Chicago Restaurant Week 2018

It’s Restaurant Week in Chicago! As a fellow foodie,  I just know that Chicago has a ton of delicious food and drinks. With set menus that offer tastings, Restauarant Week is definitely

More than that, however, it’s a great way to find out your next wedding venue. Enjoy the restaurant’s highlights as you scope out a venue for your big day, whether it’s for the engagement party, the reception, or everything in between.

Here are some of my favorite restaurants that double as beautiful venues that have offerings during Restaurant Week:

Booth One – Used to be called the Pump Room, Booth One has been reinvented to feature new decor, lighting, and a revamped menu. With a dining area and a bar area, emphasized by neutral colors and tones, this place would be a wonderful place for a small, intimate gathering.

Booth One’s renovated bar area

Cafe des Architectes – While the food is devine, Cafe des Architectes doesn’t necessarily host receptions. It is, however, located in Hotel Sofitel, a hotel right of the Magnificent Mile that has a great view of the skyline. Mariana and Matt held their reception in the Sofitel Hotel and they came with gorgeous photos.

Sofitel Hotel

Carnivale – A bright, fun spot in West Loop, Carnivale can host anything from the bachelorette party to the reception. With a rather large space, colorful wall decorations, and a staircase for the perfect dramatic entrance, Carnivale could be a perfect backdrop for a classic or a uniquely extraordinary wedding venue for dancing the night away.


The Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel: While the restaurant itself doesn’t necessarily act as venue, The Lobby is situated right within the Peninsula Hotel, a venue that I’ve frequented many times myself. Enjoy yourself a nice lunch, then walk through the hotel to find the gorgeous spots perfect for formal photos, ceremonies, and receptions. Check out Kathy and Jason’s wedding that was held at the Peninsula Hotel.

The Lobby at Peninsula Hotel

Quartino’s – A classic Italian restaurant with two-stories, Quartino’s is a Chicago favorite located right off Michigan Avenue. While the space not quite large enough for a full reception, Quartino’s can provide the meeting area for the smaller, more intimate wedding-related events, from the engagement party to the welcome dinner to the bachelorette party.

Quartino’s Dining Hall

ZED 451 – With a sophisticated atmosphere and nearly 18,000 square feet to offer, ZED 451 can accommodate up to 500 seated guests for any type of intimate affair. The private dining room comes with a round table bar and modern decor for the loveliest wedding receptions and events. Susan and Conrad held their reception here and the photos are stunning.

Happy eating and venue hunting!

If Jessa said ‘I Do’ in Chicago…

I don’t know about you, but HBO’s Girls holds a coveted spot on my Sunday night schedule. I. Am. Ob-sessed. Earlier this season, one of the characters, Jessa, had an incredibly quirky, eclectic wedding in NYC, think ethereal lace, exposed brick, lofty ceilings, and bohemian decor. This got me to thinking: if Jessa’s wedding took place in Chicago, where would it be? Below are three local venues that immediately came to mind!

With delicate accents of flowers and strung lights, ARTango so easily can transform into an intimate setting for a small wedding. Add in the dramatic windows and wooden beams, and this venue has serious character.

An industrial inspired venue, the white washed walls and clean lines allow this space to cater to the tastes of individual couples. Also did you look at those windows?! So much natural light is happening, I love! 

Modern with a backdrop of amazing artwork, this gallery offers a fabulous amount of chic to any wedding! All the angles of the overall space create tons of mini spaces, a cool way to make such a large room seem less overwhelming and more cozy. 

Finding the Perfect Venue

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After creating our guests lists and finalizing our budget, venue selection was next on my list. I wanted to get married in a venue that was modern, but classic and offered our guests a unique Chicago experience. I didn’t want a traditional ballroom, but also didn’t want a super trendy loft. However, Kyle is a foodie and loves wine so that meant we needed to find a place that allowed an over the top caterer or a venue that would not serve average meals.

So through lots of searching we chose…..SPIAGGIA! We are so excited! Here are some pictures below of their private dining where they hold events and weddings.

Once we walked in, we immediately loved the elegance of the lobby where the cocktail hour will be held. They also can open up a part of their main room to offer our guests a lounge like experience.

Then, when you walk into the dining room you look right out onto Lake Michigan, which is a beautiful view! We can not wait for our guests to arrive and be blown away. The wedding coordinator in me immediately noticed the aesthetics and chairs. The walls are a lavender, shimmery silver which fits perfectly for our theme and the chairs are perfect as they are. Even though I love chivarli chairs, this was a huge bonus not having to pay extra for them.

Kyle fell in love with the ambiance and of course, the food. He can not wait until our tasting!

Venue Search

Chicago is a great city for planning your wedding.  You have the choice of hundreds of venues, florists, and other vendors.  The flipside is that it is overwhelming.

There are some things to consider:
  • guest count
  • budget
  • proximity to hotels
  • proximity to church/ceremony location
  • personal constraints (outside space, bring in your own alcohol, etc.)
  • style
Style is important.  You want the day to reflect your personality.

However, some brides are still overwhelmed.  That said, you might want to consider hiring a wedding coordinator to help you find your venue.  Often listed as an a la carte service, a wedding coordinator can find a venue.

Last year, I had a Boston based bride that wanted to have a Saturday night wedding.  She wanted the ceremony and reception in the same venue.  It needed to be near a hotel since 98% of the guests were from out of town.  She wanted a modern feel that highlighted the city that she loved.  After going through her options, she fell in love with the Met Club in the Sears Tower. It was a perfect match!

If you are interested in our venue search services, please contact Misse or Marilyn.  We would love to help you!

My Chicago History Museum Wedding

While I am very happy with my wedding plans, I often come up with different wedding plans. Call it an occupational hazard.

If I was getting married at the Chicago History Museum
I would have a huge black tie affair in the evening.

My guests would drink champagne out of glasses like these Marc Jacobs Irene champagne saucer

I would need something amazing classic invitations, like these letterpress Jordan and Michael Ceci New York

My bouquet would have to be anenomes.


Recently, I was at Carnivale for the shooting of segment for The Smart Bride. I spoke with the events manager, who said they have held many receptions as well as ceremony.

Carnivale would be the perfect location for a couple that wants a city wedding but without the formality of a hotel or museum. I think that staircase would leave for a dramatic entrance for the bride during the ceremony.
While getting married at restaurants has gained popularity in NYC and LA, it really hasn’t caught on here as much. If I was getting married in a restaurant, this would definitely be a top pick of mine!

New Chicago Venue– The Ivy Room

The newest venue in Chicago is take your breath away beautiful.

There aren’t many spaces in Chicago the include indoor and outdoor space. At The Ivy Room, you can have your cake and eat it too. The space can be configurable for both an indoor or outdoor ceremony. Located at 12 E. Ohio Street, The Ivy Room will certainly become the next in demand wedding venue.

If I was to get married here, I would first have my cocktail hour, then a sunset ceremony outdoors, followed by a boisterous reception.

Photography by Chris Guillen.

Planning from Afar

Planning is back on track.

I was in town only 6 days for the entire month of June due to work obligations. Normally, I love to travel but right now, it is making my life difficult! The contacts at the venue didn’t seem to want to take my FI seriously when he’d show up to view the spaces with my checklist and camera in hand. However, we have FINALLY booked a lovely venue in downtown Chicago. I am so relieved!

Now on to photography…