Silhouette of a couple at sunset holding hands as they walk across the Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Where to elope in Michigan

Do you want to get married in Michigan? Have you been dreaming of a beautiful, intimate wedding in an amazing location? If so, then eloping is the way to go! There are many places in Michigan that offer stunning locations for an intimate ceremony. Keep reading to see some of my favorites!

Pine trees in Michigan

Why Elope in Michigan?

Whether you live in the mitten and want to elope close to home, or you are from somewhere else but are thinking of eloping in Michigan, here’s why it’s a fantastic location for your elopement:

Michigan is full of amazing, diverse, natural landscapes!

If you’re looking for a picturesque setting to tie the knot with your beloved, then Michigan is definitely worth checking out. With its vast forests and stunning sand dunes like at Silver Lake and Sleeping Bear; mountains that provide great views of the landscape; waterfalls a-plenty; as well as having some absolutely gorgeous beaches along our long freshwater coastline—all adding up to make it one of America’s most scenic states!

Elopement at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire

You can take advantage of the seasons.

You can choose to elope in Michigan during any of the four seasons, and each one has its own wonderful advantages.

  • SPRING is a season of growth and renewal, signifying new beginnings. The earth starts to come alive!
  • SUMMER is warm- sometimes hot- and is a great time to take advantage of the Great Lakes or any of the pristine inland lakes.
  • FALL in Michigan is amazing. The temperatures start out mild and then start to cool off. And the colors are absolutely spectacular!
  • WINTER in Michigan can be some of the most beautiful in the world, in my humble opinion. Snow blankets the ground and it’s a perfect time to get cozy with your love.
South Haven Michigan Engagement Session on the beach

South Haven Beach

Elopement on Sugarloaf Mountain in Michigan in the snow
Sugarloaf Mountain, Marquette

Best Places to Elope in Michigan

1. The Keweenaw Peninsula.

The Keweenaw Peninsula is a perfect place to elope. It’s so wild and rugged, with all sorts of beauty and wonder waiting for you at the very top of Michigan.

You might think that this area only has one season: winter- but it actually goes from autumn through spring as well! Full of lush secluded wilderness, this pristine location on the top side of Michigan makes for a perfect elopement destination!

Brockway Mountain

Location: 5 minutes from downtown Copper Harbor

Difficulty: Not at all. Just drive to a spot and walk 1-5 minutes.

Privacy: There are usually a handful of tourists at the most popular spots.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: The nearest conveniences are in Copper Harbor, and they are limited. Houghton and Calumet have more options for food/gas/accommodations but are 45+ minutes away.

Best season: The fall colors are AMAZING from atop Brockway!

You should know: The mountain drive is closed when from the first snowfall to the spring melt. Dogs are allowed here!

Keweenaw Castle

Location: 20 minutes from downtown Calumet.

Difficulty: This is a venue and while there are hiking options ranging from easy to difficult, you can get beautiful scenery right from the property.

Privacy: The Castle has multiple suites available. Depending on the vacancy of the suites, or how many you book, you can have total privacy or be sharing the property with a few others.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: The Castle is located in a fairly remote location. The nearest conveniences are in Calumet (20-25 minutes) and Houghton (30-40 minutes).

Best season: Any season is perfect here, excluding fly season (early-mid June).

You should know: Black fly season is typically in early-mid June and lasts a couple of weeks. The flies are extremely bad around the lakeshore and bite. Locals wear protective gear like nets to protect themselves from the swarms. Other than that specific time, the bugs are not usually bad at all.

Hunter’s Point

Location: 2 minutes from Downtown Copper Harbor.

Difficulty: Easy. Park and walk 1-20 minutes, depending on how far you’d like to go.

Privacy: Hunter’s Point attracts a lot of tourists, especially in summer, but you can usually find a private spot on the peninsula- especially in the evening during the week.

Permit/legal: This is a State Park and requires a Recreation Passport for entry. No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: The town of Copper Harbor has one two-pump gas station, several rustic motels, cabins, and a few campgrounds. There is one general store, a brewery, and a handful of places to eat. In the summer it’s busy and can be hard to get a table. Other than that, Calumet (40 minutes) and Houghton (1 hour) are the nearest cities.

Best season: Any season here is beautiful. Accessibility may be limited in the winter.

You should know: Black fly season is typically in early-mid June and lasts a couple of weeks. The flies are extremely bad around the lakeshore and bite. Locals wear protective gear like nets to protect themselves from the swarms. Other than that specific time, the bugs are not usually bad at all.

Horseshoe Harbor

Location: 10 minutes from Downtown Copper Harbor, then a 10-minute walk through the woods.

Difficulty: Easy/moderate. Park and walk 10 minutes on a trail through the woods. The trail does have some rocks and roots that must be navigated.

Privacy: Horseshoe Harbor is relatively quiet. There may be a handful of tourists. You can usually find a private spot- especially in the evening during the week.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: The town of Copper Harbor has one two-pump gas station, several rustic motels, cabins, and a few campgrounds. There is one general store, a brewery, and a handful of places to eat. In the summer it’s busy and can be hard to get a table. Other than that, Calumet (40 minutes) and Houghton (1 hour) are the nearest cities.

Best season: Any season here is beautiful. In the winter, the rod isn’t plowed past the end of US-41, so that leaves about 3-4 miles of road that either needs to be hiked or you’ll need snowmobiles.

You should know: Black fly season is typically in early-mid June and lasts a couple of weeks. The flies are extremely bad around the lakeshore and bite. Locals wear protective gear like nets to protect themselves from the swarms. Other than that specific time, the bugs are not usually bad at all.

Hungarian Falls

Location: 5 minutes from downtown Hubbell.

Difficulty: Moderate/Hard. This is a two-mile hike through the woods that requires traversing hilly and rough terrain.

Privacy: There could be a few hikers, especially between July-September.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: The town of Hubbell doesn’t have much. The closest cities are Calumet (10 min) and Houghton (15 min).

Best season: Spring is usually when the falls are the biggest due to snow melt. However, fall can be beautiful because of the colors.

You should know: Dogs are allowed here! There are a series of waterfalls here in the area, with the tallest being 50 feet. The Keweenaw has several beautiful waterfalls that would be a beautiful spot for an elopement ceremony. Some are very easy to get to, some are not. I’d be happy to tell you more!

Elopement at Keweenaw Castle in Michigan

Keweenaw Castle, Eagle Harbor

Horseshoe Harbor, Copper Harbor

Elopement on Brockway Mountain in Copper Harbor, MI

Brockway Mountain, Copper Harbor

2. Upper Peninsula mountains.

When you think of great mountain ranges, Michigan may not come to mind. However, the state does have mountains that are pretty amazing! The best mountains are in the Upper Peninsula and feature spectacular views from all angles – perfect for an elopement ceremony.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Location: 20 minutes from downtown Marquette.

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate. Lots of stairs and a somewhat rugged trail, but overall it’s about a 20 minute to 1/2 hour walk to the top.

Privacy: There could be a handful of tourists around in the summer and fall months, but there’s a lot of room for everyone and finding a mostly private spot isn’t usually an issue.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: This mountain is close to all the modern conveniences of Marquette- the largest college city in the UP.

Best season: Sugarloaf is open year-round with groomed trails in the winter. Any season is perfect here!

You should know: Dogs are allowed! I hiked to the top of this mountain one week after having meniscus surgery on my knee, so it’s not really that bad of a hike. :)

Hogback Mountain

Location: About 25 minutes from downtown Marquette.

Difficulty: Moderate/hard. This is about an hour hike to the summit. Most of the trail is easy to moderate, but the last 10% of it is a steep, rocky trail with the last part being a scramble. The views at the top are worth it, though!

Privacy: Mostly private if not 100% private.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: This mountain is close to all the modern conveniences of Marquette- the largest college city in the UP.

Best season: Although this mountain is open year-round, the trails are not groomed and because of the last part of the hike being a scramble, I wouldn’t recommend it in winter or when it’s icy.

You should know: This is one of my favorite spots in the UP! Although it’s a bit of a challenge, the top of the mountain is breathtaking!

Porcupine Mountains

Location: About an hour and a half from Houghton to the Lake in the Clouds overlook.

Difficulty: ???

Privacy: Expect some tourists and hikers, but there should be plenty of places that are private or mostly private.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: Houghton is the nearest city with modern conveniences, restaurants, and accommodations.

Best season: ???

You should know: I’ve actually not been to the Porkies yet! I’m planning on visiting soon, though, so I’ll update this post when I do!

Brockway Mountain

Location: 5 minutes from downtown Copper Harbor

Difficulty: Not at all. Just drive to a spot and walk 1-5 minutes.

Privacy: There are usually a handful of tourists at the most popular spots.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: The nearest conveniences are in Copper Harbor, and they are limited. Houghton and Calumet have more options for food/gas/accommodations but are 45+ minutes away.

Best season: The fall colors are AMAZING from atop Brockway!

You should know: The mountain drive is closed when from the first snowfall to the spring melt.

Silver Mountain

Location: 15 minutes from Baraga/L’Anse.

Difficulty: Moderate. The stairs are a rugged climb, and the site offers few amenities, so come prepared.

Privacy: Mostly private.

Permit/legal: No permit is required. You will need a valid marriage license, an ordained officiant, and two witnesses.

Amenities/conveniences: The nearest conveniences are located in Baraga and L’Anse, but these are very small towns. The nearest bigger city is Houghton (30 minutes). Marquette is an hour and a half away.

Best season: When it’s not icy. Fall is exceptionally beautiful.

You should know: Silver Mountain offers excellent opportunities to view migrating birds of prey (raptors). In May-June and again in September-October, watch broad-winged and red-tail hawks soaring on the strong updrafts. Small sharp-skinned hawks and American kestrels are also common here

Adventurous couples portraits on Hogback Mountain in Marquette, Michigan.

Hogback Mountain, Marquette

View from Sugarloaf Mountain, Marquette

3. The Leelanau Peninsula.

The Leelanau Peninsula is a beautiful area in Michigan that features many spectacular locations. From its wide, uninhabited wilderness to the lovely beaches and vineyards, this region has it all!

Glen Arbor

Houdek Dunes Natural Area

Leelanau State Park

Aurora Cellars

Elopement ceremony taking place on the beach in Glen Arbor, Michigan.
Glen Arbor Beach
Houdek Dunes in Winter

4. At the dunes.

A different kind of adventure awaits you in Michigan. The state is home to many great sand dunes, one of the unique features that make it a special place for your elopement or intimate wedding. The sweeping, wild nature of these locations are perfect to make any occasion special.

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Silver Lake State Park

Nordhouse Dunes

Houdek Dunes

Warren Dunes

Arcadia Dunes

Redwyn Dunes

Grand Sable Dunes

Elopement at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire

Bride and groom walking hand in hand down a large sand dune in Eagle River, Michigan
Redwyn Dunes

5. Great Lakes shoreline.

For those looking for a picturesque elopement spot, then look no further than Michigan’s coastline. The Great Lakes Shoreline can vary from pristine sandy beaches reminiscent of the tropics to rugged volcanic lava rock and cliffs. Whatever your preference, there is something beautiful about these shorelines that will make for an unforgettable day!

Presque Isle

Horseshoe Harbor

Hunter’s Point

Black River Harbor

Port Crescent State Park

North Point Nature Preserve

Thompson’s Harbor State Park

Bride and groom walking at Black Rocks in Marquette Michigan
Black Rocks on Presque Isle in Michigan

Black Rocks, Marquette

Port Crescent State Park

Horseshoe Harbor
Lake Michigan Shoreline
South Haven Beach Session
South Haven beach

6. In the Pines.

There is something so mysterious and enchanting about walking in a forest of tall pine trees. You can feel the ancient magic it holds, which makes them perfect for eloping!

Proud Lake State Park

Provin Trails

Hartwick Pines

Estivant Pines

Proud Lake State Rec elopement

Proud Lake State Park, Commerce Township

A forest of tall pines
Bride an groom walking through the woods at Provin Trails park in Grand Rapids

Provin Trails, Grand Rapids

Rustic elopement in the woods at Hartwick Pines.

Chapel in the Woods, Hartwick Pines

7. At a unique venue, Airbnb, or one-of-a-kind adventure.

Michigan has lots of unique places available for elopements! You could be wed at the oldest aquarium in North America or take vows on a boat while cruising the Great Lakes – there are so many possibilities!

If you’re looking for the best Airbnb’s for Michigan elopements, check out this post I wrote.

Elopement in Michigan's UP - bride and groom walking up a trail by a cliff.

Carp River Gardens, Negaunee

Fishin’ Wisdom Fishing Charters, Lake St. Clair

Bride and groom in canoe in Gaylord Michigan

Sojourn Lakeside Resort, Gaylord

The Wildlife Interpretative Gallery and Butterfly Garden, Detroit Zoo

Belle Isle Conservatory, Detroit

Design the elopement of your dreams in Michigan!

Can you imagine having a wedding day in one of these AMAZING places? Where you’ll get to commit your lives to one another within the incredible natural beauty of Michigan?

I’m a Michigan elopement photographer, but I’m also passionate about making sure you have the most unforgettable, stress-free wedding day ever. One with no regrets, that you’ll remember as one of the BEST days of your lives! Working together with you, I’ll create an environment where you’ll be able to relax and be 100% yourselves.

When you work with me you get:

  • Emotive, meaningful photos of you and your beloved that will make you FEEL.
  • A curated collection of photos that capture the essence of your story.
  • Help with finding the perfect location, planning out your timeline, and more.
  • A friend who will take the time to get to know you and what’s important to you before ever getting my camera out. It’s important to me that I tell your story as honestly and intentionally as possible.
Marquette wedding photographer Andrea Brandt of Lume Photography

With so many amazing spots in our great state, it’s no surprise that eloping is on the rise. Whether you want to book a private getaway for just two or plan an intimate affair with all of your friends and family present, I can help make that happen. Get in touch today to get started!

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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.

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