Lily Pool Permits

Have your event in the beauty of the alfred caldwell lily pool

Our 2023 Events Season will end on Sunday October 8th.
Our 2024 Events season will begin on Wednesday May 1st. We are issuing permits for the 2024 season.

Begin your life together surrounded by the natural beauty and privacy of a unique National Historic Landmark in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Designed by Alfred Caldwell in 1936, the Lily Pool includes an architecturally significant pavilion, a cascading waterfall, and native plantings.

After decades of erosion and damage, the Lily Pool was restored from 1998-2002 to Caldwell’s original design by the Chicago Park District and the Lincoln Park Conservancy. The Conservancy is proud to offer this natural sanctuary as a venue for your intimate wedding ceremony, proposal, or photography.

All wedding, engagement, family, or other professional photography must obtain a permit in advance from the Lincoln Park Conservancy.

Photography Permits are required for any posed non-commercial or commercial photography/videography at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool taken by professional or amateur photographers. Examples of non-commercial photography include weddings, engagement, maternity, family, or individual portraits.

The Lily Pool hosts events seasonally from May through October and does not allow permitted events during the following holidays.

  • Memorial Day Weekend – Saturday, May 27th through Monday, May 29th
  • 4th of July Weekend – Friday, June 30th through Tuesday, July 4th
  • Air and Water Show Weekend – Friday, August 18th through Sunday, August, 20th
  • Labor Day Weekend – Saturday, September 2nd through Monday, September 4th
  • Closed for Winter starting Sunday, October 8th

For more information and to schedule your event, email



No Closure Event Policy

The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is no longer offering permits for events that will close the park to the public. This is to ensure all visitors are able to enjoy the garden during its open hours. This restriction does not affect non-closure event permits such as non-closure weddings, proposals, or photography, where the site remains open during the event.

Do we allow chairs?

To protect the nature in the park, we do not allow chairs to be used or brought in for permitted events. This excludes mobility support devices like walkers, wheelchairs, or motorized scooters. The Main Pavilion has a large bench that can hold 3 to 4 people which will provide a clear view of a ceremony and one additional bench which can provide a partially obstructed view. Additionally, there is stone bench seating in the Lily Pool’s Council Ring which can also be used to hold a ceremony. The Council Ring is located across from the Main Pavilion.

What if it rains? 

The Lincoln Park Conservancy will never cancel an event due to weather. In the event of rain, you may adjust your ceremony start time or date if there are no other special events scheduled at the Lily Pool (please check with Lincoln Park Conservancy in advance). Many couples have a contingency plan set ahead of time for an alternate, indoor ceremony location such as their reception venue.

The Lily Pool does not have shelter from rain. Umbrellas are encouraged.

Cancellation Policy

Should a cancellation be necessary in the event of rain, or for any other reason, the Lincoln Park Conservancy will refund your payment less a service fee. You must make us aware of your cancellation 24 hours prior to your scheduled event to be eligible for a refund.

Questions? Please email us at



The Lincoln Park Conservancy reserves the right to deny services if these guidelines are not met.

• Application must be submitted at least seven (7) days prior to your event.
• Attendance must not exceed maximum capacity restrictions.
• No food or beverages are allowed in the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool.
• No décor is allowed without prior approval. Guests are responsible for setting up, taking down, and removing décor.
• No plant or floral arrangements are allowed (except for wedding bouquets and boutonnieres). No use of chalk or paint is allowed anywhere on the site.
• For environmental reasons, no balloon releases or throwing of petals, rice or confetti of any kind is allowed.
• For safety reasons, no open flames or candles are allowed.
• A live soloist is acceptable if arranged with the Lincoln Park Conservancy in advance. Amplifiers are not necessary for the space. Small Bluetooth speakers are acceptable.
• PLEASE STAY ON THE PATHS. Movement in planted areas can permanently damage delicate, rare, expensive, and/or historic plant materials or seedlings that may not be visible at the time of your visit. The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is Lincoln Park’s only National Historic Landmark garden—please help keep its plant community alive.




The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool will be closed during the following event dates.

  • Sunday, June 4th 3:30pm-6pm
  • Friday, June 30 – Tuesday, July 4th All Day
  • Friday, August 18th – Sunday, August, 20th All Day
  • Saturday, September 2nd through Monday, September 4th All Day
  • Sunday, September 24th from 3 – 5pm
  • The Lily Pool will close on Sunday, October 8



Permits for events and photography inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory are available through the Chicago Park District.

Filming and Photography


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