Stewart Glass
August 20, 2019

The Experience of Outdoor Weddings at Independence Grove

August 20, 2019

The Experience of Outdoor Weddings at Independence Grove

Stewart Glass

There are several decisions that go into planning a wedding, and one of the biggest ones is deciding on the wedding venue.

To be sure, finding the perfect wedding venue isn’t easy! While it’s important to choose a venue that is meaningful to the couple, other aspects such as budget, logistics, and availability should also be considered.

The venue you choose for your wedding sets the tone for your event, whether you choose an indoor or outdoor venue. Both have their pros and cons, but thankfully, a venue like Independence Grove offers the best of both worlds.

Why You Should Have an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

An indoor wedding may be practical, but weather permitting holding an outdoor wedding can be a great option. No matter the season, an outdoor wedding will always look beautiful.

Here’s why:

  • The outdoors provide a gorgeous backdrop for weddings. Humans can build beautiful things, but nothing beats the beauty of nature. Whether in a garden, by the beach, or along a lake, there’s no need to go overboard on decorations because the view is enough. Imagine having your ceremony in the North Patio, with the South Bay in the background. After the ceremony, guests can proceed to have cocktails by the lake, while the couple is having their photos taken by the forest preserve. There’s a covering outside of the main building so that you can still hold cocktails even if it’s drizzling outside.
  • Enough space. Whether you’re having a large or intimate wedding, an outdoor wedding provides enough space to accommodate your wedding guests.
  • Better wedding photos. Photographers cannot emphasize enough how natural lighting is the best for photography. It adds a soft warmth that makes photographs come out looking magical.

Outdoor wedding ceremony in the Native Garden

Outdoor wedding by the lake in Chicago

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Events at Independence Grove
May 21, 2019

Summer is in Full Swing at Independence Grove

May 21, 2019

Summer is in Full Swing at Independence Grove

Events at Independence Grove

The Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Lake County wasn’t always the beautiful 1100-acre botanical garden and recreation space that you may know it as today.

In fact, when Catering by Michaels was first given an opportunity to partner with Independence Grove in 1990, it was still a cement quarry. At the time, Catering by Michaels itself was a relatively young company, having been established only 5 years prior. At the time, we passed up on the opportunity to partner with Lake County Forest Preserves.

But when things are meant to be, they always find their way back to you.

When the development for Independence Grove was finally starting to come together, we were doing a lot of catering for a day camp event. It just so happened that one of the parents was a representative for the Lake County Forest Preserves, who loved our food so much that we were offered a 10-year exclusive partnership deal, which we accepted!

When development for Independence Grove was completed in 2001, we opened our office at the visitor center in January, and hosted our first event in March of the same year.

Summer Events at Independence Grove

Since then, several events, both corporate and social, have been hosted on the event grounds.

Did you know that our grounds are a favorite tourist attraction in Lake County, ranking just behind Six Flags and Great Wolf Lodge (formerly Key Lime Cove), with lots of outdoor activities and attractions, perfect for the warm weather?

This summer, the Independence Grove is hosting a series of outdoor concerts every Tuesday at 7:30pm.

De Hurricane Raggae Band kicks off the concert series, starting June 18. Other bands to look forward to include Rockin’ Fenderskirts, Adam Ezra Group, The North 41, and Rico.

Click here for entertainment schedules and additional details.

The Cafe at Independence Grove

The summer concert series coincides with the reopening of The Cafe at Independence Grove, which closed for the winter season and resumes operations on May 24, 2019. The cafe, which is conveniently located near the beach, offers spectacular views of the water and marina. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a snack after the shows or to refuel after participating in outdoor activities around the preserve.

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Events at Independence Grove
March 25, 2019

The Relationship Between Catering by Michaels & Independence Grove

March 25, 2019

The Relationship Between Catering by Michaels & Independence Grove

Events at Independence Grove

Did you know that Catering by Michaels isn’t just a catering company — we’re also the proud owners of a popular event venue in Libertyville, IL?

The relationship between Independence Grove and Catering by Micheals goes back as far as 1990, when we were first presented with a partnership opportunity. At the time, Independence Grove wasn’t the gorgeous forest preserve it is today — it was still a cement quarry that definitely wasn’t a public hangout!

When we were offered the opportunity to partner up with the Lake County Forest Preserve, we were still quite new as a company — having been initially founded just a few years earlier, in 1985. Knowing that we still too young to justify the big risk involved in this opportunity, we turned it down.

The cement quarry was still in operation for a few more years after this but Independence Grove was starting to come together around it. Looking back, we don’t regret the decision to initially pass on the opportunity as this development took longer than initial estimates. The building that we now operate in began construction on the Visitors Center. This second contact happened as the result of our catering efforts at a beautiful local day camp that hired us to book and cater weekend corporate picnics. The LCFPD representative who we eventually closed a 10 year partnership agreement with was a parent to one of the young employees at the day camp who couldn’t stop talking about our success there and how much they loved our food! How’s that for serendipitous?

In 1999, we began the sales effort to promote the Visitors Center for weekend weddings, mitzvahs and whatever else came along. We did not have a model, but a drawing, floor plan and menus worked, and it was not a “difficult sell”. The venue was completed in 2001 and we opened our office there in January 2001 and hosted our first event in March 2001.

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What’s better than one Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah?

A two-in-one B’nai Mitzvah celebrating two young adults coming of age! For twins Dillon (girl) and Zach (boy), their Black and Neon B’nai Mitzvah in Audubon Hall was featured on PartySlate and sure to be remembered for years to come.

All photos captured and provided by North Shore Photography.

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Events at Independence Grove
August 2, 2018

North Bay Pavilion Waterfront Weddings

August 2, 2018

North Bay Pavilion Waterfront Weddings

Events at Independence Grove

Events at Independence Grove makes for a beautiful wedding venue for those looking to tie the knot in Chicagoland.

For inspiration to plan your special day, let’s take a look at two beautiful outdoor weddings we hosted recently at North Bay Pavilion:

John & Denise’s Wedding

In perfect wedding tradition, John and Denise  joined their friends and family together for a beautiful evening of celebration. A short ceremony was held by the lake, followed by cocktails, a buffet dinner, delicious desserts, and of course—dancing. Not to distract from the natural allure of the outdoor setting, their simple and traditional elements set the tone and mood for this fun and lovely wedding. Their dinner choices were Catering by Michaels’ take on their favorites:  seafood for her and steak for him!  The North Bay Pavilion was honored to be a part of their journey toward the next chapter of their lives together.

Here are some gorgeous shots from Michael Delott Photography:

Lakeside wedding ceremony Independence Grove  

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Events at Independence Grove
June 27, 2018

Let’s Kick-off Summer At Independence Grove

June 27, 2018

Let’s Kick-off Summer At Independence Grove

Events at Independence Grove

June 21st officially marked the first day of summer, and we want to kick off the week by sharing all the fun-filled happenings at Independence Grove. It’s that time of year for picnics in the park, lazy boat rides on the lake, and soft serve ice cream.

Independence Grove is open to the public and plays hosts to tons of fun activities: swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and so much more. The park is centered around a 115-acre lake, making the preserve a favorite summer hangout spot for all outdoor recreation and nature education.

Consider Independence Grove’s many amenities and activities for visitors to enjoy:

Amenities:

  • Picnic Tables
  • Fireplace
  • Flush Toilets
  • Playground
  • Sand Volleyball Court
  • Fishing Pier
  • Public Parking
  • Trails

Activities:

  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Exhibits
  • Dog Park
  • Hiking
  • Canoeing/Kayaking

But that’s not all….

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Events at Independence Grove
May 15, 2018

Free Summer Concerts & Picnics in the Park

May 15, 2018

Free Summer Concerts & Picnics in the Park

Events at Independence Grove

Summer really is the best time to enjoy all that Independence Grove Forest Preserve has to offer.  

Opening May 25: Independence Grove Cafe

Overlooking a 115-acre lake, it’s the perfect backdrop for family picnics, a romantic date, or a relaxing day out with friends. Grab some blankets and pack a picnic, or swing by the cafe for a light dinner, snacks, and beverages.

The afternoon can be spent splashing around: swimming, fishing, or boating on the lake. With over six miles of trails, you might also consider taking on the dry land: hiking, biking, or in-line skating. After you’ve worked up a good sweat, cool off with some cold, sweet ice-cream from the cafe.

Operated by award-winning Chicagoland catering company, Catering by Michaels, opening day for the cafe is May 25—just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. The menu include a delicious assortment of snacks, gourmet salads, thin crust pizzas, grilled & deli sandwiches, sweets, and beverages. The cafe is located on the north side of the visitors center and has a convenient walk-up window if you want to grab and go enjoy all that Independence Grove has to offer.

Cafe Hours:

Mon-Thurs: 10:30 am — 4:00 pm
Fri-Sun: 10:30 am — 6:00 pm
*Open Until 9:00 pm on concert evenings

Starting In June: Live Concerts 

Summer at Independence Grove will be especially entertaining on Tuesday nights, when the Plaza outdoor concert series kick-offs. From rock ’n’ roll oldies to funky reggae to cool bluegrass, you’re invited to come enjoy free outdoor concerts in the park. The concert series goes from mid-June to early August.

2018 Summer Lineup 

Tuesdays, June 12-August 7, 7:30 p.m. at the Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville. No rain dates & no concert on July 3.

If you’re coming to Independence Grove on the day of a concert, make sure to arrive early to secure a parking spot, as cars are turned away when parking is full!

Summertime is upon us and there’s plenty to do at Independence Grove. Plan your trip—we’re excited to see you soon!


Events at Independence Grove
April 17, 2018

Katie + Jay’s Colorful Spring Wedding

April 17, 2018

Katie + Jay’s Colorful Spring Wedding

Events at Independence Grove

Spring wedding season is in full swing so we wanted to share one of our past favorites!

Katie & Jay’s Independence Grove wedding kicked off our beautiful spring weddings last year. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day with amazing sunshine and gorgeous spring florals.

From their first look and ceremony in the Native Garden to their wedding reception in Audubon Hall, every aspect of their fairytale day was absolute perfection.

All photos captured by the very talented Kristin La Voie Photography.

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Events at Independence Grove
March 29, 2018

The Ultimate Company Picnic Experience

March 29, 2018

The Ultimate Company Picnic Experience

Events at Independence Grove

Summer is the perfect time for an outdoor picnic! Company picnics are a great way for corporate businesses to promote team building, boost company morale, and give back to employees. If you’ve been chosen to plan your company’s picnic, then you’ve come to the right place. 

There are many reasons why companies choose to host their summer picnics at Independence Grove, but the primary reason we hear most often is because we’re a one-stop shop for all their needs. Not only do you get a unique venue and a dedicated Event Coordinator, but also award-winning catering from Catering by Michaels. Win win!

THE ULTIMATE PICNIC EXPERIENCE

We understand that it’s not always realistic to carve out extra time to plan a company-wide event when you still have your regular job duties to attend to. That’s why one of our extremely talented Event Coordinators will work closely with you to choose the perfect space (North Bay Pavilion or the Grassy Knoll), design a delicious menu, and plan entertainment and activities based on the style and theme of your picnic. From your very own carnival rides and antique style concession stands to authentic Chicago-style hot dog and pizza carts — we guarantee an unforgettable experience for your guests.

Corporate Picnic venue

CURATE A TASTY MENU

You can’t have a corporate picnic without an exciting spread of food. And remember, the food you select should positively reflect your company’s brand. If budget is tight, and we know it always is, make sure to cut from anywhere but catering. Providing a high quality, delicious meal conveys one very important message to employees: we care about you! 

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Events at Independence Grove
February 27, 2018

Kyle & Katie’s Chic Wedding

February 27, 2018

Kyle & Katie’s Chic Wedding

Events at Independence Grove

We were honored to host Kyle & Katie’s gorgeous wedding reception at Independence Grove. Our 1,000 acre nature preserve with it’s pristine beauty and secluded setting was the perfect backdrop for this ultra stylish and chic couple.

The very talented Jordan Imhoff Photography captured these stunning images of their magical day:

The Native Garden

Check out that vintage diamond cuff! Whoa.

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