October 27, 2020
Central Illinois may not be the first place you think of when dreaming of your perfect wedding day. We don’t have a mountain range… or an ocean… or an expansive skyline.
But you know what? That’s okay. Because we have elegant hotels, lush gardens, historic homes, shady forests, revamped warehouses, rolling fields, and art galleries… all within a 60-mile radius.
And that means there’s a wedding venue for everyone, from the elegant bride, to the rustic bride, and beyond. Keep reading for some of our favorites!
The Romantic Bride
When you dream about your wedding day, here’s what you see: Soft hues, delicate lighting, and florals galore. Plus lots of candles, calligraphy, and airy fabrics.
Have we described the wedding of your dreams? Then a garden wedding may be ideal for your big day… and there’s a great option in the heart of Peoria.
Luthy Botanical Garden
Luthy Botanical Garden is located in Peoria’s Glen Oak Park and features over 5 acres of themed gardens.
Want something tropical? Try the Conservatory. Obsessed with roses? The Rose Garden features a grand arbor, All-America rose selections, and classic roses. Prefer plants native to Illinois? The Woodland Garden showcases majestic trees, wooded paths, and a grassy open space, perfect for your wedding ceremony.
And if you want the garden backdrop without worrying about unpredictable Illinois weather, then try the Greenhouse, which was recently renovated to accommodate weddings of up to 170 guests.
The Vintage Bride
Do you have a penchant for the past? Does thrift shopping give you a thrill? Is your home filled with retro appliances and family heirlooms?
If so, a historic home may be just the space you need to say your “I do’s.” And there are a couple in the area we think you’ll love.
The Pettengill-Morron House
Owned by the Peoria Historical Society, the Pettengill-Morron House is located on Moss Avenue in Peoria’s West Bluff Historic District. The mansion was built in 1868 for Moses Pettengill, a prominent businessman. The house was constructed in the Second Empire architectural style, but a Colonial Revival porch was added in 1900, giving the house a Victorian feel.
The mansion was completely renovated in the 1940s with a modern kitchen and bathrooms, and its 11 rooms are filled with antiques from several Peoria families. The private backyard is the perfect backdrop for a small, intimate ceremony and reception.
The Vrooman Mansion
The Vrooman Mansion is one of Central Illinois’ hidden gems. The space is massive—it has seven guest suites and six common areas—and yet, it feels incredibly cozy. Located in Bloomington, Illinois, the venue can accommodate up to 100 guests for your wedding day.
We were mesmerized by the historic details of each room (a photographer’s dream!), and we think you will be too. The grand staircase leading into the foyer is a stunner… and would make an incredible bridal entrance.
The Boho Bride
Flower crowns, succulents, and persian rugs. Loose braids, bare feet, and maxi dresses. Music festivals, yoga retreats, and coffee shops.
Did we just list all your favorite things? If yes, you’re probably a boho bride. And we have the perfect venue for you!
Owned by the Peoria Park District, Camp Wokanda sits on 316 woodland acres in Chillicothe, Illinois. Depending on the size of your wedding, you can choose to rent the dining hall or the OA lodge.
The dining hall holds up to 250 guests and is perfect for an indoor/outdoor reception. This space features a wood dance floor, large kitchen, restrooms, tables, chairs, benches, and an outdoor fire ring. We love that this space is essentially a blank slate—there are so many ways to make it uniquely yours!
The OA lodge is perfect for a smaller, more intimate wedding. This quaint, rustic building features two wood stoves and accommodates up to 75 guests.
The grounds surrounding Camp Wokanda are what make this venue so special. You can hold your ceremony in a grassy clearing in the woods and use the lush greenery as a backdrop for your wedding day portraits.
The Industrial-Chic Bride
Exposed brick walls, edison lights, and visible ductwork. Wooden pillars, peeled-paint walls, and cement floors. These are details that may seem appalling to some. But to you, they’re beautiful.
Does this describe you? Then you’re in luck. Because Central Illinois is brimming with industrial-chic venues oozing with character and charm.
Located in Eureka, Illinois, The Cannery is a revived warehouse once used for producing canned pumpkins and other vegetables. The warehouse closed in 1960 and sat empty for over 55 years.
The space was purchased in 2015 by Brandon and Amy Knapp, who brought life back into the space. The couple kept the building as true to its era as possible, while adding modern amenities.
You can make use of one or several of their spaces. The main space features exposed brick walls, wooden pillars, and visible ductwork and seats up to 250. The Grove is an indoor basement lounge area perfect for your cocktail hour. And the large courtyard can accommodate up to 250 guests for a wedding ceremony.
Last year, a bridal suite was added as well… making this venue even better than we thought possible!
Trailside Event Center
Trailside Event Center, located in Peoria Heights, Illinois, originally housed a bicycle factory. When that closed in 1904, the space would go on to host a long list of tenants, from a dog training school, to an artist’s cooperative, and more.
Around 2014, Trefzger’s Bakery owners Jeff and Martha Huebner bought the space and began renovations. Today, the building holds an incredible event venue on its second floor. Its large windows give guests a panoramic view of Peoria Heights. And the exposed brick walls, wooden beams, and original pine floors give the space a cozy, welcoming vibe that we can’t get enough of.
The Distillery Room at the Waterhouse
The Waterhouse offers three possible spaces for your wedding day. But the Distillery Room is by far and away our favorite (and the only one acceptable for an industrial-chic bride).
The Distillery Room can accommodate up to 200 guests. With its exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, wooden pillars, and tin tile ceiling, this venue screams industrial-chic.
Another bonus? It’s location in downtown Peoria offers the perfect urban backdrop for all your wedding day portraits.
Located in Peoria’s Warehouse District, Venue Chisca offers three equally stunning options for your wedding day.
The Quarter is an ideal option for brides who want an outdoor ceremony and/or reception. It’s the only wedding venue in downtown Peoria with ample green space—17,000 square feet of it to be exact!
The Memphis Room can accommodate up to 300 guests and exudes southern charm like no other venue in Central Illinois. The space features 20 electric vintage chandeliers, two skylights, and large windows throughout. We love the exposed brick walls, cement floors, and the two massive chandeliers at the center of the room.
The Grand Ballroom can seat up to 500 guests and also features electric vintage chandeliers, exposed brick walls, and cement floors. What makes this space even more special than The Memphis Room is its large, all glass overhead door that can be opened up for guests to enjoy the outdoor patio.
The Rustic Bride
You prefer cowgirl boots to high heels. You’re not afraid to get a little dirty. And wide open fields make your heart go pitter-patter.
Sound like you? If so, a barn might be the perfect venue for your wedding day. Here are some of our favorites in Central Illinois.
The Barn at Hornbaker Gardens
Located in Princeton, Illinois, The Barn at Hornbaker Gardens is perfect for the rustic bride who wants modern amenities.
You and your groom will be equipped with private rooms to prepare for the day, complete with couches, mini fridges, and plenty of mirrors (a must on your wedding day!).
You can say your “I do’s” in a grassy meadow overlooking a pond and take advantage of the 2-acre native Illinois prairie for photos.
Dinner and dancing will take place in the gorgeous barn. It may look rustic on the outside, but inside is anything but. Its big windows let in plenty of natural light (perfect for photos!) and heating and air conditioning guarantee you and your guests will party in comfort.
Marlene’s Event Barn
This gorgeous venue opened in 2019 and instantly became one of our favorites in the area. Named after the owner’s grandma, Marlene’s Event Barn features a stunning bridal suite, a catering kitchen, a bar, and on-site ceremony space.
The inside of this venue will certainly make you swoon. And the outside doesn’t disappoint either. Guests can mingle on the 700-square-foot covered patio, and the photo opportunities are endless, as the venue sits on 11 acres of woods and grassland.
Owner Kim Springer says it best: “There is nothing better than hanging in a barn with some cocktails, music, and the ones you love the most.”
Walnut Grove Farm
Located in Knoxville, Illinois, Walnut Grove Farm is more rustic than The Barn at Hornbaker Gardens and Marlene’s Event Barn, but that’s part of what gives it its charm.
This 19th century farmstead is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. We love its raw wood floors, original barn wood siding, and exposed rafters. It’s truly an amazing piece of preserved history.
You can choose to hold your ceremony inside the barn or outside in the walnut grove. The venue also offers custom floral design using flowers from their on-site garden. A lot of couples take advantage of the on-site private guesthouse. This turn-of-the-century bungalow accommodates up to six guests and is the perfect space to get ready for your wedding day.
The Elegant Bride
Your perfect wedding day looks like this: a smooth and sleek hairstyle, a polished bridal gown, and ballroom dancing galore. Your style icons are Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Kate Middleton. And you have a love for luxury and the finer things in life.
Sound like you? If so, you need a venue that lives up to your elegant taste. And we know of at least two that may fit the bill.
Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette
Located in downtown Peoria, Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette is the epitome of luxury. You can choose between several different event spaces for your wedding day.
The Cotillion Ballroom is the hotel’s signature wedding space, featuring turn-of-the-century paintings and architecture, high ceilings, and the original orchestra pit for first dances. Yes, it really is as magical as it sounds. The LaSalle Ballroom boasts floor-to-ceiling windows (give us ALL the natural light!) and ornate detailing. And the Marquette Ballroom is decorated with stunning chandeliers and can hold up to 440 guests.
Metamora Fields is a golf course and clubhouse located just 25 minutes outside of Peoria. That may not immediately scream luxury to you, but hear us out.
The 25,000-square-foot clubhouse features a second-floor ballroom with huge windows overlooking the lush fairway. The room is decorated with crystal chandeliers, giving the space an elegant feel. And its neutral paint and décor make it easy for you to showcase your personal style with accent colors and centerpieces.
Other noteworthy features include the outdoor terrace (great for sunset pictures!) and an outdoor ceremony space overlooking four pristine lakes.
The Artsy Bride
You love color, texture, and the unconventional. Your perfect day is spent wandering through an art museum. And your friends constantly compliment you on your creativity.
Does this describe you to a T? If so, we know of the perfect venue for you.
Contemporary Art Center of Peoria
Where better to host an artsy wedding than in an art gallery? The Contemporary Art Center will rent out its Preston Jackson Gallery for your wedding day. This 3,000-square-foot space is in an old warehouse with original exposed red brick walls and wood floors.
You can take advantage of the room’s sound system, stage, stage lighting, bar area, and full kitchen. And since this is an art gallery, your guests can peruse the art exhibits during your reception… so cool!
We love the moody vibe of this space, and we’re certain you will too.
We’ve named some of our favorite wedding venues in Central Illinois, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. If you need help finding a space to fit your vibe, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to help!