Photo: Courtesy of Gatherings on the Ridge
Looking for the perfect venue for your big day but having trouble finding one? Don't limit your search to the Chicagoland area — you might find that your ideal venue is just across the border! Here are five beautiful venues just north of Chicago.
Gatherings on the Ridge
Nestled in the rolling hills of southwest Wisconsin's Driftless region, Gatherings on the Ridge is a scenic wedding barn near the town of Eastman, WI. Though it is now exclusively an event space, the farm has a fascinating history — ranging from hosting an underground jail in the early 1900s to being home to award winning hog farmers. Lovingly restored by owners Jeanne and Jay Aspenson, Gatherings on the Ridge still has its original wooden beams and reclaimed flooring, with a full deck facing the west at the back (perfect for beautiful sunset views). Read real brides' reviews here!
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Located in Wisconsin's capital city of Madison, Olbrich Botanical Gardens has been recognized as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the US — and the perfect venue for a bride looking for a lush natural backdrop for her nuptials. Brides who decide to hold their ceremony at Olbrich can choose between three sites: the Outdoor Event Garden, gorgeously landscaped with seasonal annuals, large container gardens, and a dark wood pergola; the Atrium, an open and airy room with glass walls and a vaulted glass ceiling framed by oak beams; or the Bolz Conservatory, a tropical paradise complete with a waterfall and free-flying birds! Receptions are held at the Evjue Commons, a large room with a vaulted ceiling and a floor-to-ceiling glass wall with spectacular views of the gardens. Read real brides' reviews here!
Located on the shores of Lake Pepin, Villa Belleza is a stunning winery inspired by century-old villas in southern Europe, with sun-soaked yellow stucco and stone buildings surrounding a central piazza. With its striking views and classical architecture, your guests are sure to remember your big day for years to come. If you choose to host your wedding at Villa Bellezza, there are various ceremony sites within the vineyard. There are also several halls that are grand enough for a big celebration including Great Hall, for couples with a large guest list — featuring a main level ballroom with an interior balcony overlooking the space below. The Great Hall is sophisticated and warm, with towering ceilings arched with wood beamed trusses, and rows of French doors that open to your large private courtyard and vineyard lawn. French doors on the south side of the main ballroom lead to the central piazza and fountain with lots of natural light, so it's safe to say your photographer won't have to do much searching for stunning photo ops. Read real brides' reviews here!
An elegant Mediterranean style villa in Milwaukee, Villa Terrace is a European-inspired fantasy locale. With a lush garden and beautiful views of Lake Michigan from the Terrace de Luna, the Villa Terrace is a gorgeous and elegant venue for any bride who dreams of a European aesthetic — perfect for outdoor weddings and smaller, luxe receptions. Villa Terrace is also an art museum, with fine and decorative arts dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries as well as changing exhibits. Wedding guests can browse the museum during your event, and the bride and groom's' changing rooms are even located upstairs among the art! In addition, the window in the bride's room overlooks the outdoor terrace, so brides can get a glimpse of their guests as they arrive. Read real brides' reviews here!
The Farm at Dover
Established in 1874, The Farm at Dover is a beautiful venue located in Dover, WI — only 75 miles north of Chicago and 24 miles east of Lake Geneva. The farm mixes old-world charm with rustic beauty, boasting seven acres of gardens filled with towering oak trees. For your bridal party, the grounds contain a 4-bedroom Victorian home available for overnights. The versatile historic barn can seat up to 160 people for your special day. With a beautiful mezzanine dining area, spectacular chandeliers, a 660-square-foot stone patio, and a second story veranda, The Farm at Dover is a lovely venue that will be sure to make a lasting impression on all of your guests.