Our Fave Small Wedding Venues Chicago

Is your guestlist shorter than a drugstore receipt? In the midst of a massive boom in the wedding industry, small ceremonies can actually pack a major punch—the less guests, the more attention each gets! Plus, a lesser guest count means you can spend more time and money on the ambiance, the details, the decor, the food and the music. Plus, the wedding feels more intimate and comfortable—no small talk with acquaintances, please and thank you. Here are some of the coolest and most beautiful small wedding venues in Chicago.

Calling all 312 residents! Exchange 312 is Wicker Park’s newest gem. Created by industry pros, it’s a luxe, totally customizable event space that’s perfect for your intimate wedding. It’s 2,550 square feet, but its airy nature makes it feel even more spacious. Plus, the exposed brick walls feel quintessentially Chicagoan—a quality we love in a wedding venue. The Exchange 312 look oozes sensual, glitzy 1920s vibes—think private party club. For seated dinners, the space can accommodate up to 100 guests. For receptions and cocktail-style events, the capacity is 150.

At Floating World Gallery, the world really is your oyster. One of the world’s best Japanese art galleries, the two-room space is totally customizable—a blank canvas upon which you can design your dream wedding. Some couples choose to use one room for the ceremony and the other for the reception, while others prefer to flip the same room for use at both sections of the wedding. Or, use both rooms for the reception—one for sit-downs and catch-ups, the other for dancing and revelry. The ever-shifting collection makes the gallery feel unique, and the size is perfectly intimate. Capacity is 150 guests for a seated affair, and 200 for a standing cocktail-hour-style event.

Built in 1903 as the Speedwell Motor Company Showroom, Row 24 iw no a registered historic landmark. After it served its original purpose, the showroom transformed into the modern event space it is now, one that effortlessly captures the quintessential glitz of the Motor Row heyday. The venue has a main floor under a roaring-20s-style Swarovski crystal chandelier, as well as a mezzanine with a skylight—small yet superbly glamorous. Who says an intimate wedding venue has to be simple? Capacity for sit-down dinners is 200; for cocktail-style celebrations Row 24 can comfortably accommodate up to 270 guests.

Amidst the tremendous skyscrapers of historic downtown, Chicago’s First Lady cruises you right into your happily ever after. Its Chicago River route is features scenic skyline views and a crisp breeze along the water. The boat itself feels regal and luxurious, with marble and granite accents, a carpeted main salon, and cushioned chairs. On warm summer nights, the open-air upper deck is a venue unlike any other in the city. With seating for up to 60 guests and capacity of 125 for cocktail receptions, it’s just the right size for an intimate wedding. Even the most intimate affairs feel grandiose against the backdrop of the skyline.

Small for a good sake! Firehouse Chicago was, at one point, a functioning firehouse on Chicago’s northside, hence the confined space. The historical significance of the building gives it that “real Chicago” feel many look for in a city venue—we’re talking antique doors, vintage furniture and locker rooms, and, yes, a fire pole. Comfortable capacity is 90 for a seated meal (no buffets allowed, but no worries! Family-style works.) and 100 for a cocktail-style event (partial seating). In the warmer months, there’s a *fire* outdoor courtyard for use, too, with romantic exposed brick and a lush green garden.

Loft on Lake is the embodiment of a raw, urban Chicago loft space. It’s light, bright exposed brick walls feel at once warm and industrial. Its warm wood ceilings sit an airy (but not empty) 20 feet tall. With chandeliers, bistro lighting and a skylight, it’s got ambience #options. Apart from the main cocktail room, Loft on Lake also has separate spaces for the bride and groom to prep. It’s big enough to cozily accommodate 105 guests with a dance floor and 175 guests without a dance floor—the perfect room for an close, intimate feel without overcrowding. Plus, the L is right outside. Easy transpo for city-dwellers.