Chicago weather can be unpredictable, so it’s smart to have a backup location for some indoor wedding photos. That way, no matter what the weather forecast throws your way, you’ll walk away with wedding photos you’ll love.
Sound like a lot of work? Don’t worry—I did all the research for you!
Here are my 7 go-to spots when I need to take indoor wedding photos in Chicago (plus info on how to get photography permits when necessary).
The Top Locations for Indoor Wedding Photos in Chicago
Note: Prices and permit info are current as of Spring 2023
1. Garfield Park Conservatory
This place is a year-round oasis that is perfect for wedding party photos. It’s perfect for weddings happening in the dead of winter. It’s also a great option for couples wanting a rain-proof backup. Either way, GPC is my go-to spot for indoor wedding photos on the west side of Chicago.
Cost: $45/hr + $35 permit application fee
Note: reservations can only be made 2 weeks before your wedding.
For the most up-to-date information, click here and scroll to “Reserve a Permit”
2. Art Institute of Chicago
From the grand staircase to the modern wing, there are so many picturesque nooks and crannies that can match the vibe of your wedding day.
There are a few things to note about taking photos inside the Art Institute:
- Flowers aren’t allowed in, so we’ll have to leave bouquets + boutonnieres behind
- Extra lighting isn’t allowed, so the photos will match the mood of the exhibit’s lighting
- We can’t ask other visitors to move, so you have to be okay with an occasional stranger in the background.
Cost: Price of admission for each person, including your photo/video team (no additional permit needed)
Process: For non-members, you can purchase tickets in advance HERE
3. Union Station
Union Station’s colonnade is every Chicago photographer’s go-to when an unexpected shower pops up. It’s not technically an indoor location, but the path is wide enough to fit an entire wedding party and the columns shield us from most of the elements.
If you don’t want to fight other couples for the free pathway, you can also buy a permit to take photos inside the great hall.
Process: Click here to fill out the permit application
4. Lyric Opera House
Lyric Opera’s covered colonnade is an equally gorgeous alternative to Union Station’s. It’s also free, so expect to see some other wedding parties there.
5. The Rookery
This is the home of that gorgeous spiraled staircase you’ve seen on Instagram. The lobby is a great spot for some formal wedding party photos and the Oriel stairs and a classic Chicago spot for couple photos.
Cost: $150–$275, depending on the locations + length of time
Process: Click here and fill out the photography form
6. The Old Post Office
One of the newest spots for indoor wedding photos in Chicago is the Old Post Office. Located just west of the loop, the Historic Lobby is a clean, art deco marble lobby that’s perfect for family formals and large wedding parties. The eclectic 2nd floor, known as the Telegraph Lounge, is another great option for indoor wedding party photos.
Bonus: it’s got tons of games like bocce and pool to keep the wedding party occupied while we sneak off for some couples-only photos.
Cost: $150 for the Historic Lobby, $250 for the lobby, 2nd floor, and rooftop.
Process: Click here and scroll down to the first FAQ question for the most up-to-date contact info
7. Your Hotel’s Lobby
An easy and convenient backup plan is the lobby where you’re getting ready. Ask your hotel contact if you’re allowed to take pictures in the hotel lobby.
Some of the more popular hotels, like Chicago Athletic Association, will charge a hefty permit fee even if you’re staying there. Others, like the Hoxton, have a strict “no photos” policy outside of the hotel rooms. Most, however, are okay with you using the hotel as a rain backup for free.
In a city as large as Chicago, there are countless indoor wedding photo spots. But if you pick one of ⬆️ those 7 ⬆️ as a Plan B location, I *promise* you’ll love your wedding photos come rain, shine, or random April blizzard.
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