Morton Arboretum Engagement Session | AJ + Justin

Aug 30

Filed in: Engagement

Somehow, this was my first time shooting at the Morton Arboretum, and I am HOOKED. If you love the idea of Garfield Park Observatory but don’t want to fight the crowds during peak season, the Arboretum is a fantastic choice with lush, sprawling acres of tall grass and trees. There’s so much space and endless unique, stunning spaces to get lost in. Bridges, ivy walls, pathways, bubbling brooks—you name it, they have it. And the best part of all—there’s so much privacy, which was ideal for these adventure-seeking introverts! With nine miles of roads and SIXTEEN miles of trails, it’s not hard to escape the crowds. Only a handful of hikers, bikers, and cars passed us during our 90 minutes here! That’s almost unheard of in the city, and it’s only a half hour from downtown Chicago (and minutes from the suburbs)!

Morton Arboretum Engagement Photos

The session was my first time meeting the couple in person, and I could sense a bit of nervousness (typical for most sessions—it’s hard to act natural with a camera pointed at you). I assured them they would be pro within five minutes. And they were! When I read their questionnaire, I noticed that a friend remarked, “I think that you guys have as much fun with each other as any couple I’ve seen.” I was determined to capture that part of their relationship. The Morton Arboretum was the perfect private space for them to be themselves.

We had so much fun exploring the grounds, hopping in and out of their car as we saw areas that sparked our interest, and chatting more about their wedding coming up! They relaxed and found their groove in no time. 

Do we really need an engagement session?

Yes, yes, and yes! These might just be your first professional photos together! I highly recommend booking an engagement session with your wedding photographer for several reasons. Not only do you get photos you can use for announcements, invitations, wedding websites, wedding displays, and more, but it also serves as a get-to-know-you run. I always enjoy hearing about your hobbies, careers, and wedding plans so I can get a better idea of your style and preferences. Then, on your wedding day, you won’t feel like a stranger is photographing you. 

I want you to feel comfortable enough to confide in me as your biggest wedding day advocate, whether you need someone to rally the wedding party together, ask a vendor for a minor décor adjustment, or help locate an extra safety pin! When you’re with someone you know and trust, you feel free to express yourself, lean into the creativity, and take phenomenal wedding photos. It truly is a partnership! Ready to get started?

Considering the Morton Arboretum for your engagement session? Here are a few highlights:

  • 9 landscaped gardens
  • 8 unique exhibitions (the Of the Earth sculptures are fascinating if you want artistic elements!)
  • 16 miles of various gravel, paved, grassy, and wheelchair-accessible trails
  • 9 miles of roads (which helps us save time between locations)
  • Diverse landscapes—marsh, woodlands, pine forests, and prairies 
  • 9 water features—marshes, lakes, ponds, and creeks
  • Plus, too many tree species to count for year-round color and beauty

Check Out Some of the Best Chicago Venues

The Morton Arboretum is also open to weddings and events. They have nine beautiful indoor and outdoor event spaces to choose from and in-house catering by Ginkgo Catering for both intimate garden ceremonies and luxury weddings. Their stunning indoor rooms and spaces feature countless windows, high ceilings, and built-in charm that ties into the gardens, so you don’t have to fret about bad weather.

(Note: The Firefly Pavilion will open for weddings and events in May 2024). 

The Morton Arboretum is an incredibly versatile venue for adventure, couple’s portraits, and events, and I’m so glad AJ and Austin chose the Arboretum for their engagement session! After all the fun we had together, I can’t wait to capture their big day at one of my favorite intimate downtown Chicago wedding venues, The Publishing House, followed by their reception at Sepia Chicago! So, stay tuned for that in a few months—I just know it’s going to be gorgeous.

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  1. […] AJ and Justin’s heart-tugging engagement session at Morton Arboretum this summer? Well, their big day finally arrived, and it was all I envisioned and more for […]

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