Renovated farms, barns, vineyards and other rural locations are great alternatives, and generally make for a relaxed day, especially if ceremony and reception are both held at the venue and guest need not travel to any additional locations in unfamiliar countryside areas.
Here are a couple suggestions for wineries in northern areas:
Lynfred Winery (Roselle, IL)
Whyte Horse Winery (Monticello, IN)
There are a lot more vineyards that have weddings in further away from Chicago for each state, so if you are open to having a mini-destination wedding they might be good to look into as well.
Chateau Pomije (Guilford, IN)
Chateau de Pique (Seymour, IN)
Spirit Knob Winery (Ursa, IL)
Ravissant Winery (Belleville, IL)
The olny vineyards I know are in Michigan or down in Lafayette. For outdoor venues theres the mansion in Scherville, In or there is and Ardoritium by Shorewood in Valparaiso. There also a apple orchard on County line that I hear is pretty, but I have never been there.
There is a vineyard in Valparaiso called Anderson Winery. I don't know what they do as far as weddings...
Please let me know how your wedding goes @ Bennett Curtis house. We are planning to use them for our July 2011 wedding.
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