LAKE VILLA – Known for its farm-fresh eggs, a family-owned farm in Lake Villa recently added another draw – a wedding chapel.
Blue Thistle Farm, located on nearly 7 acres on Fairfield Road, opened the chapel and a reception space in October.
The space is a dream come true for the family.
“I just really love love, and I love weddings,” said Riley Holmes, founder, director and CEO of Blue Thistle Farm & Wedding Chapel, https://bluethistlefarmil.com/. “I love the whole shebang.”
Holmes runs the chapel and marketing side of the farm, and her sister, Delaney Holmes, and other family members take care of the farm products. Along with pasture-raised eggs, the family sells other products grown on the farm such as gourmet garlic and mushroom, goldenseal, American ginseng and azolla.
Opening this past fall with a pumpkin patch, they plan to host seasonal events such as U-pick pumpkins, flowers and strawberries.
“We’re looking to expand with cakes and other animals,” Riley Holmes said.
Her parents, Lake County natives Michele and Ed Holmes, raised eight children and always wanted a farm. Blue Thistle Farm & Wedding Chapel – named after one of Michele’s favorite flowers and the “something blue” traditionally found at weddings – grew out of a conversation between Michele Holmes and her daughters, who had worked as event and wedding planners.
Riley Holmes, who studied business and marketing in college, told her mother she wanted to go into the wedding business. When the family took over the farm, she suggested they create a chapel.
“I decided I wanted to put all of my energy into building a business,” said Riley Holmes, who’s hosted one wedding so far.
The nondenominational chapel sits above a reception area and is described as a space for “intimate weddings” of up to 100 guests.
“The chapel specifically is intended for intimate events if you’re looking to have a micro-wedding or a small-scale wedding. … We’re probably one of the first in our area,” Riley Holmes said. “There aren’t really just simple wedding chapels on farms.”
The reception area can be rented out for other events such as bridal and baby showers and birthday parties. Blue Thistle has brought in a photographer to host portrait sessions as well.
Originally drawn by the eggs, Nina Lindahl of Lake Villa took a tour of the farm and ended up hosting her daughter’s 2-year-old birthday party there this past weekend.
“I wanted something small and intimate. … As soon as I saw [the space], I booked it within a couple days,” Lindahl said. “When she gave me the tour I was like, ‘Wow, if people knew what this space looked like, I’m sure there would be more events there.’ It’s gorgeous. That whole modern, rustic farm look was perfect.”
The family had started selling eggs before prices soared in supermarkets. Since then, they’ve picked up a few more loyal customers.
“You get to see the chickens firsthand,” Lindahl said. “That totally beats buying them from a store.”
Ana Garcia orders several dozen eggs every three weeks or so from the farm. At a cost of $5 a dozen, the eggs can be ordered online at https://bluethistlefarmil.com/product/farm-fresh-eggs/ and picked up at the farm.
“I was looking for a healthier, natural egg and she told me about her farm, so I decided to give it a try,” said Garcia, a former co-worker of Riley Holmes. “The first time I tried it, we actually noticed they did taste a lot better than the store-bought eggs. … She has good prices, and it’s a good alternative to store-bought eggs. We’re very happy with it.”