Planning a Fraternity Formal in Chicago

Organizing and planning fraternity formals isn’t an easy thing to do! There’s so much to think about when planning your fraternity formal in Chicago.

Because there are so many details to figure out, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to plan your formal. You’ll need at least a whole semester to nail everything down.

However, if you’re like most students, you’ve got a lot on your plate: tons of classes and extracurriculars; you may even be holding down a job. You may not know where to get started and the idea of planning everything can be overwhelming.

To get an idea of what you’ll need to plan your fraternity formal in Chicago, read our tips below!

1. Hotels: Where does your group want to stay?

Obviously, the first thing you’ll want to figure out is where you and your fraternity are going to stay, and there are many things to consider when choosing the right hotel for your group.

The most important thing to have ready is the fraternity’s budget. What is everyone willing to spend on each item, and specifically, what does everyone want to spend on the hotel?

Are you planning to spend a bit more on hotels, or do you want to be more cost effective and budget conscientious?

In Chicago, the winter months are the best time to find hotels that are not only cost effective, but also in a good location downtown. Otherwise, hotels are pretty expensive from mid-November to mid-March, so if you’re really wanting to save some money, holding your formal in the winter months is definitely helpful. Your fraternity will just have to be okay with the snow!

Here are the top three hotels we recommend for Chicago: Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown, Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile, and The Drake.

2. Venues: Where is everyone going to have fun?

The next step is planning the most fun part of the trip: the entertainment!

For venue logistics, you’ll want to think about the size of your group because this can impact what you do. The bigger your group, oftentimes, the harder it will be to find venues at a decent price point.

Here are some questions to consider as you search for venues:

  • How big is the venue? WIll it hold your whole group?

  • Is the venue offering you a decent price point, or are they overcharging you for their services? Will they charge you more if you have a large group?

  • Who in your fraternity will oversee payments and ensure they are made on time? Is anyone comfortable with talking to events or sales managers and negotiating a good price?

If your group has 150 or more attendees, finding venues in downtown Chicago for a decent price can get difficult, so we recommend finding a venue outside of downtown and transporting everyone there. (More tips on transportation below!)


These Chicago venues are our top favorites: Ravenswood Event Center, Galleria Marchetti, and Loft Lucia.


3. How is everyone getting to and from the Windy City?


The last major thing you’ll want to consider in your planning is transportation.


If you’ve got a large group, you’ll want to look at charter buses, though if your group is smaller, you may be able to get away with carpooling or other forms of transportation. Just bear in mind that if you choose to carpool, you’ll need to pay attention to a couple of things.


What is parking like at the hotel you’re staying at? What do they charge for overnight parking? A lot of major hotels located in downtown cities charge a lot to park overnight. Furthermore, you’ll have to decide when to leave based on your class schedules.


The main thing is ensuring that everyone in your group gets to and from Chicago safely.


Are you sure the transportation company you’re choosing has a great reputation? What are they recommending for your group? Will everyone be able to arrive at the same time?


Another point to consider when transporting your fraternity is how you all will get from the hotel to the venue and vice versa. Depending on where you’ve booked both the hotel and the venue, you may need to figure out how to get your group from one place to the other.


Does each place have good parking for buses? Will you have a hard time unloading everyone?

Will you need to book transportation or are your hotel and venue within walking distance of each other?


Our recommended Chicago transportation company is Limo Web Chicago.


4. Final Details: Putting everything together.


Now that you’ve gone through your three major checkpoints, the last thing to bear in mind is your final details.


What generally tends to happen when planning fraternity formals is things get left to the last minute, either because everyone is too busy to actually plan anything or no one really knows what they want to do, which means important details get missed or passed over.


Here are a few you’ll want to think about as you plan your trip:

  • Time. Have you allocated enough time to book and plan everything? Do you know when your fraternity wants to hold their formal? Have you got enough time to research and plan in between classes, projects, and work?

  • Money and Contracts. What kinds of contracts will you be signing with the companies you’re booking with? Do you know when they’ll expect payment from you? Is someone in charge of making sure payments are made?

  • Expectations. What does everyone expect? Is your fraternity okay with a winter formal to save on money? Does everyone want to do any sightseeing? Is everyone voicing too many opinions so no one knows what’s actually happening?


As you can see, planning a fraternity formal takes a lot of effort and work. It can be really overwhelming! Especially if you’ve never planned a big event before, and you want your formal to be an amazing time for everyone involved.


In order to ease the burden of planning your formal and lessen the amount of work you’ll have to do, it’s oftentimes easier to use an outside third party to help you plan out all the details. Particularly because most hospitality companies prefer working with other companies who know them and are familiar with the industry.


BigDaddy Formals completely understands what it’s like to plan formals and events in Chicago. We’ve established relationships with reliable companies, and we know what to look for when it comes to your group’s safety, budget, and fun.


We’ll help you navigate those contracts, negotiate with the events and sales managers for you, alleviate your stress, and create a phenomenal formal you’re never going to forget!


To get the assistance you need, schedule a chat with our team about your upcoming fraternity formal in Chicago here.


Take a look below to see what a Chicago formal looks like with us!




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