Help plan a long distance Chicagoland wedding

Sometime next year, I’m getting married in Illinois. This is only logical place to have it, as my finance’s family is huge and almost entirely local, while mine is small and scattered. The problem is that we currently live in Massachusetts, which makes planning things difficult. So I come to you Dopers for help.

Our plan on flying in at the end of September to do some scouting. Mainly we are looking to lock in a place to host the event, food, and a photographer. We need other stuff too, but those are the big issues. We are planning to get married by a justice of the peace, so no religious affiliation is necessary. We are looking at ~150 guests and hopefully a budget under 10k, but expect it might be a little more. I would the food be fairly high quality and a bit unique. Given the amount of people and budget it will probably have to be buffet style. There also needs to be a kosher friendly option. We want to get married in spring or summer, but haven’t narrowed days beyond that, figuring it is easier to find a place first.

Suggestions on possible locales, caterers, photographers, or just experiences with long distance weddings are greatly appreciated.

:smack: Forgot include the actual location. Somewhere in the triangle of Kankakee, Joliet, Matteson would probably be ideal, but we would consider places outside of it. Thanks!

Are there any family members who could book a country club location in the Kankakee-Joliet region?

The region has dozens of banquet halls and Comfort Suites–type hotels with banquet rooms. Is there any special feeling (authentically elegant architecture, outdoor beauty, actual Illinois history) that’s important to you? For instance Lockport’s Gaylord Building is on the old I&M Canal. Joliet Union Station main hall might be rentable.

None that would have any special access to one.

Not especially. I mean a pretty place would be nice, and outdoors is fine, but we don’t have anything particular in mind.