Weddings: ‘There’s No Changing It’

Starved Rock Lodge | Oglesby, ILL.

(Hannah Persson photos)

It might seem a tad overwhelming to plan a wedding in five weeks.

But when you’re already in the event-planning industry – and you know who you want to work with – it’s a little easier.

Natalie DeRoss, director of event sales and catering at Galleria Marchetti, an events venue in Chicago, recently married the man of her dreams, Adam DeRoss, a Will County Forest Preserve IT specialist, at Starved Rock Lodge, in Oglesby, Ill.

The Plainfield, Ill., couple connected last summer with help from the bride and groom’s sisters, Jessica Madonia, Kelly Jourdan and Katie DeRoss.

The two talked for hours during their first date, Natalie recalls.

“We just really, really clicked,” she says. “Within a few months, we were talking about getting married and having kids.

“When you meet during a pandemic … and if you can quarantine with someone, that’s special.”

Earlier this year, the couple visited Starved Rock Lodge on Natalie’s birthday, March 7. It was a place they thought could be the perfect wedding venue.

“I’ve been there before; I’ve hiked the trails,” Natalie says. “Starved Rock is definitely a place I’ve had my eye on for a long time.”

Natalie liked the log cabin feel of the Lodge and she knew the ceremony could take place outdoors with the forest as a natural backdrop. Add in the ease she immediately felt with working with Jennifer Roulson, sales and catering manager, and their banquet captain, Tony Schneider, and she was sold.

Later that day, the couple went ring shopping. Soon after, the two were engaged and planning their April 24, 2021 wedding.

“I asked my mom, Laura Figaro, if she thought we were rushing into things, and she said, ‘That’s you, Natalie – once you know and make up your mind, there’s no changing it,” Natalie says.

The couple chose the Lodge’s enhanced hors d’oeuvres option, but requested a few extra dishes for their guests, including lollipop lamb chops and barbecue pulled pork bruschetta.

The couple also asked for an additional course.

“I think they thought a separate pasta course was a lot at first, as the portions are large at Starved Rock, but I told them we had hungry Italians, and we sure ate everything – even the late-night food, which was amazing,” Natalie says.

The food stood out, but the rest of the wedding weekend was just as memorable.

“We had a dream team of vendors,” says Natalie, noting there were no issues with bringing in outside vendors for things such as lighting, sweets and flowers. “I knew who I wanted to work with. That made everything easy and doable in five weeks.”

The entire celebration took place at Starved Rock Lodge – the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony/reception, the photos and a brunch the next morning. The destination created an intimate atmosphere for the 50 attendees, most of whom stayed in cabins on site or at the Lodge’s hotel.

“In the city, we would’ve been trekking around from location to location … and I just didn’t want to do that,” Natalie adds. “I wanted everything to be easy.”

So did her husband.

“I loved how easy Starved Rock made everything, and I appreciated having everything in one spot surrounded by nature,” Adam says.

The couple is expecting a baby boy.

Wedding coordinators: NSWE Events, Chicago
Reception/Catering: Starved Rock Lodge, Oglesby, Ill.
Cake: Kelsey’s Kakes, Peru, Ill.
Officiant: Duayne Meyer, Northfield Community Church, Winnetka, Ill.
Music/DJ: DJ Harsh, Chicago
Photographer: Dennis Lee Photography, Chicago
Videographer: Poetic Productions, Chicago
Lighting: MDM Entertainment, Chicago
Flowers: Steve’s Flower Market, Chicago
Hair/makeup: Bianca Sansosti, Chicago
Trolley Service: Starved Rock Trolley, Oglesby, Ill.