Capturing Love Amongst Rockford’s Outdoor Gems

Whether you're scouting the best proposal spots, seeking the best places for engagement photos, or planning the perfect picturesque location for your wedding day, the many natural botanic gardens of Rockford offer the idyllic setting to capture your special memories. Discover our top picks for stunning photos of you and your loved one.

Anderson Japanese Gardens

This tranquil oasis is known for its authentic Japanese architecture, serene water features, and lush landscapes. The stunning gardens include foliage, ponds, streams, and colorful flowers, providing a picturesque backdrop for wedding photos. Authentic Japanese architectural elements include traditional tea houses, bridges, and lanterns, which add an elegant and unique touch to wedding photos.

The Gardens are open from May through mid-November, and entrance fees vary. For private wedding photos, you can book both special use times to ensure an intimate photo shoot that captures moments of just the two of you away from the crowds.


Sinnissippi Gardens

With its sprawling botanical beauty, vibrant flower beds, scenic waterways, and meticulously manicured lawns, there’s a reason why the Sinnissippi Gardens are known as one of the best places for wedding photos in Rockford. Be sure to get some shots in front of the American Rose Selection (AARS) accredited rose garden with almost 2,000 rose plants and 62 varieties. A 32-foot floral clock decorated with thousands of annuals, a peaceful perennial garden, and its annual Festival of Lights in the winter will also offer unique elements to your photos. The Gardens are open year-round with no entrance fees, making them a budget-friendly wedding photo option in Rockford.

klehm arboretum wedding

Klehm Arboretum

The Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden spans over 155 acres, providing couples with plenty of winding paths and trails to find their ideal backdrop. The Arboretum showcases plant species across its many specialty gardens, which include prehistoric trees and plants dating back millions of years and a perennial pollinator garden teeming with vibrant blooms and butterflies. Entrance to the arboretum comes with a small fee, and their hours can vary depending on the season, so plan ahead before the big shoot. Because of the terrain, brides may find it helpful to pack a pair of comfortable shoes before changing into their bridal shoes for their photoshoot.

Between serene settings, colorful flower beds, water features, and winding paths, Rockford’s gardens are the ideal backdrop for your wedding photos.

Louise Z Mural

CRE8IV Murals

CRE8IV started in 2018 with the hope to add color to the region. Five years and over 40 murals later, the program has done just that!  Locations are scattered in Rockford, Roscoe, Rockton, Pecatonica, and Loves Park.  CRE8IV has worked to transform a variety of wall types, including sides of buildings, columns, bridges and more.  Each of the murals is a unique work, only found in our region. The themes include beautiful colors, florals, nature and birds, iconic symbols of the Rockford region including the Rockford Peaches, the sock monkey, Symbol, and Jane the dinosaur, perfect for a distinctly Rockford backdrop.