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The most unconventional wedding venues in Chicago

Say "I do" in a concert hall, a glass-blowing studio or your favorite restaurant at these unexpected reception spots

Photograph: © 2017 J. Brown Photography

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.


The Crown at Tribune Tower

Situated on the 25th floor of the Tribune Tower, the Crown offers 360-degree views of the city, an indoor lounge and an outdoor veranda. The space is an architectural stunner for a cozy, intimate city wedding. Capacity: 150

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Ignite Glass Studios

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

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River West/West Town

Harold Washington Library Center

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

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Bottom Lounge

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

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The Kitchen

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 

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River North

Thalia Hall

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

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Lower West Side

Newberry Library

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

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Rush & Division

Kaiser Tiger

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

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West Loop