Catalyst Ranch and the Charm of a Unique Wedding and Reception Space


Not every bride, or groom, dreams of a ‘conventional’ wedding day. For some, the thought of a traditional venue such as a church and a standard banquet hall is far too restrictive and formal.  Catalyst Ranch in Chicago is one of a growing number of venues that cater to couples looking for an off-the-beaten path type of venue.  Our own Windermere Elegant Weddings wedding planner, Denise Bonds, had the pleasure of visiting the Ranch and learning more about this venue with “Resident Gala Girl,” Lauren Smith. If you are looking to create a themed wedding with lots of personality, read on to see what Windermere learned about this incredibly unique and innovative space.

Catalyst Ranch: A Place Where Wedding Dreams Come True

Catalyst Ranch, situated on the 3rd and 4th floor of a historic building that dates back from the 1880’s in Chicago’s West Loop is NOT your stereotypical cattle herding, cowboy lassoing ranch. Instead it is a wonderfully eclectic space boasting decor created and maintained by some of the most talented artists in Chicago.  The Ranch, far removed from that of a sterile event space, offers a wedding venue quite unlike any other. It is a dwelling, where creative souls can come together and connect, engage their senses, get inspired, and inspire each other. It is also a ‘catalyst’ for letting go, having fun and hatching new creative ideas in a group setting.  In addition, the venue’s staff, also known as ‘Ranch Hands’ work to provide an environment that meets the emotional, expressive and practical purposes of each of its clients and their guests.

The Vibe

The free flowing layouts of the event rooms come together with bright paint, global artifacts, fun little alcoves, exotic fabrics, oriental rugs and one-of-a-kind art work. The collection of furniture and décor in each of the event spaces includes restored vintage chaise lounges, sofas, arm chairs, tables, lamps, hutches, coffee tables, and kitchen tables from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  The furniture pieces may be moved or re-combined to create a new style best suited for each of their client’s event planning needs. The event spaces, appropriately named; Mambo, Jitterbug, Polka, Tango and Cha-Cha evoke a sense of nostalgia that coincides with each of its vintage themes. In addition, the rooms even contain classic toys, retro collectibles from the good ‘ole days and board games you may not have played since you were a child.

The Client

If you are looking to have a modern -minimalist wedding, or prefer soft lighting and pastel hues versus bold and bright colors, then this might not be the right spot to host your celebration. However if bright, urban, kitschy, bold, whimsical, or the vintage styles of the 1940’s, 50’s or 60’s appeal to you and your partner, then this could be the perfect site for your Big Day.

The Catalyst Ranch is also available to host bachelorette parties, engagement parties, rehearsal dinners and other wedding related affairs.

The Logistics

Catalyst Ranch is situated near Haymarket Square in Chicago’s West Loop.

656 West Randolph St. Chicago, Il 60661  (312)207-1710  ::

The Ranch’s largest room can accommodate a sit down dinner of up to 150 and a cocktail reception for 180. Catalyst Ranch will also provide a list of approved catering companies for your reception.

What We like about Catalyst Ranch

*When a couple chooses a unique venue such as Catalyst Ranch, it creates a buzz of curiosity for their guests. It’s a fun way to get everyone excited and looking forward to experiencing something that is different and unique in the weeks or even months leading up to the Big Day.

*The wonderful staff is very accommodating and easy to work with. Their motto seems to be “We will find a way to make it work!” and that combined with years of experience in hosting wedding and receptions for clients that are happy with the results of their events, they have earned a reputation for being creative, flexible AND reliable service providers.

*They offer the basics and then some.  To be able to create a one of a kind lounge area where guests can step away from their assigned seating, to mix and mingle with other guests adds an important component to the reception and to the overall comfort of their guests. Clients of the Ranch do not have to worry about paying additional fees to rent pieces and furnish the space, which not only saves them money but also the time and energy of having to search for the right pieces to fit the space.

*It’s a place where guests feel comfortable and at ease and have fun. The “Ranch Hands” are courteous, flexible and helpful.

*They are an eco-friendly event space and supporters of Chicago’s Green Wedding Alliance.