Photo: The reception hall at Conley Outreach in Kaneville illuminates during an autumn reception. Courtesy Photo
47W085 Main Street Road,
(corner of Main Street and Dauberman roads)
by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—Hidden in the middle of farm fields is an idyllic outdoor setting in western Kane County for wedding ceremonies and/or receptions. Mostly known as a tranquil place for area residents to work through their troubles, the Conley Farm is also becoming a joyful place for families to begin.
The gardens, owned by the Conley family and leased to Conley Outreach Services, are open from dawn to dusk to anyone who seeks a quiet place to remember a lost loved one. The property also serves as a site for a children’s grief camp, typically held the last week of June.
Recently, the idyllic spot has been the setting for a more joyful occasion: the property has hosted seven weddings and/or receptions during the past three years.
The Conley Farm, located on Main Street Road, about three miles west of Route 47, is a 10-acre historic homestead surrounded by corn fields and pastures. The Welch Creek runs through the property, and a series of gardens dot the land along the creek. A children’s garden, informal paths and benches offer a peaceful environment for someone seeking respite.
According to Tigger Kainz, who has become the de facto wedding coordinator for Conley Farms, most brides come away from seeing the property for the first time saying, “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
Kainz said that most couples hold their ceremony in the prayer garden. A converted horse barn becomes a rustic three-season pavilion to accommodate a reception. The building features a built-in serving counter, kitchen and bathrooms, with a pergola alongside the building for additional seating.
“The last wedding was 190 people,” Kainz said.
The concrete floor behind the barn is perfect for dancing, and as long as someone in the party has a liquor license, the family can bring their own alcohol, as well as their own caterer.
Because of its location and the availability of plenty of space, the wedding party can include activities that might not be possible somewhere else, Kainz said. For example, Maple Park resident and pyrotechnic expert Roger Kahl is available to perform a small fireworks display.
Family and children-oriented activities are also possible, such as hula hoops, bubbles, bean bag and horseshoe tournaments. Bonfires are always a favorite, complete with s’mores. Some families have rented bounce houses for the children to let off steam.
The tastes of the bride and groom vary, and all manner of utensils have been used, from rented china to plastic plates and silverware.
“It really is an amazing place,” Conley Outreach Director Carol Alfrey said. “It’s a beautiful setting for pictures. Cartographers and videographers go crazy.”
Alfrey said people also really like the idea that their rental fee goes to support the Conley Outreach Community Services, a 501 (C) (3) not-for-profit organization that offers free grief and bereavement, referral and other community support services.