The Chicago Botanic Garden had definitely been on my list of places I wanted to photograph engagement photos at for some time. So when Kristell mentioned that this was where she and Jordan wanted to schedule their engagement session I was fully on board!
The Chicago Botanic Garden has a meaningful connection to them as this was where Jordan proposed to Kristell. Since they didn’t have a photographer along for the proposal photos it really meant a lot to them to have their engagement photos there. We picked a day in early Fall and were blessed with absolutely amazing weather.
Now, if you’ve never visited the Chicago Botanic Garden I highly recommend you give it a visit sometime. You’ll quickly see why it’s such a great location for any type of photography. The gardens are maintained year-round so it’s a perfect spot in any season. You’ll find acres of space to roam and explore as well as different themes throughout such as an English garden, a Aquatic garden, etc.
For Kristell and Jordan’s photos, we started off just outside the visitor’s center and then wound our way back to the Japanese Gardens, where Jordan had proposed a couple of months prior. Along the way, we stopped for photos at the Heritage, Rose, and Conifer Gardens. We were super fortunate to arrive just as Fall colors were peaking and the entire area was lit up and vibrant. We also made sure to arrive early which allowed us to shoot without too many other visitors around.
If you would like to do your engagement photos at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, it’s worth mentioning that there is a fairly hefty permit fee that is required. My recommendation is to plan on shooting in the morning. The permit fee is $150 if you arrive prior to 1:00 pm and goes up to $250 if you arrive after 1:00 pm. In addition to being significantly cheaper, earlier shoots also mean you’ll be in and out before the bulk of the crowds arrive as well.
The good news is that the permit is easy to obtain, you can just show up the morning of and purchase it at the visitor’s center. However, the permit is only valid for 90 minutes so it’s also worth planning out the specific areas and gardens you want to shoot at ahead of time. The Chicago Botanic Gardens are huge so you could easily burn through a lot of time just walking and exploring if you’re not prepared beforehand. Though you need a permit to shoot here, don’t let that discourage you. The Chicago Botanic Gardens are beautiful and a uniquely Chicago experience.