Friday, April 15, 2011

Wedding Venue Woes

barn wedding

garden wedding

These, dear readers, are only a few of the hundreds of venues that we've now spent a good 30+ hours researching, only to find out that they won't work for us.  Sigh.  The main challenge for us is the fact that we had to wait to set a date until Robbie's band solidifed their tour schedule, and 6-1/2 months isn't much advance notice for wedding venues.  75% of the places we've fallen in love (or even like) with are booked.  Neither of us are overly picky either.  We just want a nice, simple place that we can decorate and throw a little party to celebrate our love.  An outhouse on a tiny piece of land would suffice at this point.  I'm kidding.  Sort of.

If any of you know of any pretty rustic or vintage-y places within an hour or two of Chicago that would be perfect for our wedding and reception, please, please share!  (If your suggestion is available and we book it, I'll send you your pick of any of my 8 x 10 art prints as a thank you gift!).

Image sources from top: here, here, here, & here.

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  1. The places that you showed are beautiful and I can definitely see why you guys loved them. It sucks that they just will not work out for you guys. I am not in Chicago and do not know of any venues, but I will tweet this post to see if any of my twitter friends can help. Good Luck and Congrats on the upcoming wedding! Love is always great!!

  2. Beautiful places and photos! Here's luck to you in finding the perfect place . . . congrats on finding your true love - that's really what it's all about, isn't it? Good for you!

    from your EBT team member - happy Friday!

  3. Best of luck booking a venue. I like how you're focused less on the glitz of it and more on the celebration.

  4. I love the paper lanterns! Visiting from EBT.

  5. oh, I'm sorry. All of those places look amazing! We were fortunate that all our plans kind of fell into place and we were able to book an entire B&B for the reception and for our wedding party to stay the mountains. I have some great suggestions in Atlanta but not Chicago I am afraid.

  6. Melissa, I'm so sorry that you guys haven't been able to find anything! Have you tried the Garfield Park Conservatory? Something will work out!

    Best to you and Robbie.


  7. I am so sorry:( that's no good. Good luck and I hope someone comes through with a great suggestion or two.

  8. Lovely blog. I"m a fellow EBT member and have just added myself as a follower.

  9. oh that sucks. chin up and keep searching though, i'm sure you will find something lovely. i came across your blog on ifb and thought i would say hello!

  10. I too had the same problem! I would find the "perfect" venue to find that it was booked/pricey/too small/too big. I got engaged the day before New Years eve (right before heading to a "certain band's" show ;-) ) and our wedding date is set for October 8th of this year, so I spent every minute I had looking. We settled for a restaurant my future inlaw's friends own, which is actually working out perfect. Maybe a restaurant would be a good choice, especially if it's off season. :-) Best Wishes!!!

  11. I will keep an eye out for any Chicago wedding locations. My brother and his family live outside Chicago; I'll ask him and his wife if they know of anything. Sorry you've had such bad luck!

  12. There is a site that is very helpful in these sort of things. it returned 493 wedding venues in the Chicago area. I dont know all your details to do a filtered search, but you can. We booked our reception hall first, based our wedding date on their availability then found a church in that area... not standard, and I realize that due to the tour schedule you need a set date. the site can help (hopefully).

  13. Ok mama you know you need to email me...Starter list:

    - Loft on Lake
    - Flourish Studios
    - West Loop Studio
    - Chicago Illuminating Company
    - 344n Ogden
    - Salvage One
    - Architectual Artifacts
    - Ravenswood Event Center
    - Prairie Productions
    - Zhou Brothers
    - Venue One

    Go...find! xo Shannon Downey, Pivotal Chicago

  14. All of those places are beautiful. I can understand why would want to get married at any of them.

    We had a hard time finding a place too, and ended up having the ceremony on a small island in the middle of a creek. It was a local park and totally free, which made me happy.

  15. Have you looked into the Morton Arboretum? I don't know how big a space you need, but they have several different options there, and their prices were quite reasonable. My sister had her wedding there, and all the pictures were gorgeous. The rooms she used were connected to each other (one for dining, one for the band), and the dining room opened out onto a patio and a big green space where the kids all played. With lanterns and candles on the tables at sunset, it was really beautiful. The people there were really great, too, so I would highly recommend looking into them. They're right off of I-55, too so it's a very convenient location.

    Hope you can find something that works for you! Good luck!

  16. What beautiful venues. I'm sorry none of them will work. I wish I had a suggestion for you, but I'm not good at weddings. I didn't have one when I got married and now I'm divorced. Maybe next time...

  17. A friend of mine mentioned a place called The Lodge in Naperville...I have no idea about it except he said he played a gig there once. Hope you find something you like :) Good luck!

  18. How annoying for you, those places look amazing. I'm sure you'll find the perfect place soon.
    Loving your blog x

  19. Well Shannon already suggested several that I thought of immediately! If you're looking within 2 hours of Chicago, I'll go ahead and suggest a couple that are about 90 mins out. A New Leaf made me think of Blumen Gardens which is in Sycamore, IL. It's a very pretty setting and I'm sure it would be much more budget friendly. ( - pictures on this site aren't doing it justice)
    And then I'd think about checking out some places in Milwaukee. I have two locations in mind. One is the Iron Horse Hotel. ( I've never been to an event there, just stayed for the weekend - but it's a very cool location.
    Also, definitely check out Lakefront Brewery. ( - for the events site. Their website is underwhelming, but I could see an event there being beautiful - it's on the river - check out the photos page.)
    Don't know if any of these will fit for you, but they seemed like the right style at least. Good Luck with everything!

  20. I totally feel you pain, what about the Botanic Gardens in Glencoe? They aren't too far from the city (maybe 20 mins) but it feels like an oasis.

  21. Thanks so much everyone! Believe it or not, we've already checked on all of your wonderful suggestions, and most places are booked. The few that aren't are out of our budget. We SO appreciate your help though, and please contact me if you come up with anything else. :)


  22. What is the name of the venue you ended up using? It's gorgeous! I'm getting married next summer & wanted to see if it's available. :)

    1. Hi Kelly! Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in Saint Charles, IL (Chicago suburb). It's an eco-friendly venue too!


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