Drawing inspiration from scenic parks, a breathtaking skyline and stunning Lake Michigan, Chicago offers a multitude of inspired settings for outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions. During the spring, summer and early fall months, outdoor space can serve as a blank canvas for couples planning their wedding. Explore these outdoor wedding venues that encompass all of the natural beauty Chicago has to offer.
1. Chicago Botanic Garden
In the heart of the North Shore, Chicago Botanic Garden serves as a true metropolitan oasis. A selection of enchanting gardens, peaceful lakes and native woodlands offer backdrops of pure beauty and serenity. An array of awe-inspiring floral displays in spaces like the English Walled Garden, Rose Terrace and Buehler Enabling Garden are complemented by a series of beautiful outdoor structures. McGinley Pavilion features a dramatic canopied terrace, Searle Courtyard infuses a Japanese aesthetic with a renowned Bonsai Collection, and Esplanade boasts dramatic elms, a pavilion line with sheared cone topiaries and a row of waterspouts from pools of water. The Garden combines rare natural beauty with proximity to downtown Chicago for your guests. With a series of inspired settings offering unrivaled aesthetics and the finest amenities and service, the Chicago Botanic Garden an ideal choice for an outdoor event.
2. The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms
Tucked away on a 130-acre private estate, The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms is a truly one-of-a-kind facility. Sophisticated, rustic elegance comes to life with sliding glass doors that open to a scene of the sprawling countryside. This exclusive, unique venue boasts a 40-foot masonry fireplace to enjoy alongside the country breeze. Whether you choose to exchange vows under the branches of stately oak trees or next to a spring fed pond, the atmosphere will be brimming with charm and style After the celebration your guests can enjoy a luxury Bed and Breakfast and organic apple orchard. Orchard Ridge Farms is the ideal wedding venue for a tranquil escape outside Chicago.
3. Northerly Island
Daniel Burnham created Northerly Island as his vision of “Paris on the Prairie.” Whether you are having an intimate, lakeside reception or formal black-tie gala, this 91-acre peninsula serves as a wedding venue unlike any other. Located on the southeast corner of the Museum Campus, Northerly Island offers backdrops with views of the city skyline, Burnham Harbor and Lake Michigan. The natural beauty of the space will surely impress your guests, featuring stunning seasonal wildflowers and strolling pathways. For a truly blank canvas with sweeping panoramic views of Chicago’s lakefront, consider a tented event on Northerly Island for a gorgeous outdoor wedding ceremony or reception.
4. Grove Redfield Estate
An elegant garden-like setting and charming atmosphere make the Grove Redfield Estate the choice for a wedding with comfortable elegance. An outdoor ceremony under the cover of a beautiful stone pavilion is enhanced by a dramatic outdoor fireplace and large urns full of seasonal flowers. There is also the option of a ceremony under the large oak tree in the front of this Northern European inspired country house. The grounds also boast a rustic bridge to a woodland gazebo as well as a variety of settings for your cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. Make use of the bride’s room in the historic home for all of the bridal party’s preparations and let the beauty of nature inspire your event at Grove Redfield Estate, full of fun, class and elegance.
5. Morton Arboretum
A wedding at Morton Arboretum will take place among thousands of flowering trees, beautiful gardens, stunning leaves and pristine lakes. A selection of outdoor ceremony sites include the Hedge Garden, with three terraces of formal gardens framed with sheared hedges and a backdrop of four striking white pillars 20-feet high, as well as Meadow Lake Point, alongside the tranquil, majestic waters, enveloping trees and wildflowers. Say “I do” among the vivid colors, textures and smells of Fragrance Gardens or on Thornhill lawn-encircled by trees, blooming magnolias and hawthorn blossoms. A wedding at The Morton Arboretum supports an organization devoted to the betterment of the environment and planting and protecting trees. These cherished, stunning grounds will create an unforgettable experience and serve as the magnificent oasis where your marriage will begin.
6. North Rose Garden at Buckingham Fountain
Located in Chicago’s Grant Park, the North Rose Garden sits alongside the splendid Buckingham Fountain. Sculpted hedges line the award-winning garden to create an intimate, romantic ambiance. Roam among the garden’s picturesque trellises and plush greenery as you set the stage to exchange your vows. Your guests will be delighted by the smell of the roses in this truly enchanting locale. Take advantage of Buckingham Fountain, modeled after Louis XIV’s gardens at Versailles, for even more exceptional photograph opportunities. The North Rose Garden creates an outdoor Chicago wedding with charm and whimsy.
7. The Brookfield Zoo
The lush grounds at Brookfield Zoo provide a unique, tranquil setting for weddings in Chicago. Guests will enjoy a cocktail hour amid the beautiful décor of one of the zoo’s world-class exhibits. Whether it is hors d’oeuvres alongside a Cajun country bayou or drinks among hundreds of dazzling butterflies in the open-air, garden setting, Brookfield Zoo is a truly exotic stage for special day. For the remainder of the event, the zoo features a series of pavilions, each with a distinctive personality. With animal noises in the distance and 216 acres of beautifully landscaped as the background, a wedding at Brookfield zoo will provide your guests with a truly unforgettable experience.
8. Wandering Tree Estate
With ten acres of award-winning gardens and a sprawling four-acre lake make Wandering Tree Estate an exquisite setting for an outdoor wedding. Choose from the Rose Garden, Pool Garden or the acclaimed Woodland Garden, featuring a 400 year old Oak Tree. A wedding in the Shabui Japanese Stroll Garden is accompanied by a sushi station. An operating model railway will take your guests for a ride around the property and makes for a uniquely charming photo opportunity. The 6,000 square foot garden railway and Model Train Museum set the stage for truly enchanting events. Add fireworks, floating lanterns or rent swans for a touch of magic on your special day.
9. Cuneo Mansion and Gardens
With landscaping created by the world renowned, Jen Jensen, Loyola’s Cuneo Mansion and Gardens blends old world elegance and the rich history of Chicago. A historic Italianate style mansion sits behind an elegant year-round pavilion as well as a beautiful terrace overlooking 97 acres of estate grounds. Fine Venetian style architecture throughout the quiet gardens and pathways will allow guests to indulge in the old-world splendor of the gilded age. Events at Cuneo Mansion come partnered with four premier caterers in the Chicago area. Elegance, distinctive architecture and formal, manicured gardens set the stage for a wedding straight out of a fairytale.
10. 63rd Street Beach House
Situated on the sands of Lake Michigan, the Beach House at 63rd Street is an open-air, classical revival- style pavilion. This exposed-aggregate building boasts grand porticos overlooking a panorama of sparkling clear waters. Consider the Fountain Courtyard featuring a fountain 85 feet in diameter for cocktails, dinner and awe-inspiring photos. A covered promenade with sun-drenched balconies on the second floor, or either of the splendid courtyards on the ground level creates an ambiance of enchanted romance. The 63rd Street Beach House benefits from scenic Lake Michigan as well as one of Chicago’s largest beaches in one unique location.
11. Anderson Japanese Gardens
Recognized as one of the best Japanese gardens in North America, Anderson Japanese Gardens also serves as one of the most unique outdoor wedding venues in Chicago. With over 12 acres of meticulously kept grounds, the Gardens provide numerous romantic ceremony settings. The exquisite landscape sets the stage for breathtaking photos featuring winding pathways, gentle streams, scenic ponds and magnificent waterfalls. Uniquely cultural architectural pieces make the ambiance among the gardens truly unforgettable, offering both peace and tranquility for all who take part. A wedding at Anderson Japanese Gardens is a one-of-a-kind reflection of your personal taste and style.
12. Garfield Park Conservatory
With beautiful outdoor space as well as a greenhouse setting, Garfield Park Conservatory will take your wedding from Chicago to a tropical paradise. The landscaped Bluestone patio features a stunning white pavilion for a setting of natural elegance. The conservatory also features a multi-room greenhouse with a warm, lush setting as fragrant as the island tropics. Seasonal décor and intricate greenery make for a truly luxurious setting and unique wedding photo opportunities. Whether you choose to use one space or the entire conservatory, a wedding on these amazing grounds will take your guests mini-vacation.
13. Illinois Beach Resort
Positioned along the picturesque coastline of Lake Michigan, the Illinois Beach Resort is a scenic paradise outside of Chicago. This hidden gem is nestled inside 4,100 acres of natural beauty in a protected state park. Say “I Do” on the sandy shoreline or on one of the properties open green areas. The resort offers inclusive wedding packages to ensure the planning process is seamless and enjoyable. The esteemed staff will customize any menu to fit your particular tastes and needs, arrange pre-planning and day- of coordinators, and provide a comprehensive list of preferred vendors. With impeccable service and exceptional views, the Illinois Beach Resort sets the stage for a truly elegant outdoor wedding.
14. Odyssey Cruises at Navy Pier
Start at Chicago’s famed Navy Pier and embark upon a wedding aboard the elegant vessel that is Odyssey II. Utilize Odyssey’s open-air sky deck for a scenic outdoor wedding ceremony followed by a reception with the boat’s chic and modern setting. Enjoy acclaimed cuisine prepared on board followed by champagne, music and dancing, all with Chicago’s world renowned skyline as the backdrop to you special day. Attentive service will ensure no detail goes unnoticed from flowers to décor to music and more and customizable cruise packages provide choices to best fit your wedding. Odyssey Cruises ensures your wedding to be a breathtakingly splendid journey.
15. Millennium Park
Located in the heart of the city, there are a host of inspired wedding venues within Millennium Park. Host an intimate ceremony at Wrigley Square, with 40-foot columns as the backdrop. Have a party under the stars of the Rooftop Terrace for up to 1,000 guests with spectacular views of the Chicago cityscape. Or enjoy dinner and dancing on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion Stage beneath a dramatic steel-and-glass “ceiling.” Fabulous views of the city skyline, the Crown Fountain and BP Bridge create endless remarkable photo opps. State-of-the-art architecture, landscape design and art make Millennium Park an exceptional location for outdoor weddings of all kinds.