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Planning a Chicago-Themed Wedding: Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago-Themed Wedding

The summer wedding season is already upon us.  For those in the planning stages of their future summer weddings-to-be, this beautiful featured wedding theme inspiration is for you.

How to Plan a Taste of Chicago Wedding

Pre-Wedding Elements:

For the most part, your theme will not mean much to the guests (yet) until the day of the wedding.  That being said, there are two elements that can give your guests a sneak peak at your upcoming Taste of Chicago wedding.  Incorporate typical Chicago elements, sports team logos, the Chicago skyline, Lake Michigan, Navy Pier, etc., on your “save the date” cards and invitations.

Pre-wedding elements also includes these traditional pre-wedding celebrations:

  • Engagement party
  • Bridal shower
  • Bachelorette party
  • Rehearsal dinner

Keep with the theme for these (that is, for the celebrations or events that you are planning) by focusing on one or two elements of Chicago that you love.  For example, have a Chicago-style hot dog bar at your engagement party or “request” a collection of Garrett’s Popcorn at your shower.

You might even want to suggest an Al Capone-esque Prohibition Era bachelorette party with feathers and flapper dresses, or even a Broadway-inspired Chicago bachelorette party based on the hit musical.


Chicago Wedding Décor:

Anything that says “Chicago” to you and your significant other will do for wedding décor.  Maps, views of the skyline, street sign replicas for your favorite streets and intersections—they all work well with this theme.

Here are some ideas for you to consider using when building the perfect Taste of Chicago wedding:

  • Map(s) of Chicago
  • Hearts on an outline of the city where you two live (or lived, or will live, or love to visit)
  • Cut outs of the skyline along the tables, walls, the base of the cake and other places throughout the venue
  • A tribute to the 1920’s in Chicago—speakeasy décor, exposed brick walls, old rustic bars and hanging lights
  • Chic, city-inspired, fashionable décor with sharp, industrial lines and small bits of international style

Taste of Chicago Tablescape

Instead of plain table numbers and place cards, get creative by incorporating “Chicago” elements into the design of each.  For example, put a unique Chicago element on the table number cards, like “The Bean,” Grant Park, Wrigley field, Soldier Field and the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.

Instead of table numbers in general, name the tables after the various neighborhoods in Chicago.  From Ravenswood to Roscoe Village to Rogers Park, there are plenty from which to choose.


Chicago-themed Cocktail Hour

We all know the history of Chicago and the popularity of its Prohibition Era “entrepreneurship,” so determining specialty cocktails to serve during the cocktail hour of the reception should not be much of a problem.  Just about anything goes.

As for the beer, Chicago is becoming more and more well-known for its breweries.  Serve up some of Chicago’s best beer, from the popular 312 and Goose Island beers to the up-and-coming Revolution Brewery beers.  Contact local breweries and brewpubs to inquire about getting kegs, cans or bottles of your favorite beer for your wedding.

Taste of Chicago Wedding Menu

One of the best parts of having a Taste of Chicago wedding is that there are so many different internationally-influenced dishes for which Chicago is famous.  Often based on the nationalities and backgrounds of the clusters of citizens in its neighborhoods, there is an incredible amount of delicious ethnic and international cuisine all across the city.

We recommend having food stations, just like the Taste of Chicago has every June and July.  Here are some food station menu suggestions for a Taste of Chicago wedding:

  • Pilsen: beef barbacoa, shredded chicken tinga, black bean and corn salad
  • Greek Town: chicken souvlaki skewers, feta-crusted tilapia, Vesuvio potatoes, Greek salad
  • Little Italy: pasta station with a variety of sauces and vegetables
  • Real Chicago: Italian beef with peppers and sausage.


Chicago-themed Wedding Entertainment

The fun really starts and ends with a great band or DJ.  If you are going the more traditional route and hiring a wedding band, make sure they’re a bit jazzy and can play great blues music.  Watch The Blues Brothers, which is based in Chicago, for some ideas—and jot down some of the songs from its soundtrack for your hired band to play at your wedding.

If you are going to hire a DJ, which has been a more popular choice over the past several years, then make sure to send the DJ some of your favorite Chicago songs.  This Chicago-themed playlist might help you remember some of your favorites.

Late Night Chicago Wedding Menu

More and more weddings are opting to serve late night snack foods before the wedding ends.  A hot dog stand is the perfect late night snack for wedding guests, and it just so happens to also be the ultimate Chicago late night snack.

Chicago hotdogs consist of:

  • Poppy seed bun
  • All beef hot dog
  • Mustard (no ketchup)
  • Pickle spear
  • Hot peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Relish
  • Celery salt

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