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The First Chicago Wedding Vendors You Need to Book

Hiring the right Chicago wedding vendors for your big day is incredibly important! Having the right team in your corner makes planning easier, and gets you one step closer to the day of your dreams.

But who do you hire first? How do you find the right Chicago wedding vendors for your big day? Where do you start? This list of wedding vendors and tips can get you started planning your special Chicago day.

First Chicago Wedding Vendors to Book

Wedding Venue

The site of your wedding day is one of the most important details. Fortunately, there is a long list of Chicago wedding venues to choose from, including your own backyard!

When considering the best location for your wedding, have an open conversation with your fiancé and ask these questions:

  • What is our wedding date? (Use these tips for choosing the perfect wedding date if you haven’t narrowed down your options yet.)
  • What is our style (i.e. modern, historic, rustic, etc.)?
  • How big is our guest list? (You don’t need an exact count, but an estimate is helpful.)
  • What is our budget?

If there is anything you really wanted in a venue, now is the time to speak up! Do you want a big wedding venue with a big dance floor? Or a Chicago wedding venue with plenty of room for family seating?

Caterer

The Windy City is full of wonderful wedding caterers. Finding the right caterer comes down to a number of factors, such as your budget, what kind of dinner service (i.e. sit-down, family style, buffet, etc.) you prefer, and your menu. When contacting wedding caterers, ask each caterer if they are available on your wedding date, carry insurance, can prepare your menu preferences, and, if appropriate, when you can schedule a wedding tasting. (Always ask if there is a cost for the tasting. Every caterer has a different tasting policy.)

Wedding Entertainment

Your wedding entertainment boils down to the question: band, DJ, or DIY? Typically, wedding DJs are less expensive than bands, and don’t require you to purchase the equipment or man the music equipment station. Both wedding bands and DJs come with professionals that keep guests on the dance floor. Wedding bands often have limited playlists, while top-quality wedding DJs come with extensive play lists with all your “must play” songs. Talk through your options with your fiancé, plus whether you want live entertainment, need an emcee, and what your budget is for wedding entertainment. (Beyond a band or DJ, consider adding a little extra for wedding entertainment “extras” like lighting, trivia games, and photo booths.) If you choose a DJ, contact Chicago wedding DJs with this list of DJ questions.

Wedding Planner

If you need full- or part-time help planning your big day, seek out a Chicago wedding planning service or ask your wedding venue if they offer planning services. Ask every wedding planner if they have experience, for examples of their past work, and a few other important questions.

How to Find a Quality Wedding Vendor

Ask friends and family for recommendations.

Your friends and family members can be an invaluable source for wedding vendor recommendations. Be careful when their suggestions are for other friends or family members that offer the service “on the side.” Unfortunately, amateur services often come with unreliable communications and dated equipment that can lead to less-than-satisfactory performance.

Do online research.

There are many wedding review sites that give couples not only a list of Chicago wedding vendors, but also reviews. When researching wedding vendors, you should look for information about their service, testimonials, and a high review rating (from a large amount of reviews).

Meet with the vendor.

Never hire a wedding vendor without meeting with them. Never book a wedding venue without touring it. Never choose a wedding caterer without tasting their food. Even if your meeting is virtual, make sure you meet with the vendor so you can interview them and see if they are the “one.”

Review the contract carefully.

When hiring a wedding vendor, always review the fine print before signing on the dotted line. Once you’ve returned the contract, don’t forget to add deadlines to your wedding planning calendar or in your wedding planning app. (These other tips for organizing your wedding planning ensures that your experience is smooth—and yields an awesome wedding day.)