Chicago Botanic Garden Wedding

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a breathtaking oasis with gorgeous gardens at every turn, and it makes for a dreamy Chicago wedding venue. As Chicago wedding photographers, we’ve captured quite a few weddings here over the past decade and a half. Keep reading to see what makes a Chicago Botanic Garden wedding so amazing!

Here’s what you’ll find in this article:

Why do you love working at the Chicago Botanic Garden?

The Chicago Botanic Garden is truly a blank slate for your wedding venue. You can transform any of the wedding spaces throughout the garden into your dream vision with decor, lighting, and florals. From simple and sophisticated weddings to elaborate and lavish weddings, anything is possible at the Chicago Botanic Garden. 

As photographers, we love that we’re able to take photos throughout the gardens on your wedding day with no additional permits needed. There are endless photo opportunities throughout the 365-acre property, so no two wedding galleries will look the exact same. 

What’s special about weddings at Chicago Botanic Garden?

The Chicago Botanic Garden offers a unique wedding backdrop and serene ambiance that just can’t be matched. With so many spaces on the property to choose from, you’re sure to find something that fits your wedding vision. 

Bride and groom pose for couples portraits at their Chicago Botanic Garden wedding

Additionally, we love that this Chicago wedding venue offers distinct spaces for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Guests will love mingling around the property and enjoying the stunning grounds without having to go far to get to the next part of the celebration. 

Lastly, the venue’s exclusive caterer, Culinary Landscape, provides delicious catering that you and your guests will love. The catering team works with couples to plan a perfect menu, and they have a wide variety of choices. The superb venue and catering staff take wonderful care of couples and their guests too! 

What ceremony and reception spaces are available at the Chicago Botanic Garden?

McGinley Pavilion

Wedding reception at the Chicago Botanic Garden

McGinley Pavilion is the most popular reception venue at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The waterfront terrace overlooks Evening Island and makes for a spectacular spot for dinner and dancing. Plus, the grand canopy provides the best of both worlds when it comes to embracing the Garden’s beauty and protecting you and your guests from the elements. 

Bride and groom have first dance under tent at Chicago Botanic Garden wedding

Venue rentals for this space are permitted from May through October, and heaters and clear side walls are available. 

Capacity: 
Sit-down dinner with dance floor – 230 guests
Sit-down dinner without dance floor – 270 guests

Rose Terrace

View of the Chicago Botanic Garden wedding ceremony aisle

The Rose Terrace makes for an ideal spot for your wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, or intimate wedding reception dinner. We especially love it when couples choose it for their wedding ceremony! The tree-lined walkway makes for a gorgeous center aisle. 

Bride and groom say vows in Chicago Botanic Garden's Rose Terrace

Because of the outdoor nature, a backup space is always reserved too in case of inclement weather. The Rose Terrace is available May through October and only in the evenings. 

Capacity: 
Cocktail – 250 guests
Ceremony – 275 guests

Krasberg Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is home to over 5,000 rose bushes with more rose varieties than you can count. This large garden makes for a wedding straight out of a fairytale. Your guests will be in awe of the sights and smells the entire night long!

A tent rental is required for private events in the Rose Garden.

Capacity: 
400 guests

English Walled Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden wedding in the English Walled Garden

The lush English Walled Garden exudes beauty. Surrounded by a lovely brick wall, this secluded space feels very private and intimate. 

Wedding ceremonies that we’ve photographed in this space typically take place with guests surrounding the serene pond.

Chicago Botanic Garden wedding ceremony

Other couples we’ve worked with have chosen to use the English Walled Garden for their cocktail hour before their reception in McGinley Pavilion. 

This is definitely one of our favorite spaces in the entire grounds and it also makes for a phenomenal spot for first looks, portraits, and wedding party photos.

Groom and groomsmen walk in the English Walled Garden at Chicago Botanic Garden

When renting the English Walled Garden, an indoor backup space is always reserved in addition. This outdoor venue is available May through October, evenings only.

Capacity:
Cocktail – 250 guests
Ceremony – 175 guests

Esplanade

The Esplanade is the most expansive of all the Chicago Botanic Garden wedding venues. The perfectly manicured grounds overlook a lake with a large water feature. Not to mention, the sprawling lawn makes for a dramatic and memorable wedding venue for your large wedding.

This venue requires tenting and is only available in the evening.

Capacity:
Ceremony – 500 guests
Reception – 1,500 guests

While the first four venues are typically the ones couples we work with choose for their Chicago weddings, there are a few other options on the property. Let’s take a look at those below!

Buehler Enabling Garden

The Buehler Enabling Garden features raised flower beds and hanging flower baskets throughout. The striking colors and textures are a sight to see! This space overlooks the Gardens of the Great Basin and Evening Island, making it a great spot for cocktails.

When booking the Buehler Enabling Garden, an indoor backup space is reserved as well. It is available from May through October, evenings only.

Capacity: 
Cocktail – 250
Ceremony – 50
Sit-down dinner – 110

Searle Courtyard

This courtyard is home to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s renowned Bonsai Collection. Guests will enjoy cocktails or dinner al fresco under the sheltered roof.

This venue is available from May through October, evenings only.

Capacity:
Sit-down dinner – 150
Cocktail – 250 
Ceremony – 100

Krehbiel Gallery

As one of the few indoor venues at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Krehbiel Gallery makes a great alternative to the Garden’s outdoor wedding venues. It features a unique Kasota stone reflecting pool and art exhibition displays that will be talking points for all of your guests.

The Gallery is available from September through May, evenings only.

Capacity:
Sit-down dinner – 75
Cocktail – 275
Ceremony – 200

Nichols Hall

Last but certainly not least is the magnificent Nichols Hall. This striking indoor venue can be transformed to fit any wedding vibe. The focal point of the room is the two-story skylight, but you and your guests won’t miss the Canadian hemlock walls and ceiling either.

Capacity:
Sit-down dinner with dance floor – 275
Sit-down dinner without dance floor – 300
Ceremony – 275

What type of couple will love a Chicago Botanic Garden wedding?

Couples looking for an outdoor wedding venue in Chicago that can accommodate a mid-size wedding guest count will love the Chicago Botanic Garden. Its romantic feel and scenic views make it a top choice for many engaged couples in Chicago. 

Couple first look at Chicago Botanic Garden wedding

The couples we have photographed here appreciated all of the natural beauty of the Garden, often had lifelong ties and special family memories in the garden, and they also saw all of the potential it offers for creating a one-of-a-kind event.

Any insider tips for weddings at Chicago Botanic Garden?

Since we have photographed many weddings here over the years, we have a few recommendations for couples planning a Chicago Botanic Garden wedding.

Here are some quick tips:

  • The venue requires couples to work with a wedding planner or day-of coordinator and we are happy to recommend some of our favorites who know the grounds inside-out!
  • Several of the venues are only available from May to October and/or only in the evenings. Be sure to note that as you begin the planning process.
  • It’s not possible to have just a wedding ceremony. Couples must also have a wedding reception, so an elopement is not an option here.
  • Dressing rooms are available for wedding parties, but there are no bathrooms attached. It’s best to get ready elsewhere before arriving at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and there are plenty of lovely hotels nearby to choose from.
  • Couples hosting both their ceremony and reception here can rent a golf cart to be used to help transport between venues. We especially recommend this for couples’ portraits so we can easily hit up many of the gorgeous spaces in a short amount of time!
  • If you have a furry friend who wants to join us for a few photos, they’re more than welcome!

How much does a Chicago Botanic Garden wedding cost?

Depending on the day and venue, weddings at Chicago Botanic Gardens range from $2,000 to $12,000 for a Friday or Sunday venue rental. The venue fees range from $4,000 to $12,000 for a Saturday rental. The Esplanade can be rented for $30,000, no matter the day.

Another cost to consider for your Chicago Botanic Garden wedding is a wedding planner. As we mentioned before, couples getting married here are required to hire a wedding planner or coordinator. If you’re looking for a Chicago wedding planner, we’d be happy to provide a list of our favorites! 

What are your favorite photo locations at this venue?

There are truly unlimited photo options at Chicago Botanic weddings! From the flower-lined walkways to lush wooded areas to charming bridges. This picturesque venue is one of our absolute favorites as Chicago wedding photographers

The photography permit fee is included for couples hosting a wedding reception and ceremony at the Garden. We love that we can use any area of the Garden for photos, but it’s not possible to reserve any of the spaces. Don’t worry though, we know all the best spots and just how to avoid any Garden visitors who may be around during your wedding photos. Some of our go-to favorites shown above are the English Walled Garden, the bridge to the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Waterfall Garden.

Chicago Botanic Gardens at a Glance

Wedding party explores during the Chicago Botanic Garden wedding photos
  • Address: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022
  • Phone: (847) 835-6801
  • Website: https://www.chicagobotanic.org/
  • Capacity:
    • McGinley Pavilion:
      • Sit-down dinner with dance floor – 230 guests
      • Sit-down dinner without dance floor – 270 guests
    • Rose Terrace:
      • Cocktail – 250 guests
      • Ceremony – 275 guests
    • Rose Garden:
      • 400 guests
    • English Walled Garden:
      • Cocktail – 250 guests
      • Ceremony – 175 guests
    • Esplanade
      • Ceremony – 500 guests
      • Reception – 1,500 guests
    • Buehler Enabling Garden
      • Cocktail – 250
      • Ceremony – 50
      • Sit-down dinner – 110
    • Searle Courtyard
      • Sit-down dinner – 150
      • Cocktail – 250 
      • Ceremony – 100
    • Krehbiel Gallery
      • Sit-down dinner – 75
      • Cocktail – 275
      • Ceremony – 200
    • Nichols Hall
      • Sit-down dinner with dance floor – 275
      • Sit-down dinner without dance floor – 300
      • Ceremony – 275
  • What’s Included:
    • AV/sound equipment
    • Dining tables
    • Parking for guests
  • Catering Options: In-house catering by Culinary Landscape

Are you planning your own Chicago Botanic Garden wedding? Get in touch today to learn more about our Chicago wedding photography services. We’d love to learn more about you and your wedding vision. 

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