Chicago’s Top 7 Wedding Photo Locations

1: Industrial Chicago
The striking contrast of a perfectly styled couple against the grittiness of the city is a popular look for wedding day photography. Whether you pose in front of an abandoned warehouse or beneath the “L” tracks, these backdrops offer the opportunity for more editorial styled shots.Chicago, wedding photos, locationChicago, wedding photos, locationChicago, wedding photos, location

2: Chicago’s Murals
Add some color and texture to your wedding album by posing in front of one of the many murals that appear throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods. One such mural is located just outside Chez. The mural featuring Jimmy Durante and the Chez Paree ‘Adorables’ calls out the incredible history of Chez and The Chez Paree supper club.

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3: The Lakefront
It might seem like an obvious one, but if you’re getting married in Chicago you can’t miss the opportunity for wedding day photo on the lakefront. There are numerous places along the Lake Michigan shore that are ideal for capturing your wedding day with the beauty of nature and the Chicago skyline as your backdrop. North Avenue Beach, Olive Park, The Adler Planetarium, and Promontory Point are some of the favorites of Chez couples and their photographers.

ic_gal0375-blogmegan-saul-710x474larson-0338-blog 4: Michigan Avenue
The Mag Mile sits just two blocks west of Chez so many of our brides and grooms make it their last stop on the way to Chez for their wedding ceremony. The Wrigley Building and the Michigan Avenue median are ideal if you’re looking to feature Chicago architecture in your wedding day photos.
chicago, wedding photos, locationesenam-photography-chez-wedding-37blog jlpc107853-710x4735: La Salle Street & The Board of Trade
The iconic Board of Trade building offers a breathtaking backdrop for urban wedding photos. Just watch out for traffic whizzing by.

Chicago, wedding photos, locationlarson-0206blogsweeney-491-of-828-710x4316: Chicago’s Bridges
With dozens of bridges traversing the Chicago river it’s easy to add this shot to your wedding day photography schedule. La Salle St. bridge, Kinzie St. bridge, and State St. bridge are the most popular.

larson-0505bloglarson-0471blog7: Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park is the ideal spot for wedding couples looking for a more natural backdrop for their wedding photos.
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Photography: 1. Industrial Chicago: Amanda Megan Miller PhotographyAmanda Megan Miller PhotographyElite Visions Photography, 2. Chicago Murals: Colin Lyons PhotographyChristy Tyler Photography, Allison Williams Photography, 3. The Lakefront: G Reyes Photography, Megan Saul, Tim Tab Studios, 4. Michigan Avenue: Ed & Aileen Photography, Esenam Photography, Jeremy Lawson Photography, 5. La Salle Street + The Board of Trade: Jeremy Lawson PhotographyTim Tab Studios, Michelle Lytle Photography, 6. Chicago’s Bridges: Tim Tab StudiosAmanda Megan Miller PhotographyTim Tab Studios, 7. Lincoln Park: Michelle Lytle Photography.

Vendor Spotlight: Rebecca Ickes of Rebecca Marie Photography

wedding photographer

Name: Rebecca Ickes

Title/Position: Owner, Rebecca Marie Photography

Specialty: People. By way of a camera.

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
R.I.: The first wedding I photographed was 11+ years ago and I have owned my studio for 6 years.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
R.I.: I document legacies so that future generations can have an insight into not only what your wedding day looked like but who you were and what it was like to spend time with you.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
R.I.: I consider my approach to photography a study of people more than a study of light as the traditional definition would state. It is my firm belief that photography is only successful if the people who were a part of the photos feel something when they see them. We can create the most unique image possible – we can win all sorts of rewards from professional organizations and national committees – but none of that means anything if you don’t look at your photos and feel something.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
R.I.: There is no way I can pick just one! Throughout every event there is always one thing that jumps out at you and surprises you with how perfect it is, most likely resulting in water filled eyes on my side of the camera. What’s amazing is that moment happens at a different time for each event. Sometimes it’s the walk down the aisle to beautiful harp music which also happens to be theme from a Princess Bride. Sometimes it’s being pronounced “Husband & Husband” or a lifelong friend’s heartfelt toast. And sometimes it’s a couple belting out Living On a Prayer with their band, only to then crowd surf with their friends & family literally supporting them. The one consistent thing is that it’s always something unique to the relationships of the day that make the moment so memorable.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
R.I.: Neutrals! Particularly neutral wedding party outfits. I recently photographed a wedding where the bride chose all long white bridesmaids dresses! Of course she still stood out from her ladies with her detailed gown, but it was so sleek and the simplicity allowed for their expressions & excitement to really stand out in the photos. Choosing a simplified palette, while currently popular, I believe will also stand the test of time and look just as classic in 50 years as it looks trendy today.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
R.I.: I once had a groom who was a pilot and wanted to fly to their reception venue as their grand entrance! Because their venue was in a rural area, we were able to make it work by using an adjoining field as a landing strip. The excitement on their families’ faces was priceless.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
R.I.: It always starts with a big breakfast! 😉 We often are so busy throughout the day that lunch isn’t possible.

But to be serious: Whether it be a corporate holiday party or a wedding day, we are usually present for the majority of the day. We want to be sure to document not only the event itself, but also the preparation ahead of time, the look of a room before guests arrive and move things around, and the celebration into the night. For a corporate event, that often means arriving an hour before the event begins. For a wedding, that means joining the couple while they get ready in the morning (usually about an hour before getting dressed for ladies as that’s when hair & makeup are finishing up) and about an hour after open dancing begins. This timing tells the full story of the day without overdoing it.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!):
R.I.: My calendar/organizer, my passport, and my beloved inner circle of family & friends (not in that order!)

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you:
R.I.: I used to be a professional oboist. I lived in England for a year working with at-risk 8-12 year olds in an after school art center (I ran the ceramics room). The day after a wedding, I rarely make it out of my pajamas!

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
R.I.: Trust your instincts and hire professionals you trust. If you have a team of people who you believe in and you know understand you and your vision any reason for stress is exponentially diminished. Just like the magic of knowing you found The One to marry, when you feel comfortable and confident in the vendor you are meeting with, then you’ve found “the one” there too!

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
R.I.: I love that you can make Chez into anything you want. It truly is a blank canvas. Photographically, I love that there is a 2nd floor to be able to document an event from. Having this type of vantage point isn’t often found and always provides unique opportunities.

Photography by: (L) Carla Ten Eyck, (R) Rebecca Marie Photography

Emma & Tunji’s Wedding

After their first-look on the rooftop of the Ivy Boutique Hotel, Emma and Tunji strolled east along Ontario St to Chez where they said their vows in front of family and friends. Dozens of white calla lillies and candles set the tone for the elegant event. A menu influenced by traditional Nigerian dishes was served by Food For Thought. After dinner, the newlyweds changed into Nigerian dress and danced the traditional money dance. Congratulations Emma and Tunji.bridal style bride getting ready first look chicago wedding chicago wedding Chicago wedding newlyweds candles chez event space calla lilies

Photography: Bob Leavitt, Believe It! |  Catering: Food For Thought | Floral: Amelia Cole Events | Event Design: A Posh Production | Cake: Urban Icing | Music: Oluleke Owojori

Vendor Spotlight: Jeff Durocher of US Poker Casino Parties

poker rentals

Name:  Jeff Durocher

Title/Position:  President/Owner of US Poker & Casino Parties

Specialty: Casino Games

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry? 
J.D.: In some ways, I was born into the industry.  My parents came out of the carnival business and were owners of food service companies.  I have owned US Poker & Casino Parties for 6 years.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence? 
J.D.: We provide premier casino night entertainment to companies and individuals at great venues all over the United States.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?   
J.D.: Our customer service, quality equipment and helpful dealers.  Many times we end up taking the Event Planning portion of the event off the clients hands which makes it much easier for them.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?   
J.D.: It is always great to see a group of corporate clients high five-ing, yelling and hugging at the craps table.  I LOVE those moments!

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now? 
J.D.: Entertainment budgets are back and early bookings seem to be making a come back.  Both great trends for us.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
J.D.: Two things come to mind:  1. We had a client from Ohio, fly 150 employees to Las Vegas for a conference and they wanted us to provide ‘fake’ gaming for them at the Bellagio hotel which, of course, has the live gaming one floor below. 2. The other one was providing our equipment and dealers for a TV shoot.  That was pretty cool.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?  
J.D.: We meet at the warehouse around 11am or noon to load the truck.  We get to the facility a few hours before the event to set up.  We like to be set one hour before the guests arrive.  Our dealers show up 30 mins before the guests for a “Dealer Briefing”.  We make sure everyone has a great time at the Blackjack, Roulette, Craps or Poker tables.  We often run the raffle for the client prizes.  Then we tear down immediately after the event.  Head back to the warehouse and unload the truck.  This often takes place after midnight, making for a long day.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!):
J.D.: Computer/internet, quality people that we can trust, and repeat clients.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you: 
J.D.: I played Division 1 football, I have 5 children and work is my hobby.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
J.D.: Plan everything to be done EARLY.  Never let the ‘go time’ get there before the set up is done.  It puts too much stress on everyone!

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez? 
J.D.: The space is so beautiful and super flexible.  One night could be an amazing wedding and the next a corporate party for 100.  Love. Love. Love the place.

Photography by: (L) Sum Lau, (R) Charlie Simokaitis

Empire Fashion House Scenes

When the production team from Fox’s tv hit show, Empire, visited Chez we were excited to imagine how the space would be transformed by their set design team. Fast forward a few weeks and Chez became the home of fashion label ‘Antony & Cleopatra’ for Empire scenes featuring Taraji P. Henson, Naomi Campbell and other cast members. The all-white space, 17′ tall ceilings, abundant natural light and contemporary glass staircase served as the perfect back drop for their stylish fashion house design. The scenes filmed at Chez were aired on Fox in early 2016.

Naomi Campbell on phone Empire SceneScene from Empire Taraji P Hensonpeople talking scene from EmpireEmpire fashion house in white loftTaraji P Henson Empire sceneperformance Empire scenecrowd gathered for cocktail reception Empire

Image 1 – 2, 5 – 6 courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox. Images 3- 4 and 6 approved by Twentieth Century Fox.

Top 10 Chicago Event Planners To Follow On Instagram

A curated list of Chicago event planners with the most inspiring Instagram accounts. From photos of extravagant events to behind-the-scenes details of event planning action, this group of planners covers it all. Follow this list for the best quality wedding and event inspiration.

place setting gold pineapples flamingoDEBI LILLY
@debililly | 10.5K Followers
A daily dose of the most incredible inspiration from celebrity party planner and author Debi Lilly, this Instagram feed seamlessly places images of floral details and party festivities alongside shots of travel and time with family.

Photography: @debililly


dining table pink floral centerpiecesLK EVENTS
@lkeventschicago | 5.5K Followers
Highlighting the talents of the LK Events team and the fantastic network of vendors they work with, this feed features images of beautiful weddings and events, exquisite florals and smiling newlyweds.

Photography: (l) @lkevents, (r) @gerberandscarpelliweddings via @lkevents


floral chuppah galaPAULETTE WOLF EVENTS
@paulettewolfevents  |  1.4K Followers
Images of large scale events, live performances, and tips on event planning fill the Instagram feed of this national event management and event planning company.

Photography: (l) by @kingensmith via @paulettewolfevents (r) @paulettewolfevents


white chuppa contemporary wedding cakeSQN EVENTS
@sqnevents | 7.6K Followers
Impeccable wedding details, happy newlywed clients, and a few personal posts fill the Instagram feed of SQN owner and event director, Beth Bernstein.

Photography: (l) @maypolestudios via @sqnevents, (r) @erickelley via @sqnevents


floral wall floral decor

@keshevents  |  19.7K Followers
President of Kesh Luxury Group and author of “The Art of Floral and Event Design”, Akeshi Akinseye, fills this Instagram feed with images of opulent florals, destination weddings, and peeks behind-the-scenes at Kesh Luxury Group.

Photography: (l) @carascophoto via @keshevents (r) @folalawal via @keshevents


5 tier wedding cakeLIVEN IT UP EVENTS 
@livenitup  |  4.1K Followers
Towering wedding cakes, rustic and romantic weddings and shots of creative cuisine fill the Instagram feed of Liven It Up Events, offering a look at the incredible work of their talented team of event planners.

Photography: @livenitup


sweeping drapery floral decor

@lolaeventpros  |  3.9K Followers
Wedding inspiration galore! The Instagram feed of LOLA Event Productions inspires with details of glamorous weddings, designer dresses and special wedding day moments.

Photography: (l) @lolaeventpros (r) @genevievelaurenphoto via @loleventpros


suspended floral chair chandeliers black ghost chairsJENNIFER ANDERSON EVENTS
@jaevents  |  3.5K Followers
Offering inspiration for everything from wedding dresses to honeymoon locations, event design and florals, this Instagram feed has a wonderfully curated selection of posts.

Photography: (l) @kingensmith via @jaevents (r) @jaevents


wedding cake with floral decor place seetting

@clementinechicago  |  5.5K followers
Behind-the-scenes shots and details of custom weddings planned by the Clementine Custom Events team make this Instagram feed fun, fresh and filled with inspiration.

Photography: (l) @christytylerphotography via @clementinechicago, (r) @emiliajane_ via @clementinechicago


floral invitation blue pink event decorBLISS WEDDINGS & EVENTS 
@blisschicago  |  6.9K followers
Filled with details of real weddings and colorful florals, the BLISS Weddings & Events Instagram feed demonstrates the team’s talent at creating events that are sophisticated, playful, inspired and cohesive.

Photography: (l) @chrispluslynn via @blisschicago, (r) @lizbanfield via @blisschicago

Sarah & Christian’s Romantic October Wedding

On October 15th, 2016 Sarah and Christian were joined by their loved ones for their ceremony and reception at Chez. Their day began at the W Hotel Lakeshore for their first look, and then headed to Lake Michigan with their wedding party and photographer, Louie A Weddings.

Every detail of the day was planned by Linsday Gaeta of Storybook Weddings. While the wedding party took photos, Phil Cooper and the team of Kehoe Designs were putting the final touches on floral arrangements and each romantic detail for the ceremony. The mood for the ceremony was set by Bill Pollack String Quartet. After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Jewell Events Catering.

Once the ceremony space was flipped for the reception, guests were invited back in to take their seats. Tables were covered with sequined linen and lined with Chez’s mirage ghost chairs creating a charming atmosphere. Kehoe Designs made sure every table was impeccable with elegant floral arrangements set in various gold and glass vessels. The tables were completed with custom escort cards by Minted.

After cutting the cake, the couple and their guests danced and enjoyed music from Style Matters. Congratulations Sarah & Christian!


getting readychicago wedding wedding accessorieschicago wedding first look wedding photos wedding photos wedding photos wedding photos escort cards wedding ceremony romantic wedding ceremony romantic cocktail hour romantic wedding reception wedding reception cutting the cake

Photography: Louie A Weddings | Bride’s Dress: Sarah Seven | Maids’ dresses: J. Crew | Groom’s Suit: Mens Warehouse | Groomsmens’ Suits: Mens Warehouse | Planning: Lindsay Gaeta of Storybook Weddings & Events | Floral & Design: Phil Cooper of Kehoe Designs | Caterer & Cake: Jewell Events Catering | Ceremony Music: Bill Pollack String Quartet | Reception Music: Style Matters | Menu & Program: AJ Powills | Escort Cards: Minted

Vendor Spotlight: Gabriel Garavaglia of RED Weddings

Gabriel Garavaglia

Name: Gabriel Garavaglia

Title/Position: Director of Wedding Services at RED Weddings

Specialty: Production Manager & Lead Cinematographer

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?  
G.G.: 7 years

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
G.G.: RED Weddings is a premium wedding cinematography, photography, music and entertainment service firm for today’s most discerning brides and grooms.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?  
G.G.: We create and capture the magic of our clients celebrations with the same artistic and technical standards once associated only with Oscar-winning films.  We were the first in the world to bring actual Motion Picture cameras (the same cameras used on films like The Hobbit, Spiderman, Gone Girl etc.) to capture weddings!

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?  
G.G.: We’ve shared so many tender private moments with our clients over the years, but capturing a grooms little girl crying tears of joy at having a new mommy during their first dance certainly tops our list!

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?  
G.G.: We’re incredibly gratified to see Wedding Cinema becoming as, if not more important than photography to our couples, and feel we’ve helped establish new (high) standards in what can be expected from “wedding videography” – both for our clients, and their children children!  Our FAA approved drone cinematography and hilarious Slow-Motion Video Booth have been wildly popular this year as well.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?  
G.G.: Last year we had a bride book a private midnight helicopter tour over the Loop following their reception.  Fortunately, our founder is a Union Director of Photography and we’re partners with Flight AV, a motion picture / TV production company so it was easy and affordable for them.  Little did we know, the groom was a little afraid of heights, but a great time was had by all!

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?  
G.G.: Since we prepare thoroughly in the months and weeks prior to our clients big day, including loading our transport vehicles with equipment (and backup equipment), triple checked and staged to be quickly accessible for each part of the day, we arrive ready to shoot the moment we step out of our vehicles!  Of course we’ve visited each location prior to the date and so have our “money shots” and camera angles already figured out, and go to great lengths to find shots that are 100% unique to our clients personalities and locations to ensure their photography and cinematography is unique and especially meaningful to them.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
G.G.: #1 A cooler with water and snacks, as some of our wedding days literally go from 4am until 4am and there’s rarely a minute to spare!
#2 We love our RED Cinema 6K-8K ultra high definition cameras and have found the image quality, slow motion, and ability to extract still photos of any frame we’ve shot as a printable photograph to be invaluable and help us capture moments that would otherwise be lost forever.
#3 Lastly, we absolutely couldn’t live without our in house team.  Having a dedicated audio engineer, director of business affairs, and of course our creative director and founder allows each of us to focus 100% on doing the best work possible as a single operator / entrepreneur will always have a hard time keeping up with every facet of the business simultaneously.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you:
G.G.: #1 Despite the quality of our work, we’re actually very affordable and have full featured all day packages for much less than one might think.
#2 We are one of very few “triple threat” wedding service providers that offer bespoke quality photography, cinematography, entertainment, photo booth and drone services in time and cost saving bundles.
#3 Very few people know that our company is made up of film / TV, music business and advertising agency professionals, so no request is impossible, and is why our work is consistent with their favorite movies and TV shows.  And no, we are not named after the books or TV show by George R. R. Martin!

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?  
G.G.: Create a spreadsheet to document your options, meet with the actual people you will spend your most important day with, take your time and figure out your entire game plan before signing any contracts, and get specific details about each offer you are comparing and considering.  Weddings are a significant milestone, and couples have a unique opportunity to leverage their buying power to save time and money – as well, ensure their wedding day production team is perfectly in sync throughout their wedding day by bundling multiple services with a single vendor.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?  
G.G.: Of course we simply adore Chez’s incredible modern design and gorgeous natural light (so important for photography and videography!) not to mention their central location to endless beautiful photo / video locations.  That said, it’s their professionalism, warm, personal attention to every little detail and sincere concern for their clients success and happiness that makes Chez our very favorite loft venue!


Photography by Paul Christopher Greene

ILEA Master’s Dinner

In early March, The International Live Events Association, welcomed leaders of the industry to Chez for their second annual ILEA Chicago Master’s Dinner. The team from HMR Design and MDM Entertainment created an inviting and intimate environment with textured linens, colored lighting, and organically-arranged floral. Signature cocktails and dinner were served by Catering by Michaels. It was a pleasure to host this event for the second year running. ILEA we look forward to hosting many more events with you.

escort card tableChandelier Chez event spacefloral tablescape place setting, menusponsored bar signature cocktail event networkingCatering by MichaelsCatering by Michaels

Photographer: Kent Drake Photography | Food & Beverage: Catering by Michaels | Floral & Decor: HMR Designs | Entertainment/Lighting/AV: MDM Entertainment | Stationary: ILEA Chicago | Rentals: Hall’s Rental Service

Vendor Spotlight: Erin McDonald of Erin McDonald Co

event design


Name:  Erin McDonald Co

Title/Position: Creative Director

Specialty:  Design and décor

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry? 
E.M.: More than 25 years.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence? 
E.M.: EMC designs unique spaces that are influenced by the clients’ desires and direction but finessed by our knowledge and taste.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
E.M.: EMC is a unique company that acts as a creative director with the ability to work with other design houses to team together to make each client experience uniquely theirs.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?   
E.M.: EMC always finds a special moment when handing off the clients bouquet to them for the first time.  Their reaction is everything.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now? 
E.M.: We are always drawn to classic, whether contemporary or traditional. Classic is always the best.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had? 
E.M.: Living in Chicago, one of the most “unique” requests is when a client, who is doing and outdoor wedding or event, wants to hold off on the tent…till the day before.  Or even more brilliant…to take it down the day of.

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?   
E.M.: Up at 4:30, get to the office by 7, pack the trucks, load into venue by 9am, meet with client for some face time, and then all hell breaks loose.  No kidding, we like to be ahead of schedule most days, as we like to have a cushion for any issues that might occur.  Better safe than sorry.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!): 
E.M.: My dog, my family, and my mind.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you: 
E.M.: I was a professional dancer for many years.  I am more of an introvert than most people would think.  I can drive a semi truck.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event? 
E.M.: Choose personality first.  Like your vendors and choose them wisely.  Allow your creative partners to do what they are experts at…and RELAX!

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez? 
E.M.: The ability to have a slate that is clean and fresh and a staff that is wiling to allow you to showcase your talents.

Thank you Erin! We can’t see what creativity you bring to Chez in 2017.

Photography by: (L) Avery House, (R) Eric Floberg