How to Plan a Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding

The Ultimate Guide for Planning a Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding (complete with pricing, capacity, and photos)

Planning your wedding can be stressful, but it should also be an incredibly happy time! Part of that happiness comes from choosing the perfect location to look forward to. A great example is the Chicago Botanical Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in Illinois. 

A wedding in a botanical garden? It’s true! Below is why you should consider a Chicago Botanical Garden wedding and how to plan one!

Why You Should Have a Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding

If you want a beautiful wedding that you will always remember, then Chicago Botanical Garden is perfect for you. With a variety of wedding venues and areas to choose from, you will be sure to find one that fits your needs and offers you and your guests an amazing backdrop. There will be tons of wonderful views and photo opportunities all around!

Read below for some tips on planning a Chicago Botanic Garden Wedding for ideas and inspiration!

If you are interested in contacting the venue, click this link to go to their contact form.

photo by Bliss Events Chicago

Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding Venues

Rental Fee : $30,000
Capacity : 500 ceremony, 1,500 reception

The Esplanade is the final and most expensive wedding venue offered at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The vast, dramatic landscape makes you feel like you and your guests have been transported to an incredible estate. In fact, this space was planned and designed by two renowned architects, giving it a touch of fame that is sure to impress your guests. This area includes pristine lawns that are surrounded by tall, lush trees that line down to the water’s edge, opening up to an elegant water feature.

As the more expensive cost would suggest, this is the single largest venue you can have for a Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding, with the capacity to seat as much as 500 guests for a sit down dinner, and up to 1,500 guests for a cocktail reception. The dining space does require additional tenting for guests. Like the Rose Garden, those looking to utilize the incredible pavilion for their wedding must get approval. Also similar to the Rose Garden, the Esplanade is only available during the evenings, and the fee is consistent no matter which night of the week or weekend you choose for your wedding. 

Wedding venues are going fast, making it a challenge to lock in a wedding date as early as possible. With this guide, you’re sure to find your ideal venue for your Chicago Botanical Garden wedding, and at a price that works for you. 

Rose Garden
Rental Fee : $12,000
Capacity : 

The Rose Garden may be a bit pricier, but for those looking for some of the most exquisite and stunning displays of roses – as its name would suggest – look no further than the Rose Garden. The Rose Garden is as elegant, graceful, classy, and romantic a venue as one would expect, given the cost. With over 5,000 rose bushes to delight your guests, it might fit a preconceived idea of what a Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding would look like with it’s greenery and any shade of rose you might imagine. 

It is reserved for weddings and other elegant events regularly and requires special approval to use the space, making it a more exclusive location. Although the fee remains the same regardless of whichever evening you’re having your wedding, the space is not available in the daytime for any ceremonies or events. It’s also important to note that the venue requires a tent reservation for any private weddings, which is used to make your wedding feel more private and exclusive.

Rose Terrace
Rental Fee : $1,500 – $4,000
Capacity : 275 ceremony, 250 reception

The Rose Terrace is another splendid garden space, with a similar romantic and elegant vibe as what the Walled Garden offers, and is also unavailable during the daytime. But, if you want a beautiful evening ceremony and party surrounded by charming greenery and vibrant roses that contrast the perfectly manicured lawn – this is your spot! This also has a slightly larger capacity for your guests, offering a cocktail reception of 250 guests and a wedding ceremony capacity of 275 guests. 

In order to best enjoy the vibrant nature of this venue, it is only available from May to October, which means you’ll have all of the gardens in their prime and growing beautifully. Chicago Botanical Garden even recommends pairing cocktails at the Rose Terrace with a dinner at the McGinley Pavilion, if your budget has the room for both. 

English Walled Garden
Rental Fee : $1,500 – $4,000
Capacity : 175 ceremony, 250 reception

If elegance, grace, and romance are right in-tune with your wedding vision and aesthetic, and your budget is on the more modest side, then the English Walled Garden is the perfect fit for your Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding. The garden features a beautiful brick courtyard that is surrounded by lush, manicured greenery. It feels fully enclosed in towering trees that open up gracefully to the open sky. The ceremonial space is often perfectly perched across the bridge, next to a serene, small pond. 

It also has excellent capacity, and with its unique seating space typically being enclosed around the pond, it is able to comfortably seat up to 175 guests. With the reception space, it gets even better, with the capacity for 250 guests. Although, as most wedding planners will tell you, it’s always ideal to have a backup plan, even with an elegant, charming space like this one. The English Garden also has a backup room in the event of unfavorable weather. It’s also important to note that the English Garden is only available in the evenings.

McGinley Pavilion
Rental Fee : $2,500 – $8,500
Capacity : 125 ceremony, 350 reception

The McGinley Pavilion blends some of my favorite venues together- it’s a sheltered and canopied terrace that allows your guests to stay shielded from the sun or the rain, but is open on all sides and is surrounded by stunning garden views. It even offers a view of Evening Island from its very own waterfront patio, where guests can gaze out across the gentle waters and soak in all the serenity while they sip on their cocktails and enjoy their appetizers. 

If you’re really looking to maximize space, the McGinley Pavilion can hold up to 350 people for a reception and cocktail party, with plenty of room to roam about and take in the different views of nature. If you’re looking for a larger party space, it can also hold up to 230 guests while also providing significant space for a full dance floor. The smallest capacity is reserved for the wedding ceremony, with up to 125 guest seating available. 

This is also one of the more versatile options for a Chicago Botanic Garden Wedding for those who may be concerned about the weather. The Pavilion offers rentals for both heating units and clear side panels, which can be added on for an additional fee. It is also available during both days and evenings for any day of the week or weekend. 

Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding Venues (cont’d)

Nichols Hall
Rental Fee : $2,000 – $6,000
Capacity : 275 ceremony, 400 reception

If you are looking for a dramatic ballroom aesthetic as opposed to something more garden-based, the Nichols Hall offers a variety to suit just those very needs. It is an entirely indoor space, with elegant high ceilings that are topped off with a skylight to enjoy the sunshine or starry skies, as well as artistic lighting that keeps everything bright and energized. It is also a significantly larger space, offering up to 275 guests for a wedding ceremony, 400 guests for a cocktail reception, and up to 300 guests for a sit-down dinner. 

If you want to plan a larger wedding and host something formal, fun, and elegant, Nichols Hall can be that. However, that wedding would need to be sometime between Labor Day and Memorial day. Luckily, you still have a range of dates, as the Nichols Hall is available for both days and nights, during the week and the weekends. 

Buehler Enabling Garden
Rental Fee : $1,500 – $4,000
Capacity : 50 ceremony, 250 reception

The Buehler Garden is another outdoor garden space, although it is more formal and organized than the abundant green grounds offered in the Rose Terrace and the English Garden. If you don’t want to have to worry about your guests walking around on the grass in their heels, then you might prefer the brick and cobbled surface of the Enabling Garden. It still offers raised plant beds and handsome shrubbery around the courtyard-like space. 

Although this space is more ideal for seated dinners and cocktail receptions with a capacity of 110 and 250 respectively, it can also manage a wedding ceremony with a unique seating arrangement that allows for up to 50 guests. If you would like to pair this space with the Evening Island, it offers more variety as well! Guests can enjoy a view of the Gardens of the Great Basin while sipping on cocktails or strolling after dinner. 

Krehbiel Gallery
Rental Fee : $1,500 – $4,000
Capacity : 200 ceremony, 275 reception

The Krehbiel Gallery is one of the more unique spaces for a Chicago Botanic Garden Wedding, offering couples an elegant and engaging space to offer their guests a different experience from something more formal. It has the energy of a modern, vibrant art gallery, and often features the Garden’s art exhibitions for guests to view and enjoy. It brings about a beautiful garden energy through the visuals, while still keeping your guests protected from the elements indoors. 

If you are looking at using the Krehbiel Gallery for your wedding, it’s important to know that it is only available during the evenings, and only from September through May. It is a perfect space to host a small dinner party, with a capacity of 75 guests, or to hold your cocktail reception for up to 275 guests. Additionally, it can hold up to 200 guests for a wedding ceremony. This makes it one of the larger venues that still remains on the lower end of the price ranges at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Burnstein Hall
Rental Fee : $1,000 – $3,000
Capacity : 150 ceremony, 220 reception

Burstein Hall is another more affordable option for guests, but one which also offers quite a bit more space! If your budget is tight but your guest list isn’t, this is an excellent option. It also offers an option for a dance floor, which is a must for many newlyweds. With a dance floor space included, Burnstein Hall can hold 150 people, and as many as 220 for a cocktail reception. 

One of the biggest benefits of this Hall, is that it is essentially a blank palette and one that readily allows the couple to create their own beautiful vision. It has the perfect aesthetic that allows you to bring in a design and blend the two together. Plus, guests can also access the Garden’s exquisite Bonsai Collection. Lastly, it’s also available for any day of the week, as well as any night and weekends. 

Linnaeus Room
Rental Fee : $750 – $2,500
Capacity : 70

The Linnaeus Room is one of the smaller spaces offered for a Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding, which holds around 70 guests for sit-down dinners and cocktail receptions. It’s perfect for an intimate and modest wedding or elopement. Luckily, it also is one of the most flexible venues, as it’s available during both days and nights any day of the week. 

If you are looking for a smaller ceremony and reception and like to keep things focused on the guests of the hour, then the Linnaeus Room may be your perfect spot! One of the biggest bonuses to using this space for your wedding is that they offer unique, stunning views of the Esplanade as well as the North Lake. In addition to the exquisite outdoor sights, guests can also enjoy the Garden’s botanical art collection indoors. 

Searle Courtyard
Rental Fee : $750 – $1,500
Capacity : 100 ceremony, 250 reception

The Searle Courtyard is a wonderfully unique space to get married in. It features a refined, clean space that is themed after a Japanese Garden. With calming shades of greens and browns, it evokes earthy energy, and even has a renowned Bonsai collection for your guests to marvel at and appreciate. 

There is an open courtyard space for fresh air and cocktails, as well as a covered patio area for those who prefer to offer both an indoor and outdoor space. It’s minimalist, clean, and elegantly detailed for those looking for a unique aesthetic. 

This is one of the most affordable spaces for a Chicago Botanic Garden Wedding, but still offers moderate capacity, with a ceremony capacity of 100 and a cocktail reception space of 250. The Searle Courtyard is not available during the daytime but is available both week and weekend nights. 

thomas fogarty wedding silhouetted bride and groom with a colorful sunset around them

Best Time of Year for a Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding

Choosing a date not only affects the temperature, but also how green or orange the garden may look. Having a Chicago Botanic Garden Wedding is best during the “warmer” months from April – October, but is open year round. Most visitors to Chicago love the warm spring and fall months, so that’s something to consider for out of town guests. In addition, having a Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding around baseball season offers guests a chance to catch a game at historic Wrigley Field!

Chicago Botanic Garden Wedding Restrictions

A Chicago Botanical Garden wedding is one of the most beautiful venues to choose from. However, there are some restrictions that you should be aware of. The first is if you are getting married in the gardens, you do have to have a reception there as well. So if eloping and having an intimate wedding ceremony is on your mind, I’m afraid you will have to look elsewhere. 

In addition, as outlined above in the individual venue settings, some locations do not allow early daytime celebrations or are only restricted to weekends. And finally, you are limited to using their own catering for your reception, although I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Check out their menu to get an idea of what they offer.


With careful planning and a little bit of luck, you will have an absolutely gorgeous wedding that everybody talks about for years to come. The location is beautiful and filled with flowers, making it the perfect place for a ceremony and an even better place for photos! Begin planning and making your decisions to prepare for a perfect Chicago Botanical Garden Wedding!

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