Ironically the happiest time in your life can also be the most stressful! Yes, I am talking about wedding planning. If you thought finding your soul mate was hard enough, just wait and see what come next. Luckily, the North Shore has many wonderful venues that can help make the wedding of your dreams a reality and take the stress out of what should be a joyous time in your life. Whether it's a highly experienced staff, picturesque setting and/or a flair for details, each of these venues offer something special; the stressful part may be choosing which one!
Armour House @ Lake Forest Academy
1500 West Kennedy Rd., Lake Forest, 847-615-3219
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this elegant Italian Villa combines old world charm with a contemporary style. It offers stunning options for both indoors and out, from the grandeur of the Great Hall to the brilliant colors of the floral gardens and manicured lawns. The Armour House is a full service venue that can handle all of the logistics for your big day including catering, table settings, lighting, floral arrangements, room décor and entertainment but they also allow outside vendors. They do have a minimum guest guarantee, although it can be negotiated depending on the season and day. Capacity: 250 seated.
Historic Charles Gates Dawes House
225 Greenwood St., Evanston, 847-475-3410
For a wedding on a smaller scale, the French Chateaux style mansion is a great option. Rooted in rich beauty and heritage, this two-acre lakefront home, built in 1894, was once the home of Charles Gates Dawes, the 30th U.S. Vice President under Calvin Coolidge. The interior of the Dawes House incorporates a Louis XVI-style parlor, library, great hall and English renaissance style dining room. Much of the interior is paneled in oak, with the exception of mahogany-finished cherry wood in the library. Ceremonies can be held indoors or out in the garden.
Winnetka Community House
620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, 847-446-3154
The Winnetka Community House has been playing host to some of the most beautiful events on the North Shore for over a century. Outdoors, the beautiful Arches Garden provides a timeless setting for a romantic wedding. Indoors, the Garden Room is an ideal spot for dinner, dancing and celebrating. It can accommodate anywhere from 75 to 200 guests (with a dance floor). Their exclusive full service caterer, Catered By Design, will help design the perfect menu and make sure every detail of your wedding is perfect.
Chicago Botanic Gardens
1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, 847-835-8370
We would be completely remiss if we did not include the Botanic Gardens on this list. This world-renowned cultural destination is the perfect venue for your wedding. They offer full-service day of event and planning assistance. This beloved jewel speaks for itself and with so many fantastic indoor and outdoor options to choose from, it has something for every taste!
1401 Middlefork Dr., Lake Forest, 847-234-1966
For those looking for a more rustic, yet chic venue for their nuptials, Elawa Farms is somewhat of a best kept secret on the North Shore. This onetime gentleman's farm is now a center for education and enjoyment of architectural preservation, history, gardening and the environment, and offers a unique, intimate and picturesque venue for your special day.
The Grove Redfield Estate
1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview, 847-298-0095
Redfield Estate Rental Info
The Redfield Estate is another wonderful and picturesque venue for weddings. If you choose to host your wedding here you can enjoy the private use of the entire historic home which features a Great Room with fireplace and loft, cathedral ceilings, chandeliers, a private brides room and a breathtaking two-story leaded glass window. Outside, you can have access to the gorgeous 30′ x 60′ outdoor covered pavilion with fireplace, as well as the main lawn. The Estate is suitable for up to 125 people. Rental dates may be booked up to 24 months in advance. Tents are not allowed on the grounds.
1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-492-8860
Although known as a concert venue, on off nights, SPACE is a unique and fun place to host a wedding, combining urban chic with rustic charm. With its arched ceiling, barn wood floor, exposed brick, and gorgeous lighting, SPACE is the epitome of understated glamour. And since its primary use is as a concert venue, SPACE has everything covered when it comes to throwing a great party including a fully stocked and staffed bar, a stage for speeches and toasts, amazing sound system and plenty of café tables and chairs that can be set up for a buffet-style dinner or pushed to the side to make room for a dance party.
Woman's Club of Evanston
1702 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-475-3800
The historic Woman's Club of Evanston exudes timeless elegance and offers a variety of options depending on the size of your wedding. Choose from the dramatic two story Grand Ballroom which can accommodate up to 230 guests with a dance floor, and includes a full stage and large drop down screen for presentations or the more intimate Tea Room (120 people seated) on the first floor. Additional space includes the Music Room often used for dancing and a glass-enclosed Sun Porch which is wonderful for cocktail hours. While you must use one of their preferred vendors for catering, the list is varied and offers something for every budget.
Highland Park Community House
1991 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park, 847-432-1515
The Highland Park Community House is a beautifully renovated historic landmark featuring a red brick Colonial-Revival-style house with a spacious ballroom, large living room with bay windows, a commercial kitchen, newly renovated restrooms and three outdoor garden areas. The elegant ballroom features a vaulted ceiling with vintage light features, a hardwood floor, a performance stage and can accommodate 200 seated guests with a dance floor. It overlooks the North lawn and Heritage Gardens which offer an ever-changing panorama of color and can be utilized weather permitting.
Deer Path Inn
255 East Illinois, Lake Forest, 847-234-2280
Rated by North Shore Magazine as one of the North Shore's best reception venues, the Deer Path Inn serves as an ideal setting for an enchanting wedding. With a highly experienced hotel staff, they will help you plan, arrange and coordinate everything you need for your special day. No detail will be overlooked. The Inn offers impeccable food and up to five beautifully constructed rooms designed in an old English style with enough dance space to accommodate up to 250 people. Whether a simple gathering of close family and friends to a formal affair, the Deer Path Inn can do it all. Note: The Deer Path Inn is currently undergoing a 15-month renovation, projected finish: Spring 2016.
1150 Willow Rd., Northbrook, 847-480-2323
Now remember, this is not your ordinary bowling alley. While providing a fun and upbeat atmosphere, Pinstripes is still an upscale venue that offers private and semi-private event space that can accommodate 20 – 600 guests and features fine Italian/American cuisine. Their experienced event staff can help you with all the details including outside entertainment, AV equipment, table favors, specialty linens and more. Whether you chose to incorporate bocce into your cocktail hour or perhaps end the night with a bowling after party – that's up to you!
Schram Memorial Chapel (service only)
1799 Patriot Boulevard Glenview, 224-521-2562
Glenview Park District Page
One of 47 Naval Air Station chapels built across the USA, Schram Memorial Chapel is the only one still operating. This historic nondenominational chapel served as a house of worship for thousands of servicemen and women passing through this military base during WW II and is a quaint and historic space to hold your ceremony. Couples of all faiths are welcome to marry at the chapel. The large stage/ altar can accommodate a wedding party of any size. Dressing rooms for the groom and bride are available. Main chapel can accommodate 150 pew seating. Additional seating options available.
Honorable Mention: There are also several county clubs that allow non-members to host private events at their beautiful facilities. These include: Highland Park Country Club, Ravinia Green Country Club and Mission Hills Country Club.
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