5 Best Small Wedding Venues in Chicago for Under $5k

Chicago Wedding Venues under $5k

As a bride to be, I have been researching all of the articles about affordable small wedding venues in Chicago. I’ve searched for small events in Chicago to see if my luck would change. I clicked on every one of Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. And then I thought about all of the romantic dates I’ve been on with my boyfriend turned fiancé and reached out to those, as well. So, here is my list of Chicago small wedding venues with 2023 and some with 2024 wedding prices. This research was conducted in July 2023 and I hope this saves you the heartache and disappointment of reaching out to over 50 venues that I have (probably more at this point).

Before I begin, these commonly mentioned affordable Chicago wedding venues no longer exist or are not offering wedding services (thought I’d save you the disappointment). They are as follows:

  • Little Goat Diner (recently moved to Lakeview and is no longer in the West Loop. They are focusing on that opening and are not open to events)
  • The Keith House (domain doesn’t work)
  • Peggy Notebaert nature museum (they are open to birthday parties but not weddings)

I also want to be frank with you and discuss with you the definition of “affordable”. Weddings are expensive. Most places on top of the 11.75% Chicago sales tax have an admin fee (gratuity and staffing) of 22-24% (this portion is not usually taxed, but double check).

When I initially did my research, affordable wedding venues were coming up as $10k-$15k without tax and gratuity, atleast. But below are a list of places where you can have a Chicago wedding under $10k (total), which by the way is a great Reddit thread that I’ve gotten ideas from. I should have bought one of the commentor’s Key West Wedding for $10k when I had the chance (had I known the stress of wedding venue shopping). And yes, brides and grooms really do give away their wedding if they call off the wedding. I’ve seen two, so far.

Top 5 Unique Affordable Chicago Wedding Venues Under $5k for Under 50 People:

The Dawson:

When you step outside the Dawson, you aren’t directly downtown, but you can see the city skyline and you’re about a 10 minute walk from the west loop/Fulton Market Area. On their website, they boast that they have been named a Best of the Best Venue 3 years running by Modern Luxury Weddings Chicago, The Dawson features multiple private and semi-private event spaces for parties of 12 – 400.

The Dawson has a beautiful second floor dedicated to events. They offer two options. I will tell you that it is stunning and modern and seeing wedding photos on the staircase is breathtaking. If you rent The Devil’s Den, note that this is semi-private and you might be sharing the space with another group that they section off. But it will all be worth it when you are getting married in front of a warm fireplace.

The first space they have is our Second Floor buyout, this will accommodate weddings ceremonies of up to 80 guests, for the reception portion of the event, this space is able to seat up to 120 guests. The Second Floor Buyout includes a full-service bar, the Foundry, a covered outdoor terrace with heat lamps, the intimate Devil’s Den lounge with fireplace, private restrooms, and an elevator. Large windows drench the space in natural light for daytime events and offer views of city lights in the evening. The flow of the event would be to host the ceremony in the Foundry & Foundry West, once the ceremony concludes we would ask all of your guests to move to the Foundry East and Devil’s Den. While your guests are enjoying cocktail and hors d’ oeuvres we will reset the Foundry side for dinner service. Once dinner concludes they will make space for a DJ and dancing.

Second Floor Buyout – food and beverage minimum is $15,000 plus $150 ceremony fee, tax (11.75%), and service charge (23%).

The second option is to reserve our Devil’s Den and is perfect for ceremonies of up to 32 guests. Adjacent to the Foundry & Foundry West dining rooms, the Devil’s Den, is an intimate room with a gorgeous fireplace, large windows providing an abundance of natural light, and is closed off with a curtain. They would host the ceremony in the Devil’s Den, cocktail hour in Foundry East, and then reset the Devil’s Den for dinner service.

Devil’s Den – food and beverage minimum is $3,000 plus $150 setup fee, tax (11.75%), and service charge (23%).

The Devil’s Den at The Dawson. Photo: The Dawson

My Advice: If you book a brunch with about 35 people, (or a lunch), you are looking at $4,165 (pre tax and admin fee). The have a brunch bar package that includes mimosas, bloody mary’s, wine and beer. Note that they do provide beautiful votive candles. Dinner is starting at $95 and standard bar packages for 4 hours is $64. You will save a lot of money on décor because the space is already a vibe. Some light flowers is all your need. Please note this is quoted for a fall Saturday or Sunday brunch wedding.

Mon Ami Gabi

Located in Lincoln Park, you think you stepped into Paris at Mon Ami Gabi. My fiancé took me here for Valentine’s Day for steak frites and an espresso martini and it was so romantic.

The restaurant can accommodate a full buyout if the wedding concludes by 3 pm for up to 130 guests, or 100 guests with a dance area. If weather permits, you would have access to our patio as well. During the afternoon, there is a $5,000.00 food and beverage minimum that needs to be met before tax and gratuity.

A nice bonus about this spot is that you can also bring in a cake from a bakery. And they will cut and serve the cake to you and your guests at no additional fee.

They do offer valet currently at $15 per car, cash or Zelle pay only.

Mon Ami Gabi Chicago Wedding Venue. Photo: Mon Ami Gabi

You are welcome to bring in your own decorations, they simply ask to refrain from the use of confetti and glitter. They can also recommend a florist. The tables are set with our white tablecloths and white napkins, and they do offer complimentary votive candles for the tables as well as complimentary menu cards at each place setting.

They provide French bistro music that they typically play in the restaurant, however you can certainly bring in a DJ or band as entertainment for the evening.

My Advice: For a brunch wedding for about 50 people, it comes out to about $4,300. They have a nice brunch bar package and you can add more apps or people to reach the $5k minimum before tax and service fee. Please note this was quoted for a fall Saturday brunch wedding.

Formento’s

Formento’s is located in an amazing location across the street from Jeni’s ice cream in the West Loop. The staff is so lovely and welcoming. And the food smells amazing. They have two venue spaces. For a Chicago wedding under $5k, you can do Formento’s Sicily Room which seats up to 40 people. They can host the wedding ceremony and reception there. During the cocktail hour, guests move into the patio (it’s heated during winter). In the Sicily Room, a brunch wedding on a Saturday or Sunday is a $2k minimum and in their upstairs ballroom, it’s $3,400 food and beverage for brunch. This was quoted for a fall Saturday or Sunday brunch wedding. I personally thought Formento’s ballroom made for a prettier ceremony. But I also couldn’t find a photo of a wedding ceremony in the Sicily room, so you never know.

Formento’s Ballroom Wedding Venue. Photo: Formento’s

My Advice: For 40 people in Formento’s Sicily Room, I priced out $4,440 before tax and admin fee. This included a wedding cake, brunch, a 3 hour brunch bar (mimosas, belini, moscow mule, bloody marry, wine and beer), light apps, and a handful of cannoli’s and Italian dessert. This could honestly work for the ballroom as well. Go with whatever you like best. The ballroom upstairs is more private and there’s a bridal suite (they even give you a mirror) and you can plug into Netflix and watch your favorite movie as you get ready. The food is made fresh at Formento’s and they make the wedding cake for you ($150 for 1 tier and $300 for 2 tiers). As a bonus, they also offer wedding favors for as little as $5.

Summer House Santa Monica

Located in Lincoln Park, Summer House Santa Monica brings beach vibes to the windy city. Tucked away in the back is a private all-weather room decorated with beautiful greenery and exposed brick for a picture-perfect wedding venue. All you have to do is show up. They offer affordable brunch ($35/per person) and lunch ($36/per person) packages. I love their cookies, just saying.

My fiancé took me on a romantic date here and it would be cute to go back.

Summer House Santa Monica Chicago Wedding Venue. Photo: Summer House Santa Monica

My advice: This space holds up to 50 people and for that amount, I calculated $3,850 (before tax and admin fee). I used their brunch package. They do charge an extra $3/per person for Aperol Spritz, but I think it’s worth it. Though, their brunch package include Rose. If you want to invite 40 people, it drops down to $3,040, so you would reach your minimum for a 3 hour event (11 am – 2 pm).

Adalina

Located in the Gold Coast area is a striking Italian restaurant with a beautiful room that seats up to 40 people for your gorgeous Chicago wedding. If sophisticated and elegance come to mind when planning your wedding, this might be the spot for you. This is a great space for budget friendly brides because their beer and wine package starts at $16 per hour and their standard bar package in $24 per hour.

Dahlia Room – A room that speaks to the modern yet sophisticated guest. A sultry and luxurious space that is located off the main dining room floor in an excluded corner. Features window to ceiling windows overlooking the lively Gold Coast, 3 beautiful halo crystal chandeliers, plush velvet seating, and state of the art audio and visual. 

  • 40 seated and 50 standing 
  • Fully Private ( closed by a velvet curtain, no doors ) – No Through Traffic
  • Food and Beverage Minimum:
  • 5 – 8 pm = $3,500.00
  • 8:30 pm – late = $4,000.00
  • Hours of 6:00 pm-10:00 pm = $5,000.00
Dahlia Room Chicago Wedding Venue Under $5k. Photo: Adalina

Advice: Ok, this is not a brunch wedding, but I am working with this venue on a ceremony and reception. They are really open to working with their clients and are very responsive, which I love. They have a $3.5k minimum and I calculated about $4,720 for dinner for 40 people from 5 – 8 pm on a Saturday in the fall.

Conclusion:

I really hope this helps brides to be know that there is hope to have a 30-50 person wedding in Chicago under $10k total. It might be on a Sunday or a brunch wedding, but you can have a wedding. I will continue to share my research here and on Instagram (@windycitycosmo). You’ve come so far in finding the love of your life, I hope you take this time to celebrate and cherish what you have and make room to celebrate this big lifetime moment.

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Amanda Whitfield
Amanda Whitfield

Amanda Whitfield is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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