If the thought of hosting your wedding reception in a boring, beige hotel ballroom is too painful to bear, you might want to consider thinking outside the box. Some of the city's best bars, restaurants, libraries and businesses open their doors to wedding parties looking for something different. Consider getting hitched at one of these wildly alternative Chicago venues.
Glass studio by day, wedding venue by night. This truly versatile building offers over 9,000 square feet of space, allowing wedding planners to tailor their event and use three different areas: the Main Room, Urban Garden and Rooftop Deck. Sleek, modern touches make it a customizable dream for the contemporary bride or groom. Capacity: 200–400
Looking for the feel of a sunshine-drenched garden wedding but don't trust Chicago weather to hold up? We wouldn't either. The Winter Garden at the Harold Washington Library Center is the next best thing with a 52-foot glass atrium dome that spans the entire room. Smaller groups can opt for the South Hall, a bright and airy space with floor-to-ceiling windows and city views. Capacity: 170–500
You love this open West Loop bar for its live music, beer and pinball machines. Now imagine it as a wedding venue. Boasting 5,000 square feet of event space, the room can be fully customized depending on party size. Did we mention the 2,000-square-foot rooftop deck with panoramic skyline views? Yeah, it's an epic and unexpected wedding venue. Capacity: 250
If a chic restaurant on the river sounds like just the right spot, consider The Kitchen. Offering three different event spaces (Root Room, the community bar area or a full-restaurant buy out), the industrial-chic eatery can be transformed into a pristine reception space overnight. Plus, the elevated food options—seafood towers, artisanal cheese boards and hand-made desserts—are just right for foodie couples. Capacity: 30–200
This historic Pilsen venue is a treasure trove of special spaces, both big and small. Music lovers will want to book the main hall, which features gorgeous wood floors, opera boxes, a wrap-around balcony and two bars. The icing on the cake? The food options are stellar and include options like salmon shakshuka, suckling pig, mini doughnuts, scallop ceviche and truffled deviled eggs. Capacity: 14–500
Design buffs will appreciate the marbled halls, Romanesque entryway, Art Nouveau chandelier and 20-foot ceilings at this stunning Gold Coast library. The 1893 building is a jaw-dropping option for brides and grooms looking to break the mold yet still have an elegant backdrop for their big day. Capacity: 208
Beer fanatics who just so happen to be getting hitched: We found your dream venue. Sausage and brew haven Kaiser Tiger offers several different spaces fit for weddings. Rent out the 200-seat outdoor beer garden, take over the West Wing of the restaurant or gather your group upstairs in the Skyline Lounge. Each area has a different feel, allowing laid-back couples to play around. Capacity: 75–300