The Inside Scoop
FROM THE KNOT EDITORS
The First Look
Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center is a beautiful venue in Utica, Illinois—about a 90-minute drive from the Chicago area—on land which is part of Starved Rock State Park. This out-of-the-way rustic retreat is a true hidden gem that provides a welcoming location for couples to host a wedding, reception or both in a lovely 1930s-era lodge.
Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center is rustic and beautiful all at once with its gorgeous interior spaces and spacious outdoor areas surrounded by the beauty of nature. To-be-weds looking for an affordable and charming venue want to pay Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center a visit.
Great Hall. This lovely ceremony and reception area can host parties of up to 200 guests. The focal point is the towering stone fireplace that makes a romantic backdrop for exchanging vows. This area is Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center’s all-in-one space—receptions and cocktail parties can be held in the adjacent Starved Rock Room, keeping your whole celebration under one roof. The high ceilings, wooden beams and elegant lighting give the room a very chic lodge look. Couples using the Great Hall for their ceremony are required to use it for a reception as well.
Canyonside Cabin. Smaller ceremonies with close family and friends call for a spot just like the Canyonside Cabin. It can host up to 30 guests for events in a charming room with knotty pine details and a beautiful stone fireplace that gives the room a very woodsy ambience. Rentals of this historic space also come with a wedding lunch or dinner option in one of the private dining rooms.
Sunrise Shelter. During warmer months, many couples who love the outdoors want to say "I do" surrounded by natural beauty. The Sunrise Shelter is ideal and definitely unique. Guests cross a footbridge over Fox Canyon and walk down a lovely wooded path to where the ceremony space is located under a canopy of towering pines. This area also has breathtaking views of Starved Rock, so staging amazing photos is no problem. The Sunrise Shelter can accommodate up to 200 guests.
Canyonside Courtyard. An intimate outdoor wedding of up to 30 people can be hosted in this location overlooking Fox Canyon. Natural stone benches line a paved walkway that takes couples and their guests to this site. Canyonside Courtyard’s natural beauty is a romantic setting for exchanging vows.
What You Should Know
Couples wishing to hold their ceremony at the Sunrise Shelter don’t have to worry about their plans being ruined by bad weather. In that situation, the staff of Starved Rock Lodge gladly move your ceremony inside in front of the beautiful fireplace in the Great Hall. The indoor alternative for Canyonside Courtyard is inside Canyonside Cabin in front of the cozy log and stone fireplace.
Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center has several options for wedding menus, whether your plans include a sit-down dinner or buffet. Couples may choose to customize their menu to fit their particular tastes. You can even include some delicious add-on options, such as its themed breaks—Death by Chocolate, Campfire S’Mores and Chip and Dip just to name a few.
Although there’s plenty of free parking at Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center for your guests, many couples choose to rent Bella, the official wedding trolley. Bella—and another named Ranger—make great bonding and photo opportunities for the bridal party and wedding guests. Wedding trolleys can be used to bring guests from their hotels to the event facility, for getting the bride to the ceremony or for taking a special family tour as part of your wedding weekend.
Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center's staff strives to make each couple feel like their own family throughout the wedding planning process. From your first visit to the day of your event, it is there to ensure things run smoothly so you can enjoy your day with loved ones. Other noteworthy perks at Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center include:
- Hot Date discounts for new bookings in either the Great Hall or at the Sunrise Shelter
- Beautiful bridal dressing area
- Late-night munchie menus: sliders, chicken wings, fried mini tacos, pizza
- Explore the beauty of Starved Rock State Park—voted one of Illinois’ "7 Wonders"
From the Vendor
Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center
Dreaming of an elegant wedding under a canopy of trees, then look no further! Starved Rock Lodge is the perfect setting for your wedding -- intimate to grand, we have it all! Under the direction of Starved Rock's Sales Team let us plan your ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner or shower.
Amenities + Details
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$ – Affordable
Ballroom, Historic Venue, Hotel
Bar + Drinks, Cakes + Desserts, Food + Catering, Planning, Rentals + Equipment, Service Staff, Transportation
We had a beautiful February Wedding. everyone was truly amazing and made our wedding day perfect. All the staff went above and beyond to keep everything flowing nicely. My husband and I truly feel we made the best choice having our wedding at Starved Rock. They made our evening truly amazing!
We had a beautiful outdoor ceremony in July at Starved Rock. It was great to have the wedding and reception in the same place and have guests stay the weekend with you. Jenny was our coordinator and made sure everything went smoothly. Loved it!
I had my wedding here October of 2015, (& rehearsal dinner) unfortunately it rained on my wedding day so we had the ceremony indoors, however the staff (from the waiters to management) was extremely helpful, caring and compassionate about making sure everything went smoothly and on time. I felt like the most relaxed bride because everything was taken care of so wonderfully. Everyone not only loved the hor dourves & dinner but the cake was to die for from their baker Mo! Tiffany was my wedding planner and she definitely made sure everything was perfect. I would more so apologize to her for dealing with my crazy family!! To top everything off for the night, we got to our hotel room with a personal card from Tiffany on her behalf as well as Starved Rock with chocolate covered pretzels! 100% recommend this gorgeous venue to any of my friends or family!!
PERFECT, PERFECT, PERFECT!!! We had our wedding on Friday October 21st, and we had a beautiful fall wedding. From the ceremony, to the reception, to the overnight accomodations, everything went as flawless as possible. From Tiffany, and Abby, and everyone who assisted us during the beginning stages of confirming the venue, up to the night of. We couldn't have picked a better place to get married. All of our guests were completely blown away with the food, and the decorations we had set up. Just magical ;-)
My husband Josh and I were married at Starved Rock on 6/5/16. It was seriously the BEST DAY EVER! From day one, Jenny made the process as pain-free and enjoyable as possible. I live in WA so I was planning the wedding (with lots of help from my mom in IL) from miles and miles away. Jenny was so accommodating to this challenge with distance and was always available by phone/e-mail whenever I needed her! The actual wedding day could not have gone any better then it did. My bridesmaids and I had mimosas delivered along w/ lunch as we got ready in the Hennepin Room. This was the perfect room to get ready in, plenty of space and good lighting! Only downside is that there is no bathroom near by, but we knew that ahead of time (my sister also got married at SRL) and booked a room on the third floor and used that as our restroom for the day. Everything that day went off without a hitch, people are still talking about how amazing our food was and how unique our cake was! We wanted to do a "naked cake" and although nervous, the pastry chef at SRL did an AMAZING Pinterest worthy job on our cake. Not only did it look amazing, it tasted SO good! We also ordered food from the late night menu (i believe it was called) and had pizza and sliders delivered to the reception near the end of the night. I know our guests were very appreciative of this since they worked up an appetite dancing all night long. One of the most fun things we did was have all of the bridal party rent the pioneer cabins so that we were all very close to each other and we enjoyed a great evening by the outdoor fireplace the night before the wedding. This was a great way for members of our wedding party to connect before the big day. I could go on and on about what a great experience we had at Starved Rock Lodge. I wouldn't have changed a thing!
This is perfect place for a wedding. We were able to book a small wedding within a month because of the amazing organizational skills of Tiffany Sigala and staff. It is hard to believe that you can plan a wedding in a month, but we were able to book the location at the beautiful canyon side courtyard/cabin designed for weddings smaller than 30 people, choose the menu, have a cake designed, and book the lovely Utica room for the dinner party afterward, all because they know exactly what they are doing. They set up the chairs for the wedding, they set up the room for the dinner party how we wanted, and they made sure our champagne was ready as we walked in after the ceremony. The delicious cake (made by pastry chef Mo) was cut and boxed up for us to take home and the waitstaff made sure our food was on time and plates were cleared immediately. I was so impressed with their staff. They had four weddings that day, but they took care of each of us. To top it off - Starved Rock is absolutely beautiful at any time of year. We had ours in the fall, but you will find great deals in the "off-season" times. Although I don't plan on getting married again, I would do it here again!
First, and foremost I would like to say that Starved Rock and Tiffany completely went above and beyond our expectations! She was an absolute treat to work with, and she ensured that everything went as smoothly as humanly possible during our amazing wedding day. She even allowed my husband to have his fantasy football draft the day before our wedding! Everything was just perfect, we received countless compliments on the food (which we both agreed was absolutely amazing!). The service and bar tenders were personable, kind, and overall fantastic. Let's talk about the cake for a moment. We used Mo, who is the in house pastry chef. We were blown away with the end result which was way better than we could even imagine. THANK YOU! Every aspect of the wedding seemed to flow seamlessly throughout the entirety of the day. With the fantastic ambiance, perfect scenery, and outdoor ceremony, we simply could not have asked for a better result.
We just had our wedding there about 2 weeks ago and we couldn't be happier with everything. The staff was amazing from the sale & transportation department to the staff working on our wedding day. The scenery definitely makes it easy to decorate and the lodge itself is just beautiful. It ended up raining on our wedding day so at first I was bummed that we had to move it inside but after seeing it all set up I was just amazed at how beautiful they made it. We also had our rehearsal dinner there and the food and staff where amazing. Everything about Starved Rock made my wedding day and I couldn't have asked for anything more.
My husband I were married at Starved Rock almost a year ago. We worked with Tiffany and she was incredible. She ensured everything was taken care of and always responded to any of my questions. All of the staff on the day of the wedding were super friendly and made sure everything went smoothly. It was almost like having a wedding coordinator. The food was great, as well. Not only is Starved Rock beautiful, but it is also affordable. I highly recommend anyone to get married at Starved Rock.
Friendly and helpful staff. Awesome scenery. Unique venue. Decorate it yourself if you are crafty. Our photos turned out amazing.
Starved Rock is a beautiful, unique alternative to the cookie cutter banquet hall. We used their ceremony site and held the reception in the Great Hall, and it worked really well to have everything in one location (including hotel rooms), no worries about getting a limo to the reception and a bus to the hotel. Starved rock fully caters the wedding, and we chose to get our cake from their baker as well. The food was average and the cake was amazing and beautifully decorated. Overall the day was amazing and I couldn't image getting married anywhere else!
Everyone at Starved Rock was so helpful and amazing! Huge thank you to Tiffany for answering all of my questions even if I already asked 6 in 1 day. Thank you to Dani, Jenny, and staff for making sure everything was perfect for our special day.
This was a great place to have a winter wedding. Nothing was too much trouble, even on the day. Jenny helped usher to the proper places and it was a great experience. All our guests loved the accommodation and had a great time with the walks. I would definitely recommend it.
Beautiful and Absolutely Worth Every Penny!!Reviewed on 11/02/2015 Shelby Z
We just had our Halloween wedding at Starved Rock Lodge in Utica, IL. Originally, we planned to have the ceremony outside, but with heavy rainfall all day, we agreed to move it indoors. The entire staff was so helpful and organized, the changes went through without a hitch. After the ceremony change over, the dinner was HOT and delicious, just like our tasting. Our reception was gorgeous and there is ample room for their 200 guest limit. Between the use of the Great Hall and the Starved Rock Room, everything moved swiftly and organized throughout the whole evening and the celebrating was never put on pause. We have always loved coming to Starved Rock for hiking and a small getaway, hence why we chose it for our wedding location! I could not have been happier as a bride if our wedding coordinator, Tiffany, and the entire staff had not been so accommodating throughout the entire process! I HIGHLY recommend this venue, for weddings, meetings, picnics, and everything inbetween!
Starved Rock is the perfect place for an outdoor wedding, and even if the weather does not cooperate the interior is a beautiful back up. The setting and the scenery is beyond belief for Illinois, the food is superb, and the onsite pastry chef made beautiful and delicious cakes and cupcakes to our own design. My husband and I had a very nice cabin on site, and several guests chose to stay at the Lodge for the event. The staff, from the sales consultant, Tiffany, to the servers and everyone in between were extremely accommodating. Our guests were impressed and people continue to compliment us and choosing such a unique and beautiful setting for our wedding.
Wonderful!!!Reviewed on 9/01/2015 sarah h
We had the best time here at Starved Rock everyone was amazing and made sure everything went smoothly. All my guest have said nothing but wonderful thing about the wedding. My husband and I very Blessed to have found Starved Rock as a place to have a big day! If we ever renew are vows it will be at Starved Rock again.
Great wedding venueReviewed on 7/21/2015 Tim K
We had a wonderful experience with Starved Rock Lodge. The planning was smooth, it was convenient to have the ceremony and reception near each other, and the food was great. Definitely would recommend.
The Starved Rock staff helped our dream wedding become a reality on May 16, 2015. The entire year-and-a-half process was so much smoother than we thought it could be thanks to the talents and professionalism of all of the staff. We worked with Jenny in the sales office throughout most of our planning, and Dani also helped us on the day of our wedding. Throughout the entire planning process they handled last-minute requests, questions, and occasional changes with ease, and they were a pleasure to work with. The food and cake were delicious and received frequent compliments from all of our guests. Our guests also loved the venue and many took time to hike and explore the park during our wedding weekend. We couldn't have chosen a better place for our wedding and would gladly recommend Starved Rock to any of our friends and family.
Perfect!Reviewed on 6/16/2015 Julie H
Everything about my wedding day was just perfect and Jenny made sure of it! So glad we had our wedding here, everyone said it was the absolute best wedding they'd ever been to :) Wouldn't have changed a single thing and highly recommend having your wedding here.
Wedding May 2nd, 2015Reviewed on 5/05/2015 Cynthia J
My wedding coordinator was Margie, and she was amazing and so very accommodating with anything that needed to be done. Not only was the service great, but the food was excellent quality, and the setting in itself was breathtaking. We wanted to pick a place that meant a lot to us - not just any random place, but with sentimental meaning. The first time we went to Starved Rock Lodge was in 2008; we were amazed by the food and the beautiful nature that surrounded us. At that time, I remember Len saying, "What if we got married here?!" I replied saying, "It would absolutely be beautiful, but it's probably too expensive." I am so happy that I looked into it because we were able to make it happen. Do inquire more than one year in advance as weekends book up really fast if you want a wedding here. From price, to food, to natural beauty, and a staff that will bend over backwards for your needs, I could not imagine any other place that could have been more perfect for my wedding reception. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!
Rustic Winter WeddingReviewed on 2/05/2015 Christine M
Starved Rock was a wonderful venue to work with when helping me plan my wedding. They were efficient,organized, and consistent when meeting my needs and answering my questions. The Chef and Pastry Chef were accommodating to food allergies and open to suggestions when I wanted to personalize our dessert and add more to one of our main entrees. Our sales consultant was prompt in responding to us and gave us alternative options when needing guidance and support! The day of the wedding went smoothly and the dining staff/bartender went above and beyond expectations!!
wonderfulReviewed on 10/20/2014 Dawn A
All around great!
Amazing vintage, rustic wedding venue!Reviewed on 10/08/2014 Claire M
I live in Chicago and after lots of looking around I decided that it was way too expensive to do the wedding in the area. For that reason, I expanded my search to venues outside the Chicago area. I found Starved Rock Lodge on the Knot website and gave them a call. They were very prompt to give me all the information I needed and after some discussion with my parents, soon to be in-laws, and fiancé we decided to go with Starved Rock. Tiffany, my wedding coordinator at the lodge, got everything very well organized and the wedding truly went off without a hitch. The trolley rental for pictures was a blast! Also, the service the day of was impeccable. They made sure my husband and I were well taken care of and all the food was hot and delicious. Overall, we had an excellent experience and all the guests gave us positive feedback. Highly recommend Starved Rock!
Trolley FunReviewed on 10/05/2014 Miranda M
We had Bella the Trolley rented for the wedding and it was great! We had all of our photos done before the wedding, so it was easy to load everyone up on the Trolley and go to the locations I wanted for photos. It was a laid back atmosphere with music playing and the wedding party just hanging out. We didn't have to worry about how we were all getting from point A to Point B and it was a great way to keep an eye on everyone. After the ceremony we all boarded the trolley and went around for fun until the reception. It is such an easy way to get around and really enjoy your wedding day!
Simply MagicalReviewed on 9/26/2014 Michelle P
My wife and I had our wedding here 09-12-14 and we can honestly say there isn't anything we would change about this venue. The grounds and lodge are simply breathtaking. We were supposed to have an outdoor wedding and the weather wouldn't allow for it, our consultant Margie was brilliant and made sure we knew that we could have it indoors and that everything would be taken care of. By the time the "I Dos" came we were thrilled with having it indoors. Everything about the lodge is beautiful. The staff there are the greatest staff I have ever encountered. Our guests were treated politely and with the utmost respect and my glass never came close to empty! Planning a wedding was very stressful; but the folks at Starved Rock made it as simple as possible and helped create the most beautiful day my wife and I could have asked for. The food was to die for! If we had to do it all over again, we would choose Starved Rock every time. We're already planning an anniversary get a way!