I am over-the-moon excited to finally share with you that WE SET THE DATE and booked our romantic, historic Midwestern wedding venue! June 2022, we are coming for you. Many more wedding planning posts to come, but first things first, I can’t wait to share with you our venue.
I have been bursting at the seams to get this post up and finally reveal the timeless and enchanting Midwestern wedding venue that stole our hearts! We searched high and low for a beautiful, bright and airy, character-filled, historic venue that fit in our budget and was in the Midwest, close to our families and close to Chicago. It was no easy search, because I did not take the venue decision lightly, but we are SO happy with our decision and felt like it truly fit our wedding vision perfectly (which you can read all about here!).
Would you believe me if I told you our spreadsheet has seventy (yes, 7-0) venues on it? This type-A girl doesn’t make a big decision without thorough research, so we searched high and low, and I thanked my lucky stars for the most patient fiancé until we finally landed on a Midwestern venue that was romantic and enchanting, light and airy, close to Chicago – and of course, on-budget!
Time to take you on a tour of our wedding venue!
The Wedding Venue That Stole Our Hearts: Wilder Mansion
After a LOT of searching, and probably even more over-thinking, we finally landed on the perfect venue for us and our vision: the beautiful, historic Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst, Illinois. It ultimately had everything we were looking for: close proximity to Chicago, romantic charm, lots of bright and airy light filling the space, a beautiful garden, vintage character, and even a little touch of Carolina beauty, as we keep hearing!
There are SO many reasons that ultimately lead to us choosing Wilder Mansion, even outside of its undeniable historic beauty. While we toured many beautiful venues, Wilder Mansion ticked all of the boxes for us, from location, to price, to flexibility to communication.
What We Considered When Searching for Our Venue
While the venue certainly sets the tone for the wedding, we also decided as we headed into our search that we didn’t want to overspend on a venue and be left feeling like we didn’t have the budget to bring to life all of the other special pieces of the day. So, during this process, we were very detailed about researching what was included with each venue, what spaces would require more or less decor, what catering and bar restrictions there were that could ultimately increase or decrease a large portion of our budget, and many more key considerations. That way, we could make the most of our budget, and not only choose a venue that made our hearts sing, but also one that was a smart decision on paper and would set us up for success during the rest of our planning process.
We fell in love with its vintage feel, classic charm, and character-packed design details that you get with a historic property. It offered a uniqueness we hadn’t seen on other venue tours, and immediately we were able to envision our French-inspired garden party-esque wedding taking place here.
Not only was the style just what we were looking for, but since it is actually owned by the Elmhurst Park District, it was a bit more affordable than other mansion venues we visited, which allows us to invest more in other areas of the day, too – and had my creative mind spinning! Of course, there are pros and cons to everything, so one slight con is that many other mansion venues are on their own expansive property, while Wilder Mansion is tucked into a residential neighborhood next door to a park, but ultimately that was something we were comfortable with accepting, especially knowing the neighborhood is a beautiful one, anyways. (Truly, I’d move there in a heartbeat! Should we start the house-hunting now that the venue is locked down? *Heavy sarcasm, one thing at a time*) There is certainly charm in pulling down a long driveway that opens up to a beautiful estate, but that comes at a cost too. And if I have learned one thing with wedding planning, it is that you can’t have it all and you MUST be realistic with your expectations. It’s all about prioritization because no matter what your budget is, wedding planning is expensive.
Another big pro for us is that Wilder Mansion is incredibly flexible with vendor selections, which was music to my ears! I was shocked to see so many restrictions and required lists from other vendors during our venue search. We felt like the opportunities were endless here!
As we started reaching out to caterers, DJs and more, vendors raved about Wilder Mansion, which of course was all the reassurance we needed.
And I can’t say I’m shocked by this amazing vendor feedback, because we also have had a really fantastic time working with the Wilder Mansion team so far! They have been incredibly helpful and so knowledgeable, which has been a dream.
We are SO thrilled we came across Wilder Mansion and now can call it OUR WEDDING VENUE! It truly is such a beautiful, historic space for us to bring our vision to life.
Top Advice for Finding Your Venue
If you are on your own venue search, I definitely encourage you to take some time, tour a variety of venues, and hone in on what you love. At the beginning, we didn’t know if we wanted a loft or a garden or a mansion; all I knew is I wanted character and lots of light. The more venues we saw, both in-person and online, the more we honed in on our personal style and developed our wedding vision, which made us feel SO confident in choosing Wilder Mansion. We knew we did our due diligence and were thoughtful in our choice.
Other Romantic and Timeless Wedding Venues We Considered
Next up is part two for all of you on your own wedding planning journey: a full list of other venues we toured and even more that we considered! Head over here to read our list of romantic and airy Midwestern wedding venues, all close to Chicago!