Chicago is an exciting destination, from its food and architecture to its music scene and lakefront views. Couples planning a Chicago wedding can expect stunning backdrops for their photos and delicious cuisine for their special day. The windy city also hosts several annual events, perfect for pre-wedding activities or an outing with your entourage.  

Adding local festivities to your itinerary can enrich the guest experience and elevate your wedding weekend. However, if you prefer to avoid large-scale events, knowing what’s happening in the area during your celebration is essential to organizing the logistics.   

Here are the top seven Chicago area annual events to remember as you plan for your big day.

The Bean in Chicago

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

If you or your wedding party members are avid runners, Chicago has the perfect pre-wedding activity  – the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. An exhilarating way to explore the windy city, this 26.2-mile run is a tradition for athletes and daily runners. Enjoy downtown landmarks and the satisfaction of crossing the finishing line at Grant Park. The marathon is like a practice run before your race to the altar! 

Chicago Blues Festival  

Are you a fan of Bessie Smith’s vocals or Illinois Jacquet’s melodious saxophone? If so, the Chicago Blues Festival will sweep you off your feet. This annual concert features new and legendary artists honoring Chicago’s musical roots while highlighting Blues’ influence on other music genres, like R&B, rock, and hip hop. If you’re aiming for a June wedding, consider adding this gem to the roster to complete your celebratory weekend.

Taste of Chicago 

One of the best ways to get to know a destination is by trying the cuisine. While the windy city specializes in deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs, they also offer many other mouthwatering options. If you don’t have time to explore the food scene, you can enjoy Taste of Chicago, a summer exhibition of local eateries. So be ready to take your tastebuds on a journey and find delicious additions to compliment your reception menu.  


Music lovers will appreciate Lollapalooza, an iconic music festival featuring popular bands and artists worldwide. Since the early 90s, Chicago has been the home base for this event, and the tradition continues. With nine stages, Lollapalooza has hosted notable headliners, such as Green Day and Dua Lipa. This is the perfect post-wedding activity for couples who want to dance the night away. 

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

While the summer is chock full of events, autumn is no different. In late November, couples can enjoy the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. Every Thanksgiving morning, the parade showcases creative floats, giant balloons, and acts from local performing arts groups. The vibrant procession from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street will provide plenty of photo ops and memories. Afterward, you can grab brunch with your friends and continue the pre-wedding celebrations. 

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival 

Another fall delight, the Lights Festival is an annual occasion held to celebrate the holiday season! Kicking off with tree lighting at the Wrigley Building, visitors can explore a winter wonderland, including games and activities, pictures with Santa Claus, and fireworks. One of the main attractions is a night parade led by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, which is perfect for couples who love Disney. Bring your wedding photographer to capture some photos, or enjoy an evening with your bridesmaids. Either way, adventures at the Lights Festival await.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Beginning in 1843, Chicago’s St Patrick’s Day Parade quickly became one of the city’s most vibrant and spirited celebrations. This annual springtime event takes place in downtown Chicago, transforming the streets into a sea of green as thousands gather to honor St. Patrick. Families, friends, and couples can enjoy a colorful parade full of floats and Irish dance performances. The parade is typically held the Saturday closest to March 17th, providing an early start to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

From music festivals to holiday parades, there are many things to do in Chicago! So if you’re searching for memorable events for your wedding weekend, rest assured there are plenty of options. Once you decide on your itinerary, you’ll want to secure a Chicago wedding DJ to take your celebration to the next level. Momentz Productions is here to support your entertainment needs, so get in touch with us today to start planning an unforgettable celebration!