This blog post has been a long time in the making! Last year, I created “top spots” to take engagement photos throughout the city of Chicago. However, because my couples are evenly split throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, I thought it would be helpful to create something similar for those who prefer a suburb location.
Hurley Gardens is the hidden gem of Wheaton! A former historic estate, the early 20th-century tea house and garden are tucked in between neighborhood townhomes. There are no permits required to take photos here. The gazebo, pergola, flower-lined walkways, fountain and reflecting pool give this location a clean, crisp look regardless of the season you’re shooting in. You can check out Christa and John’s blog post to see more from an engagement shoot here!
The Naperville Riverwalk is a one-stop destination that can offer so much variety for your session. Perfect for nature-lovers, this lovely combination of charming bridges and architectural elements is juxtaposed with green landscapes of trees and river waters. Complete with brick paths, fountains, landscaping, and artwork, there is truly so much room for creativity here! Best of all, it is the perfect spot for a date night after your session! No permits are required here.
Another awesome location located in Wheaton, IL! Cantigny Park is packed with various gardens, trails, museums, and picnic areas. The permit fee here is $35.00, which you pay upon entering the parking lot. Because of it’s beauty and popularity, you can expect to see quite a few other photo sessions going on here during your shoot. You can check out Inga and Evan’s blog post or Kathy and Conrad’s session for more favorites from this dynamic location!
If you love color, and you love autumn, then look no further because THIS is the location for you! The Morton Arboretum is located in Lisle, IL. Although there is no permit fee, you do pay a $15.00 entry fee per adult. With the always-changing nature of Chicago, the Morton Arboretum can be a lovely location for any season! Click here to see favorites from Diana and Joey’s engagement shoot here!
CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN
Located in Glencoe, IL, the Chicago Botanic Garden offers some of the most stunning scenery for an engagement session during any season. From the Japanese Gardens, to the Rose and Circle Gardens, back to the Fruit Gardens, a session at the Chicago Botanic Garden is an experience in itself! There permit fee ranges from $150-$250 and is obtained upon entry on the day of your shoot. You can check out Elona and Andy’s blog post to see their Spring engagement session, or Krystina and Kris’s ten year anniversary shoot during the winter months!
The 2,503-acre Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, located in Darien, IL is one of the most popular forest preserves. With over 11 miles of trails, and you guessed it, a stunning waterfall for your engagement backdrop. All seasons photograph well here. This is especially fun for the adventurous couples out there who want to run into the water at some point during their session!
The 3,558-acre forest preserve is one of the largest and most diverse forest preserves in the Northwest suburbs. Located in the Schaumburg area, the Busse Forest Elk Pasture known as one of the best-used, natural areas in Illinois. The eight-mile long pathway loops through various terrain, meadows, bridges, etc. Boasting tall red oaks, hickories, maple, ash, and elms, the grand trees make for a picturesque, nature-inspired romance.
There are no photo permits or fees required here!
ST. JAMES FARM
One of the newest developed of the many scenic nature trails in DuPage County! St. James Farm, located in Warrenville, IL, offers so much scenery and color during the autumn season. There are many paths, barns, stables, and art work to enhance the backdrop of your session. Particularly beautiful are the symmetrically lined trees. There is a (non-refundable) permit fee here of $75, which must be obtained several weeks in advance.
BAHA’I TEMPLE – HOUSE OF WORSHIP
Calling all of my light and airy lovers! The Baha’i Temple is located in Wilmette, IL, and offers so many amazing opportunities for variety to your images: From the greenery and blossoms surrounding the temple, to the bright white steps and bridges. If you want a timeless, classic look to your engagement photos, this might be the location for you!