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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We have a Venue! (and a date...I guess that's important too.)

Wedding things are happening.

Save the Date, Bitches. September 19, 2015.

I've spent the better part of the last decade thinking of what it would be like to get engaged, meet the man of my dreams, wear a stunner on my left hand and what my wedding would look like. For the most part, all of these things have happened just as I had always dreamed of.

I got the love-at-first-sight moment with John

I got the romantic proposal and was super surprised.

And of course, I got bling blinggggg that is 100x better than I imagined.

Hello Wedding World. Here I am.

So now, I get to plan the wedding I have always dreamed of with the man I never imagined I could manage to convince to marry me at all. My time to be a bridezilla has finally come.Since I've thought so long and hard about this, it should be of no surprise that I am absolutely focused on my vision of wedding bliss. There is no stopping this train now. First stop, pick a date and a place.

Being in Phoenix and planning a wedding in Chicago-- let's just say its tough already. Here's 5 reasons why looking for a venue long distance is a pain in the ass:
  1. Fisheye lens on cameras are liars. They make ever ceiling look high and every landscape plush on a website. If you can't see it in person, don't begin to believe it.
  2. WeddingWire & the Knot reviews are basically all perfect because everyone thinks their wedding was the best...the best for them. Nobody wants to discuss how low and basement-y their banquet hall was and how they were envious of the wedding going on next door (Perfect for you is usually not perfect for Bridezilla over here...I clearly have a thing with ceilings, no?).
  3. Rustic is in all over the Midwest. Every country club to fancy venue is pushing how rustic and romantic their rooms are. I hate rustic. I hate medium color wood. I hate shabby-chic. Not for me.
  4. Any place can be made beautiful for the right amount of money. A banquet room in photos can be made to look glorious. Little do you know, each panel of the pipe & drape in the room costs $100 to hang and the lighting was done by an outside decorator for $10,000.
  5. What is beautiful inside, might be terrible on the outside. Location is everything. I went to a beautiful wedding once and all I remember about it was that it was in a banquet hall attached to a strip mall with a liquor store in it. Smdh.
Okay, so, before I even went to Chicago, my mom went to visit some of the venues that I was considering. I'm in a predicament because I have 60% out of town guests and 40% in town guests who live all over the top half of Illinois. So, we started with trying to pick a central location, near the airport to ease the burden for all guests. The only thing around the airport were hotels and banquet halls. My mom visited 6 of these locations and ruled them out for three reasons:
  1. The location was just bad. Views of airport tarmac, industrial parks or being located within walking distance of a Walmart was a no-go.
  2. Hotels and Banquet Halls have multiple weddings going on and I'm the type who wants to be either a.) the Best or b.) the Only. Let's say this is the only child in me.
  3. If my mom didn't feel strongly about them, I would hate them. My mother is a much more reasonable human than I am. She doesn't even believe in big weddings, I'm pretty sure, but she's indulging my fantasies anyways.
So, then we looked into the city of Chicago. Sales tax is 10.5%, which means we'd be paying literally $5k in taxes. I'd rather spend that on something awesome for my guests honestly.

This brought us to a location recommended by my father and grandmother which is a bit north of city in a sleepy little historic town, as their long time friends have the exclusive catering rights at this location, which, while it costs a bit more (read: A LOT more, like everything in frickin' weddings do), we know we will get top notch food and beverage and hopefully a little extra something for being besties for 30+ years.

And when we arrived, I was enchanted. Literally. I fell in love.While some girls have the "Say Yes to the Dress" moment, I got the "Say Yes to the Venue" moment instead. We drove down a winding road canopied by the beautiful fall trees and out into the plush lawns where the impressive white mansion sits on the 42 acre property. I just about cried seeing the rose garden still in bloom and the Italian fountains flowing. Not to mention the gorgeous antiques within the mansion-- I feel like its so Great Gatsby. Everything I always pictured my wedding venue to be. Romantic. Grand. Impressive. Historic. Beautiful. Indoor. Outdoor. Plush. Luxurious. Opulent. The list goes on. The Lehmann Mansion was constructed in 1912 as a summer home for Edward J. Lehmann and his family, and has been extensively and beautifully restored to the grandeur of its elegant past.

I literally could not be more excited. I feel its so perfect for John & my's pending nuptials next September. I can't help but get a little emotional imagining everything come together. Stay tuned for more wedding dress dilemma updates this week, because everything is not all rainbows and cookies for this bride to be.

Also, get the full image of my wedding by followed the Morales Party of Two Pinterest account, where you can stay up to date on all of our wedding inspirations.

Without further ado, here I present to you, Lehmann Mansion in Lake Villa, Illinois:


  1. Great blog!! Its really very interesting and informative information that you have posted on wedding venues here. But I want to know some information on Wedding location in Chicago because we are planning to celebrate our reception party in one of the best Chicago wedding venues. Will it be affordable for us?