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February 3, 2005


Advance Planning Important for Couples

Springfield—Many brides and grooms are leaving the decorating to mother nature, as they hold weddings and receptions in Illinois state parks.  Department of Natural Resources officials say they are receiving an increasing number of requests from couples that want to get married in parks.

            “Illinois State parks are so diverse, a couple can find some place in the state that accommodates whatever their hearts desire,” said Jeff Hensal, site superintendent of Apple River Canyon State Park.  “From the deep canyons of this park to scenic bluffs to waterfalls, there are beautiful locations statewide for a couple’s special day.”

            For wedding parties that will include groups of more than 25 people, the Department of Natural Resources requires an activity permit.  The permit is designed to make sure that the wedding couple’s vision is compatible with the resources available in a particular park. Permit applications should be made in advance to secure location availability.  Permits are available through the park site superintendent, or online at

            To keep the special day special, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources offers these guidelines:

bullet Contact the site superintendent a minimum of six weeks in advance.
bullet Visit the exact location where the ceremony will be held, preferably at the time of day the wedding will take place.
bullet Know and follow alcohol rules of the park.
bullet Make a back-up plan in case of inclement weather
bullet Anything that is brought in must be carried out, including decorations. 
bullet Consider handicapped access to the chosen location so all guests are accommodated.
bullet Noise regulations are in effect in many parks. 
bullet Consider parking limitations when determining the number of guests.
bullet Be sure to include exact directions to the wedding site with your invitation.

Weddings and receptions can also be booked at Illinois state park lodges, at Illinois State Beach in Zion, Starved Rock in Utica, Pere Marquette in Grafton, Rend Lake in Whittington, Eagle Creek in Findlay, White Pines Inn in Mount Morris and Giant City in Makanda.



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