The Inside Scoop
FROM THE KNOT EDITORS
The First Look
Betrothed Illinois couples looking for an elegant wedding venue often choose Armour House at Lake Forest Academy. Built in 1908, this spacious Italianate villa was once a private residence and is now part of an Illinois boarding school on 162 scenic acres. Known as Reid Hall to the students who attend the Academy, Armour House doubles as a beloved campus fixture and an event venue for the community. A number of indoor and outdoor spaces ensure an unforgettable wedding celebration.
The Great Hall. Accommodating up to 190 guests, The Great Hall features lustrous marble floors, elegant wall sconces, a grand marble mantel and a magnificent staircase.
The Garden Room. Offering views of the home's spectacular gardens, this room highlights a charming marble fountain and textured marble walls. With capacity for up to 90 guests, it makes the ideal space for cocktail hour.
The Library. This space offers rich wood accents, a decorative ceiling and warm lighting. The Library accommodates 90 guests for a cocktail reception or small ceremony.
The Little Theater. Accommodating 110 guests for a ceremony, The Little Theater makes a wonderful setting to say "I do."
The Marble Room. Offering capacity for 50 guests, The Marble Room works well for catering stations, photo booths or a lounge area away from the wedding festivities. Ornate marble walls give this space its name.
The Outdoor Ceremonial Space. The beautiful lawn features an aisle lined with white blooms, which leads to the property's pagoda and fountain. This makes an enchanting setting for an exchange of nuptials and services ceremonies large and small.
What You Should Know
Armour House at Lake Forest Academy provides a team of wedding and event specialists to assist couples in creating a personal concept, design and menu. The venue supplies all food and beverages for weddings held here and couples are given a five-hour window for receptions.
Along with a premium bar, spouses-to-be can choose five appetizers to be passed during cocktail hour and a formal dinner includes three courses with wine pairings, a champagne toast, a custom-made wedding cake or dessert and coffee and tea. The site provides tables, chairs, linens, china, silverware and glassware.
In addition to the fee for the venue, there is a service fee of 21 percent and the City of Lake Forest charges 7.5 percent in sales tax. Ceremonies are allowed at Armour House, but only in combination with a reception. There is an additional fee for a ceremony and the site provides chairs and setup.
Couples may bring in any vendor of their choosing, but the venue is happy to provide a list of recommended vendors who are familiar with the facility. The campus offers ample event parking and round-the-clock security.
Armour House at Lake Forest Academy provides abundant special amenities for couples who choose this venue. These include:
- Use of the magnificent home and gardens for picture-ideal wedding photos the day of the event
- An allowance for tenting the property
- A 10 percent discount on food and beverages for Friday or Sunday weddings
- A 10 percent discount on food and beverages for weddings booked November through April
- Complimentary votive candles
- A silver cake riser for an additional charge
- Deluxe coffee service with treats like cinnamon sticks, whipped cream or cordials for an additional charge
- Extensive menu options selected in advance for the bridal suite and groom's suite
- Valet parking for an additional charge
From the Vendor
Stylish Receptions on Chicago's North Shore
The Armour House at Lake Forest Academy provides a unique and timeless setting for your event. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this prestigious Italian Villa combines old world charm with modern needs, the elegance of art with the grandeur of nature.
Amenities + Details
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$$ – Moderate
Estate, Historic Venue
Food + Catering, Planning
I don't even know where to begin- I have so many good things to say about this venue and staff. Our wedding at the Armour House was more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. Working with Dean and his team was incredible- if you have them as resources, you certainly don't need to hire an additional planner or coordinator. The team is extremely professional and takes pride in their venue and work. Dean took us through every single detail of the planning process and had our day-of timeline laid out by the minute. He and his team were responsive and answered all our questions and were accommodating of all our requests. They let us personalize our wedding as much as we wanted and we never felt like we were limited in options. There were a few things on the day of our wedding that didn't go quite as planned, and Dean and his team addressed them immediately. For example, we had a glass box for cards that got cracked at some point (could have happened during transport to the venue- not the fault of the venue). When I pointed this out, the team said they'd take care of it and, next time I saw it, there was a bow made of ribbon and some flowers taped to the side of the case blocking the crack from sight. There will ALWAYS be things that don't go quite as planned and it's important that the venue/staff is able to step up and handle any issues, which Dean and his team did flawlessly. The staff was SO friendly and helpful the night of our wedding. The venue itself is stunning- we barely had to do anything in terms of decor. Our guests are still raving about how beautiful the venue was and how wonderful the staff was. This was the wedding of our dreams and looked just like a fairytale. The food was also DELICIOUS.
Needless to say, the Armour House at Lake Forest Academy is an incredibly beautiful location for wedding celebrations. From the moment I saw this elegant venue, I knew I just had to make whatever dates they had available work! It wasn’t the gorgeous scenery the makes me inclined to write a review, however, it was the amazing staff. Right from our very first meeting together, I could tell Dean and his team were very experienced. And perhaps more importantly, even though Dean’s knowledge made it clear he had hosted countless weddings in the past, not once did I feel that my wedding was “just another event.” Dean and his team consistently answered my million-and-one questions thoroughly and with patience. Though I had a strong sense of what I wanted my reception to be, Dean was quickly able to fill in the gaps, and point out things I would never have thought about. From the number of highboys needed for the cocktail hour, to the timing of the first dance, to anticipating the needs of our guests. Another thing worth noting is that Dean and his team were so involved from start to finish (and especially the day of), that I didn’t need a “day of” wedding planner – which is a huge bonus when you’re budgeting for a wedding!
This is hands-down the most beautiful venue in all of Chicagoland (and worth every single penny)! My guests are still talking about every aspect of the venue from the outdoor ceremony, to the indoor ambiance and exceptional food service. If you are considering this venue, you will end up with the most beautiful photographs! Not only is the venue gorgeous, the level of attentiveness from the staff is exceptional. Because of Dean's exceptional level of service we didn't need to spend extra money on a wedding coordinator or planner. He is so passionate about his job and does everything he can to make sure your wedding is everything you dreamed of! Thank you, Armour House, for a day we truly will never forget!
This venue is truly incredible. Dean was beyond helpful throughout the entire planning process. He made our day so much more manageable. If you are looking for an unforgettable wedding, the Armour House won't disappoint.
I could not have more positive things to say about my wedding reception at the Armour House. This venue provided me with my dream wedding, and I give so much credit to Dean and his team. Throughout our 18 months of planning, Dean ensured we were timely with our decisions, and answered any questions we had. The food was incredible, and our guests cannot stop raving about their meals! The backyard of the Armour House provided the most beautiful pictures I could ever imagine. I would definitely recommend the Armour House to anyone in my network.
Such and Amazing Experience! We could not be happier with how our wedding reception turned out. This was the only venue we had looked at while planning our wedding. It was clear from the moment we met Dean and saw the Armour House that this had to be the location of our reception. Its absolutely stunning and we loved that it was a historic building and was modeled after an Italian Villa. While its beauty hooked us, its dedicated team really made this venue incredible. Dean is very knowledgeable and walked us through everything. By the time our wedding came around we were confident that it would go smoothly. He is very organized and has been in the business for a while. Its clear that he loves his job, and it was a joy working with him.
We had our wedding at the Armour House in August and it was the best choice we could have made. Everything was as perfect as it possibly could have been. Dean and his staff are unbelievable. Dean was a joy to work with throughout the whole process and he made us feel confident that our wedding would go smoothly. He is very organized and you can tell that he truly loves his job. We will never forget how amazing our wedding was and how much everyone raved about the venue. You will not regret having your wedding here!
We got married on June 11th, and it really was a dream day! Our wedding was a real life fairy tale at this beautiful location. This venue is more than stunning between the gardens and historic indoor spaces, and everything was set up perfectly. All of our guests commented at how amazing the venue looked, how good the food was and how much fun they had. Dean and Christine, thank you for helping to make our day so special, everything honestly seemed to go perfectly. I know you have so many brides and grooms but we always felt like you were there for our questions and replied so promptly. Thank you again!!
The Armour House was an incredible venue for our October 2016 wedding. From the moment we walked inside on our initial tour with Dean, we knew we had found the perfect location to celebrate the beginning of our marriage. The grandiose beauty of the mansion and gardens give it the "wow" factor that absolutely dazzled our friends and family, but somehow there also exists a warmth and a welcoming atmosphere that puts you at ease, a rarity in venues of this caliber. For us, it was the perfect combination. Dean and his staff went above and beyond to ensure that our day ran smoothly. The food was excellent from start to finish as was the quality and expertise of the bar service. The AH team was also very helpful in ensuring that I was organized during the planning process, lending me lists and charts, answering questions I might have, etc. My husband and I are beyond happy with how our wedding day panned out at this Chicagoland treasure and would absolutely do it all over again (if only!). Thank you, Armour House Team! :)
We could not be happier with how our ceremony and reception looked, felt, and ran. We had the time of our lives and felt so secure in knowing that everything was being taken care of thoughtfully and discreetly. The Armour House is beyond beautiful and the grounds are the perfect backdrop for the ceremony of your dreams. Kelly and Kevin Arrogante
Dean and Christine were amazing. Even though our wedding got rained out, it turned out perfectly! They literally took over everything!
Dean and his staff communicated very well and were so professional. It was obvious that they hosted many successful weddings because they just had everything planned out and thought of everything. The day of, everything went so smoothly and I didn't have to worry about a thing. The food was delicious too. The venue was beautiful and at the end, all of our stuff was packed up and placed together for us. I am so glad we chose the Armour House for our very special day.
AMAZING EXPERIENCE! I can not express the gratitude I have for The Armour House for hosting our wedding! We have nothing but amazing things to say about Dean and his team at The Armour House. This was the only venue I visited while wedding planning. I wanted somewhere unique with character, and that's what AH provided for our wedding. This venue feels like your in another world, with its elegance and beautiful character. The staff matches this beautiful place. You are in GREAT hands when you work with The Armour House, Dean and his team, go over the top for their brides. Dean, you truly make everyone feel at ease and made our experience so wonderful. Thank you so much for what you do! Even my father mentioned how great Dean was with making sure the wedding went perfectly, which is truly a compliment!
Wow. We cannot fully express how insanely beautiful, elegant, and intimate our wedding was at the Armour House. It surpassed our wildest dreams. Dean, first of all, is one of the most organized, wonderful, and professional humans I've ever met--it doesn't get highlighted enough that he truly acts like a wedding planner. He is just so enjoyable to work with and is so on top of every single detail and intently focused on executing your vision. We wanted to do long tables side by side and he made it happen; we wanted to add blackberries and rosemary to our signature drinks and sit on a cream loveseat from upstairs and put up a DIY photobooth, and he did it no questions asked. The venue speaks for itself. We wanted something timeless and elegant but intimate and unique. The Armour House was exactly that for us. We can't tell you how many compliments we got saying that it was the most beautiful venue people have ever seen. It is so ornate. The rooms flow so well into one another -- spacious but intimate at the same time. Elegant but not stuffy. The gardens and the veranda and the fountain and the stairs and the library and the leather couches -- all just too good to be true. This was THE best experience we could have had and we are so grateful.
I am so very, very happy that I got married at the Armour House. From start to finish, Dean and his team were excellent communicators, and had every detail covered. Dean is a seasoned pro with a wonderful personality as well! People kept telling my husband and I that our wedding was "the best they've ever been to." The venue is beautiful- there's a great bridal suite upstairs with a large and well-lit bathroom attached to it. It was easy- we got married in the gardens, and it could not have been more picturesque.
We recently hosted my wedding here (summer 2015) and I couldn't have asked for anything more! The venue itself is stunning, both inside and outside allowing for the visual beauty of an outdoor wedding with the amenities associated with an indoor event. In my case that was critical given we had to move the ceremony inside at the last minute due to a huge storm! The onsite team is a pleasure to work with and are truly experts in what they do. Everyone raved about the food and drinks as well as the venue overall. Additional Note to Consider: One of my goals in planning the wedding was to have a unique (ie non-hotel) venue that was full of style, class and ambiance, but that was also easy (I can't image transforming an entire space or needing to bring my own furniture in). The Armour House certainly delivered on all of that! Given the unique set up (ie it's a mansion vs a ballroom) it is important to keep in mind that it makes dancing between courses difficult/impossible given the use of different rooms, so the evening needs to be set up accordingly. The long and narrow room where dinner is hosted also makes it difficult to do table pictures. My husband and I were okay with both of those things, just something to keep in mind during the planning process. Feel free to check out a few of the photo highlights here: http://tinyurl.com/pfotmug
We had our wedding at the armour house in Summer 2015. It was incredible, Dean the coordinator is incredibly detail orientated and made sure that everything ran smoothly. The venue is incredibly beautiful - with a grand staircase and a gorgeous outdoor area. We had rain on the day but luckily there was a great back up option. They also have an amazing in house chef - we had a vegetarian wedding and the food was really fantastic. You'll be in very safe hands here.
Gorgeous Venue and Amazing StaffReviewed on 10/14/2014 Kara W
The moment my husband and I stepped foot onto the grounds at The Armour House, we knew it was our wedding venue. The gardens, the mansion and the history behind the grounds made our fairly tale wedding come true. Dean and his staff saw our vision and every step of the planning process with them went off without a hitch. Chef made our mexican themed cocktail hour awesome with special drinks and appetizers. Even the smallest details were paid great detail. If you are as Type A as I am, you will enjoy the staff here. Don't look any further than the Armour House for your wedding.
Armour House - Absolutely BeatifulReviewed on 8/20/2014 Aubree H
My husband and I got married at the Armour House in early August 2014. The ceremony was held outside in the beautiful and extremely well-kept garden. We were lucky to have perfect weather without a cloud in the sky (there are indoor back-up option in case of rain that are very nice as well). The reception space in the great hall is gorgeous, with marble floors, stone walls, a marble fireplace and grand staircase. I was a bit concerned that guests would wonder too much leaving the dance floor empty (dancing takes place in front of the dinner tables in the garden room and there are also two sitting rooms right outside the dinner area), but it ended up being perfect – some guests danced while others hung out on the patio or in the library for coffee). The appetizers, drinks and dinner were excellent. It’s a great venue if you’re looking for something different than a traditional banquet hall - our guests were wowed!
The WOW Factor!Reviewed on 7/08/2014
Aside from the beautiful Italianate architecture of the venue which is perfectly set among green lawns and colorful gardens, the staff did a fantastic job! The planning process was smooth and Dean and Christine were timely with responses to inquiries, setting expectations and working with us to make a picture perfect day well in advance of the event. The catering department is onsite and provided a great tasting and accommodated our requests. Dean truly understands the details of the wedding!
Couldn't ask for more!Reviewed on 10/18/2012 Andrea K
We are not a couple who is religous and were looking for a venue where we could do both the ceremony and the reception. We looked at venues both in the city and suburbs and once we saw the Armour House we knew that THIS WAS IT! The house and the grounds are breathtaking! We had so many compliments from our guests, more than one saying "This place looks like it should be in the movies!" Grace and Julie were so organized and very prompt on responding to our questions. We had touch and go weather and ended up having to have the ceremony inside. This could have been a very stressful time, but Julie allowed us to wait as long as possible to make the call. The venue also has such a great variety of places to take photos! We took photos by the pond/lake in the back which turned out gorgeous! We also took photos in the house and outside at night. Overall I could not have been happier with our choice of venue!
Beautiful venue, top notch service!Reviewed on 10/08/2012 Mary B
The Armour House truly was our dream come true. We were looking for a timeless yet unique place to hold our wedding and the Armour House was just that. The service was incredible, the food was unmatched and the gardens were perfect. I would recommend this venue to any and all brides looking for a very well-run and beautiful wedding!
Amanda UnterReviewed on 8/02/2011 Amanda F
loved, loved, loved the location! It was so beautiful that we were able to reduce the flowers because of the landscape. Grace was so helpful and truly allowed us to do anything we wished. The only thing we were a little unhappy with was the seating cost of every person. It's a fee of 25$ per person. Other than that I couldn't have dreamed of a better location.
Review for Armour HouseReviewed on 10/06/2007 Marie W
The venue is like Versailles in Chicago. Absolutely breathtaking. It is very original and fun place to get married. Prices are very reasonable. Food is not bad at the tasting. Top shelf liquor menu is included in the price. Very good prices.;The lady who runs the venue is horrible. She ruined our reception. She forgot things, never coordinated our final proposal, typed up final menu wrong for the chef, lied about things she promised to give us and never gave us. The chef is too old to be running a place like this. All they need is a new coordinator and chef/catering company and this would be a #1 spot to get married in Chicagoland. Get a strong wedding coordinator. Make sure they are not having another party that day and you should be ok. Keep on top of the lady there and the staff and you'll be good.