(Closed) How to plan a small budget wedding in a big city?? Ahh!

posted 4 years ago in Money
Post # 2
4712 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

The venue will be the most difficult part.  Generally, in big-city situations, the further from the city-center you are, the cheaper it will be.  You could think about booking a restaurant? But they generally have food minimums.  A commumity center or park would be another way to go.  

We’re having a small wedding (20-30 guests), and we’re doing a domestic destination wedding to keep costs down.  The ceremony (outside) and reception (inside) will be at a hotel resort in a typically small touristy town.  That may be another way to go to keep things cheap?  Since you’re so close to the Great Lakes, it may be easy to find something in Michigan, still not too far away.  I think you could easily find something to fit your description for a “romantic, simple and chill” venue location!

But definitely wait to see if any Chicago locals chime in with something good.  I’ve just seen a lot of crazy high wedding budgets on the Bee for brides looking to get married in Chicago.

Post # 4
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

mandipandi:  Hi Mandi, I don’t have any specific ideas for Chicago (most of my family is there actually).


But here is a great lnk to $10k and under weddings in BIG CITIES.  Read it to get an idea of their venues, their food, etc.  It doesn’t always have to be a huge dinner reception hall either!



Keeping both of your attire really low will give you room to entertain your guests.  My H got his full suit/tie/shirt at Koh’s for under $300.  I got my gown for 50% off at a sample sale ($400).  Even then, we could have gone cheaper (however we had no guests).


Other links:

Venues (but research further):  http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=low+budget+wedding+venues&find_loc=Chicago%2C+IL

$5k Chicago wedding:  http://chicago.racked.com/archives/2011/03/22/how-to-have-a-fabulous-chicago-wedding-for-under-5000.php

Logan Square brewerey (50 min for the lounge): http://revbrew.com/brewpub/party-packages




Post # 5
4712 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

mandipandi:  Omg.  That sounds wonderful!  I hope you get to book it soon!  🙂  Happy planning!

Post # 7
1570 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

We are about an hour north of chicago. I am having a wedding for about 11K (give or take a hundred or so) we have 165 guests attending, 12 attendants, a 2 course entree buffet, a dj, a high end photographer, and all the normal stuff at the wedding sans flowers. 

We did it all by keeping to our budget and a lot of research

When we booked our venue we kept our budget in mind we were not going to spend over 1K on a venue that did not have an in house catering service or 5.5K with catering included. 

We would not spend over 600 on a venue that did not come with tables and chairs for the reception. 

This is our breakdown so far 

Venue: 725 (for ceremony and reception)

Linen rental: 350

Chair rental for ceremony: 180

Photographer: 1500

DJ: 539

Catering: 2100 (includes tax and tip)

Beer, wine, and soda bar: 3K (Includes tax and tip)

Dress: 419


Misc: 500

Bouquets: 100

There are other expenses I just cant think of them right now. 

Venue – I found a beautiful venue through the park district in a town by me – we decided against going with an all inclusive venue because there was no wiggle room if needed.

Caterer – we went with a caterer that was in a not so great part of town….they are a fantastic catering service and if they were in a better area they would have been able to charge so much more. 

Photographer – $1500 seemed steep at first but these are the pictures that will tell the story of our wedding for years to come. and splurging here was just fine

DJ – we went with a family friend who we knew was good. 

Decor and flowers – I am diying ALL of this. 




Tux – Free for Fiance and 70 for son




Post # 8
231 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

mandipandi:  that sounds lovely 🙂

I had a small budget wedding but everyone loved it and still talks about it one year on! We hired a boat for our reception. The catering was minimal (barbecue, husband’s request), dessert was cake and the playlist was done by us on an iphone/ipod 🙂 and later hijacked by friends…. but it was fun

We had no limo (we left in a convertible car that his parents have, £1/$1.5 for white fancy ribbon!), no videographer, no bridesmaids, no dj, no favours. Not needed.

Think about it this way: You have a few thousand dollars to throw a party for your friends and family! Thing about it like a party not like a wedding, you’ll all have much more fun!!


  • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  ccc_red.
Post # 9
2510 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

You are definitely going to want to look in the suburbs.  Venues in the suburbs are much less than the city.  We had our wedding at Maggiano’s in Schaumburg, and it was sersiously amazing (they have beautiful private ballrooms on the second floor).  The food was the best wedding food any of our guests had have, the service was incredible, and we had the most amazing and caring wedding coordinator (Chris) ever.  We were planning our wedding from out of state and he made it easy.  He really made our wedding special and unique and just perfect.  Our flower order got messed up on the day, and they were able to think on their toes and make it look gorgeous.  I mention it because I think that venue it one of the most reasonable venues in the Chicagoland area (really the only thing cheaper are old banquet halls and you certainly wouldn’t get as much for your money as you do here).  We choose the highest package, and total costs after taxes and event fees was 105 per person.  That was the highest package, and they had many packages significantly cheaper than that (some much less than half of that!).  You will definitely have to get creative about saving money everywhere, but food and venue are the biggest expense in any wedding.  They don’t have a venue fee- just a food/drink minimum-love it because then all that money is going towards something your guests can enjoy.  You wouldn’t need the biggest room for the number of people you have, and its a Wednesday so it will probably be very low (we originally were going to do a wedding that size and were quoted a 6k minimum on a Saturday during wedding season- and they definitely charge more for Saturdays).  It also comes with tables, chairs, tableclothes, and they even have candles you can use as centerpieces if you want.  The space is already equiped with speakers, and they will let you plug an ipod in to save money on a DJ.  All packages come with desserts and you can even upgrade to a sweet table- so many couples don’t buy a huge wedding cake (just a tiny one to cut).  We had our ceremony in a church, but they will host ceremonies as well.  

I would definitely try to book a venue soon.  Wednesday isn’t a popular day for weddings, but all venues that do weddings do other banquet events too, and the 23rd is probably a real popular day for a Christmas party.  

Post # 10
2510 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Plus- if you sign up for the let us entertain awards card (which is free), you will get points for the entire costs of the wedding.  We have like 700 bucks of free meals at restaurants like Maggianos, Shaw’s crab house, and Wildfire

Post # 11
3281 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Why not have your wedding outside of the city?

I know brides who had beautiful small budget weddings outside of the big city I live in. They married at country B&Bs or had very small guest lists.

If you have your heart set on a city wedding, you may want to think of a wedding during the off season. Winter weddings are cheaper. You can also contemplate having a brunch wedding or a wedding on a weekday or Sunday. 

Sometimes brides think that cocktail receptions are less expensive. They forget that people tend to drink more when there isn’t a full meal and substantial appetizers are not that cheap. 

Post # 12
767 posts
Busy bee

mandipandi:  You should absolutely look at restaurants!  If our wedding was a little smaller we would have gone this route.  And on a Wednesday you are unlikely to have the kind of food/drink minimums you’d need on a Friday/Saturday, ESPECIALLY two days before Christmas!  Not sure if you’re still looking since this was a month ago, but if you are let me know and I can offer a few suggestions we found in Chicago proper.

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