspects and rituals, depending on the couple’s background and ancestry. With different cultures come many different ceremonies, rites, and ways of honoring one’s heritage, and it is up to each couple and their families to decide what their wedding will look like. 

Today’s couples frequently blend Western and Asian traditions, such as changing outfits during the event at some point, or, for couples integrating Chinese heritage, incorporating red into the decorations. Some Japanese ceremonies (Shinto weddings specifically) are quite reserved and formal, with very limited casual friends in attendance, until the reception, when they are invited to celebrate together, a custom gaining popularity for elopements and intimate ceremonies of all kinds today. 

Other aspects of the wedding day, such as Japanese crane folding, are not changed or blended, and are often quite unique. The crane ritual involves the bride-to-be folding 1,000 cranes and the groom folding one and symbolizes the wish for the couple’s happiness and prosperity. A Korean ritual, called Paebaek, is another such tradition, with symbolic foods and the tossing and catching of dates and chestnuts indicating the number of children the couple will have. 

This is just a small sampling of the variety of customs and traditions that Asian weddings may incorporate in Chicago today. Elaborate fabrics and clothing, ceremonial foods and blessings, and gifts and rites of all kinds may be encountered, celebrated, and perhaps blended with Western traditions. 

What type of Chicago Wedding are you planning?

As you’ve encountered in this article, the types of weddings that are possible in Chicago are endless. In fact, for many brides and grooms, narrowing down your choices can be one of the hardest parts! Luckily, this is where Chicago wedding planners really shine. A quality planner can work with you to settle on a budget, discuss your vision, and assist with venue and vendor selection. They will be there to support you on your journey to “I do.” 

No matter if you’re going for a Chicago beach wedding, a rooftop elopement, or an elaborate traditional Indian ceremony, an experienced wedding planner in Chicago will guide you by providing a network of quality vendors, wedding services packages, and tips that can only be developed through years in the industry to help you seamlessly plan your big day. With the help of one of top Chicago wedding planners, you can make your dreams come true! 

Additional Reading:

7 Things to Know Before Hiring a Chicago Wedding Planner >>

5 Tips by Top Chicago Wedding Planners and Vendors >>

How to Hire a Wedding Planner in Chicago >>

Wedding Planner Chicago >>