Rural Venue

Cynthia wrote – I am looking for a rural location for my wedding and reception in NE Illinois. Any suggestions?

There is a relatively new venue called The Mora Farm in Waterman. This is a remote location. In fact you will find it is accessible via dirt/gravel roads. I have officiated a few weddings at this venue and found the couples were quite happy with their experience. nullThey have a FaceBook presence but on the date of this posting, their website was not working. You can reach them at (630) 201-1333. I hope this helps!

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Wedding Video

This video is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Schulten. I officiated their wedding at Shannon Hall earlier this year. The video provides a view of the couple on the steps of Shannon Hall and a bit of the interior. (The reception footage was not recorded at Shannon Hall.) If you are looking for an economical yet traditional church setting, this former site of Holy Cross Church may be worth checking out. While the exterior is quite impressive, the interior is not as traditional as Century Chapel or Chapel on the Green. Operated by the Batavia Park District, this facility is available for rent by the hour. Here is a link for rental information.

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The Chapel on the Green is Back!

Yorkville - The Chapel on the Green is again available for events. You may find this chapel to be a more affordable alternative to other wedding venues in the far-western suburbs. After the Kendall County Historical Society divested its interest in this historical site, a not-for-profit organization was formed to reopen this quaint white church. The Chapel on the Green is now operated by the Chapel on the Green Historical Society and can be rented for weddings, baptisms and other events. The lower level is also available for receptions and events.

The Chapel on the Green was built in 1855 and is the oldest church building in Kendall County. The restored pipe organ dates back to 1899. The bell in the bell tower works and can be rung as the bride and groom exit the chapel.

The Chapel on the Green is located at 107 West Center Street (corner of Church and Center Street) in Yorkville, Illinois.

Don and Bev Ament still coordinate reservations and can arrange a tour. You can contact them at 630-553-5070 or by emailing: More information is available at

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Update on Fake Wedding…

The Christian Congregation has replenished the printed supply of Ten Questions to Ask Your Officiant (available free at many wedding venues). This resource is also available on the Service Ministries website as a .pdf file. Here’s the link.

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Outdoor Refreshment

Carrie wrote -
Here’s something you can share: We got married a month ago in an outdoor setting. Concerned that it may be a little warm on the day of the wedding, we decided to provide bottled water for our guests. At the “entrance” for our guests, we placed two tubs filled with ice and bottles of water. We also made hand-held fans out of cardboard and wooden handles. The fans had our engagement picture printed on them.

Carrie, thanks for sharing the idea!

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To Give or Not to Give – That is the Question

Kathy wrote: “I am not comfortable with being given away like property at my wedding. Is it ok to skip this part of the ceremony?”

Yes, is the shortest answer. However, I think most view the presenting of the bride as nothing more than ceremonial tradition. No legal or tangible “transaction” actually takes place. So, it really doesn’t matter if the “Who presents…” question is asked – unless dad has been anticipating this moment for a number of years – then you may want to weigh the question against the possibility of hurt feelings or disappointment.

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Time to Book?

Corrine asked:
“We have decided not to get married in a church and booked a banquet hall for the reception and the wedding. We need to book some other things like a DJ, photographer, florist and a judge or reverend. Our wedding is still a year away. When should we start looking for the other people we need?”

Corrine – This is what I typically see with most weddings: Couples secure a place for the reception and wedding, next they search for a qualified officant, then entertainment and other supporting vendors.

Now would be a good time to begin the process. I have weddings on my calendar that are more than a year away. Securing your officiant early can help you avoid settling for second- or third-choice. Most couples I encounter seem to target a 9-12 month time frame for securing an officiant and other vendors. I hope this helps.

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Fake Wedding Officiant

Patty G. wrote:
I saw your posting titled “Faux Marriage” a while back. Just thought I would mention I saw another article on a marriage being declared invalid. The article said the Judge declared it “Void ab initio”, meaning the marriage never existed. The couple was married by an internet ordained minister. It’s too bad that folks get the wool pulled over their eyes by fake wedding officials and have to go through all that hassle.

Thanks for the note. It is unfortunate that so many misrepresent themselves. The 10 question resource may help. More importantly, couples should do a good job of checking out the legitimacy of the person they are considering for their wedding officiant – Rev. Roy

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Faux Marriage

Jan wrote: My sister is getting married in 2012 and talking about having a coworker officiate the marriage. She says he ordered his license online and is willing to do the wedding for free (if it’s open bar). I didn’t think this was legal. Is it?

This is a good question Jan. I’ll attempt to answer it, and then raise one of my own.

I know some “officiants” have performed marriages using a fake ordination – and many have gotten away with convincing couples that they are legitimate clergy. While it may seem nice to have a friend or colleague perform your ceremony, couples should take the time to investigate the legal requirements to officiate a marriage. The IDPH website provides some clarify on who can perform a marriage in Illinois:

To be valid, a marriage must be performed by one of the following individuals:

1) a judge of a court of record or a retired judge of a court of record;
2) a judge of the Court of Claims;
3) the county clerk in counties having 2 million or more inhabitants (Cook County);
4) a public official whose powers include solemnizing marriages; or
5) an officiant performing the marriage in accordance with the principles of any religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe or native group provided that when such principles require an officiant, the officiant be in good standing with his religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe or native group.

So, back to your question… Can your sister have her marriage performed by someone with mail order or internet credentials? Well, wedding officants fall into 5 classes. As you can see, the first four include judges, county clerks serving counties with a census of 2 million or more, and public officials with specific power to officiate. The fifth class includes religious leaders. I am assuming your sister’s coworker doesn’t fit into the first four classes – so this leaves us with religious leaders. Look closely at the language of the fifth class:

a) an officiant performing the marriage in accordance with the principles of any religious denomination
b) the officiant be in good standing with his religious denomination

Even if you could stretch things a bit and say that the fee-paid “ordination” met the qualifications for a), you may have some difficulty with b).

The question of being legally authorized to perform a marriage not only extends to those with illegitimate credentials, it also extends to those attempting to convince couples that they serve as a Justice of the Peace (class 4?). This is even more misleading than the “clergyperson” with fake credentials. The fact is, Illinois abolished the office of Justice of the Peace effective in 1964.

My suggestion would be to stick with someone legitimately qualified to perform a wedding – a Judge, Cook County Clerk, or clergyperson with legitimate credentials.

And here’s the question I promised…
Why would a couple place so little value on their marriage that they would have it begin with an illegitimate officant?

I hope this helps.

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Evanston Area Venue?

Linda wrote: I am looking for an unusual (but nice) location for my wedding. Mark and I would like our wedding and reception to be somewhere in the Evanston area. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Linda, here is something to check out… I recently received an email from a venue in Skokie that was intended to bring better awareness of the Skokie Theatre as a consideration for a wedding venue. While I have not seen a wedding at this location, they claim to have experienced a 1.5 million dollar renovation back in 2006. The photo reveals the interior to be a little different than, say, the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. They say the theatre seats 140 with 4 wheelchair spaces. This sounds like a different sort of a wedding venue.

I can’t offer an opinion on the location, positive or negative, as I have not seen it. But it’s near Evanston and you may want to check it out –

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