Chicago is the nation’s third-most expensive wedding location. We priced out high-end and budget-friendly options.

If you want to have your dream wedding, you also may want to start looking for a second job, or kissing up to mommy and daddy. According to The Knot’s annual 2018 Real Wedding Study, Chicago is the nation’s third most expensive place to get married, with couples cashing out for a whopping $60,294 on average (hello and goodbye, firstborn’s college tuition).

Here we look at five of the major wedding essentials — food, beverages, venue, music and flowers — to put those numbers to the budget test. Whether you’re pinching pennies on your big day or making it rain, these options, high and low, are sure to give you a happily ever after.

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High end

Revel Motor Row, South Loop, 2400 S. Michigan Ave.

Price: $15,750 for a full buyout on a Saturday.

Located in Chicago’s iconic Motor Row District, the Spanish Revival design transports you to a European getaway. It’s complete with a courtyard for cocktail hour, an oversized skylight and exposed brick. Venue space includes a $9,000 beverage minimum.

Budget friendly

Moonlight Studios, West Town, 1446 W. Kinzie Street.

Price: $8,000 for a full buyout on a Saturday.

Located on Chicago’s West Side, this 15,000-square-foot space is a repurposed factory offering an industrial, wide-open wedding space. Three small gallery spaces connect for cocktail hour and flow into the massive main hall, which boasts chandeliers and 24-foot ceilings.


High end

Limelight Catering

Price: Prices range from $140 to $200 per plate.

Limelight Catering uses a farm-to-table approach to craft its menus, which are made with the clients’ vision in mind. Packages can include passed hors d’oeuvres, a first course, entree, china, glassware, staff, linens and more.

Budget friendly

Amazing Edibles

Price: Prices range from $85 to $140 per plate.

Amazing Edibles is a full-service catering company in Douglas Park. Example cocktail-hour menu items include mini lobster rolls and wild mushroom arancini, followed by three to four dinner options in the categories vegetable, seafood, pork, poultry and beef. Spreads, seasonal items, dessert and late-night options are also available.


High end

Revel Space

Price: Approximately $10,200 for five-hour open bar for 200 guests.

Revel Space manages bar services exclusively. Custom packages are available and include specialty drinks, passed drinks, dinner wine and Champagne toasts. A five-hour open bar includes Tito’s Vodka and dinner wine. Upgraded, luxury open bar packages are available.

Budget friendly

Moonlight Studios

BYOB Price: Approximately $3,400 for 200 guests.

Renters can bring in their own alcohol from a wholesale source, such as Binny’s Beverage Depot. A Binny’s service member works with couples to create custom orders. Also, Binny’s allows customers to return any unopened alcohol. For a wedding of 200 guests, Binny’s put together a sample quote that included 18 bottles of Tito’s Vodka, 36 bottles of prosecco and more.


High end

David Rothstein Music

Price: $18,975 for six hours.

This is the company’s most expensive package (most couples get the $6,700 option), featuring a ceremony string quartet, cocktail hour jazz trio, 10-piece band and DJ with dinner, and for the party, a 14-piece band with DJ. Three vocalists, horns, drums, a guitar and a piano are included in the band ensemble. An emcee, stage lighting, unlimited song requests and countless personal touches are also a part of the deal.

Budget friendly

The DJ Firm

Price: $1,500 for six hours.

This quality collective of six DJs will keep the party bumping without breaking the bank. Their least expensive package includes a DJ who will emcee, six hours of reception time, an on-site sound engineer and a 50-mile travel grace. A la carte additions, like an electric violin, are also available for an additional charge.


High end

Life in Bloom Chicago

Price: $10,000 minimum during wedding season (May through October).

A boutique floral and event design studio committed to the details; you can get floral, drapes, linens, lighting, custom furniture pieces and more from this high-end brand. Prices vary depending on guest count and a client’s desires, but the average spend is between $15,000 and $20,000. Personal flowers for an average-size bridal party cost between $1,500 to $2,000, with centerpieces starting at $2,500.

Budget friendly

A Pretty Flower

Price: An average of $3,500.

This Lincoln Square shop, owned and operated by a dynamic mother-and-daughter duo, has no minimum purchase requirement and provides a la carte services. Most of their weddings run about $3,500 for flowers for a modest-sized wedding party, ceremony and reception decor with 15 to 20 low centerpieces.

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Twitter @christenadot_

[email protected]

Twitter @SusieMoskop

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