Hartwick Pines Elopement Inspiration

“By night, beloved, tie your heart to mine
and let them both in dreams defeat the darkness” ― Pablo Neruda

Woodsy Forest Elopement Inspiration in Michigan

Some couples want to have a beautiful, memorable wedding ceremony in nature that feels a little adventurous but doesn’t require any hardcore hiking or strenuous activities. That was the idea behind this Hartwick Pines elopement styled session. To show you what a quiet, magical ceremony deep in the woods of Northern Michigan can look like.

Hartwick Pines is a State Park located just minutes from Grayling, Michigan. There you’ll find many miles of old-growth pine forest, and a tiny log chapel that’s hidden deep in the forest.

We met at a house in downtown Grayling to get ready. My good friend and fellow wedding photographer, Shonda Michelson, helped plan this styled elopement and took photos alongside me.

Hannah and Karli were absolutely amazing. They lovingly helped each other get ready before the ceremony and even wrote their own vows. The ceremony was officiated by Abby Staley from The Just Rite. She’s an awesome, open-hearted, kind individual and I LOVE working with her!

The Chapel In The Woods

Nestled quietly in the middle of Hartwick Pines is a small, rustic chapel made of logs. It’s dark, moody atmosphere and lack of electricity make it a challenge to photograph without additional lighting, but also gives it a hauntingly beautiful aesthetic.

The Details

This vintage wedding dress came from Etsy, and I’ve been holding onto it for around 3 years, waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. I knew this would be the perfect opportunity- and I was thrilled when it fit Karli perfectly! The dress’s flowing light fabric, the puff sleeves, and the romantic details of the bow and pattern were just what I had in mind.

The bouquet and bow tie were handcrafted by me, out of flowers and feathers I picked up at Michael’s craft store. I had this idea in my head and it turned out exactly as I envisioned it! The long piece of white fabric and lanterns also came from Michael’s.

Local Flavor from Northern Michigan

When we were planning this elopement, we wanted to include some local flavors from Northern Michigan. So I brought some Cherry Whiskey from the Traverse City Whiskey Co. Which is DELICIOUS, by the way!

Shonda brought cupcakes from Goodale’s Bakery in Grayling. It’s a famous bakery, with goods that are incredibly tasty. We added pheasant feather sprigs to top off the cupcakes so they’d go with the elopement decor.

Touching her wedding dress. Writing wedding vows. Doing a "cheers" with their wedding vows. Same sex couple first kiss at wedding ceremony.

I love telling elopement stories through beautiful photographs and creating amazing portraits of couples. Click here to learn more about my elopement photography.


Lume Photography is a documentary elopement and wedding photographer based in Michigan, traveling worldwide. Behind the camera you’ll find me (Andrea)- a girl who loves animals, the wilderness, and love stories. I believe in magic, soulmates, and the hidden forces of energy that connect everything and everyone in the universe. My passion is documenting the moments, emotions, and connection between two souls in love, in wild places.

My home base is located in SE Michigan, but my second home is Northern Michigan. I’m frequently visiting Traverse City, Marquette & the Upper Peninsula. I’ve traveled all over, including Arizona, Colorado, Costa Rica, Scotland, and beyond to photograph wild elopements and small destination weddings.

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All the details are just the sweetest and I’m obsessed with the woodsy, warm vibes!!

I just love Hartwick Pines! It is a beautiful place, and such a cute couple. I love the simplicity and mood of this.

Wow that very last photo!!!!! Love these edits! Such a beautiful event <3

LOVE the gifs you made and the tones you used! These photos are all absolutely stunning and I’m sure they are so, so pleased with them and so happy they picked you!

Wow, I adore these two and that vintage dress! It was so perfect for the woodsy and romantic vibe. Also the gif is stunning! Awesome work!

Thank you, Destinie! I love the dress, too!

Thank you, Shelly!! Miss your face!

I LOVE the way you mixed in those gifs with the rest of the images. Especially the close up detail type sequences. You really captured some genuine happy moments. nice work!

Wow! What a gorgeous shoot from start to finish. That chapel is just magical, and I love the subtle use of gifs!

This is such a beautiful place! Absolutely adore the scenery and i especially love the ones at the end with the lights! Beautiful photos! This looks like such a perfect elopement location.

Wow! These photos are so storytelling. You can absolutely feel their love

Great pictures from this intimate elopement! Well done :)

Wow, these feel like they’re from the PNW, i never would have guessed Michigan! Gorgeous!

Such a fun session! I love how well you captured their joy :)