FAQs

Table of Contents

GENERAL

Can we use both indoor and outdoor facilities for our event?

Yes. We offer several indoor and outdoor options. You can have your ceremony outside in the Formal Gardens with a charming reception in the Mansion. Or, you can have your ceremony in the Mansion with an outdoor reception in a formal tent, complete with chandelier lighting. Or have them both indoors or both outdoors… the choice is yours.

Can you host our rehearsal dinner?

Yes. We can host private, elegant rehearsal dinners either indoors or out. Our Dining Room with large windows offers a beautiful view of the Park and accommodates up to 90 people. The outdoor Library Terrace provides a unique and intimate location that accommodates up to 75 people. There are several menu and theme options available, from a cookout to a formal plated dinner.

Can Allerton accommodate a small, simple wedding?

Allerton is perfect for couples that want more than a courthouse ceremony, but less than the traditionally large church ceremony. Call us for availability for small, yet elegant ceremonies.

How do we obtain a marriage license?

If you’re planning an Allerton wedding, you will need to acquire a Piatt County marriage license at the Office of the Piatt County Clerk, 101 West Washington Street, Monticello, IL telephone 217-762-9487.

Can I set up a tour of Allerton to see the grounds and Mansion areas?

The Formal Gardens and other outdoor Park locations are open to the public; therefore a formal tour does not need to be set up. To view a map of our garden/park areas, please click here. To tour the Mansion for ceremonies and/or receptions, please call to book an appointment. Tours are by appointment only.

Does Allerton offer overnight accommodations?

Allerton Retreat Center offers 39 well-appointed guest rooms. These charming bedrooms in the Mansion, House in the Woods, Gate House and Evergreen Lodge can house up to 70 guests. The Gate House and Evergreen Lodge are only a short walk from the Mansion by way of paved and lighted pathways. The House in the Woods is located near the Sunken Garden about 1/4 mile from the Mansion. Check in is 3PM and check out is 11AM the following day. Please speak with your wedding coordinator about the availability of guest rooms for your event.

What if I have questions on the day of my event?

During your Mansion event, a coordinating supervisor will be on-site to make sure that everything runs smoothly and according to plan. For events in the Formal Gardens, a coordinator will be available to field your questions should you need any last minute assistance.

INDOOR EVENTS

Is space for a rehearsal included in my rental of the Mansion?

Yes. If you will be holding your ceremony in the Mansion, space will be provided for your rehearsal. However, your actual event site cannot be guaranteed for your rehearsal due to the possibility of other events taking place at your desired rehearsal day/time. If your event site is not available, your rehearsal can take place at another location on the premises. Chairs and rental items will not be set-up for rehearsals.

May my pet participate in my indoor ceremony or reception?

Except for registered service animals, Allerton prohibits animals in the Mansion, the Gate House, the House in the Woods and the Evergreen Lodge.

How many guests will the Mansion accommodate for a meal?

The Allerton Mansion can seat up to 150 people for a sit-down dinner however options are available for accommodating larger groups.

OUTDOOR EVENTS

Are there rehearsals for weddings in the Formal Gardens?

Yes, you may reserve a one hour time slot to hold an on-site rehearsal with your officiant by contacting your wedding coordinator at least 14 days in advance. However, your actual event site cannot be guaranteed for your rehearsal due to the possibility of other events taking place at your desired rehearsal day/time. If your event site is not available, your rehearsal can take place at another location on the premises. Chairs and rental items will not be set-up for rehearsals.

Will my wedding/event be the only event at Allerton that day?

On any given day, there may be multiple events going on at the Park. While it is unlikely that your event will be the only one taking place, you are guaranteed the exclusive use of your selected space for the time allotted.

What if it rains? Do I get a refund?

We offer the option of renting a tent in the Meadow as a back up site in case of inclement weather. Should you decide not to rent a tent, you will need to have a weather contingency plan. There are no refunds of deposits; please refer to your reservation agreement for more details.

What if it is really hot?

Summers in Illinois tend to be hot and humid. Should hot weather be a concern, consider umbrellas, fans, or other cooling devices to keep guests comfortable. Also, you may consider providing ice cold water, lemonade, or other chilled beverages for your guests. Please check with your wedding coordinator for complete pricing on beverages.

What can you do about insects?

To help manage insects, our special events staff puts an organic citronella powder on the ground where your event will take place. We cannot completely eliminate insects on the estate; however, the product we use works very well.

Can we release butterflies, birds, etc?

Butterflies native to the area, such as Monarchs and Swallowtails, are allowed. Fresh flower petals, birdseed, and bubbles are also permitted. The release of doves or any other living animals, is not permitted. The release or dispersal of any man-made items (balloons, confetti, etc.) is not permitted, with the exception of bubbles.

May my pet participate in my outdoor ceremony?

Dogs and cats on a leash of no more than 6 feet in length are welcome to participate in outdoor ceremonies. Other pets such as reptiles, livestock and exotic animals are prohibited throughout the Park.

Is there a place available in the Park for my wedding party to dress?

Located within walking distance of the Formal Gardens, space is available to rent in the Visitor Center for dressing purposes. Please speak with your wedding coordinator about availability and the rental fee for these facilities.

LOGISTICS & SET-UP

When can garden weddings begin at Allerton?

In the Formal Gardens, ceremonies can take place in any one of our designated three-hour time slots: 9AM–12PM | 1–4PM | 5–8PM. If more than three hours are needed, an additional 3-hour slot must be reserved.

How early can we arrive for a Formal Garden rental?

Arrivals for Formal Garden events may begin at the designated rental time, for pictures, decorating, or use of the rented dressing facilities in the Visitor Center.

How early can we arrive for a Mansion rental?

If you have reserved a block of rooms with us the evening prior to your event, you may arrive at 3PM the afternoon before your ceremony/reception. For those events that do not require guest rooms the night before, arrival for decorating, pictures, cake delivery and musician set-up is Noon on the day of the event.

Is Allerton ADA accessible?

Many of the paths that lead to the gardens are paved or accessible with wheelchairs or ADA carts. However, the Fu Dog Garden and Meadow are not ADA accessible. The first floor of the Allerton Mansion and two guest rooms are ADA accessible as well.

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Can I use my own caterer?

Allerton has a full service catering department that provides food and beverage service for all events held at Allerton. Food and beverage brought or delivered from other vendors is not permitted. Due to state health codes, any unused quantities of food or alcohol remain the property of Allerton.

Do we have to use a predetermined menu or can we create our own?

The Wedding Catering Guide offers several menu options to choose from, however our talented Chef will be glad to design a menu customized just for your event if you prefer. To view our Wedding Catering Guide click here.

Can I have food and drink in the Formal Gardens after a ceremony?

Food may not be served outdoors in the Formal Gardens. Champagne toasts served by Allerton Catering Staff are the only possibility within the Formal Gardens. Consider an elegant tented reception in one of our other beautiful outdoor locations. The Mansion is also available for receptions after your outdoor wedding.

VENDORS

Can I bring my own officiant (minister, reverend, etc.)?

Yes. You will need to make arrangements for your own officiant as Allerton does not provide one.

Can I bring my own photographer, videographer, florist, cake artist, entertainment?

Yes. Outside photographers, videographers, florists, cake artists, bands and DJ’s are permitted.

What about vendor deliveries?

All vendor deliveries must be coordinated with Allerton staff before an event. All vendors will be required to follow the prescribed load-in and load-out procedures.

RENTAL ITEMS

What if I need an archway, or columns?

We have a full line of rental items that can be reserved for your event. For a complete list of rental items please click here. All rental items must be reserved at least 3 weeks prior to an event and are rented on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Can I bring my own archway or decorations?

We do permit you to bring and set up your own items or decorations. Should our staff need to assist in the transportation and set up of items or decorations for your event, a $75/hour decorating and set-up fee will be charged. A one hour minimum will apply.

What if I need a tent?

Allerton can provide a wide variety of types and sizes of tents which are ideal for a ceremony or reception. These can be located in the Meadow near the Visitor Center or on the lawn directly adjacent to the Mansion when you rent the Mansion. The rental and set-up of a tent must be secured through Allerton. Tents are not allowed in the Formal Gardens.

Is there electrical power available at outdoor locations?

No. A generator must be rented from Allerton if electrical power is required at any of the outdoor locations. We use commercial generators that are quiet and do not over power musicians or speakers. Generators provided by anyone other than Allerton are not permitted.

Is a microphone needed?

We typically do not suggest the use of a microphone; however we do have them available for rent. Please see our list of rental items for pricing.

PRICING

What are the main costs I can expect for my event?

The main costs associated with holding an event at Allerton are the facility rental fee(s), catering costs, and additional items such as tent rental.

What is the deposit and final payment schedule?

Allerton will hold a tentative reservation for a single event date and site for two weeks. After two weeks, a deposit and signed reservation agreement are required to confirm space. Deposits are equal to the cost of the facility rental fees. Payment of the final balance is due 21 days prior to your event.

How much tax and additional charges are added to my bill?

All food and beverage is subject to a 6.25% state sales tax and an 18% service charge. Guest rooms are subject to a 6% state tax.

How do I pay for events?

Allerton accepts payment in the form of cash, checks made payable to the University of Illinois, or credit cards. Payments are accepted at the Mansion front desk, Monday-Friday from 9AM-4PM. Check payments are also accepted by mail and should be mailed to:

Allerton Retreat Center

ATTENTION: Wedding Sales

515 Old Timber Road

Monticello, IL 61856

Or you can call (217) 333-3287 to pay with a credit card. Please have the event date and location ready when you call. Payment in full is required prior to your event.