Chicago is home to some of THE coolest wedding venues in the Midwest. Whether you’re looking for something smaller and more intimate, or a huge space to get all your favorite people together you can be sure that the Windy City has you covered. While you’ll be able to get a ton of amazing photos of you and your wedding party at your venue there are so many iconic and beautiful locations for photos around Chicago that you may want to travel to on your wedding day. But how do you decide on where to go and how do you make it fit into your wedding day timeline? I put this guide together to help you through this planning process as well as give you my 5 favorite locations throughout the Windy City for wedding party photos.
Before we get into my favorite locations in Chicago we first need to figure out exactly how you’re going to fit these wedding party photos into your timeline. The first thing to consider is how exactly you’re going to get to and from your location. You’ll want to ideally choose something that allows you and your wedding party to all travel together. Options like a party bus, trolley, limo service, or something similar are great ways to keep the crew together and make sure everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there. This is crucial for keeping your timeline running smooth and making sure all your favorite people are there for the photos!
Speaking of your wedding day timeline, one of the best pieces of advice I can give is to discuss your wedding party photo plans with your photographer. Your photographer has had a ton of different wedding day experiences and knows what fits and what doesn’t in a wedding day timeline. Talk them through your plans of where your venue is at, what you want your day to look like, where in Chicago you want to go for your wedding party photos, and any other details for your day you can think of. They’ll be able to tell you how realistic your plan is and if anything needs to change in order to make the day work!
Check the Chicago calendar for different events happening in the city that could make getting somewhere for your wedding party photos more difficult or potentially impossible. Large events like Lollapalooza, the Chicago Marathon, Mexican Independence Day, and other large city events can make certain parts of the city impossible to reach or at the very least MUCH more time consuming. If your wedding day does happen to have a large event taking place in the city at the same time, talk with your photographer about backup locations closer to your venue that you can make work for your wedding party photos.
As wedding photography in many of these locations has gotten increasingly popular, the majority of these public Chicago locations do require permits to take photos at them. Most locations you will need to apply for your permit at least a month in advance, and unfortunately, the offices often take a bit to get back to you so plan ahead and apply for your permit early to ensure you’re able to take your wedding party photos in your dream locations. Please note that any permit fees that are needed to shoot in these locations are not included in your wedding package and will be an additional fee.
Now that we have the basics hashed out on planning how to fit travel time and wedding party photos into your Chicago wedding, it’s time to look at some of my favorite locations in the city. Remember Chicago is a HUGE city with so many great locations for photos so if your favorite spot isn’t part of the list don’t feel like you can’t take your wedding party photos there instead!
The Wrigley Building and the Riverwalk display some of Chicago’s most iconic architecture. There is SO much to love about the Wrigley Building and everything else around the space. Modelled off a Spanish cathedral, the Wrigley Building is one of the most iconic buildings in Chicago, known for its night time glowing façade and great location overlooking the Chicago River. Though this location can be a busier space, with often one-to-two wedding parties there at the same time during peak Saturday hours, the views are worth it.
The Lincoln Park Honeycomb contains one of the most jaw dropping locations for wedding party photos in the city of Chicago. In order to take your wedding party photos at the Lincoln Park Boardwalk and the Honeycomb you will need to obtain a permit. You can obtain a permit via the Lincoln Park Zoo Website. Trust me the beauty of the park combined with the views of the Chicago skyline are worth it though!
If you’re looking for a skyline view that has fewer people around than say North Avenue Beach or Montrose Harbor, opt for Milton Olive Park! Milton Olive Park is one of the best locations for wedding party photos in Chicago because of the amount of space there is within the park, and the beautiful skyline view that can be seen via the shore line and park. As of 2022 Milton Olive Park does require a permit to take photos there but with no fee. You can obtain your permit via the Chicago Park District website.
The garden outside the art institute is one of the most beautiful gardens in the city of Chicago. Located in the heart of Michigan Avenue, the Institute and the gardens that surround it are absolutely breath taking. Made up of a handful of raised beds and a canopy created by 3 staggered rows of honey locust trees, the Art Institute Gardens is the perfect location for wedding party photos in Chicago.
Located in Chinatown on the south branch of the Chicago River, Ping Tom Memorial Park is a sweet little park with beautiful skyline views. Ping Tom Memorial Park is known for its natural area, it’s city views, it’s river front location and the beautiful Pagoda that stands in the park. Unfortunately, the Pagoda does require a permit to shoot there, so if you were hoping to take photos in the Pagoda you will have to plan ahead for your session. You can obtain your permit via the Chicago Park District website.
Museum Campus is home to some of the most iconic architecture in the city. With breathtaking lake front views, endless gardens, and plenty of space for you and your wedding party, it’s no wonder it made my top 6 list! Museum Campus’s skyline views are some of the most beautiful locations in the city. You do need a permit to shoot here that you can obtain via the Chicago Park District.
As more and more unique wedding venues are popping up all over the city of Chicago, it’s becoming more and more popular to take your wedding party photos at your wedding venue! There are SO many great venues with plenty of space for all of your wedding party photos as well as your portraits. Some of my personal favorites though are The Greenhouse Loft, The Arbory, Salvage One, and Loft Lucia!
Now that you have a list of some truly incredible locations throughout Chicago that are perfect for your wedding party photos, it’s time to plan them into your timeline! Still not sure if that will work with your wedding day plans or how to build a wedding day timeline to begin with? Head to my contact page to book me as your photographer and I can help guide you!