Chicago is one of the best places in America to get married. The Windy City pairs a stunning urban landscape with natural beauty, and is significantly less expensive than other hot urban wedding destinations like New York City.
When planning a wedding in Chicago, you should take certain special considerations into account. From getting the marriage license to buying men’s wedding rings, here are five items to check off your list before your special day takes place.
Set a budget. One of the most essential first steps to planning any wedding is setting a budget. Since many weddings tend to go over budget (and sadly, not many go under), it’s good to come up with three figures: what you would prefer to spend (usually the lowest number), what you realistically think you will spend (the middle number) and your absolute maximum of spending (the highest). Fortunately, there are plenty of options in Chicago and its surrounding areas for virtually any budget.
Be ready for extreme weather. It’s not called the Windy City for nothing! While Chicago can be relatively temperate at different times in the year (especially early fall), it can also range from hot and sticky summers to below freezing winters. Due to a number of factors, including urban planning and geography, certain areas of Chicago are windier than others, and wind chill factor can play a major role in the general comfort level of the bride and groom as well as their guests. Of course, indoor weddings and receptions are generally a safe bet, no matter what the exact location, weather or season is.
Find what part of the city speaks to you. If you haven’t lived in Chicago for a significant period of time, there’s a lot of landscape to familiarize yourself with. Take a few days to explore the city to find what areas and venues seem most reflective of the two of you as a couple. Look at logistics as well: many couples love getting wedding pictures taken with Lake Michigan in the background, but it may not be entirely practical if your wedding venue is not particularly close to the lake. Much of Chicago is accessible by public transit, but you’ll still want to take certain convenience factors as well as a general regard for your guests into account.
Get your marriage license. It sounds silly, but the fundamental step of obtaining a marriage license is one that can slip the minds of many couples getting married. For any weddings taking place in the state of Illinois, both the bride and groom must be present at the time of obtaining the license. Be prepared to present valid ID, but you will not need to provide blood test results or medical records. You’ll have to get your Illinois wedding license at least 24 hours in advance, but no more than 60 days in advance. If you’re coming from out-of-town, you’ll want to plan accordingly.
See to the small details. The smallest details tend to be the trickiest when it comes to planning a wedding, no matter what the locale. To help you figure out what you may need and what remains to be done, try to visualize your wedding day from start to finish. Do you know how you’ll be getting from your hotel to your ceremony location? Have you already been shopping for wedding rings for men for your groom? What will you be using to cut the cake with? By envisioning your wedding day down to the last detail you’ll be able to figure out what you may still need to cross off your list.
Even if there are a few unexpected hiccups on your special day, in the unparalleled setting of Chicago it will doubtless be an event to remember!
Charlie writes articles on West Yorkshire wedding makeup for many beauty sites.