10 BIG Questions to Ask When Planning an Outdoor Wedding in Chicago

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An outdoor wedding in Chicago can be beautiful, comfortable, and entertaining. It can be scenic and natural or modern and ritzy, though both styles require couples to ask some key questions when they plan.

It’s a worthwhile effort, especially when everything comes together into a beautiful outdoor wedding reception and ceremony. Ideally, these questions should be asked at the beginning of wedding planning, though it can be useful almost any time during wedding planning. This conversation is also an ideal time to discuss finances and preferences for the wedding day.


Every Chicago wedding day is a reflection of a couple’s style; some weddings are a unique combination of styles. This question is a couple’s chance to discuss what their particular style is so it can be incorporated into almost every wedding detail. Fortunately, there are several options to choose from, such as elegant, traditional, rustic, and natural.


Couples should discuss how much is available for the wedding, as well as how they are planning to pay for it and how the funds are going to be allocated. A good wedding planning app or wedding budget worksheet can help with this process. This is also a good opportunity to discuss contacting family members or friends who have expressed an interest in helping with the budget.


The wedding site is one of the most important details of an outdoor wedding in Chicago. Couples don’t have to know the exact location of the tent, but it is important to know the venue. Fortunately, Chicago is full of beautiful outdoor wedding venues, and there is always the option of hosting the wedding in a backyard. If booking a venue, couples should start contacting their top choices promptly because their calendars fill up quickly.


Surprisingly, the date of the outdoor wedding detail isn’t the first item to check off on the wedding planning checklist, though it’s definitely toward the top. If there is some flexibility with the date, couples can contact wedding venues and choose an available date.

Other ways to choose a wedding date is by choosing a favorite season and month, or a special relationship or family date, or even a favorite holiday. If the wedding budget is tight, couples can often save money by holding their wedding on a weekday or during a non-peak month.

Guest List?

Couples don’t have to have a set guest list, but it is helpful to have an idea of the size of a wedding guest list. This number is helpful for choosing a wedding venue, renting a tent, confirming a caterer, and making other wedding day decisions. If the budget is tight, couples can also trim their guest list to stay within budget.

Time for Wedding Planning?

Some couples want to plan every detail of their big day, while others would rather put wedding planning in the hands of a professional. The decision is different for every couple. Fortunately, there are full- and part-time Chicago wedding planners that can make the task easier for couples. Some Chicago wedding venues have planners on-staff that are familiar with the site and local wedding vendors.

Equipment to Rent?

Typically, couples need the following equipment for an outdoor wedding in Chicago:

  • Tent
  • Tables (Cocktail, Dinner, Head)
  • Ceremony altar
  • Chairs (may be able to be used for ceremony and reception)
  • Flowers/Décor
  • Dishes
  • Furniture for lounge areas

(Couples should use a full outdoor wedding checklist to plan and contact an equipment rental specialist for more information.)  When touring venues, couples should ask if any equipment is included with the venue fees or if any equipment is available.

Plan for Inclement Weather?

Unfortunately, outdoor weddings come with the risk of inclement weather. Even a sunny Chicago day can wilt guests. Couples should plan accordingly and consider adding areas out of the sun or rain. Tents are a great option for these areas, and can be a stylish addition to wedding décor.

If a couple is worried about blocking the view, tents with clear sidewalls and clear tents are available to bring the outdoors in. Clear tents, in particular, are beautiful in a shady area because they allow guests to enjoy the view while blocking the rain. (An event specialist can recommend the right tent for a wonderful outdoor wedding in Chicago.)

In addition to a tent, fans and climate-controlled systems can be utilized to keep guests comfortable. A climate-controlled system is discrete and comes with a thermostat to keep everyone comfortable.

Permits? Volume Restrictions?

Some Chicagoland municipalities require couples to get permits for backyard events. Couples should check with their local municipality for information, and  also inquire about any volume restrictions or curfews. If couples are using a local outdoor wedding venue, staff should have information about local requirements.

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