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2 of My Favorite Intimate Garden Wedding Venues in Rockford, Illinois

While I may live in Kenosha, Wisconsin I do still get the opportunity to make my way to Illinois to document some truly incredible weddings. Today we’re going to take a look at a few of my favorite intimate wedding venues in Rockford, Illinois, Anderson Japanese Gardens and Womanspace! Both venues have a variety of qualities that I truly adore about them, but there’s one thing the two have in common that I absolutely LOVE, and that’s the fact that they’re both garden wedding venues! So what’s the appeal of a garden wedding venue, and what makes these two so special? That’s what we’re here to answer today, so let’s get into it.

Why Choose an Intimate Garden Wedding Venue in Rockford, Illinois?

Before we take a look at these two phenomenal intimate wedding venues in Rockford, Illinois, let’s talk a little about garden wedding venues. Garden wedding venues are as the name suggests, wedding venues that are gardens! Crazy right! Like most spaces that are similar, the Anderson Japanese Garden and Womanspace are not strictly wedding venues, but gardens that are also able host weddings. The main draw of these spaces are the natural beauty they provide as a setting for this special moment in your relationship. Believe me, as a wedding photographer I have seen a TON of incredibly beautiful wedding venues, but there’s something so magical about hosting your wedding in one of these spaces! The natural beauty also means there’s really no need for décor, which is an added bonus!

2 Incredible Intimate Garden Wedding Venues in Rockford, Illinois

Found near the heart of downtown Rockford, Illinois, the Anderson Japanese Gardens are a perfect choice for your intimate wedding venue! With multiple awards from WeddingWire throughout the years the gardens have a fantastic reputation, so let’s take a look at what makes them so special!

The Setting

The Anderson Japanese Gardens were first built in the 1970’s and have been consistently cared for and updated throughout the years since. They of course come with the beauty you’d expect from a professionally maintained garden, but also have the stylistic draws of traditional Japanese culture and architecture mixed in. All of this combines to create a fantastically gorgeous setting of an intimate wedding venue that frankly feels out of this world when you remember that it’s in Rockford, Illinois! With plenty of water features, covered spaces like the semi-recently added pavilion, and an abundance of beautiful plant life, there is NO shortage of photo opportunities within the garden!

Venue Size

The gardens themselves consist of 12 acres of land, all of which are equal in their beauty and tranquility. This space allows the gardens to host gatherings of up to 200 guests, though more intimate weddings feel equally at home in this one of a kind space! For those interested the gardens also are home to an indoor dining room that can act as a reception space for your wedding. This indoor space can fit up to 125 guests, but again is perfectly suited for smaller gatherings as well.


Along with the incredible spaces for your ceremony, reception, cocktail hour, first look, and portraits, the Anderson Japanese Gardens also have a designated getting ready space available for weddings! This along with their next level staff that assists with booking, planning, and other areas of your wedding day all elevate the experience of your wedding here at the gardens.


With the Anderson Japanese Gardens being so close to the heart of downtown Rockford, Illinois, travel and stay accommodations for guests of your intimate wedding really couldn’t be easier. The gardens themselves have plenty of parking spaces available, and with the close proximity of hotels, Airbnbs, and Vrbos there are plenty of options to choose from for your guests. The close proximity to the heart of town also means that if your guests plan on making a weekend getaway out of your wedding they’ll have tons of shops, restaurants, and other activities to include in their weekend!

Just 15 minutes outside of the heart of Rockford, Illinois is the 2nd intimate garden wedding venue we’ll be talking about, Womanspace! This fantastic garden and self betterment space offers a wide array of classes, events, and workshops for members of the community to take part in. In addition to that though is of course the reason we’re talking about it today, which is the fact that you can reserve it as a venue for your wedding day!

Venue Size

Womanspace consists of 7 acres of land in the northeast part of Rockford, Illinois, which lets the venue host small to medium sized weddings. Similarly to the Anderson Japanese Gardens, the grounds of Womanspace are brimming with natural beauty. With lush and dense forests, beautifully curated gardens, and prairie lands with native plants, there are a variety of settings to enjoy and use for your wedding day here!

The Setting

As mentioned above, Womanspace has a variety of different settings to use when having a wedding on their premises. Most of these are outdoors, like the impressive and serene labyrinth,  but there are also indoor spaces here that can be reserved and used as an indoor reception space, such as the art studio or pavilion. The garden also allows outdoor tents to be used at certain  locations which can be great for couples looking to keep that outdoor feel, but want a little protection in case of inclement weather! Most spaces at Womanspace allow for up to 50 guests, though some can host up to 100. 


In addition to the incredible setting and variety of spaces available to choose from at Womanspace, the venue also offers next level service in terms of their staff! They are some of the kindest, and most caring people you’ll come across throughout your wedding planning process. They love that couples want to experience their wedding day in their space, and will do everything in their power to accommodate your wedding vision to make it a reality!


With Womanspace being only 15 minutes from downtown Rockford, Illinois, the logistics of it as an intimate wedding venue stay relatively the same when compared to the Anderson Japanese Gardens. The one thing to be aware of is that while you can reserve the entirety of Womanspace for your event you do not have to. In the case that you do not reserve the venue in its entirety your guests may have to walk a bit when parking at the venue, but that is only the case on the most extreme of busy days!

And there you have it, two of my favorite intimate garden wedding venues in Rockford, Illinois! You’d be hard pressed to find better garden wedding venues than Anderson Japanese Gardens or Womanspace, as both of these venues just offer SUCH a fantastic experience for their couples to enjoy! For more wedding planning tips and venue features be sure to check out my blog, and if you’re looking to book me as your photographer you can head over to my contact page to send me an inquiry!


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