The National Park Service (NPS) is mandated to protect all resources, "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations" (16 U.S.C. 1). The park requires obtaining a permit for wedding photos because of the high number of requests and the park needs to monitor the activity so there are no conflicts, and no damage to park resources.
To request a wedding photo permit, fill out the still photography permit application (link provided below) and if paying by check or money order (NO CASH), mail it with payment (processing and location fee) to:
Special Park Use Office
143 S. 3rd St.Philadelphia, PA 19106
The park charges a $25.00 permit application fee to cover the costs associated with processing, scheduling, and monitoring wedding photography permits. Additionally, Public Law 106-206 requires the park to collect location fees for still photography. The location fee for wedding photography permits is determined by the number of persons involved in the filming activity according to the following scale: 1 - 10 persons: $50, 11 - 30 persons: $150, and over 30 persons $250. Both fees should be included with the application and can be included on one check or money order made payable to: National Park Service.
If you would like to pay electronically, please indicate that on the application. All electronic payments are initiated by us through pay.gov. Once we process your application, you will receive two separate billing emails, one to pay the application fee, and one to pay the applicable location fee.
Wedding photography applicants are limited to the following nine locations in the park:
1. The Magnolia Garden
2. Rose Garden (handicapped accessible only from the Locust Street entrance)
3. 18th Century Garden
4. Benjamin Rush Garden (sometimes referred to as the Bishop White Garden) Starting October 30, 2023 to August 2024, the Benjamin Rush Garden will not be available due to a revitialization project. Once the work is completed the garden's name will change to the Bicentennial Bell Garden. The garden will be home to the bell that her majesty Queen Elizabeth II presented to the United States in 1976.
5. South steps and lawn area of the Second Bank of the United States
6. The front steps of the First Bank of the United States (through March 2025, the First Bank will not be available due to construction).
7. Dock Creek (the lawn area on the south side of Carpenters' Hall between 3rd and 4th Streets)
8. Washington Square (vicinity of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier excluded)
9. Behind the Merchants' Exchange Building (permit holder may not move or go behind the chain at the foot of the steps).
Wedding photography IS NOT permitted in any other areas of the park. During peak wedding season (Spring and Fall), processing applications can take several weeks. We cannot respond to every inquiry about permit status. Please indicate which location/s you would like. If there is a conflict, a representative will contact you either by phone or email to work out an alternate location.
Please note, the Rose Garden is handicapped accessible only from the Locust Street entrance. The fountain in the Magnolia Garden is turned off from early fall through late spring and requires regular maintenance throughout the summer. We cannot accommodate requests to turn on the fountain. We do not allow cars or other vehicles on park property, including classic cars as part of your photo shoot. All permits are issued electronically unless a paper copy is specifically requested. Walk-ins are by appointment only.
Still Photography Application for Wedding Photos
Some sections under “Project Information” are not applicable and have been filled in with “N/A.” If you are applying as an individual, you only need to fill out the left side, the right side is used only if you are a photographer/organization. Permits are limited to one hour, unless specifically requested. If you still have questions, you can email us.
Wedding CeremoniesWedding ceremony permits are limited to only the Magnolia Garden or the Rose Garden. The permit fee is $50. A maximum of 35 guests and 20 chairs are permitted (we do not provide the chairs). Please note, the Rose Garden is handicapped accessible only from the Locust Street entrance. The fountain in the Magnolia Garden is turned off from early fall through late spring and requires regular maintenance throughout the summer. We cannot accommodate requests to turn on the fountain.
The permit holder is required to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, regulations, codes, permit requirements, and conditions as well as park regulations contained in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations.The Permittee will be held liable for any damage to park property arising out of a permit. A permit may not be transferred to another party. Issuance of a permit does not guarantee exclusive use of an area. The area for which a permit is issued will remain open to the public during park visiting hours. Permit activities must not interfere with park visitors. Parking on park property is prohibited.The consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or the possession of a receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage which is open, or whose seal is broken, are prohibited. The release of helium balloons or throwing of rice within the park is prohibited.
Wedding Ceremony Permit Application
The completed permit application, along with a check for the application fee and/or location fee made out to National Park Service, should be sent to:
Special Events Office
143 S 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Allow a minimum of 7 business days for processing. In the spring and fall, it may take longer to process applications due to the high volume of requests. Applications received without the required payment will not be processed. Permit application charges are nonrefundable. Please note, the requested time, date, and location will only be considered once a completed application and fees have been received. If you wish to pay electronically, please indicate that on the application. We will initiate the payment once we recieve the application.
Last updated: October 24, 2023