Where to Party
Lovely: A Bake Shop
1130 N. Milwaukee Ave., lovelybakeshop.com
Capacity 60 seated
Cost About $6,000, including catering
At this Wicker Park café, do the decor yourself or let owners Bob and Gina Hartwig style a shabby-chic scene—think antique china and mismatched chairs.
2375 N. Milwaukee Ave., dasradler.com
Cost $12,000, all-inclusive
The flat fee for this Logan Square beer hall’s package includes German comfort food, a limited drink menu, a DJ, flowers, and even a photographer. The catch? The deal is good only on Sundays.
220 N. Euclid Ave., Oak Park, cheneymansion.com
Cost $3,500 rental fee; catering separate
A reception at this manse gives your party lots of room to spread out: Guests can wander around two floors, plus the lovely two-and-a-half-acre grounds.
40 S. Halsted St., marianos.com
Cost From $200
Yes, it’s a grocery store. But picky party planners say that it delivers service—and flavor—comparable to that of an independent bakery.
3504 W. Lake St., inspirationkitchens.org
Cost From $35 per person
These soul food chefs in training, part of a program for the poor and homeless, deliver great food at a great price.
212 W. Chicago Ave., 312-202-0047
Ditch wedding boutiques altogether. Chicago fashion editor Heiji Choy Black calls this edgy shop “one of my favorite stores of all time.” Self-Portrait polyester-blend lace dress, $625
Berwyn’s Violet Flower Shop
6704 W. 16th St., Berwyn, berwynsviolet.com
Cost From $450
Lindsay Elmore, the event manager for the hotel Le Méridien (Oak Brook), says that this competitively priced florist is the best she works with.
Toast & Jam
These spinmeisters, who have DJ’ed at events for Food Network and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, refuse to play “The Chicken Dance.” What more do you need to know?
Tybee Island, Georgia
Nicholas Sparks movies have been filmed here, so you’re guaranteed sweeping beaches, dreamy sunsets, and lots of dramatic make-outs. Atlanta magazine ranked Mermaid Cottages’ bungalows No. 2 on its list of secrets of the Georgia coast (from $1,300 per week, mermaidcottages.com).