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 mail it with payment (processing and location fee) to:
Special Events Office
143 S. 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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. 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 feesshould be included with the application and can be included on one check or money order made payable to: National Park Service.
Permits are limited to one hour, unless specifically requested. Payment can be made by check or money order - no cash! At this time, we do not have the ability to process payment by credit card or other electronic means.
Wedding photography applicants are limited to the following 9 locations in the park:
The Magnolia Garden
Rose Garden (handicapped accessible only from the Locust Street entrance)
18th Century Garden
Benjamin Rush Garden (sometimes referred to as the Bishop White Garden)
South steps and lawn area of the Second Bank of the United States (Starting October 10, 2021 and lasting through January 2023, the Second Bank will not be available due to a construction project. We will accept permit requests for dates after this time frame)
front steps of the First Bank of the United States
Dock Creek (the lawn area on the south side of Carpenters' Hall between 3rd and 4th Streets)
Washington Square (vicinity of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier excluded)
Behind the Merchants' Exchange Building (permit holder may not move or go behind the chain at the foot of the steps). (Starting on or about September 27, 2022, fencing will be going up and construction will begin sometime in mid-October and continue through the Spring of 2023. The back of the Merchants' Exchange building will still be accessible for photos, but the cobblestone itself will be off-limits and may therefore interfere with any distant or wide-shot photos. (You will still be able to access the sidewalk next to the building.)
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.
All permits are issued electronically unless a paper copy is specifically requested.
Wedding 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 accomodate requests to turn on the fountain.
The Permittee 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.
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 the Special Events Office at 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.