On June 1, the Illinois marriage equality law goes into effect, making this high time for same-sex marriage celebrations throughout the state, the latest in the nation to legalize gay marriage.
Here, three Chicago hotels that have put extra effort into helping gay and lesbian couples celebrate their weddings:
1. JW Marriott
151 W. Adams St., 312-660-8200; from $249
The Loop’s 610-room JW Marriott offers wedding packages that range from the basic Authentic Pride (including three-course dining, a Champagne toast, luxury suite for the couple as well as sibling or parent accommodations) to the extravagant Sophisticated Union (which goes further with wine service and a four course dinner, overnight accommodations and spa treatments for the new couple, and a morning brunch for up to 25 guests). Couples who want to hold their ceremony at the hotel can choose from two beautiful spaces: the glass domed, 6,000-square-foot Burnham Ballroom and the 8,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom with its coffered, 24-foot ceiling. JW Marriott Chicago hosted its first same-sex wedding last May; on June 8, the hotel is the venue for a tribute reception to celebrate the new marriage equality law with Equality Illinois (from $125), the state’s largest organization advocating for LGBT rights.
2. Hotel Lincoln
1816 N. Clark St., 312-254-4747; from $259
The retro 184-room Hotel Lincoln recently created its Love is Love package timed with the new marriage equality law. The package includes seasonal transportation to the ceremony site (Lincoln Park and North Avenue Beach are popular nearby spots) by way of the hotel’s decorated pedi-cab or, for couples who want to get married onsite (imagine the views from the J. Parker rooftop), the services of the hotel’s ordained officiant, Assistant GM Morgan Bailey. Couples also get in-room Champagne and chocolates on arrival and choice of bouquet or boutonniere for the ceremony. Discounted rates are available for room blocks of up to 20 rooms a night and for private brunches, rehearsal dinners, and cocktail receptions at any of Hotel Lincoln’s venues, including Perennial Virant.
3. W Chicago City Center
172 W. Adams St., 312-332-1200; from $259
Known for its same-sex inclusive marketing campaigns, W hotels have long been a favorite for gay-friendly stays. The mod W Chicago City Center, with its 403 recently renovated rooms, is celebrating the new law by putting Starpoints, the award points earned by preferred guests at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, to good use. Here’s how it works: Couples who book a wedding at W hotels receive an initial signing Starpoint bonus for every $1 of qualifying revenue contracted for their wedding. In honor of the new law, W City Center will match the Starpoint bonus for same-sex couples that book a wedding and make a special SPG points donation to one of the following Chicago LGBT-focused non-profits: HRC Chicago, NOH8, The Point Foundation, Marriage Equality USA, or a charity of the couple’s choice accepting SPG point rewards.
The Secret to Saving on July 4th Airfares? Buy Your Ticket this Week
According to a 2014 Summer Travel Survey conducted by the travel company Hipmunk, the best time to save money on Fourth of July travel—up to $150 a flight—is during the week of Memorial Day from May 26 to June 1. “On average, early birds who booked during the week of Memorial Day 2013 spent $417 on airfare,” says the company. “Last year’s travelers who booked just three weeks after Memorial Day spent an average of $547 on their flights.”
Road Trip to Cleveland for the 2014 Rock Hall Ceremony
On Saturday, May 31, at 7 p.m., HBO will air the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which was filmed in New York in April. You could watch it from your couch or you could drive to Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where the concert ceremony will also be broadcast alongside a new exhibit opening Friday and featuring goods from the honorees. Highlights include Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein’s diaries, clothing from the E Street Band, handwritten notes from Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl, and guitars from Cat Stevens, Daryl Hall, and John Oates.
Sail on a Top Chef Cruise with Chicago’s Sarah Grueneberg
On September 19, hop on a Celebrity cruise with a familiar face when you join former Spiaggia executive chef and Top Chef Texas runner up Sarah Grueneberg on Top Chef at Sea onboard Celebrity Infinity. Joined by fellow Top Chef Texas contestant Chris Crary and Top Chef Seattle winner Kristen Kish, Grueneberg will lead cooking demonstrations and interactive Quickfire Challenges during the 12-day European cruise.
10 Amazing American Beach Resorts for Summer
From lush Sea Island, Georgia, and WaterColor Inn & Resort, in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, to the heavenly Montage Laguna Beach, Condé Nast Traveler shares the top 10 American beach resorts from its Reader’s Choice Survey.Edit Module