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.
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