Willow tree at Chicago Botanic Garden


Bride and groom holding hands at a tree alley way at the Chicago Botanic Garden



Bride and groom sit on a bench at the Chicago Botanic Garden

If you plan on having your upcoming wedding in Chicago, Illinois, there is no better venue than the Chicago Botanic Garden! This location offers spectacular settings for your special day, with several areas for you to choose from to host your ceremony and reception.

Here are some of my favorite spots in the Chicago Botanic Garden for weddings, especially for memorable wedding photos and engagement photos:

  • McGinley Pavilion
  • English Walled Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Japanese Garden

    Bride and groom holding hands at The English Walled Gardens in Chicago

    Bride sitting on a sofa with her bridesmaids in the background

    McGinley Pavilion

    Tented wedding reception for an outdoor summer wedding at the Chicago Botanic Garden


    Located at the water’s edge, McGinley Pavilion is available to rent out from May through October. It is the perfect spot for a summer wedding reception, especially since its dramatic canopied terrace will keep you and your guests cool and comfortable.

    You can also make the pavilion yours: create a classic, elegant, timeless, organic, or glamorous theme.

    My favorite part about the McGinley Pavilion is its Waterfront Patio, which provides unforgettable views of Evening Island.



    The English Walled Garden is a popular spot for a more romantic or intimate outdoor wedding ceremony. It overlooks a huge lake in the background but has its own small pond surrounded by greenery.

    Host a cocktail hour on the small terrace right next to the ceremony spot, where guests can enjoy the view while nibbling on a few appetizers and sipping on a glass of wine.

    You can also take plenty of unforgettable portrait images within the English Walled Garden. Pose by the blue bench that stands out from the brown-colored brink wall, the blue gate to the garden, or the antique stairs.

    Engaged couple walking at the English Walled Garden covered in snow


    The English Walled Garden is the perfect place to take wedding photos, regardless if it’s summer or winter.

    During winter, you’ll find the garden’s small pond frozen and the nearby pavilion and stairs covered in snow. Imagine the soft snowflakes falling around you while you and your loved one are taking a quiet stroll. Just how more romantic can it get?

    So, plan ahead and decide whether you favor the English Walled Garden in the summer or winter; you can’t go wrong either way!

    rose garden

    Bride and groom holding hands at a tree alley way at the Chicago Botanic Garden


    The Rose Garden’s alley of trees is a very popular spot for wedding photos. The scenery has a European touch that reminds me of Paris! During the summer, the trees are full of leaves, making the tree alley appear like a lush green wall. It’s a natural delight and a fun escape for taking wedding portraits during a busy day.

    If you want, you could even have your whole wedding ceremony set up inside this tree alley; with its protecting shade, it’s the perfect location during a hot summer day to watch loved ones tie the knot.

    Groom lifting his bride during their Chicago winter engagement session


    You would think that the Rose Garden’s tree alley only looks amazing during the summer when its branches are lush green leaves, but you will be surprised to know that this spot looks gorgeous year-round.

    In winter, the brown base of the trees and their dried leaves stand out under a layer of snow, making for more romantic images. Walk or run in the snow along the alley or lift your partner in a soft embrace; either way, the result of your photos here will be breathtaking.


    Willow tree at Chicago Botanic Garden


    The Japanese Garden never fails to amaze me every time I visit. There’s something calming about this garden—its willow trees that wave their leaves with every gust of wind, the grand bridge that leads to a little island in the middle of a big pond, the peaceful stone sculptures, and the calm waterfalls. You seem to enter another world when you visit this peaceful haven.

    For romantic—and dramatic—wedding photos, I recommend standing right in the middle of the bridge, using the huge willow tree behind you as your backdrop. The final images will not disappoint!

    Engaged couple kissing each other on the bridge at the Japanese Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden


    On the way to the Japanese Garden from the English Walled Garden, stop and take a few snowy images in the little tree alley toward the famous big bridge. Imagine: the pond and bridge covered in snow, peaceful pine trees surrounding you and your partner as you embrace, snowflakes quietly falling from the sky. What a romantic setting for unforgettable photos!