Our Favorite Unique Wedding Venues in Chicago

Our Favorite Unique Wedding Venues in Chicago

Mike Staff Productions is lucky enough to work in the The Windy City (x 2) and to our beautiful Chicago brides, this blog’s for you!

We’re focusing on venues that are guaranteed to set your wedding apart from the rest. (What bride doesn’t want that?) If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box ceremony or a reception venue that’s jaw-droppingly unique, look no further.

Since we’ve been lucky enough to provide DJ, Photography and Videography throughout Chicagoland we’ve put together a list of of favorite unique wedding venues (in no particular order) that will make your wedding day unforgettable.

Brookfield Zoo

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Highlight Video: Ryanne and William were married July 23, 2016. Their ceremony was held at St. Mary’s Church, their reception at the Brookfield Zoo. Videography by Mike Staff Productions.


The Brookfield Zoo, also known as Chicago Zoological Park, houses around 450 species of animals in an area of 216 acres. The zoo first opened July 1, 1934, and quickly gained international recognition for using moats and ditches instead of cages to separate animals from visitors and from other animals.

Outdoor Zoo Pavilions

Lions and Tigers and Bears…. AT YOUR WEDDING! If you choose to say ‘I do’ at the Brookfield Zoo (hey, that rhymed) then you can 100% work animals into your guest list! You could say this venue offers a handful of exotic options when it comes to ceremony, cocktail hour and reception spaces. Imagine your wedding DJ playing your processional and you can hear the faint roar of a Lion as you walk down the aisle, talk about unique!

Ok, enough daydreaming – back to those venue choices…

The Swan Pavilion: Accommodates up to 500 seated guests or 750 for a reception.

Bison and Dolphin Pavilion: Accommodates  200 seated guests or 300 for a reception.

Peacock Pavilion: Maximum capacity of 120.

You’re able to book more than one pavillion, too! That way guests can mingle from having cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in one pavilion followed by dinner and dancing in another. The pavilions can be rented out from early spring through late fall. The Pavilions area is gated, offering privacy for guests. In addition, a full-service kitchen has been incorporated into the design.

Cocktails with the Animals  

Consider yourself a true animal lover? You also have the option to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres amongst some of the zoo’s world-class exhibits.

From dolphins to bears to a tropical setting, learn about the different exhibits what put you and your guests up close and personal with the animals! How. Cool. Is. That?!?!

Esplanade Lakes by DoubleTree

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You may be asking yourself what could be ‘unique’ about a venue at a DoubleTree Hotel? Answer: Everything. The Esplanade Lakes by Doubletree Ballroom is one of the most unique venues in the entire suburban Chicago area!

  • 9,500 sq. ft. ballroom
  • Accommodates up to 600 people
  • Food/beverage services provided

This venue offers a 360-degree view of Esplanade Lake and the onsite forest preserve. It’s almost as if the venue is floating in the middle of the lake!  The Esplanade Ballroom can accommodate up to 600 guests for a reception. The floor to ceiling windows are stunning enough to make your jaw drop and really provides a beautiful background from all angles as you can see from the Mike Staff Photography above.

Obviously, being associated with the DoubleTree hotel same location hotel rooms can be blocked allowing this to be a one-stop-shop wedding venue.

Patrick Haley Mansion

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Highlight Video: The wedding of Emily and Justin was April 22, 2016. Their ceremony was held at St. Joseph Catholic Church, their reception at the Patrick Haley Mansion. Videography by Mike Staff Productions.

If you’ve ever dreamed of  having a full on princess wedding in a castle-like setting, look no further than the Patrick Haley Mansion. According to the venue’s website, Patrick Columbus Haley was born March 17, 1849. (St. Patrick’s Day- Cheers!) A native of Saranac, New York, his family moved to Will County in 1852 and received his law degree from the University of Michigan.

Haley married Mary Anastasia Darcy, the daughter of a successful cattle buyer and real estate owner. After fifteen years of marriage and becoming parents to six children, Patrick and Mary Haley built a large (very large) home on their property at the corner of Center and Marion Streets. Construction of the mansion began in 1891 and was completed two years later (can you imagine that, now?)

The parties the Hayley’s held in the mansion were pretty historic in their heyday. Between the multiple floors of the home and lavish parlors the couple had no problem hosting famous guests; politicians, city founders, explorers and newspaper publishers.


The Haley Mansion offers two ceremony sites, complimentary rehearsal prior to your ceremony is provided.

Garden Wedding Ceremony

Surrounded by colorful maple trees, waterfalls and lily ponds – your guests are seated in arranged rows of white garden folding chairs facing the raised white pergola.

Conservatory Ceremony

The indoor options centers the ceremony under a skylight and surrounded by 12 foot french windows overlooking the grounds gardens. Rows of formal white garden chairs are included.


The conservatory and ballroom accommodates 400 guests for plated dinner and as many as 600 guests for a cocktail reception. From crystal chandeliers, sheer billowing fabric lining and high gloss tile floor, The Patrick Haley Mansion creates an elegant setting.

When guests enter the foyer at Haley Mansion, they are invited to tour the mansion at their leisure throughout the evening! Butlered and open bar cocktail service features are available.

Bridgeport Art Center Skyline Loft

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Picture an 18,000 sq. foot loft space with a view of the Chicago skyline, you’d probably want to move in! Am I right? Well, thankfully you can do the next best thing — get married there!

Located on the 5th floor of the Bridgeport Art Center, housed in the former Spiegel Catalog Warehouse, the venue features solid wood flooring with dramatic inlays, exposed brick walls, 15 foot wood beamed ceilings and an unobstructed view of that stellar Chicago skyline we mentioned.

Because the space is so open and large – the room is completely customizable. You have the ability to make your wedding as elaborate as you want or as quaint as you want by dividing the space into different sections; ceremony, cocktail hour and reception if you choose. The sky is truly the limit. (Come on, we had to throw that in there!) Some decor; chairs, drapery, bar crates are included when you rent the venue. Work with the event supervisor for outside accommodations.

Venue Specs Sheet
18,000 square feet – can be sectioned
Cocktail parties: 100 to 900 guests
Sit-down 100 to 600 guests
Adjacent complimentary parking

Want to be featured?

Are you a wedding vendor in metro Detroit or Chicago? Do you know a vendor that does great work? Let’s hear about them! Email us at greatservice@mikestaff.com

About Mike Staff Productions

Our company started with a few DJs in a basement, meeting over pizza & beer. That grew into a few more DJs, throw in some creative photographers, add a couple passionate videographers — and Mike Staff Productions — an award winning wedding company —  was born.

Mike Staff Productions is here to help with any of your wedding planning questions so feel free to give us a call (877.689.0777) or drop us a line at greatservice@mikestaff.com

Mike Staff Relaxing

Mike Staff is the founder and CEO of Mike Staff Productions, one of the most highly acclaimed wedding services companies in the country, providing award-winning Wedding DJs, Wedding Photographers and Wedding Videography for over 20 years. Mike serves as a Nationwide Ambassador for The Knot.com, advising the wedding industry on best practices and insight into the challenges and opportunities.

Posted in Blog Posts, Chicago Wedding Planning & Ideas, wedding planning,, Wedding Venues

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