Lemme tell you a secret.
Even in the winter months, Chicago still is oh-so-pretty for outdoor wedding and engagement photos.
If you are saying “I do” in November – March or trying to sneak in your engagement photos during this window, here are some of the best spots to head to when the leaves start to fall.
If you have stalked my blog or Instagram at all, you know by now how much I adore Olive Park for …. everything. It has skyline views and it is tucked away from the crowds. In the winter, it photographs beautifully because of that epic skyline. And there is a little bonus. You can snag some gorgeous photos of the beach all to yourselves because you won’t be fighting off sunbathers. ;)
This building is a new favorite spot of mine year-round, but it is a perfect wedding or engagement location in the winter because of the architecture and those gorgeous gold doors. The light is always dreamy and this photo location really shows off that downtown Chicago feel.
Chicago Riverwalk / LaSalle Street Bridge
If you want your photos to feel like you are in Chicago, the Chicago Riverwalk and the bridges along the river are the perfect spots. You get those highrise buildings and the gorgeous views of the Chicago River which looks amazing year-round.
Chicago Board of Trade
Selecting a location with a beautiful building as your backdrop is a great way to bring in that downtown Chicago vibe during the winter months. This location looks the same no matter what time of year it is — with the exception of if we have snow on the ground. :)
I’ll admit it. The Adler Planetarium has the most epic view of the Chicago skyline. If you select this location, just be prepared for a handful of tourists after the same view, wind and a little chilly temp with the breeze off the lake. But this location looks beautiful even in the dead of winter.
Garfield Park Conservatory*
When those temps dip below 45 degrees, I always suggest an indoor location, and it is no secret that Garfield Park Conservatory is my personal favorite of them all. I mean if you want your photos to look like you are somewhere warm and lush (or even like you traveled to the dessert), the conservatory is your kind of place.
Just remember, you do need to secure a $40 photo permit if you want to have photos taken here. You need to apply online in advance.
North Ave Beach
Warning, it *might* be a little cool and windy at this location, but if you can brave the wind and cold, you will be rewarded with a beautiful skyline and an empty beach.
If you love architecture, Union Station is a beauty with its gorgeous columns. You are required to have a photo permit if you want to take photos inside Union Station in the Great Hall, however, we are able to take photos outside the building without it.
TIP: Keep in mind that this is a very popular rain plan on Saturdays, so you may be sharing the space with another wedding or have to wait in line to take your photos here.
Can’t get to one of these locations? Or do you have something else in mind that you are wondering if it will work?
Here is what I look for in the winter months when picking a location.
+ Brick buildings : Brick buildings and textured walls create a clean, simple background for photos while not showcasing what time of year it is
+ Pine, evergreen or arborvitae trees : These trees look the same in the summer and winter months, and create a beautiful background. So even when all the other trees look dead, these create a beautiful green background for photos.
+ Architecture : I love to find beautiful bridges like LaSalle Street bridge, stairways, arches and pretty doors.
+ Natural Light : If it is below 30 degrees, it is pretty hard to be outside for longer than a few minutes for photos. A hotel lobby, museum or conservatory with lots of natural light / big windows make a great option so that you can be warm and still get the look of beautiful natural light photos.
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>>>> Wonder what it is like to work with me? Learn what past brides say about working with Brittany Bekas. And pop by the for brides section to learn my best tips, tricks and wedding planning advice like how to create the perfect wedding timeline and why you might want to have an unplugged ceremony for your wedding. <<<<<