Sunday, January 22, 2012

Choosing Our Venue

This particular wedding update is LONG overdue.

According to the handy Knot Book of Wedding Lists, choosing a ceremony and reception venue is one of the very first things a newly engaged couple is supposed to do. 

It's on the "12+ months" to-do list, and really, it was one of the very first things on my mind after we got engaged. 

I'm not sure if I ever went into detail about this, but Justin & I were originally somewhat unsure of where, as in what city, we wanted to have our wedding. 

We tossed around the idea of getting married back at IU (in Bloomington, Indiana) where we met, in the suburbs of Chicago (city of Chicago was never on the list - way too pricey), or where Justin's family is from - Elkhart, Indiana. 

I spent the first few days of planning on the phone with my mom and Justin's mom discussing what they thought would be best.  

Bloomington was ruled out fairly quickly because I got cold feet - it just seemed a little too far away for planning purposes and our guests. 

We quickly crossed of the Chicago suburbs too.

It made the most sense to have the wedding somewhere close to Justin's family in Indiana, which is actually closer to my Mom too.  

Also, we were hoping Indiana vendors would be much more reasonably priced - you still pay a premium even in the suburbs of Chicago. 

So, Indiana it was! :)


After that, we had to decide what kind of venue we were looking for.  

The Knot lists in the "Reception" chapter helped confirm what I had already been thinking.

I wanted a "country club" feel, with great indoor and outdoor space.   

Thankfully, Justin was on board with those same thoughts. 

We also knew we needed a venue that not only had a great reception space, but an equally beautiful space for the ceremony.  

We were still toying around with the idea of having the ceremony at a church, but we knew there was a good chance we would end up having everything all at one place. 

With all of these thoughts in mind, I started doing some online research and asking around, which led me to about 8 different options in the area.  

Justin & I then made plans to go back to Indiana and do all of our venue shopping in one weekend.  

I know he wasn't putting a lot of pressure on finding a place that weekend, because he has a lot more patience than I do, but I was really wanting to come back to Chicago with this decision made.  

I called around and made a bunch of probably too closely-spaced appointments, and we were off! 

To me, venue shopping was just like wedding dress shopping.  

Daunting. wish you could just pick and choose what you liked from each place and combine them all together to create your dream come true. 

A grand entrance (Morris Park Country Club): 

A comfortable/luxurious space for getting ready (Morris Park Country Club): 

A gorgeous patio for cocktail hour (Knollwood Country Club): 

Surrounded by nature (Blue Heron at Blackthorn): 

Big windows over-looking the green (Juday Creek): 

Wow factor (Morris Park Country Club): 

Beautiful outdoor space for a ceremony (Morris Park Country Club): 

A good back-up plan for the ceremony if there is bad weather (Knollwood Country Club): 

And maybe even an after-hours bar option (Hilton Garden Inn & Gillespie Center): 

Looking back at all of those pictures, the decision seems so obvious. 

But, of course, there was a lot more to it than that. 

We had to think about the price. 

We had to think about the food quality. 

And we had to think about the service. 

Justin and I tried not to share our thoughts on the venues while we were looking. 

Our plan was to wait until the end, write down our favorite place on a piece of paper, and exchange.  

And guess what? 

We picked the same place. 

But, guess what?

It wasn't the place we ended up booking with. 

I think we both picked the place we thought would be the "safe bet," and not the place we were really in love with.  

After a couple of weeks of back-and-forth, pro/con lists, and lots of advice seeking, we ended up deciding on...

Morris Park Country Club! :) 

Morris Park really had everything we wanted.  

Gorgeous indoor space, beautiful outdoor space, a great reputation for food quality, and wow factor

Morris Park is the perfect setting for our wedding.  

I can't wait to pull up that gorgeous drive.

Get ready with all of my best girlfriends, family, and soon-to-be family.

Meet my future hubby at the alter to GET MARRIED :) 

Take some amazing pictures.

Meet our guests inside for some celebratory champagne.

Enjoy some delicious food.

And dance the night away.

Only 237 days to go, but who's counting? ;) 




  1. I think you are forgetting the cheese plate picture swaying your decision :)

  2. I was looking for that picture and I couldn't find it!! So disappointing. I guess we will just have to wait for the real deal :)