I set out in my truck on Saturday morning, camera by my side, with the goal of finding suitable indoor or outdoor covered locations in which I could take brides/grooms or wedding parties to shoot photos on wedding days.  On a typical wedding day I like to find a scenic area in which I can photograph the bride and groom as they see each other for the first time during the "first look" event.  As anyone in Indiana knows, the weather can be quite unpredictable in the spring, so an indoor or covered location is good to have as a backup "plan B" to fall back on, just in case!

As I made my way from Jimtown towards downtown Elkhart, I remembered a cool little park - Cobus Creek - that's set off the beaten path a bit, so I stopped for a quick look.  I had forgot just how beautiful the flowers and plantings are.  Pathways lead back through really interesting gardens.  The covered shelter has a gorgeous stone fireplace at one end and is perfect for group photos.  I'd encourage anyone around the area to take a visit for a picnic to this park, you won't be dissappointed!

Cobus Creek Park
Cobus Creek Park
Cobus Creek Park

I left Cobus Creek and ventured towards downtown Elkhart, next stop was High Dive Park near downtown.  As I parked I noticed a large group of folks pulling into the park's tennis courts - amateur tennis league on Saturday morning - what a great use of our local recreational facilities!

The park is full of photo opportunities, including this beautiful shaded lake that makes a great backdrop for bridal portraits.  The dark green foliage provides the perfect contrast to a bridal gown and wedding vale.  

The covered pagoda was really neat, although not the ideal rain location for wedding photos in bad weather, as it's quite a long walk to get to it.

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Next on my list was Island Park, situated not very far from High Dive Park and actually connected to it by a foot bridge!  The park is, as it's name implies, situated on a small island in the middle of the St. Joseph River near downtown Elkhart.  The park was very spread out with plenty of room to throw a Frisbee, take photos, stroll along the river or eat a picnic lunch.

There were plenty of friendly folks to talk to....

This little guy found a patch of sun to take lay down for a rest!

This little guy found a patch of sun to take lay down for a rest!

This dog was having a blast running around Island Park!  So many sticks to fetch...such little time!

This dog was having a blast running around Island Park!  So many sticks to fetch...such little time!

This little girl was really having fun drinking and playing in the water fountain!

This little girl was really having fun drinking and playing in the water fountain!

Grandpa and grandson were heading to their favorite fishing spot

Grandpa and grandson were heading to their favorite fishing spot

This shelter was just what I was looking for!  Not too far of a walk from the parking lot and plenty of room to take photos for an entire wedding party, parents and family photos or just the soon to be married couple by themselves!  The archways and red & tan paint colors were awesome and the stone bench seating would make a perfect location for an engagement photo session as well!

Another find within High Dive Park was this wooden stage.  This would make a great spot for couples photography indeed!

Another find within High Dive Park was this wooden stage.  This would make a great spot for couples photography indeed!

As I strolled through the park, it was clear that spring was here and the wildlife were enjoying the park just as much as the people!

As I strolled through the park, it was clear that spring was here and the wildlife were enjoying the park just as much as the people!

Next on the list was the renovated Lerner Theater directly downtown Elkhart.  The main sign out front is a definite photo opportunity as well as the gorgeous stone facade and architecture, pillars, sconces and dark walkway.  The long, narrow walkways around the building all offer great lighting and visual interest for photographing a wedding!  The inside of the Lerner is magically ornate as well, however it's a little difficult and expensive to gain permission to bring a wedding party inside for shooting.  This is definitely top of the list for downtown Elkhart wedding photography attractions!

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There are really interesting and amazingly real statues located throughout the downtown Elkhart area.  More than once, while walking around, I was taken off guard by these "folks" as they looked eerily real!  The violinist just outside the Lerner was my favorite, so I had to spend a little while photographing him!

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The straight lines and contrasting colors of this archictecture in downtown Elkhart caught my eye!  The bright blue sky behind made a great background.  There's room under this awning for couples photography for sure!

The straight lines and contrasting colors of this archictecture in downtown Elkhart caught my eye!  The bright blue sky behind made a great background.  There's room under this awning for couples photography for sure!

By the end of my 2 hours roaming around, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of photo opportunities that I found, all within a 1 mile radius!  I'd highly encourage anyone in the Mishawaka, South Bend, Elkhart and surrounding Michiana area to explore what is offered and take advantage of it for family photos, picnics, fishing or just plain hanging out!