You are engaged? YEA! You found the person! Check. Now let's get you married!
Wedding planning is hard work. All of my couples receive a list of my favorite vendors to help them in the process of hiring. They are people who I know will work hard for you and try to give you the best wedding ever.
In order to help all you fiancees out there, I'm going to give you a little head start on planning. Here are some of my favorite venues (and more vendors to come so stay tuned on our Facebook....)
STARVED ROCK LODGE
- Picturesque nature spot with lots of beautiful spots all 4 seasons
- Indoor and outdoor ceremony spots that are lovely
- Staff on site to run the day and offer assistance
- Hotel rooms on site for guests and wedding party
- Great food
My favorite thing about the lodge as a wedding photographer is that there are lots of spots for pictures near the lodge and in the park, as well as in the rain or now or hot or cold Illinois weather. I like that they run the day seamlessly and there is never any wedding day chaos. All around terrific venue.
- Gorgeous location with lots of picture spots inside and out
- Tons of natural light in the reception area
- Dedicated cocktail area for guests outside the reception room (This is nice for tog's to get detail shots.)
- Beautiful indoor getting ready area
- Staff on site to help with the day
My favorite thing about the Danada House is the grounds. There is a garden out back, a beautiful patio with a sweet green painted door, and a barn and horses just outside. I love the reception hall and the windows. Overall it's just a really pretty venue and the pictures are spectacular.
- Super unique venue with outdoor and indoor ceremony area
- Tons of christmas lights!!!! (My favorite!!)
- Outdoor spots for pictures with ivy wall, bricks, and nice landscaping
- Staff on site
- Close to hotels for guests
Blumen Gardens is another favorite because it is so unique and has so many spots for pictures. I also like that it is feels intimate. Even though it probably holds 200 people, the set up just makes it feel close. I also love all the lights in the reception hall which I think set a romantic mood.
MORRIS COUNTRY CLUB
- Beautiful golf course for pictures and provided carts for wedding party
- Outdoor ceremony spot
- Lovely air temp controlled tent for reception
- Outdoor cocktail hour
Weddings at golf clubs are beautiful. I love that they allow us to take pictures out on the grounds and they have a big tent for the reception.
THE BARN AT HORNBAKER GARDENS
- Gorgeous and huge barn for reception and indoor ceremonies
- Outdoor ceremony among the trees
- Beautiful and numerous spots for pictures in pretty landscaped trees and gazebo, woodland/prairie area, or with pine trees and long white fence
- Staff is super helpful and friendly and run the day
- Can provide amazing florals
- Beautiful dressing area and dedicated rooms for the wedding party for the entire day
- Barn overhangs provide natural light area for pictures in inclement weather
- Big windows for natural light
We seem to always have the bad weather days for our weddings at the barn but even then the pictures are pretty. We have had snow, sleet, rain, single digit temps, and even blazing humidity and yet the pictures are pretty. It's nice that you can get pictures with the barn just steps outside the door which make it easy when it's 9 degrees. I love that they can do everything on site and have a nice dressing room as well. Lindsay's florals are seriously amazing so I wholeheartedly suggest you utilize her for flowers!
Here is my list of other venues for you to add to your list:
DEER PARK COUNTRY CLUB, MORA FARM, SENICA'S OAK RIDGE, GRAND BEAR LODGE, SILVER FOX, 100 ACRES ORCHARD, CHAPEL HILL PRINCETON, OTTAWA BOAT CLUB, WEBER HOUSE (CEREMONY), REDDICK MANSION (CEREMONY).
Here are a few of my favorites that aren't as close to us:
WALNUT GROVE FARM, KICKAPOO CREEK WINERY, KEMPER LAKES COUNTRY CLUB, PATRICK HALEY MANSION, THE HAIGHT, THE ONION PUB, METAMORA FIELDS.
There are other venues in the area that provide a room for a reception. When considering venues, here is what I would think about from a photography standpoint:
Where can we take posed pictures? Is there a spot inside for pictures of 15 people if the weather is bad? (We can almost always find a spot for the couple to take some pictures. It is hard to get a big wedding party or a big family so I look for those type of open spots.) Where would the indoor ceremony be if the weather is bad? Is there someone on site to help run the day or address any issues? Is there a nice spot to get dressed? Is it close to a pretty park or spot to take photos?
Ok I hope that helps you in your search! Get your date. Get your venue and then come back and get your photographer!!! :) I mean, if you like us and stuff.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more vendor recommendations......