Planning Weddings in Galena, IL

Planning Weddings in Galena, IL from a distance can seem like quite the task.  I’m here to help 🙂

First of all, let me say this:  I have shot over 400 weddings, personally.  I’ve seen it all, pretty much.  I’ve watched cakes collapse, consoled brides who’s dresses were not tailored correctly, gasped in horror at tacky DJ games forced upon guests, so, I GET IT.  I know the good, the bad and the cheap but not so ugly.  I’m not going to put anyone on this list I would not hire myself and no one on this list has paid to be on it.  I also want to stress that I am simply providing this to you as a service and I am not responsible for whom you choose to hire for your wedding or event.  Research thoroughly.  Choose wisely.

Now, without further ado, may I present…*drumroll* THE LUMINOUS WEDDING LIST.  The ultimate super duper extra fabulous guide for planning your wedding in the beautiful bluffs and historic buildings of Galena, IL.

Wedding Venues

Where, oh where, in such a gorgeous place, will your wedding ceremony happen?  In Galena, we have so many wedding venues, it seems I am finding new ones every season.  Here are the ones I am familiar with and can recommend without hesitation:

Grace Episcopal Church– Grace is the one tucked into the bluffs above Main with a gorgeous red door.  THAT ONE.  It is surrounded by beautiful rock walls and small meditation gardens.  They are LGBTQ friendly.  It is also very close to downtown and you can get there by a simple 5 minute walk.

St. Micheal’s Church– A grand catholic beauty.  It sits just behind Main on Bench St. and has these beautiful terraces behind on the bluff with statuary placed here and there.  They are professional and accommodating.  It is also very close to downtown- just a 2 minute walk.

First United Methodist Church– They say this is the place where Ulysses S. Grant went to church while he lived here.  It’s smaller than St. Michaels, but equally as gorgeous.  The people I’ve worked with at weddings are always kind and helpful.   It is also very close to downtown with a 2 minute walk ahead of you :).

Lin-Mar  Gardens– This is, hands down, my absolute favorite wedding venue in Galena.  It’s this amazing, hidden place with a sunken garden, water accents, luscious plants and blooms (some very rare natives) and the man, Hal, who owns and cares for it, is just awesome.  I’m absolutely envious of his lovely place just above the downtown area.  It’s so well hidden that some locals don’t even know it exists.  It’s the perfect size for a small wedding or elopement.

Eagle Ridge Resort– Eagle Ridge Resort sits on the edge of Lake Galena and is close to Thunder Bay Falls.  It is surrounded by tall woods.  The solarium has these amazing floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the woods and deck area and is perfect for receptions.  The staff is always very nice too.

Goldmoor– What a lovely place for a wedding.  The Goldmoor overlooks the Mississippi River Valley and the gardens always seem to be lush.  The inn is quite impressive with a castle like feel towering over the river.  The staff is very sweet and will do just about anything to make sure your day is one full of celebration. The food rocks too 🙂

Chestnut Mountain Resort– Excellent for larger gatherings as well as small ones.  There is a very nice “hidden” clearing on the edge of the bluffs that looks out onto the Mississippi River and the reception site has a playground right next to it for your younger guests…or maybe your older ones.

West Street Sculpture Park– Now, my disclaimer here is that I have no idea if this place allows wedding ceremonies, but it is sure worth checking into if you will have a small ceremony or elopement.  This is one of my favorite places in Galena- a great garden full of beautiful plants, hidden pathways and eccentric metal sculpture.  I’m adding it because I think it would be great for a couple who likes something different.  If you call and they tell you they don’t allow weddings, please let me know so i can remove them from this list.

Grant Park– It’s a beautiful place.  Yes, it is open to the public, but if you are on a tighter budget or don’t mind a few people strolling around, Grant Park is a great venue with beautiful views of downtown and the river.  You can have your ceremony in the Pergola, at the Fountain, the Gazebo or the Pavilion which is a great space for a small reception as well.

Turner Hall– This place is a grand old theater complete with stage.  The shape of the room is round and there is gorgeous wood work throughout.  It’s a nice place for a small wedding and reception.  They also allow catering.

Reception and Rehearsal Dinner Venues

Fried Green Tomatoes– A great space to accommodate about 200 people.  The staff works very hard to make sure you and your guests have a great time and the food is very good.

One Eleven Main– Lovely space with accommodation for about 150 people.  Excellent, primarily locally sourced food.

Caterers

I’ve already mentioned two great caterers- Fried Green and One Eleven Main, above.  Here are a few more I highly recommend:

Life’s a Feast– Specializing in smaller events and intimate gaterings and providing my very favorite food in the area.  Plus, they are really fun people to work with.

Perry Street Brasserie– They are a one of Galena’s best kept secrets that I hear many happy whispers about.  Wonderful food.

Officiants

Reverend Jess Farlow– Jess is always kind and accommodating.  He is very professional and I have worked with him on quite a few weddings.  You may contact him via email or by phone: 779-214-0089 ~ jessfarlow@gmail.com

Colleen Helgerson– She has a radiant smile and a peaceful presence and does a wonderful job of officiating your wedding ceremony.

Lisa Mapes– One of my good friends and a a fantastic wedding officiant who listens to your needs.  You may contact her by phone or email: 612-568-6313 dragonflyblissdesigns@gmail.com

Florists

White’s Florist– in Dubuque, IA, but one of the very best.  I always love their gorgeous floral art.

Flowers on Main– also in Dubuque.  They tie with White’s.  Top Notch.

Musicians

One thing is for sure about Galena- we have some FINE musicians.  That Mississippi River Music Culture draws amazing music artists of all kinds.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Bands/Music

DJ Gunga– a purveyor of fine grooves.  100% PURE VINYL on LP and 45.  You want ambiance?  This is your DJ- funk, soul, jazz, even 80’s pop.  His collection is amazing, especially the eclectic, rare gems.

Soulsa– energizing and truly talented Latin band that keeps you movin’.  They are one of my favorites for a night out dancing 🙂 563-542-4236 or leodavid22@hotmail.com

The Johnny Rockers– Rockabilly/Punkabilly heartthrob Johnny (he may have paid me to say that 😉 )  Loads of riotous fun.

Feast of Mutton– Take some turkish vibes and coat them with that gritty Mississippi mud, add Spanish influence and you have music that transcends good.  A little more on the mellow side and great for a quieter reception.  Also ideal for a ceremony and cocktail hour. ericbalayti@hotmail.com

R&R Boogie Band– Scott and Marty are two of my favorite people.  I’m always blown away when they pick up them there git-fiddles and I can’t stop tapping my feet and dancing. (815)281-0247 or (815)858-5602

Peter Fraterdeus– Talented musician perfect for wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours and has strong, Celtic musical roots. 563-223-8231, peterf@slowprint.com (Peter also does amazing LETTERPRESS invitations.  I love letterpress.)