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How to Have the Perfect creative Wedding

Cost: $10,000 to $30,000

To keep costs down significantly, you’ll have to be more inventive than simply holding your nuptials on a Friday instead of a Saturday. Luckily, inspiring blogs, Pinterest boards, and Instagram feeds abound. There’s even a renegade bridal expo, Indie Wed (February 6, Ravenswood Event Center, indiewed.com), for quirky handmade wedding swag.

On her See “Dress” below. Manolo Blahnik sandals, $765, Ikram, 15 E. Huron St.
On him Polyester-blend jacket, $169, and pants, $80, cotton shirt, $30, silk-blend velvet tie, $30, and patent leather shoes, $90, all at Zara, 700 N. Michigan Ave.   Photo: T. Harrison Hillman

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.


The Radler

2375 N. Milwaukee Ave., dasradler.com
Capacity 100
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.


Cheney Mansion

220 N. Euclid Ave., Oak Park, cheneymansion.com
Capacity 250
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.


Inspiration Kitchens

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
Cost Variable
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

Cost $1,600
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).

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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