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Engagement Photo Session Location Ideas

We have received a similar request in the Social Media Department. Our engaged couples ask, “what do we think are the best locations to shoot an engagement session?”  The engagement session should reflect your interests and your story as a couple.  However, couples are often busy when they are planning a wedding, and picking a location that reflects your feelings for each other is easier said than done.

Eivan’s serves brides nationwide, with many of our brides and grooms from the Chicago area.  Our headquarters is in Chicago’s Southern Suburbs.  Few resources are available for suburban locations, and because of that, I am writing about engagement session location in the Chicago suburbs.

Best Sites for Engagement Shoots

My favorite site is Graue Mill.  It has something of interest and visually appealing for everyone.  This site is an operational mill, with a water wheel and grindstone.  It is surrounded by a forest preserve with a river in the front and a small waterfall.  The building’s brick and stonework create a stunning backdrop.  You can go inside for a very nominal fee, where it is a historical museum and decorated in period furnishings.  This building was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Mill Water                                                                   Credit: Graue Mill Facebook Page

Another wonderful option is Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. Located on the grounds at Governors State University, it contains 24 pieces on 100+ acres.  To say the least, there are options here.


                                                                                   Credit: Nathan Manilow Sculpture Garden Website

  • Jackson Park, Osaka Garden


Credit: Wikipedia Jackson Park Page

Osaka Garden is so amazing I could not leave it off the least.  This Japanese piece of heaven is well hidden in Jackson Park.  Take a map your first time.  You will be surprised when you get there.  The grounds change suddenly.   A single path winds around the entire garden.  Photography is common here.  Tip: Check the back side of the Museum of Science and Industry, along the Reflecting Pond for a great picnic spot. Check the Chicago Park District Website for permitting rules and regulations.

  • Red Covered Bridge

Looking for a quite place? Princeton, Illinois has a beautiful “Mary’s River Covered Bridge” that looks like it was built just for your wedding.  It is a bit of a drive, but it could be worth it, depending on your aesthetic.

250px-Mary's_River_Covered_BridgeCredit: Wikipedia Page

  • Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden located in Glencoe, IL is a collection of gardens and “a living museum”.  They offer extensive tours and classes.  They provide a webpage on photography at the garden and permitting rules available here: They encourage photography and set clear expectations about how it should be handled.