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How to Have the Perfect classic Wedding

Cost: $30,000 to $70,000

The average couple in the Chicago area spends $32,000 on the big day, according to the Wedding Report, which collects data on nuptials. That puts local couples in the top 7 percent nationally. But let’s face it, says stylist Marek Hartwig: A truly classic wedding could run you $50,000 or more, easy.

On her See “Dress” below. Susan G. Allen Couture tulle and crystal veil, $485, Bella Bianca.
On him Hugo Boss wool tuxedo suit, $1,095, and cotton tuxedo shirt, $135, Carrot & Gibbs silk bow tie, $59, and Kenneth Cole leather and velvet shoes, $195, Formally Modern Tuxedo, 2112 N. Clybourn Ave.   Photo: T. Harrison Hillman

Where to Party


The Newberry

60 W. Walton St., newberry.org
Capacity 90 for the lobby
Cost $7,500 rental fee
Even small receptions can be theatrical at this Gold Coast institution, thanks to the curved marble staircase that winds through the library’s elegant-but-not-echoey lobby.


Palmer House Hilton

17 E. Monroe St., palmerhousehiltonhotel.com
Capacity 250 for the Empire Room
Cost $51,000, all-inclusive
Yes, that’s right: $51,000. But it includes passed hors d’oeuvres, a three-course meal, a cake, an open bar, and even gratuity.


Bridgeport Art Center

1200 W. 35th St., bridgeportart.com
Capacity 900 seated
Cost $11,500 rental fee
This hip South Side venue boasts, of all things, an elevator that contains both a bar and a chandelier. Take it to the fifth-floor Skyline Loft, which is framed by exposed brick and wooden beams.


Vanille Patisserie

2108 N. Clark St., vanillepatisserie.com
Cost From $500
The classically trained bakers here craft European-style wedding confections that are as fluffy and flavorful as their famous macarons.


J&L Catering

Cost About $120 per person
With 28 years of experience, J&L has this catering thing down cold: You won’t lose sleep wondering if your chicken or fish will be cooked to perfection.


Bella Bianca

12 W. Maple St. and 17W527 Roosevelt Rd., Oakbrook Terrace, bellabianca.com
Cost From $2,000
Stylist Hartwig recommends this boutique for its impeccable service. Lazaro embroidered tulle gown, $6,200


Pistil & Vine

1924 N. Damen Ave., pistilandvine.com
Cost From $3,000
Katie Jackson-Meara, owner of So Dressed Up, says this florist creates some of the most graceful arrangements in the city—think bouquets of cascading dahlias.



Cost From $6,000
This 15-year-old wedding band, which includes eight to 10 high-spirited musicians, will keep everyone—from Grandma to the flower girl—dancing until the venue kicks you out.


Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Susan Moynihan, founder of the travel website The Honeymoonist, recommends Pueblo Bonito Pacifica (pueblobonitopacifica.com) for the best combo of adventure and relaxation. A seven-day stay at the all-inclusive resort costs about $4,500.

Stylist: Patric Chauvez Hair: Lyneé Ruiz with Ford Artists using Oribe Makeup: Darcy McGrath with Ford Artists using Chanel Cosmetics Models: Matt Brewer, Anastasia LUPU, and Dustin BLAINE with Ford Artists; Maggie LI WITH Stewart Talent
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