Great, so I had all this time. No need to worry, right? But I am a worrier, and after several nightmares about being location-less at the last minute, DJ suggested that I start looking. To get some ideas - after all, we don't need to a sign a contract this soon!
A friend suggested the Hotel InterContinental in Chicago. She had her wedding reception there several years ago, and by all accounts it was wonderful.
(Images from the Hotel InterContinental.)Lovely as it was, it had three strikes against it: not the right space for our smallish party, inconveniently located for almost everyone involved, and more expensive than our budget could comfortably handle.
So I kept looking for options. We knew we wanted to have about 75 guests, with dinner and dancing and minimal stress. I was starting to have a better idea what we were looking for, but I hadn't found it yet.
(Images from Seasons of Long Grove.)
Closer to the right coordinates, there's a quaint little town with covered bridges and gazebos. A restaurant there does a brisk wedding reception business, so we went to check it out. But it wasn't right either. It was rustic and charming, but a little too rustic and charming. In October, the outdoor space wasn't a sure thing, and the indoor space just wasn't quite right. Not to mention, DJ and I both thought it was somewhat overpriced - although it was starting to look like we were just incredibly cheap.
Somewhat discouraged, we made our way to our next appointment. I'd been reluctant to even consider the Barn of Barrington, even though it was conveniently located and well-recommended. When we were engaged the first time, DJ's parents took us there for dinner to celebrate. Since then, they've become strictly a banquet hall, no longer a restaurant except for brunch on Sundays.
(All images from the Barn of Barrington.)
It was prettier than I remembered, and the event managers were just the right mix of professional and accomodating. The menus looked delicious, the rooms were gorgeous, and practically everything would be taken care of for us. As we walked through baroque rooms and carved stairways, I started to feel excited. This could be it!
But wait... aren't I forgetting something? Finding a reception hall is great, but where will we have the wedding?